Qiu Yelan had not seen Chu Weize, Prince Yan. Even if she had seen him, it was not the right time to greet. So, she turned around and followed Nijin into the hall after saluting.
“I’m Qiu Yelan. Wish you all the best, Your Majesty!” She saluted in accordance with the rules after being led to the Beijue Hall. Empress Jiang asked her to stand up quickly,” Sit down. You are first-class Commandery Princess. You don’t have to be restrained.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty!” Qiu Yelan guessed that the Empress might like a generous and straightforward character since she talked back to Empress Dowager without euphemism. So she sat down on the next drum stool without refusal.
She glanced at steps above silently. Empress Jiang now changed into regular clothes. She wore a pink peace Ruyi cloud patterned brocade coat, tied with a jade belt. She twisted her hair into a spiral bun and looked cute and lovely.
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However, the Empress’s momentum remained. She leaned on her throne and asked lazily, “What did you do in Mount Dizi last winter?”
Qiu Yelan didn’t expect she would ask this question. After a while, she said, “My cousin was studying in the residence of Mount Dizi and accidentally caught a cold. So my uncle’s birth mother asked me to see him. ”
“Kang Jinzhang has a sister called Kang Lizhang. And your uncle still has several children.” Empress Jiang said casually, “Why did she ask you to visit? You still have other cousins.” The Empress looked at her with a faint smile, “Why did he die after you visited him?”
Qiu Yelan changed her thoughts immediately. Empress Jiang must be aware of something shady about the matter in Mount Dizi. But maybe she didn’t value Kang Jinzhang from her tone. So, according to what she said...
Without a word, she knelt down, “Please forgive me, Your Majesty!”
Empress Jiang laughed, and was very satisfied with her cleverness from the tone, “Tell me about what happened!”
“... That’s what happened. I really didn’t want to kill him. I just want to scare him, so that he wouldn’t continue to... Continue to disturb me!” Qiu Yelan said pitifully and there were tears falling on her face, which were as white as a gardenia petal.
Apart from concealing that she passed through time and space, she didn’t change a word about what happened in Mount Dizi. It was not that she didn’t want to embroider the truth, but that it was clear that Empress Jiang had already investigated before. It was not worthwhile if she exaggerated and made the Empress be disgusted with her.
But people tended to sympathize with her because she was right and young. It seemed that her tearful and vivid accusation was successful in that several maids around Empress Jiang turned over and wiped away their tears silently.
Even Empress Jiang frowned slightly, but she said, “Your uncle’s birth mother... What do you mean? At least you should call your grandfather’s concubine step-grandmother, right?”
“Your Majesty.” Qiu Qilan was waiting for her to ask this, and she said immediately, “Uncle’s birth mother indeed had been my grandfather’s concubine, but...”
“Had been?” Empress Jiang immediately responded. She sat upright slightly and looked down on her, “You mean she isn’t your grandfather’s concubine anymore?”
“You’re brilliant, Your Majesty!” Qiu Yelan said timidly, “According to what my uncle’s birth mother said, she violated the rules when she was serving my direct grandmother. So she was driven out of Prince’s Mansion by my grandmother—Later on, uncle returned to inherit the title and took her back because my father was killed in battle and my brother died young. So he respectfully calls her Madame Lu...”
“Thank you for telling me why you were driven out, Madame Lu! Otherwise, how could I confirm that you had broken the rules?”
Empress Jiang looked at her deeply. Suddenly, her face was darkened, and she said angrily, “It’s absurd! She has nothing to do with Prince’s Mansion of Xihe since she was the concubine who was driven out by the old Princess of Xihe! Qiu Mengmin, the present Duke of Xihe, not only took her back to the Prince’s Mansion—But he even respectfully calls her Madame! It is clear that he ignores his official mother, the old Princess of Xihe! Does this unfaithful and unfilial individual still deserve to inherit the title of duke?! ”
Qiu Yelan said in a “shocked” state, “Your Majesty, my uncle is displaying filial piety!”
“How can you disobey the rules if you are displaying filial piety?” Empress Jiang said coldly, “Official mother is senior. Concubine mother is junior. This is the rule of the whole world! Even if the son of a concubine gets the title of nobility, he should give the official mother first. According to Qiu Mengmin’s action, won’t the rules be out of order in the future?!”
Empress Jiang said very loud and she was full of righteous indignation. She could not wait to run to Ganquan Palace and yelled to Empress Dowager Gu—The old Princess of Xihe had already died, but the Empress Dowager Ye, the Empress of the former emperor, was still alive! The Empress Dowager Gu was the former emperor’s concubine. She even pushed the Empress Dowager Ye aside and only a few people in the palace remembered her!
It was not only a mess in the future, but also a mess now!
Qiu Yelan tried her best to take the topic to the deep trap she prepared for Prince’s Mansion of Xihe. Of course, she wouldn’t let off the opportunity to set the ladder for the Empress. She lay on the floor and confessed loudly without hesitation, “Thank you for your instructions, Your Majesty—Please forgive me for not persuading my uncle to respect grandmother in time because I’m so young that I didn’t know this was against the rules.”
“Officer, come in!” Empress Jiang was worthy of being born of a general’s family. She gave a straightforward command, “Drafting a decree! Qiu Mengmin, Duke of Xihe, despised his official mother and murdered his niece. He was unfaithful, unfilial and unjust. He was unworthy of inheriting the title. Dismiss his title and demote to common people!” She added after thinking, “And exile in places beyond the Great Wall!”
The female officer in front of the Empress was so quick that she almost finished writing a decree full of couplets and compound sentences after the Empress stopped speaking. She presented it to Empress Jiang after finishing and drying the ink.
Empress Jiang changed a few words to make its tone more severe, and then she nodded.
So someone came forward and copied it into a formal decree.
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“Why couldn’t you perceive that Lu and your uncle had evil thoughts? Even Princess Ruan who was alive at that time couldn’t perceive?” Empress Jiang turned her head and asked Qiu Yelan who was rejoicing secretly, “Especially you are so pretty although you are young. You are as beautiful as my daughter Yongfu! Princess Ruan even agreed to ask you to visit Kang Jinzhang in Mount Dizi with a maid who was at about the same age as you? Kang Jinzhang often went to brothels. He wasn’t a good person! Princess Ruan really trusted him so much? ”
Qiu Yelan’s eyes turned red quickly, “My mother just wanted me to escape.”
“Escape?” Empress Jiang smiled, “Where could you go in the wild mountains of the Mount Dizi as a little girl? Escape to the wolf’s stomach?”
The maids in the palace who were moved by Qiu Yelan’s words just now also laughed.
“Because of my marriage.” Qiu Yelan changed her thoughts and said in a choked voice, “It was Lu who urged my uncle to arrange the engagement, and my mother didn’t know. Because Deng Yi... she greatly opposed but she couldn’t resist because my uncle deliberately embarrassed her... So she wanted a loyal maid to take me away and went to relatives far away for shelter on the way to Mount Dizi! ”
Empress Jiang asked, “Why did you return to Prince’s Mansion of Xihe?”
“After the avalanche, it was hard for me to survive. But I found that the place where Cousin Kang had fallen was buried by snow! I was worried that my mother was angry, and I couldn’t return alone. So...” Qiu Yelan wouldn’t let off any chance to show filial piety.
Sure enough, Empress Jiang nodded slightly. There was a touch of softness in her eyes while she was looking at Qiu Yelan—She had been in charge of the Central Palace for many years. She stood up to Empress Dowager as an equal and made the emperor have no temper. But so far she just had a child, Princess Yongfu.
Yesterday, Empress Dowager asked her about the matter that Princess Yongfu invited Kang Lizhang to the palace. And Empress Jiang took the responsibility immediately. This showed how she cared for and defended her own daughter.
Of course, love between mother and daughter was the easiest thing to touch the Empress.
“You are filial. And it has been hard for you these years.” Empress Jiang sighed, “But you are too honest. Qiu Mengmin and Lu are so disrespectful. Why not come and tell me early and let me support you? ”
Qiu Yelan hadn’t spoken yet, but a middle-aged female officer who stood behind Empress Jiang answered it for her, “Your Majesty, Qiu Mengmin, who is a son of a concubine, is the eldest son of the old Duke of Xihe. He is educated and he knows principles. How couldn’t he know what he did these years was disrespectful to his official mother? In this case, would he give a chance for others to expose them?”
Empress Jiang thought what she said was very reasonable. She encouraged her in a few words instead of asking her anymore. Since it was late, she awarded her casually, and asked Nijin to send her out of the palace.
Actually, leaving the palace in this way made Qiu Yelan feel a bit disappointed—She deliberately talked about her dissatisfaction with her marriage to Deng Yi. Empress Jiang criticized Qiu Mengmin again and again, but she didn’t mention breaking her engagement.
Although according to the major principle, Qiu Yelan’s marriage should be decided by Qiu Mengmin since her grandfather and father were gone, and she had no brother. Even if the marriage was not good, people only commented that Qiu Mengmin was unkind. But it was inconvenient for others to interfere.
But Empress Jiang was so mighty in front of the Empress Dowager. Was it a big deal for her to interfere with the family matter of Wang Family?!
Perhaps she kept this yoke in order to make it convenient for her to order about Qiu Yelan in the future?
“Maybe the most important thing for Empress Jiang now is to use Qiu Mengmin’s disrespect for old Princess of Xihe to reflect on the matter that Empress Dowager Gu treated Empress Dowager Ye unfairly.” Qiu Yelan secretly thought, “Maybe she worries that if she breaks my engagement at this time, this will give Empress Dowager Gu opportunity to change the topic! ”
If so, after the thing that Qiu Mengmin disrespected his official mother was settled... There was hope for her to regain freedom.
Thinking this was possible, Qiu Yelan looked forward to it in a happy mood.
However, the pleasure was destroyed on the way to the palace gate by a greeting from the back—Gu Yan, who came out of the corridor nearby, seemed to be waiting especially for her here.
He wore a veil hat to cover the scars on his face. It was estimated that he entered the palace just after worshiping ancestors, and had no time to change his complicated robe.
“Are you going out of the palace too, Commandery Princess Ningyi? It’s really a coincidence. I do too.” Gu Yan came over and followed Qiu Yelan’s sedan. He said softly. And his voice was a little hoarse. Perhaps it was caused by his loud yells yesterday?
Anyway, they were in two hostile camps. Qiu Yelan wasn’t afraid to offend him a little more. So she coughed, “That sounds familiar.”
Su He bowed her head and said nothing. But Nijin accompanying didn’t care about Gu Yan, and she burst out laughing—How couldn’t the maids in the palace of the Empress take delight in talking about the thing that Gu Yan and Deng Yi were badly beaten up by Jiang Yashuang on account of a sentence “It’s really a coincidence. Young Prince Gu also wants to compete with others.” said by Jiang Yashuang?
However, Gu Yan also said “It’s really a coincidence.” This just gave an opportunity for Qiu Yelan to taunt.
Gu Yan’s muscles on his face jumped. He glanced at Nijin who had no respect for him, and then took a deep breath to curb his temper. He said, “I talked about Your Grace with my aunt after backing home yesterday. And she felt deep regret about the death of Princess Ruan. So she planned to pick Your Grace up to the Prince’s Mansion of Guangyang in the first lunar month to stay for a short time... You’d better not go back to the General’s Mansion today, Your Grace. Return to the Prince’s Mansion of Xihe to pack up your things. Probably someone will pick you up tomorrow. ”
Su He’s face turned pale after hearing his words!
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