Chapter 39 – Kang’er
In the days that followed, the news that His Royal Highness favored a ger xiaoshi intensified. They heard that this little ger xiaoshi had just hit fourteen years old this year and that his looks were incomparably beautiful. The empress had bestowed him to the crown prince. His Royal Highness liked him very much and often took him to the Yong Shou Palace to greet the empress.
Logically speaking, Lin Jia Bao’s identity was not qualified to greet the empress. However, the empress never refuted the news that the crown prince doted on this ger xiaoshi. And reportedly, she was very satisfied and fond of this Lin xiaoshi. Everyone in the palace was full of curiosity about this little attendant.
This news spread to the court. One after another, all the ministers tried to make discreet inquiries about this Lin An Zhu. But too bad, His Royal Highness guarded Lin Jia Bao tightly, and ordinary people could not see his true identity.
The Ministry of Appointments’ government minister Xue Rong was also discussing this matter with his advisors.
“Who is this Lin An Zhu? Were you able to make any clear inquiries?” Xue Rong’s dizi*, Xue Zhi, anxiously asked the subordinates.
[*T/N: 嫡子 di zi – son of first wife]
“This little one is incompetent. After investigating for a long time, I only found out that he was a palace attendant in the empress’s palace. No other specifics were found. It was like all traces were erased and the specific situation could not be determined. According to this ger’s age, he should have entered the palace in the fourth year of Yun Tai.” A counselor replied with shame.
“Right now, we are unable to receive any news from the Prince’s East Palace. I don’t know what’s going on with Cai Yu. My wife made demands to enter the palace several times, but each time the empress rejected her, saying that the crown princess is sick and wants to rest, so she cannot be disturbed.” Xue Song, Xue Cai Yu’s father, said.
“Alas, right now the emperor is suppressing our Xue family everywhere. Aye… disciples from the Xue family are either being demoted or removed from office. And right now, His Highness, the li wang, doesn’t even have time to look after himself. Father, looks like our Xue family is going to end…” Xue Zhi looked at his father, not knowing what to do.
“Since our Xue family has already boarded the li wang’s ship, then there is no turning back. All of you pass on this order, tell everyone to keep their heads down at this juncture, and don’t let the emperor get any more leverage on us,” Xue Rong told them.
The hair on Xue Rong’s temples was frosty white. He was nearing sixty years old, and had deep wrinkles on his face.
Xue Rong’s brows furrowed. “Don’t investigate this ger anymore. Perhaps, it is exactly a pretense to confuse everyone. This old man doesn’t believe that the shrewd and farsighted crown prince will act like a senseless brat. Maybe there is some conspiracy going on… Just wait for our Xue family to make a move!”
After hearing this, they all felt that it was very likely to be a conspiracy. The normally expressionless prince would never show his feelings or reveal his intentions. For him to so ostentatiously favor one person, there must be some reason…
Recently, Xu Xue Ying’s days also weren’t all that great. She has been confined for more than a year now, nearly two years. She could only spend her long days in this small courtyard. Only she clearly understood all her miseries…
When Xu Xue Ying first got grounded, she did not expect that she would be restricted for so long. At the beginning, she still actively sent people out to inquire for information, and bribed the palace people to beg an audience with the crown prince for her, but the crown prince never came to see her.
Later, Xu Xue Ying started to get a little scared and panicky. After a few months, it seemed like the crown prince had completely forgotten about her. She thought that the crown prince must have found out that she murdered a child of royal blood and has lost all hope in her.
Xu Xue Ying paid a lot of money to bribe an old woman in the courtyard. She had the old woman go look for Yuan Fu gonggong and deliver a message from her. Xu Xue Ying was confident that as long as she could meet with His Royal Highness, she would be able to change her current circumstances.
For this, she pondered a lot and thought up a lot of watertight answers. No matter what the crown prince asks her, she would have a way to twist the situation around to her benefit. When necessary, she would also put on the aggrieved tear-stained face of a beauty and make the crown prince take pity on her.
Xu Xue Ying had a good plan, but she did not have the chance to implement it. Not long after her confinement began, she received news of His Royal Highness’s departure for the battlefield. Hearing this news, Xu Xue Ying tried to comfort herself. It must be because the crown prince was busy with martial matters, and that’s why he forgot about her.
Gradually, Xu Xue Ying regained her former self-confidence and pride, and became more arrogant towards the palace people. The servants were also aware that Xu shi had once been favored, and they did not dared to neglect her.
[T/N: 氏 shi = clan name or maiden name. Put at the end of a married woman’s last name to indicate which family she hails from.]
Later on, Xu Xue Ying heard the news that the crown princess had fallen ill. She was so sick in fact that she couldn’t even get out of bed.
Before Xu Xue Ying had the time to gloat over the crown princess’s misfortune, the empress sent Qiu momo over to sort out the crown prince’s East Palace. Gradually, Xu Xue Ying’s days became harder. Qiu momo was very strict in her management, and the rules she gave Xu Xue Ying were only the specifications of ordinary concubines. How could Xu Xue Ying stand for this?
More than that, the people around her were gradually replaced. Xu Xue Ying’s situation could be described as isolated and without help. And the people around her were all indifferent to her threats and bribes.
After living for more than a year in this way, Xu Xue Ying’s whole body became haggard and thin. But she was not reconciled. Xu Xue Ying thought that as long as she could find a way to meet His Royal Highness, she would regain his favor for her.