Pei Qianhao's gaze turned and landed on Ning Lianchen, his right hand lightly tapping on the tabletop. "In Your Majesty’s opinion, how does this Prince treat Su Xi-er?"


Ning Lianchen hadn't expected that Pei Qianhao would be so direct. Only Pei Qianhao would know how he really treats her; now is my opportunity to test the waters. Ning Lianchen deliberately let out a chuckle, feigning disinterest as he replied, "From what this Emperor sees, you favour Su Xi-er very much, Prince Hao. But no matter how much favouritism there is, limits that can never be crossed exist. A maidservant will only be able to become a concubine at most, while only women of noble birth could dream of becoming Princess Consort Hao or Side Princess Consort Hao. Is this Emperor correct?"


Ning Lianchen then turned his gaze to Pei Qianhao, his casual expression hiding the curiosity within. I want to know Pei Qianhao’s answer to this. There are some things Imperial Elder Sister can't say, so I will ask in her stead.


Pei Qianhao's expression remained unchanged, his eyes indecipherable as the corners of his lips rose. For Ning Lianchen to personally sound me out, how important is Su Xi-er to him?


"How is Your Majesty related to Su Xi-er? In this world, only people who have extremely close ties would think of others’ future. As for Su Xi-er, her future lies with this Prince; what does it have to do with Your Majesty?"


Ning Lianchen's heart sank. The question is thrown back at me again. Will Imperial Elder Sister really be happy if she follows Pei Qianhao? How is Imperial Elder Sister's future only Pei Qianhao's business? It is this younger brother's business as well. Imperial Elder Sister’s experiences in her previous life were already too bitter for any other. As such, her current life must be without the slightest injustice!


Nevertheless, Ning Lianchen was determined to get an answer out of Pei Qianhao today. He braced himself and deliberately mentioned, "Prince Hao, Su Xi-er is a talented and intelligent person. Such people will always act as they wish, and will never allow themselves to remain under someone else. Should you one day force her into a corner..."


Pei Qianhao interrupted Ning Lianchen. "There won't be such a day. Your Majesty has asked too much; this is this Prince's personal matter."


Ning Lianchen smiled. "It's a personal matter indeed. The deal you made with this Emperor appeared to be mutually beneficial, but Beimin is actually suffering a loss in every way. This Emperor dares not believe that you would use your nation's military and wealth to help Nanzhao."


"This Prince never does things at a loss. First, Prince Yun had offended this Prince; and second, Nanzhao is very accomplished in floriculture, sculpture, and erudition. Beimin only offered our military and wealth, but what we gained in exchange is priceless. Moreover, this Prince only helped Nanzhao because Prince Yun made a misstep. If not for that, this Prince wouldn’t have been able to change the milieu of Beimin without utilising a single soldier."


The people of Beimin regard martial arts highly, but put less emphasis on the importance of literary arts as a result. Studying martial arts improves one’s body, but studying the literary arts can cultivate one’s temperament. While neither is inherently negative, swinging too extremely to either side of the spectrum can cause a nation to decline.


"Rumour has it that Prince Hao has a meticulous mind. This Emperor finally got to see it today." Ning Lianchen then lifted the teacup. "This Emperor shall use tea in place of wine, and offer a toast to Prince Hao."


Pei Qianhao lifted his cup as well and hinted in a low voice, "Your Majesty knows full well why this Prince was upset with Prince Yun. This Prince hopes that Your Majesty will stop thinking about people that you shouldn't be thinking of." Pei Qianhao then downed the contents of his cup.


Ning Lianchen's hand that was holding the teacup halted momentarily before he smiled and downed the contents. "Prince Hao, this Emperor shall make a move first. This Emperor will come again tomorrow to see you off."


"Servants, accompany His Majesty on his way out." Pei Qianhao gestured for an imperial guard to come forward.

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Rakumon's Thoughts

Translation: Cosy

TLC: Rakumon

Edit: Lunarlark


Rakumon's Corner:

Ahahaha the younger brother sounding out the potential husband XD