Chapter 243: The Dowager Duchess Versus Long Yang
“Duke Ji has worked hard and contributed much to the court for many years. Since his son has reached the age of marriage, instruct the Ministry of Rites to select a daughter from a noble house and select a date for her to marry Ji Xiu.”
Long Yang gave his edict calmly in a nonchalant tone.
Startled, Zhao Qian immediately bowed obediently. “I’ll go and deliver the edict this instant.”
He thought to himself, ‘No matter how difficult the Dowager Duchess and Grand Duke are behaving, there’s no way they would expect Shi Yi to report their plans to Master the moment they finished their discussion.
‘It’s fortunate that Master sent Shi Yi to guard Second Miss Lu at the Grand Duke Mansion after returning to the palace today. It might very well be too late if he waited until tomorrow.
‘If Second Miss Lu got engaged to the Ji family, no matter how much Master likes her, he wouldn’t be crazy enough to attempt bride kidnapping.
‘But then again, can I be sure the Master really wouldn’t do it?’
Zhao Qian suddenly felt a little unsure. During this period, he had seen everything that his master had done for Second Miss Lu, and he had a vague feeling that his master would not give up easily even after the die had been cast.
After Zhao Qian had left, Long Yang instructed Shi Yi, “Continue watching the Grand Duke Mansion.”
“Yes, Your Majesty,” Shi Yi lowered his head and answered.
Long Yang then turned and entered his sleeping quarters.
It was already late at night, and the Minister of Rites was already asleep.
In that ungodly hour, a loud banging came from the gates of the Minister’s Mansion.
When the Minister of Rites heard that the visitor was Butler Zhao, he hurriedly got up from his concubine’s bed, not daring to keep him waiting.
By the time he was done brushing himself up, Zhao Qian had already been brought to the living room.
The Minister rushed over and was about to inquire the purpose of his late-night visit when Zhao Qian threw the imperial edict directly into his hands.
“Decide on a candidate by tomorrow morning, then go directly to the Duke Ji Mansion and declare the edict.”
The Minister unraveled the imperial edict and was dumbfounded by what he read. Hearing Zhao Qian’s words, he could not help but ask, “Does His Majesty not need to take a look at the candidate first?”
“His Majesty is constantly busy with court affairs. How would he have the time for that?” Zhao Qian’s voice lowered, then he beamed and added, “His Majesty has full trust in your ability, Minister Li. It’s fine as long as the candidate is of decent character and appearance.”
Minister Li’s eyes sparkled at his words. “I understand.”
Zhao Qian patted him on the shoulder. “Then you should start choosing someone now, Minister Li. You must go to the Duke Ji Mansion and declare the edict at daybreak.”
“I’ll get everything done properly,” Minister Li immediately assured him.
Although he did not know why the Emperor wanted to appoint a marriage for Duke Ji’s son so suddenly and urgently, he only needed to follow the Emperor’s edict.
However, it was a chore that he had to work in the middle of the night. It seemed that he would not be getting any sleep tonight.
The next day.
After Lu Hetian had returned from court, the Dowager Duchess set out for the palace in a carriage.
Meanwhile, Lu Hetian set off for the Duke Ji Mansion.
The two of them made their move separately.
Long Yang was handling court affairs in the imperial study when Zhao Qian reported the Dowager Duchess’s request for an audience.
Long Yang paused for a moment. He was already aware of the Dowager Duchess’s purpose of coming to the palace today, but he still said, “Bring her in.”
Soon, the Dowager Duchess entered the imperial study, led by Zhao Qian.
Looking at the Emperor behind the imperial table, the Dowager Duchess took a few steps forward and greeted him.
“Greetings, Your Majesty!”
As she spoke, she was about to curtsy, but Long Yang had already walked out from behind the table and supported her arm promptly.
“No need for formalities, Madam!”
The Dowager Duchess straightened up.
Long Yang withdrew his hands and said calmly, “Have a seat, Madam. Bring the tea, Zhao Qian.”
Only after Long Yang sat back down in his chair did the Dowager Duchess take her seat nearby.
Zhao Qian served her tea deftly.
“Thank you for the tea, Your Majesty,” the Dowager Duchess said politely, taking a sip from the cup and eyeing Long Yang. “To be honest, I came to the palace today to ask for a favor.”
Long Yang’s fingers stroked the patterns on the teacup, and he said airily, “If there’s anything you want, just tell me. I’ll do it for you to the best of my ability.”
If the Dowager Duchess were not here for Weiwei’s sake, she would have been overwhelmed to hear these words from the Emperor.
She basically watched the Emperor grow up. He ascended the throne at the age of thirteen, and with excellent wit and stratagem, helped the Great Shang Kingdom achieve unprecedented prosperity.