Joy of Life - Chapter 738 - Noon (1)[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:51:03]
Chapter 738: Noon (1)
Consort Mei did not disappoint her family, Jingdou, the Qing Kingdom, or anyone who felt fear toward the Third Prince, Li Chengping. She successfully gave birth to a son in the autumn of the 12th year of the Qing calendar. Under the tense atmosphere of the battle in the North, an addition to the royal bloodline had to be said to be good news and a good omen.
It was just a pity that her background was not very aristocratic and her family was small. Otherwise, the entire Jingdou would be even livelier for the birth of this little prince.
During these years, the Third Prince Li Chengping gradually grew up. He always presented a steady, knowledgeable, and polite side to the public. Additionally, he was now listening to politics in the royal study and being personally tutored by Scholar Hu. He should be the clear choice as heir. Consort Mei’s pregnancy, logically speaking, should not have caused any major waves.
However, not all of the officials had forgotten the Baoyue Brothel incident. On the surface, it was a battle between Fan Xian and the Second Prince, but it was the second son of the Fan family and the Third Prince that were pushed to the forefront of the stage. The second son of the Fan family had escaped to Northern Qi and was yet to return. Although the Third Prince’s role in this matter had been wiped clear by the Palace, it could not be hidden from the eyes of most people.
Everyone knew that the close relationship between the Third Prince and Fan Xian was not comparable to the ordinary person. Presently, Fan Xian was only known as violent and sinister by the civil system in the Qing court because of the matter of killing officials in the street. No one wanted Fan Xian to rise in power again.
Most importantly, there were too many clever people in the Qing court. Although the Emperor had not stated anything explicitly, the Emperor had, after many years and purging the Overwatch Council, chosen to once again bring new consorts into the Palace. These people had long guessed the Emperor’s intention. Thus, adding to the royal bloodline also added a sense of secrecy.
Although the Palace had not openly announced the happy news, the tongues that were everywhere had already sent the news out of the Palace. In just one night, all of the officials knew of this matter. Some of the cautious officials were worried, some were secretly happy, and some let out a breath. But, more people grew nervous.
While the officials wondered in their manors how they should write their congratulatory memorials, the Emperor, who gained a son in his old age, was not as moved as these outsiders and officials.
Hong Zhu, the pen-wielding eunuch in the royal study was still kneeling obediently by the Emperor’s chair. His knees already hurt. Cold sweat flowed endlessly down his back. A great deal of time had already passed from him delivering the message until now, but the Emperor remained half lying in the chair in silence and revealed not a glimpse of joy. He didn’t even have the interest in rising to have a look in Consort Mei’s sleeping palace.
Hong Zhu didn’t know what had happened and had no idea what the Emperor was thinking. He was just nervous. He had no idea that Fan Xian was alive and was heading toward Jingdou. He just kowtowed again within his role as a eunuch to carefully remind the Emperor that perhaps it was time to rise.
The Emperor waved his hand irritably but did not become angry or rise. On the contrary, he said to Eunuch Yao by his side, “Do you think I will have the opportunity to watch this son grow up?”
Eunuch Yao’s heart jumped. He quickly bowed his body. He pushed a smiled onto his face and said a bunch of nonsense, nothing more than that the Emperor was still in his prime and such things about thousands of generations.
Tiredness flashed across the Emperor’s thin face. The corners of his lips twitched into a slightly mocking smile. No one knew if he was mocking the world or mocking himself. If Chen Pingping was still alive, how would he answer this question? Probably in a much more interesting way than Eunuch Yao, but the old dog died long ago.
Looking at the unchanging darkness in front of him, he suddenly thought of the letter the Second Prince had left him a few years ago. He also thought of his last conversation with the Crown Prince and what the Crown Prince had said at the time.
“I implore father to be more lenient with those still living.”
Li Chengqian’s voice seemed to echo by his ear, making the Emperor’s heart twist slightly. He furrowed his brow slightly and quietly sighed. “Who will be lenient to me?”
The next day, all the officials who were preparing to boldly hand in celebrator memorials to flatter the Emperor suddenly learned of a piece of news that shocked them and sent them into a panic.
Consort Mei had given birth to a son and then suffered a massive bleed out. The imperial doctors worked all night to save her life but had failed. Unfortunately, she had passed away in the Palace. Fortunately, the little prince, who had lost his mother right after being born, was healthy. The Emperor, pained at the death of Consort Mei, ordered Imperial Consort Yi of Shufang Palace to raise the child.
Having Imperial Consort Yi of Shufang Palace raise him essentially meant that Imperial Consort Ye would be this prince’s birth mother in the future. Thinking of this, the officials who had been pondering the future ownership of the Qing throne suddenly didn’t know what to say. They knew that this arrangement of the Emperor’s had practically severed the possibility of this prince ascending to the throne.
Consort Mei was already dead, so the prince no longer had any protection in the Palace. The Mei family was also very weak in power. With Imperial Consort Yi raising the child, what chance did they have to poke their heads out?
The noonday sun shone down on the brilliant walls of the Royal Palace and added a great deal of warmth to this autumn’s day. However, the warmth in the Palace was rather lacking, particularly in Consort Mei’s sleeping palace, which was silent and cold. The newly born prince had already been taken away, and the nannies and related serving girls had also gone to Shufang Palace. Other than the faint sound of crying, there was not a glimmer of joy to be felt.
Consort Mei’s body had been tidied and was lying peacefully on the large bed, not yet moved away. This delicate girl, who had the fortune of meeting Fan Xian once, still did not manage to escape the bad luck of the Royal Palace. Perhaps it was because she had lost too much blood, but her face was as white as frost. Under the noonday sun, it reflected a cold and dissatisfied light.
Fan Xian had once wholeheartedly wished that she would give birth to a princess. Unfortunately and pitifully, she had successfully given birth to a prince. Fan Xian’s initial fear was that after the prince grew up, he would once again bring unease and blood to this Royal Palace. He probably had not expected that right after this prince was born, Consort Mei would pay for it with her life.
The noonday sun was just as endlessly brilliant as this Royal Palace, but why was that white face still so cold despite the rays of light on it?
Fan Shunin and Fan Liang were taking their midday nap with Sisi at their side. Sunlight shone on the trees and flowers inside the Fan manor’s garden, sketching complicated shadows onto the window of this study.
Inside the study, Lin Wan’er sat by the desk with a heavy expression. She was silent for a long time before she finally sighed and said, “Consort Mei’s life was bitter, but this is also good. With Imperial Consort Yi raising the child, it will prevent further unrest in the future.”
At this time, there was only her and her sister-in-law Fan Ruoruo in the room. During the past six months, the two of them often went into the Palace to keep the Emperor, who aged daily, company. They were very aware of everything in the Royal Palace. They had met Consort Mei, who was truly as delicate and proud as a plum blossom in the snow, a few times and were not strangers. They had not imaged that Consort Mei would die of birthing complications.
Fan Ruoruo was not a person of many words. Hearing her sister-in-law sigh, she was silent for a long time. She then raised her head, looked into her eyes, and quietly said, “If anyone’s to blame, it is her parents who forcefully sent her to that shameful place.”
These words had once been said by Yuanchun in the “Story of the Stone.” Lin Wan’er knew that it was written by Fan Xian. Given her wisdom and quick-thinking, she immediately understood that there was more to what was said. The tips of her brows pulled together slightly. “His Majesty’s bloodline is lacking. Furthermore, all matters within the palace are managed by Imperial Consort Yi. You and I know what she is like, surely…”
The two of them knew surely what. Fan Ruoruo thought for a moment and shook her head. “Of course, Imperial Consort Yi is not such a person. I had taken Consort Mei’s pulse a few times and listened to her fetus a number of times. After she was pierced by brother’s words on the seventh, she had been particularly cautious and careful with her health. Her body was also stronger than when she first entered the Palace. In my opinion, although it was her first child, it shouldn’t have been so troublesome.”
“Things always go wrong easily during birth,” Lin Wan’er said with lingering fear as she thought of when she gave birth to Fan Liang.
Fan Ruoruo furrowed her brows for a long time and still shook her head slowly. “I heard it was a smooth birth. I still think that this matter is strange.”
The study was silent for a long time. Lin Wan’er looked at her and lowered her voice, “This doesn’t make sense.”
It indeed did not make sense. Although there were always sinister things happening in the Qing Royal Palace, no one had actually done such a truly terrifying thing as this before, particularly since the child Consort Mei carried had come in the Emperor’s old age. The Palace had been personally managed by Eunuch Yao. Even Shufang Palace had not interfered to avoid any suspicion. Who could harm Consort Mei?
Fan Ruoruo suddenly quietly said, “Consort Mei’s labor date was later than first calculated.”
Lin Wan’er’s heart trembled. She looked into her eyes with disbelief. “Who would be so daring?”
Fan Ruoruo shook her head and said, “She lived in the forbidden palace. During that time, the Emperor slept every night at her place. Naturally, no one has the daring to offend the dignity of the royal family. Thinking about it now, Consort Mei only desired the Emperor’s favor and might have misreported given her youthful confusion. Fortunately, she got lucky and there was no major trouble.”
Lin Wan’er sighed. “I truly have no idea what she was thinking.”
“She was young and clueless. It’s the fault of her father and family for selling her into the Palace for glory. I’m afraid that this matter was her family’s idea.” Fan Ruoruo laughed coldly and said, “Her family is just a small one. Additionally, it had been many years since the Palace took in new concubines. They probably didn’t even know of the taboo within to be daring to such a degree. They won’t be able to escape implication for the death of Consort Mei.”
Lin Wan’er finally understood what she heard and guessed it correctly. She still could not believe her ears and said in a daze, “Although it is the crime of deceiving the Emperor, in the end, she had just given birth to a prince and committed no treasonous actions. How could she just die without reason?”
“Who knows what the Emperor is thinking?” Faint worry rose between Fan Ruoruo’s brows. “It’s just unfair for the child who lost his mother right after he was born.”
In the Qing Kingdom many years ago, there was another child who lost his mother right after his birth. He still grew up healthily and happily beneath the favor his mother left behind. It was very clear that the icy Consort Mei, who was illuminated by the noonday sun, would not be like Ye Qingmei and be able to stand in the netherworld to observe her son.
Also, no one had any idea that Consort Mei’s death was because Fan Xian had once said to the Emperor that Consort Mei was not as good as Imperial Consort Yi, or that the Emperor had thought through some matters.