Du Ling’s expression became solemn. Royal Grandmother has a stubborn personality, and Tan Ge has completely won her over. So many things have happened that I haven’t had the chance to explain.
He quickly turned to head towards the Grand Empress Dowager’s repose palace.
Meanwhile, Su Xi-er was standing beside the Grand Empress Dowager’s bed. A palace maid had helped the latter tie her hair up into a simple bun, and the old woman whose hair was already half-white kept staring at Su Xi-er with her spirited eyes.
After observing Su Xi-er for some time, the Grand Empress Dowager furrowed her brow. “What’s going on? They look so alike; did she give birth to two daughters?”
Su Xi-er walked over and softly greeted, “Royal Grandmother.”
The old woman immediately replied, “This Grand Empress Dowager’s granddaughter is Du Rin. Where did you come from? Where is she?”
After being ill for so long, the first person I see when I open my eyes is this unfamiliar lass. Yet, not only Du Rin not around, this lass even called me Royal Grandmother in her place.
“Royal Grandmother, do you recognise this jade pendant?” Su Xi-er sat on the edge of the bed and untied the jade pendant from her neck with a smile.
“This belongs to Du Rin. Why is it with you?” The possibility that the ‘granddaughter’ she had recognised was a fake never crossed her mind.
“This originally belonged to me. A woman called Tan Ge stole it and came to the Western Region, passing herself off as the Imperial Princess. But now, I have returned” Su Xi-er slowly explained, but the Grand Empress Dowager glared at her.
“An imposter?” This person before me is the one who’s feigning to be my granddaughter! What she said is preposterous! My granddaughter is clearly a kind woman, and I genuinely like her. She would stew soup for me every day, visit me, chat with me to ask how I am doing, and she would even sew clothes for me.
“I don’t believe it.” The Grand Empress Dowager wore a grave expression. To think that I would be greeted with such shocking news right after waking up.
Pei Qianhao chose this moment to walk in, and the Grand Empress Dowager recognised him at once. “You are Prince Hao of Beimin.” She sized him up like she would a potential husband for her granddaughter.
“This person before you is Princess Consort Hao, and she is indeed your granddaughter.”
The Grand Empress Dowager’s body stiffened. I had hoped that Prince Hao could marry my granddaughter, but this lass in front of me…
While she was still in a daze, a eunuch resoundingly announced, “The King has arrived!”
The Grand Empress Dowager’s eyes twinkled. It’s great that Du Ling has come; I have some questions for him. Why is there suddenly a real and fake imperial princess? If that’s the case, where is Du Rin now?
Right as Du Ling stepped in, he could sense something amiss with the atmosphere, though he did understand his grandmother’s character. Tan Ge was an expert at currying favor with others, and the time she spent getting Royal Grandmother to like her was no different. Even if she now sees Su Xi-er who looks more like Queen Mother, it is inevitable that there would be some distance between them.
“Royal Grandmother, your grandson recognised his younger sister wrongly before. This person before you is your real granddaughter.” In reality, the Grand Empress Dowager was the person who had ordered Du Ling to give Tan Ge her previous status. To prevent his grandmother from blaming herself, Du Ling decided to put the guilt on himself.
The Grand Empress Dowager gazed at Su Xi-er, scrutinising her once more before taking the jade pendant and slowly inspecting it.
Only after a long while did she finally speak. “So you are this Grand Empress Dowager’s granddaughter. Then what about the previous one?”
Just as Du Ling was about to blurt out that Tan Ge was dead, Su Xi-er cut in. “She has left the palace and returned to where she belongs.”
Su Xi-er immediately discerned the trace of grief in the Grand Empress Dowager’s eyes, and despite knowing Tan Ge’s ulterior motives, couldn’t help but think that she had treated this old woman well.
“Royal Grandmother, I will stay in the royal court for some time to keep you company.”
The Grand Empress Dowager looked at her. “How have you lived through these years?”
“I spent it in a small village, then I entered the palace and became a maidservant.”
“A maidservant? What kind of maidservant?”
Su Xi-er grasped the Grand Empress Dowager’s hand. “A maidservant in the Palace Side Quarters; I did odd jobs.”
The Grand Empress Dowager’s eyes instantly reddened, catching Su Xi-er by surprise as she embraced her. “Poor child, to think that you were a palace maid in the Palace Side Quarters. You have really suffered!”Previous Chapter Next Chapter