Pampered Into Being the Empress – Chapter 34
Translated by: Cozy Translations
Chapter 34 – Sweet (1)
Mu Huai’s hands were very good-looking. The knuckles and joints were prominent and the fingers were long and slender. When he said he would feed her, he picked up the semi-transparent porcelain spoon and stirred the medicinal tonic in the bowl to help distribute the heat more evenly.
When Rong Xi heard Mu Huai say he would feed her, she felt a little panicked inside. In the past she was a servant and was used to being the one serving him. On the other hand, Mu Huai was the Crown prince, and his personality was cold and proud. To personally serve his concubine doing this kind of thing, anyone seeing this would feel flattered.
Ever since Rong Xi returned with Mu Huai to the palace, she felt that Mu Huai had a drastic change of attitude towards her. All of his actions until now was clearly Mu Huai trying to pamper her.
Rong Xi couldn’t figure out the reason behind his change. Maybe it’s because she had been a servant for so long, but seeing her husband pamper and love her like so, her heart felt especially sweet. At the same time, however, she also felt as if this was all a dream, and even somewhat felt that it was a burden.
That burdensome feeling carried a sense of uneasiness with it as well.
She was afraid that Mu Huai would treat her well now, but he would also treat her coldly in the future and like another woman. Rong Xi felt ever since she had gotten pregnant, she had fallen into the habit of overthinking. The saying “a woman loses all her senses after falling in love” was very accurate in describing her current situation.
She knew that Mu Huai definitely liked her and had feelings for her. Perhaps his change was because of the child in her stomach, thus sprouting feelings of “love the house and thy crow”1.
Rong Xi’s cheeks turned red and she told Mu Huai in a small voice, “Husband…let this concubine do it herself…”
Seeing Rong Xi reach her arm out trying to steal the bowl away from him, Mu Huai frowned and commanded in a low voice, “Don’t move around and fall.”
Rong Xi could only do as he ordered, and wrapped an arm around his waist. Mu Huai held the bowl of soup as he fed her spoon by spoon.
However, this medicine was really too bitter. Every time she drank a spoonful, her brows would droop even more. Looking at this appearance of hers, Mu Huai developed some interest. This woman was very obedient in his arms, not at all harboring any grudges.
She was too obedient to the point he wanted to tease her until she cried. Mu Huai had to push down the sudden evil ideas that popped up. There was just a little under half of the medicine left. He had to make this woman finish it all.
When the bitter medicine entered the throat, it was difficult to keep it down. Rong Xi’s peach blossom eyes unknowingly began to tear up, and she felt that she was unable to suppress her tears, making her feel a little helpless. She originally didn’t want to cry, but her body wouldn’t listen to her.
When Mu Huai saw her misty eyes, he no longer fed her the medicine, placing the bowl on the desk. Following, he helplessly shook his head, “So finicky.”
Rong Xi pursed her soft lips, turning her head away to avoid meeting Mu Huai’s scorching gaze. That’s right. How did she become so finicky?
Seeing her attitude, Mu Huai let out a faint smile. His voice was as cold as always as he ordered Dan Xiang, “Bring some sweets over for liangdi.”
Dan Xiang obeyed and very quickly brought over a lacquered four-tier wooden food box. Inside was filled with candied orange peels, candy, golden plums, and honey-fried ginger slices.
It was said that the late emperor’s beloved wife, Empress Bizhen, loved to eat sweets like these. Due to this, other than the six ministries in this palace, there was also a honey-frying ministry, specially created to make the honey-fried ginger slices for Empress Bizhen.
Mu Huai was not a fan of sweets. In his past life, not long after he ascended the throne, he had dissolved that honey-frying ministry, and the silvers originally spent there was used to supplement military expenses instead.
However, if the woman in front of him liked these, then in this life, this honey-frying ministry can be kept. Deep in his thoughts, he casually picked up some unknown sweet and fed it to the woman in his embrace.
Rong Xi ate the sweet that Mu Huai fed her. Her pink cheeks bulged as she chewed, looking very cute. She could taste that this sweet was a sweetened ginger slice. Coincidentally, this helped alleviate the bitterness from the medicine, and her originally wrinkled brows also smoothed out.
Mu Huai saw her comfortable expression and asked, “Is it sweet?”
Rong Xi nodded and replied, “Husband, try a piece.”
She was about to reach out to the lacquered food box, but Mu Huai grabbed her wrist. Tightening his hold around her waist, he leaned over and kissed her.
His tongue invaded her mouth and captured the sweetness between her lips and teeth.
Licking and grinding his lips against hers.
Rong Xi who was curled up in his embrace felt as if she was melting into a puddle of water.
She closed her eyes, feeling the man’s breath slowly trapping her. At this moment, she only had one thought—
She really wanted to be loved by him like this forever.
She really wanted to possess all of his warmth and tenderness.
She didn’t want to share him with other women.
Right now, she had really become a selfish and greedy woman, ah.
As the days go on, the feelings between husband and wife can either grow deeper and more passionate, or it can become more shallow and distant.
Rong Xi thought if a man like Mu Huai were to love her forever, then she should also reciprocate with her own efforts as well, letting him forever feel as if he was in paradise, unable to forget her.
When the two’s breaths became messy, Mu Huai finally let go of her.
His voice was a little hoarse as he answered his own question, “It’s sweet.”
After the medicine-feeding session ended, it was already in the afternoon. The sun was still burning brightly.
Mu Huai had to leave the palace to go to the Court of Judicial Review. Wearing his official robes and his extravagant crown was not very comfortable, so he changed into a set of white robes and he hung the xie die Rong Xi had made for him around his waist. Before he left, Rong Xi placed a little pouch filled with candied crackers made from salvia in one of the pockets on his xie die.
Mu Huai was a little unhappy and asked in a puzzled voice, “Do you treat me as a child? Giving me candy when I leave the palace?”
He had face of extreme rejection as he shoved the bag of candy back to Rong Xi’s hands. Such a big man, if people knew that he carried candy on him, they would die of laughter.
Rong Xi raised her head to look at him, and patiently explained to him, “This concubine was think that it’s easy for people to feel tired after noon. This salvia has properties of lifting one’s spirits. If Husband feels tired, then you can eat a piece to help.”
Mu Huai pursed his thin lips. Looking at the beauty’s concerned eyes, he finally gave in and shoved the back of whatever candy into his xie die with a heavy face.
After leaving the Eastern Palace, he was still complaining inside.
Women were really troublesome. Too many twists and turns inside their hearts, coming up with new ways everyday to torture him.
After he exited from Xuanhua Gate, Mu Huai rode on a luxurious sedan towards the Court of judicial Review. As the wooden sedan’s wheels rolled over the stone grounds, he felt a little sleepy. He was planning on just closing his eyes to take a nap for a while, but the Court of Judicial Review was not far from Yongxi Palace. Riding on a sedan to get there, he would arrive very soon and would not be able to rest for very long.
Mu Huai had a dark expression on his face when he remembered the bag of candy Rong Xi had shoved in his xie die. He took the bag of candy out and ate a piece. The refreshing taste of the salvia immediately made his mind clear up and his fatigue disappeared. Mu Huai really didn’t expect that his little liangdi‘s candy would really be that useful.
Not too long later, the sedan arrived at the Court of Judicial Review.
The words ‘Court of Judicial Review’ were painted in gold on a wooden plaque above the gates. Two stone lions flanked the sides of the steps to guard the entrance. Qing Hongguang was already standing ready at the doorsteps of the Court of Judicial Review to personally welcome the Crown Prince.
After Mu Huai got off the sedan, he felt himself become even more awake. After the Court of Judicial Review’s Qing Hongguang saluted him, Mu Huai gave him a slight nod.
Hongguang smelled the faint herbal scent coming from Mu Huai’s body. Seeing his body clad in simple white robes and looking like a gentle jade scholar, Hongguang couldn’t help but secretly let out a sigh. Such a clean and good-looking young man was unexpectedly a heroic warrior that had killed countless enemies.
This was the first time Mu Huai had come to the Court of Judicial Review after his rebirth. The scenery in front of him did not change much.
The cases the Court of Judicial Review presided over were usually Bianjing’s urgent cases, as well as any other serious cases from other regions. The Chief Minister and Vice Minister would pass their judgment, and the Ministry of Justice would review it, before finally making its way to the Emperor’s eyes.
Originally, the purpose of the Court of Judicial Review was to prevent local officials from becoming too powerful and bullying the commoners, making them afraid of being wrongly accused. Mu Huai looked askew at Hongguang next to him. If going by the events from his previous life, then this Hongguang would perish from illness the year after next.
After Hongguang had become the Chief Minister of the Court of Judicial Review, he did not have any merits nor any faults. He only knew how to walk the path of an official, and did things based on his assumption of the Emperor’s intentions. His actual actions and results were just average.
Yet, the successor of Hongguang’s Chief Minister position was someone named Zuo Dingzhi. When Mu Huai thought of Zuo Dingzhi, his face became solemn.
The first few years when he took over the throne, he was not adept at reading the intentions of others and thus allowed this Zuo Dingzhi to become the Chief Minister of the Court of Judicial Review.
This Zuo Dingzhi was not a capable person, but was adept at making power plays. He secretly formed a party with the other officials in the Court of Judicial Review, making outcasts out of the officials who did not support his promotion.
When Hongguang was still alive, this Zuo Dingzhi would flatter him to no end. Hongguang was also a muddle-headed person who didn’t know how to read others. He let this Zuo Dingzhi be his successor for his position.
Mu Huai still remembered that the person he suppressed was named Xue Rui, a talented and upright person that did not make compromises.
The years that Zuo Dingzhi became Chief Minister of the Court of Judicial Review was marked by many cases of wrongful accusations. By the time Mu Huai found out and had this person fired, the citizens had already lost trust in the fair and justness of the Court of Judicial Review.
When Mu Huai sat down in the main hall, an attendant brought over some tea. At the side, Hongguang wanted to introduce two people to him. Mu Huai gently blew on the tea, and took a look. He saw that the two people Hongguang wanted to introduce to him were coincidentally Zuo Dingzhi and Xue Rui.
Hongguang respectfully spoke to Mu Huai, “Your Highness, these are the two new Assistant Magistrates, Zuo Dingzhi and Xue Rui.”
Zuo Dingzhi and Xue Rui respectfully greeted him.
Mu Huai set the teacup on the table. His eyes were calm without any ripples as he ordered the two to rise. He was never one to tolerate even a speck of sand in his eyes. The moment he thought about how Zuo Dingzhi, this scourge, was still in the Court of Judicial Review causing trouble, he became extremely irritated.
But if he could not find a proper reason, he could not have Zuo Dingzhi scram in front of so many officials.
Mu Huai’s mind began to churn out a scheme. He told Hongguang, “Since it’s the new assistant magistrates, then I naturally have to test the two people’s abilities.”
Hong Guang bowed and asked, “How does Your Highness want to test them?”
Mu Huai ordered, “The Assistant Magistrates of my Great Qi’s Court of Judicial Review have to review many different cases, as well as review any potentially illegal errors in documents and books. The responsibility they bear is great, and no mistakes are allowed. Then today, let’s have Assistant Magistrate Xue first check Assistant Magistrate Zuo’s case files and documents. Then tomorrow, we’ll have Assistant Magistrate Zuo check Assistant Magistrate Xue’s case files.”
When Hongguang heard this, he immediately sent someone to fetch the files for the recent cases that Zuo Dingzhi was presiding over. Xue Rui’s expression was very calm when he heard this, but Zuo Dingzhi’s expression changed.
Mu Huai observed the two people’s expressions. He knew that Zuo Dingzhi was without talent nor skills, and Xue Rui would definitely catch something when checking his files. He ordered Hongguang to bring out all the recent cases from the different provinces as well. Spreading them out on the desk, he thoroughly examined the judgments of the initial trials the Court of Judicial Review had passed down.
As Mu Huai read the cases, he couldn’t help but think of Rong Xi. Thinking of the times she called him husband, that sweet and tender voice. Then remembering the times when she would gently smile at him, her cheeks would rise up.
Before he came to the Court of Judicial Review, he had a moment where he didn’t want to leave the warmth of the Eastern Palace, only wanting to continue hugging that warm and soft woman, passing the days away in a foggy haze.
Mu Huai’s brows relaxed when he thought of this.
He had an overbearing personality and didn’t like to have other people interfere with his matters or try to pin him down. He liked to be the master and have everything within his control.
But this woman had greatly changed him. He cared too much about her. Even when he was doing official business, the image of that woman would float in his mind.
Sooner or later, he would die in her hands.
Mu Huai’s countenance grew solemn as his aura intimidated the surrounding people. The officials nearby were frightened out of their wits seeing this. They had to restrain and control the strength of their breathing, afraid that any one of their movements would be a sore thumb in the Crown Prince’s eyes, and he would remove their positions.
In the end, Mu Huai was still a diligent leader. It didn’t take long for him to adjust his mindset and finally stop thinking about Rong Xi.
This author wants to say:
Old Dog Mu: Today I was spoiled by my wife, so I can do big things today
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