Edited by Rilise & renysen
Proofread by Rush
The problem was with the personal maids, so it was much more serious than just a concubine using a trick to gain favor!
Jing Shao looked coldly at Concubine Li, who was kneeling on the ground. After the male wife crossed the threshold, the first son born from the concubine would only be an illegitimate eldest son of a concubine. Even if he couldn’t inherit the title, he could still inherit a majority of the family property, so it was no wonder that the concubines would be anxious. However, they seemed to have forgotten that this libido boosting aphrodisiac wasn’t only effective for the Wang Ye, but also as effective against this male Wang Fei… thinking about this, in their heart, they were slightly secretly delighted.
“Duo Fu, according to the rules of the palace, what should I do about this?” Mu Hanzhang sat down next to Jing Shao, thinking in his heart that the concubines of this palace were really daring. This kind of thing was not something you would often see in the North Marquis’ Residence.
“Responding to Wang Fei, for concubines secretly trying to use aphrodisiacs, their punishment should be to be beaten to death with rods.” Duo Fu wrinkled his bun-like face and replied honestly. This rule was also one that had been set by the Secondary Wife. Originally, it was just getting sent to the temple to become a nun.
“Wang Ye, it really was not this slave! This slave has followed the prince for five years, and has never used this kind of means!” Concubine Li, after hearing that the punishment was to be beaten to death by rods, immediately began to shriek.
Irritated with Concubine Li’s non-stop crying, Jing Shao frowned and waved his hand: “Drag her out.”
“Wait.” Mu Hanzhang stopped the bodyguard who was about to drag her out and slowly walked in front of Concubine Li. He didn’t even look at the woman kneeling on the ground, just coldly swept his eyes around the circle of servants. “Concubine Li has been with Wang Ye for many years, and her connections with people in this household are numerous. According to Ben Fei’s knowledge, in just the East Court, over half of the servant girls are on good terms with Concubine Li.” The implication was that, regarding this affair, no matter what, she wouldn’t be able to shed the responsibility. This was Mu Hanzhang’s first time using the title of “Ben Fei”. The gentle and sweet-sounding voice brought a sense of languidness to the circumstances, yet at the same time caused people to tremble with fear.
In order to investigate this matter, Duo Fu had assembled all the people in the palace. The East Court’s servant girls were basically all present. After hearing this, they knelt down one by one, not daring to say anything. Those who weren’t familiar with Concubine Li inwardly rejoiced. And the ones who were on good terms with her, they were restless. The ones who had received benefits from her were covered in cold sweat.
Concubine Li had not thought that this matter would become so serious like this, and that the prince whom she had been serving for so many years would not remember their old affection at all. She was very frightened and trembled all over as she kowtowed: “This slave knows her wrong, and this slave was blinded by her greed. This was all the idea of the Secondary Wife! Wang Fei, please forgive this, spare this slave’s life!” Concubine Li only reacted just now. The Secondary Wife just wanted to kill two birds with one stone. If this plan worked, then she could let the people in the palace know that there were no husband and wife sentiments between the Wang Ye and Wang Fei; if it didn’t work, then she would be able to seize the opportunity and eliminate this irksome concubine. How had Concubine Li not realized this when Song Lingxin had urged her to do this?
“That cheap woman!” Jing Shao coldly snorted, ferociously throwing down the teacup in his hand. The entire thing broke in front of Concubine Li, “Go bring Song Lingxin here!”
Duo Fu hurriedly called two servant girls to go to the West Court, to bring over the Secondary Wife who had recently been forbidden to leave.
“Even if this was the Secondary Wife’s idea, the person who dared to slip in the drug is only Concubine Li.” Mu Hanzhang continued to analyze the situation with a cold face. This kind of thing absolutely could not be rashly exposed. The entire inner court of the palace now seemed problematic. Today they would dare slip in an aphrodisiac, tomorrow they would dare slip in poison. Since Jing Shao let him manage the inner court, then he would give him a safe and worry-free home!
Concubine Li wanted to defend herself. She raised her head and made contact with Mu Hanzhang’s pair of eyes that seemed to be able to see through everything. She opened her mouth, yet was unable to refute. She instinctively felt that if she didn’t speak the truth now, it would only become worse, but also felt that even if she did speak the truth, it would, in the same way, result in death.
We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection. If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.
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Jing Shao responded to him with a slight smile: “For the matters of the inner household, you are in charge.”
Concubine Li seemed reassured after hearing this sentence. With a trembling hand, she pointed to one of the people in the crowd– Meng Xi.
“Wang Ye, it was not this slave who did it, this slave has been falsely accused! This slave has never been put in charge of the food!” Meng Xi, who had heard that dialogue, had already been covered in cold sweat. Seeing that she had been pointed out, she only felt her whole body weakening. Kneeling down, she crawled a few steps forward.
On the second day after Mu Hanzhang married in, he assigned the tasks for the East Court’s servants. Making the tea and the pouring of water was left to Meng Xi, lighting and snuffing out candles as well as making the bed was for Miao Xi, food was Zhi Xi’s duty, and Lan Ting and Lan Xuan were responsible for sweeping and washing. Meng Xi, in saying this, intended to point out that this was done by Zhi Xi.
Zhi Xi had been silent for a long time. She was thinking of how they had been like sisters, and living in the same room. She wasn’t able to help her, but also didn’t want to throw rocks at a person who was already down. However now it seemed that this person was acting like this in spite of their previous mutual feelings. It was no use for her to take pity on her, so she walked forward a few steps and kowtowed to Mu Hanzhang, saying: “Today, this slave was negligent. Miao Xi was not feeling well today. After the servant had placed down the meal, Wang Fei was still in the small study room. This slave had Meng Xi fetch you, yet she said that Wang Fei was unhappy with her. This slave didn’t think too much about it, and had Meng Xi stay behind to watch the food. It was all because of this slave’s negligence, that such a thing happened, asking for Wang Fei’s punishment.”
Hearing this, Meng Xi couldn’t help but start to scream, raining curses on Zhi Xi and almost spitting blood. Zhi Xi merely indifferently refused to respond.
Meng Xi had a loose mouth, and it was always her who sent news to the West Court. Because there was never a big problem, he hadn’t cared much about it. Mu Hanzhang’s eyes lowered, things had already become very clear. As for where the drug came from, checking it later, after this was done, was fine. Picking up the cup on the table, and taking an unhurried sip, he slowly said: “Drag Meng Xi out, death by flogging!”
“No ~ Wang Fei spare this one’s life! Wang Fei! Wang Ye! This slave has served Wang Ye for so many years! Wang Ye!” Meng Xi struggled as she was dragged out, and not long after, scream after blood-curdling scream could be heard from the courtyard. Song Lingxin had rushed to the East Court. Seeing this scene, she could not help but turn pale.
Ignoring the cries from the courtyard, Mu Hanzhang just calmly drank his tea. Jing Shao, seeing such a Jun Qing, could only think that his imposing manner when deciding the execution of someone was so beautiful it could not be replicated! Mu Hanzhang felt the gaze of the person next to him, and was a little worried in his heart. Would Jing Shao think that he was cruel and cold-blooded? He quietly tightened his grasp on his sleeves, then slowly turned his head to look directly into a pair of gentle and beautiful eyes full of admiration. He could not help but feel relieved. How did he forget? This person has killed countless people on the battlefield, how would he not understand his actions?
Seeing Madam Song had come, Mu Hanzhang put down his cup, and slowly swept his eyes around the entire circle of people, before standing up: “Since you have entered the palace as a servant, you must scrupulously abide by the duties of your role. Wang Ye is benevolent and has never severely treated his servants, so do you now think you can do whatever you want?”
“This slave doesn’t dare!” One by one, they all knelt down, their sweaty foreheads revealing their fear.
“Tonight, everyone will go into the courtyard and stand for two hours, to take a good look. If, in the future, there is anyone who dares to commit such an offense against your masters, then see where you will end up!” Mu Hanzhang finished saying, but did not let everyone rise. His eyes moved to the already weak with fear Concubine Li on the ground. “Duofu, arrange this: tomorrow, send Concubine Li to the nunnery. Have her cover her hair and begin devoting herself to Daoism.”
“Yes!” Duofu, the only person still standing, hurriedly bowed and agreed.
Song Lingxin, hearing these words, inwardly relaxed a little. Presuming that the statement about her being the one to instigate Concubine Li was one that no one could prove. Looking at this kind of situation, calling her over here was most likely just to check if she reacted.
It really was like this. Mu Hanzhang indeed did not have any evidence. He turned his gaze to Jing Shao, with inquiring eyes, asking what he meant to do by fetching her here.
Jing Shao wrinkled his brow. Right now, looking at all these concubines, he thought they really were eye sores. These past few days, he had been rather passive in court, but his efforts were wasted by this loud-mouth secondary wife and her father who liked to act on his own initiative! He couldn’t help but coldly snort: “Madam Song has sown discord and passed on information outside of the palace without permission. Ben Wang will ask for an imperial decree tomorrow, and demote you to a Third Rank Concubine!”
Ignoring the wailing and screeching of Song Lingxin, Jing Shao stood up with the beginnings of a headache. These women in the inner court, there was not one who did not cause trouble. If he wanted to live a few more years in this life, he had to stay away from these scourges. Lifting his eyes, he looked at his Wang Fei, who wore a body of white clothing. After seeing his Wang Fei’s handsome, yet gentle and peaceful face, he suddenly felt that reality became obscured by some veil, making Mu Hanzhang seem almost like an ethereal illusion. He couldn’t help but reach out to gather him into his arms, waving his hand to have Duofu take everyone into the courtyard to look at Meng Xi and reflect. Then, taking his Wang Fei, he went back to the bedroom.
From this day on, Mu Hanzhang’s unshakable position in the palace as Cheng Wang’s principal wife was established. In the next few months, the originally chaotic inner household was step by step managed cleanly and orderly by Mu Hanzhang. In his last life, someone had told Jing Shao that his palace seemed like a dragon’s pond and a tiger’s den. But now, under Mu Hanzhang, it finally turned into a home where one could peacefully rest.
Meanwhile, in the court hall, Emperor Hong Zheng had still not expressed his opinion regarding the issues of going on a punitive expedition against the southern barbarians, though they had been arguing about it for many days now.
When Jing Shao was in the Ministry of War for role call, he quietly leaked out that this would be a good opportunity to build merit, and that he himself really wanted to strive for it.
Jing Chen had people pass on the news that the eldest prince and the third prince wanted to lead the troops to the still confined fourth prince.
The people were quarreling endlessly in every direction, but the three princes who were still standing up in front stayed taciturn, not speaking.
“If the princes go on an expedition, it is indeed useful for appeasing the popular sentiment and civilizing the barbarians.” Emperor Hong Zheng swept his eyes over his three sons below. The eldest prince bowed his head, hiding his expression. The Second Prince’s expression was calm and steady. Cheng Wang was frowning, some impatience showing through his face. “You three, who is willing to go?”
Emperor Hong Zheng thought of the Empress’s words last night. In his heart he was somewhat fed up. She had said something about, “The third prince is arrogant and obstinate, though he may have performed great services, it is easy for him to start getting greedy intentions, the eldest prince was born from a woman of a lowly family, the second prince is just a scholar, yet the fourth prince hasn’t had a chance to show his military achievements, though he is the son of the first wife.” In the whole world, there weren’t any parents who thought that their own son was bad. Emperor Hong Zheng, as a monarch, could discipline his own sons however he wished, yet was unable to tolerate other people saying a single sentence against them.
“Er Chen is willing to go!” The eldest prince heard these words and immediately stepped out of the ranks to reply.
Everyone immediately focused their attention over there. Jing Chen was expressionless, and Jing Shao didn’t move.
“Jing Shao, why are you unwilling to go?” Emperor Hong Zheng frowned. Didn’t this person say that this is a good opportunity for meritorious service the previous day?
“Responding to Imperial Father, Er Chen of the family encountered a Jianghu Daoist the previous day, and he performed a divination for Er Chen. He said that it is inadvisable to lead troops within three months, and if I were to go into battle, defeat is ensured.” Jing Shao said this with a solemn face, “Er Chen cannot diminish the prestige of Da Chen by greedily desiring the honor of a meritorious deed.”
“A bunch of nonsense!” Emperor Hong Zheng suddenly slammed his hand down on the arm of the imperial throne.
Jing Shao hurriedly knelt: “Er Chen was ignorant. Imperial Father, please calm down.”
Emperor Hong Zheng was so angry that even his beard puffed up: “Since you know your own ignorance, you will go back and copy “The Art of War” ten times! you can’t return to court until you’ve finished it!”
“Yes.” Jing Shao kowtowed, receiving the punishment. All the officials, one by one, raised their eyebrows. This Cheng Wang was really someone who, seeing a broken pot just thrown, would break it all the way.
“According to decree, the eldest prince Jing Rong will lead troops to eliminate the southern barbarians who are revolting. He will set out in three days!” Emperor Hongzheng made a decree, glared at the Jing Shao still kneeling one more time, then flung his sleeves and left.
Taking no notice of the officials who whispered behind him, Jing Shao hung his head dejectedly, walked out of the Imperial Palace, and went back to his residence. Listlessly, he went and burrowed himself into his Wang Fei’s embrace.
“What happened?” Mu Hanzhang put down the account book in his hands, and patted the guy rubbing improperly against him in his arms.
“Jun Qing, I was punished by my father and I can’t go to court for a while.” Jing Shao pushed his face into the other’s chest, “Let’s go to the villa for a while. There are hot springs there, so we don’t have to bathe in that small bathtub everyday.”
“…” Mu Hanzhang looked helplessly at the guy in his arms who was covertly pulling apart the lapels of his clothing. Was the hot springs at the alternate residence what he really wanted to talk about?
JS: “I can’t go to court for a while.”
Rilise: the ultimate goal is to not go to imperial court, and go to court his wife instead lol
Dan-dan: Rilise’s onto you JS!!! XD
That aside, I’m so glad JS trusts his lovely JQ so much with the inner household! Anyone else feel glad the concubines are finally being thrown out of the picture? :3