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58 Sweet Dish Of Vengeance



GRAND CONSORT SHU

THE PALACE

"Fire! Fire!"

People screamed in panic, which did not make sense as Grand Consort Shu could not see any smoke in the sky. Some were shouting that it's a rebellion that had broken through into the palace while others believed it was an assassination attempt. In all this chaos, as a mother, Grand Consort Shu prayed that Yu'er was alright and unharmed. What would become of her if he was to be killed?

"Hurry!" she looked back at Court Lady Park who was struggling to keep up with her as she carried Li Lian on her back. In the midst of all the commotion, the rest of her entourage got lost, getting mixed up with the rest of the crowd.

She had never seen the palace bestrewn by masses of people round about. They were all like ants racing to a disposed crumb of bread. The difference was that the crumb of bread was the assembly place were everyone was expected to gather whenever the two palace bells rang in times of emergency. The closer they got to the assembly place, the more it got dense, people shoving against each other, stepping on her. In the darkness of the night no one could really tell who she was to care.

There was not much clamour and scuffling at the assembly place as she would expect. The unrest was decapitated by quiet whispers as everyone pointed at the squared platform of concrete that held the bells. On it was Yang Liu, standing by the by the identical bells. The monstrous identicals hung by chains from horizontal poles that meandered above the platform.

Yang Liu hauled forth one bell which bonged an ear-splitting noise.

'Why is Yang Liu being insolent? Has she lost her mind?'

Grand Consort Shu pushed aside the person in front of her so that she could continue to the front. If there was going to be drama, she wanted the front row seat. Though unwilling at first, the crowd opened up for her when they would recognize the glittering jewel in her hair, indicating her status.

"Where is everyone? I want everyone here... I want everyone to know the truth," Yang Liu slurred. Grand Consort could tell she was drunk by the retardation of her speech.

Consort Shu deduced that 'the truth' she wanted to confess concerned her gender. Yang Liu did share with her how she could not wait to be a girl and also that she was tired of all the lies. Her love for General Feng being the additional reason.
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"Where is everyone?" She stomped her feet and started to push another bell which swung forward then back before loudly reverberating. Yang Liu's entourage, that surrounded the platform, shut their ears in pain. They had been crying for their prince to come down but he was being deaf to their pleas.


Li Lian shifted on Court Lady Park's back and Consort Shu rubbed her back in understanding. The last place her maid should be was in this place of madness when not feeling well. They had taken her along because of the unknown of the situation. Consort Shu looked around in search of ways to leave. After all, Yang Liu was not her child and therefore not her problem to deal with.

Her eyes somehow ended up landing on Dowager Empress Wang.

What a delight?

Just when the woman was in trouble did it please Consort Shu to see her. She smiled with glee, comprehending why the woman was silent and not demanding Yang Liu to come down like she should as a mother.

If the prince already called his mother a witch when not drunk, imagine the kind of curses he would blare when drunk. Dowager Empress Wang would lose face in front of all the concubines, maids, eunuchs and court ladies. Who would respect her when her own son did not hold any for her?

"Your Highness, Prince Kuan Hui will not listen to his entourage," Consort Shu lightened her voice with kindness to nicely apply salt to the wound, "maybe he will listen to Her Highness since she is his mother."

Perfect.

Call her his mother when Yang Liu shunned that she wasn't. Of course Dowager Empress Wang gave her a deadly stare, then looked away like she had not heard her.

It quieted down all the more when the crowd parted beside Consort Shu. The entourage of the Grand Dowager Empress emerged, holding a few lamps for the older woman and this made seeing a little better.

Consort Shu bowed but Grand Dowager Empress ignored her. Nothing new.

"Kuan Hui! Will you stop that madness and come down right at this moment?" The Grand Dowager's words were not as loud but held firmness.

Yang Liu looked down, "Grandmother is here?"

She enthusiastically drew closer to the edge of the platform while her eunuchs opened their arms to catch her. They then bundled her in their hands before helping her stand. She trudged alongside them as she directed herself to her grandmother.

"Grandmother they must all know the truth!"

"Kuan Hui." Grand Dowager castigated.

"I cannot live like this anymore, they must all know," her voice broke and like an ocean that had broke loose, she burst into tears.

The Grand Dowager took a few steps to embrace her.

"Hush now," she softly spoke into her ears, and whispered a few more words that Consort Shu didn't manage to grasp. Yang Liu still continued to cry, choking on her tears.

How terrible? Even in her drunkenness the poor girl could not escape the pain life placed on her.

From the corner of her eye, Consort Shu could see multiple emotions of sadness and yearning cross Dowager Empress Wang's face. As a mother she could not do what Grand Dowager Empress was doing because she was the cause of the problem. Consort Shu dreaded the feeling of pity that was rising up in her gut. But how could she not care? It was not just the Dowager Empress being hurt but Yang Liu too.

Yang Liu was nice, sweet and always wished that she, Consort Shu could be her mother too. Not just the emperor's mother. This was sad because all that Consort Shu could think about was Yu'er, her son. Yu'er, her emperor. Yu'er, the love of her life.

Grand Dowager started walking out Kuan Hui who was a mess of tears and snorting. Consort Shu's attention was drawn to Consort Wang, who joined the entourage in following behind them.

'That wench!'

She always stuck herself to every elder of the harem to make it seem like she was the next empress to be, the next elder to be. A pig will always be a pig. Even if you put wings on it, it could not become a phoenix.

Consort Shu laughed by herself. Why wait for another day to take revenge when she could have it today?

"Consort Wang!" She shrieked and everyone looked at her. Both Consort Wang and Grand Dowager stopped in their tracks. Grand Dowager Empress tiredly waved at Consort Wang to stay behind and solve whatever it was, then strode away with Yang Liu and her entourage. The old woman had already given up on Consort Shu, that she would never be a refined woman. A fine royal woman was not loud. Her words were supposed to be always careful, soft and delicate.

Forget all that. She was about to teach Consort Shu a lesson.

"Come here," she loudly demanded. If Li Lian was standing beside her, she was going to tell her that her revenge could be done while still being refined and nice. That would serve the revenge as sweet yet hot coals on Consort Wang's head, but that was not her. That was Li Lian.

When Consort Wang approached her, she was straightforward. "On your knees, now."

The audience gasped at her words and she was sure Consort Wang gained a darker shade of embarrassment.

"Your Highness?" she innocently questioned her.

Insolent! She still had the guts to speak back and be cunning? Today she would show her.

"Now! Or do you consider me as not your elder?" Consort Shu looked over at Dowager Empress Wang who probably was still a little bit of emotional and confused to intrude. Well, she was going to knock them both over. "I am the real mother of the emperor, you dare disrespect me?"

"Méiyǒu(No)," she went on her knees, her maids there to help her. Concubines at most broke into laughter and Consort Shu loved this. This was the worst punishment for Consort Wang who wanted all the women in the harem to see her as untouchable, but Consort Shu still had more of her sweet dish of vengeance to serve her.

S.V