Imperial Decree Causes Some Waves

The Emperor’s imperial decree had taken all of the good deeds that Zhu Kongshan had done for the eighth prince and attributed them to Imperial Concubine Li. The Empress remained frozen in place. After asking that question, she saw the Emperor look at her in confusion and ask her: “What is it? Does the Empress find it improper? Are there any objections to Our arrangements?”

How could the Empress dare to have any objections to the Emperor’s arrangements; however, she had indeed come today for the sake of this matter. Now, things had gone in the opposite direction. Not only did she not help with Noble Lady Yuan’s “request,” but it was also very likely that she had caused that woman some vexation. She felt a little apprehensive and quickly thought to herself about what sort of reaction Noble Lady Yuan would have upon learning this information.

“Since there are no objections, Zhang Yuan! Quickly go and announce this decree!”

Seeing Zhang Yuan had already left Heavenly Hall, the Empress thought for a bit and reluctantly asked: “They are both aunts, so Noble Lady Yuan…”

“Hah!” The Emperor waved his hand, “A little girl did some kind deeds. Although she has been praised, it’s not enough to put two noble ladies back in the position of imperial concubine. Imperial Concubine Li and Noble Lady Yuan are sisters, and Noble Lady Yuan is the older sister. When there are good things, it’s natural for the older sister to give way to the younger sister. Either way, it’s their family’s matter. We trust that Noble Lady Yuan has always been benevolent and definitely won’t argue with this matter.”

Benevolent? The Empress felt that this ruler never had a clear understanding of what the word benevolent meant. If Noble Lady Yuan could be considered benevolent, there would be no petty people in this world. She helplessly nodded. Having been a married couple for a few decades, she understood this ruler too well. Nobody could oppose the Emperor’s words and decisions aside from himself. Of course, if there really was someone who would oppose him, it would only be Imperial Concubine Yun and her son.

“Your Majesty is very correct.” The Empress weakly squeezed these words out then accompanied him in Heavenly Hall for a while before finally finding an excuse to leave. Just after she exited the hall, her body swayed, and she nearly fell over.

When Zhang Yuan reached Jing Si Palace to announce the imperial decree, Noble Lady Li was still analyzing the likelihood of successfully acting as a matchmaker for Feng Yuheng and Xuan Tianfeng. As she saw it, even if Feng Yuheng had already gotten married, as long as her son was liked it, she could ignore anything else. After all, she was not a normal girl. In this world, who knew if another girl like Feng Yuheng could be found. Only this sort of talent was worthy of being at her Feng’er’s side, and only by having this sort of talent at her Feng’er’s side could she support Feng’er in succeeding.

Zuo’er stood to the side and took care of her. Seeing Noble Lady Li’s pensive appearance, she did not even need to think to know what her master was thinking. She felt that Noble Lady Li had definitely gone crazy. To dare to even consider such a wild idea and even dare to realize it, if things continued like this, something would definitely happen!

Just as she wanted to step forward and say a few words of advice to Noble Lady Li to give up on this idea, she heard a sound come from outside the door. Following this, many people entered Jing Si Palace, as they heard a eunuch announce: “An imperial decree has arrived! Noble Lady Li to receive the decree!”

Noble Lady Li was stunned then suddenly rushed to say: “What imperial decree could be handed down to me? Could it be that His Majesty thought it through and wants to engage Imperial Daughter Ji An to Feng’er?”

Zuo’er quickly covered her master’s mouth in fear and nervously said: “Master must not speak wildly! The one to come and hand down the imperial decree sounds like Eunuch Zhang. What if your voice was heard by him? Not to mention us not being able to live, but even His Highness the sixth prince will suffer!” She knew that nothing could scare this noble lady; however, only things relating to the sixth prince could shock her, thus she deliberately said it like this. Noble Lady Li really did believe it and solemnly nodded. Only then was Zuo’er willing to let go and help Noble Lady Li out to receive the imperial decree.

The imperial decree announced by Zhang Yuan shocked Noble Lady Li, Zuo’er, and everyone in Jing Si Palace, as the imperial decree read: “The Zhu family has a daughter, Zhu Kongshan, has shown benevolence to the people, shown concern for the common citizen, performed good deeds for Da Shun and shared His Majesty’s burdens. Because she is Noble Lady Li’s niece, special permission is granted to return Noble Lady Li to the position of Imperial Concubine Li. Starting today, you are to be taken out of Jing Si Palace and granted Zhang Ning Palace as a living space. That is all!”

Imperial Concubine Li was dazed, Zhu Kongshan? After thinking for a while, she could not help but ask: “Who is Zhu Kongshan?”

Zuo’er felt her heart tighten and quickly said in a quiet voice: “It’s the girl that came by on that day. It’s the daughter of your younger sister of a concubine who went to Peng Zhou to get married. She’s your niece!”

“Oh.” Only then did Imperial Concubine Li remember; however, she only remembered this matter. She was still completely incapable of remembering what Zhu Kongshan looked like. She asked Zhang Yuan: “Zhu Kongshan did good things, but why did His Majesty want to promote me?”

Zhang Yuan laughed to himself internally and thought to himself, why promote you? Is it not just because you are dumber than Noble Lady Yuan and easier to control? With you sitting in the position of imperial concubine, you would not be able to cause much of a stir, but if the Empress had spoken first and brought up returning Noble Lady Yuan to the position of imperial concubine, the imperial harem would no longer be peaceful! This was what he thought, but he could not possibly say this. He had been at the Emperor’s side for many years and had long since learned how to speak when facing different people. Today, he had come to Jing Si Palace to deliver good news, thus he forced a bit of a smile and said to the still-kneeling noble lady, who had just regained her position as imperial concubine: “Your Highness Imperial Concubine Li, how was it said? Since Zhu Kongshan is your niece, and she came to the capital to visit her relatives, it’s natural that the good deeds that she performed could be attributed to you. If it was not for your advice, how could a girl come up with such a thorough plan and be so philanthropic? Regardless of what is said, His Majesty accepted Your Highness’ kindness. To Your Highness, this is a good thing. What is Your Highness still staying frozen for? Quickly receive the decree!”

Zuo’er heard this and quickly tugged Imperial Concubine Li’s clothes, quietly saying: “Your Highness, quickly go and receive the decree. This is a great thing.” Seeing that Imperial Concubine Li was still in a daze with a confused expression, she added: “Think a bit more for His Highness the sixth prince’s sake.”

Only then did Imperial Concubine Li manage to react, receiving the decree and giving thanks, as Zhang Yuan continued: “The Zhang Ning Palace awarded by His Majesty, this servant has already sent people to go and tidy it up. Once it has been cleaned up, someone will naturally come and invite Your Highness over. Your Highness should prepare yourself!”

Imperial Concubine Li nodded: “I… This One understands. Many thanks, Eunuch Yuan.”

“What sort of thing is Your Highness saying? The imperial decree has already been handed down. This servant will be going back. Congratulations!” After he finished speaking, he performed a salute and very naturally received a small bag of silver from Zuo’er before leaving with a group of eunuchs.

Following Zhang Yuan’s departure, the imperial guards that had been stationed outside of Jing Si Palace’s entrance also began to withdraw. Imperial Concubine Li was no longer a noble lady and was quickly about to move once more. The confinement was naturally also rescinded, thus they were no longer needed. Zuo’er watched the troops leave and could not help but let out a sigh of relief, supporting Imperial Concubine Li and happily saying: “Your Highness! I can finally call you Your Highness! We’re free! From this day forward, we will be free!”

Imperial Concubine Li also became happy; however, it was not for anything like freedom. Instead, it was because of what Zuo’er had said earlier: “That’s right! I need to think a bit more for the sake of Feng’er. If this One had remained a lowly noble lady, Feng’er would not be able to raise his head out there. Now that this One has returned to the position of imperial concubine, Feng’er can openly call me imperial concubine mother, and there will be none who will look down on him. This One having this status, thinking about it, Imperial Daughter Ji An will also look more highly upon Feng’er, right?”

Zuo’er felt helpless, “Why is it that Your Highness ended up on this subject? Didn’t this servant tell you that this sort of thing really must not be thought about? Thinking about it any longer would bring about even more danger. It might be that you would be fine, but His Highness the sixth prince still wants to keep living. Princess Yu was right. If you really are thinking of His Highness the sixth prince, this is something that should not be brought up again.”

“Then let’s not bring it up for now!” Imperial Concubine Li smiled, “Either way, there’s no rush. We can’t just have them get divorced so soon after getting married. Forget it, let’s not speak about this. Quickly have them tidy things up. I figure we will be living in Zhang Ning Palace tonight!”

Zuo’er was very happy that Imperial Concubine Li was willing to change the subject and quickly ordered the palace servants to begin tidying things up. She then helped Imperial Concubine Li back to the side hall. While walking, she said: “Does Your Highness know where Zhang Ning Palace is? Apparently, it’s very close to the Empress’ Jing Ci Palace, and they’re only separated by a small courtyard. It’s a great place in the palace!”

“That’s right! I remembered that that palace had been empty this entire time. Apparently, His Majesty had been planning to give it to Imperial Concubine Yun, but Imperial Concubine Yun does not like lively places and chose Winter Moon Palace. I always thought that that palace would continue to remain empty, but who knew that it would end up in this One’s hands. Huh?” She suddenly remembered something, “His Majesty’s grace came from the Zhu family’s girl, but what exactly did she do?” Jing Si Palace was out of the way, and people were not permitted to enter. News from the outside was quite scarce.

When it came to Imperial Concubine Li’s question, Zuo’er also did not know and could only shake her head, roughly guessing: “Eunuch Yuan said that it was good deeds for Da Shun. It should be that she did some good things, and His Majesty was very happy about it!”

Imperial Concubine Li frowned and thought for a while before saying: “I fear that this matter has been mistaken. That girl did not come for me. The reason that she came to visit relatives is not because of me, the second aunt. Instead, it was for the eighth prince’s mother, the current Noble Lady Yuan. Say, did His Majesty give this award to the wrong person?”

Zuo’er also felt that young miss Zhu was closer with Noble Lady Yuan, but she still told Imperial Concubine Li: “Regardless of whether it was right or wrong, the imperial decree has already been handed down. There is no such thing as taking it back. Your Highness can be at ease and return to the position of imperial concubine. If His Majesty wants to make it up to Noble Lady Yuan, there will naturally be other awards. This is not something for us to worry about. On the contrary, if the one to be awarded had been Noble Lady Yuan’s side, it would be impossible for His Majesty to not even concern himself with you. Either way, just be at ease and accept it.”

Imperial Concubine Li felt that Zuo’er was quite reasonable. In addition to this, she continued to think about Xuan Tianfeng liking Feng Yuheng. She had been feeling that her low position combined with being confined was not very helpful. The Emperor’s imperial decree had come at a very good time! Thus she felt at ease and reassured in accepting it. She then began to work with Zuo’er in tidying up her belongings.

Jing Si Palace had received this good news and rejoiced. The servants were also happy for their master. After all, following an imperial concubine was better than following a noble lady.

But with one group rejoicing, there would be another that would feel resentful. News of the Emperor’s imperial decree to “reinstate an imperial concubine” very quickly spread through the imperial harem. Naturally, this news also reached Cun Shan Palace. When Noble Lady Yuan heard this, she nearly passed out in anger. The eighth prince had just sent a white-jade tea set into the palace. Before she even had a chance to admire it, she ferociously smashed it on the ground.

“Imperial Concubine Li? Damn, I’m going to see the Empress…”