Pampered Into Being the Empress – Chapter 13
(2/2) Sponsored chapters brought to you by Jaycee, thank you for your support!!
Translated by: Cozy Translations
Chapter 13 – Made From Tears
Mu Huai’s intentions were very obvious.
When Rong Xi heard it, she only felt her ears become itchy, and she unconsciously shrunk her neck. Under Mu Huai’s gaze and his smile-that-wasn’t-a-smile, her cheeks slowly turned pink.
“…This slave has noted it.”
She held the yellowed cypress leaves in her hands. Slightly pressing her lips together, she returned to stand in her original spot, wondering inside how she should conduct her duties in the future. Mu Huai’s lips twitched, his gaze falling on the red pillars of Ganyuan Hall.
Zhuang Emperor’s discussion with Li Rui and Yin Cheng hadn’t gone on for very long. Soon after, the two people walked out from the hall.
Li Rui wore a purple official’s uniform. After fighting wars for so many years, even though he was getting on in his age, there was still a heroic aura emitting from his brows.
Yin Cheng was a few ranks lower than Li Rui, and he was the same age as Mu Huai. Wearing a vermilion official’s uniform, he strode behind Li Rui, his posture upright and brave.
Because Mu Huai and Yin Cheng were related by blood, they had some similarities in their appearances. For example, the two both had a tall and exquisite nose as well as a deep and brilliant pair of eyes.
Although Yin Cheng was a soldier, the impression he gave others was much more refreshing. One look at him and one would know that this young military general had a very open and cheerful personality. Mu Huai’s looks were more outstanding than Yin Cheng’s, but his brows were not as relaxed, always vaguely emitting a dark aura, making people feel frightened.
Truthfully speaking, even though Mu Huai had yet to be a titled prince, he was still a royal offspring. No matter how high Li Rui’s court rank was, he was still a subject and show the proper respect and decorum when greeting Mu Huai. But Rong Xi saw him walk with fiery steps, only shooting a cold and fierce glare at Mu Huai as he passed by.
This type of attitude seemed to not put this dynasty’s Fourth Prince in his eyes at all.
Yin Cheng smiled as he glanced sideways at Mu Huai and bowed in greeting.
Mu Huai didn’t say anything, only returning a faint smile.
Because the officials were not allowed to linger in the Forbidden Palace for too long after court ended, Li Rui and Yin Cheng quickly walked through the palace’s northern corridor to head back to their own residences.
The autumn picked up; the skies were clear.
Zhuang Emperor’s eunuch led Mu Huai into Ganyuan Hall. He personally pushed Mu Huai’s wheelchair, his attitude extremely respectful. As soon as they entered the hall, Mu Huai smelled the scent of residual wine. In addition, he could vaguely pick up the smell of blood as well.
Zhuang Emperor’s expression was not too good. He was extremely pale and ashen. Currently, he was sitting on the sandalwood chair with a case in front of him.
Mu Huai sat in the wheelchair as he greeted Zhuang Emperor. He nonchalantly glanced at the silk cloth on the case. Traces of blood could be seen on it.
Zhuang Emperor must’ve coughed up blood again.
Just as Mu Huai was about to ask him about his wellbeing, Zhuang Emperor suddenly let out a miserable smile, speaking warmly to Mu Huai, “According to the Taoist monk, the poison1 in your legs will be completely cured by the end of the year. At that time, you no longer need to suffer the pain of this poison. The seat that belongs to you, zhen will definitely ensure it for you.”
After the Virtuous Consort passed away, Mu Huai’s legs were afflicted with a strange poison.
Zhuang Emperor searched far and wide for talented physicians, but none were able to give a cure. Later, he heard about Yu Qingguang, an enlightened Taoist, who could cure weird illnesses, and secretly searched for that person to enter the palace to look at Mu Huai. When that enlightened one first saw the young Mu Huai, his gaze turned very deep.
He saw how Mu Huai was quite young, yet had the appearance of a monarch, but carried a dark aura between his brows. If this sort of person became the monarch, there was a high chance this person would become a cruel despot.
The late Emperor Mu You had just settled the mess from the previous dynasty. He did not wish for the peacefulness to be destroyed in Mu Huai’s hands, causing the common people to be starved and pass their days in misery.
If Mu Huai’s personality could be developed better, he will be a decisive and wise ruler. If he were to be further spoiled by Zhuang Emperor into becoming even more arrogant, it would be difficult to prevent him from becoming a muddle-headed emperor that will bring disaster to the country and its citizens.
The Taoist master made clear the consequences. Even though he had the way to cure Mu Huai’s poison at the time, he told Zhuang Emperor instead that this poison needed to wait until he turned twenty-one before it could be completely cured.
But every year, there would be a few months where Mu Huai’s legs could be like a normal person’s and he could walk.
As such, the Taoist master hoped Mu Huai could temper his personality and suppress the ruthlessness that emanated from within his bones.
The son of the consort he loved the most had been afflicted with such a strange and torturous person, but Zhuang Emperor also harbored some happiness. If it weren’t for the people outside thinking that Mu Huai was crippled for all these years, Noble Consort Li and Li Rui would be even more on guard.
During the times when his legs were temporarily free from the effects of the poison, Mu Huai would take Zhuang Emperor’s unique token and leave the palace. In the middle of the night, he would practice riding and archery with Yin Cheng, then return back to the Forbidden City at dawn. After changing his clothes, he would then head to Hanlin Academy for lessons.
Although Mu Huai had been suffering from the poison all these years, he had never lowered the requirements he set for himself. This year, he just completed his capping ceremony, and he was talented in both martial arts and his studies. He had the unique bearing of a monarch.
It was just, that master’s wish had yet to be fulfilled.
His personality did not become more peaceful due to the poison. He was as foul-tempered as before, dealing with each matter with extreme cruelty.
What Zhuang Emperor just voiced, even a fool could understand.
The highest position in the land, he wanted to pass it down to Mu Huai.
But Mu Huai could tell from Zhuang Emperor’s tone that he felt desolate and somewhat reluctant.
Even though he was Zhuang Emperor’s son, they were the complete opposite in terms of personality. To put it nicely, Zhuang Emperor’s personality was generous and kind. To put it bluntly, he was weak and incompetent. He often gave into the ministers when it came to governing the country and would hesitate when making any decisions.
Thinking of this, Mu Huai turned solemn and asked, “Imperial Father…what is the meaning of this?”
Zhuang Emperor let out a sigh. Looking at Mu Huai who looked similar to the Virtuous Consort, his voice was full of love along with some hints of helplessness. He switched to calling Mu Huai’s nickname, “Man Ya…zhen is afraid that I cannot protect you in the future…”
Just like how I could not protect the Virtuous Consort.
“…Right now the court is full of tigers and wolves circling around. That’s why, Man Ya, you must become stronger; you cannot let those people defeat you.”
When everyone returned to Quyun Palace, it was already dusk.
Mu Huai was still contemplating the words that Zhuang Emperor spoke to him. He could not help but look down at his legs.
That day, he was able to stand up due to the aphrodisiac temporarily breaking through the poison in his legs. Starting from this morning, he discovered that his legs slowly started to feel heavy again. It seems like he had to wait until the end of the year to finally escape this stupidly heavy wheelchair and his unmoveable legs.
The desperate desire to return to normal as well as long-term depression caused Mu Huai’s aggressive personality to gradually ebb away.
After they returned to the palace, he didn’t say a single word, just sitting quietly in the wheelchair. Staring at the swimming fish in the pond, he had a slightly fierce look in his eyes, yet his posture was elegant, resembling a lazy tiger.
Rong Xi detected Mu Huai’s abnormality. He looked as if he was ready to throw his temper at any second. Even the fish didn’t dare to swim near him, which spoke volumes about how frightening this person was.
Although Rong Xi had just taken over Shun Fu’s duties, all the other servants in Quyun Palace were quite trusting and respectful towards Rong Xi. She didn’t feel very exhausted trying to manage them.
That night when Mu Huai was served dinner, she especially instructed the maidservants and eunuchs waiting outside of Quyun Palace to escape early and not show up in front of Mu Huai. The people in the palace had also detected that the surrounding atmosphere was suffocating and scary, so they hurriedly followed Rong Xi’s instructions and hid away in their own rooms.
Rong Xi shook her hands and wiped away the makeup on her face. In accordance with Mu Huai’s previous instructions, she let her long silky hair hang loosely by her waist. Wearing just a thin white inner robe, she covered her face with her hand and anxiously entered Mu Huai’s resting hall.
The clouds floated through the sky as the moonlight spilled over the ripples in the pond. Quyun Palace was tranquil.
The hall was lit by candlelight. The dishes had already been set in front of Mu Huai but he had yet to pick up his chopsticks. Hearing the rustling sound around him, he raised his eyes to look outside the hall and saw a petite beauty secretly walk in.
Rong Xi greeted Mu Huai, “May Your Highness be peaceful for ten thousand years.”
Her voice was still soft and sticky like usual, but the current Mu Huai was not like before when he thought this voice made him feel uncomfortable all over. On the contrary, this voice caused the darkness in his heart to dissipate.
Mu Huai watched Rong Xi walk to his front. The closer she got, the clearer her beautiful appearance could be seen. The faint blush spread on her cheeks was quite beautiful and extremely charming. If you put this woman in a crowd of other women, she would be the flower that overshadows everyone else.
Rong Xi secretly observed Mu Huai’s expression. Seeing how his brows relaxed a lot, she grew emboldened and took a pair of chopsticks to place a piece of lightly-flavored sturgeon on his plate.
Mu Huai didn’t show much of a reaction and ate the fish Rong Xi put on his plate, “Sit down and eat with me.”
Rong Xi assented and found a round, wooden stool to carefully sit down on.
There was a set of jade cutlery placed in front of her. Mu Huai didn’t bother to raise his eyes as he ordered again, “Eat.”
Rong Xi nodded her head, taking small bites of the lotus in front of her.
How could she have an appetite?
Her heart was dangling in her throat. She was so scared that she would make a mistake and cause Mu Huai to sentence her to death.
Mu Huai took a glimpse of Rong Xi’s eating appearance which resembled a little kitten. He couldn’t help but look away, “Eating so little, don’t blame me for not being sympathetic with you later tonight.”
Hearing this, Rong Xi’s poor little heart was startled.
The hand gripping the chopsticks unconsciously began to shake, but with the threat of Mu Huai’s words, the speed at which she ate obviously became much faster.
Rong Xi felt that this meal really shaved off a few months of her life.
After she finished serving Mu Huai with his meal and cleaning up, when Rong Xi thought of what was going to happen next, her petite body couldn’t help but tremble.
Mu Huai was still sitting in the wheelchair. He glanced at Rong Xi and spoke in an unhappy tone, “What are you shaking for? Cold?”
Rong Xi shook her head, “No…No…”
“Go to the study, grind ink for me.” Mu Huai ordered.
Rong Xi saw that the thing she was afraid of did not happen and finally let out a sigh of relief.
The night grew darker.
These past few days, Rong Xi has observed that Mu Huai would spend at least four hours in the study every night. The first hour would be spent practicing calligraphy, then the remaining time would be spent reading books and occasionally amking annotations.
Rong Xi quite admired this trait of Mu Huai’s. She originally thought that this precious master of hers would spend his days idling around, but the amount of effort that Mu Huai spent on his studies was not any lesser than those scholars who braved through the harsh winters preparing for their exams.
Pretending to be a cripple was probably also his way of concealing himself and keeping a low profile s as to no attract too much attention.
Rong Xi finished grinding the ink for Mu Huai and retreated a step, preparing to brew some tea for him to drink. Yet, she didn’t see him reading any books today but a yellowed map made out of goatskin instead.
She took a glance and saw that the two words “Jin Kingdom” were written on it.
Speaking of which, this Jin kingdom occupied the southern corner of the Central Plains. Although they weren’t very in size, due to the mountains and rivers acting as natural defenses, they were not an easy target to attack. These past few years, Jin kingdom suffered from frequent flooding and inadequate harvest year after year. This little kingdom also began to harbor the desire of invading Great Qi’s land, and frequently caused disturbances at the borders.
Rong Xi didn’t know why Mu Huai wanted to look at the map and could only place the brewed tea by Mu Huai’s hand, “…If Your Highness is thirsty, please drink this tea.”
Mu Huai replied in low voice, “En.”
But he felt that the scent of the tea could not conceal the young girl’s natural light and faintly milky scent. He suddenly felt a little parched and picked up the tea to drink a few mouthfuls.
With this woman dawdling about in front of him, his thoughts were in disarray. Following, his gaze grew heavier, and seeing that it wasn’t time yet, he spoke to Rong Xi, “Go wait in the inner hall, I’ll go there later.”
Rong Xi’s fingers flinched a litle when she heard this. But she had no choice.
After she assented, she trudged towards Mu Huai’s resting quarters with heavy steps.
She quietly kneeled on the luxurious carpet next to the wide bed. Closing her eyes, she calmed her emotions. After a little less than an hour, Mu Huai finally pushed his wheelchair over.
Seeing him push it with some difficulty, Rong Xi felt a little doubtful. He wasn’t able to walk again?
She got up to help Mu Huai up from the wheelchair, but he waved her away. He forcefully supported himself with both arms and stood up from the wheelchair with much difficulty, then limped over to the bed.
After sitting down, he saw Rong Xi’s eyes that were full of questions and let out a laugh, “Don’t worry, even if these legs are difficult to you, it’s more than enough to deal with you.”
The words ‘deal with you’ contained some ambiguity.
Rong Xi’s small face blushed. Because her black hair was loosely spread out, the beautiful face and sharp chin were clearly outlined. The light flickered in her beautiful eyes, making them look very delicate.
Mu Huai quietly appreciated the beauty under the candlelight. He opened his mouth and ordered her to walk in front of him.
Rong Xi evened out her unstable breathing.
She originally thought that Mu Huai was someone who had thin feelings2 and not much desire, but his every action and every movement was far from this description.
Instead, he was impatient and passionate.
With heavy steps, she walked up to him. Mu Huai used his eyes to gesture her to sit on his liap.
Rong Xi bit her lip and cautiously spread her legs out to sit, her slender arms circling around the man’s neck. At this moment, Mu Huai leaned over, wanting to catch her soft lips. But Rong Xi unconsciously shrank backwards.
The man only caught air. The space between his brows grew heavy, but when he lifted his gaze, he saw her teary eyes.
Her tears fell like pearls from a broken string, gliding across her pretty face.
Rong Xi originally thought that Mu Huai would get angry and mentally prepared herself to be yelled at by him, but who knew that the man would cup his hand behind her head, letting her lean on his shoulder.
Rong Xi was stunned and didn’t dare to move.
After a moment, Mu Huai gently pushed her away.
Seeing how she no longer shed tears, his eyes slightly drooped as he gave a light sigh. His voice was indulgent and helpless as he asked, “I really can’t do anything to you, is it because of the tears? You cry with just a kiss…”
Translator’s comments: Starting to think that Rong Xi is aware that tears are an effective weapon against Mu Huai hahaha Had some slight issues with my keyboard, so there may be some spelling/grammar mistakes; if you see any do let me know in the comments!
If you would like faster updates or a more frequent posting schedule, please consider making a donation ☺️ Thank you for your support!