In the evening, a sole person dared to come to the forest to block the path of an imperial concubine. At this moment, there was just one thought in Noble Lady Yuan’s mind. This person was bold! And what sort of person matched this description? Without a need to think about it, it was clear that it was definitely Feng Yu Heng. Thus Noble Lady Yuan’s first reaction was that Feng Yu Heng had come. She felt that everything that she had done was quite well-hidden, but in the end, it still could not be kept a secret from Feng Yu Heng. Would Fu Ya… really not be able to make to the South? Would all of her plans fall flat?
Noble Lady Yuan’s body began to tremble, but it was not out of fear. Instead, it was from anger. But at this time, Yue Xiu muttered from the side: “It seems that it’s not Imperial Daughter Ji An.”
“Hm?” Noble Lady Yuan was stunned, “It’s not?”
“It seems that they’re a bit taller than Imperial Daughter Ji An.” She pointed at the figure ahead and said: “Master, take a look. It’s not Imperial Daughter Ji An’s body build.”
Only then did Noble Lady Yuan calm herself down and look carefully. This allowed her to see the differences. Sure enough, the person standing there was quite a bit taller than Feng Yu Heng. There also did not appear to be much that was done with their hair, as it was truly that person’s height. She immediately let out a sigh of relief. Ascertaining that it was not Feng Yu Heng, the worry and anger that she had felt earlier dissipated, but she immediately became furious once more. Noble Lady Yuan quickly took a few steps and met with that figure, forcefully saying: “Who is it that is standing there?”
That person heard this question and began to move. Quickly stepping forward, they said with a bright and cheery voice: “Imperial Concubine, Yan’er specifically came to pick you up.”
The words Yan’er combined with that person getting closer allowed Noble Lady Yuan to finally recognize that the person was the Lu family’s Lu Yan. This really did anger her quite severely, and she immediately said in an impolite tone: “Who is Lu Yan? This One does not recognize her!” She had just been demoted today, and she really could not change her way of referring to herself.
Of course, Lu Yan did not mind such things. In her eyes, as long as Noble Lady Yuan was happy, she would call her anything that she liked, as long it was not done in front of the Emperor. Of course, she also understood that Noble Lady Yuan did not have a good impression of her, and she did not truly want for His Highness the Eighth Prince to be engaged to the Lu family. As for how the current situation came to be, she could not figure that out clearly. But regardless of what was said, the Emperor had spoken, and the matter had been set, and nobody was able to change it. This engagement was something that Noble Lady Yuan had to accept, regardless of what she wanted. As for Lu Yan, regardless of what position this mother-in-law now had, as long as she still wanted to have a good life with the eighth prince, she had to fawn on her and pay respects to her.
Lu Yan took another half a step forward, continuing to speak with a smile: “Imperial Concubine, Yan’er is the Lu family’s daughter. I am the one that was personally granted an engagement by His Majesty. I am the one engaged to His Highness the Eighth Prince!” You’re pretending to not recognize me? It’s fine, we can get to know each other once more. As Lu Yan spoke, she warmly grabbed Noble Lady Yuan’s arm. Even though Noble Lady Yuan tried to get free a couple times, she did not let go. Only when Noble Lady Yuan gave up did she say: “Imperial Concubine, Yan’er is your future daughter-in-law. It would be best if we did not become hostile toward each other. Although our Lu family has suffered a bit at the hands of the Yao family, that is just in terms of business. It’s completely unrelated to battle in the court. Regardless of the situation, my father is still a standard first rank official, so to speak of making a comeback, it’s just something that can happen in a short period of time. It’s possible that the hand holding down the Lu family will be lifted by the end of the Winter Hunt. Also, there are more paths in this world than just business. Father has been fully dedicating himself to sharing the burdens of the country and to reduce the worries of the ruler. To fulfill his duties at the prime minister, that is the most important thing to do. Imperial Concubine, what do you think?”
Noble Lady Yuan snorted coldly: “You mean to say that in this current situation, this One needs to fawn on your Lu family? Don’t forget that although this One was demoted to the position of noble lady, when your father sees this one, he still must kowtow and salute. This One’s son is still a prince, and he is still stationed as the general of the South with a large number of troops under his command. Our status will always be higher than that of an official.”
“Naturally.” Lu Yan’s words were exceptionally sweet, “No matter when, Imperial Concubine will always be Imperial Concubine. His Highness will always be His Highness. Look, even someone like His Highness the Fourth Prince, a criminal that had led a coup, hasn’t he also been let out? Yan’er sees that the Emperor’s attitude is no longer as rigid as it was in the past. This means that blood relations can never be severed.” She spoke while smiling. The things that she had just said were to Noble Lady Yuan’s liking, but Lu Yan’s expression became stoic very quickly once more, as she spoke with a tone of warning: “Imperial Concubine should not rejoice too soon. These things might be true, but this is just for the time being. Imperial Concubine, think about it. In the future, there will come a day when a new emperor takes the throne. The difference at that time will be extremely great.”
These words had struck at the heart of Noble Lady Yuan. Noble Lady Yuan was not afraid of anything else, but she was afraid that of the day when the Emperor would pass away. When that time came, if nothing unexpected happened, old ninth, Xuan Tian Ming, would ascend the throne. How could her son have anything to do in that situation?! That was why Noble Lady Yuan began to think to herself and heard Lu Yan ask: “Imperial Concubine wasn’t at the banquet. What did you come here for?”
Noble Lady Yuan said in a poor tone: “This One had nothing to do and came here to drive away some worries.”
“Oh.” Lu Yan smiled and did not ask anything further, only saying: “Then Yan’er will help you back!” As she spoke, she really helped support Noble Lady Yuan out of the forest. While walking, she said: “Although the Lu family’s businesses have been cut off by the Yao family, even if the nice things outside the capital have disappeared, there are still things inside the manor. Mother heard that Imperial Concubine really likes Buddhism and specially prepared a jadeite smiling Buddha. After returning, Yan’er will personally send it into the palace, and I hope that Imperial Concubine will not dislike it.”
Noble Lady Yuan snorted coldly, “The palace is not lacking in nice things; moreover, His Highness the Eighth Prince will occasionally send some nice things to the palace from the South. Your Lu family’s things, just keep them for yourselves.”
“What sort of thing is Imperial Concubine saying?” Lu Yan was not angry in the slightest, “Something so distant can’t be relied on consistently. In the end, His Highness the Eighth Prince is far away. Imperial Concubine still needs someone understanding at your side. Imperial Concubine, think about it, this engagement was already agreed to by the Emperor. Who else is there that can be closer than us?” Lu Yan advised with a smile and an expression of self-confidence; however, who knew that Noble Lady Yuan would look at her with a cold expression while thinking about how she should get this engagement canceled before the new year.
Noble Lady Yuan returned to the banquet together with Lu Yan. The people that saw this believed that the future daughter-in-law and mother-in-law had secretly gone out for a conversation, but nobody knew that Noble Lady Yuan had actually done such a thing.
Noble Lady Yuan returned to her spot; however, Imperial Concubine Li moved to leave. When she left, she waved to the Empress and said that she was not feeling well and could no longer stay to keep them company. The Empress did not say anything, only nodding and allowing her to return to her tent to rest. Just after Imperial Concubine Li left, Feng Fen Dai also stood up and followed Imperial Concubine Li.
Fen Dai’s movements were seen by quite a few people, but Feng Fen Dai was not a person of great interest. She was just a normal girl, and not many people paid much attention to her; however, who knew that Feng Fen Dai was allowed into Imperial Concubine Li’s tent. All that she needed to do was say a single thing to the servant that was keeping watch outside. She said: “If you don’t let me in, I will speak about Imperial Concubine Li harming others and have the Emperor take care of her.”
In truth, she did not know what Imperial Concubine Li had done, but she could make a rough guess based on the things that she had said during the day. In summary, she had done some unsavory things. Just a bit of a threat was more than enough.
Very quickly, Fen Dai was brought into Imperial Concubine Li’s tent. The servant also walked over to Imperial Concubine Li’s side and whispered some things into her ear. After that, Imperial Concubine Li’s face turned pale white. When she looked at Fen Dai, she even took a couple steps back then waved her hand to dismiss the servant.
Fen Dai smiled and stepped forward, performing a very proper salute. Imperial Concubine Li collapsed in her chair and very suddenly said: “Forget it, get up to speak.” After speaking, she looked at Fen Dai and let out a long sigh, “Since you can use those sorts of words to threaten this One, it must be that you know quite a bit. Forget it, this One already knew that it would be impossible to hide this matter, nor did I hope that I could maintain my personal integrity after all of those things. Feng family’s young miss, you must have a goal for coming to find this One. Speak, what do you want to get from this One?”
Feng Fen Dai stood up and very impolitely chose a chair to sit down in. This left Imperial Concubine Li furrowing her brow; however, she did not say anything, as Fen Dai told her: “I do indeed know quite a bit, but I still have not said a single word of it. Otherwise, Fen Dai would not have come to see Imperial Concubine on this night. As for whether or not I will talk about it after tonight, that would depend on Imperial Concubine’s attitude.”
Imperial Concubine Li trembled. She was already someone very weak-willed. With Fen Dai having such a domineering attitude, her already weak will was given a shake. She could not really endure it, yet her servant was not present at the time. She hoped to find someone to lean on but could not. This led to Imperial Concubine Li’s mental collapse.
At this time, Fen Dai no longer said anything. She just looked at Imperial Concubine Li joyfully, but in the eyes of Imperial Concubine Li, it would have been better if Fen Dai had said something. The more she looked at her, the more she felt flustered.
Finally, Imperial Concubine Li’s mental collapse began to spread. Her entire person began to shrivel up in her chair. Raising her legs, she wrapped her arms around her knees and endlessly trembled. Her teeth chattered, and she began to mutter, “I didn’t do it on purpose. I just wanted to steal the tiger. I just wanted to have her feel afraid, thus I sent the heater. But I didn’t think that the tiger would end up harming Fei Yu. I like that child, and I wouldn’t harm him. I really didn’t think that things would end up like this! Let me go, let me go! All of this was because of that imperial daughter. If it wasn’t for her, there wouldn’t have been so many things. It’s all because of imperial daughter! Get rid of her, she must be gotten rid of!”
Imperial Concubine Li’s words had thoroughly shocked Feng Fen Dai. She never thought that the young imperial grandson being bitten was caused by Imperial Concubine Li. Also, the Imperial Concubine Li, who usually did not make a sound, actually hated Feng Yu Heng enough to want to steal away her tiger. Sure enough, not a single one of the imperial concubines was a virtuous person. Otherwise, it would be impossible to give birth to a prince then climb up to the position of imperial concubine. It had to be known that in the inner palace was a place where people were eaten and their bones were not even spat out! But this was best. What she wanted was not the birth mother of a prince that had no desires. What she hoped for was one with her own thoughts, and it would be best if it was someone that had similar desires. Imperial Concubine Li really fit the description.
Fen Dai looked at Imperial Concubine Li and stood up to personally pour her some tea and helped her drink some. She then helped pat her back until Imperial Concubine Li’s mood stabilized a bit. Only then did she soften her voice to say: “Imperial Concubine, don’t be afraid. I didn’t come to harm you. I already knew about those things, but I have not said a single word of it. Imperial Concubine, trust me. I am someone that stands on your side.”