This chapter has been brought to you by me, leecherleechleech and vivie.
Sweet and hot.
Xiao ye is like an arrogant way of saying “I”.
Chapter Ninety The Composure of a Queen
When the first roar of thunder occurred, Qu Qing Ju had started consuming her evening meal at the table. Because she had toured Kui Yuan Palace in the afternoon, she had taken a nap when she got back. When she woke up, the evening meal had to be delayed.
The mushroom slice she had in her chopsticks almost fell to the table. She listened to the roar of wind outside, and put down her chopsticks, frowning as she asked: "It's going to rain?"
"It must be." Mu Jin and some of the other palace maids firmly shut the windows in the hall. She walked next to Qu Qing Ju to gently fan her, "There wasn't any sunshine today, but it was humid. It's not strange that thunder will occur."
Qu Qing Ju nodded. The common people liked to use the days of the sixth month to describe a baby's face. It could be seen just how quickly the summer weather had changed. This moment, it was raining, the next, the sun could come out.
She picked up her chopsticks again. When she just picked up a piece of tofu, there was another clap of thunder. But her adaptive abilities were high and she calmly placed the tofu into her mouth. A short time later, she heard the sound of rain falling. From the sound, the rain seemed very heavy. If someone was walking around the outside corridors at the moment, with that wind and the rain, they would definitely become a drowned rat.
The hand that Mu Jin was holding a fan with stopped moving. She looked in surprise when the Emperor, drenched in water, appeared at the doorway. She retreated to one side and with the other servants, knelt down.
"Emperor?" Qu Qing Ju put down the chopsticks in her hands. She walked quickly to He Heng and touched his soaked clothing. Turning, and from a quick-witted Jin Zhan, she took a cotton cloth, wiping him down as she led him towards the inner room, "Such heavy rain. From the front hall to here, it's an entire circle around, what are you doing coming now?!"
As she reproached, she reached out to take down the dragon and pearl coronet in He Heng's hair. She took out a clean robe and reached to untie the other's belt.
He Heng looked at the palace maids and taijian that had followed in and used his eyes to order them to leave. He turned, smiling, as he explained: "I just heard the thunder and was worried you would be afraid. Just wanted to take a look, but didn't expect that the rain would come down halfway."
"With this weather, the rain comes down whenever it wants. There's so many people keeping me company, I won't get scared. Running out like this, it makes people worry," Qu Qing Ju peeled off his clothing, and poked at the muscles on his chest, "How are the servants attending you, don't they know to have an umbrella to block the rain for you."
He Heng smiled, he didn't say that he left so abruptly that the servants didn't have the time to prepare. He gathered the other in his embrace, the muscles on his chest feeling her warm breath: "Just a few drops of rain, it's nothing."
Qu Qing Ju glared at him and pinched at his waist: "Change first."
Helplessly releasing the person in his arms, He Heng stripped himself bare in front of Qu Qing Ju. Seeing her teasing look as she examined him up and down, he asked: "What is it?"
Qu Qing Ju rubbed her chin, and then came forward to caress his muscles: "Such a handsome beauty, why don't you let xiao ye have a kiss? If you follow xiao ye, you'll get to drink and eat well." Finishing, she went on tiptoes to kiss He Heng's chin and then quickly stepped back. She saw He Heng's little brother stand up spiritedly.
Standing up this easily? Qu Qing Ju raised an eyebrow and smiled as she took another step back. In a regretful voice, she said: "It's hot mourning right now. This servant has no way to serve Emperor, such a pity." Finishing, she pretended to wiped her tears away.
He Heng took a large step forward and captured the other in his arms. He turned and put her down on the large bed, fiercely pressing down on Qu Qing Ju and kissing multiple times before panting as he declared: "People say the fox spirits enchant people, yet I didn't know what was a fox spirit. Today, I know that one as tempting as Qu Qing Ju is a fox spirit." Finishing, his hand rubbed at Qu Qing Ju's chest, smiling as he teased, "Is Beauty happy with the service of xiao ye?"
Qu Qing Ju reached to slide her hand from He Heng's shoulders to his waist, the tip of her tongue swiping across the corner of her mouth, "Why is beauty so eager and so naked to throw yourself into an embrace, it's really making xiao ye embarrassed."
He Heng's entire body was burning from Qu Qing Ju's actions. His hands pulled and he spend a long time on her body before in a raspy voice, he promised: "After these three months, watch how I sort you out." Finishing, he pulled her hand and slowly moved it down.
In the end, He Heng finally extinguished the fire with Qu Qing Ju's help. He pulled a blanket to wrap around the two of them, his nose rubbing at Qu Qing Ju's fragrant and smooth shoulder. Hearing the rain outside, he said: "With Qing Ju, I feel that all the women in the world are just so. A thousand of them cannot compare to one of Qing Ju."
Qu Qing Ju smiled as she wrapped an arm around his neck, permitting him to play around at her chest, but she didn't speak. After He Heng ascended the throne, except in front of outsiders, he had never called himself "zhen" in private with her. His attitude towards her was the same as when they had been at Duan Wang Fu, and it was even more intimate now.
She wasn't a cynic, so she wouldn't retreat out of fear because of He Heng's attitude. From a certain perspective, she enjoyed the good He Heng gave her, and she would return the same to He Heng. If He Heng really had feelings towards her, she would be delighted. If He Heng had no feelings for her, she wouldn't be heartbroken. And she had the confidence that before she would die in exhilaration, she would dig a hole for He Heng.
Love wasn't essential in life. But if there was love to flavor her life, she wouldn't reject enjoying it.
In the novels, the women tortured themselves because of love. But she wasn't the female protagonist, she didn't have to walk the road they did. She wasn't even scared of death, would she be scared of this thing called love?
Qu Qing Ju's smiled coquettishly. Her right hand moved up and down his back. Just when He Heng became totally distracted, she kicked He Heng aside, grabbing He Heng's robe to wrap around her body and flipped off the bed. She stood beside the bed, looking from high up down at He Heng, "The fact that the Emperor could say such things, it's that you have seen a thousand ships. But it's a pity that qie only has Emperor as the only man and doesn't know which man is better. So sorry to disappoint."
He Heng had suffered a kick from Qu Qing Ju but he couldn't find one bit of anger. He sat up against the headboard, looking at Qu Qing Ju who had a raised chin and narrowed eyes, and laughed out loud.
Why was it that when Qu Qing Ju was clearly wearing his robe, but he felt she was still inexplicably attractive?
He Heng didn’t know that the thing that attracted him, it had a special name. It was the "composure of a queen".
The palace attendants outside heard the laughter of the Emperor coming from inside the room. Their expressions didn't change. They had never seen the Emperor come and be in a bad mood when he left.
By midnight, the thunder had stopped, but there was still a shower of rain. He Heng took advantage of the light from the night luminous pearls to look at Qu Qing Ju who was deeply asleep. He quietly and softly made his way out of the bed. When he put on the robe, he found from the pile of clothing the pouch that Qu Qing Ju had embroidered for him, and didn't even tie his hair before quietly leaving the inner room.
Ming He, who had been waiting outside, saw the Emperor was holding his socks and shoes as he walked out barefoot. He quickly knelt in front of the Emperor to help him put on his socks and shoes before asking in a small voice: "Emperor, return to the palace now?" Right now, it was the hot mourning period. If the Emperor stayed for the whole night at the Empress' residence, even if no one dared to say anything, it still wouldn't look good.
"En," He Heng nodded. He looked behind him and left with his attendants.
Inside the room, Qu Qing Ju was sleeping happily.
After finishing the matter of Duan Wang Fu's shiqie, Qu Qing Ju finally had the time to go to the two palaces of the two Dowager Empresses to sit. The past few days, she had made her greetings before leaving. Now that her title was established and she had finished off much of the matters in the hougong, it was time to exchange feelings with the two popo.
Muhou Empress Dowager wasn't very chatty. She spoke with Qu Qing Ju for a short while before letting Qu Qing Ju leave to rest. On the second day, Qu Qing Ju headed towards the residence of Sheng Mu Empress Dowager.
Empress Dowager Wei's Fu Shou Palace was on the western side of the palace. Qu Qing Ju had to travel for a significant period of time on the phoenix carriage until she reached the gates of Fu Shou Palace. From the names of the palaces for the two Empress Dowagers, it was possible to see the Emperor's intentions. Muhou Empress Dowager had eternal and peace. When it got to Sheng Mu Empress Dowager, it was good fortune and long life.
It could be seen that the best children were your own.
Coming into Fu Shou Palace, Wei Empress Dowager got Qu Qing Ju to sit. Her treatment of Qu Qing Ju hadn't changed. Even when she mentioned He Heng's announcing of crowning her Empress that was more like a love letter, Wei Empress Dowager wasn't unhappy, just smiled and said: "After aijia[i] heard the Imperial Decree, it caused aijia to laugh for a long time. The Emperor set his heart on you, that's a good thing." She sighed, "Don't think too much. Aijia knows you are a good child. If there is someone stupid in this hougong, you are the mistress of this hougong, just severely punish them."
This was blankly telling Qu Qing Ju she wasn't going to touch the affairs of the hougong.
This gave Qu Qing Ju a new understanding of her popo. According to the old ways, after a woman, riding on the success of her son, became the Empress Dowager, she would try to enjoy the taste of being high up, but why was her popo worried for her like she wouldn't be able to control the hougong?
"Muhou, don't worry, erxi understands," She looked at the surroundings and found that the decorations were not brightly colored due to the mourning person but they were finer than the original Zhong Jing Palace, "Does muhou have any place that needs something to be added? Erxi will get them to do it immediately."
"With you and the Emperor on top, aijia won't lack for anything here. Whenever something good comes out of the Department of Internal Affairs, you and Emperor always rushed to let them deliver it to aijia's here. If you get them to send more, there would be no room in this palace," Empress Dowager Wei smiled and patted her hand, "If you have any idle time in the future, come more often to sit at aijia's palace. Any other things, aijia would have more than you."
Empress Dowager Wei was speaking the truth. She was the Emperor's mother. The Emperor was a filial son. The Empress wasn't an erxi that would oppose her at every point. Every day, she was being fawned over by the taifei. She occasionally would summon Shu taifei to chat about life realizations. If there was time, she would summon the artists from the palace department to tell stories to her. Her days were very comfortable.
What she wanted had all came true. Her son was the Emperor, she had a good relationship with her erxi. She didn't want to be a female emperor. Trying to fight for the control of the hougong with her erxi rather than living her good days, was she stupid?
Even more, there were two Empress Dowagers in this palace. If she entered into the affairs of the hougong, the other Empress Dowager would naturally have reason to enter. Her own son's harem, would she let others meddle?
So Empress Dowager Wei felt it was good right now, nothing had to change.
Qu Qing Ju managed to bum off a noon meal off of Empress Dowager Wei. The poxi also talked about the events of He Heng's childhood before she left in satisfaction.
Walking out of Fu Shou Palace, Qu Qing Ju said to Mu Jin: "Muhou is probably the woman I admire the most." This kind of woman, in any place, was worthy of admiration. The only pity was that she didn't meet a good man.
Mu Jin knew that the muhou the Empress meant was Sheng Mu Empress Dowager. As a palace maid, she couldn't comment, but she agreed in her heart. She was also relieved. If Sheng Mu Empress Dowager liked to control everything in the hougong, it would be very worrisome.
When the phoenix carriage passed the Imperial Gardens, Qu Qing Ju unexpectedly found He Heng was standing beside the lotus pond. Kneeling in front of him as a young girl dressed in a green girdled dress.
Her brows furrowing, Qu Qing Ju indicated for the phoenix carriage to stop.
Mu Jin looked towards the lotus pond, her brows also furrowing. Was that one of the female candidates left over by xiandi?
In the beginning, they had picked a few hundred candidates to enter the palace from across the country. In the end, only twenty something people had remained. But after xiandi passed, the candidates could only live in Tuan Fang Hall and couldn't move freely. Running to the Imperial Gardens, that was breaking protocol!
Qu Qing Ju stepped down the carriage, smiling as she said: "Mu Jin, let's go take a look."
"Yes," Mu Jin carefully held the Empress' hand, and the palace maids and taijian followed behind.
He Heng's face was so dark, ink could be squeeze out. He was going to speak but saw Qu Qing Ju heading in his direction. His expression changed slightly, and he took a step back to increase the distance from the kneeling candidate.
Qian Chang Xin reported in a small voice: "Emperor, Empress is coming over."
"Zhen knows," He Heng glared at him, "Stop blabbing!"
Qian Chang Xin silently lowered his head and started to examine the patterns on the Emperor's shoes.
The expression of the girl kneeling on the ground changed, and she buried her head deeper.
[i]哀家: literally grieving person, how Empress Dowagers refer to themselves.