Pampered Into Being the Empress – Chapter 37
Translated by: Cozy Translations
Chapter 37 – Massage
Rong Xi didn’t understand what Mu Huai was saying. Maybe it was because she felt sleepy after taking a bath, even her appearance looked a little naive right now.
Her thick lashes flickered as her glassy eyes looked at the man. Mu Huai held the soft and seemingly boneless woman. Seeing her two bare feet, he couldn’t help but think of a verse—
Carved from jade, beauty makes one forgetful1.
Seeing her confused expression, he helplessly pinched her soft cheek. He didn’t feel like he used a lot of strength, but a red fingerprint mark was still left on that person’s face.
Rong Xi looked a little aggrieved as she rubbed her sore face, in a small voice she spoke grudgingly, “Husband, be more gentle, this concubine…hurts.”
These words once again set afire the dimmed embers in Mu Huai’s heart.
Thinking of how before she had always used this sort of sweet voice to call out: Your Highness, be gentle.
Unexpectedly saying such seductive words.
Mu Huai’s brows grew heavy as he looked down towards his aggrieved liangdi. He flicked her nose and asked, “Why don’t you lay properly, instead of sprawling out on this bed?”
Rong Xi held her nose and replied, “Although this concubine’s morning sickness has gotten much better recently, the area by the waist…it’s always sore and uncomfortable. If I curl up like just now, then it feels much better.”
Mu Huai’s gaze shifted to Rong Xi’s slightly bulging stomach. Although her belly had gotten a little bigger, her waist was still as slender as ever. She was born petite, it was not easy for her to be pregnant.
Mu Huai placed her on the bed and his large hand moved to her waist as he began to clumsily massage her. He paid careful attention to the amount of strength he exerted, afraid that if he was too forceful, this person would start to nag at him again and hold a grudge.
After massaging for a while, Mu Huai suddenly realized that his pair of hands were originally used to raise swords and cut down enemies. Now it had fallen to the state of giving massages to someone.
His thin lips rose into a smile as his eyes deepened. Inside, he was muttering how this person really caused his mind and heart to be muddled.
Yet his hand never stopped moving.
As he massaged her, the little warbler in front of him talked unceasingly with that sweet and soft voice of hers.
She said, “When it gets further along in the pregnancy, will have to ask the people in the pharmacy bureau to write a prescription for this concubine, otherwise there’ll be stretch marks on the belly.”
Mu Huai thought of her stomach that was as fair as fresh snow.
She continued, “This concubine is afraid that I will turn fat. After the belly becomes bigger, the child will be naughty inside, and maybe at that time, this concubine will have more problems.”
As Mu Huai continued to listen to her, he felt more and more as if his hart was being scratched by a cat. In the past he had felt that her voice was too sweet, too uncomfortable to listen to. Now, he’ll feel unhappy if he didn’t get to hear her voice.
Rong Xi spoke for a long time before sensing Mu Huai’s movements had slowed, and he had not answered her for a long time.
He didn’t say anything at all, in fact.
She turned around and dove into the man’s arms. Her wrists hooked around the man’s neck as she asked, “Husband…are you listening to this concubine?”
Finished, she stamped her lips on the man’s mouth.
Rong Xi felt that Mu Huai underwent a great change. Before she came back to the palace, he still carried an air of youthfulness around him, his countenance always dark and slightly rebellious. However, now he looked much more steady and calm, not at all the temperament a twenty-something year-old man should have.
Mu Huai’s Adam’s apple rolled. The girl had already finished kissing him and still had her arms circled around his neck, looking at him with a probing gaze.
If this little vixen wasn’t pregnant, then he’d be making her cry on the bed right now.
Mu Huai saw her hair was a little messy and his hand reached out to place the stray strands behind her ear. Looking at her pretty brows, he couldn’t help but lean over and gently kiss them.
From her brows to her eyes, then to her exquisite nose.
Dense kisses peppered her like rain.
When he finally reached her lips, they grew heavier.
Mu Huai carefully held her waist, afraid that this woman with unsteady breathing would tumble down from his arms.
When his hand began to squeeze her wrist, Rong Xi understood his intentions and her cheeks grew red.
Rong Xi leaned her head against his shoulder. Such a posture made it look as if she was kneeling against his sturdy thighs. Her loose hair tickled her bare feet.
After a long while, Rong Xi’s eyes were as gentle as a deer, covered with a thin layer of mist. Yet the man’s gaze looked unsatisfied and full of even more desire than before.
When he looked at her, Rong Xi felt as if her pounding heart was gradually being burned away by his scorching gaze.
When Mu Huai let go of her wrists, Rong Xi’s voice turned as soft as cotton as she whispered to the man, “The imperial physician said that when this concubine reaches the fifth month of pregnancy…it should be fine.”
But to him, even holding back for a day was a form of torture for him.
Seeing her naive expression, some more ideas sprouted in Mu Huai’s heart, and only after chanting many times did he finally hoarsely reply, “En.”
Just as Rong Xi wanted to lean against him again, Mu Huai ordered in a low voice, “In the future, without my permission, you are not allowed to…lay on the bed like you did today.”
Following, he gathered the soft and limp liangdi back into his ams again.
Rong Xi naturally didn’t know that the man’s thoughts were leaning that way, and was afraid that her posture wasn’t correct, mistakenly harming the child, and thus obediently replied, “This concubine understands.”
Today was a rest day for the court officials. Bianjing’s weather was clear and fresh.
The corridors and pavilions in the Department of State Affairs’ residence2 was designed exquisitely and elegantly with curved bridges floating on the water. The layout of the garden was separated from each other, yet also harmonious, hiding a beautiful landscape.
The flowers have not yet bloomed in the early spring, but the pine trees were as green as always. By the fake mountain flowed a stream, making the scenery look very lively.
On this day, Di Zhuo was in his estate’s pavilion resting while drinking tea. He had taken in a new concubine from Sweetwater Alley and elevated her to the position of yiniang.
At this moment, this thirteenth-ranked3 yiniang was currently playing the pipa4 as she sang a Jiangnan song. The pavilion they were in was located in the middle of a lotus pond, surrounded by boulders.
Di Zhuo had his eyes closed as he appreciated his new concubine’s singing. He was ruminating how Li Rui had become too arrogant after holding the military seal and seemed as if he was very powerful, but had his head chopped off by the Eastern Palace’s Crown Prince.
As for him, he was the Chief Minister of the Ministry of Rites, as well as the Lord Uncle5.
The imperial family cannot cut ties with the ceremonial rites, and he was also a second-ranked official. Although he did not carry as much prestige as Yin Cheng, he passed his days by like an immortal.
Outside, he pretended to be humble and tuck in his tail. The moment he returned to his residence, he’d enjoy the luxurious of his life to the fullest.
This type of lifestyle, afraid even Zhuang Emperor did not live so extravagantly.
At this moment, a koi fish jumped out form the water.
Di Zhuo opened his eyes, and the thirteenth yiniang stopped her playing.
It turns out Madame Di had brought her two daughters here. She was a little unhappy as she spoke to Di Zhuo, “Old Master, didn’t you promise that you would come to this concubine’s quarters to pick out fabrics and clothing designs for Yin’er and Hua’er? The shopkeeper has already arrived, but you still haven’t come over.”
Madame Di cast a glare at the thirteenth yiniang. Thirteenth yiniang held her pipa and immediately retreated.
Di Zhuo pretended to come to a sudden realization as he warmly answered, “Since you mother and daughters have arrived, then call that shopkeeper to come to the pavilion. This husband6 will pick out some good fabrics for Yin’er and Hua’er.”
The servants immediately brought over a silkscreen to place in front of the two Di family’s daughters, prevent outside men from being seeing the two unmarried flowers.
Di Zhuo spoiled these two di daughters of his very much. The two people grew up being pampered. Every spring, when it was time to make new clothes, they would spend at least one hundred gold pieces. Moreover, before they could wear a majority of the new clothing, it was already time to make summer clothing.
The shopkeeper followed an attendant as he displayed the newly woven luxurious brocades one by one. Madame Di asked for Di Zhuo and Di Shiyin’s opinions before having the shopkeeper bring out some satin ones for comparison.
Seeing the silk fabric was very good, Madame Di chipered a couple times before instructing Di Shiyin, “I heard the liangdi in the Eastern palace is very beautiful. This time, when Yin’er enters the palace again, you must carefully dress up, do not let that liangdi step over your head.”
Di Shiyin’s voice was warm and gentle as she respectfully replied, “This daughter remembers.”
Di Shihua let out a light snort when she heard this and said somewhat disdainfully, “No matter how she dresses up, the foundation is just like so. This child has seen Rong liangdi before. Elder Sister is not just somewhat lacking compared to her. I’m afraid that no matter how she tries to dress up, she will be unable to surpass her.”
Hearing such strange words, Madam Di somewhat angrily scolded her, “How come after you returned form the palace this time, you keep being disrespectful to your elder sister, do you even remember to respect your elders?”
Di Shiyin felt unhappy when she heard Di Shihua’s words, but she had always played the part of a virtuous and magnanimous person in front of her parents, so she purposely pretended to reassure Madame Di, “Mother, Shihua is still young and she is ignorant. Don’t scold her.”
Madame Di felt very moved when she heard this and told Di Zhuo, “look at this, in the end it’s still our eldest daughter that is the most sensible one.”
Di Zhuo nodded as he stroked his mustache.
Di Shihua angrily gripped the handkerchief in her hand when she heard this. Ever since Rong Xi had discovered her hairpin from last time was one that Di Shiyin didn’t want, she had slowly begun to clearly see how fake and pretentious her elder sister was.
It was just as that Rong liangdi had said. Di Shiyin had always treated her as the leaves, wanting to step on her to show that she was the flower.
Thinking of this, Di Shihua was so angry she stood up, wanting to leave with her maidservant.
Madame Di stopped her when she saw this, asking, “You’re going to go back now? You don’t want to pick fabrics anymore?”
Di Shihua tossed her sleeves and answered, “No need to pick. Either way, I’m always picking form her leftovers. After Father and Mother finish picking fabrics for her, then just leave whatever’s reamining for me.”
Finished, Di Shihua turned around and left.
Di Shiyin heard how her younger sister refused to call her ‘elder sister’, instead just saying ‘her’, and only helplessly shook her head.
At this moment, Di Zhuo was thinking out loud, “I think I’ve heard of the surname Rong. In the past, there was also an official under me that had the surname Rong, he was one of the Minister of Ceremonies.”
Stroking his mustache, he was silent for a moment as he contemplated before speaking again, “I think it was…Rong Bing.”
Di Shiyin asked her father, “Then where is this Rong Bing working currently, is he still in the Ministry of Rites?”
Di Zhuo took a sip of tea before answering, “That Rong Bing left Bianjing a long time ago. After committing a crime, he was exiled.”
Exiled? Then he was a criminal official.
Di Shiyin slowly began to think of an idea as she asked Di Zhuo again, “Father, then does this Rong Bing have any family members or children?”
Hearing the mention of Rong Bing, Di Zhuo’s eyes became a little evasive as he shut his mouth, “You’re just a girl who never stepped out of the boudoir, what’s the use of knowing about another man’s family affairs? Anyways, this was something that happened a long time ago, how could your father still remember?”
Di Shiyin gave a gentle smile as she admitted her mistake towards her father.
On the other hand, she was thinking how even though that Rong liangdi was allegedly a commoner, she was unable to find out her background. Now that she has discovered of a criminal official named Rong Bing, then no matter if she was Rong Bing’s daughter or not, she had to think of a way to make the commoners believe that she was the daughter of a criminal official.
For the daughter of a criminal can never become the concubine of the Crown Prince.
Three days later, it was Consort De’s birthday.
Consort De had given birth to the Third Prince, Mu Tao, for Zhuang Emperor. Not too long ago, Mu Tao was made into a qinwang7, and Zhuang Emperor had planned a palace feast in Zirui Hall for Consort De’s birthday, calling it the ‘Welcoming Spring Celebration’.
The feast was not only to celebrate Consort De’s birthday, but also to celebrate Mu Tao being made into a ranked prince, as well as carrying the blessings of welcoming spring. Naturally, it was planned to be very grand.
When Consort Xian was still alive, Consort De had a very good relationship with her.
Amongst Zhuang Emperor’s imperial concubines, the only one that Mu Huai had a slightly good impression of was Consort De.
The arrogant Noble Consort Li was stripped of her rank and had been carried out of Consort Shu’s palace by the eunuchs to the cold palace8. Her son, Mu Ji, was under house arrest in Xing Palace, and her daughter Mu Qian had shaved her hair and become a nun because she was unable to accept the change in her life.
Wearing luxurious robes, Rong Xi accompanied Mu Huai to the feast. However, on their way there, she felt that the man’s expression was not very good and was faintly sullen. She knew that Mu Huai did not really like to attend these types of celebrations, but as the Crown prince, he could not disregard all of them.
She didn’t dare to speak too much as she cautiously walked alongside this angry “lion”.
As the sun began to set, they encountered many other noble personages also on their way to Zirui Hall to attend the celebrations.
Rong Xi saw Mu Huai’s gaze lock on one person and his countenance immediately became cold and heavy, even carrying some hatred in them. She followed his sight and looked over, recognizing that person. When Mu Huai was still just an imperial prince, she had accompanied him to Hanlin Academy and more or less recognized the noble young masters present.
That person was Mu Yuan. He could be considered Mu Huai’s younger cousin.
Obviously, Rong Xi did not know what type of hatred there was between Mu Huai and Mu Yuan. She only saw that Mu Yuan was not yet sixteen, and he had a young lady next to him. Seeing Mu Huai, they walked up and bowed respectfully, “This subject-brother greets Your Highness.”
Mu Huai gave Mu Yuan an indifferent glance before seeing the unusually familiar girl next to him.
WHen he gave a closer look, he discovered that it was that noble consort from his past life that kept pillow-talking Mu Yuan. Who would’ve expected that that person had been with Mu Yuan this long ago.
Mu Yuan had not married yet but had brought a concubine to the celebration. Mu Huai wanted to cause him trouble but on second thought, Rong Xi was also a concubine right now. As such, he only gave a cursory glance and replied, “Rise.”
Finished, he didn’t deign to look any longer at that dog couple. Tossing his sleeves, he led Rong Xi away.
The lanterns lit up the evening skies. Mu Huai saw Rong Xi walking next to him from the side of his eye and his mood became much calmer. Thankfully in this life, he had a chance to make different decisions. He would not let Mu Yuan, this muddle-headed idio, inherit the throne.
Thankfully, in this life, Rong Xi was pregnant with his child and safely by his side. If this child was a boy, then it would be his eldest son and he would raise him carefully. In the future, this child would be his heir.
Thinking of this, Mu Huai’s expression grew much lighter.
When they arrived by the hall’s gates, just as Dan Xiang wanted to help Rong Xi cross through the threshold, Mu Huai stopped walking and personally held onto her elbow, helping her step across.
His movements were very cautious, as if he was handling a jade vase.
Di Shiyin was not far behind them. Seeing Mu Huai’s gentle actions towards Rong Xi, her eyes were about to spit venom. She grumbled to herself, “Is she really that precious, it’s not as if she can’t walk by herself…”
Di Shihua heard her elder sister’s jealous words and her smile became deeper as she continued to provoke Di Shiyin, “Elder Sister, you don’t seem to be as smart as before. Look at the way that Rong liangdi is walking so carefully. One look an you can tell she’s pregnant. THe Crown Prince treats her so preciously must also be due to this.”
Di Shiyin felt herself panic when she heard this.
WHen she recalled the way Rong Xi was carefully walking, she felt that Di Shihua’s guess must be correct.
She finally figured out what that disgusting woman could be so arrogant. It turns out she was pregnant.
She [DSY] actually let a concubine get pregnant before her. If this child is a boy…
Di Shiyin forced herself to stay calm as she purposely spoke in an indifferent one, “Even if she’s pregnant with Crown Prince’s child, it’s not necessarily a son. Even if she’s really pregnant with a boy, it’d just be a shu9 son, what is there to be so smug about?”
Di Shihua observed her older sister’s expression and saw she was just pretending to be indifferent. She continued to provoke her with her words, “Aye, that’s why I said that there’s a reason Crown Prince treats her like a treasure. Elder Sister, this younger sister thinks that you shouldn’t cause trouble for that Rong liangdi. Look at her foxy appearance. If you provoke her and she uses that sweet and coquettish voice of hers to cry and complain to Crown Prince, not to mention Crown Prince will coax her, he’ll definitely have a bad impression of you as well.”
Translator’s comments: It’s amusing to see enemies fighting amongst themselves.
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- Idiom to mean that someone’s skin looks so flawless that it looks like it was carved from jade, and that a stunning person can be so beautiful one forgets they’re hungry
- The Department of State Affairs contains the Ministry of Rites as well as the other minsitries
- Meaning she’s the thirteenth concubine he’s taken in
- A traditional Chinese stringed instrument
- The 国舅爷 guojiuye is the brother-in-law of the Emperor
- He uses the term weifu 为夫, referring to himself in the third person POV
- First-ranked prince
- Where demoted imperial concubines go to
- Children born from a concubine are called shu sons/daughters