Thirteenth year of Zhanghe, the first lunar day of the eighth month.
The sixth prince Zhong Zheng Lin has established his residence outside of the palace.
His advisors, subordinate officials and crew have all thus entered the records.
At the same time, his private soldiers and residence guards have been installed into a military organisation.
In the third quarter of an hour of Chen1, Zhong Zheng Lin was dressed in a black-edged court gown of an imperial prince that was embellished with a solemn jade-stoned belt.
The top of his head was adorned with an official hat embellished with East pearls2.
The sixth Highness wore a cold and stern expression, his figure tall and dashing.
In the main hall of the prince’s residence, he performed an auspicious ritual3.
Subsequently, he invited the incoming visitors who came to send congratulations to the feast.
The womenfolk was, on the other hand, entertained by He Lian principal consort.
A tall stage was built in the inner yard, the atmosphere there bustling with noise and excitement.
On this occasion, not only did all the princes arrive, even members from three great duke and eight great marquise Houses came to express congratulations.
Apart from Duke of An ,who was unconscious and bedridden, both Duke of Rong and Duke of Wei showed up in person.
He Lian Min Min sat eminently on the head seat.
Her makeup was exquisite, appearance dignified and elegant.
Right now, she was turned to the side and chatting with the old dowager of Duke of Rong’s house about the opera.
When Mu Xi Yao arrived, she could be considered as the latest one.
All the seats in the theatre were already occupied by distinguished guests who were engaged in lively conversations.
“Little sister has come.” He Lian Min Min ordered people to serve tea and then continued to watch the opera with the old dowager next to her.
To be able to sit next to the sixth prince’s consort, the person was either the female member of the prince’s household or a woman with an official title.
As soon as everyone saw Mu Xi Yao’s belly, they immediately knew who was the newcoming person.
“Fourth-sister-in-law.” Mu Xi Yao greeted warmly.
“Sister-in-law is heavy with pregnancy.
No need for politesse.
I’ve been saying, how come I didn’t see you today.
Without you, this cheerful occasion seems to be less vivid.” The fourth princess consort pulled her to chat with her as affectionately as always.
The cefeis and concubines following behind her all greeted her with a smile.
When He Lian Min Min turned her head, she discovered that many people over there were fawning over Mu Xi Yao.
A displease appeared on her face.
She, indeed, lacked conduct.
She was outside, yet she didn’t follow precedence.
Which cefei dared to act so brazenly, being more fawned on than the actual principal consort
“Is she the Mu’shi” The old dowager frowned.
As soon as she saw that woman’s coquettish appearance she immediately knew that she was no good.
She was pregnant with a child, yet not only wouldn’t she rest in her chamber, she would even join the lively group and have people curry favor with her.
One simply couldn’t bear to watch her.
“She is Mu cefei.
Right now, she is in the eighth-month pregnancy.” As a mistress of the household, it was not appropriate for He Lian Min Min to directly state her standing.
She discussed her only briefly so that the other person would judge that woman’s behaviour by herself.
It was well known in Great Wei that old dowager of Duke of Rong’s House loathed concubines.
Now that she had met the immensely favored cefei of his sixth Highness, she couldn’t stand the sight of her.
Seeing her strike water right and left4, she found her presence to be an eyesore.
“Does cefei not know that an opera is taking place here and no form of noise is to be tolerated” The old dowager criticised her sternly.
She was a noble lady whose rank had been bestowed by the late Emperor.
Her words were naturally full of confidence, showing Mu Xi Yao no kindness.
All the insiders knew that she was taking out her anger on Mu cefei and making things difficult for her.
Lady Mu just happened to run into old dowager at the wrong time.
Mu Xi Yao was just in high spirits.
She was quite surprised that she was being interrupted by an old woman.
Who was the person lecturing her
“Mistress, that is old dowager of duke of Rong’s House.
Her granddaughter is her Ladyship imperial concubine.” Zhao momo quickly reminded.
She was actually the old dowager of duke of Rong’s House.
In that case, she could concede a bit.
This woman has been scorned by the old duke all her life.
The di sons born of her have also successively lost lives.
She could only helplessly look at how the son of a concubine inherited the title.
It was inevitable that she would harbour a bit of resentment.
Mu Xi Yao understood that she felt lonely and bitter.
Taking into regard her old age, she had no intention to dispute with her.
Although she was a concubine, she had never had a thought of emancipating herself and taking up a legal wife position.
She had no choice over her fate of becoming someone’s mistress whatsoever, but at least she still stayed true to her heart.
As long as they didn’t provoke her, she was very easy-going.
“Qie has disturbed old dowager.
Qie will stop the private chit-chat.” Mu Xi Yao good-naturedly capitulated.
When Mo Lan saw mistress’s change of temper, she was, momentarily, unable to get accustomed to it.
In the past, as long as someone offended her, she would be always quick to strike back.
How come today she showed a particular consideration for others
Gui momo, however, understood the reason behind Mu Xi Yao’s change.
Mistress treated the elderly with extra benevolence.
No matter whether it was her or Zhao momo, mistress has always showed them respect.
For a noble ladies, it was very rare.
It was a common occurrence for young ladies to order momos and stewards as they pleased.
Their mistress was, however, different.
The old dowager of Rong House coldly snorted.
She turned back to sit dignifiedly.
Her anger was thus appeased.
A concubine needs to show manners of a concubine.
Even if she has entered the family genealogy, in front of the mistress of the house, she was still a mere servant.
After half an hour of drum beating, the opera “Principal graduate5 scoring a first-place” has finally come to an end.
Mu Xi Yao was bored by this play hence she was cracking watermelon seeds while sighing that it has ended to the satisfaction of all the people.
Unfortunately, reality often contradicted expectations.
Two years ago, a scandal broke in Shengjing when the new principal graduate divorced and discarded his legal wife.
It was a common occurrence that officials of Great Wei frequented brothels and kept women.
The noxious wind6 was widespread.
To make it worse, it couldn’t be suppressed.
The sixth Higjness’s subordinates were, more or less, moral.
Though they didn’t completely put an end to such behavior, at least they didn’t glorify this kind of conduct.
When this opera finished, it was the old dowager of Rong House to pick a play.
He Lian Min Min’s eyes flickered.
She passed the catalogue of operas to the old dowager to choose from.
Once the old dowager looked over the catalogue, her complexion turned for worse.
Home come she saw these vulgar pieces again
The longevity crutch landed heavily on the ground.
With a big noise, she slapped the catalogue onto the table, making everyone look at her in surprise.
“These plays spoil the ancestor’s rules! Which household’s concubine dares to disrespect her mistress and not be punished This kind of lowly servant who not only deceives her mistress but also disregards precedence and filial pity, how can such a shameless person be adapted into a play!”
Already in House of Rong, she had heard about these plays.
Because of this, she had thrown quite a big fit.
She strictly forbade the womenfolk in the household from listening to this kind of play ever again.
She did not expect that she would bump into them by a chance in the sixth prince’s residence.
How can she tolerate it
Everyone was baffled by her words.
He Lian Min Min feigned a distress.
She spoke up to dissolve the situation.
“Old dowager, this 《Song of West Wing》and 《Return of Hua Rong》are all the latest plays in Shengjing.
Womenfolk is very fond of them.”
She has specially arranged them for old dowager, to teach Mu’shi a lesson today.
No matter how well his Highness protected her, as long as her reputation was damaged, it would be all to no avail.
Father actually wanted He Lian Wei Rui to enter the residence and assist her.
It absolutely mustn’t happen! Since she was unable to openly triumph Mu’shi whom his Highness sided with, there were naturally alternative ways to embarrass her with the help of others.
As long as Mu Xi Yao gets unseated and won’t posses a threat to her, even if He Lian Wei Rui wanted to enter the residence, it would be impossible.
“What an impudence! It’s clearly a blight to benevolence and filial piety!” The old matriarch was so enraged she kept beating the crouch against the ground.
When Mu Xi Yao heard her words, she immediately understood that things will get meddlesome today.
She took a look at He Lian Min Min who was sitting there mannerly and watching the fires burning across the river7.
Mu Xi Yao sighed inwardly.
This woman didn’t want to be her mistress of the house and instead insisted on having a match with her.
Zhong Zheng Lin has established his residence today.
It’s not enough that she won’t protect the dignity of the prince’s household, she even goes as far as to stir trouble and incite conflicts.
Zhong Zheng Lin was someone who valued greatly his good name.
How could he let her run amok and spoil his reputation Mu Xi Yao was afraid that after today, He Lian Min Min will receive her punishment.
He Lian Min Min, this woman, worried her greatly.
As a mistress, her fate was closely bound with the prince’s household.
Battle for the throne hasn’t started yet and she was already a hindrance to Zhong Zheng Lin If it was a life or death juncture, would it mean that before Zhong Zheng Han could take any action, He Lian principal consort would have already sent all the hundreds of lives of prince’s household under enemy’s knife
Mu Xi Yao’s head ached deeply.
Although this woman was not as vicious as to take her life right now, but she would constantly come up with such not-quite-hurting-nor-tickling8 schemes against her.
Could it be that Zhong Zheng Lin had to confine her But, wouldn’t it be a joke
In the previous lifetime, He Lian Min Min could, at least, weight up matters carefully.
How come her mind was muddle-headed to this extent now
Mu Xi Yao didn’t know that her pushiness put a great pressure on He Lian Min Min, making her unable to take a breath.
Moreover, there was sir He Lian who had chided her severely and warned her that if she makes no progress he would let Wei Rui enter the residence and help her solidify her favor.
Under such circumstances, He Lian Min Min had lost all of her calmness and has, thus, come up with such a foolish move.
The noble ladies were unaware of animosity going on in this matter.
They only thought that the old dowager was being too serious.
The opera was for entertainment.
There was no need for consideration for all the aspects.
If even the decorum they abided by was put on the stage, all the fun would be spoilt.
The old dowager believed that she was in right hence she firmly prohibited the play from continuing.
Everyone was flabbergasted.
“Cefei, how about you tell us whether this old one is in right” Having the upper hand, the old dowager of Rong House showed no mercy.
She caught the biggest root of all trouble here and ruthlessly called Mu Xi Yao’s name to criticize her.
The opera theatre should look somehow like this.
 Hour of Chen is 7-9 Am
 East pearl are pearl from North-East of China
 Auspicious ritual belongs to one of five ancient rituals of Western Zhou.
It is a ceremony that is conducted during events like banquet, wedding or festival or when an Emperor ascends to the throne, an Empress dowager takes regency, Emperor celebrates his birthday, a crown prince is appointed, Emperor goes on hunting, etc.
 Strike water right and left is a Chinese idiom that means to have everything going one’s way; to benefit from both sides
 Principal graduate or “Zhuangyuan” was a top scorer of ancient palace examination
 Noxious wind is a Chinese idiom that means malignant social trends
 To watch the fires burning across the river is a Chinese idiom that means to delay entering the fray until all others have been exhausted by fighting amongst themselves
 Not quite hurting not tickling sth is a Chinese idiom that means not getting to any matter of substance; scratching the surface; superficial;