Chapter 49: This Belongs to Her Highness Consort Li
"We subjects kowtows in salute to Noble Consort Yao." Duan Xiaoyan and Duan Zirou got up to curtsy towards Yao Mowan.
"Ting Yue, I want water." Yao Mowan looked towards Ting Yue with a pout so Ting Yue turned towards Duan Xiaoyan.
"Noble Lady Duan, my master has gotten a little thirsty after strolling around, but we were too far from Guan Osprey Palace, so this servant brought her here to ask for a cup of tea. This servant hopes that Noble Lady Duan won't mind," said Ting Yue respectfully.
Duan Xiaoyan glanced at Yao Mowan and a sharp light flashed through her eyes. Although Yao Mowan was a fool, her looks were truly exceptional. It was no wonder His Majesty had been so enchanted.
"Your Highness Consort Yao, please have a seat. Qiao Ling, what are you still standing there for? Hurry and pour a cup of tea for Consort Yao!" When Duan Zirou saw that Duan Xiaoyan wasn't moving, she immediately gave Qiao Ling instructions, then moved away from the main seat so that Yao Mowan could sit.
"Many thanks, Noble Lady Duan," said Ting Yue gratefully as she moved to stand behind Yao Mowan. Right at this time, Qiao Ling walked over to offer Yao Mowan a cup of tea.
"Thanks!" Yao Mowan accepted the cup happily and drank it all in one gulp. However, Qiao Ling immediately dropped to her knees in a kneel after hearing Yao Mowan's thanks.
"It's this servant's duty to serve the masters…" Qiao Ling had never encountered a situation like this so she didn't know what to do except kowtow to express her thanks.
"Qiao Ling, get up and pour Noble Consort Yao another cup." Duan Xiaoyan once again examined Yao Mowan. This fool was probably the only one in this imperial palace that would thank a servant. It seemed that the rumored Yao Mowan truly was an imbecile.
When Qiao Ling heard this, she got up to take the teacup and poured her another cup.
"The tea here tastes even better than the tea in Guan Osprey Palace!" After Yao Mowan finished drinking, she handed the cup back to Qiao Ling and lifted her sleeve to wipe at her lips. As she made this motion, there was the sound of a clang. A jade pendant had fallen from Yao Mowan's sleeve.
Just as Yao Mowan was about to bend over to pick it up, Ting Yue had already picked up the jade pendant.
"Your Highness, isn't this Consort Li's jade pendant? How could you sneak it out? If Consort Li notices that it's missing, she'll definitely be worried!" exclaimed Ting Yue as she turned the jade pendant around to examine it.
"But this jade pendant's pretty. Who asked for Second Older Sister not to give it to me… And His Majesty said… He said that everything in this imperial palace belongs to me and that he's also mine…" Yao Mowan fiddled with her thumbs and looked down like a child that had been caught misbehaving.
"This won't do! If Consort Li can't find this jade pendant, she'll be sad. Your Highness probably doesn't want Consort Li to be sad, right?" As Ting Yue spoke, she casually made sure that Duan Zirou saw the jade pendant.
"Mowan doesn't want Second Older Sister to be sad… Then let's give it back to her!" Yao Mowan reluctantly got up and took the jade pendant from Ting Yue's hand.
Just as Yao Mowan thought that her plan had failed, Duan Zirou cooperated wonderfully and moved to block her path.
"If Noble Consort Yao doesn't mind, can this subject take a look at that jade pendant?" The unease in Yao Mowan's heart finally calmed down and her lips hooked in an imperceptible smile as a sharp light flashed through her eyes.
"En, but you have to be careful! Don't break it! If Second Older Sister finds out, she'll be angry!" Yao Mowan hesitated for a long time before finally allowed Duan Zirou to have a look.
The moment Duan Zirou felt the weight of the pendant, her mind went blank. She felt like the entire world was collapsing. The intense pain that filled her heart caused her to collapse, but Qiao Ling quickly moved to support her.
"Older Sister?" called Duan Xiaoyan worriedly when she saw Duan Zirou's abnormal reaction.
"It's nothing… Your Highness Consort Yao, you said that this pendant belonged to Consort Li?" Duan Zirou endured the pain in her heart and gritted her teeth to hold her tears back.
"That's right. What about it?" As Yao Mowan spoke, she reached out to take the pendant. When she saw that Duan Zirou wasn't letting go, she reached out with her other hand to pull at it.
"It really belongs to Consort Li?" Duan Zirou gripped the pendant tightly as tears whirled in her eyes.
"Give it back to me! Of course it's Second Older Sister's! Who else would it belong to? You? Ting Yue, help me get it back! Let go! Otherwise I'll tell His Majesty that you're bullying me!" Yao Mowan was getting a little hysterical and she sounded to be on the brink of crying. Duan Xiaoyan saw that the situation wasn't good and immediately walked to Duan Zirou's side and yanked the pendant out of her grasp to give it to Yao Mowan.
"Consort Yao, please don't be angry. Older Sister didn't do that on purpose. Perhaps… it's just that this jade is too beautiful," said Duan Xiaoyan. She sent Qiao Ling a look and Qiao Ling tactfully went to help Duan Zirou to the side.
"No matter how beautiful it is, it isn't hers! Seriously, I've never seen such an aggressive person! Ting Yue, let's hurry and go find Second Older Sister. It'd be bad if someone else takes a liking to this jade and tries to snatch it again!" Yao Mowan glowered at Duan Zirou, then tucked the jade into her chest pocket before walking out of Intoxicating Fragrance Residence.
Duan Xiaoyan only turned to look towards Duan Zirou once Yao Mowan had left.
"Older Sister, what was with you earlier? It's just a jade pendant. Why did you react that way?" asked Duan Xiaoyan, her tone containing a trace of complaint.
"That jade… I had made that jade pendant with my own hands for Zixiao!" Tears finally overflowed Duan Zirou's eyes. She didn't even have the strength to stand up since it felt like her heart had been pierced by a thousand needles. It hurt to even breathe.
"How's that possible? Why would the jade pendant that you made for the luminescent prince be with Yao Suluan? Could it be… That's not possible. Most jade pendants are similar. Do you think you just mistook it?" Duan Xiaoyan didn't dare to believe her own guess.
"I made it with my own hands, how could I possibly get it wrong!? The amber on it was the one Father had handed me on the day of my wedding!" Duan Zirou's voice choked up and tears streamed down her cheeks.
"The world's large, so it's normal for the same type of amber to appear. That's not enough to prove that it's the jade pendant you made, right?" said Duan Xiaoyan carefully. Although they were sisters of different statuses, they've always had a good relationship, so Duan Xiaoyan sincerely cared about this older sister of hers.
"Even if there exists an identical amber, this is the only one possessed by the imperial family. When I was polishing it, I used a thin blade to cut the character 'ye' onto the back. When I was holding that pendant earlier, I felt that character! I wish I could have a trace of doubt! But how could I lie to myself? Xiaoyan, what do I do? What am I supposed to do!?" Duan Zirou sobbed. As her tears wet her collar, she felt cold like never before.
"Older Sister, don't jump to conclusions yet. We need to look into this matter. How about this? This consort will visit Pure Flowers Palace for you and see if this consort can find any clues. If Luminescent Prince has really betrayed you, this consort will expose their affair in front of His Majesty and make sure that you get justice!" said Duan Xiaoyan indignantly.
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira
Lol, this is pretty late, but when I first finally got this site going, I was going to give a warning to Celestial fans not to use the $1 pledge to read ahead, because it ends on an awful cliffhanger. I… forgot.