Beloved Empress - Chapter 148.1
“You are willing to go to imperial mother’s palace?”
Mo Qi Qi shrugged her shoulders non-commitally, “Isn’t it for just one month? It would be over soon.”
“Are you an idiot, Mo Qi Qi?” glared Jun Qian Che unhappily.
She laughed, “Your Majesty, chenqie know what is in your mind. I am well aware of the Empress Dowager’s dislike towards me and my pregnancy. You are worried that I won’t be able to protect the baby once I am there. Chenqie thinks it’s the other way around. Chenqie feels like moving into Ci Yue Palace would protect the baby better.”
Jun Qian Che frowned in confusion.
She smiled and said, “You really don’t understand women. Just think about it, Your Majesty! The Empress Dowager only hates this baby because chenqie comes from the Mo Clan. That is why she didn’t even bother to visit chenqie after finding out about chenqie’s pregnancy. Chenqie also did not have the opportunity to endear myself to her, so our relationship only worsened. However, if I take this opportunity to be with her for a month, she would have to see the progress of my pregnancy every day. Who knows, she might slowly grow fond of the baby! Once a person develops feelings, it would be hard for it to go away. When the time comes, the Empress Dowager would no longer have any intention to see the child goes. Besides, she currently couldn’t stand the baby. The matter of her ordering me to live at Ci Yue Palace for a month ought to spread soon. If anything happens to me while staying at Ci Yue Palace, it woud be her reputation on the line. For the sake of her reputation, she wouldn’t let anything happen to me for that one month. On this front, I still have to thank Yang Shi Han for giving me that.”
“Aren’t you thinking way too simply?” Jun Qian Che was still uneasy.
Mo Qi Qi scrunched her face at him, “Aren’t you thinking too much? The Empress Dowager is still your birth mother, no matter how much she dislikes me, the baby is still yours. She would still put that into consideration.”
Jun Qian Che secretly sighed. There were some things that he simply couldn’t say to Mo Qi Qi. Mo Qi Qi coming from Mo Clan was just one of the reasons why his imperial mother wanted to get rid of the child. The other reason behind the Empress Dowager’s dislike of the baby was because she didn’t think the child belonged to him. He couldn’t say this to Mo Qi Qi. Since she already lost her memories of the past, then, they should just forget about the incident in the viewing tower altogether.
After leaving Mo Qi Qi’s palace, Jun Qian Che headed straight to Yang Shi Han’s palace with an ice-cold face.
Yang Shi Han smiled upon seeing him before hugging his arm, “What took you so long, Your Majesty? Chenqie has been waiting for a long time. Hurry and sit. Let chenqie check your wound.”
Jun Qian Che glared at her angrily, “Why did you harm the Empress?”
She gave him a surprised look, “What are you talking about, Your Majesty? Chenqie cannot understand you.”
“Don’t put on an act in front of me, why did you send Mo Qi Qi to imperial mother?” asked Jun Qian Che straight-forwardly.
She laughed, “Chenqie was helping you, Your Majesty. The current Mo Qi Qi sure is full of charms, she is even able to melt your icy heart. She really is impressive. Your Majesty had never go against imperial aunt before, this is the first time!”
“What are you trying to say?” Jun Qian Che did not like the double-meaning way she said things.
Yang Shi Han checked his wound and uncooperatively said, “Your wound is so deep, Your Majesty. Lucky the Empress Dowager did not see it, or Mo Qi Qi could have lost her head. The wound has recently re-opened, should be during the archery competition, no? Lucky you were able to bear it. Reopened wounds are usually more painful that the initial injury itself. Don’t you think Mo Qi Qi is the bane of your existence? First, you were poisoned because of her. After you were poisoned, you had to help her heal her injury. You almost died. It wasn’t easy for us to neutralize the poison, and yet here you are again, getting injured because of her. She sure has an abundance of charms! Now that she is so likeable, do you think the Empress Dowager might like her?”
Jun Qian Che understood Yang Shi Han’s meaning, “This is why you want her to go to imperial mother’s side?”
She nodded, “Yes. She even managed to melt the ice-hearted you, I want to see if she could score the Empress Dowager as well.”
The anger inside Jun Qian Che’s heart disappeared. “I thought you hated Mo Qi Qi. Why are you helping her?” asked him, puzzled.
Yang Shi Han raised her eyebrows, “I am not helping her. I have my own selfish intention. If the Empress Dowager actually ended up liking Mo Qi Qi, then I’ll chalk it off to her good luck. If the Empress Dowager still hates her though, that would be fun to watch. Who knows, she might actually die at Ci Yue Palace! By that time, you must not blame chenqie. It was Mo Qi Qi who was unlucky!”
Jun Qian Che’s eyes were firm as he said, “Zhen will not let anything happen to her.”
Yang Shi Han shook her head while smiling. The truth was, she did all this entirely due to Mo Cheng Xuan. Since she promised him she would help protect Mo Qi Qi’s pregnancy, she must really do it. Once she succeeded, he would owe her three favors and by then, he could not even dream of escaping her!
The news of the Empress getting punished quickly reached Duke Zhen’s residence.
Duke Zhen was furious, his heart aching over the fate of his daughter. He wanted to enter the palace and have an audience with the Empress Dowager, yet was stopped by Mo Cheng Xuan.
“Do not be rash, Father.”
“Your sister is being bullied by other people, how could you expect me to calm down? I heard it was all that Yang Guifei’s idea to send your sister to serve the Empress Dowager for a month! Your sister is pregnant! If anything happens to her, I will turn the entire palace upside down. I will kill that seductive woman right now! Let’s see if anyone dares to say anything about it,” said Duke Zhen, putting all the blame on Yang Shi Han.
Mo Cheng Xuan stopped his father, “Father, please listen to this son. Although this was all Yang Guifei’s idea, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Perhaps Qi Qi could take this chance to cultivate a better relationship with the Empress Dowager.”
“What is there to cultivate! Qi Qi is the pearl within my palm, she does not need to go around buttering other people up! Even the honorable Empress Dowager does not deserve to be served by my daughter.”
“What if Qi Qi is willing?” asked Mo Cheng Xuan.
Duke Zhen laughed in disdain, “That’s impossible. Why would my, Mo Chang Xiao’s daughter, be willing to serve other people?”
“Father, you should be aware by now why the Emperor got injured this time. His Majesty only got injured because he blocked a sword for Qi Qi. This is enough to prove His Majesty’s feelings for her. Qi Qi has always wanted His Majesty to treat her well. Right now, even though she has been punished to stay with the Empress Dowager, Qi Qi would have done it willingly. If she is not alright with this, she would’ve sent people over long ago. She would’ve wanted you to argue her case for her. And yet, she hasn’t said anything. That means she is willing to let this happen. You must not interfere with their budding relationship, Father.”
Duke Zhen sneered, “From how I see it, the Emperor didn’t do it for Qi Qi, but rather for their child that she is carrying. He only blocked the sword because he did not want anything to happen to his child. His Majesty has always been full of schemes and intrigue, that’s why he’s been able to twist Qi Qi around his little finger. Why else would Qi Qi be so adamant to marry him after just meeting him once? Father was given no other choice but to back his claim to the throne. The throne originally belonged to the 7th King. He grew up with Qi Qi and has an elegant temperament to boot, they would’ve been better off together. He would’ve been able to protect her. And yet she went around and chose His Majesty, giving herself so much trouble down the line.”
“Father, can’t you see that Qi Qi only considers the 7th King as her brother. They have no romantic feelings for each other even though they grew up together. Otherwise, the Emperor wouldn’t have been able to break them apart even if he showed up. Now, their relationship is becoming more and more loving. They are even having a child together. You should be supporting them, Father,” said Mo Cheng Xuan meaningfully.
Duke Zhen looked at his son and laughed, before firmly saying, “Father naturally knows who to support. So what if Qi Qi is having a child? That is not enough to change Father’s mind. Father will listen to you this time and will not enter the palace. However, if anything happens to Qi Qi, Father will make them regret it,” a murderous look flashed in Duke Zhen’s eyes.
Mo Cheng Xuan secretly sighed in relief. He hoped that Qi Qi made the right choice back then.
The next day, Han Yi Xiao and Bai Jiu successfully escorted the imprisoned Marquis of Ning Nan back to the capital. They had encountered four to five assassination attempts on the way to the capital. They did not expect the assassins to be that resolute. Lucky they managed to overcome the odds and completed the task that the Emperor assigned them to do.
Han Yi Xiao was grateful that he took Bai Jiu with him this time. His martial arts level was really high. If he hadn’t gambled his own life to ensure the Marquis’ safety, the Marquis would have died. There was no denying his contribution this time.
During the morning court, Han Yi Xiao praised Bai Jiu’s valor in front of the Emperor and the entire court officials. The Emperor praised Bai Jiu and rewarded her with some things.
Bai Jiu was happy to receive Han Yi Xiao’s approval, but had to look away when she locked eyes with her father.
Jun Qian Che questioned the Marquis of Ning Nan regarding his alleged rebellion.
The Marquis denied all allegations.
The Emperor ordered the trial to take place three days from now, taking into account the Marquis’ exhausting journey.
In order to ensure his safety, the Marquis was sent to Han Yi Xiao’s residence.
After the morning court, Chu Ling Xiao went to the imperial study to have an audience with the Emperor. He had managed to gather evidence to prove the Marquis’ innocence, but they were not sufficient. The dragon robe was still too big of an evidence to be ignored. After all, so many people personally saw it being taken out of the Marquis’ possession.
Lucky the dragon robe had not been shown to the court yet. The officials had only heard about it, they had not yet personally seen it.
The most important task right now would be to find the dragon robe and destroy it. If Duke Zhen couldn’t submit it as an evidence, they wouldn’t have to indict the Marquis of a crime he did not commit due to insufficient evidence. That was also the reason why Jun Qian Che never asked Duke Zhen to present the dragon robe at court. He even said he wanted to wait until the Marquis reach the capital to begin reviewing the evidences. Jun Qian Che admitted he only wanted to delay the time and secretly take care of the dragon robe. Unfortunately, Duke Zhen was too sly and guarded the dragon robe too well. They couldn’t do anything to it yet. That was why Jun Qian Che delayed it for three more days.
Since Bai Jiu managed to escort the Marquis safely to the capital, the Emperor was pleased and granted her two days long of rest.
After thanking His Majesty’s grace, Bai Jiu left the imperial palace and returned to her residence, one that the Emperor rewarded her after winning the tournament.
She returned to her chamber and asked not to be bothered by anyone.
When night came, she snuck out and headed straight to Duke Zhen’s manor. She had not seen her parents in quite a while. She missed them and wished to see them.
“Father! Mother!” Mo Jiu Jiu ran into her parents’ chamber and hugged her parents.
When the Duchess saw her daughter, her heart ached, “You silly girl. You finally remember your parents? Have you any idea how worried Mother was?”
Mo Jiu Jiu hugged her mother tighter, “Mother, your child is back. Your child has been too busy lately and couldn’t see you. Your child really misses you!”
“You are really! Why would a girl go around entering an army camp and making things hard for yourself?” Her mother looked at her heart-achingly.
Mo Jiu Jiu happily replied her, “Because your child loves the army! Being there makes me happy!”
“You are really… You should have been born a man…” The Duchess shook her head helplessly.
Mo Jiu Jiu looked at her father before poking fun of him, “What is wrong with you, Father? You don’t look too happy. Did Mother do something to upset you? Tell this daughter and I’ll be the judge of everything!”
Duke Zhen looked at his daughter unhappily and said, “Jiu Jiu, Father thought that you going to Han Yi Xiao’s camp would help Father. Father didn’t expect you to disappoint Father this much.”
Mo Ji Jiu looked at her Father, “Are you talking about the Marquis of Ning Nan?”
Duke Zhen stared her down, “Turns out you still remember about that matter! Father thought you forgot about it. If you forgot about it, Father could still forgive you. However, you remember my instruction perfectly well. Why didn’t you execute it? Based on your ability, killing the Marquis of Ning Nan shouldn’t be hard. Why didn’t you do it? Why did you put your life into protecting him instead? You better explain yourself properly or else Father would be disappointed in you.”
She truthfully replied her father, “Because along the way, I realized that the Marquis of Ning Nan doesn’t seem like a bad person. I felt like he was a good person. That’s why I protected him. I wanted him to reach the capital safely and be tried by the Emperor.”
Duke Zhen sneered, “He doesn’t seem like a bad person? Father is the one who exposed the Marqui’ treachery, are you saying that Father is the bad guy?”
Mo Jiu Jiu gathered her courage and said, “Then let Jiu Jiu ask Father. Did you have anything to do with the accusations against the Marquis? Did you frame him?”
“Preposterous! How dare you speak to your Father like that!” raged Duke Zhen.
She bravely looked at him, “Father, since I was young, my shifu taught me to live in such a way that I would have a clear conscience. That way I would be able to live without any worry. This daughter have always remembered shifu’s teaching and have always practiced it. That is because in daughter’s heart, daughter have always had a role model. That person is you. Father is a warrior who risks his life to protect the kingdom. You are someone whom the Emperor counts on and whom the people love. Daughter has always been proud of having such a father. I swore to be someone exactly like you. Although I am a girl, I wanted to be someone that you are proud of. That is why I entered the army. Just like you, I want to be someone useful. Someone who can protect the country. However, after entering the court, this daughter realized that other people view you differently. So many people say all the wrong things about you; they call you a treacherous official. There were times where this daughter wanted to step up and tell them that they were wrong; that you are not a corrupted official. You are a good person, a brave warrior who fiercely protects the kingdom. They shouldn’t speak of you in that manner. But slowly, daughter realized that it wasn’t them who were wrong. It was this daughter who didn’t understand you enough. Espeically during the debacle surrounding the Marquis of Ning Nan.”
Duke Zhen sneered, “So you feel that other people are right and that your father is a corrupted official?”
“Father, this daughter only wish to ask you this: did you have anything to do with the dragon robe that they found at the Marquis of Ning Nan’s residence? Did you order people to plant it there? Are you deliberate framing the Marquis?” asked Mo Jiu Jiu earnestly as she looked at her father.
“You—-“ Duke Zhen raises his hand angrily, overcame by the desire to hit her. All his life, he loved his two daughters the most. The older one was straightforward and innocent, while the younger one was quirky and eccentric. No matter what other people said about the two girls, as their father, he always thought they were the best. Never would he imagine that his beloved daughter would one day accuse him of this.
Duke Zhen laughed angrily, “Good! Good! Good! This is my good daughter! She actually accuses me of being a corrupted official! This is really good!”
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