After dinner, Emperor Jiawen got up to leave.
The Empress was a little surprised. “Your Majesty, you-you’re not staying with me tonight?”
Emperor Jiawen’s face was stoic. “It’s almost October.”
The Empress paused, and complex feelings grew in her.
October. It did not mean anything to others, but it was especially special to Emperor Jiawen since Consort Wan died in October.
In all these years, Emperor Jiawen’s mood would always be especially gloomy around October, and he would never spend the night with his concubines.
The Empress knew the rule, but she forgot about it in the spur of the moment since Emperor Jiawen agreed to release the Crown Prince and get help for the Fourth Princess.
“It’s my mistake! I ask for forgiveness, Your Majesty.” The Empress lowered her head and concealed the hatred that flashed across her eyes.
Emperor Jiawen waved his arms. “You, go check on Zhen Zhen.”
With that, he left.
The large palace hall was silent once again.
All the surrounding servants were bowed and silent, afraid of incurring the Empress’s wrath. Everyone in the palace knew that the Empress had the highest status in the harem. In reality, she was no match for Consort Wan.
There was a place in His Majesty’s heart that could not be replaced by anyone, the Empress included.
It would be fine usually, but what happened today was like a slap to the Empress’s face!
After a long, dead silence, the Empress took a deep breath and returned to her usual elegant self. “I’m going to check on the Fourth Princess.”
Arriving at Rong Zhen’s palace, the Empress saw a group of servants kneeling outside.
They had pained expressions on their face as if they were in great pain, but they dared not make any sound.
Rong Zhen was seated at the palace’s main doors, looking at the servants viciously. Panic flashed across her eyes when she saw the Empress and hurriedly got up. “Mother, what brings you here?”
The Empress frowned. “Your father asked me to come and check on you. What are you doing?”
She took a closer look and smelt the faint scent of blood.
Rong Zhen replied briskly, “Nothing! I’m just punishing them a little because they made a mistake!”
The Empress did not believe her and looked towards the servants. “All of you, get up.”
A servant in front tried to stand up but fell to the ground the moment they moved. They cried out in pain as they hugged their knees.
The Empress only realized then that rusty nails were stuck in the person’s knees! She glanced around and realized that it was the same for everyone else!
She repressed the anger in her heart. “Everyone go back to rest. I’ll send someone to take care of your wounds. The Fourth Princess has been in a bad mood lately, so she’s a little temperamental. However, I don’t wish for anyone else to find out about this, understood?”
The servants answered quickly and helped one another leave.
The Empress glanced at Rong Zhen. “Follow me inside!”
Rong Zhen knew she was in the wrong, so she could only do as she was told.
The Empress only spoke after the door was locked shut. “What exactly are you doing? How many times have I told you that you’re absolutely not allowed to do this? What would your father think if he found out?”
Rong Zhen looked away. “He no longer cares if I live or die! I’m just a good-for-nothing now, so why would he care?”
The Empress repressed her anger. “Your father has agreed to send more heavenly doctors for you after the Qing Jiao Competition. Even if they can’t do anything, the envoy from the Tianling Dynasty is on his way. They’ll be able to help then! You have to make your father feel bad for you, not hate you!”
Rong Zhen was stunned. “Really?”
“Of course! More importantly, your father has agreed to release your brother. If he stands out at the Qing Jiao Competition, he’ll gain your father’s favor again. You must not create trouble at such a crucial time!”
Rong Zhen’s expression changed, and she hurriedly said, “I understand! I won’t make you worry!”
As she spoke, she went over and hugged the Empress’s arm. “I know Mother treats me the best!”
Even though she was still angry, the Empress’s heart ached for her daughter as she patted her daughter’s head. “A damaged pearl of essence is not without hope of repair. Look at Chu Liuyue. She was born with a damaged Yuan meridian, but hasn’t she recovered now?”
A light flashed across Rong Zhen’s eyes when she heard that. “Right! Mother, how did we forget about this?!”
She shook the Empress’s arm excitedly. “Didn’t all the heavenly doctors in Country Yao Chen say that her Yuan meridian could not be repaired? Not only did she recover, but she’s also a prodigy now! Mother, there’s definitely something wrong with Chu Liuyue!”
The Empress frowned. “You mean…”
“Why don’t we make her come here and ask her how she recovered?! I bet there’s someone powerful helping her! If she brings that person here, I might make a full recovery!”
“That does make sense… We didn’t think of that before.” The Empress pondered. “But we’re not on good terms with Chu Liuyue. She might not agree to this.”
Rong Zhen was unbothered. “So what if she doesn’t agree to this? She’s just the daughter of the Imperial guards’ Commander-in-Chief. She can’t disobey us.”
However, the Empress was a little hesitant. She remembered that Chu Liuyue did not have an ordinary relationship with Zhen Bao Pavilion… “I think we should be more careful about this matter. How about you follow me to the Qing Jiao Competition competition, and we’ll talk to her then. It’ll be great if she’s willing to help. If not…”
Rong Zhen laughed coldly. “She has no choice!”