Chapter 147 – Snow Fungus Soup
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Meanwhile in the palace, the emperor sat for a moment in Concubine Xiao’s palace hall until it was time for him to go to the imperial court. The snow fungus soup that Concubine Xiao personally made remained on the table, untouched. What a pity! Concubine Xiao’s expression was unsightly. She harrumphed and raised her hand to sweep away the bowl of snow fungus soup, which shattered on the floor.
Crash! The sound reverberated clearly in the room.
The two palace maids beside her trembled and quickly lowered their heads. Concubine Xiao was always gentle and soft in front of the emperor, but she was completely abhorrent when only servants were around her. All the palace maids and eunuchs in Zhangzhi hall were “taught” a lesson.
Concubine Xiao raised an eyebrow. “Take everything out.”
“Yes, your Ladyship.” Several servants quickly stepped forward and took away everything on the table.
Sang Lan, the palace maid who was standing on the side, noticed that her master’s mood was not very good. She could not remain silent and said, “Your Ladyship poured your heart to make the snow fungus soup for the emperor, but each time his Majesty never touches it.” Sang Lan was Concubine Xiao’s confidant. Within the palace only she knew out to coax Concubine Xiao.
After Sang Lan spoke out, Concubine Xiao coldly glanced at her. “What did you say?”
“This lowly servant said…”
Sang Lan miscalculated this time. She hurriedly kneeled down and beseeched Concubine Xiao for forgiveness, “This lowly servant was rude, but that wasn’t my intention. I was wrong, causing your Ladyship to be unhappy. I just… felt that this is not worth it.”
Concubine Xiao’s expression was gloomy. Her slender hand lightly brushed her hair bun, then touched that southern sea pearl decorating her hair. The pearl was ice-cold. The coldness seeped through her fingertips, making her feel like she was touching ice. “Not worth it? Sang Lan, explain to me why this is not worth it?”
“Every time the emperor comes, your Ladyship would make snow fungus soup, but his Majesty never drinks it. This lowly servant his distressed for your Ladyship.”
“Then, do you know why the emperor never drinks my snow fungus soup?”
When Sang Lan heard the anger suffusing from Concubine Xiao’s tone, she raised her head before shaking it twice.
Concubine Xiao laughed, but her laugh was full of bitterness. Her sight looked vaguely into the distance as she spoke, “I can only blame that Xuanshu empress for being too talented. If she picked up a needle and thread, she could embroider the scene of a hundred birds looking up to the phoenix. If she went into the kitchen, her deft hands would create all kinds of fragrant and tasty pastries and dishes which had spoiled the emperor’s mouth. And what he loved to eat most was her snow fungus soup. Even though she has passed away for many years, no one could fill the hole she left in his heart. Although I made him a bowl every day since then, the emperor has never touched it.” As she spoke, the corner of her eyes reddened and her expression became gloomier, but no sadness could be seen; There was only unwillingness and jealousy.
The emperor deeply loved the empress which is a source of problems for all the concubines in the harem. Furthermore, after the empress’ death, the emperor never promoted anyone to fill the vacant empress’ position. Several times, Concubine Xiao had “indifferently” mentioned the matter during pillow talk, to which the emperor had given a perfunctory answer without confirming.
Because Jing Hua was fortunate enough to be the late empress’ son, his position as the crown prince was cemented despite being an idiot. If he was not Xuanzhi empress’ son, the emperor would absolutely not give him even a glance. The fact that Jing Hua was the crown prince meant that the emperor still had not forgotten about the empress. This is what the saying love the house and its crows meant.
That matter concerning the crown prince’s position had caused Concubine Xiao to hate Jing Hua, that idiot, to the point her teeth itched. ‘How could that idiot compare to a single finger of my son, Jing Yi?’ At the time when the emperor was deciding on who will be bestowed the title of crown prince, Concubine Xiao had worked together with her family to entice many vassals to petition for Jing Yi to receive the crown prince’s title. But, in the end, the emperor chose Jing Hua.
Therefore, after that idiot Jing Hua gloriously ascended to the crown prince position, their position in the imperial court took a change. Those people who they had gathered almost all switched to the crown prince’s camp.
It could be seen that the imperial court was composed of a bunch of opportunists. Concubine Xiao clenched her fists and hit the table when she recalled the unexpected result of that fight for the crown prince position.
Sang Lan did not dare to speak. She had served Concubine Xiao for many years and knew the other’s sore spots. As time slowly ticked away, Concubine Xiao finally looked at Sang Lan with squinted eyes. “Get up.”
“Thank you, your Ladyship.” Sang Lan got up.
“Xuan’er, that girl… Did she obediently stay in the palace?” asked Concubine Xiao.
“Reporting to your Ladyship. The princess… she went out of the palace.”
“Did she go to Prince Rong’s residence?”
“That is highly possible.”
Concubine Xiao spoke in anger, “That girl! Always outside causing mischief.”
Amongst the four princes, the crown prince Jing Hua is a smooth talker without a brain. His eloquence only amounts to empty flattery. The third prince, Jing Yi, is a reserved person. Furthermore, he is intelligent and cunning. A man that handles everything impeccably and the one who resembled the emperor the most. The fourth prince, Jing Xian, became sick more than 10 years ago and his health had quickly deteriorated. As years passed by, he remained in his palace hall and rarely went out. Finally, the seventh prince, Jing Rong, is a careful but taciturn man. He is steady and dependable. Someone who does not lose his calm. He never showed interest for the crown prince’s position. His lack of presence caused people to be unable to decipher his real intention.
Jing Rong’s mother died because of a palace battle. Due to the crime she committed, the relationship between the emperor and Jing Rong became estranged.
However, Concubine Xiao was a master at reading people and there was one thing of which she was clear – Jing Xian was a waste. There was no need to waste time on him. Besides, bringing down Jing Hua was an easy matter. However, if she wanted to help her son gain the crown prince’s position, the strongest competitor would be Jing Rong in the end.
Even if the emperor did not value Jing Rong, he was like a patient willow branch that grows longer as time passed, becoming sharper with time. Sooner or later, that crown prince’s position would be within his reach. She had to prevent it before it even happened. She must cut the weeds and destroy the roots!
At that moment, a eunuch’s announcement timely interrupted her thoughts. “Prince Yi has arrived.”
Prince Yi, dressed in a gown with wide sleeves, strode in. He respectfully greeted his mother, “Son pays a visit to imperial mother.”
“Get up quickly.” Concubine Xiao gently smiled and quickly pulled her son near her. Her son was truly pleasing to look at.
“Did you want to see your imperial father? He went to the imperial court just now.”
“Son is coming to see imperial mother.” Jing Yi’s expression twisted.
It appeared that the matter was incredibly serious. Immediately, Concubine Xiao sent all the servants out of the room, leaving only Sang Lan. Her heart suddenly gave birth to some doubts and anxiety. She quickly inquired, “What’s the matter?”
Jing Yi was clearly restraining the fear in him. He spoke in a low voice, “Today, the capital secretary found a corpse. The deceased is the old General Li’s granddaughter. It’s related to the missing girls case.”
“That Teacher Ji has taken over the case.” A sense of crisis could be felt from his tone.
Concubine Xiao nodded. “I understand.” She quickly added, “Relying on just one person, can that man solve the case? The deadline is in two months. From what I see, his ability is over exaggerated. Besides, I don’t believe that the person Jing Rong found can solve this case.”
‘In this world, can such a talented person exist?’ She suggested the missing girls case to be given to that Teacher Ji only as a means to suppress Jing Rong.
But Jing Rong said to her, “Imperial mother, you should know that this move of yours is a mistake.”
This only served to fuel her anger. ‘A mistake? How could it be a mistake?’
Grenn’s Rants Corner
More palace intrigue to come.