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Chapter 123 Attend a banquet (1)
"Princess, this is what this slave should do!"
Every move of Feng Qi conformed to his identity. When he found out that Murong Qi Qi was great general and princess's daughter, Feng Qi was the most excited one out of everyone.
As one of the few people who knew Feng Cang's true identity, Feng clan's only blood Murong Qi Qi being found; to this Feng clan's elder, this was the happiest and also most exciting thing.
Murong Qi Qi's emergence meant that the originally cut off Feng clan's bloodline could continue. Feng family has a descendant! How could this not let a person, who was born in Feng family, grow up in Feng family and was loyal to Feng family generation after generation, not be happy?!
"Uncle Feng…" Murong Qi Qi knew the hearts of these people and also didn't reject them anymore. Under Feng Qi's escort, she arrived at the front hall.
Wanyan Lie's Jing De was respectfully waiting there. Seeing Murong Qi Qi come out and looking at her stunning face, Jing De almost lost his soul. After just a moment, Jing De became aware of his disrespect. He quickly lowered his head and held out the imperial edict.
"Emperor said, this is princess's. You don't need to bow and this slave also doesn't need to read it out. Princess can open it directly."
Murong Qi Qi opened the imperial edict. On it was nothing more than rewards and also the recovery of her surname. Wanyan Lie seemed to respect Murong Qi Qi's thoughts very much. He personally asked in the imperial edict for her opinion; asking her what name she wanted to be called by.
"Since mother struggled to give birth to me on the seventh of the seventh month, I will still be called Qi Qi!" Feng Qi Qi, this name is not bad! Murong Qi Qi was thinking in her heart.
"Yes…" Jing De quickly wrote it down.
Looking once more, Wanyan Lie bestowed her the Long Autumn palace. Murong Qi Qi softly read it," Long Autumn palace? Didn't consort Yue live there? I won't live there!"
Wanyan Kang, who was at Murong Qi Qi's side, when he heard emperor father rewarded Long Autumn palace to Murong Qi Qi, his heart skipped a beat. Through generations, Long Autumn palace had been the residence of the empress. It's the place which received the most imperial grace in the harem. What did emperor father mean by doing this? Could it be that emperor father wanted to hold Murong Qi Qi in a high light…
"Princess, consort Yue is already gone. The emperor let people clean up Long Autumn palace as the residence of princess…"
"Don't want!" Murong Qi Qi shook her head. "I want to live at Nan Lin wangfu!1 I won't live elsewhere!"
Sure enough, it was like how emperor guessed it; Murong Qi Qi didn't want to live in the palace and wanted to stay at Nan Lin wangfu. However, the emperor's meaning is…Jing De swallowed, "Princess, emperor's meaning is that you can occasionally stay at the palace for a while and can then rest at Long Autumn palace. Long Autumn palace is honorable and glorious. It's the most beautiful wing in the palace and is most suitable for princess!"
"Staying for a while in the palace, I can stay at grandmother's. Go back and tell emperor uncle, I don't want Long Autumn palace! A place where people had died, bad luck!"
Murong Qi Qi's words scared Jing De; he almost bit his tongue. Which woman doesn't want to live in Long Autumn palace and become the mistress of Long Autumn palace? It so happened that this princess used a 'go back' to make him leave.
When Jing De returned to the palace, inside the imperial study, he repeated Murong Qi Qi's exact words back to Wanyan Lie. Also, his heart was disturbed. He was worried that Wanyan Lie would flip out. He didn't expect that after he waited for a long time, he would hear Wanyan Lie's laughter, "Hahahaha! Indeed Ming Yue's daughter! Indeed zhen's2 niece! Great! Great!"
After following Wanyan Lie for so long, Jing De could distinguish when his master was happy and when his master was angry. Hearing his laughter, Wanyan Lie must really like that princess Zhen Guo. It seemed that Murong Qi Qi's days of wealth is yet to come!
"Emperor, then this Long Autumn palace…"
"Keep it! Let people clean both the inside and the outside. Send a group of new people to take care of it. They need to be well-behaved and obedient! Zhen is the son of heaven, I opened my golden mouth and spoke jade words. Long Autumn palace is Murong Qi Qi's home of her mother's side. She can come anytime she wants!"
"Yes…" Don't know why, but from Wanyan Lie's voice, Jing De heard a never before pampering. It was just, it was the thought of the emperor, he didn't dare to guess it. It would be good if he only did his job.
Wanyan Lie rewarding Murong Qi Qi with Long Autumn palace, was immediately like a bomb, causing a great commotion among the women of the harem.
"What?! His majesty gave Long Autumn palace to Murong Qi Qi?" When Lin Ke Xin heard this news, she was stunned. Originally, she thought that since Yue Lan Zhi died, this Long Autumn palace would fall into her hands. She didn't expect that Wanyan Lie would change hands and give it to Murong Qi Qi.
"Niangniang,3 princess Zhen Guo has already restored her original surname. Now, she's Feng Qi Qi!" Wet nurse Yu stood next to Lin Ke Xin. She quickly massaged her (LKX) back to let her calm down.
'Bang…' Lin Ke Xin threw the teacup on the ground, "Bengong4 doesn't care who or what she is. Wet nurse, what kind of place is Long Autumn palace? That's the place where the empress lives since the beginning of the history, ah! Tell me, what does the emperor mean by this?"
Lin Ke Xin's anger was in the expectation of wet nurse Yu. She quickly said, "This slave doesn't dare guess the emperor's meaning." However, in her heart she was thinking, since you know this is the place where only the empress can live, why should you be concerned about it?!
"Humph!" Lin Ke Xin gritted her teeth. The handkerchief in her hand had already been twisted into a rope. "Wet nurse, tell me, is the emperor telling everyone that the next emperor's empress is Feng Qi Qi and that there's no need to doubt it? In other words, the one who gets Feng Qi Qi is the next emperor?"
Hearing Lin Ke Xin say that, wet nurse Yu thought for a while and then nodded, "Niangniang, you're right! Perhaps, this truly is the emperor's meaning! It's niangniang who's thoughtful and could understand the emperor's meaning!"
Wet nurse Yu's bootlicking let Lin Ke Xin's mood got a bit better, "Send someone to ask fifth prince if princess accepted the invitation. Then, let someone invite second prince into the palace!"
In Jingxin Hall, Lin Ke Xin was calculating how to let Wanyan Yi get Murong Qi Qi's heart. Inside Jingde palace, Li Bing also threw over the table.
"Long Autumn palace? Is that a place where a little girl can afford to live in?! Why doesn't she ponder her own weight?!"
"Niangniang, it's said, princess Zhen Guo rejected. Princess said, people died at that place and it's unlucky. She won't live there!" Li Bing's maid Chun Tao reported every news she inquired to Li Bing.
"The emperor didn't get angry?" After Li Bing heard this, she quickly asked what happened after.
"No!" Chun Tao shook her head, "After hearing it, emperor was very happy. He also said that princess is very like princess Ming Yue. Then, he also insisted on leaving Long Autumn palace for her. He said that in the future, Long Autumn palace is princess Zhen Guo's maternal home!"
"Maternal home, maternal home…," Li Bing muttered these two words. Suddenly, Li Bing's eyes lit up, "Bengong understands!"
Seeing that her master had a face full of excitement, Chun Tao was puzzled, "Niangniang, what did you understand?"
"The emperor wants to cement old ties by marriage. He wants to let princess Zhen Guo become his daughter-in-law…"
The more Li Bing thought about it, the more feasible was it. Murong Qi Qi's already at a marriageable age. Naturally, she should get married. Wanyan Lie pampers Murong Qi Qi so much; he certainly wishes for his son marry her. Then, who is the most suitable candidate?
"Long Autumn palace, Long Autumn palace…"
Li Bing muttered twice. Suddenly, she realized, "Long Autumn palace is the symbol of the main palace of the harem. Feng Qi Qi entered the main palace of the harem, then this means, her husband is the new emperor! It must be like this! In the past, emperor loved princess Ming Yue very much. Now, he also loves the house and its crow. Naturally, he loves Feng Qi Qi."Love the house and its crow: love everyone/everything connected to the one you love. Love me, love my dog
"In the past, didn’t he always say that he wished to have a daughter like princess Ming Yue and would give her the best things in the world? Now, princes Zhen Guo is found. The emperor would certainly pamper her to the extreme. For a woman, in this world, the noblest place is the position of the empress. That must be it! That must be it!"
Chun Tao looked at the empress's spirited looks. She (CT) probably guessed the meaning behind it. "Niangniang, Jingxin hall over there entrusted fifth prince to invite princess Zhen Gu for tea!"
"Tea?" Hearing Lin Ke Xin's doings, Li Bing sneered, "Feng Qi Qi got the emperor's favor. She would be extremely honorable, why would she care for a cup of tea?!
Li Bing called Chun Tao to her side. She whispered a few words in her ears. Chun Tao nodded and left Jingde palace immediately.
Inside Jinxuan palace, after Dongfang Lan heard Wanyan Lie's decision, she said 'muddleheaded' two times. She could understand Wanyan Lie's love for Murong Qi Qi, but like this, is it not letting Murong Qi Qi become a delicious cake everyone wanted to covet?
"Could the emperor not know that him doing this will deepen the contradiction between the princes?! Besides, aijia5 doesn't want her to enter the imperial family. Aijia only want her to be happy…"
Hearing Dongfang Lan talk till here, Qing Gu sent the other palace maids away. She came to Dongfang Lan's side, "Miss, there is something this slave doesn't know if this slave should say it or not."
Qing Gu being like this, Dongfang Lan guessed that is must be something important. She immediately nodded, "Tell me, what's the matter?"
Qing Gu gestured with her hand and led a quick-witted little palace maid to Dongfang Lan. When the little palace saw Dongfang Lan, she immediately kowtowed, "Empress dowager, our niangniang is innocent! Our niangniang didn't attack the emperor!"
"She is…" Seeing this unfamiliar palace maid in front of her eyes, Dongfang Lan was somewhat puzzled. Who is this palace maid? Why did she cry out grievances the moment she came?
"Miss, she's palace maid Chun Xing from Long Autumn palace's…who served noble consort Yue."
It turned out that yesterday, when Qing Gu went to visit the injured Wanyan Lie, she saw a girl who looked like Wanyan Ming Yue. Although the girl was killed by Jing De, but this let a suspicion grew in Qing Gu's heart.
Sure enough, in the morning, when Wanyan Lie woke up, he ordered the death of all people of Long Autumn palace. Qing Gu saw that the situation was far from good. In the end, she played a small trick and saved Chun Xing. Now, she brought her to Dongfang Lan.
Chun Xing's eyes were red like apricots. Her voice was choked and her eyes were full of fright. Seeing the pitiful state of the little palace maid, Dongfang Lan let her stand up to answer her questions. However, Chun Xing refused to get up and only shouted innocence for Yue Lan Zhi.
"Our niangniang was good-tempered. Usually, she was never willing to punish a servant. Even if this slave does something wrong, niangniang was still pleasant and wouldn't even say some harsh words."
"However, now, suddenly there isn't even a shadow of niangniang. Outside, everyone is searching to catch niangniang and said that she attacked the emperor, but this slave doesn't believe it! Empress dowager, this slave is willing to use this slave's life to guarantee that imperial noble consort is certainly not such a person! Every time, when she saw the emperor, she was like a mouse seeing a cat; how would she have the guts to attack the emperor?!"
The dead Yue Lan Zhi would never have thought that the little palace maid, who only followed her not long ago would want to get justice for her in front of Dongfang Lan.
After listening to Chun Xing, Dongfang Lan frowned. She had never seen Yue Lan Zhi. She only knew that recently she was the most favored consort in the palace.
Since Wanyan Ming Yue and Feng Xie died, Dongfang Lan put her heart in Buddha teachings and didn't bother with the matters of the harem.
Dongfang Lan also heard some things of the harem. It was nothing more than that Wanyan Lie would favor a new girl after some time and let the harem overflow with vinegar. But, she couldn't control these things and her heart didn't have someone she wanted to care about.
Those matters of those women of the harem had nothing to do with her, an elder woman. So, no matter who Wanyan Lie favored, pampered or loved, Dongfang Lan was indifferent. Even if those consorts fiddle in front of her, she wouldn't intervene. Over time, those consorts didn't come to her for justice anymore and her ears got a lot quieter.
Not to mention Yue Lan Zhi, even those other women Wanyan Lie pampered at Long Autumn palace, Dongfang Lan had seen none of them.
Most of the time, she's at the temple. When she returns, she also likes it quiet. Moreover, Wanyan Lie seemed to particularly favor sickly beauties. All the mistresses of Long Autumn palace had been too weak to even stand up the wind. On hot days, they even wore a veil when coming out. So delicate, making Dongfang Lan dislike them even more. So, she was simply too lazy to summon those consorts lest those consorts have a weak body and became sick, making their feelings of mother and son separate.
Now, hearing Chun Xing seek justice for Yue Lan Zhi and her demeanor didn't seem to be lying, Dongfang Lan nodded. She motioned for her to go on.
Chun Xing choked and told Dongfang Lan one by one how afraid usually Yue Lan Zhi was of Wanyan Lie, how he humiliated her, how she had miscarriage and how every time Wanyan Lie would torture Yue Lan Zhi.
When she heard Chun Xing say that Yue Lan Zhi's miscarriage was caused by Wanyan Lie's forced intercourse and besides, after the miscarriage, Wanyan Lie didn't bother with Yue Lan Zhi's physical discomfort and still had intercourse, Dongfang Lan was stunned. It was as if it was not the Wanyan Lie she knew. "How could the emperor do such a thing? How could this be?"
"Answering empress dowager, ever word this slave said is the truth! The old imperial physician who had been treating niangniang can testify!" Seeing Dongfang Lan doubting her words, Chun Xing got anxious and immediately kowtowed hard on the ground.
"Empress dowager, imperial noble consort is really innocent! That day, after the emperor entered Long Autumn palace, this slave was worried that niangniang would call this slave, so I waited outside. However, imperial noble consort didn't come out again. Such a weak person like niangniang and also because the miscarriage her body was weak, how could she leave the palace on her own?! Even more, she couldn't have attacked the emperor. Asking empress dowager to inspect this matter!"
Chun Xing wholeheartedly wanted to seek justice for her master. Her head knocked heavily on the ground. It didn't take long for her forehead to swollen. The skin broke. Blood streamed along Chun Xing's nose. Drop by drop, it fell on the ground.
"Qing Gu!" Dongfang Lan gestured at Qing Gu. Qing Gu quickly pulled Chun Xing. She wanted to pull her up, but she didn't expect Chun Xing to be a stubborn girl. "If empress dowager doesn't accept Chun Xing's request, Chun Xing won't stand up!"
"Are you rebelling now?!" Dongfang Lan's palm slammed on the table, "Do you want to threaten aijia? Aijia hates being threatened the most! Servants, drag this insensible palace maid out and beat her to death!"
"Empress dowager, imperial noble consort is really innocent! Asking empress dowager to please investigate! Empress dowager, why don't you think why in ten years, Long Autumn palace changed nine imperial noble consorts? Where did those women went to? Empress dowager, human life is beyond value, ah!"
Chun Xing's plead didn't get Dongfang Lan's mercy. Although Qing Gu wanted to help Chun Xing, but the empress dowager issued an order; Qing Gu could only let people drag Chun Xing out. After a while, someone came to report that Chun Xing had been beaten to death.
"Bury her!" Dongfang Lan turned the Buddha beads in her hands. Her head was lowered for a long time. Qing Gu returned and nodded at Dongfang Lan. Only then, was she relieved.
"Is that child still well? Were you able to keep it a secret from everyone?"
"It's only wound of the surface. After taking care of it for a while, she would get well. How did empress dowager know that our Jinxuan palace have the emperor's people?"
"Hehe, under the whole heaven, every spot is the emperor's ground; to the borders of land, every individual is the emperor's minister. Everywhere is the emperor's, not to mention this palace!" Dongfang Lan's hand paused at rolling the beads. "Qing Gu, you go and personally take care of Chun Xing. Don't let anyone find her. After this thing passed, aijia will personally ask her about Long Autumn palace's matter!"
Inside the imperial study, Jing De whispered a few words in Wanyan Lie's ears. Wanyan Lie put down the brush in his hand, "Oh? Empress dowager personally killed Chun Xing? Didn't see it wrongly? Are you sure she died?"
"Answering emperor, she has already died and stopped breathing."
"Then, it's good! Haha, didn't expect this girl to have a strong temper and actually reported at the empress dowager's…."
"Emperor, although empress dowager isn't your birth mother, but she treats you not badly! Besides, she never asks about the matters of the palace." After hearing Jing De's words, Wanyan Lie laughed, "That's right. Empress mother is indeed not bad."
Chun Xing's matter, along with Wanyan Lie's words, had been forgotten by everyone. No one would remember that once in Long Autumn palace, there was such a palace maid. Also, no one would reprimand the empress dowager for sentencing a palace maid to death…
After Murong Qi Qi's identity was known, unexpectedly, there were no rumors and there was also no news against her. The public opinion was more against Li Qiu Shui. For a time, the battle of fifteen years ago at Yandang mountain was once again stirred. More people began to explore the deep reason behind Feng Xie's defeat. Of course, these were effectively initiated by the hidden initiator…Feng Cang.
Inside Tingsong building, Murong Qi Qi leaned lazily against Feng Cang's arms. She looked for a comfortable position and laid down like a lazy cat.
Although before, she’d experienced those painful tangling, but after getting to know Feng Cang's true identity, Murong Qi Qi had the feeling of having pushed away all clouds and now able to see the moon. Her mood became cheerful. Plus, she won a bowl full of gold and silver from the gambling dens, of course her mood was good. She had been mumbling songs.
Compared to Murong Qi Qi, Feng Cang had been worried about one thing. That is the reason behind Wanyan Lie giving Murong Qi Qi Long Autumn palace. Especially the way Longze Jing Tian and Wanyan Hong looked at Murong Qi Qi in the hall, such possessiveness made him unhappy. He wished he could dig out those two's eyes!
"Wangye,6 what's the matter?" Seeing that Feng Cang hadn't spoken for half a day, Murong Qi Qi raised her head. Her hand pinched Feng Cang's chin, "What are you thinking about, ah?"
"Qing Qing…" Feng Cang held Murong Qi Qi's hand and put it on his lips. He bit her fingers lightly, "I'm worried…"
"Worried?" The moment she heard Feng Cang’s words, her expression turned serious. She sat up and looked at Feng Cang, "What happened?"
Wangfu: residence of the prince of first rank ↩ Zhen: I, used by the emperor ↩ Niangniang: used to call all the females of the imperial family by others ↩ Bengong: this palace/ I, used by females of the imperial family ↩ Aijia: I, used by an empress dowager ↩ Wang/wangye: prince of the first rank ↩