Chapter 100: Concubine Selection

Lin Haihai jumped into the carriage and told Uncle Qiu, “To the Blackhill Village, quickly!”

 

The coachman grinned and cracked his whip, and off the horse went, leaving a trail of dust in its wake. Yang Hanlun only caught sight of the back of the carriage when he got to the door.

 

Lin Haihai cackled like a hen and asked, “Have you brought the medicine, Uncle Qiu?”

 

Uncle Qiu turned to her and answered, “What you’ve taken stock of last night is all in the box. I’ve brought everything you’ve told me to!”

 

Lin Haihai checked the remaining medicine, worrying about the shortage they would soon run into. Hopefully, Li Junyue would be able to return with more this time, or it would be troublesome!

 

The villagers and soldiers were stunned when they saw Lin Haihai arrive at the Blackhill Village. Xiao Chong wasn’t completely clueless, and he recognized the dress on Lin Haihai as a princess consort’s court attire. He snuck glances at her as he helped unload the medicine. Although he had known that she was no ordinary woman - It was common knowledge that Physician Lin from the Linhai Hospital was well-respected by all in the capital, after all - never in his wildest dream would he imagine that the physician was a princess consort!

 

Lin Haihai rolled up her sleeves and tied them with silk. Then she did the same with the hem of her dress and took off her gilded silk jacket, leaving it carelessly on the beams of the carriage.

 

Seeing Lin Haihai treated the extravagant outfit with such a lack of care, the villagers couldn’t help but laugh. They could tell that the kind physician must have come from an impressive background. The village had once been prosperous and only had been in decline due to the infectious disease. Many villagers had seen their fair share of nobility. Although they didn’t recognize the court attire of a princess consort immediately, they could tell its significance at first glance!

 

“I’m going to a banquet today, so I have to leave early!” Lin Haihai raised her voice and said. “Please work with me and get in line. Let’s do this quickly!”

 

The villagers did as she instructed, grateful that the physician had taken time out of her busy schedule to help them.

 

Finally, Lin Haihai managed to inject every patient before noon. She immediately jumped into the carriage and grabbed her jacket to put it on. The carriage set out in a haste. She popped her head out of the window to wave the villagers goodbye. The villagers called out, “Be careful! Sit tight!”

 

“Who exactly is Physician Lin, Brother Xiao Chong?” a villager asked, considering the bemused Xiao Chong. The other villagers were all ears as well, waiting for him to respond.

 

With a serious expression, Xiao Chong sighed and said, “You’re lucky to be treated by a princess consort!”

 

The villagers struggled to recover their jaws, gaping at Xiao Chong in disbelief. The princess consort?! The physician is a princess consort?!

 

“No wonder there’s an indescribable grace about her,” muttered one of the villagers. “Turns out she’s a princess consort!”

 

The village chief stared at the swarms of dust brought about by the rushing carriage, his muddled eyes brimming with tears. He dropped to his knees and kowtowed at the direction Lin Haihai had left in, and the other villagers followed suit, expressing their gratitude to the kind princess consort!

-----

 

It was Lin Haihai’s birthday today. Yang Shaolun had personally visited the vault to find her a gift early in the morning. However, he found everything to be beneath his beloved woman. After some deliberation, he remembered how he had learned wood sculpting from a guard when he was young. The idea sparked joy in his heart, and he ordered someone to get him a piece of fine wood. He spent the entire morning in the Imperial Study. No one knew what he was up to.

 

Meanwhile, Chen Birou pretended to have a headache knowing that it was Lin Haihai’s birthday today, hoping that Yang Hanlun would stay in the residence for her. Although Yang Hanlun did shower her with care, he immediately left for the palace after she pretended to fall asleep.

 

In a fit of anger, she threw her blanket off, and her delicate features wrought with viciousness. Yanping looked at her with a pounding heart. She knew Chen Birou’s gentle image was nothing but a front. She recalled the time when they were still in the Chen Residence, and a newly hired servant had accidentally spilled tea all over her. She had dismissed the servant with a smile since the sixth prince was still there. As soon as the prince left, however, the servant immediately got beaten up and thrown out of the residence. The poor man could only live on as a beggar.

 

Some time ago, Yanping had seen the servant on the eastern street. His clothes were tattered, and he smelled worse than death. He recognized her and immediately fled in panic, considering her an accomplice of the brutality that day. She hurriedly caught up with him and gave him all the money she had on her before making her own escape.

 

On her way to the palace, Lin Haihai took some time to make herself presentable. How would Yang Shaolun react when he saw her? She took out the letter he had written her and read it through again before tucking it back into her clothes with a sweet smile, his closing words echoing in her mind, “My greatest wish is to wake up beside you every day, being with you from your youth to the time your hair and teeth begin to fall. I’ll write my surname on your tombstone and go into a slumber with you in the same burial pit. You may consider this a bad omen. You may think I’m not romantic. I’ve been thinking about what romance is ever since you told me about it. However, I realize it’s not something we should create. As long as I can see your smile and your beautiful eyes, every moment I spend with you is romantic!”

 

“To me,” murmured Lin Haihai, “The most romantic thing in the world is to watch the sunrise in your embrace. It makes me believe that we have a long future ahead of us!”

 

The carriage travelled past the woods and winding roads at a great speed until it came to a halt before the palace. The empress dowager had been waiting impatiently for the star of the birthday banquet to show up, but Lin Haihai was nowhere to be seen.

 

She demanded an explanation from Yang Hanlun, and the prince stuttered, struggling to come up with an answer. He couldn’t possibly say that Lin Haihai had left to see patients in her court attire! He had to resort to making up lies. “Birou caught a cold, and Yuguan was looking after her. She would be here as soon as Birou felt better!”

 

The empress dowager’s expression softened. “I told you that Yuguan is a generous woman. It’s clear in how she’s been treating Birou. You must not wrong her in the future. Do you understand?”

 

“This son won’t ever wrong her,” Yang Hanlun promised in resignation.

 

The empress dowager looked at the beautiful young women in the imperial garden and told the empress, “Take a look at them and select some talented and well-mannered ladies to fill the harem!”

 

The empress’s heart skipped a beat. The empress dowager was indeed trying to find more consorts for the emperor, and she used Haihai’s birthday as an excuse! There would be trouble once Haihai knew!

 

Guihua had been waiting at the entrance of the palace. She hurried to Lin Haihai when she finally showed up. In a disgruntled tone mixed with traces of delight, she said, “You’re late, Consort Lin! The empress dowager has been looking for you!”

 

Lin Haihai responded with feigned exhaustion, “I came as soon as I could. Let’s get in. It’s best not to let the empress dowager wait any longer!”

 

She let Guihua help her up and walked inside. “Slow down,” Guihua said as they walked. “Remember your composure!”

 

Yang Shaolun had been waiting impatiently for her, his heart pounding with anticipation and worry. Assuming that he was trying to get a look at the beauties in the garden, the empress dowager laughed and said, “You needn’t look for them, my son. This Empress Dowager will have your potential consorts line up before you so that you may pick who you want!”

 

It took some time for Yang Shaolun to realize what his mother had said. He turned to the empress, who lowered her head guiltily.

 

The empress dowager continued, “After what happened with Imperial Consort Li, the harem has become so empty, leaving only Consort Zhuang, Consort Zhen, and Consort Lin. You’re not young anymore, but this empress dowager still doesn’t have a grandson. This Empress Dowager is getting impatient! Thankfully, Yuguan’s birthday is today, and this Empress Dowager was able to invite young women of the right age from the right families to the palace for you to select from. This Empress Dowager has also made the order to recruit concubine candidates in order to make the harem full again!”

 

Yang Shaolun’s heart sank, and he felt a chill run down his spine as an icy gaze bore into his back.

 

Lin Haihai arrived at the door just in time to hear the empress dowager. Using my birthday as an excuse to find consorts for him? Great, that’s great!

 

“Turns out you’re selecting concubines for Imperial Elder Brother, Imperial Mother! How wonderful! Imperial Elder Brother will surely have a good time!” Her voice was practically dripping with sarcasm. Those in the palace turned to see a stunning woman slowly making her way in, her beauty seemingly lighting up the room. Her presence demanded respect even though her expression was free of anger. There was a frosty smile on her face, faint but showing traces of mockery.

 

“You’ve finally come, Yuguan! You’ve kept this Empress Dowager waiting! Come, sit by my side!” The empress dowager wasn’t bothered by her lack of manners at all and immediately waved her over. Lin Haihai threw Yang Shaolun a cool glance, taking hastened steps to the empress dowager and sitting down next to her. Noting the cold look on Lin Haihai’s face, the empress sighed inwardly. She has misunderstood!

 

“You aren’t going to blame this Imperial Mother for holding a consort selection for your Imperial Brother on your birthday, are you?” The empress dowager took Lin Haihai’s hand. “This Imperial Mother has no choice! His Majesty has entrusted me to take care of this matter. This Empress Dowager has to do it well.”

 

“Imperial Mother, when did this Emperor ever say anything about selecting more consorts?” Yang Shaolun hurriedly spoke up to explain himself, panicked by Lin Haihai’s darkening expression.

 

Confused, the empress dowager said, “Didn’t this Empress Dowager tell you to do something about your harem, and you told this Imperial Mother to take care of it? Has this Imperial Mother heard it wrong?”

 

Enraged, Lin Haihai smiled instead of losing her temper. “Imperial Elder Brother must have been too shy to admit it, Imperial Mother. Since he has entrusted this matter to Imperial Mother, you must clear your eyes and pick a beauty with both talent and a kind heart! Then she will give birth to your grandson soon. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

 

Yang Shaolun struggled to explain himself. He was anxious to make Lin Haihai understand, to tell her that she had misunderstood, but he couldn’t say anything a man wouldn’t say to his sister-in-law when there were so many people around them.

 

Noting Yang Shaolun’s dilemma, the empress decided to help him out of sympathy. With an awkward smile, she said, “You’ve acted too quickly, Imperial Mother. That’s not what His Majesty meant!”

 

The empress dowager was visibly displeased. “What else can there be done about the harem? What else may this Empress Dowager do for him other than selecting consorts and concubines? Besides, the harem is too empty now. There are not enough people to serve His Majesty well! You’ve always been the generous and well-behaved one, Empress. Why would you say something like that now?”

 

“This Emperor agrees with the Empress, Imperial Mother. The imperial court is fraught with trouble right now. This Emperor would like to focus on the state affairs without any distractions!” Yang Shaolun took the opportunity the empress had created for him to explain himself, but his gaze lingered on Lin Haihai, who sat beside the empress dowager and had been avoiding his gaze on purpose. Instead, she turned to the second princess consort Xiao Jueran with a faint smile and nodded at her in greeting.

 

“This Empress Dowager isn’t trying to distract you. You may focus on only the state affairs. This Empress Dowager and the empress will take care of the harem for you!” She turned to Lihua and said, “Pass down this Empress Dowager’s order, Lihua. Tell our guests to wait in the front hall. This Empress Dowager and His Majesty will see them soon!”

 

“This Emperor is going to repeat myself, Imperial Mother,” Yang Shaolun said in a forceful tone. “It’s not the right time to select more consorts!”

 

The empress dowager narrowed her eyes at Yang Shaolun and told the others, “You may go. This Empress Dowager has things to discuss with His Majesty!”

 

Shooting a parting glare at Yang Shaolun, Lin Haihai rose and walked outside. Yang Hanlun came up to her immediately and demanded, “Tell me, where did you go?”

 

Lin Haihai pushed him away. She had a chest full of anger with nowhere to vent. He asked for this himself! She poked at his chest with a finger and bit out, “Why are you so nosy? Why should you care where I’ve been? Aren’t you tired of nagging me all the time? You always try to stop me from seeing patients. What’s wrong with earning money? What’s wrong with wanting money? Is it illegal? What’s wrong with me earning money with my expertise? I haven’t stolen or robbed anything from anyone, have I?!”

 

She pushed him again and ran. Startled by her barrage of questions, Yang Hanlun didn’t immediately react. With a raised eyebrow and a deepening smile tugging his lip, he quickly caught up with her and grabbed her hand.

 

Surprised, Lin Haihai was about to shake him off when she saw the empress dowager and Yang Shaolun emerge. She held onto Yang Hanlun’s hand and gave Yang Shaolun a taunting look.

 

Yang Shaolun fumed, wanting nothing but to pull them apart. With a smile, Yang Hanlun tightened his grip around Lin Haihai’s hand and whispered into her ear, “You’re like a tigress when you’re angry!”

 

After a pause, Lin Haihai forced a stilted smile and said, “I can’t help it. Some men are just asking for it! They act out when I’m nice to them. Aren’t they just asking for a good scolding?”

 

Yang Shaolun glared at the bickering pair with fury in his eyes. He’d finally convinced his mother to postpone selecting consorts for him, but this was what he got in return - Lin Haihai holding onto his imperial brother’s hand, exchanging flirtatious glances like they were in love!

 

The empress looked at them with apprehension. People often did crazy things when they were fueled with jealousy, and the emperor was no exception. She couldn’t bear to even imagine what would happen next!

 

Previous Chapter Next Chapter

houseau3's Thoughts

Love make people do foolish things.   

Congratulations on getting to the 100th chapter! <3  Hope you guys still enjoy the novel!

If you guys want more novels to read, do check out BPC and CTF! Or, Grace's translations (SG, UPX, YH, and the eunuch is pregnant!)

Or, Houseau3's PHOENIX ASCENDING