Medical Princess - Chapter 721
“A servant of Consort Lan?” The Empress asked, failing to maintain her dignified look.
“Yes, she was a major palace maid, who served Consort Lan before but was driven out of the imperial palace because of Consort Lan’s fall in the battle three years ago.” Nanny Xi knelt on the ground and reported truthfully.
She lowered her head and did not dare to peek at the Empress’s face.
It became so quiet in the main hall that Nanny Xi could almost hear her breathing clearly and lowered her head even more.
After a long while, she heard the Empress ask, “Is she really a servant of Consort Lan?”
“I’m sure that she is indeed a servant of Consort Lan!” said Nanny Xi.
The Empress fell silent for another long while. The silent atmosphere gave a sense of depression, which made Nanny Xi almost unable to breathe.
“Why does Consort Lan’s servant work for the Fifth Miss Shao of Duke Xing’s Mansion? Dose she… wants to make use of her?” The Empress seemed to be talking to herself in a mild tone.
“I don’t think so. Three years ago, her servant had to leave the imperial palace for a reason. Your Highness was fair in handling the matter, and even the Emperor couldn’t say anything about it!”
Nanny Xi reminded her cautiously. Three years ago there was a fight between the Empress and Consort Lan, and it was indeed an accident. And this accident ended up with the Empress’s victory and Consort Lan’s trusted servant being driven out of the imperial palace.
The Empress fell silent again. She naturally remembered this. How could she forget it, one of her few victories against Consort Lan in their secret battles?
Three years ago, Shao Wanru was still just the Second Miss of the Qin’s Mansion, who had just moved to the capital city from a remote place and had little connection with others in the capital city. It was indeed impossible for her to have a connection with Consort Lan. The only connection between them was that when Chu Liuchen visited Jiangzhou, it was said that he had lived in Ningyuan Army General’s Mansion in Jiangzhou.
However, he just lived there. At that time, Shao Wanru was only an ignorant eleven-year-old girl. It was impossible for Consort Lan to include such a little girl in her plan. Moreover, she, a Miss not favored in the Qin’s Mansion back then, had started a fight with the First Miss of Qin’s Mansion in Jiangzhou.
In any case, it was impossible for Consort Lan to choose Shao Wanru as her pawn!
Was it really just an accident? She was a little uncertain.
“I heard that the Empress Dowager has intended to marry the Fifth Miss of Duke Xing’s Mansion to Prince Chen since three years ago. Is it true?” The Empress said.
She just talked to herself subconsciously in a soft voice rather than want an answer from Nanny Xi.
Three years ago, she had made this guess, because she thought that what the Empress Dowager had done revealed her intention of setting Shao Wanru up with Prince Chen. The Empress Dowager called in Shao Wanru and then asked her to have a rest in the side hall, where Prince Chen happened to be as well. It seemed that the Empress Dowager wanted to bring them together, but the Empress doubted it a lot.
Shao Wanru was not an excellent candidate for Prince Chen’s wife. Why did the Empress Dowager like her so much?
As the Empress Dowager’s daughter-in-law, the Empress knew well about her partial mother-in-law. She had known long before that the Empress Dowager wanted to choose a Miss from a powerful and noble family as Prince Chen’s wife so that Prince Chen could still live a wealthy and peaceful life after she passed away. Even if the new emperor didn’t like him in the future, with the protection of his wife’s powerful and noble family, the new emperor couldn’t do anything to him.
Although Shao Wanru was of noble birth and had the backing of Rui’an Great Elder Princess’s Mansion and Duke Xing’s Mansion, all insiders knew that it was impossible for Duke Xing’s Mansion to support Shao Wanru. Moreover, Rui’an Great Elder Princess’s Mansion had no real power. Therefore, Shao Wanru was definitely not the candidate the Empress Dowager was most pleased with.
At that time, the biggest possibility was that the Empress Dowager indeed intended to set Shao Wanru up with Prince Chen, so she gave Shao Wanru the jade pendant as a token. However, the Empress Dowager was definitely unwilling to determine Shao Wanru as Prince Chen’s wife. This time, she would definitely choose another candidate secretly.
The rumor was just the most intuitive conjecture some people made based on what the Empress Dowager had done at that time, so it couldn’t be true.
Since it couldn’t be true, Consort Lan wouldn’t interfere.
In this case, was it really just an accident that Consort Lan’s palace maid became Shao Wanru’s etiquette instructor after being driven out of the imperial palace?
“Go and check the record of her leaving the imperial palace at that time. Find out why she became an etiquette instructor in the Qin’s Mansion and she was assigned to work there by someone or she asked to work there.”
After thinking for a while, the Empress gave an order to a major palace maid she trusted beside her.
“Yes, Your Highness. I’m going to check on it right away!” The major palace maid said and left in a hurry. After that, it became quiet again in the hall. The Empress frowned and thought it over quietly.
Things went so beyond her expectation that she had all kinds of speculations at the moment. But as she thought about them carefully, she didn’t know which one was true. All of them were likely to be true. Some were more likely, while some were less likely.
Nanny Xi knelt there with her head down and did not dare to move. Even if she did not look up, she knew that the Empress must look sullen now. The news she brought was significant.
One of them was sitting, while the other was kneeling. There were two other palace maids standing beside the Empress, but they were all silent.
“Your Grace, Prince Zhou is here!” There suddenly came a sharp voice of a eunuch from the gate of the hall.
“Let him in!” The Empress said coldly.
As the door of the hall was opened wide, Chu Liuzhou strode in. When he saw Nanny Xi kneeling on the ground, he just glanced at her and then continued moving forward. He walked to the front of the Empress, and asked with concern after bowing, “Mother, are you feeling uncomfortable?”
The Empress looked a little gloomy.
“I’m fine. Sit down for a talk!” The Empress pointed to the chair beside her and spoke.
Prince Zhou came over and lifted the lower hem of his robe to sit down.
“Mother, do you have something on your mind?”
“I’m thinking about the consort selection!” The Empress reached out to rub the part between her eyebrows and said, looking quite tired. She didn’t hide her thought.
“It hasn’t begun, right? Why are you so tired now? If you’re really tired, just assign a few imperial concubines to hold it, and you just need to take a look at the result at last!”
Chu Liuzhou said casually.
“Zhou’er, tell me whether you want to marry the First Miss of Duke Xing’s Mansion as your wife?” The Empress shook her head with a wry smile and asked.
As the master of the harem, she seemed to be living a glorious life, but in fact, she had to pick her steps. Both the Emperor and the Empress Dowager were superior to her, but neither of them was to be trifled with. Her biggest hope at the moment was her son.
If her son inherited the throne, she wouldn’t have to live a cautious life as if treading on thin ice as she did now.
“She can be my concubine!” Chu Liuzhou thought for a moment and spoke.
In the beginning, he did want Shao Yanru to be his Princess, but he had been very distressed recently. Although it was acknowledged that Chu Qing saved Shao Jie’er, he definitely knew the truth as one of the witnesses. He and Chu Liuyue claimed that it was Shao Jie’er who had fallen into water, because he didn’t want to see Shao Yanru marry Chu Qing.
At first glance, he could tell that Chu Qing, the son of the late Emperor, was overweeningly ambitious, since Chu Qing had played so many tricks to make his debut.
The sons of the royal family had always been astute. How could he be deceived by some coincidences on the surface? All of these were just tricks, and Chu Qing made his debut as the son of the late emperor through playing these tricks and even became faintly qualified to compete with them.
If Chu Qing married a Miss from a powerful family, it would go against any other prince’s interest.
However, he was displeased with Shao Yanru at the same time. In Chu Liuzhou’s view, Shao Yanru’s reputation had been tarnished. She and Chu Qing had clung to each other intimately in front of him. Besides, there were guards on the bank helping Chu Qing pull her up, and they seemed to have held and dragged her as well.
Nevertheless, no matter how displeased he was, he could not push Shao Yanru to Chu Liuyue’s side. After thinking it over, he could not bear to have a Princess, whose reputation had been tarnished. It made him feel like he had to swallow something dirty. However, he could accept her as his concubine.
“Duke Xing’s Mansion will not allow their eldest lineal daughter to be a concubine!” The Empress frowned and said unhappily.
There was a discrepancy in their thoughts. Of course, she knew that Shao Yanru had fallen into water. But so what? Anyway, the news of Shao Yanru’s falling into water didn’t go out, and they had made Shao Jie’er her scapegoat. In this case, Shao Yanru was still flawless in front of others.
She was desperately longing for the power of Duke Xing’s Mansion.
“She, in wet clothes, and a man clung to each other in front of me, and the same thing even happened between her and the guards. Duke Xing’s Mansion has no qualification to ask for the position of Princess!” Chu Liuzhou said disdainfully.
Based on these, as long as he brought it up, Duke Xing’s Mansion could not turn it down.
The Empress, who was not as optimistic as he, still frowned and said, “What if Chu Liuyue promises her the position of Princess?”
“Chu Liuyue also saw her fall into water at that time. If he doesn’t want to feel ashamed in front of me, he could only accept her as concubine as well,” Chu Liuzhou said.
The two of them were brothers as well as competitors. Since they were sensible, they had competed against each other and never given in to each other. They saw Shao Yanru fall into water together. Because they hesitated for a moment, Chu Qing seized the opportunity to save her.
Others didn’t know that Chu Qing saved Shao Yanru, but the two of them saw it with their own eyes. If either of them accepted her as wife, the one would lose face in front of the other one.
Neither of them wanted to lose face. Although they were fighting for the throne, they had their pride as princes!
Hearing what he said, the Empress fell silent for a moment and thought it made sense.
“Even if both of you can just accept her as concubine, you can’t guarantee that the First Miss of Duke Xing’s Mansion will marry you.” The Empress pointed out a new doubt.
“Mother, don’t worry. We can do something after the candidates enter the imperial palace. You are the host of the consort selection. No one knows what will happen when numerous candidates gather!” Chu Liuzhou said meaningfully with a smile.
During the consort selection, the candidates had to stay in the imperial palace for a period of time. There were many imperial concubines in the imperial palace, so it was very easy for them to do something.
The Empress nodded in agreement, but then she frowned and said, “I sent Nanny Xi to educate the First Miss Shao before with the intention of flattering her on the surface while secretly warning her. But now something goes wrong.”
“What’s wrong?” Chu Liuzhou asked.
With her face darkening, the Empress fell silent for a while, and then said, “Since you plan to marry Shao Yanru, Shao Wanru, also a Miss of Duke Xing’s Mansion, can’t be selected.”
“Mother, let her also be selected as the candidates for my consorts!” Chu Liuzhou suddenly said, and the Empress looked up in astonishment.