This chapter has been brought to you by me, Adnana and Vivie.
Chapter Eighty-One: Truth and Lies
The next day, Mu Tong delivered the things to the fu of the Third Master Hua in the morning. He received a bout of grateful speech as well as a pair of slippers personally embroidered by Second Miss Hua for Hua Xi Wan. The slippers were covered with fine brocade and embroidered with beautiful flower patterns. Even though Mu Tong had seen much finery, he had to admit that this pair was really beautiful and the person who had made them had used great effort.
After returning to the wang fu, Mu Tong narrated what had occurred at the Third Master Hua’s fu and also presented the embroidered slippers that Hua Chu Yu had made for Hua Xi Wan.
“Such beautiful slippers.” Hua Xi Wan opened the box and spoke with a smile. “Even at this time, Second Sister still thinks of making a pair of beautiful slippers for me.”
Hearing this, Yan Jin Qiu smiled and said, “From your words, it seems that it isn’t the first pair that your Second Sister has made for you?”
“Second Sister’s embroidery is very good, whereas I was never interested in those things from a very young age. So whenever she had the free time, Second Sister would make clothing and slippers for me. But now she is about to be married and still thinks of me.” Hua Xi Wan held the slippers and thought of how Hua Chu Yu had treated her like a full-blooded sister ever since she had saved Hua Chu Yu from the pond. After so many years, this was still the case.
Yan Jin Qiu nodded. It was not good for him to have more opinions about the womenfolk of the Hua Family, but he still noted who was sincere towards Hua Xi Wan and who was not. “Her treating you like this does not fail how much you think of her.”
Hua Xi Wan laughed. Yan Jin Qiu’s words were biased and considered just from her point of view. But she understood. For Yan Jin Qiu, she was his wang fei. He would naturally use his own perspective to judge whether other people were good or not.
This was probably how all people were. She would not be so proud if Yan Jin Qiu was not good enough towards her family. She smiled helplessly and said, “One needs to use true emotion to protect the relationship between sisters. No one is willing to give true emotions and receive false ones. I have many years of sisterly affection with Second Sister and naturally want to reciprocate.”
“I heard that Second Sister has an engagement with the shizi of Marquis He Wen?” Yan Jin Qiu seemed to suddenly remember this and said, “He Wen Shizi could be considered to be someone sincere in Jing. It is a good choice for her to marry him.”
Hua Xi Wan looked suspiciously at Yan Jin Qiu. Were these words lies or sincere? The Marquis He Wen’s Lin Family was the paternal family of the Crown Princess. Wasn’t Yan Jin Qiu worried that Hua Chu Yu would marry into the Lin Family?
Her gaze was too direct, and Yan Jin Qiu saw her thoughts with a glance. He reached with an index finger to poke her forehead. “The Lin Family has been honest and true for many generations, and cares about the people. They are respected by the people. Lin Zheng De is young but accomplished. He has a pure and just mind. He isn’t a lusty person. A person like this is one who can match your second sister.”
Honest and true, cares about the people.
Young and accomplished, with a pure and just mind.
Hua Xi Wan recalled how much the Empress had disliked the Crown Princess and thought of a possibility. It was possible that the Lin Family was not satisfied with the Crown Prince’s conduct, so after the Crown Princess had married, the Lin Family was still on distant terms with the Crown Prince’s faction. That was why the Empress had such an attitude towards the Crown Princess.
She had originally been worried that the Lin Family would not be good towards Hua Chu Yu. But when she thought about it now, she realized that the Lin Family had been titled for generations. It could be considered a low match for the di shizi to marry Hua Chu Yu. There might be other reasons for the Lin Family asking for a marriage with Hua Chu Yu other than Hua Chu Yu herself.
Maybe they felt that Yan Jin Qiu was someone who did not have ambitions, so it was not major for them to establish a marital connection to the Hua Family. Or maybe they just felt that the Hua Family was pretty good, and Hua Chu Yu was even better, so they wanted her. Or a more likely possibility… The Lin Family intended to get on the same team as Yan Jin Qiu.
The more she thought, the more complex it became. Hua Xi Wan was too lazy to keep thinking so she rubbed her forehead. “Since you say this person isn’t bad, then I will temporarily think the person isn’t so. If he dares to not be good to Second Sister in the future, I will use your status and take people to make a fuss at their door.”
“Good.” Yan Jin Qiu smiled and accepted. Then he had the servants get food, and the two washed their hands to prepare for the noon meal.
However, just as the food just was laid on the table, and before the two had picked up their chopsticks, they heard a shocking piece of news. The paternal family of the Empress, the Fang Family, was being surrounded by the Imperial Guard.
Ever since the Crown Prince had died, the Fang Family became low-key. What great crime had they committed to be surrounded by the Imperial Guard now? The Imperial Guard was akin to the personal guard of the Emperor. When major officials committed crimes, it was usually the Guard Office that came to arrest them, and the Judicial Office or the Ministry of Rites that investigated the case. Having the Imperial Guard taking over the job of the Guard Office was something to speculate about.
Hua Xi Wan was not puzzled for long. Half an hour later, the news from the palace silently spread.
“The Empress tried to poison the Crown Princess and failed?” Hua Xi Wan looked in shock at Mu Tong and was disbelieving. The Empress was someone who was very skilled at enduring and scheming. How could she do such an impulsive thing right now?
Yan Jin Qiu was also surprised. He stilled slightly and then asked, “Is the news correct?”
Mu Tong responded, “According to our people in the palace, the Emperor is very angry about this and wants to depose the Empress. The Emperor and Empress argued, and then the Emperor ordered the Imperial Guard to surround the Fang Family. The reason was that he suspected the Fang Family and the Empress plotted to poison the Crown Princess and the child inside the Crown Princess.”
“Is the Emperor using the Fang Family to threaten the Empress?” Hua Xi Wan thought of the child inside the Crown Princess and the passing away of the Crown Prince. Without a son, the Empress did not have any future hopes. There was a possibility that a lot of her calmness had gone away and what was left was madness. The Emperor had the Imperial Guard surround the Fang Family just so that the Empress would not speak what should not be spoken.
When she thought of this, Hua Xi Wan felt disgusted. Originally, she had felt that the Crown Prince wasn’t good, but now, it seemed the Emperor was the worst scum. The Crown Prince had just inherited that style and hadn’t reached the bottom, so he had died.
Yan Jin Qiu could think along the same lines that Hua Xi Wan did, but he thought even more than Hua Xi Wan. “Do not have our people move. Wait and see.” Who knew if this was true or if it was the Emperor and Empress acting to lure the fish out?
A woman like the Empress would be more likely to remove the mother and keep the child. She would raise the Crown Princess’ child and then become the honored Grand Empress Dowager rather than do something this impulsive. Also, the news was something that the people in the palace had heard, and many outside the palace did not know of this, much less guess that the Empress would think of killing the Crown Princess’ child.
In the eyes of the world, the Empress should anticipate the birth of this child more than the Emperor. Therefore, they would only think that the Fang Family had done something, not that the Empress had done something. In the eyes of the people of Jing, the Fang Family was an arrogant imperial relative, and it was normal for them to do something that the Emperor was unhappy with.
There would only be three types of people who could guess that the Empress would want to poison the Crown Princess. One was the kind who had ambitions and spied on the inner palace; the second was those who knew it was difficult for the Crown Prince to have children. The second kind was also split into two kinds. One was those who knew the inner palace, and one was those who could have schemed against the Crown Prince so he became infertile. The third kind was those who knew the Crown Princess’ unborn child was not the Crown Prince’s child, but the Emperor’s child.
No matter which type took the bait, the Emperor would not be willing to have them go on living. Because in this world, only dead people could keep their mouths closed.
Hua Xi Wan saw that Yan Jin Qiu’s expression was not right and guessed the matter was even more complex than she thought. She immediately felt a wave of drowsiness. So after managing to drink a bowl of soup and walking a few circles in the room, she abandoned Yan Jin Qiu who had a deep expression and went back to her room to sleep.
She was not suited to a very complex life. She did not want to overly use her mind and become prematurely old. It was better for her to have a beauty nap.
“Wang Ye, you think that this matter is trap?” Mu Tong was slightly surprised. He had not thought about this.
“No matter if this is a trap or not, it has nothing to do with us,” Yan Jin Qiu said sardonically. “I’m just an idle wang ye living idle days.”
Mu Tong immediately understood and bowed. “Wang Ye is wise.”
The Empress looked indifferently at the male sitting next to her. After drinking about three-tenths of her cup of tea, she finally spoke. “Emperor is so certain that people will jump out?”
“How could the people with ambitions bear to miss this good performance?” Qilong Emperor and the Empress increasingly did not have common topics of conversation. But seeing the Empress’ fragile expression, as though she had aged a few years in these short few months, he felt some guilt. “After the child is born, he will be raised by you. The Crown Princess will go to a monastery to pray for the Crown Prince and will not have to return to the palace unless there are important matters.”
“The Emperor is willing to bear it ?” The Empress raised her eyes to look at the Emperor without any emotion in her eyes.
“There is nothing to be unwilling about. That is your grandson, and zhen will be reassured if he is raised by you,” Qilong Emperor said calmly. “Even if the throne cannot be passed to the son, it can be passed to the grandson.”
The Empress’ expression shifted slightly, and she said after a moment of silence, “Qie understands, but when a woman is giving birth, that is akin to going through the gates of life and death, and it is hard to predict the outcome.”
Hearing this, the Emperor looked with a complex expression at the Empress. After pausing a moment, he said, “This will be determined by the Heavens.”
“As long as the Emperor will not regret it in the future.” The Empress put down her cup and said with a tired expression, “Emperor, do not worry. Qie will take good care of the Crown Princess until… the imperial grandson is born.”
Qilong Emperor looked deeply at her. He put down the teacup and stood, saying, “Since that is so, zhen will not worry.”
Seeing him about to leave, the Empress stood and curtsied. “Emperor, farewell.”
The Emperor’s mouth which had just opened closed again. He looked at the Empress’ bowed head and then turned to walk out the door.
The Empress raised her head to look at his back without any emotion in her eyes. It was as though the man who was walking out was a stranger and had no connection to her.
Translator Ramblings: The empress and emperor are … … I’m not sure how to describe them.