Imperial Concubine Yuan Shu’s Wild Strategy
News of Lu Yao hanging herself gave both Lu Song and Yao Shu a huge fright. The two did not say a word and began rushing in the direction of Lu Yao’s courtyard.
When they were still quite far away, they could already hear the maidservants crying loudly. Yao Shu was unable to suppress his emotions, rushing into the courtyard ahead of Lu Song and pushing open the door. But it was also because he pushed the door hard that in the next instant, Yao Shu suddenly came to a stop, staring straight at the scene before him. His face and neck immediately turned red.
At the same time, the servants in the room began screaming. Their screams caused Yao Shu to quickly turn around.
Lu Song entered after him. At this time, the maidservants had managed to cover up Lu Yao. Lu Song was puzzled and asked: “What happened?”
A servant kneeled while crying in front of Lu Song and told him: “Young miss took things hard and sent us servants out. We servants thought that she just wanted to be on her own; however, we never thought that young miss would do something so shortsighted. Master, after we servants brought young miss down, young miss’ neck had a red mark on it, and it seemed that she was having a hard time breathing. We servants removed young miss’ clothes to help her breathe. After finally managing to help young miss begin breathing…” As the girl spoke, she looked at Yao Shu sadly: “But young miss was just seen by this young man!”
Lu Song thought that something big had happened. Hearing what he had just heard, he waved his hand: “Don’t be so shocked over such small things. This is the Yao family’s eldest son. He is the one that is set to marry Yao’er. He cannot be considered an outsider.”
“This…” The maidservant said with difficulty: “But master, if word of this was to spread… young miss cannot afford to lose face!”
Lu Song heard this and felt his heart move. He then looked at Lu Yao, but he saw that the maidservants had already helped her put her clothes on. There was a red mark on her neck, but it was not very severe. If one did not look carefully, it would not be seen, but Lu Yao’s eyes remained on Yao Shu. He immediately reacted and turned to ask Yao Shu: “Nephew, what did you just see?”
Yao Shu replied sincerely: “Uncle Lu, don’t worry. Dignified men will not tell lies, nor will they not take responsibility. Yao’er was already my fiancee. To have been seen by me today can also be considered fate.” He turned around slightly and said to Lu Yao: “Yao’er, I might not be able to provide you with something as grand as a betrothal gift that the imperial family can provide, nor can I provide as grand a wedding celebration as one put on for a prince, but Yao’er, I, Yao Shu, swear on my Yao family’s name that your wedding definitely will not be bad. The day of the wedding cannot be changed by anyone. No doubt, I must take responsibility for today’s actions, but me marrying you is something that I want. It’s not just because it would be proper. I hope that you are also willingly marrying me, and that you will always be that beautiful girl from when we first met. Don’t worry, I have already spoken to my cousin from the Feng family. She will not object to our marriage. Yao’er, do not be unhappy. No matter what happens, I will favor you.”
These words left hot tears streaming down Lu Yao’s face. It also caused Lu Song to nod his head. In an exchange of glances, father and daughter could see the words “at ease” in the other’s eyes.
Yao Shu’s visit this time had doubtlessly given the Lu family something to put them at ease. Lu Song comforted Lu Yao for a while then removed the restriction that he placed on her going out. Only then did he send Yao Shu out.
Lu Yao was brought back to her bed by her maidservants. Once the door was closed, the sneered and rubbed her neck, shouting: “It hurts so much.”
The maidservant at her side, Chun Tao, quickly said: “Young miss, endure a little longer. If you didn’t do it for real, how could that young sir from the Yao family believe it? I fear that it would not even be able to handle master.”
Lu Yao snorted coldly, “What’s there to fear with father. He is very clear that what I did was fake. Sending me into the Yao family is nothing more than a chess move. He wants to make use of the Yao family’s relationship with the ninth prince to protect his future position. That’s why father must help me. No matter what, this marriage must happen.” She spoke while happily smiling, “Look, hasn’t Yao Shu been properly tamed by me. That’s to say that in this world, there is no man that cannot be tamed. It just depends on what sort of tactics the woman is willing to use.”
Chun Tao nodded and praised: “Our young miss is really smart. After marrying into the Yao manor, the Lu family will still need to take care of young miss. No matter how happy the third young miss is, she is still just flaunting her superiority in her own home. Young miss is the true foundation of the Lu family.”
Upon hearing mention of the Lu family’s third young miss, Lu Yan, Lu Yao’s gaze became a little bit colder. That younger sister that was also of the first wife really was an annoying one!
She found Lu Yan to be an eyesore, but at the same time, Lu Yan did not like Lu Yao. Back when she had sent her people to Phoenix Pavilion to ruin Lu Yao’s accessories, she had wanted to create more trouble between her and imperial daughter Ji An. It would be best to have completely offended imperial daughter Ji An, resulting in the marriage being canceled.
Unfortunately, things did not go as desired. Lu Yao’s marriage ended up becoming a little more stable because of this. Lu Yan leaned against a pillar in a long hall while looking at Lu Yao’s courtyard and clenching her fists.
“Really a good play.” Lu Yan squinted her eyes and looked forward, muttering: “It’s fine. The winner of this game will not be decided by you marrying into the Yao manor, nor will it be decided with me marrying Prince Sheng. In the end, it will depend on who ascends the throne. My great elder sister, you must know that we are not competing as girls. We are comparing men!”
The Lu family had received Yao Shu’s guarantee and had finally received some assurance. Back in the Yao family’s side, they also began taking care of matters related to Yao Shu’s wedding.
The Yao family had always been rather democratic. Aside from the rule set down by Yao Xian of “men will not take concubines, and women will not be concubines,” they had always been rather respectful of the younger generation’s desires. For example, Yao Shu and Lu Yao’s marriage, even if Lu Song asked the Emperor many times, and even if the Emperor brought it up with Yao Xian many times, if Yao Shu did not want it, Yao Xian would definitely think of a way to refuse.
But it was because Yao Shu accepted it that the Yao family chose to respect the child’s decision. As long as he wanted it, the Yao family wanted it. However, who knew that this person would want a wife that would cause them to feel a deep regret.
“Is young miss still feeling worried for the Yao family’s young master?” It was now night time, and Feng Yu Heng sat next to her bed. Leaning close to the window, she did not want to sleep. Wang Chuan saw that she had no intention of sleep and simply prepared some light jasmine tea to chat with her.
Hearing mention of Yao Shu, Feng Yu Heng put on a helpless expression, “He himself wants it. What is there that I can say. I am just worried about grandfather. After that Lu Yao enters the manor, it would be good if she knows to restrain herself. If she continues to stir up trouble, with grandfather getting up there in age, how could he handle it. Forget it.” She waved her hand, “In the end, this is all in the future. That is not the reason that I cannot sleep tonight.”
“Then why is it?” Wang Chuan was puzzled, “Is there something else troubling young miss?”
Feng Yu Heng furrowed her brow, her face filled with hesitation. After a while, she said: “I also can’t quite say. It’s just a flustered feeling. I keep feeling as though something is about to happen, but I can’t figure out what it is. With this on my chest, I can’t quite feel at ease.”
Wang Chuan pushed the cooled jasmine tea toward her: “This sort of tea tastes best at this sort of temperature. It helps reduce inflammation. Young miss, drink some.”
Feng Yu Heng picked up the cup of tea and brought it to her lips; however, she could not bring herself to drink it. What could be the problem?
The night was starting to turn cloudy. The moon that could be seen was covered after a short while. Inside the imperial palace, all of the palaces had shut their doors and blown out their candles. Either way, the Emperor had not visited the inner palace for over 20 years. The imperial concubines were already accustomed to this sort of regulated life. There was no longer even a shred of expectation left in their hearts.
On a small path in the palace, a swaying lantern was held in a servant’s hand, as they hurriedly moved forward. To this person’s side was a woman wearing a cloak and hat. While walking, they looked around. Fortunately, this small path was always quiet. Because the Emperor did not visit, even the imperial guards relaxed their patrols. At this moment, aside from these two, not another person could be seen.
The two went straight to the entrance of a palace before stopping. There was a palace maid waiting in front of this palace. Upon seeing them arrive, she quickly pushed the gate open and brought them inside.
This was Yong Ning Palace. There was no palace princess. There was only a high-ranking concubine living here. That high-ranking concubine saw the people arrive then bowed, saying: “Paying respects to imperial concubine Shu.”
The person that had come was imperial concubine Yuan Shu!
The two were seated, and imperial concubine Yuan Shu looked at the girl that was younger than her, yet the girl appeared to be older. Sighing, she shook her head and said: “Unfortunately, if we’re comparing appearance, the high-ranking concubine Jing of that time would be the best at that time. What a pity! Without given a chance to meet, that imperial concubine Yun was brought back the second year after you entered the palace. You didn’t even get a chance to get pregnant with a child. You didn’t get a chance to get even closer. Like this, you’ve been here in the inner palace, wasting your time for twenty years. This is retribution!”
Imperial concubine Yuan Shu’s laments covered the complaints that she had of imperial concubine Jing from the years. Imperial concubine Jing’s lip trembled, and a fishy-sweet taste surged into her throat and was forcefully suppressed. She smiled bitterly, “That’s right. In the end, my life was not as good as elder sister Shu’s. No matter how it is, you still have a child. There are times when I think that even if I had a daughter, it would be great. But daughters in Da Shun are even harder to come by than sons.”
Imperial concubine Yuan Shu looked at imperial concubine Jing, a look of viciousness flashing through her eyes, “Could it be that younger sister wishes to continue living like this? Without returning to your old home and remaining without hopes, just remaining inside this large palace. Even if you spent every day counting the pigeons, you should have finished counting all of them over the years. Now, your hairs about to turn white. Could it be that younger sister is giving up?”
Imperial concubine Jing was puzzled, “What can I do aside from accepting my fate? Over the years, it’s not like there haven’t been concubines that have had private encounters with imperial guards, but which of them wasn’t dismembered by five horses? Could it be that elder sister has such a thing in mind?”
Imperial concubine Yuan Shu shook her head, “It’s as you said. In any case, this One has a son. How could I have any other thoughts. This One is thinking for younger sister and wishes to provide younger sister with a way out.”
“What does elder sister mean by such things?” Imperial concubine Jing became interested, “There was a servant that came by during the day to tell me that elder sister wanted to meet tonight, but younger sister could not figure out what is the reason elder sister wishes to see me?”
Imperial concubine Yuan Shu covered her mouth and smiled faintly, “That’s right! You and I don’t often speak, yet this One suddenly paid a visit. You wouldn’t believe anything that was said, but this is a situation that would only occur once every thousand years. This One will not hide it from younger sister. The reason that you were chosen is that you have an elder brother working in the palace, and the person in charge of the imperial guards tonight is him.”