Arc 5: Harem Competing Strategies Chapter 15
A month later, everything had settled down. Mu Yongsheng returned to the imperial city with his troops. The first thing he did when he met Xiao Junye was to voluntarily hand over his military power. Xiao Junye insisted that Mu Yongsheng remain as the Grand Marshal of the armed forces, but since the war was over, Xiao Junye took back two-thirds of the military power for himself.
Ye Rong had recovered from his injuries. Early in the morning, he went with Tao Yuan and the concubines to pay respects to the Empress Dowager.
After the Empress Dowager asked everyone to rise, she motioned for Tao Yuan to sit down and smiled as she looked at him. She said, “Didn’t I tell you not to come early in the morning to pay respects? Now is the time for a good sleep. You’re pregnant, so it’s good for you to get some rest.”
“I woke up early today, so I naturally came to pay respects to the Empress Dowager. How can I be lazy every day?” Tao Yuan replied with a smile.
“As long as you have that intention. Since it’s early in the morning, you haven’t had breakfast yet, right? Go back and have your breakfast. Take it easy, and I won’t keep you here for breakfast,” the Empress Dowager said to Tao Yuan. Then she told the others, “You can all leave, except for Ye Rong.”
Tao Yuan stood up, saluted along with the others, and then walked out.
The fact that the Empress Dowager called Ye Rong instead of A-Rong made Tao Yuan realize that Xiao Junye had already informed the Empress Dowager that Ye Rong’s child was no longer his concern.
After everyone else had left, the Empress Dowager stared at Ye Rong with a dark expression, remaining silent for a while.
Ye Rong looked up, met the Empress Dowager’s gaze, and suddenly felt a shock in his heart. The Empress Dowager’s gaze was cold, stern, and filled with disgust, as if she was looking at something dirty.
He remembered that when he had a miscarriage, the Empress Dowager had sent someone to bring him gifts and comfort him, saying that he should take good care of himself and try to conceive again without being too sad.
But after that one time, the Empress Dowager never sent him anything again. Now, seeing her expression and gaze, it seemed she knew that the child he had lost was the Yu Wang’s child, not the Emperor’s.
The Empress Dowager’s gaze made him feel embarrassed and nervous, as if he was caught red-handed in bed, desperately wanting to escape from there.
The Empress Dowager also felt both cold-hearted and disgusted towards him. She couldn’t believe that she had thought he was the most suitable person to be the Emperor’s consort, showing favoritism towards him at every turn. But in the end, her love and care for him were weaker than what she would have given to a dog. At least a dog would know to be loyal and grateful to those who treated it well. Fortunately, she didn’t make him the Emperor’s main wife 1. Otherwise, the humiliation would have been even greater.
The Empress Dowager felt both cold-hearted and disgusted towards him. She couldn’t believe that she had thought he was the most suitable person to be the Emperor’s consort, showing favoritism towards him at every turn. But in the end, her love and care for him were weaker than what she would have given to a dog. At least a dog would know to be loyal and grateful to those who treated it well. Fortunately, she didn’t make him the Emperor’s main wife; otherwise, the humiliation would have been even greater.
“I heard from the imperial physician that it will be difficult for your body to fully recover. From now on, you will stay in Mingcui Palace to recuperate. You don’t need to come and pay respects to me anymore, and you shouldn’t wander around the palace freely,” the Empress Dowager said, wishing she could just kill him instantly. However, the Emperor still needed him to remind and control the Ye family, so he would live a few more years. But she really didn’t want to see Ye Rong in her sight again.
For Ye Rong, drugging the Emperor was one serious crime, engaging in an affair with Yu Wang was another, but pretending to be pregnant with the Yu Wang’s child and passing it off as the Crown Prince was an even greater offense. These charges combined were enough to warrant the extermination of the Ye family. However, since the Emperor still wanted to use the Ye family, he wouldn’t act against Ye Rong for now.
“Yes,” Ye Rong responded in a dazed manner. The Empress Dowager was effectively confining him, meaning he wouldn’t be able to leave Mingcui Palace from now on.
“You may leave!” the Empress Dowager said coldly.
“Chen 2 will leave,” Ye Rong bowed and retreated.
On his way back to Mingcui Palace, Ye Rong suddenly looked up at the sky. He felt immense pain and anguish in his heart. Since his miscarriage, he hadn’t seen Xiao Yuyang at all. The imperial palace was completely under the control of the Emperor, and he didn’t know how to establish contact with Xiao Yuyang or even receive a visit from his own family. He didn’t know how he would live from now on. Was he destined to just wait for death? But he couldn’t accept it. He was unwilling to give up so easily.
Although the Empress Dowager had told him not to wander around the palace anymore, Ye Rong decided to change his path and head towards the Queen Mother’s palace.
However, he couldn’t even enter the palace gates. The eunuch guarding the entrance informed him that the Queen Mother was seriously ill, and the Emperor had given orders not to disturb her during her recovery.
Even the Queen Mother’s palace was now under the Emperor’s control. Ye Rong felt even more despair. The sense of helplessness of not knowing what to do weighed heavily on his heart, filling him with a sense of despair and sadness.
Ye Rong returned to Mingcui Palace in a daze. It was impossible for him to completely give up on achieving his goals.At this point I swear this is the only thing helping him maintain his sanity. Although YR is already done for. He just cant give up Despite the significant difference between the actual events and what he knew, he still clung to the last thread of hope, unwilling to let go. After all, he had transmigrated into the role of the protagonist, and he couldn’t accept a complete failure. IF he only did not contain himslef to ‘im the protag’ then he couldve done other thigns and live peacefully -.-
He had completely given up hope of receiving Xiao Junye’s favor. Now, he only hoped that Xiao Yuyang could hold on. Xiao Junye had at most three years left to live, and if they could endure these three years, they still had a chance to seize the throne.
“Imperial Noble Consort, it’s time for your meal,” a palace servant placed the food on the table.
“I’m not hungry. Take it away,” Ye Rong said absentmindedly. But as he saw the silent servant preparing to leave, he called out to him, “Wait!”
“What instructions does the Imperial Noble Consort have?” the servant turned back and asked.
“I want to see my family. Go and inform Xu Gonggong by the Emperor’s side. Tell him that I have a message for my grandfather,” Ye Rong stood up and took out some gold leaves and a silver note. “You take these gold leaves and give this silver note to Xu Gonggong.”
The palace servant didn’t accept them but looked at him and said, “The Empress Dowager has given an order. From today onwards, no one from Mingcui Palace is allowed to leave without her permission. And no one can enter Mingcui Palace without her permission either.”
“My grandfather is the Prime Minister. He will naturally seek permission from His Majesty,” Ye Rong replied.
The palace servant deliberately hesitated and then said, “Ever since the Yu Wang died, I heard that the Prime Minister has been seriously ill and hasn’t attended court for many days. So even if the Imperial Noble Consort wants Xu Gonggong to relay a message, he won’t be able to.”
“What did you say?!” Ye Rong widened his eyes in shock, looking at him incredulously. “You said the Yu Wang, what happened to the Yu Wang?!”
“Yu Wang rebelled and was captured alive by General Mu’s eldest son. While being escorted to His Majesty, he deliberately collided with a soldier’s blade and died.”
Ye Rong’s vision darkened, and he felt the world spinning. His last trace of hope shattered. Although he had a premonition, hearing it confirmed with his own ears dealt him a tremendous blow.
He couldn’t understand how things had come to this. He didn’t even know why he had lost, leaving him with no chance of turning the tide. If this was his fate, then why did fate bring him to this world? Was it merely to subject him to failure and disappointment?
Ye Rong collapsed to the ground. The palace servant glanced at him briefly before turning and leaving.
Mingcui Palace was now filled with Xiao Junye’s people, monitoring Ye Rong’s every move. With the Empress Dowager’s orders, Ye Rong could no longer leave Mingcui Palace. His future days would not be easy.
A few months later, Tao Yuan gave birth to a baby boy. Both Xiao Junye and the Empress Dowager were extremely delighted.
After completing his postpartum confinement, Tao Yuan would bring the child to pay respects to the Empress Dowager every day.
Two months later, the Empress Dowager started entrusting Tao Yuan with the management of certain matters in the harem. After learning about Ye Rong’s affair with the Duke of Yu, the Empress Dowager was not only furious but also had no more interest in advising Xiao Junye to favor other concubines. She let him handle everything on his own. The thought of Ye Rong’s affair with the Duke of Yu and the fact that she had been encouraging the Emperor to favor Ye Rong all along made her feel a painful ache in her chest due to anger.
In truth, the Empress Dowager primarily considered Xiao Junye’s health. Since he had no interest or energy for others, she couldn’t bear to force him anymore.
That day, Tao Yuan woke up early and carried the child to pay respects to the Empress Dowager.
“I apologize for being late, Your Majesty,” Tao Yuan bowed to the Empress Dowager.
“It must be this little one who woke you up early again. Hurry and bring him here for me to see,” the Empress Dowager said with a smile.
The palace servant brought the little prince to the Empress Dowager. She took him into her arms, gazing at his tender and fair little face. She couldn’t get enough of it. He was not only Xiao Junye’s legitimate eldest son but also his only child for now. The child looked exactly like Xiao Junye did when he was young, even mimicking some of his gestures. If the Empress Dowager didn’t see him for a day, she would feel uncomfortably empty inside.
“You all may leave,” the Empress Dowager dismissed the concubines. She was impatient with their chatter and just wanted to be alone with her grandson.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
As usual, Tao Yuan spent some time chatting with the Empress Dowager before leaving the child behind and returning to Fenghua Palace to handle some matters. By noon, the Empress Dowager would send someone to bring the child back to Fenghua Palace.
While Tao Yuan took charge of managing the harem, he didn’t monopolize all the power. With so many idle people in the harem, he wasn’t foolish enough to shoulder all the burdens alone. Therefore, he had Shu Fei((妃: Fei – Concubine/Consort), Xian Fei, and Ning Guijun 3 help him in managing the harem. For the parts they were responsible for, if any problems arose, he would directly hold them accountable.
The Empress Dowager was very satisfied when she saw that Tao Yuan was able to manage the harem efficiently and without greed for power. She was pleased to see that he had a capable administration and hoped that as she grew older, she could entrust the entire harem to him and retire peacefully. For now, she could help him deal with the troublesome and mischievous ones, allowing him to have an easier time and bear more children with the Emperor.
In the evening, after bathing, Tao Yuan was lying on the bed, playing with his son. The baby mostly slept, and if he wasn’t entertained before falling asleep, he would wake up crying in the middle of the night.
But as Tao Yuan played, he gradually drifted off to sleep himself. He didn’t know how long he had been sleeping when he suddenly felt something tickling his face. Opening his eyes, he saw that it was indeed Xiao Junye kissing him.
“Your Majesty…” Tao Yuan, still groggy, looked at him.
“Awake?” Xiao Junye caressed his face and kissed the corner of his mouth.
“Yeah.” Tao Yuan thought, with the way you’re teasing me, how could I not wake up?
Xiao Junye got up, put down the curtain, and then undressed and got into bed.
Tao Yuan watched him and followed suit, undressing himself as well.
Suddenly, Tao Yuan remembered that their child was nearby and hastily said, “Your Majesty, Xuer is still here. Let the palace attendant come in and take him away.”
“We’ll deal with that later. Let him sleep here for now,” Xiao Junye was already at the point of no return and couldn’t easily stop.
“Then Your Majesty, be gentle. Don’t wake Xuer up, or he’ll start crying again.” Tao Yuan wrapped his legs around Xiao Junye’s waist and clung to his shoulders.
Xiao Junye didn’t respond, he just passionately kissed Tao Yuan. He held Tao Yuan tightly and moved forcefully, completely disregarding the fact that their child was sleeping nearby.
Tao Yuan still had some sense left and tried his best not to make any noise. He could only be grateful that their child was still young and wouldn’t have any memories even if he woke up .Wild! Im telling you all!
And that’s a wrap ♡⸜(ˆᗜˆ˵ )⸝♡! …
Not really – Next chapter ends the arc and we enter a new arc Interstellar Artistic Soldiers or Interstellar Art Soldiers? Happy Reading ~~ !
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- AKA Empress
- 臣 Chen: This minister
- 宁贵君: Guijun – Lady Ning