Chapter 115 : The Lecherous Prince (Part II)
Trigger Warning: miscarriage and suicide.
Within the imperial court, if one were to perdict, first setting aside Fifth Prince, Xuan Hua, and Eighth Prince, Xuan Li, as those who were the most competitive contenders, then those who remained were the talentless Crown Prince and the incompetent Xuan Lang. Then there was this Third Prince- a special exception. His birth mother passed away early and he was raised by another imperial consort. He was both naughty and mischievous and before he turned 18 years old, he had left the palace to set up his own fu. Thus his reputation as a man without virtue began to spread all over the world as he kept 88 beauties as concubines inside the fu but hadn’t appointed a consort yet. And although Xuan You loved beauties, he did nothing else that would overstep the boundaries in other matters. It was out of sight out of mind with the Emperor. Nevertheless, unless it was necessary, he was barred from entering the palace. So, the chance of Xuan You appearing in the palace was slim.
 眼不见，心不烦 (yǎnbùjiàn, xīnbùfán) – what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over (idiom).
In her past life, shortly after Xuan You entered the palace at this time, he was engaged to Lin Zi Xiang; Imperial Consort Chen had personally arranged this marriage. Naturally, with a temper like Lin Zi Xiang’s, she was unhappy after entering Xuan You’s fu. Everyday she was undermined by those concubines and eventually, not only did she miscarry, she was viciously slandered by Xuan You’s favourite concubine. Thus, bearing these grudges in her heart, in the end this resolute and upright woman grabbed a dagger and took down the concubine in mutual destruction.
This matter had caused an uproar. The Emperor was furious and Lin Tai Shi beat on the drum in Yamen seeking retribution for this grievance, however, in the end this matter was regarded as a domestic affair. At most, Xuan You could only be charged as having bad domestic stewardship. Except for being fined, he didn’t receive any other punishments. He still spent his days in debauchery and never cared about his reputation; no matter what the people said, he still went his own way. Lin Tai Shi was so resentful and agitated that not so long after, he died of illness. Lin Furen also committed suicide and followed him. In this way, the virtuous and scholarly Lin family perished.
And now this man reappeared in front of Jiang Ruan. If nothing else, his eyes were like disgusting mud.
Xuan You examined the girl in front of him attentively. After spending many years admiring beauties, it was the first time he had ever seen such a stunning woman. Her ethereal appearance as well as her noble and cold temperament intrigued him. He had come to the palace to discuss his marriage with Imperial Consort Chen since Xuan You’s biological mother had died early and the Empress loathed him. Even though Imperial Consort Chen was a beauty, unfortunately, he couldn’t have her; moreover, her schemes were too vicious and unscrupulous. Imperial Consort Chen had promised Lin Zi Xiang, the di daughter of Lin Tai Shi’s family, to be his consort, but Xuan You disdained Lin Zi Xiang in his heart. She was a wooden and rigid beauty, a tough nut to crack and her temper wasn’t gentle either. That said, the main wife was just a decoration to him, so he didn’t care too much.
However, he didn’t expect there to be such a stunning beauty inside the palace. What Junzhu did the maid call her just now?
Jiang Ruan spoke softly, “Your Highness Third Prince.”
“Do you know me?” Xuan You was flattered that this beautiful woman knew him. He racked his brains but had no idea where he had met her before.
“Your Highness is well-known, how can anyone in the Great Jin not know you?” Jiang Ruan’s smile had a slight sarcasm. “After entering the palace many times, this is the first time I have had the pleasure to meet Your Highness.”
Xuan You had always been very tolerant of beauties, so he didn’t reproach Jiang Ruan’s sarcastic remark at all. He just looked at her lustfully and smiled, “May I ask your name, Miss?”
Already annoyed, Lu Zhu replied angrily. “Your Highness, please conduct yourself with dignity. This is Hong’an Junzhu. Empress Dowager bestowed the title personally.” Although the other party was a playboy, his status was a prince after all, so as a subordinate, she could not dismiss him like a common lecher, though inwardly Lu Zhu was alarmed and anxious.
Xuan You suddenly realized. “It turns out that you’re Eldest Jiang Miss.”
Who in the Great Jin didn’t know Hong’an Junzhu’s name nowadays? Before, he had only heard that the one who received the title Junzhu was favored by the Empress Dowager and looked remarkably beautiful. However, ordinary people had always followed the herd, so Xuan You didn’t put much stock in what they said. Now, after meeting the real person, he was deeply regretful. If he had known earlier, he would have requested Imperial Consort Chen to marry Jiang Ruan as his consort. If there was such a delicate beauty in his fu, he would be willing to die.
Unfortunately, Xuan You hadn’t anticipated that Empress Dowager Yi De would be fond of Jiang Ruan so much. So, how could she consent to give her to a profligate child? With a seemingly shy face Xuan You took a few steps closer to Jiang Ruan. “We can be considered as family now. Hong’an Meimei, why don’t we have a small get-together?” He was not reconciled if he couldn’t get hold of such a beauty in this life.
“Third Brother, where do you want to have a small get-together with Junzhu?” A low voice came from behind. The Crown Prince and Fourth Prince, Xuan Lang, were walking over.
Xuan You frowned, obviously dissatisfied with the Crown Prince’s sudden interruption. The Crown Prince glanced at Jiang Ruan and laughed heartily. “Ah! Hong’an, it just so happens that I have something to ask you. Third Brother, if there’s nothing else, please return first. I’ll take Hong’an there.”
Within the palace, it was said that Xuan You was such a scoundrel that none of his brothers were his match , with the exception of the Crown Prince. Perhaps because he knew that he was not valued by the Emperor, the Crown Prince had a blasé attitude, matching that of Xuan You. They were birds of a feather- no one being much better than the other. Therefore, knowing that the Crown Prince was here today, he could no longer have anything to do with Jiang Ruan. Xuan You flicked his sleeves fiercely and his expression changed. All of a sudden, he beamed a smile at Jiang Ruan. “Junzhu, I’ll see you again in the future. Let’s have a good chat later.”
 破罐子破摔 (pò guàn zi pò shuāi) – a shortcoming that is not corrected, it worsens instead.
His ambiguous remark made Lu Zhu frown, but the Crown Prince and Xuan Lang had seen it before and didn’t treat it as strange. After Xuan You finished speaking to Jiang Ruan, he straightened up and glanced at the Crown Prince fiercely. “Eldest Brother, I’m leaving first.” Without waiting for the Crown Prince’s reply, he turned around and strode away.
Seeing Xuan Lang react a little, the Crown Prince looked over at him and remarked, “Grow up!” There was no blame in his words, however. It was clear that the two had a good relationship. Just from Xuan You’s treatment of the Crown Prince, it was obvious that he believed that his position was rather precarious and that it was only a matter of time before he would be stripped of his position. Thus, it was only a token title at the moment and so he could be restrained and fearless. The Crown Prince seemed to have long been accustomed to this position. He looked at Jiang Ruan. “Hong’an, you are now like a delicious piece of fatty meat that everyone is wanting to have a taste of.” He chuckled. “I’m somewhat jealous that Imperial Grandmother dotes on you so much.”
The Crown Prince looked a little gloomy when he said this. What he had just said was actually the truth. Even though he was the Crown Prince, neither the Emperor or the Empress Dowager liked him and while the Empress was distressed, she was unable to change the status quo. Jiang Ruan smiled. “Your Highness will be the master of the future Great Jin dynasty, so there is no need to envy a little girl like Ruan niang.”
“How are you a little girl? I think, in this palace, you are a treasure worth guarding.” He suddenly smiled strangely. “How about you become bengong’s consort? Anyway, we are not related by blood. There was a precedent in the Great Jin.”
Jiang Ruan answered with a faint smile. “If Your Highness can persuade the Empress Dowager and His Majesty, then Ruan niang has no problem with it.”
When the Crown Prince saw Jiang Ruan looking indifferent, as if she did not take this matter to heart, he couldn’t help feeling indignant. Meanwhile, Jiang Ruan was looking at Xuan Lang who followed behind the Crown Prince with a gentle and harmless look. The Crown Prince had no talent and Fourth Prince was incompetent, so they seemed to symphatize with each other. In fact, even though the Crown Prince wasn’t too friendly with his other brothers, he treated Xuan Lang pretty well. The way Xuan Lang acted made Jiang Ruan remember Jiang fu’s Jiang Dan.
They both had the same self-effacing timidity and shared the same fondness of stabbing people in the back. In her last life, wasn’t the Crown Prince stabbed in the back by his fourth brother that he used to have good relationship with and ultimately ended up committing suicide in prison? Xuan Lang chose Imperial Consort Chen’s side very early. Unfortunately, the Crown Prince treated the enemy as a friend.
Jiang Ruan looked at the Crown Prince. “Your Highness, didn’t you say that you wanted to have a word with Ruan niang? You can do it now.”
The Crown Prince was stupefied. It was just an excuse, so it wasn’t to be taken seriously. When he was about to speak, Jiang Ruan told Xuan Lang. “Your Highness Fourth Prince, is there anything else? If not, I’ll leave with the Crown Prince first.”
Xuan Lang was stunned, he didn’t expect that Jiang Ruan would get rid of him without sparing him any feelings. For a moment, he looked at her sorrowfully. As this grievance flashed by, people who didn’t know better would think that Jiang Ruan had bullied Fourth Prince.
The Crown Prince frowned, but Xuan Lang had already smiled apologetically. “Eldest Brother, I’ll leave first. Please take your time chatting with Junzhu. Farewell.” Then he hurried away. Even though he didn’t look angry, he seemed a little anxious.
The Crown Prince saw Xuan Lang’s departing figure and looked at Jiang Ruan with some displeasure. “Hong’an Junzhu, what do you mean by this?”
“As Your Highness might be aware, I have always detested Eighth Prince.”
The Crown Prince paused. He had seen Jiang Ruan’s dislike of Xuan Li earlier, but he had no idea why she loathed Eighth Brother who was not only handsome but also outstanding. But, since he didn’t like Xuan Li very much either, he was pleased with Jiang Ruan’s attitude.
Jiang Ruan spoke softly. “I hate ants. I will discard anything that an ant crawls on. I hate Eighth Prince. So, I detest and reject those who have connections with him.”