Pampered Into Being the Empress – Chapter 46.1
Translated by: Cozy Translations
Chapter 46.1 – 抄家
After Di Shihua heard the two kitchen helper’s words at Ninghua Hall, a suspicion arose in her heart. Although she and the Eastern Palace’s Rong liangdi had no hatred nor grudges between them, she was just like all the other young ladies in the capital. More or less, they all liked to hear about the gossip of other residences.
Moreover, this Rong liangdi was considered her elder sister, Di Shiyin’s, love rival.
Di Shihua naturally would pay more attention to her matters.
As expected, after Di Shihua returned to the Minister Estate from Yongxi Palace, she mentioned this to Madam Di. Coincidentally, Di Shiyin was also present today as well. Her younger sister had become more and more smug these days, and Madam Di doted on her a lot more compared to the past as well. Her father, Di Zhuo, was the same as well.
In order to avoid gossip, it had been many days since she stepped out of the Minister Estate. She obediently stayed in the residence, teasing the cats, passing her days by idly. Di Shiyin held the white long-haired cat in her arms, one of her hands stroking its soft fur as she nonchalantly listened to Di Shihua recounting palace gossip to Madam Di.
When she heard the part about Rong Xi falling ill, Di Shiyin instantly stopped stroking the cat. She unwittingly pulled some of the cat’s hairs, making it cry out in pain. Di Shiyin frowned and put the cat on the ground. The white cat flew out to escape the moment its paws landed on the ground.
Madam Di and Di Shihua heard the movements and stopped talking, both looking at Di Shiyin. At this moment, Di Shiyin’s voice was laced with some urgency as she asked, “Did that Rong liangdi really get cursed and fall ill?”
Di Shihua puffed up her lips and played with the handkerchief in her hands, answering, “That’s what the people in the palace are saying, but who knows if it’s real or not?”
On the other hand, Madam Di let out a satisfied smile, “Regardless of whether it’s really because of a curse, it’s true that Rong liangdi has fallen ill. The heavens have finally opened their eyes. People who do evil deeds are repaid with evil. She might not even be able to keep the fetus, maybe she’ll even perish along with it.”
Yet Di Shiyin had a thoughtful look on her face.
She had been trapped in the Minister Estate, not allowed to take even half a step outside.
The Empress ordered her to reflect on her actions, and the people at home didn’t give her any support either. Moreover, that bitch surnamed Rong was carefully protected by the Crown Prince at the Eastern Palace. No one could get close to her, not to mention harm her. Di Shiyin hadn’t been able to think of a way to teach Rong Xi a lesson, but the information Di Shihua brought back today was like the final piece of a puzzle, giving her a breakthrough.
She didn’t know if Rong Xi really got cursed or not, but right now, since she knew about this method, she naturally had to take advantage of it.
Even if witchcraft was useless and couldn’t hurt that woman, she could still use a shaman to vent the anger and grudges she held inside.
Thinking of this, Di Shiyin’s clear and pretty face let out an ambiguous smile.
The rainy season in Bianjing had yet to pass. Even today, it was pouring, not ending for a long time. The raindrops accumulated on the Eastern Palace’s eaves, dripping down, becoming a water bead curtain. The sounds of the rain falling was endless.
Rong Xi stood in front of the lavish wooden windowsill, quietly looking at the falling rain. Her eyes held emotions that were difficult to explain, even a little strange.
Dan Xiang walked up to Rong Xi and lowered her head, “Liangdi, the Crown Prince has returned.”
Rong Xi lightly nodded her head, her countenance quickly returning back to her usual gentleness.
After walking over to the side hall, she saw Mu Huai’s clothes damp from the rain. His handsome face was a little heavy, and a few raindrops dotted his sculpted profile.
Mu Huai hadn’t realized that Rong Xi was here yet and stood by the charcoal brazier, drying his clothes.
Rong Xi walked up to him and pulled out a soft handkerchief from her sleeve, preparing to wipe away the water droplets on the man’s forehead. She stood on her tiptoes, but because her belly was too big, it was quite a difficult feat for her.
Seeing the woman looking at him with such concern and her movements with much care, Mu Huai felt his heart turn soft. He grabbed her hand and took the handkerchief away. Carelessly wiping his face, he supported Rong Xi to sit on the arhat bed.
Rong Xi supported her waist with some difficulty. After carefully sitting down, she recalled the rumors that was spreading in the palace yesterday. The people in the palace said that the rain was falling endlessly because the imperial family had not renovated and repaired the imperial tombs for a long time. Empress Mi Zhen’s imperial tomb had also collapsed from erosion due to the rain.
After Zhuang Emperor heard this, he ordered the Ministry of Rites’ personnel to move the Empress’s coffin from the tomb and temporarily place it in the tombs of the other dowager concubines. He wanted to wait for the rainy weather to pass then have them repair the Empress’s tomb.
Speaking of which, Empress Mi Zhen was only made empress after her death. When she was alive, she was just a Noble Consort.
Cheng Emperor had an empress when he was still alive, and the person buried with him was the wife he respected but did not love, instead of his beloved Empress Mi Zhen.
The palace maid brought over some hot tea to chase away the cold. Mu Huai calmly drank a few mouthfuls.
No matter how Rong Xi thought about this matter, she felt that something was strange. Empress Mi Zhen’s imperial tomb was fine this whole time, how did something suddenly happen?
However, although something went wrong this time, the imperial family only gave a light punishment to the current Minister of Ceremonies. After all, since God was the one who wanted to make it rain, this incident could be considered as an accident.
Mu Huai placed the teacup back on the desk and looked at the woman’s contemplative appearance as he asked in a low voice, “Your appetite hasn’t been too good lately. You’re already this far along, so you should be able to gain some more weight.”
He reached a hand out pinch the woman’s soft face. However, when he touched it today, it didn’t feel as nice as before.
Rong Xi rubbed the place Mu Huai had just pinched, only to see him frown.
He still spoke in a helpless tone as he asked, “What should I do with you, nothing in the palace suits your tastes.”
Rong Xi moved her hand to her round belly, her eyebrows slightly wrinkled. Mu Huai couldn’t tell what she was thinking and lowered his head, wanting to observe her gaze.
Rong Xi spoke up at this time, “Actually, this concubine really wants to eat the chilled licorice soup and ginger orange peel soup that Madam Yin served at General Yin’s estate that day.”
Mu Huai couldn’t help but smile when he heard this.
Such a picky woman liked to eat such sweet things. As such, he asked, “Why didn’t you tell me sooner? I’ll have someone tell the kitchen to make it for you.”
Mu Huai was about to call for a servant when Rong Xi interrupted him, “Husband, although the foods in the palace are the most exquisite and the best, they don’t carry the flavor of the common folks1…what this concubine desires is precisely this common folks’ flavor…the palace won’t be able to reproduce that. This concubine wants to have Dan Xiang exit the palace to buy some, can you give her a command tablet?”
Although Rong Xi’s voice wasn’t very loud, all the servants in the hall heard her very clearly. Though none of them felt that this Rong liangdi‘s request was unreasonable, the Crown Prince had already stated that he would have the people in the kitchen make sugar water. With such a strong and overbearing personality who never lets other people object, this matter was already set in stone.
However, Rong liangdi actually disobeyed the Crown Prince’s orders because of some food she was craving, wanting Dan Xiang to leave the palace to buy some.
All the servants felt their emotions fluctuate, scared that the Crown Prince would become angry and punish liangdi.
But who knew that the Crown Prince would continue in a calm voice, “The food outside the palace is not clean, I will only allow it this one time. In a while, think of what else you want to eat and give Dan Xiang some silvers. Have her purchase the recipe for them, in the future the Eastern Palace’s kitchen will make it.”
Finished, he pinched liangdi‘s nose, and he pretended to be serious though his tone was clearly full of doting as he said, “What a glutton.”
Rong Xi searched for an excuse, “It’s not this concubine that’s a glutton, it’s the baby that wants to eat it.”
Seeing the woman’s light brown eyes, there was a cunning glint inside them. Just like a little fox.
Mu Huai shook his head and he said helplessly, “You’ve become more and more bold, I’ve spoiled you too much.”
Although he put it like this, he lightly nuzzled his nose against hers. He never knew that spoiling a woman could put him in such a good mood.
Mu Huai could finally somewhat understand what sort of thoughts those muddleheaded monarchs had when they would declare war for just the beauty’s smile2. With the existence of such a calamity, it was a man’s natural kryptonite.
When the palace attendants standing nearby heard the words the Crown Prince uttered towards liangdi, they suddenly felt as if they were also witnessing a tyrant and a calamitous beauty. However, although the Eastern Palace’s Crown Prince in front of them had an aggressive personality, he was also a strict and just leader.
Rong liangdi looked very bewitching, and outside rumors also said she was pampered to no end. However, from their interactions over these past few months, these servants were also clear that Rong liangdi treated the servants very kindly and worked hard to take care of the miscellaneous matters of the Eastern Palace for the Crown Prince. Her abilities were outstanding, and she was very gentle and understanding.
She was definitely not a true calamitous beauty.
After Dan Xiang received the command tablet from Mu Huai, she waited a few days for the rain to end before leaving the palace in the morning.
Her main objective for leaving the palace this time was not really to go to the restaurant to buy sugar water or whatever for Rong Xi. Actually, Rong Xi had already planned everything out a few days ago.
She kept searching for a reason to obtain a command tablet from Mu Huai for Dan Xiang to leave Yongxi Palace and investigate something for her.
Dan Xiang disguised herself as a normal commoner woman. After leaving the palace, she called for a carriage, but instead of going to the restaurant, she ordered the driver to go directly to the Di family’s estate.
As the carriage approached the Minister Estate, Dan Xiang purposely pretended to be a commoner traveling by, and observed the outside wall of the Minister Estate. Although the Di Estate’s main door had the aura of an aristocratic family, just by looking from the outside, the furniture and designs inside should not be too luxurious.
Before Di Shiyin had stirred up trouble, the Minister of Rites, Di Zhuo’s, reputation was quite good. He was usually very low-key. After the Di clan had produced an empress, the Di family had been a very popular family to form connections with these past few years.
Dan Xiang secretly felt that she would not be able to glean anything from outside the Di residence’s main door and thus went around to the back. Not far from their back entrance, Dan Xiang saw a quiet bamboo forest and found a remote place inside to hide.
Less than two hours later, Dan Xiang saw a middle-aged man wearing green rushan robes and holding a fuchen knocking on the back door of the Di residence. Dan Xiang immediately became alert, staring unblinkingly at the man. She felt that he didn’t really look like a monastic priest but more like a shaman from jianghu3.
A maidservant from the Di residence called out, “Coming!”
The middle-aged man dressed up as shaman observed his surroundings in suspicion. After feeling that there weren’t any outsiders present, he followed the maidservant into the residence.
Dan Xiang saw the shaman’s appearance and took note of the black mole in the middle of his brows. However, she continued to stay in the bamboo forest.
When the skies were beginning to turn dark, the shaman exited from the Di family’s back entrance. He had a happy expression on his face when he left as he weighed the heavy brocade bag in his hand.
Even a fool could tell that this brocade bag was filled with silvers.
After the shaman walked quite a distance, Dan Xiang followed him to where he lived, an alley by the carriage streets. Dan Xiang saw a divination stall was even set up in front of the alley, and she couldn’t the contempt that rose inside of her.
What great master, he’s just a scammer.
Seeing that it was starting to get late, Dan Xiang couldn’t delay any longer and immediately called for a carriage to go to the restaurant. After buying the different sugar waters that Rong Xi instructed, she returned back to the palace.
After returning to the palace, Dan Xiang set the snacks and whatnot on the desk.
Rong Xi casually picked up a bowl. Her eyelashes fanned down as she stirred the ginger water absentmindedly.
Seeing that no one else was present, Dan Xiang whispered into her ear and recounted everything she saw today at the Di residence.
When Rong Xi heard this, her beautiful face revealed a confident smile.
She and Di Shiyin were in the same situation.
Actually, both of them were trapped beasts.
She was trapped in the Eastern Palace and Di Shiyin was trapped in the Minister Estate.
As expected, that woman was still too impatient in the end and employed this kind of method, wanting to curse her and the child in her belly.
After Dan Xiang returned this time, she had a newfound respect and admiration for Rong Xi’s patience and manipulations.
That day at Ninghui Hall, the conversation between the two kitchen hands were secretly arranged by Rong liangdi. She had investigated long ago about Di Shihua’s movements, and waited for her to arrive, then had the kitchen hands purposely hold this conversation.
And this Di family’s daughter fell into her trap, and went back to tattle to her family members as expected.
Dan Xiang didn’t know what Rong Xi’s next step was but heard her sweet and soft voice order, “Go to Ninghua Hall and bring over a squab. I will personally barbeque it for His Highness tonight for supper.”
Dan Xiang paused, not expecting that Rong Xi was ordering her to find squab, but still respectfully answered, “This slave will go right away.”
Rong Xi stopped her in a light voice, “Dan Xiang, after you get the squab, prepare a porcelain vase, I want to save some blood from the bird.”
Seeing Dan Xiang’s confused look, she continued, “Since you’ve already done so much for me, you should understand what I want to do, right?”
Dan Xiang felt her heart jump and carefully recalled each step that Rong Xi calculated. When she heard her mention pigeon blood, she finally felt enlightened.
Her hands unconsciously trembled.
Dan Xiang couldn’t understand. The eldest miss of the Di family no longer had a chance of marrying the Crown Prince, why did Rong liangdi still have to go so far, wanting to push Di Shiyin to her grave? Furthermore, if everything was exposed, not only would she lose the favor of the Crown Prince, she’d also have to pay with her life.
Dan Xiang fearfully knelt on the ground, her shoulders shaking.
Rong Xi’s voice was very gentle as she said, “If you’re scared, I won’t force you. However, I also won’t keep you as my senior palace maid. In the future, you can find your own way and I won’t protect you either.”
Dan Xiang was an intelligent person and naturally knew what Rong Xi was implying. She and Rong Xi were already on the same rope. If she didn’t participate in this conspiracy with Rong liangdi, then even if Rong Xi didn’t kill her, she wouldn’t have a good future either.
Moreover, after working in Yongxi Palace for so many years, it was rare for her to meet such a master that appreciated her talents. If she were to search again in the future, it was likely that she would never be able to hold such a position again.
Translator’s comments: YES, this is the scheming Rong Xi I’ve been waiting for! We’ve only got a glimpse so far, so hopefully we’ll get some more action from our girl. After all, we can’t let Mu Huai steal all the limelight.
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