Arc 5: Harem Competing Strategies Chapter 13
Three more months passed, and Tao Yuan’s belly grew bigger every day. Although the Empress Dowager had said that Tao Yuan didn’t have to come to pay respects to her every day, Tao Yuan couldn’t simply avoid it forever. Every two or three days, he still had to visit Jingshou. Each time, he would sit and chat with the Empress Dowager for a while before returning, and it wasn’t too exhausting.
On this day, while Tao Yuan was talking to the Empress Dowager, Ye Rong walked in with a joyful expression on his face.
“Greetings to the Empress Dowager, and greetings to the Empress.” Ye Rong smiled and respectfully bowed to the two.
“No need for formalities,” the Empress Dowager said.
“Thank you, Empress Dowager.”
Tao Yuan looked at the undisguised joy on Ye Rong’s face and already guessed why he was in such a good mood, but still asked, “You look so happy, is there something joyful you want to report to the Empress Dowager?”
“Reporting to the Empress Dowager and the Queen, today the imperial physician came to check my pulse and said that I have the happy pulse 1 without a doubt. So, I came specifically to inform the Empress Dowager.”
“Happy Pulse?” the Empress Dowager said happily. “Are you also pregnant?”
“Yes, the physician said I am already with child, but it has been less than two months, so the pulse was not clear before,” Ye Rong said with a smile.
“That’s wonderful!” The Empress Dowager was also very delighted. “Both of you are expecting children, it’s truly a great joy. You should quickly inform the Emperor and let him share in the happiness too.”
Tao Yuan felt a bit sympathetic towards the Empress Dowager. If she knew that the child in Ye Rong’s womb was not her own grandchild, I can only imagine the emotions she would feel. She might even want to tear Ye Rong’s heart apart. However, Xiao Junye must surely be aware of the situation. The question is, how will he handle Ye Rong and the child inside her belly? Tao Yuan suddenly became quite curious.
While the Empress Dowager was mentioning that she would inform the Emperor, he arrived immediately, wearing a joyful expression on his face.
The Empress Dowager thought he already knew about Ye Rong’s pregnancy, hence her happy demeanor.
However, after Xiao Junye paid his respects to the Empress Dowager, he looked at Tao Yuan and said, “Your father has sent a victorious report. He will soon be able to return to the capital.”
“Really?” Tao Yuan exclaimed happily. “My father is coming back?”
“Ningguo and Qiuyun countries have completely withdrawn their troops and are willing to offer tribute to Da Wei 2annually in order to seek peace,” Xiao Junye looked at Tao Yuan, his face and eyes filled with smiles. “At the latest, your father and your elder brother will be able to return to the imperial city next month.”
“These joyful events just keep coming one after another,” the Empress Dowager said, smiling happily. “First, Ah Xi became pregnant, and now Ah Rong is also pregnant. And now, Ningguo and Qiuyun countries have withdrawn their troops and seek peace. Truly, it is a blessing for Great Wei, a blessing for the Emperor!”
Upon hearing the Empress Dowager’s words, Xiao Junye first appeared stunned, then he looked at Ye Rong and asked, “Are you pregnant?”
Ye Rong, who had heard the news of the victory on the border and Mu Yongsheng’s imminent return, was trembling with panic. With a forced smile, he replied, “Yes, Your Majesty, I am with child. The imperial physician said it’s been less than two months since conception.”
“How is it possible?” the Empress Dowager asked in confusion. “The Emperor doesn’t know about this?”
“I only learned about it after hearing Mother’s words,” Xiao Junye looked at Ye Rong with a smile. “Since you are already pregnant, take good care of yourself.”
“Yes,” Ye Rong replied, but even Xiao Junye’s concerned words couldn’t make him feel happy. His complexion grew increasingly grim.
Noticing his change in expression, the Empress Dowager asked with concern, “Ah Rong, you look unwell. Shall I have the imperial physician come and check on you?”
“Thank you for your concern, Empress Dowager. I’m just feeling a bit nauseous, but it’s nothing serious,” Ye Rong said.
“Then go back to the palace and rest. I will have some supplements sent to you later. Take good care of yourself in Mingcui Palace, and you don’t have to come to pay respects every day anymore.”
“Thank you, Empress Dowager. I take my leave.” Ye Rong bowed to the Empress Dowager, Xiao Junye, and Tao Yuan before turning to leave.
Before he even returned to Mingcui Palace, the expression on Ye Rong’s face couldn’t be maintained. Due to the plot development in the game, Mu Yongsheng wouldn’t return to the capital for at least four more years. But now, it was happening much earlier than expected. Besides being shocked, Ye Rong was overwhelmed with panic because once Mu Yongsheng returned with his troops, his plans would fall apart. It would be even more difficult for him to become the Empress Dowager.
As soon as Ye Rong returned to Mingcui Palace, he immediately wrote a letter, sealed it, and had Lin Qing send it to Yu Wang as soon as possible.
At this moment, Yu Wang was already aware of Mu Yongsheng’s impending return to the capital. The entire court was aware, so how could he not know? But precisely because the whole court knew, his shock and panic were no less than Ye Rong’s.
After Ye Rong left Jingshou Palace, Xiao Junye and Tao Yuan sat for a while before returning to Fenghua Palace together.
As they descended from the royal study, Xiao Junye supported Tao Yuan as they slowly walked into the sleeping quarters. Though Tao Yuan’s belly wasn’t very large yet, it was already visibly pregnant, and he was becoming more cautious.
“Is Your Highness happy about Imperial Noble Consort being pregnant?” Tao Yuan asked after sitting down.
Xiao Junye remained expressionless for a while before saying, “That child is not mine.”
“Not Your Highness’s child?” Tao Yuan deliberately showed a surprised and puzzled expression.
“Don’t ask about this matter now. I will tell you later. For now, focus on taking care of your pregnancy and don’t think about anything else,” Xiao Junye said. “Thanks to your efforts, the peace treaty was achieved between the countries of Ningguo and Qiuyun. Otherwise, your father wouldn’t have been able to return to the capital so soon.”
In the past few months, there had been frequent correspondence between Xiao Junye and Mu Yongsheng, so Xiao Junye was well informed about everything happening at the border. Following his instructions, Mu Yongsheng immediately began preparations to return to the capital after Ningguo and Qiuyun countries withdrew their troops and sought peace. Xiao Junye was eager to have Mu Yongsheng return to the imperial city as soon as possible, as he wanted to gain control over the palace and court affairs swiftly. He also wanted to quickly eliminate anyone who needed to be dealt with.
Tao Yuan said, “It has been over two years since I last saw my father. Finally, next month, I will be able to see him. It’s truly wonderful.”
Xiao Junye hugged him, gently stroking his belly, and said, “Before our child is born, I will create a safe environment for all of you. Soon, this palace will be completely under my control, and no one will be able to harm you.”
“Your Majesty,” Tao Yuan rested his head on Xiao Junye’s shoulder, saying, “The Imperial Noble Consort is pregnant, and soon, the other concubines will also be carrying your children, right?”
Xiao Junye’s hand paused, and he fell into silence for a while without speaking. Until now, he hadn’t been intimate with any other concubines in the palace, nor did he have any intention to do so.
Within the harem, there was a person like Ye Rong, and there might be many others like him. Therefore, he didn’t want anyone other than Tao Yuan to bear his children, and he had no interest in the bodies of others. But he didn’t know how to express this to Tao Yuan. As the emperor, he couldn’t openly express his loyalty to someone else.
Xiao Junye looked down and saw that Tao Yuan had fallen asleep, leaning against him. Carefully, he lifted him up and laid him on the bed, covering him with a blanket. Then he lay down beside him.
He caressed Tao Yuan’s smooth face, gazing at his sleeping face, filled with love. Only this person made him genuinely moved, only this person made him want to grow old together.
Ye Rong felt restless in the palace, wanting to see Yu Wang immediately and ask him about their next plan. However, it wasn’t until late in the night of the following day that he finally met with Yu Wang.
Sitting on the edge of the bed, Ye Rong stood up as soon as he saw the door open and hurriedly walked over.
“Your Highness…” Ye Rong practically ran over and grabbed Yu Wang’s hand, speaking with great agitation. “Mu Yongsheng is returning to the capital. Why is it happening so soon?! And why did Ningguo and Qiuyun countries withdraw their troops and seek peace so quickly?!”
“Don’t get agitated. It’s not good for the child,” Xiao Yuyang hugged him and sat down on the edge of the bed. “Even I only found out yesterday during court that Mu Yongsheng is actually returning to the capital.”
“What should we do then?” Ye Rong asked anxiously. “Mu Xi is the Empress now, and once Mu Yongsheng returns to the palace, he will definitely support the Emperor for the sake of Mu Xi. With Mu Yongsheng holding significant military power, if the Emperor takes back control of the military, the first person to be eliminated will surely be you.”
“The situation has already unfolded this way, and we can’t stop Mu Yongsheng from bringing his troops back to the palace. We can only take it step by step,” Xiao Yuyang 3 felt extremely anxious as well, but he tried to reassure Ye Rong. “Don’t worry too much. I won’t be in immediate danger even if Mu Yongsheng returns. We still have plenty of time to plan. In the end, it’s uncertain who will win or lose.”
“Wangye 4, you must be cautious and absolutely not give the Emperor any handle on you,” Ye Rong placed his hand on his own belly. “For the sake of our child, you must be even more careful in your actions.”
In Ye Rong’s mind, once Mu Yongsheng returned to the palace, the Emperor would become even more powerful and would no longer back down due to Xiao Yuyang’s influence in the capital. If by any chance Xiao Yuyang gave the Emperor a handle, even if he didn’t die, it would be difficult for him to turn the tables. Without Xiao Yuyang’s help, it would be challenging for him to achieve his goal of becoming the Empress Dowager.
“Don’t worry, for you and our child, I will definitely not lose to Xiao Junye,” Xiao Yuyang held him tightly, his gaze determined. “No matter how he tries to deal with me, I won’t let him succeed.”
This was their first meeting since Ye Rong found out about his pregnancy. However, due to the sudden news of Mu Yongsheng’s return to the capital, they didn’t have the mood to share the joy but instead felt an anxious sense of impending crisis.
After Xiao Yuyang left, Ye Rong lay on the bed, placing his hand on his still-flat belly. He thought about how difficult it was for him to get pregnant, and now he had to face such a crisis. But no matter what, he had to ensure the safety of the child. Even if something were to happen to Xiao Yuyang, as long as everyone believed that the child belonged to the Emperor, he still had a chance.
Ye Rong’s pregnancy brought great joy to the Empress Dowager, and she sent him many tonics. Xiao Junye, of course, had to show his happiness as well, with rewards and other forms of favor. He even made a special visit to Mingcui Palace to see Ye Rong, appearing genuinely delighted about the pregnancy.
The next afternoon, Ye Rong learned that Xiao Junye was coming, and he was still quite happy about it. He hadn’t given up on the idea of winning Xiao Junye’s favor. Since he was pregnant and couldn’t engage in intimate activities, he didn’t need to drug him anymore. Ye Rong believed that being able to interact with Xiao Junye while he was sober would make him develop a better impression of himself. He believed that the reason he had lost to Tao Yuan before was because he didn’t have enough opportunities to be with Xiao Junye.
In the evening, Ye Rong finally awaited Xiao Junye’s arrival. He approached with a smile and bowed, saying, “Greetings, Your Majesty.”
Xiao Junye walked slowly and stood in front of Ye Rong, saying, “The moonlight is beautiful tonight. How about you accompany me to admire the moon, Ai Qing 5?”
“I will gladly accompany Your Majesty,” Ye Rong replied respectfully.
Xiao Junye ordered his attendants to set up fruits and pastries in the moon-viewing pavilion at Mingcui Palace. Then, he and Ye Rong walked together and sat down in the pavilion, with the bright full moon reflected in the carp pond beside them.
“As you cannot drink alcohol, why don’t you have this pot of ginseng tea instead?” Xiao Junye personally poured a cup of tea for him, and poured himself a cup of wine.
“Thank you, Your Majesty,” Ye Rong accepted the cup with both hands. Although it was just a simple display of concern, it still made him happy because Xiao Junye had never shown such a gentle attitude towards him before. Indeed, having a child had its benefits. He had to seize the opportunity and strive to gain Xiao Junye’s favor.
“How about I play a piece for Your Majesty to liven up the atmosphere?” Ye Rong suggested.
“With your pregnancy, you mustn’t overexert yourself,” Xiao Junye said.
“I will play a simple piece that won’t tire me,” Ye Rong smiled and said, then he instructed the palace attendant to bring his qin.
The attendant brought the qin, and Ye Rong cleaned it and lit incense. Just as he was about to start playing, they suddenly heard a swooshing sound. The lantern in the hands of the attendant beside Xiao Junye dropped to the ground, and several black-clothed men emerged from the flower bushes near the pond.
“Assassins! Protect the Emperor! Hurry, protect the Emperor!”
Ye Rong was startled and completely at a loss for how to react.
Starting this week, there will be two chapter releases. Saturdays and Sundays for TOTLS and Tuesdays and Fridays for FLBOTCP. Happy Reading~~ !
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If there are any mistakes/error, feel free to comment it down below.
- Pulse of a pregnant person
- Da: Great = Great Wei
- 萧煜阳: Xiao Yuyang
- 王爷 : Prince
- 爱卿: Ai Qing – My Dear~ [XJY called him my dear the irony please (≧▽≦)]