Chapter 22 Fight Between Mother and Daughter-in-law
“What is going on?” Along with the rebuke, a whole set of grape pattern porcelain bowl was smashed from the top of the stairs. The lid of the bowl grazed through Qiu Yelan’s hair and broke into pieces on the floor behind her.
Above the stairs, Empress Dowager Gu’s eyes had a piercing gleam. Her angry face implied her intention to kill.
Emperor and empress who sat a little lower than Empress Dowager were watching her blowing off her steam calmly. Four people kneeling below the stairs had different looks. Qiu Yelan who had no connections was looking down timidly. Gu Yan and Deng Yi were scrambling to talk about their grievances. Jiang Yashuang was calm. Seeing Qiu Yelan looking at him, he was chill enough to give her a smile. He obviously had a lot of confidence in his Empress aunt.
He was Empress’s biological nephew after all. And he had a biological grandfather who was called the Defender of the State.
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Qiu Yelan bit her lips anxiously, “What am I going to do?”
She peeked above. Empress Dowager should be over 50 years old. But she looked a little more than 30 years old at most.
Her biological son Jinshang was the youngest son of former emperor. At the time he was born, his half-brother had been the crown prince for more than 10 years who was fully fledged. However, that crown prince was suspected of trying to kill his father before his brother turned 3. His whole family were sentenced to death except a born retarded grandson who was used to prove the royal family’s mercy.
You could know how impressive Empress Dowager Gu’s beauty and meanness were.
Empress Dowager who sat on her exclusive chair at the top had changed into the crimson formal dress for dinner. She wore 12-flower shaped hairpins on her head. Stateliness was revealed in her looks. Her elegant demeanor as the Regent Empress Dowager was obvious.
Empress Jiang who sat a little lower surprised Qiu Yelan a little. Empress was dainty and cute. She had a chubby oval face. Her eyebrows were thin and eyes were big. The corner of her mouth turned up like she was smiling. Even though she was in empress’s formal dress and wearing the phoenix coronet, she still gave people an ignorant feeling judging by her look.
But the aggressive vibe coming from the small sized Empress reminded Qiu Yelan of a phrase from her last life “Lolita’s look, queen’s vibe”.
Between two empresses, emperor was wearing his formal clothes and his white jade crown. Judging by his appearance, he could be considered as tall and elegant. However, he was obedient and gloomy. He didn’t look like an emperor. He was more like a concubine who was envied by the Empress and suppressed by the Empress Dowager.
“You two are useless,” after hearing Gu Yan and Deng Yi’s complaint for a while, Empress Jiang who was calm originally showed impatience, “Two against one. And you guys still ended up like this. What a shame!”
Empress Dowager Gu said angrily, “Why did you talk like you were on the right side since it was your nephew who hurt others?”
“Shuang did it because he couldn’t stand these two bullying Commandery Princess Ningyi,” Empress Jiang said with contempt, “How brave he is! Commandery Princess Ningyi is only 12, right? She is still a little girl! Mother, please tell me what did Shuang do wrong helping others. In my opinion, Duke of Guangyang is muddled because of his old age. How does he teach his son and nephew? They dare to bully others in the palace. Who knows what they might do outside the palace? Do they think they have power over our country?”
Empress said those words rapidly and decidedly. Hearing it, Qiu Yelan who kneeled below the stairs wanted to stand up and gave her applause.
But it was unpleasant for Empress Dowager Gu. She said with hatred, “Did I ask you? Shut up!”
Empress Jiang disobeyed, “Mother, you are the Empress Dowager. How could you be partial to them?”
“Son?” Empress Dowager took a deep breath and turned to the Emperor.
Emperor who was sipping the tea he was holding looked up reluctantly. Intimidated by Empress Dowager’s look, he showed cowardice and said, “Mother is right...” Before he could finish, Qiu Yelan saw Empress Jiang reaching out from the side where Empress Dowager couldn’t see and pinching the Emperor violently.
Emperor’s face twitched. He almost knocked over his tea. Finally, he said bearing his pain, “Mother! I’m not feeling well. I want to leave. I will leave this thing to you two.”
After saying this, he stood up immediately. He even forgot to put down his tea. He bowed with the teacup in his hand and then walked away.
“You...” Empress Dowager Gu was stunned. She stared at Empress Jiang viciously, “You did this!” Although she didn’t see, she could have guessed since their conflicts didn’t generate in a day or two.
Empress Jiang acted as if nothing had happened, “Mother, what are you talking about? I don’t understand!”
Qiu Yelan bit her lips to prevent herself from laughing out loud. Empress Dowager who had been a regent for 30 years was truly tough. However, who knew what her destiny held. She just had to have a daughter-in-law like Empress Jiang. She could remain in her regent position until now and didn’t get pissed off by her daughter-in-law. Empress Dowager truly didn’t have it easy!
Empress Dowager Gu grinded her teeth for a while and then pounded on the table. She pointed at Qiu Yelan and shouted with anger, “You, speak up! Did Yan and Yi bully you earlier or not?”
“Yes, your Grace. It was because Young Prince Gu molested me...” Although Qiu Yelan prepared to draw a line with Jiang Family and take Empress Dowager’s side before she went to the palace, now it would be suicidal if she took Empress Dowager’s side. Of course, she needed to keep the good relationship with Jiang Family.
So, Qiu Yelan was about to tell the truth without hesitation.
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“Wait!” Before she could finish her sentence, Empress Dowager squinted her eyes and checked out her worn-out dress, “As the Commandery Princess, how could you come to the palace dressing like this? Don’t tell me that Duchess of Xihe raises her niece like this. Not to mention that you are an official Commandery Princess.”
Qiu Yelan’s heart quivered. Empress Jiang was also stunned for a while. An old maid beside Empress Dowager bowed and said, “Your Grace, you didn’t know this. According to the rumors, the hostess of Prince’s Mansion of Xihe is not Duchess of Xihe. It’s Duke of Xihe’s sister Qiu Yuqing and her daughter Kang Lizhang.”
“Kang Lizhang?” Empress Dowager sneered and then looked at the Empress, “It seems that the common girl Yongfu invited to dinner tonight has the same name?”
Empress Jiang puckered her lips, “Yongfu? How could a little girl like her make this kind of decision? It was me who asked her to do it.”
“So inappropriate! New Year’s Eve dinner is to reward the officials by our royal family. Only officials who are above level 5 can attend with their families. Those who below level 5 can’t attend unless they have special permission. Allowing a common girl to join the dinner because of a trivial thing has already broken the rules. I can let it go if the girl is good,” Empress Dowager was furious. She pounded on the table and shouted, “You dare to invite a girl who took over her aunt’s power and bullied her cousin.”
Empress Jiang said coldly, “Maid Lu said it was a rumor that the hostess of Prince’s Mansion of Xihe was not the Princess but Qiu Yuqing and her daughter. Can this kind of rumors be true? It was a joke told by the common folks. If you as the Empress Dowager believe it, it will be a real joke!”
“You, tell us why did you come to the palace dressing like this,” Empress Dowager Gu didn’t want to quarrel with her daughter-in-law. She went after Qiu Yelan again, “Is it you who despise the royal family, or did someone mistreat you? Don’t worry about what just happened. I will uphold justice for you.”
Ignoring Empress Dowager’s threat about despising the royal family, Qiu Yelan answered immediately, “Because my mother just passed away. I have been in mourning these last few months. I didn’t customize new clothes...”
“Girls at her age grow fast indeed,” Empress Jiang cut her off immediately, “However, Duchess of Xihe did wrong too. Even you are in mourning, she should have prepared you some plain clothes in case you need to go out. Oh right, mother, since Commandery Princess Ningyi is still in mourning and today is New Year’s Eve, you summoned her here?”
After these two events, Empress Dowager Gu realized that Qiu Yelan had made up her mind to take Jiang Family’s side. Her look became gloomy, “Our royal family is protected by god. There is nothing to be afraid of! You come from a general’s family. You are not a coward, are you?”
Empress Jiang said leisurely, “Of course not. I just thought you didn’t like Commandery Princess Ningyi. You summoned her here and scolded her even when she was in mourning and taking care of her grandfather,” they circled back to the conflict outside Liuchun Pavilion. Empress glanced at Gu Yan, “However, maids in the palace are responsible for teaching Commandery Princess. Why trouble Young Prince Gu?”
Empress Dowager Gu sneered, “She said that Yan bullied her. So, we have to take her words for it? Did you ask the maids in Liuchun Pavilion?”
Gu Yan sensed that Empress Dowager was on his side. He said loudly, “Although Commandery Princess Ningyi is young, she is very cunning! Your Grace, please torture her. So that she could tell the truth.”
“Shut up!” Just when he stopped talking, Empress Jiang shouted, “Commandery Princess is a girl. His Majesty avoided punishing her. How dare you tell me and mother how to do?”
Empress Dowager Gu pounded on the table angrily. Seeing the Empress acted like she didn’t see, she took a deep breath, “Servants! Take Ningyi away and lash her 30 times! I will continue to interrogate her after this.”
Empress Jiang was about to say something. Empress Dowager Gu shouted, “What? Do you want to teach me how to punish a Commandery Princess?”
“How could I dare?” Empress Jiang said icily.
Empress Dowager thought she admitted her failure. Seeing the servants walking towards Qiu Yelan, she felt she was less sulky. However, Empress Jiang said flatly in the next second, “But I think even a Commandery Princess has a lower status than a Princess. She is still the daughter of a Duke which is entitled by Gaozong Emperor. We should decide after consulting Empress Dowager Ye.”
The color of Empress Dowager Gu’s face turned red-brown right after hearing the three words “Empress Dowager Ye”.
“Empress Dowager Ye doesn’t like these worldly matters and lived in Ganli Palace for years to avoid these matters. But!” Empress Jiang said seriously, “Empress Dowager Ye is the wife of former Emperor and his Majesty’s official mother after all. Isn’t that right, mother?”
Empress Dowager Gu stared at Empress Jiang firmly while Empress Jiang put on a sweet smile.
After a while, Empress Dowager Gu grinded her teeth and said, “Then send her to Ganli Palace!”
“There is an Empress Dowager Ye in the palace?” Qiu Yelan was stunned at this moment. She was sure that she remembered everything of the body’s former owner’s life. But when did two Empress Dowagers exist in this country? And that Empress Dowager Ye was the lineal one!
“Your Grace, please calm down,” Qiu Yelan hadn’t been taken away yet. A servant came to ease the tension and said with caution, “Dinner is about to begin. Um...”
“Nijin, take Commandery Princess Ningyi and her maid to Ganli Palace,” Empress Jiang turned around and instructed a maid in colorful clothes behind her, “Ask Empress Dowager Ye’s advice on how to punish Commandery Princess Ningyi.”
Qiu Yelan was relieved. Empress Jiang helped her all the way just now. Although it was because she took Empress’s side repeatedly when she was answering Empress Dowager’s questions, it did show that Empress Jiang protected her side well.
Now Empress suggested sending her to Ganli Palace. It didn’t matter what kind of person this unknown Empress Dowager Ye was. Should be safe for now... right?
However, when she looked up after bowed, she saw Empress Dowager Gu sitting up there gloomy but calm. She didn’t know why, but her heart skipped a beat.
“Empress Dowager Gu won’t do anything to me secretly in Ganli Palace, will she?”
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