Chapter 48 The Princess Royal Grows Angry Upon Reminiscing About the Past
The path in the garden was very quiet. There were a few palace maids who followed behind them. There was quite a distance between them. Only Mo Xuetong followed the Princess Royal closely. The path was covered by fallen autumn leaves, and every stem she took felt as if they were a blow to her heart. They were noisy and yet quiet and for some reason, felt lonely. The princess did not speak but only continued to walk forward slowly.
The cold air of the late autumn had not affected the sights of the imperial garden. It was still blooming with flowers. However, Mo Xuetong felt that the princess radiated an aura of failure for some reason. The young princess felt like an old person. It was an odd feeling that she could not put in words but could sense.
The garden was covered in flowers, but it could not hide the loneliness in her eyes. She had lost the imposing aura she had earlier.
“I planted this tree with your mother. Your mother said then that if we were fated to, she would take her child here to give the tree more fertilizer in 20 years.” The princess stood under the tree. It was an ordinary maple tree that was not considered tall or strong. However, Mo Xueteong spotted the new layer of fertilizer under the tree and that there were no weeds surrounding it. It was evident that it had been well taken care of.
“My mother has also spoken about Your Highness to me before. She said that you are a straightforward person…” Mo Xuetong said. Actually, her mother had never once spoken with her about the Princess Royal. If the princess had not mentioned it, she would not have known about the relationship the two shared.
In her past life, she had never met the Princess Royal even until the day she died.
“How did your mother pass away?” The Princess Royal changed the topic. She looked at the maple tree before them and asked lightly.
“She died of illness. Her health has always been poor. It would sometimes get better, and sometimes, it would get worse. After that, there was nothing that could be done…” Mo Xuetong’s eyes grew red and she bit her lips, trying to hide the bitterness in her eyes.
She was still young then and could not understand why her mother’s face had always been so pale and drawn. She had even thrown a tantrum to get Luo Xia to take her out to play. It seemed like it was a different world when she thought about it now.
“Even though your mother has passed, but at least your father still remembers her. This life of hers…at least it was not spent in loneliness…” The princess looked at the top of the tree and did not turn back. Mo Xuetong caught the flash at the corner of her eyes.
Was her mother and the Princess Royal really so close? Why had no one mentioned it to her in her past life?
“Your father mourned your mother for three years. This was unheard of in Great Qin. Your mother…has married a good man. It’s considered a different form of compensation.” The princess said softly. Her voice was so soft that Mo Xuetong could not tell if she was speaking to herself.
“Father was with Auntie Fang then. He did not stay by mother’s side.” Mo Xuetong said in a curious coincidence.
“What?” The princess’ body shook and she turned around forcefully and caught hold of Mo Xuetong. Her eyes turned cold immediately as she said, “Your father didn’t stay by your mother’s side but was in a concubine’s room?”
Her calm expression had been replaced with a furious look. She only looked like the image Mo Xuetong had constructed of her in her heart right now.
“That’s right.” Mo Xuetong’s expression darkened and her long lashes fluttered, hiding the bitterness in her eyes. She nodded. This was something that had troubled her and she had never told anyone about it. Not even Mother Xu had sensed anything. However, she had for some reason told the princess about the first time she met her.
“Princess Royal!” The princess’ personal maid called out worriedly when she saw the princess’ cold gaze.
The voice seemed to awaken the princess from her reverie. Her hold on Mo Xuetong’s hand slowly loosened. She turned around slowly and continued looking at the maple tree. The breeze lifted her skirts. Mo Xuetong could sense that she was suppressing her anger.
“The Empress has already seen everyone. You can leave now. Bai Ling, get someone to arrange Third Miss Mo’s return.” She suddenly ordered coldly.
“Yes!” Bai Ling answered softly. A young palace maid behind approached. Mo Xuetong curtsied to the princess deeply and silently before following the maid. After walking a short distance, she turned around to see that the princess had not moved from her spot under the tree.
When Mo Xuetong returned to the banquet, the ladies that were summoned by the Empress had only just returned to their seats. Mo Xuemin pretended to ask in concern, “Third Sister, why did the Empress summon you? I was worried for you after you left.”
“Eldest Sister, I fear you will have to be disappointed. I did not see the Empress but met the Princess Royal instead.” Mo Xuetong answered with a hint of sarcasm in her voice.
“How could you not see the Empress!” Mo Xuemin almost stood up in shock. Her smile almost slipped off her face. It was such a good opportunity to stomp on Mo Xuetong, but it had disappeared just like that. How could she still smile?
“Eldest Sister, why are you so weird. Are you going to meddle in the affairs of the palace as well? I can’t make the decision to see the Empress or the Princess Royal.”
Mo Xuemin could not say anything in reply to that.
It was obvious that Mo Xuemin knew what would happen in the palace today. But how did she know about things that happened in the Empress’ palace! She was just a concubine’s daughter. Even if she were a main daughter, how did she get news from the palace? Furthermore, she could enter the palace even though she did not have an invite. Mo Xuemin grew vigilant.
The thought that Mo Xuemin could possibly be connected to some people in the palace made her heart cold. That person was also someone with power. Otherwise, Mo Xuemin would not be able to enter the palace so easily.
“Third Sister, what are you talking about. I was just concerned for you…” Mo Xuemin calmed down after a while and she said with an unhappy expression. “If Third Sister thinks that I like to meddle in things, I shan’t ask in the future so you wouldn’t get angry and think that I have ulterior motives.”
“How would I dare to be annoyed with Eldest sister. I won’t say anything even if you meddled in my affairs. However, everyone in the palace is much higher ranked. If you annoy them, it might implicate the entire Mo Manor. That is why you should meddle in fewer things. If you meddle in too many things, you’ll just get into trouble.” Mo Xuetong’s voice was gentle. Even though the ladies sitting by the side could not hear what she was saying, they could see her aggrieved expression.
A few of them cast suspicious glances on Mo Xuemin. They looked as if they wanted badly to tear off her mouth.
Mo Xuemin’s expression cooled and she did not pretend any longer. She said angrily, “Third Sister, that’s too much. Are you criticizing me and want me, your elder sister, to apologize to you?”
“Eldest Sister, what are you talking about? We are both daughters of the Mo Manor and no matter who gets into trouble here in the palace, we will both bring trouble to the Mo Manor. I listen to what you say, but are the things I’ve said not reasonable? It can’t be that whatever the concubine’s daughter is right, but what I, the main daughter, say is wrong.
Mo Xuemin was the most concerned about the difference between being a main daughter and not. Now that Mo Xuetong mentioned it, her eyes filled with anger and a cold smile appeared on her lips. She suddenly stood up and was about to retort impolitely when she suddenly saw her personal maid Mo Jin hurried out from the crowd.
Mo Jin walked up to Mo Xuemin’s side and whispered into her ear. Mo Xuemin immediately smiled and nodded her head imperceptibly.
She took a deep breath. When she turned around, she had already recomposed herself. She smiled at Mo Xuetong and said, “Sister, do you want to go and get changed together?” It was as if the two of them had not argued earlier.
The banquet was almost ending. They could see some ladies leaving with their maids from the side doors from time to time.
“Eldest Sister, you can go along. I don’t feel like going yet.” Mo Xuetong’s eyes shone. She also pretended as if nothing happened earlier and answered with a smile.
“Then I shall go over there first. You have to wait for me to go home together!” Mo Xuemin did not persist this time and lifted her chin in a satisfied manner. She turned to leave without waiting for Mo Xuetong to reply.
The banquet was ending, but it was not yet time to leave. What the remaining time was left for was understood by all. They could use this period of time to see if there was anyone they liked. They could speak a little if there was. The ultimate aim of the flower appreciation banquet was not to admire the blooms. It was just a means to an end!
If two were interested in each other and the two families were in agreement, the Empress will bestow marriage upon the two. This was much faster than the long winded arrangements between families.
Of course, some major families did not like the Empress to use such a direct method of arranging marriages. The marriage alliances between families were done with the acknowledgment of both families. Being acknowledged by the royal family might not be the best choice within the family. The two families might be enemies. There was once a pair of youths who came from families politically aligned against each other. They were both attracted to each other the first time they met. However, the two families did not agree to their relationship. The two pleaded with the Empress at the Flower Appreciation Banquet, and to everyone’s surprise, the Empress agreed to bestow marriage upon them.
When one thought about this carefully, it was no longer about the struggle between the families of the two youths!
It was important to keep the imperial power in check and in balance! It was most looked down against for there to be an alliance between two powerful clans! Political opponents are sometimes more conducive to the checks and balances to the imperial power. However, the rich and powerful did not like for the marriages between families to be interfered by the imperial power! This was an inevitable clash between the imperial power and the nobles.
On the surface, the powerful families naturally did not dare to go against the will of the royal family. However, they all warned their children in private that they were not to make private marriage alliances. They were extremely severe and harsh about this matter. After all, the empress would need the excuse of the two children being in love for her to bestow a marriage.
If there were no private dealings between the children, then how could the royal family interfere in the marriages between nobles so easily!
There were some things that everyone knew they had to maintain calm headed about!
The royal family was like this, so was the Empress’ family! It was the same in the Four Great Manors!
The interactions between the Mo Sisters had already been witnessed by others.
Mo Xuemin had just left when a lady sitting on Mo Xuetong’s other side approached her. She smiled at her, looking very curious. “Third Miss Mo, why is your eldest sister going there at a time like this?”
It was very quiet in that direction and was the same direction most of the ladies were heading towards. Mo Xuemin stood there and looked left and right. No one was paying attention to her. She turned around an osmanthus tree and a flower stand, but headed in a different direction. It was more private there!
Because of the issues surrounding Mo Xuemin, those around Mo Xuetong immediately saw things clearly. Their eyes shone.
Mo Xuemin was just a concubine’s daughter, but she seemed noble, gracious and talented. She was also beautiful, which was why there were many main daughters who could not compare to her disliked her. However, she was well-versed at dealing with people and was always friendly. She did not have any weaknesses that others could exploit as well. Some of the ladies did not like her but could not find any way to tear her down.
However, Mo Xuemin had made many mistakes today and this made the ladies very excited. This was especially after they listened to the conversation between the Mo sisters. They could see that First Miss Mo who had always been gentle and gracious also had her dark side. They were all excited to tear off her fake mask so that the young noblemen who had praised her often in the past could see that they were the ones who were truly gentle and gracious. That woman was just a concubine’s daughter who was faking it.
The ladies glanced at each other and stood up. They walked towards the secluded corner…
And one or two went to lure Mo Xuetong forward.