In order to avoid potentially revealing her plans for tonight, Pei Yaran made sure to show an amiable expression for the rest of the banquet. “Prince Hao, this Empress Dowager and you have grown up together in the Pei Residence, and this Empress Dowager had to call you ‘Elder Brother’. Now that you are going to marry a main consort, this Empress Dowager should call Su Xi-er ‘Sister-in-law’.”
Pei Zheng was stunned. Has my daughter let go of him? She’s not planning to act anymore?
“That won’t be necessary. After all, you are currently Beimin’s Empress Dowager, not the Pei Residence’s Eldest Young Miss.” Pei Qianhao replied, indirectly reminding Pei Yaran of her status.
Pei Yaran awkwardly smiled. “Prince Hao’s marriage must be grand. No bridal dress, golden hairpins, and jade bracelets can be missing.”
“That’s a given. This Prince will arrange everything.”
Pei Yaran kept her smile on her face, but became heavy-hearted. I can’t believe he is going to handle all these miscellaneous and trivial matters! Su Xi-er’s charm is indeed not to be belittled. If she really becomes Princess Consort Hao and finds the Pei Residence an eyesore, can’t she just charm Pei Qianhao while in bed to act against us?
As Situ Lin was young, he didn’t understand these struggles. He only knew that his Imperial Uncle was going to marry, and that Princess Consort Hao would be someone he knew. Su Xi-er is sweet-tempered and lovable, and she looks especially pretty when she smiles. After Imperial Uncle marries Su Xi-er, his tough and unyielding personality will become gentler right? Situ Lin’s heart was filled with joy. Maybe Imperial Uncle’s expression will be more pleasant when he teaches me the ways of governance and war in the future.
Upon this thought, Situ Lin’s mood vastly improved to the point where he dared to shout, “This Emperor is in a very good mood today. Everyone, please drink to your hearts’ content! No one’s getting home without being drunk tonight!” Unfortunately, he felt an icy gaze shooting in his direction as soon as the words left his mouth.
Situ Lin’s heart nearly stopped for a moment before he slowly shifted his eyes to meet Pei Qianhao’s frosty eyes.
“Your Majesty, you haven’t come of age yet. You shouldn’t be greedy for wine.” Pei Qianhao sternly reminded him in his deep voice.
Xie Yun chimed in. “Prince Hao, His Majesty’s young age allows you to control him a bit more. But when His Majesty comes of age, the huge power you hold in your hands is going to…”
Pei Qianhao interrupted him. “At that time, this Prince will naturally return power to His Majesty. You are thinking too far ahead, Commandery Prince Xie.”
The ministers who heard him were sceptical. With so much power, is Prince Hao really willing to hand this piece of fatty meat back to His Majesty?! It was clear that they each harboured their own thoughts, but kept silent.
The atmosphere of the banquet finally lightened a little, but the struggle had only moved from the surface to the shadows.
In the Imperial Library, Tan Ge entered her room without a single word to Su Xi-er and Chao Mu.
“Su Xi-er, can Tan Ge really recover from her trauma alone if we let her be?”
“Chao Mu, rest early tonight, and don’t go anywhere.” Su Xi-er showed a solemn expression. My intuition has always been accurate. As soon as Pei Qianhao announces the wedding date, every faction will begin making their own moves.
“As it’s the Winter Solstice palace banquet today, every palace maid can go to the Imperial Kitchen to collect some dumplings. You have to eat dumplings during the Winter Solstice.” Chao Mu brightly smiled.
“Collect them and come back as soon as possible.” Su Xi-er replied, then paused before adding, “I’ll go with you. Go back to your room after collecting them.”
Chao Mu repeatedly nodded. “Alright, I’ll return to my room first. I’ll call you again at night.”
As Chao Mu walked back to her own room and passed by Shu Xian’s, she would involuntarily raise her head to give it a glance. Why is he still not back after such a long time? Is he really never going to come back? As soon as a scholar boy assistant enters the Imperial Academy, he will never return.
To Chao Mu’s surprise, she found herself becoming sorrowful, and she fiercely shook her head. What’s there to grieve about? After he leaves, there will be no one to just say what they want and purposely bicker with me.
Su Xi-er went back to her room to rest for a while before heading for the book depositories four hours later.
At the same time, she spotted Tan Ge coming out of one of the book depositories, the latter’s eyes forming a complicated expression when she caught sight of Su Xi-er.
1. It’s usually served on a plate, and you can dip it in sauce. It is one of the traditions in Northern China during the Winter Solstice and I think it is for honouring a Chinese physician called Zhang Zhongjing and the dumplings are thought to dispel cold.
Oh my gosh, I felt really hungry when I was translating this chapter. The dumplings look too tasty XD