The senior princess consort’s eyes shot wide open in disbelief. Who was this gentle and careful man tiptoeing carefully in front of her? Was he really the high and mighty prince that she was familiar with?
She had been at the prince’s side for seventeen years and had never seen him treat anyone with such tenderness and careful attention. Even when she’d been the youngest and most favored consort, the prince had always been a lofty and untouchable god that she didn’t even dare look at directly. Despite having borne him children and living together for so long, she still never dared hint at anything that might anger him.
The second princess consort was just as startled, but only for a moment. She noticed the dazed expressions on the senior and third princess consorts’ faces with internal contempt and quietly took a few steps back.
Qin Yining rose and used her greeting curtsey to prevent Zhou Meng from drawing too close.
“Your Grace, what brings you personally here?” She paused. “I cannot thank Your Grace enough for saving me, but my health is far better now. I do not want to trouble Your Grace any further and it’d be much more convenient for me to stay with my people. As a gift of gratitude for saving me, I will—”
“Where is this coming from?” The Xiyue prince anxiously interrupted Qin Yining before she could finish. “Wasn’t everything fine this afternoon? Weren’t you quite happy that I allowed your clansmen to visit you in the palace every day? Why are you regretting it now?”
“Nothing’s happened.” Qin Yining smiled. “It’s just not quite seemly for me to be living in the imperial harem.”
Zhou Meng knitted his brows together tightly as he studied Qin Yining, then turned and looked around the room. His face darkened ominously to see one of the goddess’ maids now with a bandaged head and clothes stained with blood. Noting the imperial physician’s presence as well, his expression grew even more foreboding.
Everyone ducked their heads when his line of sight reached them, especially so for a maid standing in a corner, trembling so hard that it seemed as if the sky would cave in on her in the next second.
“You, come over here and explain what’s happened.” Zhou Meng growled as he pointed at the trembling maid, standing near the senior princess consort.
The maid’s heart skipped a beat as she dropped into a kowtow with an ashen face. “Your, Your Grace, please quell your anger. This maid didn’t do it on purpose. I just slipped and accidentally pushed the goddess’ servant. She wasn’t standing firmly in place, so she hurt her head. The goddess grew angry and quarrelled with my mistress. This, this maid was just eager to protect my mistress.”
A fine sheen of cold sweat covered her forehead. In the throes of desperation, she couldn’t pay heed to how much of her words were true or if her logic made any sense. Right now, the only thing on her mind was to absolve herself of all blame. She didn’t know if her mistress would protect her.
Hearing the incoherent order of her words and seeing the way her eyes darted around, Zhou Meng grew even more suspicious.
“A mere wretch of a maid having the guts to lie to this prince! You sure are brave, hmm?” He dragged the last word out, the threat clear.
A shuddering ball on the floor, the maid kowtowed madly. Tears she could no longer suppress mixed with the cold sweat dripping down her face. “This maid was, was, f-following orders…” she choked out.
“Shut up, bitch!” Seeing that the idiot was about to expose her, the senior princess consort charged up for a vicious stomp that landed right in the middle of the maid’s back, causing her to sprawl out on the floor with a cry of pain.
“Your Grace, don’t listen to her nonsense. She clearly pushed Miss Pang’s maid on purpose. Perhaps they have some enmity with each other.”
Zhou Meng sneered coldly as he pointed at his temples. “Who do you take this prince for?”
A lost expression floating onto her face, the senior princess consort didn’t understand the question. “Your Grace...”
“My head isn’t some empty shell! This is just a maid. Even if they hold a grudge against each other, she wouldn’t have the courage to take revenge right in front of her mistress! How would she dare do anything unless she was ordered to! It looks like neither of you two plan on speaking the truth!” He pointed at the second princess consort. “You, explain this!”
The second princess consort sighed to herself. It was one thing if this would dethrone the senior princess consort in one fell swoop. Otherwise, if she spoke the truth now, wouldn’t that just irritate this mad dog and have it all bite her in the rear end later?
Zhou Meng grew angrier still when the second princess consort remained silent. He was about to point at someone else when the third princess consort piped up.
“Your Prince, things happened like this. The senior princess consort told us today that Your Grace had taken a fancy to a girl and wanted to make her the fifth princess consort. Us sisters were all very curious and came to have a chat with our new fifth sister. But who would’ve known that she would have such a temper! She didn’t respect the senior princess consort in the slightest and mouthed off with hurtful insults as quick as you’d like. Big sister’s maid couldn’t just stand by and watch, so she wanted to protect her mistress’ honor. Then she, she…”
She slowly swallowed the last of her words under Zhou Meng’s glare.
“Is that what happened?” The prince turned to Qin Yining.
She flashed him a mocking smile. “It seems the prince treats his harem quite well.”
She meant that it was quite surprising that people here had the nerve to repeatedly try and fool their prince.
The first and third princess consorts lifted their heads incredulously. What was vicious and savage? This was vicious and savage! Just one sentence was enough to ruin them all!Previous Chapter Next Chapter