Treacherous Living in the Imperial Harem - Chapter 28
“Thanks for her concern.” In Cheng Cai Hall, Noble Consort Shu was as approachable as normal, and took the gifts kindly. She said, “My sister Fenghuang has just joined the Imperial Harem and is busy with her own business, but she still cares about me. How sweet she is!”
Then she asked her maids to give some rewards to Xin Qing, and said, “Are you going to Small Jiao E Building? I won’t keep you then.”
Xin Qing expressed her gratitude and left promptly.
After Xin Qing left, Noble Consort Shu frowned and asked the maids with an indifferent tone, “Is there anyone of you know what Yun Fenghuang is up to?”
“Maybe she deliberately shows her kindness to you because she is afraid that you know she went to Yan Fu Palace yesterday.” A maid wearing a blue palace costume guessed, “Although her family background is not powerful, she is quite mean to do so. How can Consort Yue compare with you, My Lady? Her family is not as powerful as yours and your grade is higher than her. It is not a big problem for Yun Fenghuang to share things Consort Yue gifted her with Mei Ren Yun. Given their good relationship, Mei Ren Yun wouldn’t make a fuss about it. But how dare she send these to My Lady?! She knows nothing about hierarchy.”
Noble Consort Shu calmly said, “Qingman lives with me. Yun Fenghuang wants to share with Qingman, so it is natural for her to send me some. Moreover, it is not important at all.”
She frowned, “I want to know why she went to Yan Fu Palace yesterday and why Consort Yue gave her these gifts?”
“If Consort Yue were scheming, she wouldn’t live hard in the Imperial Harem even if she has been under the protection of Queen Mother of Mercy and His Majesty for many years.” The maid wearing a blue palace costume said, “Maybe Queen Mother of Mercy is behind this… Queen Mother of Mercy has helped Yun Fenghuang get the title of Mei Ren after all. In my humble opinion, maybe it is because Consort Yue fails to live up to Queen Mother of Mercy’s expectations. Consort Yue is the hostess of her palace, but she has been pressed by the one in her palace. Queen Mother of Mercy exasperates at Consort Yue’s failure to make good. But she has to help Consort Yue clean up messes.”
As for Yun Fenghuang went to Yan Fu Palace yesterday, she didn’t think that she could fool people in Tong Xia Palace. Moreover, Noble Consort Shu indeed had known that.
However, the Empress controlled Yan Fu Palace strictly. All Noble Consort Shu knew was that her fake sister Yun Fenghuang went to Yan Fu Palace yesterday and seemed have cried in front of the palace. But she didn’t know what had happened after Yun Fenghuang was guided to meet the Empress by a maid.
Originally, Noble Consort Shu intended to ask Yun Fenghuang in this morning greeting, but Yun Fenghuang didn’t come back after she went to Sha Lv Pavilion and directly disappeared!
Yesterday Emperor Chunjia claimed that Cheng Gui Yun offered herself to dive for his jade that sank into the lake negligently, and then she disappeared. Then combining with what Emperor Chunjia had said, Noble Consort Shu guessed that Emperor Chunjia and his direct line of descent couldn’t bear Yun Fenghuang anymore for what she had done recently. But it was too late for Yun Fenghuang to know that. Drowning man would catch at a straw. So, she turned to the Empress… It was possible that the Empress didn’t care about her or failed to help her. Anyway, Yun Fenghuang didn’t show up in the morning greeting today. Noble Consort Shu drew a conclusion that Yun Fenghuang had passed away. When she went back to Tong Xia Palace, she said some words to comfort Yun Qingman for a while.
However, then she got the news that the Empress said Emperor Chunjia didn’t lose anything beside the lake and he didn’t agree his concubine Yun Fenghuang to dive for it. This rumor was only made up by Jiang Lan, the Imperial Eunuch, who used his position to get even with Yun Fenghuang for a private grudge. Jiang Lan had now been punished. Queen Mother of Mercy was guilty, so she asked to give Yun Fenghuang a promotion as Mei Ren.
Once Noble Consort Shu only thought that Yun Fenghuang had met the Empress, she was likely to think whether her so-called sister Yun Fenghuang betrayed her… Although normal people wouldn’t do that, it was possible for Yun Fenghuang to do so. Because she entrapped Consort Yue, the hostess of her palace, right after she just entered the palace.
The problem was that now that Jiang Lan was involved, and even Queen Mother of Mercy who had always lived a secluded life took action…
Noble Consort Shu couldn’t help but thinking more, “Even if Queen Mother of Mercy wants to compensate Yun Fenghuang, she could give her a promotion as Cai Ren. Why skip a grade to promote her? Was it Yun Fenghuang who planned everything about Jiang Lan?”
“… It should be less likely to be that.” The maid wearing a blue palace costume said in surprise, and felt incredible. She said, “It is not a big deal that Yun Fenghuang takes advantage of your power to bully Consort Yue, because she knows that Her Highness and Noble Consort Gui don’t like Consort Yue. Therefore, Consort Yue couldn’t fight back. But as for Jiang Lan… He serves Your Majesty… How could she have the ability to get involved in such a big mess?”
“Moreover, even if Yun Fenghuang wants to do so, Her Highness wouldn’t use her for she just joins the harem and is close to Tong Xia Palace. Without the permission of Her Highness, it is impossible for Yun Fenghuang to pin down Jiang Lan.”
Noble Consort Shu frowned. At this time, a maid wearing indigo palace costume who had kept silent said, “In my humble opinion, it is very possible. Jiang Lan was flogged at court because he attempted to harm Yun Fenghuang, but the issue didn’t spread until Yun Fenghuang came back from Small Peng Lai. Yan Fu Palace had been quiet before that. In my opinion, maybe Her Highness summoned Yun Fenghuang and gave her a similar hint or promise. If she could toss out any movements, she would be rewarded. If not, just ignore what Her Highness had said. It is easy for Her Highness to do that. Because Yun Fenghuang always makes trouble of nothing, maybe Her Highness would get additional surprises. So, why doesn’t she do that?”
Noble Consort Shu said in a low voice, “Although Yun Fenghuang is not gentle and virtuous, judging from her series of actions against Consort Yue, she seems to be reckless but actually basing on accurate calculation. Otherwise, she would not have escaped unscathed and been promoted successively… What do you think makes her dare to ignore me and go to Her Highness for help?”
Noble Consort Shu didn’t just say that based on her anger for Yun Fenghuang didn’t take her seriously, but because she saw a deeper problem. She said, “Although I am not as close to her as to Qingman, after all I am also taking care of her. She has only been in the palace for a few days. Even if she doesn’t want to be in my team and help me, she doesn’t need to rush and make it clear that she is loyal to Her Highness. Would it be better if she pretends to be a clever and sensible person in front of me while spy on me for Her Highness in private? Or, why she is confident that Her Highness will not care about my feelings, especially in such a condition that Noble Consort Gui is pregnant?”
If someone who was a fool did that, Noble Consort Shu would understand.
But Yun Fenghuang…
Regardless of whether Noble Consort Shu liked Yun Fenghuang or not, she had to admit that the newly promoted Mei Ren Yun was much stronger than her own younger sister Yun Qingman.
Noble Consort Shu didn’t believe that Yun Fenghuang would give a kowtow to the Empress to show her loyalty as soon as she met the Empress without quite certainty.
The maids standing around Noble Consort Shu looked at each other and were confused. Suddenly, the maid wearing indigo palace costume was shocked and blurted out, “I remember that Yun Fenghuang comes from the north… Does it mean?!”
“… You mean that Prince Regent and Ji’s Family have already decided to plot against His Majesty, so Yun Fenghuang is not optimistic about us?” Noble Consort Shu’s expression changed suddenly, but she calmed down, shook her head and said, “That is just a guess. Given Yun Fenghuang’s family background, they won’t know such an important thing.”
Xie’s Family was one of the big clans in the north, and their business also had some dealings with the Dingbei Army. However, as far as Noble Consort Shu knew, Xie’s Family, adhering to the ancestral teaching of being dedicated to operating their own business and never blending in any imperial issues, only devoted to be a local big family.
So, carefully speaking, their family statue was in the medium range.
Maybe people in Xie’s Family socialized with some middle and senior military officers, but they had no relationship with Duke Zhaowu, the Commander in chief of Dingbei Army, and Prince Regent behind Duke Zhaowu.
Otherwise, they wouldn’t send Yun Fenghuang, the most valued legitimate daughter among this generation, to Yun Ju and Ms. Xie… Although Xie’s Family totally believed their relatives, Duke Yi who devoted his whole heart to be loyal to Emperor Chunjia would not allow his younger male cousin to adopt a girl whose family was involved in Prince Regent.
Duke Yi didn’t care much about Yun Fenghuang. However, Yun Ju’s mansion was next to his, and Yun Fenghuang often went to the inner chamber of Duke Yi’s Mansion after she arrived in Dijing City. He must have ruled out hidden dangers to avoid that his younger daughter opened the door to a dangerous person.
Noble Consort Shu still had some trust in her own father. After thinking about it for a moment, she said, “There are two possibilities. One is that Yun Fenghuang accidentally gets some news, which makes her want to please Her Highness even if she has to neglect me. The other is that she has been misled.”
She looked up and asked the maid wearing blue palace costume, “Do you know anything about the two inferior servants in Xi Xing Building?”
“Currently, I don’t know whom they were serving privately.” The maid said hastily. “It seems that they are pushed out to Hu Zhu Palace for they don’t have any background.”
At the beginning, Noble Consort Shu decided to let Yun Fenghuang take the place of Yun Qingman to get along with Consort Yue in Hu Zhu Palace, but she did not intrude in any arrangement of Xi Xing Building. This was not because Noble Consort Shu was careless or trusted Yun Fenghuang, but because she was afraid of being used by others if she intruded in Xi Xing Building. She always remembered that the wolf had a winning game when the shepherds quarreled. She didn’t want to get involved in the affairs once someone entrapped Consort Yue.
Anyway, at that time, in Noble Consort Shu’s eyes, Yun Fenghuang was somewhere between a sacrificed chess and an idle one. Noble Consort Shu didn’t pay much attention on Yun Fenghuang. She didn’t care about what she would suffer after she took place of Yun Qingman to live with Consort Yue.
However, Yun Fenghuang looked intelligent and alert before entering the palace, and she never limited herself with the rules and restrictions that ladies were supposed to obey. However, since Yun Fenghuang entered the palace, it seemed that she had totally changed. Within just a few days, she had overtaken the limelight of other concubines in Imperial Harem.
Then Noble Consort Shu thought for a moment, and said, “Now that Yun Fenghuang has been promoted as Mei Ren, it is customary that she will get two more servants. Her Highness is busy and forgets to mention it in the imperial decree. Now Consort Yue is still grounded and has never cared about the people in her palace. No one except me will help to mention this… Tell me who will be the most suitable ones to serve Yun Fenghuang?”
Noble Consort Shu was not the only one who paid attention to Yun Fenghuang. At Xin Li Hall in Yan Lan Palace, Noble Consort Gui was talking to her trusted attendant, “The new Mei Ren Yun is in her heyday. She will get two more servants, and it is sure that some people want to take this opportunity to send someone spying on her. We must seize this opportunity. Try to send a maid clever and sensible to her.”
Her trusted attendant was confused, “Although Mei Ren Yun is a trouble-maker, she is just a Mei Ren. She doesn’t deserve your attention. What is more, Noble Consort Shu will not bear her for Mei Ren Yun neglects her and shows her loyalty to Her Highness. Who knows what a mess they would make next?”
“I hope she can make more troubles and draw more attention.” Noble Consort Gui interrupted her words, sighed, and subconsciously touched her flat abdomen, “His majesty has been married for eight years. There were some had been pregnant in the Imperial Harem, but no one, even if it is Noble Consort Shu or Consort Yue, successfully gave birth to a child. Now I am pregnant. There must be someone who is planning to hurt me… It is rare for a new person who is good at making troubles. I hope her could make a fuss every day, so that people in the Imperial Harem can watch the bustle of Hu Zhu Palace instead of plotting against me and my child day and night!”
… Yun Fenghuang was in Xi Xing Building. She had no idea that her trusted attendants drew so much attention. When she was thinking what news Xin Qing would bring back from Tong Xia Palace, a eunuch had already walked in to report with fear and joy that Emperor Chunjia had arrived. It was not like before that Emperor Chunjia sent someone to inform her in advance, saying, “My Majesty is at the gate.”
He still came?
Yun Fenghuang was surprised for seconds. Then she immediately stood up, and went out to welcome him with a bright smile.
She didn’t pretend to do that. She wanted to know what Emperor Chunjia was feeling when Jiang Lan left…
How pitiful Emperor Chunjia was after he failed to save his close servant who had served him for many years.