Pampered Into Being the Empress – Chapter 38
Translated by: Cozy Translations
Chapter 38 – Ripped Apart
The star of the spring welcome and birthday celebrations, Consort De, as well as the newly-made prince, Mu Tao, were naturally the focus of the banquet.The mother and son duo were seated at the top, close to Mu Huai and Rong Xi’s table.
In his past life, Mu Huai was overly suspicious and paranoid and believed many unfounded rumors, cruelly devising a scheme to execute his own third brother. Mu Huai only realized how great of a mistake he made after Mu Tao passed away, realizing how his third brother never intended to rebel.
When he recalled the way Mu Tao treated him when his legs weren’t cured yet and how he took care of his younger brother that shared the same father but different mothers, Mu Huai understood that he had secretly helped him a lot.
He had a short-tempered personality and would often drive the noble young masters in Hanlin Academy angry yet be unable to say anything. It was always Mu Tao who would smooth things over for him, explaining things to those young masters, afraid that Mu Huai would offend too many people.
On the side, Mu Ji would take advantage of these incidents to show off how magnanimous and kind he was.
He harbored a grudge against Mu Ji and Mu Qian due to what happened to their mothers, but Mu Tao would always feel sad seeing the brothers at odds with each other. During the years when Mu Huai could not walk, Mu Tao had tried many times to patch up the relationship between the three people.
In his past life, after Mu Tao died, Mu Huai would recall all the events that occurred in the past. Only then did he finally understand his third brother had really done many things for him in secret.
After he had ascended the throne, Mu Tao had helped him resolve a lot of problems in the beginning years of his enthronement. He had personally made the trip to the drought-stricken Zizhou, a virtuous prince that thought of the people.
After all this time and all these events have passed, when Mu Huai thought of what happened in his past life, he would always feel regret and apologetic towards Mu Tao.
In a rare show of respect, Mu Huai raised his wine cup and wished Consort De a happy birthday while also congratulating Mu Tao for establishing his residence and becoming a ranked prince.
Consort De was a little shocked from receiving his favor, almost forgetting to raise her wine cup and drink the alcohol.
She was best friends with Mu Huai’s mother, Consort Xian, and thus, she could be considered to have watched Mu Huai grow up. However, even when Consort Xian was alive, she had felt that this fourth prince’s personality was quite possessive.
After Mu Huai had become the Crown Prince, although he excelled in literature and martial arts and was a good, diligent, and strategic leader, his personality had become more and more arrogant.
He was originally born above all others and he also possessed a type of ability that most people did not have. Having a cold and intimidating personality was quite normal.
After Consort Xian passed away, Mu Huai’s legs became crippled not too long after. Consort De’s heart ached at this fourth prince who lost his mother so early. Every day she would nag Mu Tao, telling him to take more care of Mu Huai at Hanlin Academy.
Mu Tao was a sensible person, and had followed his mother’s teachings all these years, secretly helping Mu Huai. Moreover, he also had a very good relationship with his older brother Mu Ji. Even though Mu Ji was currently imprisoned in Xing Palace, when Consort De saw the Crown Prince treat her and Mu Tao cordially, she let out a sigh of relief in her heart.
Not too long ago when Zhuang Emperor was telling her about the matter of making Mu Tao a ranked prince, she still had some reservations inside. She was afraid that Mu Huai would be jealous of Mu Tao, so before Mu Tao moved into his estate, she had a long discussion with him. She instructed him to do things in a low-key manner, he must take great caution to not offend the Eastern Palace’s Crown Prince.
What happened to Noble Consort Li left a lingering fear in her. She was all too clear on how cruel and ruthless this Crown Prince’s methods were. Thankfully, the current situation looks like the Crown Prince did not harbor any suspicions over her and her son.
Zhuang Emperor took all of this in and spoke to the Empress sitting next to him in a warm voice, “Zhen sees that after Crown Prince took in liangdi, his personality has become much more humble. He knows how to be filial to his shu mother and respect his brothers.”
The Empress nodded, her gaze landing on Mu Huai and Rong Xi. However, the smile on her face was a little stiff.
Consort De saw that the wine cup in front of Rong Xi was empty and questioned, “Does liangdi have a poor alcohol tolerance, how come I don’t see you drinking?”
Rong Xi cast Mu Huai a side glance when she heard this, not knowing how she should answer Consort De. There were not many people in the palace that knew she was pregnant, and she was unclear whether Mu Huai had plans on letting other people know.
Mu Huai’s attention was focused on the wine cup in his hand, his profile looking very calm. After he nodded, Rong Xi understood his intention and explained to Consort De in a soft voice, “…This concubine is pregnant, so…cannot drink.”
Finished, she caressed her stomach and lowered her head bashfully.
Consort De showed a joyful smile as she praised, “Liangdi was born beautiful and is someone full of luck, no wonder why Crown Prince pampers you.”
In the seats across, the two daughters of the Di family had been observing the conversation between Rong Xi and Consort De. Although they were quite a distance away from the two, Di Shiyin could make out what Rong Xi and Consort De were saying by reading their lips. When she saw Rong Xi rubbing her stomach in a somewhat protective manner, her heart tightened.
It looks like Di Shihua’s guess was on the mark, that lowly concubine’s pregnant!
Everyone mingled together at the banquet, the sounds of music floating through the air as the smell of wine permeated the surroundings.
Mu Huai wore the crown prince’s golden banquet robes, and his hair was pinned up with a hairpin made of rhino’s horn and encased in a jie ze. His eyes were deep and unfathomable. A young man that was clearly born with bright and handsome looks, but his aura was one that intimidated others, making others afraid of looking directly at him.
He coldly swept his gaze over Zhuang Emperor’s crowd of imperial concubines, only drinking a few more cups of liquor. He had no intention of eating these extravagant-looking dishes.
After he ascended the throne in his past life, he could count on his hands the number of times he held a palace banquet in the year. Other than the necessary memorial rites for the imperial family, he very rarely needed the people from the Ministry of Rites to hold any banquets or celebrations.
Mu Huai quietly looked at the dishes on the table, each of them costing quite a lot of money. The money spent on the wine and dishes, as well as the money spent on bestowing palace rewards, could be used to purchase many good horses from Xijiang, and it can also cover a year’s worth of expenses for the thousands of troops.
Thinking of how three years later, a drought would occur near Great Qi’s borders that would deplete the national treasury, Yan Juxu in his past life had adopted a more relaxed governing policy. Letting Great Qi recuperate and rest, finally restoring the national strength.
However, in order to make up for the deficiency caused by the drought, it took two to three years’ worth of effort. During those two to three years, he had always been inside the palace and could only make do with what was happening outside.
Looking at the imperial concubines present, Mu Huai began to feel annoyed. After Zhuang Emperor dies, he still had to support these shu dowager concubines. What they ate and what they wore would only increase in cost.
As for the drought that would occur in three years, he could only prepare countermeasures in advance, but he would not be able to stop it.
Although it was said that the emperor was the son of heaven, if God wanted to bring forth disaster, then no matter how much power he had, he would not be able to stop it.
Rong Xi also did not have much appetite.
She wasn’t in the mood to cater to the sullen Mu Huai. Anyways, this man’s temper was always changing. She was long used to it.
Instead, she was thinking about how she was wearing brocade robes, eating exotic dishes, and partaking in the imperial family’s honor.
But what about Yunlan and Nanny Huan?
They should’ve been living safe and sound as well. Yunlan should’ve been sharpening her medical skills in the pharmacy bureau, and Nanny Huan should’ve been passing her days peacefully with her family.
Yet the mastermind, that Di family’s eldest daughter Di Shiyin, was also sitting in this palace banquet. Dressed as pretty as a flower, her attitude looked even more regal than a princess.
When the palace maid brought over fresh fish, Rong Xi felt nauseous the moment she smelled it. The morning sickness that was dormant had reared its head again after a long time.
Rubbing her chest, she spoke in a low voice to Mu Huai, “Husband…this concubine has some morning sickness. I’m afraid that it won’t be a pretty sight if I throw up during the banquet, I want to leave early to get some fresh air.”
Mu Huai’s train of thought was interrupted. Just as he was about to turn around to ask further, he saw Rong Xi already standing up as she quickly left the area with Dan Xiang assisting her.
He could only shake his head helplessly. He ordered the eunuch next to him, “Let the guards follow liangdi. Tell her if she feels any discomfort, she doesn’t need to return to the banquet, just go directly back to the Eastern palace to rest.”
The eunuch assented.
Mu Huai saw the jade dish in front of Rong Xi’s seat was clean, just like his. Neither of them had ate anything here. He frowned, wanting to personally go over to take a look.
When Rong Xi left Zirui Hall, he had Dan Xiang go with her to the nearby royal gardens. Leaning on the fake mountain, she rubbed her chest and dry-heaved for a while.
The guards were following behind the two already when they saw Di Shiyin walking towards the duo with a maidservant she brought from her maternal home.
Rong Xi had always pretended to be a domineering and air-headed beauty in front of the Di sisters. Today’s little show of fragility was never seen before.
Di Shiyin saw the guards block her again and became a little unhappy.
After Rong Xi’s morning sickness eased up, she straightened her body. Although her voice was as sweet and soft as always, it contained a frosty chill as she asked, “What are you doing here?”
Di Shiyin’s gorgeous clothes rippled against the ground. Touching the hair on her head that was gathered into a qing ji hairstyle, she pretended to be concerned as she answered, “Rong liangdi‘s morning sickness seems to be particularly severe. Are you having a difficult pregnancy?”
Rong Xi’s pretty face had a cold expression. She didn’t answer Di Shiyin’s question, instead asking, “Did Young Miss Di really come all the way here just to be concerned about my and the Crown Prince’s child?”
Di Shiyin let out a light laugh, secretly muttering inside how this lowly concubine wasn’t that stupid after all.
Di Shiyin’s dazzling face was painted with a smug expression as she replied in a relaxed manner, “A few years ago, there was a subordinate of my father’s who was the Minister of Ceremonies and had the surname Rong. His name was Rong Bing.”
She paused, observing Rong Xi’s expression.
When Rong Xi heard Rong Bing’s name, her heart jumped but her face was calm.
Di Shiyin continued, “When this Rong Bing was at the late Empress’s imperial tomb, he neglected his duties and committed a serious offense. Causing the late Empress’s coffin to be eaten by termites, he was stripped of his position by the Emperor and exiled.”
Rong Xi didn’t know how Di Shiyin came to know of this matter, but guessed what her intentions were. No wonder why a few days ago Dan Xiang had said that there were rumors going around in the palace about her backgrond.
They were all saying that she was the daughter of a criminal official, but hiding her identity all this time from the Crown Prince.
Mu Huai had sent down orders and suppressed the gossip, but since this matter had already been spread, suppressing it further fanned the flames.
No one would be so bored as she investigate her background, after all, there were emperors in the past that had also taken in commoner women as concubines.
These rumors must’ve been spread by Di Shiyin.
Rong Xi clenched her fists.
When Di Shiyin saw Rong Xi stay silent, her tone became a little more aggressive as she continued, “If this Rong Bing had any children, then they would be around your age. Rong liangdi sure played a good hand. Hiding your identity as the daughter of a criminal official from the Crown Prince, even using the child in your stomach to gain a position. Aren’t you afraid that the truth would be exposed one day?”
On the other hand, Rong Xi slightly hooked her lips up, her smile blinding.
Di Shiyin was stunned when she saw Rong Xi use her peach blossom eyes to look up and down at her, “Where did you hear this information? Finding a random official that has the same surname as I, you want to pin them as my father. Young Miss Di’s life must be very boring.”
Rong Xi didn’t want to cause Mu Huai any troubles because of her father’s matters. Di Shiyin came prepared, wanting to make trouble. Rong Xi cannot reveal her identity right now.
Di Shiyin naturally could not completely confirm whether Rong Xi was Rong Bing’s daughter or not. Seeing Rong Xi as indifferent as always, her gentle voice became heavier as she sneered, “No matter if you are Rong Bing’s daughter or not, many people inside and outside the palace are already saying that the current Crown Prince has picked the daughter of a criminal official to be his liangdi. After a while, the imperial censors from the Remonstrance Bureau will write impeachment memorials about this matter. The position that the Crown Prince gave you was already too high. You have a low status and no background, so you should’ve restrained your temperant, but instead, you became arrogant from being spoiled. Rong liangdi, I advise you to be a more low-key person. Don’t think that just because you’re pregnant with the Crown Prince’s child that you can do whatever you want. Your weakness is already grabbed by others, aren’t you afraid of the day you tumble down from your high position?”
Ever since Rong Xi returned to the palace with Mu Huai, she had never hid her background and identity from him. It was true that she was the daughter of a criminal official; this was something taht she could not change.
However, what right did Di Shiyin have to peacock in front of her?
Mu Huai never said he was going to give her a position. Just relying on the fact that she was the Empress’s niece, the eldest daughter of the Ministry of Rites’ Chief Minister, she kept going on about background and status, lecturing her.
Did she really treat herself as the Eastern Palace’s Crown Princess Consort? Acting as if she was the legal wife in front of her, lecturing her on the house rules, making her serve tea1.
Seeing Rong Xi turn angry to where her delicate shoulders seemed to tremble in anger, Di Shiyin’s smile became wider as she continued, “I advise you to know your place. Concubines who grow arrogant from being favored never have a good ending, not to mention a concubine like you who has no background and can only rely on your husband’s favor…”
Before she could finish, the crowd saw the petite Rong liangdi briskly stride over to the slightly taller Di Shiyin, and raise her hand to slap her.
“Pa—” The sound was especially crisp.
The slap was so forceful, Di Shiyin’s brain was buzzing.
She couldn’t believe it.
Even though she knew that Rong Xi was a commoner and acted crudely, she never thought that such a delicate-looking woman would actually slap someone?
Rong Xi’s palms felt fiery from the pain. In the past, she would slap the mouths of the people in the palace for Concubine Yu, so she knew how much force she needed to use to cause more pain.
The slap that Di Shiyin suffered, it would take three days alone for the swelling to go away.
Di Shiyin only returned to her senses after a long time. She had only brought along a maidservant, and they were obviously outnumbered and outmatched by the group fo guards following Rong Xi.
Holding her throbbing cheek, she looked at Rong Xi in disbelief. Her voice carried anger as she questioned, “You…you dare to hit me? I am the Empress’s niece, just a liangdi and you dare to hit me?”
When the Empress was mentioned, Rong Xi gave a snort.
If it weren’t for the Empress, Concubine Yu would not have miscarried.
She really hated those women surnamed Di.
Rong Xi’s sweet and soft voice had become a little aggressive at this point as she coldly said, “You better listen well. That’s right, I don’t have any maternal background, but you’re also right that I have the Crown Prince’s favor, and I’m also pregnant with his child. If you dare to bully me even half an inch, do you dare to bet whether the Crown prince will protect me? If you’re really that confident that you can successfully enter the Eastern Palace and become the Crown Princess Consort, then I will be waiting for you in the Eastern palace. I want to see if you really have the ability to snatch away the Crown Prince’s favor from me.”
Di Shiyin became speechless.
Rong Xi saw a familiar figure not too far away, then saw Di Shiyin preparing to leave. She hurriedly pulled out the pins in her hair, then under Dan Xiang’s surprised look, she messed up her own hair.
When Di Shiyin saw Rong Xi’s actions, she secretly muttered how this woman really was a psycho. It seems like she had lost all rationality. What’s the point of being born beautiful? Each and every action of hers was more and more preposterous, not at all carrying the bearing of the imeprial family.
Just as she was about to turn around and leave, she heard an angry roar come out from nto too far away—
Mu Huai’s voice was black as he walked to the front of the crowd and asked in a cold voice, “What happened?”
Just when Di Shiyin wanted to answer, she saw Rong Xi act like a startled oriole as she dove into the man’s embrace right in front of her.
Just a moment ago, she [RX] had an expression as if she wanted to eat her [DSY], now her tears ran down like the pear flowers, acting pitiful.
Mu Huai hugged her as he asked again with some urgency, “How did you become like this?”
Under Di Shiyin’s shocked gaze, Rong Xi leaned her head against the man’s chest, and said in her most aggrieved manner, “Your Highness, just now, Young Miss Di said that she wanted to teach this concubine a lesson. Look, this concubine’s hairpins were knocked out of place by Young Miss Di. This concubine’s body is in a lot of pain.”
This author has something to say:
Rong Rong: No one acts better than me
Translator’s comments: This was so satisfying ∠( ᐛ 」∠)_
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