Pampered Into Being the Empress – Chapter 40
Translated by: Cozy Translations
Chapter 40 – Pampering
As the night grew thick, the smoke from the incense burner in the Eastern Palace curled in the air. On the two ends of the arhat bed, the candlelight flickered back and forth.
The room was filled with the smell of incense. Even as Rong Xi sniffed the pleasant smell, her emotions had yet to calm down.
Hearing Mu Huai’s words, Rong Xi’s peach blossom eyes looked startled.
Mu Huai said he would be her backing, meaning he would protect her, would not let her feel ashamed because of her family background.
But for a man with a status like Mu Huai’s to give a woman a promise in his youth, it was one that could not be completely trusted. Rong Xi didn’t know how long Mu Huai could keep this promise towards her. She was afraid to completely trust and rely on the man in front of her.
When she was arguing with Di Shiyin in the imperial gardens tonight, although each sentence and every action was an act, when she saw Mu Huai protect her like so when he punished Di Shiyin, she suddenly had a frightening thought–
Being a pampered and delicate woman felt really nice.
If her personality was really like Concubine Yu’s, arrogant and looked down on anyone, but no matter what troubles she caused, there was a man to protect her and pamper her, this kind of feeling was a hundred times better than being the gentle and virtuous legal wife, and better than being the cautious concubine.
The promise that Mu Huai gave her right now was certainly born out of sincerity. But it could not guarantee that one day, with the arrival of a new person, this promise would just fly out the window and disappear like the smoke.
Before the new person comes, Rong Xi chose to trust Mu Huai. She cherished the feeling of him solely pampering and protecting her.
Currently, the rumors both inside and outside the palace were spreading more and more. Her identity as a criminal official’s daughter would be exposed sooner or later. Rong Xi looked a little guilty as she asked, “…But this concubine’s identity in the end is still the daughter of a criminal official. If I were a regular commoner, it would not be so troublesome…in the end I have caused Husband trouble.”
Her voice was a little timid as her ankle, under his ministrations, turned red.
Her bun was a little messy, and her originally dispirited appearance became charming under the hazy yellow lights, causing people’s hearts to sway.
Mu Huai couldn’t help but reach out, and take out the rest of the pins from her hair. The hairstyle for banquets were always a little heavy and complicated, he had to expend some effort to release it.
Although he was frowning, his movements were very patient.
Mu Huai held her hair up as he said in a small voice, “You don’t need to worry about all this. You just need to stay in the Eastern Palace and raise your fetus. I will help you solve all the problems outside.”
Rong Xi’s eyes followed the movements of her long hair, “En, thankfully Husband is here to protect this concubine.”
Mu Huai’s remarks gave her a sense of protection. Although he had a forceful and unruly personality, but whether she was his servant or his woman, Rong Xi was clear that Mu Huai could never bear to see other people bullying his people, even protecting their shortcomings.
At this time, the guard who Mu Huai originally ordered to pull out Di Shiyin’s hair had returned to the Eastern Palace to report. Kneeling on the ground, he reported back to Mu Huai about how the Empress had personally prevented him from carrying out his punishment on Di Shiyin. Lowering his heady, he quietly waited for Mu Huai to punish him.
Rong Xi’s gaze was imploring, implying for him to forgive the guard.
Mu Huai understood Rong Xi’s thoughts. After all, with the Empress blocking the way, a small guard like him would not dare to disobey the orders of the leader of the inner palace.
He nodded, but said in a cold voice, “That bitch was let off too easy.”
The word ‘bitch’ shocked Rong Xi.
Since he called Di Shiyin a bitch, that meant he did not have any good feelings for her.
But what if Zhuang Emperor forced Mu Huai to marry her?
Zhuang Emperor was very lax with his control on power. He was not only unafraid of Mu Huai’s status as the Crown Prince, he also deeply trusted his son. Mu Huai was also naturally very filial, he would not easily disregard Zhuang Emperor’s wishes. Rong Xi knew that both within the palace and outside, when a man takes a concubine, he would often take the ones he liked. When a man takes a wife, he needed to marry one of a noble background that was virtuous and magnanimous.
Even if he did not marry Di Shiyin, he would still have to marry one of the other noble aristocratic young misses as his legal wife.
Rong Xi peeked at Mu Huai’s handsome face. Her heart felt a little lonely. In the end, she would never be his legal wife and he would still have to marry.
Then for now, she should cherish the time she had him to herself.
Mu Huai had the guard retreat and told Rong Xi to rest early. As for himself, he made a trip towards Ganyuan Hall under the moonlight.
In his past life, after Zhuang Emperor passed away, he detested how the woman surnamed Di always appeared near him under the Empress’s machinations. Because she was an eyesore, he had sent down a order banning the woman surnamed Di from entering the palace.
Naturally, Empress Dowager Di was dissatisfied with this, but Zhuang Emperor was no longer around, and he did not need to care about what she thought.
Now that Rong Xi was pregnant, with that bitch always showing up in front of her, Rong Xi would naturally feel unhappy. He needed to make things clear with Zhuang Emperor and have the two Di clan’s daughters banned from entering the palace.
When he entered Ganyuan Hall, Zhuang Emperor had just finished a bowl of bitter medicine.
After Mu Huai had been made into the crown prince, he had took over many of the government affairs. Zhuang Emperor’s body had continued to deteriorate and it was clearly that he could not handle such heavy politics anymore. He only picked the most urgent memorials to look over, most of them were handed over to Mu Huai to deal with.
Thankfully, Mu Huai did not disappoint his expectations. Zhuang Emperor was very pleased to see how effectively he was able to handle government affairs.
After Mu Huai sat down on a chair, the palace maid near him brought over some light tea. Mu Huai glanced at the teacup but didn’t drink it.
Zhuang Emperor naturally knew the reason why Mu Huai had come to find him and spoke first, “I heard that tonight, your liangdi and the Di clan’s daughter had fought?”
Mu Huai lowered his head and respectfully answered, “Replying to father-emperor, such a matter indeed happened.”
Zhuang Emperor slowly lifted one of his gray brows. What happened tonight had caused him to change his impression of Di Shiyin, he had become a little unhappy with her as well. He originally thought that she was a gentle and mannerly aristocratic young miss and wanted to persuade Mu Huai to take her in as his principal consort.
But what happened tonight had made Zhuang Emperor drop this idea.
Rong liangdi was pregnant, but with her background, she would never be able to sit on the main wife position.
Just let him pamper her more, she was just a plaything after all.
However Mu Huai liked her and pampered her right now was his business, sooner or later there would be a new person to replace Rong liangdi‘s position.
If Di Shiyin was a little smarter, she wouldn’t have argued with her when she [RX] was pregnant. Not to mention, he [Zhuang Emperor] had never agreed to bestow the marriage, and the Di clan’s daughter has no status nor position right now.
Thinking of this, Zhuang Emperor helplessly shook his head but said, “Rong liangdi has suffered tonight, but the Di family’s miss is still the Empress’s family. It’s fine to to just admonish her a few sentences and punish her to kneel, you shouldn’t have ordered the servants to pull her hair…”
Zhuang Emperor was thinking, although Man Ya was not young anymore, the way he did things was just like when he was a child, not leaving any leeway when punishing people.
Zhuang Emperor had a gentle personality. Although he was the Emperor, he treated others kindly.
Consort Xian was also a gentle and soft woman.
On the other hand, Mu Huai’s personality was not at all like his parents. Instead, he resembled his imperial grandfather, who was also Great Qi’s founding emperor: Cheng Emperor Mu You.
Mu Huai calmly answered, “This subject-son remembers father-emperor’s teachings. However, as to what happened tonight, this subject-son was too afraid that the Di family’s daughter would harm Rong liangdi‘s child, and thus set down such a punishment. In order to ensure the safety of her pregnancy, this subject-son asks for father-emperor to send out a decree, have the two Di family’s daughters forever banned from entering Yongxi Palace.”
He spoke extremely solemnly to Zhuang Emperor, but he felt extremely disdainful inside.
Daring to bully this old man’s1 woman, not cutting off her head was already showing her mercy.
Zhuang Emperor was helpless. After staying silent for a moment, he said, “This cannot happen. The Empress has no children and treats her two nieces as her own daughters. If I don’t let her see these two people, it would be too cruel to the Empress…if you are afraid of an accident befalling the Rong family’s daughter’s child, then have her stay within the Eastern Palace. There’s no need to not allow the Di family’s two daughters from entering the palace to visit the Empress.”
Mu Huai pursed his lips when he heard this. In his previous life, he had also waited for Zhuang Emperor to pass before disregarding Empress Dowager Di’s face.
At this moment, Zhuang Emperor said some remarks similar to what he said in his past life, “You don’t like the Di family’s daughter, zhen is aware. Have this liangdi serve you first. In the future, zhen will pick an even better principal consort of Man Ya. There are so many noble young misses in Bianjing, this Di family’s daughter is not the most outstanding, she is unworthy of zhen‘s Man Ya.”
On the contrary, Mu Huai was thinking how although Bianjing was full of noble young ladies, the only woman he wanted was the petite woman in the Eastern Palace.
However, his father, Mu Zhen, had always spoiled and condoned him. No matter how forceful and overbearing his temperament was, he also knew that his father would leave this world soon. He didn’t want to butt heads with Zhuang Emperor over the matter of choosing a principal consort.
Mu Huai didn’t want that woman to stay as his concubine, he wanted to have her become his legitimate wife.
In this lifetime, he has Rong Xi, but this was the first time that he felt the identity of the Crown Prince was a shackle.
What is a concubine? Just the slave of her husband.2
But if the identity of a criminal official’s daughter were to be added on top of that, forget about being the main wife, even being his concubine would not block the mouths of others.
Perhaps in the eyes of Zhuang Emperor and other people, Rong Xi was just a plaything that he was just using to pass the time. It didn’t matter if he pampered her a little more, sooner or later he would have a new concubine to pamper.
But Mu Huai was very clear on how much weight this woman carried in his heart.
He was never a person who could be held down or threatened by others. The more fearsome the opponent was, the stronger he would become. The more severe and disadvantageous the situation was for him, the more motivated he was.
He will definitely lift that woman up to that seat. He will have the people respect her and fear her, never letting her undergo such humiliation ever again.
Early spring in Bianjing meant the rainy season was coming. It was a rare sunny and clear day. The skies were cloudless and as blue as water, a peaceful day.
After Mu Huai had ended court in Jiazheng Hall today, he had directly headed to the Political Affairs Hall with Yan Juxu. He had also sent for the Remonstrance Bureau’s new lower-level employees to come as well.
Great Qi’s Remonstrance Bureau’s officials’ rankings, from highest to lowest, were separated into Chief Censors, Vice Censors, and Deputy Censors. For the lower-ranking officials, they had prison guards and inspectors.
The current Remonstrance Bureau’s people had yet to fully be under Mu Huai’s control. The higher-ranking officials were mainly those obstinate old men, afraid of giving up power.
After a few years, some of these people will die and some will resign. Mu Huai in his past life had slowly inserted his own forces into the Remonstrance Bureau then.
In his past life, he had begun from this Remonstrance Bureau, from the lowest-ranked prison guards and inspectors, and slowly used this new blood to replace the old.
When the newly appointed prison guard and inspector got to know of how useful they were to the Crown Prince, they were naturally ecstatic and full of vigor. If they worked hard and did well, then they would be the future monarch’s senior ministers. Once Mu Huai ascended the throne, then their positions in court would naturally different than ordinary officials.
In this life, Mu Huai had mobilized these bottom-ranked officials in the Remonstrance Bureau first. However, the motive was to have these people mingle amongst the commoners to investigate for gossip about the Di family. At the same time, he had also secretly mixed some people into the newly bought servants of the Minister’s estate.
Di Zhuo still attended court as normal this morning, but didn’t know that so many people from the Remonstrance Bureau were trying to find his Achille’s heel behind his back.
Mu Huai ordered people to drop off the census of the Ministry of Rites. All of the officials in the Ministry of Rites’ positions, hometowns, and history were recorded on it. He originally wanted to order people to sent over the account books of the ceremonial rites for these past few years to the Political Affairs Hall, but after thinking further, he felt that if these account books really had some problems, it would have long been altered by someone. He wouldn’t be able tof ind anything from them.
Mu Huai’s expression was a little cold. As he read the Ministry of Rites’ names list, he let out a sight.
When Yan Juxu saw this, he couldn’t help but respectfully ask, “Why is Your Highness sighing?”
Mu Huai placed the booklet in his hand on the desk. His voice was a little heavy as he answered, “There are too many redundant officials in the Ministry of Rites, all useless corpses feasting, taking a government salary for nothing.”
Yan Juxu was indifferent. He lowered his head and said slowly, “Not only the Ministry of Rites, within Great Qi’s Six Ministries and Twelve Departments, there are many redundant officials. But as long as they don’t make any big mistakes, the government will naturally open the coffers and raise this bunch of leeching officials.”
When Mu Huai heard this, he called how he had placed all his attention on military affairs in his past life.
This time, in order to help Rong Xi’s father, Rong Bing, overturn the verdict, he finally saw Ministry of Rites’ list of officials. However, he didn’t expect to discover so many problems.
Governing a nation politically was just as important as having strong military.
A policy change will often be entangled with many other things, closely related with the common people. That’s why a monarch must be extremely cautious before making policy decisions.
Thankfully, Yan Juxu was with him.
Mu Huai asked, “Then Minister Yan, what are your thoughts on this?”
Yan Juxu spoke calmly about his thoughts to Mu Huai.
“Great Qi must have a good administration of officials. You can start from the Ministry of Rites. Investigate whether those officials’ abilities match up to their position, as well as have the censors in the remonstrance Bureau to investigate the conduct and speech of these officials at any time. Those who are incapable will be dismissed. The remaining official positions that are redundant and useless can be eliminated.”
Mu Huai nodded his head in approval.
However, the process of building a good administration would be considered quite drastic. Thinking of how three years later, Great Qi will encounter a drought, the first thing he needed to do was legal reform. He needed to build up Great Qi’s strength enough to withstand future disasters.
Perhaps he needed to relax policies in advance and increase Great Qi’s population. That way, after a decade, the additional number of males could become the backbone of Great Qi’s military. Consequently, he could also begin his military campaign against northern Yan kingdom earlier as well.
Inside and outside, nothing can be left out.
Mu Huai didn’t like to drag things along when he did things. He wanted to push to implement the new laws before he ascended the throne.
In the middle of the night, he returned to the Eastern Palace from the Political Affairs Hall. Even so, he went to the study to read through the laws and regulations of the previous dynasties and other countries.
The only thing that made him antsy was that if he didn’t go to bed, then that vixen also wouldn’t sleep well.
Every night Rong Xi would endure her fatigued and sleepy body and accompany him in the study to read law books. Just like when he was just an imperial prince, she would grind ink and brew tea for him.
Tonight, she couldn’t fight off her sleepiness anymore and sprawled against the desk and fell asleep.
Mu Huai helplessly shook his head. He carried the delicate and sleepy pregnant woman to the inner hall’s bed. Just after he set her down, she woke up.
She rubbed her sleepy eyes and said in a soft and sticky voice, “This concubine isn’t sleepy, continue to read law books with Your Highness.”
Mu Huai’s voice was a little heavy as he said in a low voice, “Still saying not sleepy, your eyes can’t even open.”
Rong Xi forced herself to open her eyes wide. Purposely putting on a spirited expression, she said, “This concubine really isn’t sleepy…”
Finished, she wanted to step down from the bed in her bare feet.
Mu Huai stopped the stubborn little woman in time, “Just lay down. I will also lay down and sleep with you, don’t run off to the study anymore…”
Rong Xi finally nodded her head in a daze, then squirreled back into the warm and soft covers.
Mu Huai went to the study to grab a booklet about the laws from the previous dynasty, then half-laid in bed. After adjusting the blanket on the woman, borrowing the light of the candles in the hall, he read through the book.
Rong Xi felt her sleepiness vanish. She opened her eyes to secretly observe the handsome man next to her.
She thought that Mu Huai was truly a studious and diligent Crown Prince. When he was just an imperial prince in the past, that was true as well. Even if it was raining and his legs were in pain, he never skipped school, enduring the pain to go to Hanlin Academy.
The appearance of a focused man was even more handsome. Only a simple jade hairpin held up his black hair. Wearing a plain white inner robe, he had the air of a scholarly gentleman about him.
Speaking of which, although Mu Huai had a strong personality, his appearance was very refined-looking.
Rong Xi blinked, just quietly looking at him like this put her in a good mood.
Mu Huai sensed the woman next to him wasn’t sleeping properly, using her bewitching eyes to directly stare at him.
He unhappily asked, “What are you doing look at me? Hurry and sleep.”
Rong Xi whispered sweetly, “Husband looks very handsome, this concubine couldn’t help but look.”
When Mu Huai heard this, he felt as if his heart had been coated in honey.
But he suppressed the urge to smile and held the book up to block his face. Then he reached out to turn the woman’s head away and ordered again, “Close your eyes, sleep.”
Rong Xi could only close her eyes. It was already hard for her to be pregnant. Burrowing into the covers, she soon entered into her dreams.
In the dream, Mu Huai was wearing a moon-white robe while wearing a white jade crown. His hand held a fan, his figure dressed as if he was a young noble master.
His aura was very refined and elegant, without any gloominess. His eyes weren’t cold either, lookin very relaxed.
In the dream, she walked with Mu Huai along Biangjing’s bustling Wa City at night, appreciating the beautiful scenery of Great Qi. Because the two people had such outstanding appearances, many people cast them glances. The two people looked just like an ordinary married couple.
The her in the dream called out Mu Huai’s name, Zhi Yan.
Mu Huai replied to her in a warm voice and called her Xi’er.
Rong Xi knew that the scene in front of her was not reality, but let out a laugh in her sleep. Her voice was very sweet and soft as she kept muttering his name, “…Zhi Yan.”
She had buried her wish in her heart, not daring to reveal it.
Rong Xi hd always wanted to be a normal married couple with Mu Huai. Instead of being his concubine, she wanted to be with the man next to her until their hair turned gray, even being so greedy as to want to be a pair with him for a lifetime.
Reality showed that this wish could not cmome to fruition.
When Mu Huai heard his name, he shifted his line of sight from the book to the woman on the bed. His chilly eyes faintly held a pampering gaze.
He set down the book in his hand and finally laid down on the bed, then carefully gathered the woman into his arms.
Mu Huai lowered his head to kiss the woman’s soft forehead. Closing his eyes, he said in a soft voice, “Good Xi’er.”
This author wants to say:
Rong Rong’s simple wish will be granted by Dog Mu
Translator’s comments: Lots of political stuff in this chapter, but we ended with a nice dose of sugar ( ´ ▽ ` ).｡ｏ♡
Join the discord for updates, discussions, spoilers, etc. https://discord.gg/F2bdDQJ74W
If you would like faster updates or a more frequent posting schedule, please consider making a donation ☺️ Thank you for your support!