The Grand Gift for the Feng Family
Even though Kang Yi was the eldest princess of a foreign country, the mention of five million taels of gold frightened her.
The current ruler of Qian Zhou had not been in power for many years, so his foundation was not stable, and its internal affairs were not in order. Qian Zhou was extremely cold, so nothing ever grew on its lands. Large amounts of food had to be purchased from Da Shun, in addition to handling disasters each year. The national treasury was already lacking in wealth. Although five million gold would not take all of it, it was enough to take the majority of their treasury.
Kang Yi looked at Xuan Tian Ming and felt that the eyes under that golden mask belonged to a fox, as they were sly and crafty. She suddenly realized that seeking revenge for Feng Yu Heng might have been a feint. What Xuan Tian Ming really wanted was to empty Qian Zhou.
“Your Highness.” She was truly troubled, “Although this humble woman is the eldest princess of Qian Zhou, I am still a woman. Five million taels of silver is already a large amount. If that were changed to gold, that could never be afforded!”
Xuan Tian Ming corrected her: “What do you mean changed to gold? It was originally gold!”
Kang Yi’s face turned white, as she furrowed her brow tightly. She was thinking of something and did not speak for a long time.
Feng Yu Heng smiled and moved to the side of Xuan Tian Ming’s wheelchair. Acting as though this was unrelated to her, she began talking about mundane things: “With the family holding a wedding, I have not had a chance to go into the palace. I wonder, has father Emperor’s health been well?”
Xuan Tian Ming had a wicked smile as he replied: “He’s been well. But he’s always worrying about you.”
“Then I will go in at a later date to visit him. That’s right, I saw his Highness the third prince yesterday at the wedding.” She plainly changed the topic, “But for some reason, the bodyguard that he brought ended up getting hurt. When he left, he was carried out of the manor by others. Both of his knees were very bloody, leaving a pool of blood on the ground.”
The member of the Feng family immediately recalled what had happened when the third prince left the manor. Nobody could understand why the bodyguard that had come with the third prince had gotten injured. His legs looked as though someone had cut them with a knife, as blood flowed out uncontrollably. Since it had snowed, the white ground was dyed red, causing the matriarch to feel that it was unlucky.
But nobody knew how that person ended up getting hurt, and the third prince did not inquire with the Feng family. Instead, he did not say anything, taking the person and leaving. Someone noticed a large bloody mark under that pavilion, and someone had seen that the bodyguard was kneeling there. It appeared that he had been punished by the third prince.
Everyone originally believed that the third prince had been a little too harsh when punishing his servants; however, now that Feng Yu Heng mentioned it, why did everyone suddenly feel that the bodyguard was most likely related in some way to Feng Yu Heng?
The matriarch was the first to think of this, but she also felt that something seemed a little off. Feng Yu Heng was indeed a little arrogant, but she did not have more power than the nine princes. Based on the third prince’s personality, would he be soft towards a young girl?
Kang Yi, however, felt her heart tighten and being to hurt for no apparent reason when she heard Feng Yu Heng say this. When this pain passed, all that remained was panic. Her gaze shifted to Xuan Tian Ming’s knees, and for some reason, she imagined blood flowing from Ru Jia’s knees, with her being forced to sit in a wheelchair. From that moment onward, she would need to be pushed wherever she wished to go. They would never be able to go on walks as mother and daughter again.
The more Kang Yi thought about it, the more panicked she became, as she was barely able to maintain her calm; however, Feng Yu Heng immediately added something that caused her legs to give out, as she went from kneeling to sitting. She then heard Feng Yu Heng say: “Say, how did those legs end up bloodied and injured? Could it be from an arrow? Ah! Mother, I heard that your Qian Zhou has a divine archery squad, and I heard that they are brave and powerful. Is this true?”
She turned to look directly at Kang Yi, her eyes had an inquisitive look. Even more, it was chillingly cold like knives made of ice.
Kang Yi helplessly nodded. Although she was extremely reluctant to mention the divine archery squad of Qian Zhou, especially in front of Xuan Tian Ming and Feng Yu Heng, since she had asked, she could not avoid it even if she wanted to. She could only grit her teeth and say: “There is such a squad, but they are not very bold and powerful.”
“Oh.” Xuan Tian Ming nodded then suddenly brought the discussion regarding Qian Zhou’s divine archery squad to a close. He then began asking about the five million taels of gold: “Madam means to say that you don’t want to use five million taels of gold to pay reparations? Un, that can’t be helped. This prince has never tried to make someone do something they can’t do. Since money cannot be used to resolve this, we can only think of another way to resolve this matter.”
Kang Yi became uncertain, “Your Highness’ other method is…”
“There is no need for you to ask any further!” Xuan Tian Ming waved to her before turned to say to Feng Yu Heng: “Heng Heng, how much strength does the divine archery group of Qian Zhou have? If they shot it across a valley, could it pierce this prince’s knees?”
Feng Yu Heng placed her palms on his knees then calmly said: “You would need to ask someone from Qian Zhou.”
“But the eldest princess from Qian Zhou does not wish to chat with this prince.”
“It’s fine, doesn’t the palace still have another princess.”
“Your Highness!” Kang Yi suddenly shouted. Perhaps she was too panicked, but her voice cracked. “I will give it to you!” She looked at Xuan Tian Ming, her gaze filled with despair and pleading, “Five million taels of gold… I will give it to you.”
“Good!” Xuan Tian Ming finally began smiling, “Madam is straightforward. Then would madam please write a pledge. This prince will give you three months time to carry it into the county princess’ manor next door.”
Kang Yi was truly afraid. Xuan Tian Ming and Feng Yu Heng worked in perfect harmony, making it clear that if she did not pay, they would waste Ru Jia’s legs.
If it were any other matter, perhaps she could have endured a little longer, but she was at a disadvantage on this matter. At that time, Xuan Tian Ye had snuck into Qian Zhou for this divine archery squad. His goal was to take the life of Da Shun’s ninth prince. Unfortunately, he ultimately miscalculated.
Although Qian Zhou had retreated cleanly, it was impossible that no clues were left behind. Now, it seemed that Xuan Tian Ye’s bodyguard’s legs were now wasted. That combined with the show being put on by the two today reminded her that some things would always be remembered. Some enmity would always be repaid in some fashion.
Kang Yi secretly gritted her teeth. She was a mother. No matter how much five million taels of gold was, it could not be compared to her daughter’s legs.
“Your Highness has spoken. Within three months, this humble woman will send the gold.”
“Un.” Xuan Tian Ming nodded then no longer looked at her. Instead, he said to the Feng matriarch: “Elder madam, in regards to what happened during the wedding, father Emperor has already heard about it. Hearing that this prince would be coming today as a guest, he had this prince bring a message.”
Upon hearing that the Emperor had a message, the matriarch quickly went to kneel once more, but Xuan Tian Ming waved his hand, “No need. It’s just a few words. Father Emperor said that he originally agreed to the marriage based on the Feng family’s previous head wife being rather disappointing. Apparently, she was rather lacking in providing education for the children. Father Emperor felt that eldest princess Kang Yi was a person of high prestige back in Qian Zhou and must be very good at instructing people. With her taking care of the Feng family’s children, the daughters will definitely become excellent and the sons become useful. But who knew that the eldest princess would raise her own daughter to become like that. It truly caused father Emperor to feel very disappointed. At the same time, he feels that he has let down Prime minister Feng.”
Once this was said, nobody in the Feng family was able to react.
What did this mean? It sounded like he was a little regretful to have sanctioned this marriage? Could it be that there would be a divorce? No way, right? They were only just married yesterday!
Xuan Tian Ming looked at everyone’s reaction for a while before saying: “Father Emperor has always loved and respected Prime minister Feng. In regards to this matter, he truly blames himself. He feels that if he ruined the futures of the Feng family’s children due to an error in his judgment, it would truly be too disastrous. But for this matter, it is already too late to make any corrections. That’s why father Emperor thought of an idea.”
The matriarch inquired: “Wh-what sort of idea?”
She then saw Xuan Tian Ming clap his hands together, and, from the imperial carriage outside the manor, two beautiful women entered the manor surrounded by palace maids. The two beautiful women in the middle did not look to be more than 20. One had delicate features, while the other had big eyes and thick makeup. They walked very steadily with their heads lowered bashfully, but their minds did not wander. The steadiness that they carried was truly on the same level as Kang Yi.
Feng Yu Heng squinted her eyes slightly and immediately recognized the two people.
She had met them in the imperial palace. They were nieces from the Empress’ maternal family. They had been raised under the same rules as a princess; however, she never thought that they would be sent to the Feng manor today.
“This is…” The matriarch was also shocked. She had never seen these two before, but looking at their clothes and auras, they did not appear to be the daughters of government officials, so she could not help but feel confused.
Kang Yi also furrowed her brow. She understood the conflict that took place in and out of the palace. She immediately understood what the Emperor meant.
“It seems that this humble woman will need to congratulate husband on having a new partner.” She said this a little helplessly. She had just married yesterday, and her bridal chamber was robbed by the pregnancy of a concubine. On the second day, two new people had been brought it, and they were sent by the Emperor. How could she not feel panic.
But the more panicked she felt, the more Xuan Tian Ming enjoyed this. Not only did he begin laughing, he even began praising Kang Yi: “Madam really is smart.” He then said to the matriarch: “Father Emperor feels that he has let down Prime minister Feng, so he specially chose two concubines for Prime minister Feng and had this prince deliver them to the manor. Elder madam, has presumably heard of these two before. They are twin sisters, and they are her Highness the Empress’ own nieces. They were raised from a young age in the imperial palace. Although they do not have the status of princess, they are as respectable as a princess.”
The matriarch was suddenly shocked and immediately recalled that the imperial palace had two people like that. The Empress’ elder brother passed away at a young age. The daughter of the first wife left with the first wife, leaving behind these two daughters of a concubine. At the time they entered the palace, they were only ten years old. The Emperor did not have any daughters, so he just decided to keep them in the palace. But the two were very picky, as they did not attend a single palace banquet, and they did not pay attention to any event where they would make an appearance. Calculating the years, they should be almost 20 this year, but the number of people that had seen them over the years could be counted on one’s fingers.
Two people like this had now been sent into the Feng family. What exactly was the Emperor doing?
“What is it?” Xuan Tian Ming saw the matriarch’s expression and could not help but ask: “Is elder madam dissatisfied? Do you feel that they are unworthy of Prime minister Feng? They are nothing more than concubines. Based on her Highness the Empress’ status, their status should be quite noble, right?”
The matriarch was just doubtful. How could she disdain them, as she repeatedly said: “Your Highness is mistaken. I do not dislike them. I’m… I’m just uneasy. His Majesty is showing such concern. The Feng family is thankful for this imperial grace.”
Xuan Tian Ming nodded in satisfaction. Raising his hands, he said to the member of the Feng family that had continued to remain kneeling: “You may all rise.”
The members of the Feng family had kneeled for too long. Upon standing up, they were all swaying. Xiang Rong nearly fell over and sat back down on the ground. Han shi was even more troubled. Holding her belly with both hands, her face turned white.
Feng Yu Heng glanced at her then took the initiative to step forward, placing her hand on her wrist. After a long while, she said: “Nothing is wrong. The child is fine.”
At this time, Xuan Tian Ming raised his hand once more and said to the two people behind him: “Quickly go pay respects to the elder madam! You two were personally conferred concubines by father Emperor. You are different from the other concubines. Remember you own identities.”
The two delicately said: “Younger sister understands.” The Empress’ own nieces, although born of a concubine, they did share the Empress’ blood. They would naturally be calling Xuan Tian Ming cousin.
The two walked over and arrived in front of the matriarch. Getting down on their knees, they said: “This concubine is Cheng shi Jun Man and Cheng shi Jun Mei. We pay respect to elder madam.”
TN: In this case, their full names would be Cheng Jun Man and Cheng Jun Mei.