Pampered Into Being the Empress – Chapter 26.2
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Translated by: Cozy Translations
Chapter 26.2 – Wolf Cub
Mu Huai felt as if someone had squeezed his heart.
He thought, in the future, regardless of how people respected him or feared him, he would let the woman in his arms be treated the same way. It didn’t matter that she was the daughter of a convicted official, in his past life, when he ascended the throne, he had granted amnesty before1. Furthermore, the problem that occurred at Empress Yizhen’s tomb could never be solely the fault of a fourth-ranked deputy minister.
Mu Huai’s voice was low as he softened his tone and whispered into Rong Xi’s ear, “Don’t worry, I will send some people to take care of Nanny Huan’s family.”
Rong Xi gratefully nodded her head, “Many thanks to Your HIghness.”
She originally thought that after Mu Huai caught her, he would fiercely punish her. However, not only did he not do so, he even promised her that he would take good care of Nanny Huan’s family. Her heart naturally felt very warm.
When she closed her eyes, Rong Xi remembered what that robber said.
Exactly who wanted her life, even killing Nanny Huan in the process?
If she couldn’t find the mastermind, she would never be at peace.
As the night grew deeper, Mu Huai felt as if his energy had been sapped away in an instant. He had not felt this drowsy for many years. Feeling sleepy, he hugged the woman as he went to meet the Duke of Zhou2. When Rong Xi saw that Mu Huai had fallen deep asleep, she wanted to wriggle out from his grasp.
However, even if he had entered the dreamland, Mu Huai’s arms still firmly held her in place. Rong Xi was helpless as she could only stay in his arms and fall asleep.
The next morning when Rong Xi had woken up, Mu Huai was no longer beside her. Placed next to the bed was a set of exquisitely crafted female robes. A servant knocked on the door, saying that she was here to help her dress.
Rong Xi called for the servant to enter the room.
When the roadside inn’s servant saw Rong Xi’s true appearance, her eyes widened in surprise. She had never seen such a beautiful lady before. Since she was a beauty, then she should try the drunken makeup look that was very trendy in Great Qi right now.
The servant used light black charcoal to draw hengyan3 eyebrows on Rong Xi. After sprinkling some pearl powder, she dipped her finger into a rouge made from quinoa flower and dabbed it under her eyes, giving them a slight pinkish tinge. Then she dipped another finger into a pomegranate rouge and applied it to Rong Xi’s lips.
Rong Xi’s appearance was originally quite pure and innocent-looking. After applying makeup, she became a bewitching beauty. The type that would suppress any beautiful thing around her.
After she wore the smoky purple crepe skirt and came out, the little attendant in the roadside inn was so shocked he dropped the cups and saucers in his tray. Even the servants doing rough work in the roadside inn were stunned silly.
The beauty in front of them had her black strands of hair pulled up into a bun. A fragrance wafted out from her sleeves, like a fairy, she caused her surroundings to lose all color. When her earrings shook, the hearts of the crowd swayed as well.
Rong Xi saw the little attendant clean up the broken piece of porcelain on the ground in a daze. She secretly thought that maybe it was because her makeup was too heavy. The servant led Rong Xi to the room Yin Cheng was staying in. The baxian table was already filled with dishes. Mu Huai and Yin Cheng were currently talking business.
When Yin Cheng saw Rong Xi, he was shocked.
Following which, his lips curved up into a smile. In order to avoid suspicions, he didn’t look at that bewitching beauty any further. In his heart, he muttered how Mu Huai was hiding Jiao in a golden house4, even strictly supervising her to conceal her beauty appearance.
Mu Huai sensed Rong Xi had arrived and looked in her direction, ordering, “Come here.”
Rong Xi obeyed and with small steps, walked to Mu Huai. Raising the public chopsticks, she began to pick up food for Mu Huai.
When Mu Huai saw this, he gave her an unhappy look, “Did you see the chair next to you? Did I ask you to serve me food?”
Rong Xi shook her head, and with a sorry look, she replied, “This slave…didn’t know.”
Mu Huai squinted his eyes and ordered again, “Sit down and eat.”
Rong Xi cautiously sat down. Mu Huai observed her for a moment, then frowned, “What’s all that stuff on your face, in the future you’re not allowed to wear makeup.”
Rong Xi obediently nodded. She also thought this makeup was too heavy, but that servant was very happy putting this makeup on, and she did not have the heart to reject her.
Yin Cheng quietly observed the two people in front of him. Although, Mu Huai was usually unforgiving with his words, he was unusually caring towards this woman. He saw him personally scooping a bowl of ham and pine nut porridge and place it in front of Rong Xi.
When Mu Huai saw Rong Xi place a hand over her chest, he spoke in a low voice, “If you want to throw up, then rest a little more before eating. At the very least, you need to finish the bowl of soup I served you.”
His tone was a little rough, but they carried a hint of coaxing.
Yin Cheng had already formed a guess in his heart, and his eyes met Mu Huai’s.
Mu Huai understood Yin Cheng’s look and nodded. His lips curled upwards as he said the word that confirmed Yin Cheng’s guess–
Hearing this, Rong Xi lowered her head, her ears so red they looked as if they were dripping blood.
Ying Cheng congratulated them. He was older than Mu Huai by a few years and had already taken a wife a few years ago, but his wife had yet to become pregnant. Yin Cheng understood that to children had a fate of their own. He also loved and respected his wife and did not take in any concubines.
On the other hand, Mu Huai was only twenty-one. The highest power, the beauty, and the child, he had it all.
Although Yin Cheng was happy for Mu Huai, he also deeply lamented how different two people’s luck could be.
After finishing breakfast, Mu Huai let Rong Xi head back first to rest. He said he still had business to take care of in the morning, and in the afternoon, he would take her and Nanny Huan’s body back to Bianjing.
Mu Huai sent people to call Hongzhou’s deputy military superintendent, deputy government, as well as the county magistrate of the place where Rong Xi’s incident occurred, over to the roadside inn. In his past life, after Rong Xi died, Mu Huai had always wanted to eliminate bandits.
To do so, he naturally had to start in Hongdu.
However, the matter of these bandits had dragged on for years. There were three reasons why—
- The towns and counties of Qi are often governed by the local clans, and it was difficult to determine whether one was a peasant or a bandit. Often times, peasants would be threatened and coerced by the bandits.
- The prefecture’s soldiers often did not have much power and strength. The ones that were brave and had an aptitude for battle would often be transferred to guard the borders or to the capital. Great Qi’s strongest army troops were Tianwu, Pengri, Longwei, and Shenwei, these four armies, also collectively known as the Four Armies.
- The third reason, also the most important reason, is that the hideout of those bandits were located deep within the mountain forests. It was very difficult to find them. In his past life, in order to track down the hideout of these bandits, he expended a lot of manpower and time.
But the current situation was different.
After Mu Huai summoned those officials, he first scolded the useless officials that only gave out vegetable rations. His words were threatening as he told them to watch themselves, they were not allowed to levy taxes on the common folks.
Knowing that the local soldiers were not as quick-witted as those from the Four Armies, he added that in a few days, he would send high-ranked military personnel to come and train these soldiers in order to prepare them against the bandits.
Relying on memories from his past life, Mu Huai rolled open the yellowed lambskin scroll. He circled various places on the map of Hongdu, narrowing it down to a couple of locations as he gave Hongdu’s military supervisor a general summary of the bandits’ whereabouts.
When the officials of Hongdu heard this, they found it difficult to believe, though they didn’t dare to voice out their doubts. This Crown Prince who always stayed in Bianjing, why would he be so familiar with Hongdu’s geography, even able to explain in detail the remote areas of Hongdu.
It was the Crown Prince’s command, they respectfully obeyed.
Three quarters past weishi (1:45 PM), the officials of Hongdu left the roadside inn. They did not eat lunch, so they were both hungry and tired as cold sweat dotted their foreheads.
Naturally, their soulless appearance was all caused by Mu Huai.
This young Crown Prince was sharp and energetic, his intelligence surpassing the average person. But his energy was too ferocious. When discussing politics, his eyes would become sharp and aggressive. Not allowing them to rest for even a moment, he only allowed the servants to bring up some tea, as if he didn’t even know what the word ‘tired’ meant.
Mu Huai had come to Hongdu in a rush this time. Although he had explained the reason to Zhuang Emperor before coming here, he also knew that since he had just become the Crown Prince, it was not good for him to leave Bianjing for too long.
After those officials left, the guards had already prepared a spacious carriage as well as a trailer to put Ant huan’s body in.
Mu Huai and Rong Xi sat in the carriage while Yin Cheng rode on his horse in front. When they returned to Bianjing, the group journeyed on the imperial paths, so their journey was very smooth. Rong Xi had the rare occasion where she did not have morning sickness, and so she leaned in Mu Huai’s arms as she took a nap.
After arriving in Bianjing, Mu Huai accompanied Rong Xi to the alley where Nanny Huan’s family lived. Hearing the news of Nanny Huan’s death, her son and daughter dived into Rong Xi’s arms and began to cry in sorrow.
Rong Xi saw the young children and couldn’t help but tear up as well.
Nanny Huan’s husband could not accept the news that she was gone. He was a little mentally challenged to begin with, and after receiving this blow, he suddenly seemed to have lost his mind.
He muttered incessantly, “It’s all my fault…I shouldn’t have told that person you went to Hongdu…if I didn’t say anything, Nanny Huan…Nanny Huan would not have died.”
Just as Rong Xi wanted to question Nanny Huan’s husband exactly who asked him about their whereabouts, Nanny Huan’s husband suddenly sat on the ground and began to loudly like cry a child.
When Mu Huai, who was standing by the house’s doorway, heard Nanny Huan’s husband crying, he immediately rushed into the room and protected Rong Xi.
Rong Xi suppressed her tears as she slowly clenched her fists.
Yin Cheng did not have any children, and so he adopted Nanny Huan’s son and daughter as his own.
Although Nanny Huan’s husband was not quite right in the head, he had a healthy physique. Yin Cheng wanted to wait until he had recovered before transferring him to his own army camp to do some errands like transport grains. That way he can live off the government salary.
If he wanted to see his children, they can discuss and set up a time for him to come to the Yin estate to visit them.
Although Nanny Huan’s family members have all been settled, since they did not find out the mastermind, Rong Xi felt as if a fish bone was stuck in her throat.
Prior to returning to the palace, because Mu Huai and Yin Cheng did not have lunch, they decided to go to the new restaurant on the imperial road to eat.
The skies had already grown dark and the lanterns were lit up. The restaurant was full of noise.
People in the capital were very picky towards food. Even commoners would choose to not light their fires for a few days and take their family over to the restaurants to eat dinner.
I twas easy to find rare and exotic things in the markets of Wazi. People were friendly and the city was propserous.
With things on her mind, when Rong Xi sat down in the private room upstairs, she looked at the lively scenery outside.
Mu Huai sat next to heard and quietly looked at her pretty and delicate profile. He thought, with her there, this was the first time he had felt this country was especially beautiful. Everything seemed to be vibrant and full of life, not at all like it was in his past life.
Everyone and everything was cold, gray, and dull.
Seeing how she was dispirited from having no appetite, Mu Huai was about to grab some dishes for her when Rong Xi placed her hand over her chest. She let Mu Huai know, wanting to leave the room to throw up. Mu Huai saw how uncomfortable she looked, and knowing that she had thin skin and didn’t want to lose her composure in front of Yin Cheng, he agreed to Rong Xi’s request. He let the guard accompany her.
It seemed like ever since they stepped into this restaurant, all the men’s gazes were glued to Rong Xi. Mu Huai regretted it, but he could not take back his words. Yesterday night he had told her that she did not heed to hide her looks with him there. But looking at the current situation, he really regretted it. He should’ve made her wear a face veil.
Her appearance was too eye-catching. He really wanted to dig out the eyes of all the men here.
After Rong Xi left. Yin Cheng could clearly sense that Mu Huai’s thoughts were somewhere else as they dined together. It seems like he had genuine feelings for this girl. Yin Cheng let out a light smile as he placed a chicken leg into each of Nanny Huan’s children’s bowls.
After waiting for a while and Rong Xi still hadn’t returned, Mu Huai felt slightly panicked. With a dark face, he left the private room, wanting to find her.
In the restaurant hallway downstairs, he suddenly heard the sound of a blade being unsheathed. When he heard this, Mu Huai’s expression immediately changed.
As he followed the sound, he discovered his guard had already pulled his sword out, shielding Rong Xi behind him.
A luxuriously dressed young noble was pulling on Rong Xi’s sleeve. When he saw the guard pull out his sword and place it next to his neck, the noble did not show any fear.
The youth was born handsome and though he had an innocent aura about him, his looks had a hint of indecency about them. His brown eyes were both clear and malicious. There was a bodyguard behind him, but that bodyguard definitely didn’t seem to be a local.
The two parties faced off, secretly preparing to cross blows.
Mu Huai’s eyes darkened as he briskly strode towards the group. When he was able to clearly see who the youth was, his eyebrow twitched.
So it was actually this wolf cub.
Translator’s comments: New character, yay! I wonder if it’s a foe or friend 🤔
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- Some newly throned emperors, in order to garner good karma, would grant nationwide amnesty/pardons to criminals (i.e. petty crimes are forgiven, death row criminals have their sentences delayed, etc.)
- Member of the royal family of the Zhou Dynasty that was considered very virtuous, and is known as the God of Dreams. According to Wiki, Chinese legends state that if something important is going to happen to someone, then the Duke of Zhou will let them know through their dreams.
- I couldn’t find an exact match for this type of brow style, but I’m assuming it looks similar to this
- Chinese idiom that comes from Emperor Wu of Han when he was a young child stating that he would build a golden house for Chen Jiao (later his Empress) if they were to get married. Original meaning is nice, though in modern days, this idiom means to hide a mistress away.