Pampered Into Being the Empress – Chapter 12
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Translated by: Cozy Translations
Chapter 12 – Coaxing
Rong Xi felt that Mu Huai was probably someone who did not like seeing women crying and making a fuss in front of them, so she shook her head, “This slave didn’t cry…”
Her voice was naturally soft, and when some sobs were mixed within, it sounded even more pitiful. Mu Huai had already straightened her out, making her face him. Her pair of eyes were glimmering with tears, and she still said she didn’t cry?
If any other woman dared to cry and act pitiful in front of him, he would definitely gift them one word: scram.
But when facing Rong Xi, he just felt helpless.
His right hand only needed to exert a little strength to strangle a eunuch to death, and currently, this hand that’s dyed in blood was wiping away a woman’s tears.
Mu Huai’s voice was slightly drunken and hoarse, with hints of helplessness as he spoke, “Hurts? Forget it, I won’t touch you anymore tonight, stop crying…”
It was hard to describe what his heart was feeling. Ever since he agreed to Shun Fu’s suggestion to allow this young girl to serve him, everything became much more complicated than before. It was the first time he ever coaxed a woman. He could only awkwardly rub her tender face a few times, and seeing that her tears no longer fell, he asked her again, “Say it, whatever reward you want, as long as you ask, I will give it.”
Mu Huai thought that this woman would be very happy to hear this.
Rong Xi looked down, her thick, black eyelashes trembling and within the clear hot water, her snow-white bosom was also rising and falling.
Such a coquettish and alluring woman, yet the beauty herself did not realize.
Mu Huai’s eyes grew a little darker. He had been suppressing the fire inside of him all this time, but this woman’s every move was too flirtatious.
His Adam’s apple slightly rolled and his voice sank a little as he threatened Rong Xi, “Already said won’t touch you, but if you continue to seduce this master, I am not virtuous man like Liu Xiahui1.”
Finished, the man’s fist heavily fell, causing a lot of water to splash out of the wooden tub.
Rong Xi was surprised.
She had been obediently soaking in the water, not even moving an inch, how did it become that she was seducing him?
Rong Xi shook her head in panic and tried to explain, “This slave…this slave did not.”
Mu Huai grabbed her slender elbow and interrupted her in a cold voice, “Say it, what reward do you want?”
Rong Xi tried to calm herself down.
Mu Huai was clearly wanting to reward her, but the way he spoke was more like: say it, how do you want to die.
This person could even make a perfectly nice reward become a terrifying punishment.
Rong Xi was stared at by Mu Huai so intensely she had goosebumps and her scalp turned numb. Her pretty eyes slightly turned away, not daring to hesitate in her reply, she finally spoke, “Beg Your Highness…send someone to repair this slave’s bed…”
After Mu Huai heard this, the corners of his mouth slightly turned up. He couldn’t help but recall that area and the ferocious movements he had done with her over there.
He thought, if it were on the bed in his inner hall, something like that definitely would not happen.
Seeing Rong Xi look at him with a begging gaze, Mu Huai let out a muffled laugh before asking again, “Other than this, what else do you want me to reward you with?”
His voice was not like before, when it was slightly suppressed.
The man’s breaths made her face feel hot. Rong Xi had difficulty calming down and focusing properly. Doing things by Mu Huai’s side really was a battle of wits every day, taxing both mind and body.
Since he wanted to reward her, then she will make good use of this opportunity, she could not let it slip away.
Rong Xi bit her red lips. She spoke in a small voice as she observed Mu Huai’s mood, “…Ever since Shun Fu gonggong left, this slave has taken over his duties, taking care of Quyun Palace’s big and small affairs. This slave doesn’t know when gonggong was still alive, what his monthly salary was…”
“You want me to give you a raise?” Mu Huai asked.
Rong Xi nodded at Mu Huai.
Mu Huai was confused, “I agree to this. However, there’s not many places in the palace that require money, what do you want to do with it?”
Just as he finished asking, with a scoop of his arm, Mu Huai carried Rong Xi out of the water.
Her snow-white skin had been heated by the hot water until it turned into a faint shade of pink. It was truly beautiful.
Mu Huai purposely avoided looking at her and casually threw a piece of silk at her, ordering her to cover her body. After Rong Xi covered herself, seeing Mu Huai not asking her anymore questions, she followed behind him and stayed silent.
Naturally she wanted the money so that she could save up to two hundred silvers earlier. Then when Mu Huai marries, she would beg his wife to let release her from the palace.
Mu Huai’s attitude towards her was still as haughty and arrogant as always. Even though he discovered her true appearance, he didn’t change the way he treated her. In her heart, Rong Xi prayed that she and Mu Huai would continue to maintain the relationship that’s purely between master and servant.
The anomalies that happened tonight would stop at tonight. After tomorrow, he probably would not touch her anymore.
The next morning.
Early in the morning, a palace maid’s shriek could be heard outside the gates of Jihua Palace, causing the people nearby to be stunned into silliness from the fright.
It turns out, on the cobblestone ground in front of Jihua Palace, laid the corpse of a eunuch.
That eunuch had a really miserable death. His eyes were still open, his expression of one that died with grievances.
Naturally, Noble Consort Li was startled as well. Before she could properly put on her makeup and style her hair, she only put her hair into a simple bun and stuck a hairpin in it before rushing out of the palace. When she saw the eunuch’s corpse, Noble Consort Li frowned.
When the banquet ended yesterday, she was the one who brought up to Zhuang Emperor to check on Fourth Prince Mu Huai in the side hall. Zhuang Emperor loved this son the most and naturally agreed to Noble Consort Li’s suggestion. He took the Empress as well as Mu Tao’s birth mother, Consort De, to the side hall together.
But who knew that when they reached the side hall, there was no one inside. When she saw this, Noble Consort Li’s gaze slightly changed. She originally wanted Zhuang Emperor to see how Mu Huai and that eunuch were entangled with each other, but in this side hall, not only was Mu Huai not here, the little eunuch had also disappeared.
Zhuang Emperor became suspicious and couldn’t help but as Noble Consort Li, “Why are you so concerned about Fourth Prince’s affairs today?”
Noble Consort Li had a sad expression on but pretended to be dignified as she replied, “Fourth Prince’s birth mother passed away early. Chenqie2” and Her Majesty the Empress naturally have to show more concern.”
At the side, the Empress heard how Noble Consort Li replied to Zhuang Emperor and didn’t say anything yet secretly let out a cold smirk.
When Zhuang Emperor heard her mention Consort Xian, he finally stopped questioning.
This was currently the time when Mu Qian was heading to Hanlin Academy for lessons. Due to her hands’ injuries, she had avoided going these past few days. Noble Consort Li had figured out her intentions and threatened Mu Qian last night, telling to her to get up early and go to Hanlin Academy to listen to the teacher’s lessons.
Mu Qian already had a sullen expression when she left the hall, but when she saw the eunuch’s corpse by the palace gate, she was also startled into jumping.
People died everyday in the palace, but Mu Qian was protected very well by Noble Consort Li and had never really seen a servant’s corpse. The look of the dead eunuch was also quite morbid. Mu Qian was so frightened that she hurriedly hid behind Noble Consort Li.
Coincidentally, Mu Huai and his bodyguards were passing by the gates of Jihua Palace. When they saw Noble Consort Li and her people, Mu Huai stopped his wheelchair.
If he wanted to go to Hanlin Academy, it was a bit of detour to pass by Jihua Palace. Rong Xi was beside him this entire time, and when she saw the dead eunuch, she formed a rough guess in her heart.
That aphrodisiac must’ve been given by Noble Consort Li.
When Mu Qian saw Mu Huai, she also seemed to realize something. However, she was used to being brainless and immediately rushed towards Mu Huai, shouting, “From Quyun Palace to Hanlin Academy, you don’t need to pass through my consort mother’s palace. You purposely took this path today, and there is also a grudge between you and this eunuch, you must’ve killed him!”
When Noble Consort Li heard this, she gave a glance at Mu Qian. Although Mu Qian didn’t understand the purpose behind Noble Consort Li’s actions, she stopped talking.
Noble Consort Li stared at Mu Huai with an unclear look.
He had on an uninhibited expression as he glanced at the mother-daughter pair, as if he was watching a play.
Mu Huai coldly sneered, “Why he had to be killed, Noble Consort niangniang3 should be clearer than anyone else.”
Nobel Consort Li was not in the mood to converse with Mu Huai. She only called out in a cold voice for some people to carry the eunuch’s body away.
Mu Huai raised an eyebrow and with a bit of rebelliousness in his eyes, he spoke again, “What the use of carrying away his body, it’s too late.”
Just as Noble Consort Li was about to open her mouth to denounce Mu Huai, she saw the senior eunuch by Zhuang Emperor’s side coming over and greeting her, “Niangniang, His Majesty invites you to Ganyuan Hall after court is over.”
Ganyuan Hall was the hall Zhuang Emperor resided in, as well as where he would normally hold court and govern the nation’s affairs.
Noble Consort Li’s beautiful eyes glanced at Mu Huai before replying to the senior eunuch, “Bengong4 knows, after His Majesty returns from court, bengong will go to Ganyuan Hall.”
Only when it was yishi (9 AM – 11 AM) and the court officials had finished court did Noble Consort Li finish dressing herself and head towards Zhuang Emperor’s Ganyuan Hall.
The smell of ambergris faintly spread throughout the hall. The interior decor fully displayed the magnificence of heaven’s family. Zhuang Emperor was attired in dark red formal wear and his crown while currently standing by his desk reading cases.
Noble Consort Li adjusted her facial expression, and looking at the straight yet seemingly relaxed Zhuang Emperor, she couldn’t help but recall the time when she first met him. He was completely different than the emperor she imagined when she was just a little girl in her boudoir.
Emperor Mu Zhen had clear eyes and a gentle temperament. He was not like the monarchs in her impression that always had a domineering and suppressive aura around them. A handsome gentleman that’s as gentle as jade would always move the hearts of young girls.
Zhuang Emperor was older than Noble Consort Li by almost twenty years. Now he was already fifty years old, and although his looks had aged a bit, the aura that has matured out over the years was still as glorious as ever.
Noble Consort Li was born from a noble family. In her natal family, she was often arrogant and prideful, she had never thought about becoming anyone’s concubine.
But the day she became Zhuang Emperor’s consort was the happiest day of her life.
—“Chenqie greets Your Majesty, may Your Majesty live for ten thousand years.” Noble Consort Li saluted.
Even after a long time passed after she stopped talking, Zhuang Emperor did not call on her to raise.
Noble Consort Li had bowed for a long time. The hall was so silent it was scary, and she could only hear her own panicked breaths.
“kang dang5—” A jade long-necked wine jug landed on the ground. The alcohol and porcelain pieces shattered everywhere.
Noble Consort Li’s nose was filled with the smell fo the mellow wine, and her heart beat furiously.
Zhuang Emperor very rarely lost his temper. Towards the maids and eunuchs in the palace, he always treated them kindly as well, but today he actually became angry and threw things in front of her…
“Zhen6, during yesterday’s banquet, what did you put in Fourth Prince’s wine?”
Noble Consort Li tightly pressed her lips together. Since she did it, she was not afraid to admit to it, and she wasn’t afraid of being found out by others. She just wanted to ruin Mu Huai’s reputation a little more, ruin it until he would not be able to touch that position.
What she hated the most was that even now, Zhuang Emperor was still daydreaming about curing that person’s crippled legs, even wanting to leave that position to that bastard of Virtuous Consort’s.
The fear in Noble Consort Li’s eyes gradually faded and she gritted her teeth, not speaking.
Zhuang Emperor stared at her, “As long as zhen interrogates everyone in the palace that touched that chrysanthemum wine, everything will be revealed.”
“That’s right, chenqie added an aphrodisiac to his wine…”
Just as her words fell, Zhuang Emperor raised his hand and slapped Noble Consort Li.
“You…you poisonous woman…”
Noble Consort Li held her burning face. As the pain intensified, the last bit of feelings she had for Mu Zhen slowly melted away.
His methods truly chilled the hearts of others.
As if Mu Huai was his only son.
How is his Ji’er not his own flesh and blood.
Zhuang Emperor coldly glared at Noble Consort Li and raised his voice to order, “Declare my decree, Noble Consort Li is demoted to Lady7 and is forbidden to leave Jihua Palace. Without zhen‘s order, she is not to take even half a step outside of Jihua Palace!”
Noble Consort Li could not believe what she just heard. Zhuang Emperor actually demoted her by six ranks.
The eunuch who received the decree hesitated for a little bit and decided to ask Zhuang Emperor in the end, “Your Majesty…the Lord of the Privy Council Li Rui and City Guards Commander Yin Cheng are outside the hall asking for an audience. Does Your Majesty want to call them in?”
When Noble Consort Li heard her father’s name, he calmed down a lot.
With father here, Mu Zhen will not be able to shake her position.
Zhuang Emperor shot a cold look at Noble Consort before speaking in a heavy voice, “Retreat.”
Noble Consort Li slightly raised her delicate eyebrows and got up. After bowing to Zhuang Emperor, she smoothed out the loose hair near her temples and went back to Jihua Palace.
The eunuch who received the order watched Noble Consort Li’s proud back and asked Zhuang Emperor again, “Then this decree…does Your Majesty still want to declare it?”
Zhuang Emperor glanced at the eunuch, not speaking. The eunuch understood; Noble Consort Li’s position was saved.
After Li Rui and Yin Cheng entered the hall, Mu Huai had just finished his lessons, and Zhuang Emperor also called for him to go to Ganyuan Hall at this time.
Rong Xi followed Mu Huai until she was told to wait outside.
Since it was matters that were being discussed with Councillor Li Rui, Rong Xi formed a guess in her heart. It looks like Great Qi will be embroiled in a war soon.
The central plains was divided by five countries.
Great Qi was located most inwardly in the central plains, and was the country that had the most territory. The other four countries included Yan kingdom which was located farther north and second to only Great Qi; Gu kingdom that formed after the unification of the barbarian tribes; Ye kingdom that borders Yan kingdom to the northeast; and Jin kingdom that only has the small southern corner of the plains.
When the previous emperor, Cheng Emperor was alive, he had the ambition to conquer Jin kingdom. However, on the journey to the first battle against Jin, Cheng Emperor’s wife, Empress Bi Zhen was told by the imperial physician that she would not live past three days. Cheng Emperor was also a once-in-a-generation pioneering monarch, but in the end, he gave up the mountain for a beauty.
In order to see his dying wife for the last time, Cheng Emperor resolutely gathered his troops returned back to Qi.
This story was still being passed around by the commoners. No one could’ve imagined that the fierce and ruthless monarch was actually a romantic.
And her [Rong Xi] father being exiled for not taking proper care of Empress Bi Zhen’s tomb, there was also a reason behind it.
After all, Empress Bi Zhen was the late emperor’s true love.
When Rong Xi thought of her father, she watched the beginnings of the sunrise. Before, the weather was cold and now it was hot, really following what the common folks say.
The sun rays shone on Mu Huai’s body, blurring his vision and he couldn’t help but frown. Rong Xi looked around and asked Mu Huai in a low voice, “Your Highness, do you want to return to the palace to rest first or wait outside the hall for His Majesty to finish his discussion?”
Mu Huai furrowed his brows and ordered the bodyguard, “There’s an old cypress tree, push me to underneath there.”
The bodyguard obeyed and wheeled Mu Huai over.
Rong Xi didn’t dare to ask Mu Huai why he pretended to be crippled and could only do her best to not overstep any boundaries. She followed behind him. The trees of the old cypress trees had already turned yellow, and a few landed on Mu Huai. Seeing this, Rong Xi carefully picked them out for Mu Huai.
At this moment, Mu Huai looked down and saw Rong Xi’s slender wrist. The light purple veins were faintly visible. Then he glanced at the side of her neck, which was also faintly red.
Rong Xi had yet to realize that the gaze Mu Huai used to look at her with carried a little ambiguity in them. After she had organized Mu Huai’s clothes, she only saw him curling his forefinger. Rong Xi understood his intention, he had something to say to her in private.
She leaned over and respectfully prepared to listen.
Playfulness could be seen in Mu Huai’s eyes as he brought his thin lips near Rong Xi’s ear and softly ordered, “Come to my inner hall tonight to serve.”
When he saw that Rong Xi did not have any reaction and only nodded her head, Mu Huai pursed his lips and added on, “Wash your face, keep your hair loosely hanging instead of a bun, and come to the hall in your innerwear.”
Author’s Note: Dog Mu became a wolf-dog, acting like a wolf and like a dog
Translator’s comments: Your Highness, that’s not the way to chase after the girl you like…
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- A governer during the Zhou dynasty who was known for being so virtuous that when a woman sat on his lap, he didn’t do anything that would stain his moral character (credits to Wiki)
- Literally ‘subject wife’, it’s what royal concubines use to refer to themselves
- Used to refer to higher-ranking female members of the imperial harem
- Literally ‘this palace’, as every imperial consort resided in a palace, they would refer to themselves as ‘this palace’
- Sound effects
- What the Emperor uses to refer to himself
- Her new official rank is 修容 (Lady of Refined Countenance) which means she is no longer a consort but just a concubine now. Her new position is lower than Lady Yu’s (aka Rong Xi’s original master).