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Chapter 137.1 – I Have, You Don’t Have?
This was the first time that An Zi Ran was seeing Emperor Chong Ming and the empress, Zhang Sun Tian Feng.
The two were dressed in bright yellow clothes and they walked in slowly from the gates of the Tai Qing Palace while surrounded by palace maids and eunuchs. Due to often hearing things about the emperor, An Zi Ran subconsciously looked over at the emperor when he arrived.
Emperor Chong Ming looked no different from an ordinary middle-aged man. He was arrogant and extravagant all year round, and had developed a plump figure. Under the noble bright yellow fabric, he could not hide his protruding belly at all. His wide figure was almost twice that of the empress, perhaps even bigger.
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The emperor was not ugly in his youth. Although he was not handsome, compared to most ordinary men he was considered average, and due to his high position in life, he had an imperial aura, so it was easy for people to overlook his appearance.
Since Emperor Chong Ming became the emperor, he no longer controlled his desires, and he became fatter and fatter. By now, his entire dace was full of fat. He had three or four layers of fat dangling from his chin, and his eyes – which could be considered big before – were squeezed into a thin line by the surrounding fat.
His sallow complexion, dark under eye circles, and muddy gaze indicated that the emperor has ruined his health. So much so that his days might even be limited.
Recently, the battle for the throne within the imperial court has intensified; so all the princes and court officials must also be anticipating the inevitable end of the emperor’s days.
The struggle between the three major factions has gradually moved into the spotlight. Corrupt officials were constantly being exposed, and officials were constantly being dismissed.
An Zi Ran threw the stray thought out of his mind and turned his gaze to the empress, Zhang Sun Tian Feng.
Zhang Sun Tian Feng was undoubtedly a great beauty. She had an awl face, long shapely eyebrows, and small lips. Although she was already in her forties, her appearance was very well maintained, so she did not look a day over thirty.
By logic, the lustful Emperor Chong Ming should be interested in such woman. But perhaps it was because she has been sitting in the empress’s position for too long, so she always carried a strong and inviolable majesty. Her gaze was also sharp; making the people she looked at feel as if she was scrutinizing every single inch of their person.
The crown prince has such a strong mother empress to back him, so his road to the throne must be somewhat smoother than the others.
Now that the host of the banquet has arrived, the guest all began to take their seats.
A state banquet was not like a family banquet. There was no need for men and women to sit separately for family banquets. Mothers, brothers, and sisters could all sit together. But for a state banquet they must be separated.
The concubines of the harem sat together with the female relatives of the court officials. Except for the empress, the others were arranged according to their status. They sat on the lower right of the emperor. On the left were the princes, grandsons, and civil and military officials.
Just as everyone started to find their seats according to their positions, a somewhat familiar yet unfamiliar voice suddenly sounded in An Zi Ran’s ear.
“Eh, did the junwangfei go to the wrong place?”
Fu Wu Tian was Emperor Chong Ming’s biological nephew, and he was also conferred the title of junwang, so his status was the same as that of the eldest prince. Therefore, he was ranked in front of Fu Yuan Cheng, the second prince, who was about the same age. An Zi Ran was his wangfei, so he would naturally sit next to him.
The other person deliberately did not lower their voice, so everyone around them heard him.
However, no one stood out to say anything, and some even looked between them with the mentality of watching something interesting.
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Since the other party had specifically called out his title, it would not be good for An Zi Ran to pretend as if he did not hear him, so he looked over at the other person. As expected, it was the man who was previously charging around violently on the streets, and then ended up wrecking his own horse carriage – that Zhang Sun Shao Qi. At present, he was looking at An Zi Ran with a face of Schadenfreude.
There was no need to ask for clarification to know what Zhang Sun Shao Qi was trying to say.
An Zi Ran’s eyes narrowed slightly, and he spoke calmly, “If I’m in the wrong place, then did Zhang Sun-gongzi also go to the wrong place?”
“What a joke, this gongzi is a legitimate man, unlike Fu-wangfei. Of course it is natural and proper for me to sit here, but Fu-wangfei, since you married junwang, then shouldn’t you sit with the womenfolk?”
When he said the last sentence, Zhang Sun Shao Qi’s face was full of malice.