For some reason I’m having difficulty posting on mbc, so for this week, I’ll just be pasting the chapters here…
Chapter 69: Purposefully Bullying the Prince
There was that second in which Ye Junqing felt that he should just fling his sleeves back and leave. However, to his own surprise, he actually mirrored Yao Mowan’s toasting motion, then downed the drink. From the looks of it, he really has gotten trained by Yao Mowan.
“In truth… something has happened before between you and Consort Li, right? She seems to… also hate you a lot.” Ye Junqing put down his cup and looked towards Yao Mowan seriously. For an instant, he was struck by the feeling that Yao Mowan and Yao Moxin were very similar. Their beautiful appearance always concealed countless secrets that he had no way of ever touching.
“I just don’t like the look of her. However, I’ll eventually make her hate me even more…” Yao Mowan lifted the wine and poured herself another cup, then drank it all.
“You couldn’t be planning to do something to her again? She already seems really pitiful right now.” She had lost her child, her honor and glory, and was demoted to the rank of consort. In Ye Junqing’s eyes, or perhaps it would be more accurate to say in the eyes of most people, Yao Suluan did indeed seem pitiful. However, to Yao Mowan, this was nothing! Compared to what she had suffered back then, all this barely weighed a feather.
“See? And yet you still won’t admit it even though Mowan has already guessed that you guys were having a love affair!” Yao Mowan drank her third cup of wine, then leaned over the table peer at Ye Junqing with her head slightly tilted. Her soft eyelashes batted, and the light they framed seemed to sweep over Ye Junqing’s heart like a gentle tickling wind.
“Y-you… What are you looking at?” Ye Junqing gulped and turned away. He couldn’t meet her eyes and looked very ill at ease.
“Your face is red. Looks like I hit the mark!” Yao Mowan’s lips curved into a slight smile that was beautiful enough to collapse a city. When facing a scene like this, when a beauty that was slightly flushed with the heat of alcohol was in front of you, anyone that was a man would have questionable thoughts!
“You… Isn’t your face red as well!? Who doesn’t get affected by alcohol?” Ye Junqing immediately covered his face and argued back with a forceful and righteous tone. Yao Mowan couldn’t help but burst out laughing when she saw how flustered he was.
“What are you laughing at? Everyone’s face turns red from alcohol, what’s funny about it…” As Ye Junqing’s face turned more scarlet, he realized that he was being teased.
Right at this moment, Ting Yue’s voice came from outside the door.
“Niang niang, Consort Xian has sent Qian Xi to deliver a cup of nourishing ginseng soup.” Ting Yue’s tone was clearly asking for instructions.
“En, have it brought in.” Yao Mowan put away her earlier joking manner and gave the command in a dignified tone. After she said that, the door to the palace opened and Qian Xi walked in respectfully while carrying a food box.
“This servant, Qian Xi, kowtows in salute to the Esteemed Prince and Consort Yao.” The clear-sounding voice contained strong decisiveness. Yao Mowan seized up Qian Xi. Of the four noble consorts in the palace, Consort Xian was the most intelligent and hardest to read. Hence, it was natural that a palace maid that had been personally trained by her would also be of good quality. If it weren’t for the fact that she happened to learn of the feelings Yu Funing harbored towards Ye Junqing, perhaps she would have left her for last.
“You may rise.” Back then, Yao Mowan had high status, so it was inevitable that these consorts and concubines had schemed behind her back. However, she didn’t hate them. After all, one must look out for oneself, since the world could be ruthless.
That was why, even though she held no grudges against them, she was still going to use these four noble consorts to attack the four large clans – Wang, Xie, Yu, and Huan – in order to shake the stability of great Chu and create an opportunity for a hero to be born from turmoil. This was a necessary step for Ye Junqing to rise to the top, and also a necessary step to send Ye Hongyi down to hell.
“Consort Yao, this ginseng soup was something my niang niang took special care to instruct the cook in the Imperial Kitchen to make. It was made with millenium ginseng and slowly simmered over a low flame for six hours, so it’s extremely nourishing. This servant asks niang niang to kindly accept.” Qian Xi spoke humbly and courteously with perfect etiquette.
“Then that’s definitely something good?” There wasn’t a stain in Yao Mowan’s innocent gaze and the surprise on her face looked perfectly natural. At the side, the corners of Ye Junqing’s lips twitched. She could sure get into her act fast!
“The presents brought to Guan Osprey Palace are naturally of the best quality.” Qian Xi nodded slightly.
“En. His Majesty has said before that the best things should be used in the places that need them most. Junqing, go bring Fluffy over. She needs nourishment the most right now!” Yao Mowan looked towards Ye Junqing with a completely innocent smile on her face. Ye Junqing had been in the middle of sipping the clear porridge and almost choked.
“Cough cough…. Wh… what did you say?” Ye Junqing stared at Yao Mowan’s beautiful features. He now deeply came to understand that the more harmless Yao Mowan looked, the more evil of a scheme she was about to put into play.
“You can’t hear me even though I’m this close? I told you to carry Fluffy over! Hurry up!” As Yao Mowan spoke, she yanked Ye Junqing up.
“I got it!” Ye Junqing took a deep breath then walked sulkily to the chaise lounge to pick Fluffy up before walking back.
“What’s your name?” Yao Mowan turned to look towards Qian Xi.
“Replying Consort Yao, this servant is Qian Xi.” Although Qian Xi’s expression didn’t change, inwardly she was stunned. There was no way she could have imagined a day like this in which the Esteemed Prince, who once reigned over the battlefield, would have to listen to the random commands of a fool. It was seriously a humiliation.
“Qian Xi, hurry and bring the ginseng soup over!” Yao Mowan beckoned Qian Xi with her hand. Qian Xi nodded, then stood up to take the ginseng soup out from the food box. Following that, she watched helplessly as the ginseng soup that had been carefully simmered for six hours was fed to an animal! Qian Xi was really grateful that her master hadn’t come with her, otherwise her master probably would have killed Yao Mowan on the spot!
“En, it looks like she’s full. Junqing, do you want to drink what’s left?” Yao Mowan looked towards Ye Junqing innocently as the smile hovering over her lips deepened. Upon hearing this question, three black lines immediately appeared on Ye Junqing’s forehead.
“I don’t!” Ye Junqing repressed his urge to just storm away and replied between gritted teeth.
At the side, Qian Xi almost fell from hearing this. How could she? How could she have the Esteemed Prince drink something that an animal had drunk from? Qian Xi could not imagine how much the Esteemed Prince must have suffered during this past period as he stayed in Guan Osprey Palace!
“It seems good intentions aren’t always repaid in kind. I’ll have you know that I don’t casually offer things as good as this to anyone!” Yao Mowan shot a glare at Ye Junqing, then took Fluffy and stroked her gently.
Yes, it was true. She really didn’t casually give it to anyone (any person), she gave it all to an animal! Ye Junqing was grinding his teeth so hard his jaws hurt.
Ye Junqing only glowered at Yao Mowan once Qian Xi left.
“Why did you bully this prince?”
“How else do I get someone to step up for you?” Yao Mowan spoke as if it was obvious.
“Are you planning do something bad again?” Ye Junqing retrieved the indiginance in his eyes as he asked this curiously.
“Nice guess. It’s going to be something very very bad. How about it? Interested in taking part?” Yao Mowan abruptly curved her lips into a beautifully bright smile.
“You must be sick!” Ye Junqing rolled his eyes at her.
“That’s right ah! How did you know?” Yao Mowan replied with an expression of innocent surprise. Upon hearing this, Ye Junqing slid down his chair…
As Su Muzi walked through the corridor in the Imperial Garden, she was thinking that she probably would’ve never had the chance to walk through the Imperial Garden in this lifetime if it weren’t for Yao Mowan. However, she was nervous about the fact that Yao Mowan had suddenly wanted to see her.
Even after she walked into Guan Osprey Palace, she still felt like the situation was unreal.
“Shu mother, hurry and come in. Ting Yue, have the Imperial Kitchen prepare some tasty pastries so that shu mother can bring some back later.” Yao Mowan welcomed Su Muzi with an amiable smile before shooting a meaningful look to Ting Yue. Ting Yue immediately understood and left the main hall, closing the doors behind her.
“This common woman kowtows in salute to Consort Yao niang niang and wishes niang niang good health and fortune.” Yao Mowan has always seemed to have a gentle personality, thus Su Muzi felt that even though her intelligence was only that of an eight year old, there was nothing bad about her. At the very least, she wouldn’t rely on the power of the Prime Minister Residence to oppress people.
“Why is shu mother being so polite? Please get up.” Yao Mowan walked up and helped Su Muzi over to a chair, then put a cup of freshly brewed tea in front of her.
Chapter 70: I’ll Help You Guys Leave Safely
“Many thanks, Consort Yao niang niang.” Su Muzi lifted the teacup uneasily. She could tell just from the smell that this was extremely good tea; tea that she, as a woman born into servitude, never would have gotten to drink in this lifetime.
“There’s no need for shu mother to be so nervous. Mowan only asked you to come here because Mowan wanted to point out a possible road for you.” Yao Mowan didn’t act any longer and spoke directly.
Upon hearing this, Su Muzi stiffened and looked towards Yao Mowan in disbelief.
“Shu mother has probably long guessed about Mowan’s current state, no?” Yao Mowan smiled slightly with a soft light in her eyes. Su Muzi gripped the teacup tightly with both hands and was silent for a while before she finally spoke.
“This common woman has felt that niang niang wasn’t the same Third Miss as back then as early as when Yu er told this common woman that niang niang was the one who taught him those methods. From the looks of things now, niang niang truly has recovered clarity. It is worthy of celebration!” Su Muzi didn’t try to deny it and respectfully replied with this.
“Shu mother is intelligent as expected. It is Yu er’s fortune to have a mother like you.” Yao Mowan lifted a teacup and took a small sip.
“No, it is Yu er‘s fortune to have an older sister like Consort Yao.” Su Muzi maintained a humble attitude and was careful with every single reply.
“Shu mother is really very similar to Wan er‘s mother, you’re always so cautious that people’s hearts can’t help but ache for you.” A trace of sorrow streaked through Yao Mowan’s heart. Regardless of whether it was Mother or Su Muzi, they shouldn’t have to be this way! But they, who were of low birth, in face of power, of influence, what could they do besides bow and accept it when people took advantage of them? Su Muzi simply listened quietly without interrupting.
“There is no wall in the world which blocks all wind. In regards to Yao Yu’s identity, you can hide it for a time, but not a lifetime. What do you think Father would do if he one day found out the truth?” Yao Mowan took a breath, then got straight to the point.
When Su Muzi heard this, her face turned pale and the teacup fell from her hand to the ground and shattered.
“Niang niang… this common woman doesn’t know what niang niang is saying…” Su Muzi’s entire body trembled, and as she spoke, she fell to her knees.
“If you don’t know what Mowan is talking about, why are you kneeling? The only reason I can say this is naturally because I’m completely certain. Does shu mother still intend to quibble?” Yao Mowan got up and slowly helped Su Muzi back up as she replied gently.
“Niang niang…” Su Muzi swallowed hard. She was forced to sit back down on the chair but she didn’t dare to look straight at the woman in front of her. At this instant, she realized that the current Consort Yao was a completely different person from that innocent Third Miss from back then.
“Shu mother had probably been forced by Father, right? In reality, the one shu mother liked was that doctor, Zhou Chengwu. Could it be that you’ve never considered escaping with him and Yao Yu to somewhere far away?” Yao Mowan kept her words concise this entire time since she felt no need to probe Su Muzi for what she wanted. If Su Muzi was the sort to covet wealth and riches, she would have already cut off all ties with Zhou Chengwu and there was no way she would have treasured the snow honey he sent over so much.
“Niang niang is wise, this common woman was forced! Long before the lord forcefully took this common woman, this common woman had already made a pledge with Chengwu to get married and had become pregnant with his child. This common woman didn’t dare to resist, and even more, did not dare to tell the lord the truth…” Su Muzi sobbed silently as she thought about the past.
“As expected! You and this consort’s mother are both people who encountered unfortunate fates. It’s a pity that Mother has already passed away. Mowan only hopes that shu mother can live the life you want. If this consort gave you the choice, would you choose to leave the prime minister’s residence?” Yao Mowan’s glistening eyes were like the bright stars in the sky; they suddenly warmed Su Muzi’s heart which had long turned cold with resignation.
“Niang niang… what does niang niang mean?” Su Muzi abruptly looked up towards Yao Mowan with disbelief and hope in her eyes.
“This consort will arrange for you, Yu er, and Zhou Chengwu to leave the Imperial City with guaranteed safety and will give you enough money to pass your days comfortably. What do you think about this proposal?” asked Yao Mowan straightforwardly.
“If this can really happen, this common woman will be eternally grateful!” Su Muzi was someone that valued emotion over material, since wealth and riches were just passing clouds. All she wanted was to pass her days quietly with Yu er and the person she loved. As of now, since Yao Mowan had offered her a chance at this kind of life, no matter what she had to try.
“Since that’s the case, bring Yu er into the palace tomorrow and this consort will arrange the rest.” Yao Mowan’s lips curved into a sincere and calm smile that made Su Muzi instinctively feel faith.
In the evening, Yao Mowan was just about to instruct Ting Yue to prepare dinner when Qian Xi suddenly came.
“Consort Yao, my niang niang has already prepared the evening meal and had Qian Xi invite Consort Yao to Fragrant Steps Pavilion for a small gathering. She requested that the Esteemed Prince come as well so that he would be able to have a meal.” Qian Xi bowed respectfully.
“A small gathering?” Yao Mowan looked towards Ting Yue with her eyes wide in a puzzled manner.
“Niang niang, Consort Xian niang niang is inviting you to eat at her place!” Ting Yue explained with an easy to understand sentence.
“Alright! There’ll definitely be a lot of tasty things to eat! Ting Yue, can we bring Fluffy too?” Yao Mowan tugged at Ting Yue in a spoiled manner.
“Fluffy is already sleeping. Consort Xian indicated for you to bring the Esteemed Prince as well, since he won’t have any place to eat if you don’t bring him,” continued Ting Yue.
“Bring Junqing? But what if Fluffy wakes up and wants to see him?” Yao Mowan looked a little troubled.
“Don’t worry, niang niang, Fluffy won’t wake up that soon. Why don’t we bring the Esteemed Prince along?” Qian Xi was standing at the side without any apparent expression, but inwardly she was very bothered. No matter how one interpreted this conversation, it still sounded as if the grand Esteemed Prince wasn’t even as important as a cat.
“Then alright!” Yao Mowan nodded reluctantly.
As for Ye Junqing, he really didn’t have much choice. If no meal was prepared in Guan Osprey Palace, he really wouldn’t have a place to eat. Moreover, he was very curious about who Yao Mowan viewed as an eyesore this time.
The moment they got to Fragrant Steps Pavilion, Yao Mowan smelled the faint, elegant, and calming fragrance of orchids. Yu Funing was probably the only one out of everyone in the Inner Palace with the ability to make her resting palace always be filled with this scent. It must be known that this scent was not the result of perfume but the fragrance of actual orchids.
Yao Mowan heard that Fu Residence’s greenhouse only grew orchids. Orchids of every type were grown there, and they were grown specially for Fragrance Steps Pavilion’s use. That was why it was said that money truly was precious. Although it couldn’t do everything, no one could live without it.
“It smells so nice! Ting Yue, can you smell it?” Yao Mowan pulled at Ting Yue excitedly and ran into Fragrant Steps Pavilion. She showed no trace of the dignity a noble consort should have.
“This consort greets Esteemed Prince and Consort Yao.” When Yu Funing saw that figure dressed in azure garments appear in the main hall of Fragrant Steps Pavilion, she felt as if a refreshing spring breeze had swept through the hall. That face was like that of a celestial, a single glance was enough to forever captivate a viewer.
“You’re also a noble consort, so why do you need to curtsy?” Yao Mowan looked towards Yu Funing with a puzzled expression.
“Niang niang, you’re a noble consort granted a title with your original surname, so your rank is a level higher,” explained Ting Yue quietly.
“Aiyah, sending greetings back and forth is so troublesome. Hurry and get up, where’s the food? I’m so hungry!” Yao Mowan cheerfully helped Yu Funing up with an excited expression on her face.
“Consort Yao, please come inside.” Yu Funing only turned to seize up this treasured fool when Yao Mowan pulled her wrist. It had to be admitted that she was beautiful, but her conduct was truly like that of a child and contained no logic.
The delicate phoenix tourmaline table emitted a faint glow beneath the shine of the candles. Beautiful delicacies were lined up on the table in a sight that was dazzling to behold. The twenty dishes not only had wonderful color and intense fragrances, they were also displayed in such beautiful and intricate ways that it was clear with one glance how much effort had gone into their preparation.
“Esteemed Prince and Consort Yao niang niang, please have a seat.” When Yu Funing had heard from Qian Xi how Ye Junqing was treated in Guan Osprey Palace, she had the urge to rush to Guan Osprey Palace and slap Yao Mowan. However, there was their statuses to consider, so all she could do was keep that desire contained.