Li Yanyan ponderously lifted her tear-stained face to look at Yuchi Yan.
“Alright, Your Highness. As long as you don’t mind me, I’ll stay forever by your side. We can live out our days well and I’ll bear several children for you. Our family will live happily ever after to live out this life in full.”
The commandery prince looked down at his wife’s eyes, all the brighter after their recent bath of tears. His heart suddenly melted into a puddle.
He may not be able to have Qin Yining, but Li Yanyan had weathered all of his hardships and victories by his side since being wed. She’d never once breathed a word of complaint or showed the desire to leave. A human heart was an emotional thing; Yuchi Yan was immensely touched to see his wife treat him so wholeheartedly.
“Well then.” Yuchi Yan brought her shoulders closer to him so that he could embrace her. He touched his chin to her forehead. “Let’s live out our days well. This prince will also do my best to vie for power and status so that we won’t always be like this.”
Li Yanyan’s heart pounded painfully and she hastily responded, “Your Highness, I don’t care about power or status. I don’t care about any of those empty honors or profits, as long as I can be with you!”
Yuchi Yan smiled. “You might not care about them, but I do.”
A response rose in her throat, but the commandery princess didn’t voice it.
She really wanted to ask: Do you suddenly want power so much so that our family can live out the rest of our days peacefully, or do you want it for Qin Yining?
But she was no fool. Though she was jealous, she couldn’t display such an envious side to her husband. She’d draw dislike for no reason at all.
In her heart of hearts, however, she hated Qin Yining with a burning passion. She could tolerate Yuchi Yan taking a hundred ordinary concubines, but couldn’t abide her husband bringing in one that he truly liked.
What was she steadfastly keeping Yuchi Yan company for? For stability, of course!
If the Qin fourth miss darkened their doorstep, there would be no more stability in Li Yanyan’s life.
Don’t blame me for being vicious then!
In contrast to Yuchi Yan’s low spirits, a buoyant Li Qitian was currently partaking tea in the empress dowager’s palace. Li Helan sat demurely off to the side, refilling her brother’s cup at appropriate times and contributing amusing tidbits to the conversation.
“Royal brother’s plan this time is so ingenious! Using the strength of others this way, the Qins will quickly realize that the only one they can rely on in the capital is royal brother.”
The empress dowager also smiled. “The emperor’s idea is masterful. Watching the fires from the opposite bank of a river prevents us from getting embroiled as well.”
The older woman had a very keen sense of where the proper limits lay in speech. She never voiced her true thoughts in front of the emperor, because she deeply understood that her son disliked the imperial harem becoming involved in politics. All she had to do as his birth mother was to happily live out her remaining days. To say too much might even drag her own family into trouble.
Though the emperor didn’t like the imperial harem becoming overly involved, there were some times when he needed help from the womenfolk. Such occasions became unshirkable duties whenever they arose.
Such as what had been required from Li Helan this time.
Imperial favor was capricious. Whether or not a woman could participate in politics was all a matter of the emperor’s whims. Since he wished Li Helan to help, then help she did, and with her heart and soul at that.
Li Qitian smiled easily. “Royal mother makes sense. We just don’t want power at court to be concentrated in the hands of one faction.” When it came to the womenfolk, he never had the patience to explain politics in full.
Li Helan could observe her brother’s impatience and flung her mother a glance. “Royal brother, does Lan’er still have to maintain contact with née Lu? Lan’er really doesn’t like her style and habits. If I’m too close with her, others might think I’m just like her.”
Li Qitian broke out laughing. “Are you afraid of outsiders misunderstanding you or the prince consort misunderstanding you?”
“Royal brother!” Li Helan blushed furiously and stamped her foot with mortification, sending her mother and brother into further gales of laughter.
“Royal mother, your son has further business with Lan’er and must take leave now.” Having laughed his fill, Li Qitian stood up with a cupped hand salute.
The empress dowager didn’t keep him, instructing her mamas to send the two out. They were both her children, it didn’t matter if they relied on each other or used one another. It was enough that they propped each other up and weren’t at each other’s throats.
Li Helan followed Li Qitian to the imperial study. Head eunuch Li Guanwen noted his master’s signal and dismissed himself after serving tea.
It was only then that Li Helan asked cutely, “Royal brother, what business might you have with Lan’er?”
“How is the prince consort treating you?”
Thinking of Ji Zeyu’s handsome looks and how he’d turned to leave without another word at the Lus, Li Helan first turned bright crimson, then pale as a sheet.
She deeply regretted accepting née Lu’s proposal. It had been a foolish move to have the two men she liked bump into her dallying with someone else.
“The prince consort is very good to Lan’er,” responded a bashful princess. She snuck a glance at her brother and asked gently, “Royal brother, Lan’er has a presumptuous request and would like to beg you to permit it.”
“Oh? What is it? Speak, We will listen to anything you have to say.” Li Qitian arched a brow.
“Royal brother, Lan’er doesn’t want to live in the princess manor. Will you give our approval for me to live with the prince consort? We’ve lived apart since our wedding night and can’t even see each other. We don’t have any of the happiness that ordinary married couples have.”
The emperor sat upright and asked with new intensity, “Is this your idea, or did the prince consort teach you to say so?”Previous Chapter Next Chapter
This is what smart evil looks like. @@ Scary...