Chapter 35 Princess Royal Mingzhu
The enormous Mingzhu Hall seemed rather quiet. The two huge red empress trees made the palace more sinister than others. It was unlike the fanciness that concubines and princesses liked. Instead, there was not a single flower at the door. Even the dressing of the maids inside was very plain. One would not believe that this was the palace where there were beautiful people and fragrant flowers. This was because the Princess Royal Mingzhu, who had lived alone since she was young, lived here.
The princess’ consort died of illness not long after they married, leaving her behind. She swore to uphold her marriage and did not marry again. As such, she lived alone in the princess manor. Emperor Zongwen saw that she was alone and pitied her for being widowed at a young age. As such, he allowed her to move back into Mingzhu Palace. On the other hand, the Empress Dowager pitied her. She had raised the princess and their relationship was unlike hers with the other princesses. As such, she would often invite her to the Empress Dowager’s Cining Palace to accompany her.
A handsome man entered the hall with a eunuch. He wore a light purple robe which was embroidered with a dense floral pattern. The flowers twisted and turned, blooming beautifully. He wore a black jade belt and his eyes were beautiful as if they were drawn. Under his almond eyes were red lips and a tall nose. He had a beautiful curved chin which made him look like a devilish spirit in the night.
He was a beautiful and enchanting man!
The palace maids who saw him backed away, face flushed and hearts beating wildly. Their hands holding their skirts as they curtsied, trembled slightly, showing how excited they were. The palace maids only discovered when he walked off into the distance that they had been so attracted by his mesmerizing eyes that they had forgotten to greet him. Not a single person thought to report to the princess either.
When they reached the corridor, they suddenly heard a sharp voice calling out, “His Highness King Xuan is here. King Xuan is here! Ladies, quick welcome the guest.”
He looked up to discover a hanging birdcage. There was a green-feathered peacock with a red peak that cocked its head as it looked at the handsome man approaching. It suddenly recognized the man and shouted in surprise. It flapped its wings in a panicked manner and shouted, “Come, someone come. Help. Help! His Highness, King Xuan is here.”
“You little thing. It’s been so many days and you still haven’t forgotten. You can really bear a grudge!” King Xuan stood there and flicked the birdcage with his long fingers. The parrot was even more panicked and it immediately shouted, “Princess, princess. Take his filthy hand away. Take his filthy hand away.”
“Old Eight, come in. Stop scaring it. The last time you scared it, it did not dare to speak for a few days and didn’t even dare to eat.” The gentle voice of a woman emerged from the hall.
“Aunt, relax. This little fellow is really strong. It’s jumping around again these few days.” King Xuan’s beautiful red lips curled up slightly. He looked slightly lazy and careless. His startling beautiful face had a vague smile on it as he strode into the hall.
Inside the great hall was a beautiful woman in her mid-20s. She was arranging a pot of orchid placed on a table at the window.
Her dressing was plain. Her dark hair was piled on top of her hair. There was a silver pin on her head. She wore plain colored clothing that looked like a Taoist nun’s, making her seem as if she did not belong in the secular world. She had a beautiful face, but there was a loneliness that could not be hidden in her eyes. She was watering the orchid carefully.
“Aunt, you’re fiddling with the orchid again. Is it that beautiful? It’s not as beautiful as the peony I have. It is the king among flowers. How about I pick a few pots that look the best and send it over in a few days?” King Xuan bowed and sat on the nanmu wood chair lazily. The sun shone through the windows and shone on his beautiful face. A look at it would make a person drunk.
“You’d better leave those peonies of yours for those beauties to admire. It’s only been a few days and you’ve already added more beauties to your back courtyard. Are you not worried that your father will scold you?” The princess gave him a side-eye and put down the bottle in her hand. She accepted the handkerchief a palace maid handed her and carefully wiped away the dirt on the orchid.
“Aunt, Father can’t be bothered with how many beauties I have in my back courtyard. But I’m interested in your orchid.” King Xuan looked at the orchid and reached out to touch it. His eyes were full of emotion and he was a natural beauty. One could not resist him and they would follow him willingly even if it meant that they would be damned.
“Hold it. If you dare to kill the plant, I cannot guarantee that I won’t speak up for you in front of your father!” The princess saw that his hand was about to press down on the orchid’s stem. She glared at him angrily and tossed away the handkerchief anxiously.
The slender fingers caressed the orchid’s leaves. The handsome youth turned around. His eyes were a cesspool of emotions. He was naturally beautiful and one could not resist him even if it meant that they would be damned.
“Aunt, what are you talking about. I was just interested and wanted to touch such a beautiful orchid.” Feng Yuran made a face but his eyes were filled with laughter. He withdrew his hand as if nothing happened. He rubbed his fingers together as if he had not been satisfied.
“If you become interested in it again, do you plan to kill this orchid that I had a hard time getting?” The princess said impolitely. She knew her nephew’s character well. There was once he said he was interested in a pot of peonies and that pot of peonies had died, not even leaving behind any leaves.
There was another time he became interested in a fake mountain. In the end, there was only a crater left behind in that spot!
She did not want her orchid to end up like them.
“Aunt, I will be sad if you say that about me. After all, you didn’t have a hard time getting this flower. You’d just gotten it easily and I was the one who helped you bring it to the capital. I had worked hard for you. You should reward me!” Feng Yuran did not feel at all awkward after the princess rebuked him. He pointed casually at the table’s surface with interest.
“Talk. What is it you want to ask me again? You’ve come to my place to ask for a reward.” The princess smiled lightly. A palace maid brought her a bronze bowl to wash her hands.
“Aunt, you’re really amazing. You’ve guessed my thoughts perfectly. No matter the people outside say that you’re extremely intelligent. You’re the most intelligent amongst the women of the palace.”
“Alright, alright. Stop flattering me. I’ll say this first. Don’t look for me if it’s too difficult. I can’t do anything against your father’s rage.”
“Aunt, relax. It is nothing difficult. It’d be the flower viewing banquet in a few days. You just have to help me a little.” King Xuan glanced at the orchid somewhat meaningfully. There was a slight curve to his lips and he looked a little distant.
“Oh, you have to ask of this favor here?” The princess asked, her brows raised.
“Aunt, it is simple for you…”King Xuan stood up and whispered into her ears.
“Alright, Old Eight, I didn’t know you…”The princess smiled and glanced at him incredulously as if she did not know him.
“Aunt, just help me this time. Look, I waited for you at the Repayment Temple for so many days but you didn’t come. You didn’t keep your promise. So you have to make up to my fragile heart.” King Xuan frowned and put his hand at his chest pretending to be hurt. The princess could not help but laugh out loud.
“Old Eight, I’ll say this first. I’ll only help you this once. Otherwise, I really can’t take the torture you put me through. But…aren’t you afraid I’ll lose if you pit me against her?”
“Aunt, relax. This will be the only time. It won’t happen again.” Feng Yuran smiled. “Of course, if you request for it next time, I will make it happen!”
“You brat…”The princess glared at him. A servant served tea.
The princess asked casually about the scenery at the Repayment Temple. She really had something on and could not go.
King Xuan chatted with the princess for a while before bidding her goodbye, saying he had other things to attend to. The embroidered purple robes showed off his handsome figure as he strode away casually.
The parrot at the corridor saw him coming and jumped in surprise. Then, it shouted, “His Highness King Xuan is here. His Highness King Xuan is here. Help. Help!”
The princess’ gentle laughter could be heard coming from the great hall.
While they were talking about the flower viewing banquet, someone else was talking about the flower viewing courtyard.
In Auntie Fang’s Lihua Garden.
Mo Xuemin was standing while her mother was seated.
“Min’er. Relax. I’ll arrange it well this time. Your father thought that everything will be fine if he locks me up. How can the Mo Manor that I’ve managed so painstakingly just end up in that little slut’s hands. Her mother was no match for me and the brat will still be controlled by me. Mo Manor will be ours as long as we get rid of the little slut. So what if your father is dissatisfied. He only has one son that is your brother. What could he do to me?” Auntie Fang said, gritting her teeth.
Her face was twisted uglily under the light. She wanted to grind the little slut under her feet when she thought of how the little slut had one-upped her.
“Auntie, you called me here for this? If that is all, I’ll go back first. After all, you are still being locked up. It is best not to challenge father.” Mo Xuemin stood at her spot and said indifferently.
“Min’er, I have underestimated her this time. You’ve also been tricked. But rest assured. I’ve thought through this carefully this time. I won’t let her steal the spotlight from you at the flower viewing banquet. That little slut won’t even need to think about attending.” Auntie Fang felt embarrassed by her daughter’s words.
“Auntie, it’s still too early to think about this. You’d better think about how to get out of here. If father demotes you to a common concubine, I’ll be implicated.” Mo Xuemin glanced at her indifferently as if she did not see her mother’s furious expression. Then, she picked up her skirts and turned to leave.
Behind her, Auntie Fang reached out to throw a jade vase beside her onto the ground. There was a clear tinkling of porcelain being broken. However, Mo Xuemin’s steps did not stop. It was as if she had not heard anything. She did not even turn around and left the room.
“She is a daughter I gave birth to. The…” Auntie Fang was enraged. She screamed, but Nanny Li reached out to press her hand on her mouth before she could complete her sentence.
“Auntie, be softer. Don’t ruin First Miss’s reputation.”
“Look at how unfilial she is. Look at her attitude towards her own mother. What kind of good reputation does she want.” Her tone was still angry, but was obviously softer.
“First Miss is also angry. Just like how First Miss told you not to act rashly but you still acted and caused this incident. How can she not blame you?” Nanny Li consoled carefully.
“How is it my fault. I was doing it for her and her brother…” The voice became softer and was accompanied with sobbing.
At the door, Mo Xuemin swept her glance in the direction of Qingwei Garden. Her eyes were dark and filled with venom! This time, she would not be rash. She would take it step by step. In the end, whether Mo Xuetong lived or died would be controlled by just a word from Mo Xuemin.
She would live if Mo Xuemin wanted her to and she would die if Mo Xuemin wanted her to.
Mo Xuetong, this is what will happen to you if you enrage me!