Chapter 325 - The Lost Daughter
325. The Lost Daughter
The Empress’s eyes lit up. “Oh? The Seventh King can ride horses and do archery? He must be very good at these, right?”
“Yeah, he’s pretty good at them.” Ye Xiaoxian caught that the Empress’s eyes were shining when she mentioned Li Chengru.
‘Were they on good terms before?’
The Empress then asked her about the tribe. Ye Xiaoxian told her some trivial matters and didn’t mention their Camel Team or Little Xun.
After about an hour, the Empress asked someone to send Ye Xiaoxian back to the State Preceptor’s residence.
The next day.
Empress Dowager didn’t get up till noon.
She was already Empress Dowager, so she didn’t have to waste time to do those tricks anymore. She only cared about herself now, doing some skincare and exercise.
However, some imperial concubines would still come to flatter her, trying to win the Emperor’s favour through her.
Well, as soon as she got up, she heard that a few imperial concubines were waiting outside to greet her.
They came over to visit her and Empress Dowager naturally wouldn’t refuse it. It was always a good thing for her to have someone to talk to.
So, after Empress Dowager finished washing up and a whole set of skincare procedures, she came out to meet these imperial concubines who were younger than her.
After imperial concubines sent their regards to Empress Dowager, they started to flatter her, “Your Majesty, you’re becoming younger and younger. Our younger generation is not as good as you.”
“If one doesn’t know our relations, he would say you’re the same age as us.”
“Could you teach us some skills for skincare, Your Majesty?”
“I’m afraid Empress Dowager is born this way and can’t be taught.”
Everyone was flattering her, and Empress Dowager was also very glad to hear it. Who didn’t like compliments? She wished that those imperial concubines could line up to give her good words every day.
Everyone surrounded Empress Dowager and came to chat with Empress Dowager. Besides telling stories, they were also talking about rumours in the palace.
And then they talked about the banquet the Empress arranged last night.
One imperial concubine surnamed Chen said, “Last night, I saw a lot of treasures, the lotus from Tianshan Mountains and the glass bottles. They were rare. The Empress gave these to the wives of ministers.”
Imperial concubine surnamed Li said, “Right, but we don’t lack these things. The Empress is virtuous and is kind to the wives of ministers.”
Imperial concubine surnamed Zhang said, “By the way, Xiao Baoshan’s wife was present last night. Everyone said…”
Imperial concubine surnamed Zhang paused and subconsciously glanced at Empress Dowager.
Empress Dowager asked, “What did they say? It is related to me?”
Imperial concubine surnamed Zhang didn’t dare to say anything.
Empress Dowager knew imperial concubines should be discreet in the palace. After all, she’d been through numerous conspiracies and survived. She saw the imperial concubine surnamed Zhang mumbling and mocked, “If you don’t want to say it, you wouldn’t have started it just now. Just say it.”
Imperial concubine surnamed Zhang had no choice but to say, “Everyone says that Madam Xiao looks like you, Empress Dowager, the younger you.”
Imperial concubine surnamed Li added, “But Madam Xiao isn’t as beautiful as you, Empress Dowager. She just looks like you, but isn’t as charming as you.”
Imperial concubine surnamed Chen also said, “Madam Xiao comes from the countryside and her charisma isn’t as good as you, Empress Dowager. She is just a little younger.”
Empress Dowager was silent.
State Preceptor had said that Madam Xiao looked similar to her, and now people in the palace said the same. Could it be…
Before this, she thought that State Preceptor was a playboy. He trapped Madam Xiao in his residence because Madam Xiao looked like her and he could take advantage of Madam Xiao. At the same time, she could curb Xiao Baoshan.
State Preceptor had sworn to her that he had no feelings about Madam Xiao and only thought they were a little alike.
Empress Dowager asked imperial concubine surnamed Zhang, “How old is Madam Xiao?”
She answered, “Probably eighteen or nineteen. She won’t be more than twenty.”
Empress Dowager was startled. Her age was actually matched.
She asked again, “Where does she come from?”
Imperial concubine surnamed Zhang replied, “The Empress asked her. She said that she was from Qinghe County, the southernmost of Daqi fief. Then the Empress said that it is her good fortune to look like you.”
Empress Dowager thought for a moment and pretended to be calm. “I also want to see Madam Xiao someday, see if she is really similar to me.”
Actually, she was wondering in her mind if Madam Xiao was… her long-lost daughter.
That day, State Preceptor went to Empress Dowager’s Palace again.
Empress Dowager had just finished a shower and changed into a thin dress. She looked nothing like an old woman but a beautiful girl.
State Preceptor couldn’t help but want to hug Empress Dowager.
However, he was pushed away by Empress Dowager.
“What’s wrong? Why so cold? It’s not easy for me to find opportunities to meet you. We can only meet two times a month, yet you still refuse me?” State Preceptor asked.
Empress Dowager was a little impatient, “Don’t be so rush. I need to talk to you. It’s urgent.”
“Urgent? What urgent business is there between us? Isn’t the most urgent thing… that? “State Preceptor came to hug Empress Dowager again.
Empress Dowager was serious this time. She pushed State Preceptor away and said, “I’m serious.”
“Okay, then tell me,” State Preceptor said.
Empress Dowager straightened her messy clothes and said, “A few days ago, the Empress invited Madam Xiao to the banquet. Do you know about this?”
“Of course. I was sending someone to watch her. She had no chance to run!” State Preceptor looked confused.
Empress Dowager rolled her eyes at him. “I didn’t mean that. That’s not the point. The point is that many people say she looks like me.”
State Preceptor was confused, “Didn’t I tell you about this before? The first time I saw her, I didn’t feel she looked like you. Later, when she put on some beautiful clothes, she really looked like you! It was weird.”
Empress Dowager said, “I heard she is about 20 years old.”
“Yeah, she’s quite young. Why do you care about this?” State Preceptor swore to the heavens, “Do you suspect that I like young girls again? Hmph. I’m busy all the time and I’m not in the mood to waste my time on her. Normally, I don’t even want to see her!”
“Sigh, I don’t know what to say about you. You guys are just too thoughtless. What I mean is that Madam Xiao…” Empress Dowager looked around and then dismissed the maids.
When there were only them left in the palace, Empress Dowager continued, “Don’t you think that Madam Xiao might be our long-lost daughter?”
“Ah?” State Preceptor asked with surprise, “Why do you think so? I asked in the first place. Madam Xiao is from Qinghe County. She has parents, and she grows up with his husband. How could she be our daughter?”
“What about her parents? Have you seen them before?” Empress Dowager asked.
State Preceptor answered. “How could I meet her parents? I’m the State Preceptor of this country. Who are they?”
Empress Dowager rolled her eyes at State Preceptor again. “Is this the time to compete with them? I mean, you should go check her background and figure out if she’s our biological daughter.”
State Preceptor asked, “This is… impossible? She is the one I used to curb Xiao Baoshan. If she is our daughter, how could this be done?”
“You…” Empress Dowager was so angry that she said, “I’ve said it so clearly. Why don’t you understand? How can you not care about our daughter at all? Hmph, you’re so selfish. You have a wife and many children but I’ve given birth to this only child in my life. All these years, I’ve thought of her and missed her but you only treat her as a tool for your schemes. Not only our daughter, but also me is your tool, too!”
Empress Dowager was irritated and State Preceptor was a little nervous. He quickly comforted Empress Dowager, “I don’t mean that.”
“Then what do you mean?”
“I mean, if she really is our daughter, then I will definitely… not treat her as a tool, but do you think this is possible?”
Empress Dowager said, “True or false, we have to investigate it first!”
“Then I’ll send someone to her hometown to investigate? I’m not sure if her family is still in Qinghe County, but I heard that they went to Baoning City because of famine.”
Empress Dowager suddenly remembered something. “You don’t have to go to the Baoning City. I remember that when our daughter was born, there was a red mole on her back. Let someone see if there is a mole on Madam Xiao’s back.”
State Preceptor asked, “At which position of the back?”
Empress Dowager pointed on the centre of State Preceptor’s back. “Here, I remember that the red mole was popped out, not a spot. If it was a spot, it might fade, but if it was a mole, it wouldn’t disappear. It’ll still be there even if she grows up.”
State Preceptor hurriedly said, “Okay, I will let an old maid take a good look at her back after I go back. Is that okay?”
Empress Dowager was satisfied. “There you go.”
State Preceptor added, “What if she really has a red mole on her back, what do you plan to do? You are Empress Dowager. If others know that you gave birth to a daughter before you entered the palace, then you disrespected the Emperor. You must be beheaded.”
Empress Dowager said, “I definitely won’t let anyone know, but I will make up for the regret I have been feeling over the years. I want to bring her into the palace and treat her well.”
State Preceptor shook his head, “This can’t work. People will be suspicious.”
Empress Dowager’s calming mood was waving again. “I can’t do this and I can’t do that. Can I just watch my daughter appear in front of me, but do nothing? You don’t know how much I’ve missed her over the years.”
Empress Dowager cried after she finished.
State Preceptor was helpless and said, “You don’t know the conclusion yet. We’ll talk about it after I go back and do some investigation.”
Empress Dowager urged him, “Then go back quickly.”
“But I just came here. We haven’t done… that yet.” State Preceptor said pitifully.
“At such a moment, how could you still think about that? Do you care about my feelings?” Empress Dowager was angry again.
State Preceptor didn’t dare to mess with Empress Dowager, so he left pettishly.
At State Preceptor’s residence.
As soon as State Preceptor returned to his residence, he sat down to drink half a pot of tea.
While drinking tea, he thought about Empress Dowager’s words and Ye Xiaoxian.
‘Ye Xiaoxian is really my long-lost daughter?’
‘If it’s true, then what should I do?’
As Empress Dowager said, he actually didn’t want any daughter at all. If it wasn’t for Empress Dowager’s unexpectedly pregnancy, he wouldn’t let her give birth to that child.