Prince Yu, Yu Mucheng, entered the warmroom. He flicked his gaze at Xuan Qiong, who was lying on the bed, let down the net-curtains, and walked out.
In the room outside, Imperial Consort Yu had not applied any rouge or powder, eyes red as she watched Yu Mucheng enter. They glistened with tears, but the tears had yet to spill over. “Eldest brother…”
“Speak softer. Fifth Prince is asleep.” Yu Mucheng took a seat. “I’ve just asked the imperial physician about his condition. He said it’d be alright. Since this is the case, once he awakes, go with him to see Third Prince…”
“We won’t go!” Imperial Consort Yu’s voice was thick with fury. “Why should we go? If we encounter Yu She, am I supposed to act as if I didn’t see him? As if he didn’t shove Qiong’er into the pond?!”
Yu Mucheng frowned. “Hasn’t this matter already been explained clearly? The two of them were at the shore looking at the pond and Fifth Prince fell in by himself…”
In a rage, Imperial Consort Yu said, “So now you’re using His Majesty’s lies to deceive me? You heard it yourself. Yu She also admitted it. He’s the one who shoved Qiong’er into the water!”
“So what?” Yu Mucheng’s voice was still as light and easy as before. “If Your Highness refuses to accept this, are you going to throw a fuss in front of His Majesty again? Have Ziyou once again repeat Fifth Prince’s absolutely disgraceful words?”
Imperial Consort Yu bit her lip in silence.
“If you don’t remember it clearly, then I’ll say it once more.” Yu Mucheng looked at his own younger sister. “Don’t tell Fifth Prince those rumors floating outside again,” he said, voice low. “Don’t think yourself clever and decide on your own. Don’t be delusional and do things that you shouldn’t do… The emperor hates people mentioning baseless rumors the most. So why do you keep doing it? Just talking about the rumors yourself is enough. Why must you inform Fifth Prince about them? Fifth Prince has already come of age, yet you resemble a busybody, saying such things behind others’ back! What does that look like?”
Imperial Consort Yu was so angry, her face paled. “You’re calling me a busybody? Good. I’m ignorant, so explain it properly to me today. Is Yu She your son or not? That year, Princess Royal had been with child during the month of June. Then a year later, during July, she showed the infant in public, forcibly saying it was already a few months old. Have I never given birth before? That infant was clearly a newborn! You people…”
“The Princess gave birth to Ziyou prematurely. Naturally, he would look less developed than other children his age.” Yu Mucheng had no choice but to add, “I’ve said this to you many times before. What do you want me to say?”
“I want to hear the truth!” said Imperial Consort Yu, sullen. “I want to know if Qiong’er and I have been making bridal attire for someone else!”
“Then let me repeat: no.”
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.
“Alright! If he is truly your son, summon him now. Tell him to kowtow to me in apology!” Imperial Consort Yu sneered. “Shouldn’t he listen to the words of his father? Summon him here!”
Te Zemtfcu ijeutfv lc rqlaf bo tlwrfio. “Cgf sbe agslcu ab wjxf agbeyif bea bo cbatlcu? Llr Zjpfras tjr jigfjvs rjlv la kjr Mloat Uglcmf ktb ofii lcab atf qbcv ys jmmlvfca…”
“Don’t use the emperor to give me the runaround!” Imperial Consort Yu’s face was still pale from fury. “Originally, I wouldn’t have butted into your business, since you said you recognized him and would even let him inherit the position of Prince our grandfather had painstakingly tried to maintain. I’m a daughter who married into another family, so I won’t say anything else about the matters concerning my paternal family! But what about His Majesty? I’ve endured his utter bias toward Yu She. Endured when everything Yu She received was better than what Qiong’er had. Now, when you give Yu She an inch, he’d want a mile. He already intends to kill Qiong’er. But you all still protect him! In the future, when the emperor leaves the world and Yu She wants Qiong’er and I to accompany the emperor in death, would you hurriedly send us white silk to use in his stead?!”
Te Zemtfcu oeggbkfv tlr ygbkr. “Qtja jgf sbe agslcu ab rjs? Po jcsbcf tfjgv atlr… kbeivc’a la yf glvlmeiber?”
“Is it as ridiculous as Yu She?” Imperial Consort Yu’s voice proved cold. “Eldest Brother… This time, I am very disappointed. If you want to raise someone else’s son for them, don’t drag me into it. I only have Qiong’er. If he can’t become the crown prince, I will hang myself to avoid Yu She’s humuliation in the future!”
“Shut up!” Fury coursed through Yu Mucheng’s veins. “Do you think you haven’t harmed Qiong’er enough yet?”
Angered to tears, Imperial Consort Yu said, “You… you…”
Yu Mucheng took in a deep breath. Suppressed the anger in his heart. “Our dynasty does not have the precedent of burying imperial concubines with the dead. Don’t spout baseless hypotheticals and cause Fifth Prince unease.”
“It doesn’t?” Imperial Consort Yu sneered. “Then what about the last era’s elder and younger Consort Zhongs? How did they die?”
All of a sudden, Yu Mucheng’s pupils trembled. After a moment, he said, “After the previous emperor left the world, the elder and younger Consort Zhongs were extremely grief-stricken and could not be healed, leading to death.”
“Really?” said Imperial Consort Yu mockingly. “What a good coincidence.”
Yu Mucheng lowered his head for a sip of tea. A while later, he said, “Good. Since you want to hear about this, I’ll tell you a little… The previous era’s Noble Consort Zhong had a son, Prince Ning. You should know this already, right?”
Imperial Consort Yu did not understand why Yu Mucheng suddenly mentioned this.A frown slid across her lips. “Naturally.”
“Prince Ning was intelligent since young, his innate talent surpassing that of others. He also resembled the previous emperor in appearance. The previous emperor was highly fond of him. Unfortunately…” Yu Mucheng set down the tea cup. Said in a light voice, “He was the previous emperor’s youngest son. The son he had once he was over fifty.”
Imperial Consort Yu nodded. “I-I know this.”
Yu Mucheng took his time saying, “In the previous emperor’s later years, he had the intention of conferring him the title of crown prince. Many of the older subjects were also aware of this. He did not hide his intention. Let’s not talk about that topic anymore. Did you know who the previous emperor wanted to kill first after coming to this decision?”
Startled, Imperial Consort Yu asked out of reflex, “Who?”
“Noble Consort Zhong.”
Imperial Consort Yu’s expression drastically changed.
Staring at her, Yu Mucheng softly asked, “You thought the previous emperor wanted to kill the current emperor?”
Beads of cold sweat sprang from Imperial Consort Yu’s forehead. She did not dare to nod or shake her head.
“How could the emperor only be biased and not have a heart to kill? Because those were all his blood-related sons… but this wasn’t the case with imperial concubines. At that time, Noble Consort Zhong had just turned thirty and was in good health. At the very least, she still had decades more to live. Compared to the current emperor who had been a probable threat to Prince Ning’s ascension, the previous emperor was even more worried about this young imperial concubine. Feared that she would support her paternal family. Feared that she would turn the next emperor into a puppet emperor. And he feared that she would interfere with the court!
“The emperor is callous. But back then, Noble Consort Zhong survived a trial, since the previous emperor had an abrupt death. She was lucky. If not for that… before the previous emperor left the world, she would be waiting for him down under.” Yu Mucheng turned to Imperial Consort Yu. “The emperor would be soft hearted toward his sons. Would be biased. But not toward his imperial concubines. If one day, His Majesty feels that you’re interfering too much with Fifth Prince…”
Imperial Consort Yu fell against the soft cushion of her seat. The sweat on her forehead flowed down her body like a stream.
Yu Mucheng smiled. “Of course, if His Majesty does not have any intention of conferring Fifth Prince the position of crown prince, he would not fear your small actions. However, you don’t wish for this possibility… That’s why, younger sister, you should understand now, right?”
Imperial Consort Yu lost all of her arrogance from prior. Wiped at her sweat. In a hoarse voice, she said, “Understood.”
“Naturally, you’re different from Noble Consort Zhong.” Yu Mucheng rose to his feet, his voice near whisper. “You are a daughter of our Prince Yu estate. As long as you don’t do any muddle-headed things, His Majesty would not act against you. And he would forever treat Fifth Prince especially well.”
Frightened, Imperial Consort Yu said, “You really won’t lie to me anymore? His Majesty… really would treat Qiong’er especially well?”
“He will,” said Yu Mucheng reassuringly. “His in-laws are our prince estate. If I don’t fall, he would always have a higher chance than anyone else at becoming the crown prince. As long as he doesn’t violate one of the emperor’s taboos again. Your Highness, if nothing’s the matter, then advise Fifth Prince to calm his heart. It’d be enough if he just properly completes the tasks His Majesty gives him.”
However, Imperial Consort Yu was still not resigned to her fate. “But… but… what if His Majesty becomes muddle headed in the future and insists on conferring Yu—”
“Your Highness, I’ll say it again. Ziyou’s last name is Yu and he is my son. For this reason, he cannot succeed the throne. Do you understand?”
Following a moment of thought, Imperial Consort Yu understood thoroughly. Blurted, “Should I-I not mention this anymore? I…”
“You truly can’t mention it ever again.” Yu Mucheng strived his best to calm down. “I’ve never understood why you people keep mentioning these matters. Why are you in such a hurry to find proof against him?”
“Because I’m afraid His Majesty would have other intentions!” Her tears finally fell. “In fact… I think Yu She knows even more about these matters than me. Can you guarantee he won’t have such thoughts?”
Yu Mucheng lowered his head. “I promise he won’t.”
Okay so a lot of things going on here. Regarding the two Consort Zhongs, the previous emperor had two imperial concubines from the Zhong family. If I remember correctly, it is the elder Zhong woman, Noble Consort Zhong, who gave birth to Prince Ning. If it isn’t clear, a Noble Consort is higher-ranked than an Imperial Consort. Typically, there will only be one Noble Consort in the imperial harem, so the younger Zhong woman most likely was just an Imperial Consort. It’s still a high rank, though.
Prince Yu’s last words were ominous.
P.S. I forgot to say this before, but there will only be two releases this week, Tuesday 4/7 (today) and Thursday 4/9. I’ll also announce this in the discord.
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