When Mu Xi Yao woke up in the morning and discovered that her bedside was untouched, she knew that Zhong Zheng Lin rested in the study yesterday night.
She got up and had people attend to her with grooming.
As she was using the breakfast, she caught the sight of the sixth Highness lifting up the curtain and coming in with a stony face.
After sizing up the man more closely, Mu Xi Yao filled his bowl with food.
“Did something displease you, your Highness” Looking at his icy-cold expression early in the morning, Mu Xi Yao only felt the already freezing weather became even more unbearable.
When Zhong Zheng Lin heard Mu Xi Yao’s inquiry, his expression slowly softened.
He walked over and hugged her waist.
Subsequently, he caressed her belly, not replying to her question.
He only used meal with her, and then hurriedly headed to the front yard.
“Mistress, last night chief steward sent people to carry shufei and her sister back to Shuhui courtyard.
Afterward, they asked for the imperial physician, claiming that both of them were not well.
It was noisy over there for the whole night.” As soon as Zhao momo received the news, she came to report it to Mu Xi Yao.
Mu Xi Yao thought that the two were truly like a soul of a deceased that didn’t want to go away.
How come the two have again became tangled up with each other, unable to separate How many times was it over the course of these few days
Quite contemplatingly, she asked, “What’s the matter this time” What was that woman Tang Yi Ru doing She just let that shu sister of hers act so impudently
“Mistress, according to the imperial physician’s words, shufei was overcome with anger.
This together with an abrupt fright caused shufei to be unable to catch a breath, which as a result made her pass out.”
Mu Xi Yao thought that based on the frequency of Tang shufei’s fainting, this begonia flower was not far from turning to a little white flower1.
“That sister of hers,” Zhao momo was very puzzled, “they said that when she was carried back, her whole body was drenched, frozen like an ice cube.
After being diagnosed, the imperial physician said that she suffered from the chill and was also subjected to the cold wind.
A slow nursing was necessary.
If she didn’t take proper care and neglected her health, it will affect her fertility in the future.”
Mu Xi Yao felt like she was listening to a play.
After waking up from a sleep, those two sisters went as far as to outrageously get into a fight.
When she went further to ask the details, Zhao momo told her that his Highness forbid people to speak about the accident, saying that whoever dared to gossip will be immediately driven out.
That being the case, Mu Xi Yao dropped the matter, paying it no heed.
Since Zhong Zheng Lin prohibited people from spreading the gossip about the accident, she will do what he said and act like she didn’t know.
It had nothing to do with her anyway.
Even if she wanted to watch a play, she still had to wait for those two to wake up.
She then called for people who followed her to the garden where she went for a stroll, looked at her bonsai trees, played with koi fish, and, in passing, let out her two chubby rabbits to hop a bit.
Mu Xi Yao found joy in her own way.
Zhong Zheng Lin was currently occupied by entertaining the guests.
He had no time to think about irrelevant people.
He dispatched people to sent a message to pick up cefei at the hour of Shen2 to attend a banquet.
As soon as Tang Yi Ru woke up, she heard Shu Mei tell her in detail what happened afterward.
She became so infuriated she, on the spot, smashed the cup with medicine, wishing to choke to death that wench at the back.
How can she not know nowadays she has fallen for her trap She had actually used her as stepping stone in front of his Highness to climb up.
What’s more, that wench even succeeded.
The hate made Tang Yi Ru’s face appear sinister, “How come that woman can still run outside She could even run into the prince’s estate to pay a New Year’s call.
She has clearly told people at home to coop that wench up.
She was simply a scourge.
If Tang Yi Ru had known it would come to this, she would have fixed her at the time, too.
Shu Mei didn’t understand why her mistress was being this bitter.
Hence, she could only answer carefully and tell her that his Highness had instructed for that one to be carried away as soon as she recuperates.
This time, Tang Yi Ru has cooled down a little bit.
She snorted inside.
If that wench wanted to enter the estate, she needed to first look whether his Highness would consent or not.
Apparently, she used a wicker basket to draw water3.
Serves her right!
Zhong Zheng Lin first held onto Mu Xi Yao and walked her to sit at consort Shu’s palace for a while, and then went to pay respect to Empress Dowager together with the fourth prince and his party.
Seeing Mu Xi Yao swollen belly, Empress Dowager quickly told her to sit down.
Afterward, she praised the New Year gifts she sent her, saying that they were very pleasing to one’s eyes.
Each palace’s imperial concubine and female members of the imperial princes one after the other arrived.
For a moment, it was very lively at Empress Dowager’s place.
When Yuancheng Emperor came in, he saw everyone chatting fervently.
A bit of satisfaction then appeared on his face.
When the family feast began, Mu Xi Yao has already engaged in a round of social niceties with the womenfolk.
Looking at the woman with big belly from afar who was skillful in dancing with long sleeves4, all smiles, he felt a little bit more at ease.
He was most afraid she would be restless while with a pregnant body.
Empress Dowager listened to Mu Xi Yao’s folk story with an interest.
The rest of the people, thus, listened with keen interest as well.
After she finished talking the story, Empress Dowager Jin simply used the opportunity of the cheerful atmosphere of the New Year and said that she would grace her with a reward.
She let her take a look at three new vases in the palace and take back whichever she fancied.
This side with the female folk quietened for a moment.
Many of the people present were envious and jealous.
At the same time, they were curious what kind of vase would this cefei of the sixth Highness settle on.
The men in the front noticed that there was abruptly no sound coming from the back.
They cast over curious glances, discovering that everyone over there was watching attentively the sixth Highness’s cefei, whispering at each other’s ears in private.
Zhong Zheng Lin’s heart tightened.
Did the little woman throw a tantrum and offended people This was a New Year’s family feast.
If Empress Dowager and Yuancheng Emperor got angry at her, then the little woman will have a hard time.
He was a little far away.
He could only see but not hear what they talked about with their mouths muffled by the handkerchieves.
Zhong Zheng Lin’s expression became solemn.
He corrected his sitting posture, his phoenix eyes fixed firmly on the silhouette of Mu Xi Yao who had her head bowed as if thinking deeply.
Just as he intended to get up and apologize humbly on her behalf, he saw her lift head and reply few words to Empress Dowager, her little hand even stroked her belly.
At this time, Empress Dowager together with present womenfolk became stupified. Subsequently, they burst into laughter that made them sway back and forth.
Empress Dowager even pointed at her and scolded her with a smile.
She waved her hand and send two little eunuchs outside.
Seeing the lively atmosphere bustling with laughter, Yuancheng Emperor’s curiosity became piqued.
He quickly ordered people to inquire about the bottom of the matter.
Not long after, the little eunuch returned and reported him the whole story: Mu cefei fancied none of the objects in the palace hall.
Instead, she took a liking of barracuda fish kept in the garden’s pond.
In addition, she asked Empress Dowager whether it was possible to reward her more of pomfret to make good things come in pair.
When Yuancheng Emperor heard about it, his mind was flabbergasted.
Soon, he broke into a hearty laugh.
He openly cast Zhong Zheng Lin several teasing glances.
Feeling cheerful, he told them to fish out more of the fish, so as that lady Mu won’t be hungry and say the imperial household is stingy.
Zhong Zheng Lin’s face twitched from Yuancheng Emperor’s poking.
He sat there rigidly.
The discomfort on his face made Yuancheng Emperor amused.
After receiving obscure glances from his brothers, Zhong Zheng Lin still calmly held the tea and quietly took a sip from it.
That woman made him being jested at.
When they return back, he will fix her properly so she would learn from her mistakes.
The fish back at home were already sufficiently scourged by her.
Now she even started to have ideas about the ones in the palace.
She indeed didn’t see herself as an outsider.
Mu Xi Yao had not even the slightest idea that she was going to be fixed by the sixth Highness.
She was still happily thanking for the grace and currying favor over there.
The smiles that filled her face were so sweet it made people unable queasy.
Seeing Mu shi receive Empress Dowager’s rewards and amuse Empress Dowager into a cheerful mood, consort Shu felt comfortable inside.
She thought that this cefei was quite capable.
She could always make upper people grow fond of her.
Mu Xi Yao walked at the front along with her maidservants, her face beaming with happiness.
Behind, two eunuchs were following her while carrying a cask filled with several big fish, their foreheads drenched with sweat.
At the distant, she spotted the man who was standing at the doorway to the garden, waiting for her.
The corners of Mu Xi Yao’s mouth lifted upward.
Her eyes lit up.
“Your Highness, Empress Dowager has rewarded quite a lot of the sea fish tribute from the South Sea.
How about eating fish tomorrow” Her little face was full of excitement and expectation.
Very well.” Zhong Zheng Lin’s eyebrows smoothened.
He captured the woman’s hand and returned back to the estate.
The last day of the lunar year.
Before Mu Xi Yao finished watching the night on the New Year’s Eve5, she was taken to Shuangyan pool by Zhong Zheng Lin, subjected to his vigorous torture.
When they returned back, he again used thousands of method and ten thousands of tricks to torment her.
Even her delicate and coyly begs didn’t work.
In the end, it were her tiny sobbing calls of your Highness that made Zhong Zheng Lin roar lowly Jiao Jiao and let her off.
Lying on the bed, the considerate sixth Highness said that since Mu cefei was deeply fond of eating fish, giving her a big red pocket on the New Year would be inappropriate, better to change it to several groupers.
When Mu Xi Yao heard that her long-awaited new year money was swallowed up by this man, she immediately became infuriated.
Her little foot greeted the man’s body with a great force.
She kept humping, venting her anger.
Unable to calm down, she stretched her hand to pinch his flesh on the waist.
Zhong Zheng Lin wasn’t bothered by that little strength of hers.
He stroked the beauty’s back, quite enjoying himself.
“Acting so passionate, Jiao Jiao certainly wants to be intimate with Bendian.”
Mu Xi Yao was so frightened she promptly recollected her foot and well-behaviedly leaned against the man’s chest, curling up into a ball.
Soon after, she sweetly fell asleep.
Watching the woman being softly shrunk in his arms, Zhong Zheng Lin slowly closed his eyes, drawing the person into his arms and snuggling her close to his body.
On the first day of the New Year’s day, everyone in Danruo courtyard noticed that Mu cefei was in a great mood.
A dazzling smile engaged her face from the moment she opened the door and came out.
Even her words carried liveliness.
Only Mo Lan knew, early this morning her master found a big red pocket under the pillow.
A thick stack of banknotes was inside.
Seeing the banknotes, her great mood kept up till now.
She was indeed spoilt by his Highness.
Before, she wasn’t so money-grubbing.
 Little white flower is a Chinese slang used to describe someone who is pure and frail in appearance, but opposite inside, someone who uses her innocent appearance to get what she wants
 Hour of Shen – 3-5 PM
 Use a wicker basket to draw water is a Chinese idiom meaning wasted efforts
skillful in dancing with long sleeves refers to someone who’s good at socializing, great at diplomacy and thus easier to achieve success, socially active
 Watch night on the New Years Eve is a Chinese tradition of staying up all night to see the new year