Chapter 289: Abdication Of The Throne
These people had caused Bai Xiangxiu a fair share of trouble when Long Heng was “dead”. They’d come within inches of kicking the house down. Now they were putting up the relative act and pretending they were close to her? What a joke!
“What are they pretending for? Don’t they know how disgusting they are?” Bai Xiangxiu complained while glaring at Long Heng.
“Just show them some face and get it over with. You don’t have to pay them any heed.”
“If they want me to show them face for being Prince Li’s uncle and cousin, then they should at the very least act like it! You have no clue how much they were bullying me when you were dead! A pregnant woman like me had to take care of the family business while fighting them off at every turn! I was so furious at them! They only settled down a little after they found out you were still alive and came to visit me again with a totally different attitude. They did apologize with gifts, but they kept complaining about how poor they were while handing the gifts over!”
Long Heng broke into laughter. “Surely you’ve never found yourself in an unfavourable situation, right?
This wife of mine is actually very good at holding grudges! Gifts can only enter and never leave her hands. The sky would sooner fall before a person makes her hemorrhage money! “Don’t be angry anymore. Go to the front of the house after you’ve gotten enough rest. Later tonight…”
“Tonight what? I’m not free tonight. I’m way too tired for that.”
Long Heng was taken aback at first, but his cheeks soon flushed a little red. “I was going to say that I wanted to bring you to the palace with me, but I don’t want to do that anymore.”
“Eh? We’re going to the palace?” Bai Xiangxiu was now blushing as well. Her mind was much too impure.
“You don’t have to go. It’s not a big deal.”
“I’ll go! Why wouldn’t I?” Bai Xiangxiu stood up and exited the room, her metaphorical tail between her legs, nearly tripping on her way out. She began to mentally berate herself. Why am I so easily embarrassed when I’ve already given birth to three children!
Long Heng looked at Bai Xiangxiu’s tiny figure run away. She’s already a mother right? Why is she just as adorable as an inexperienced lass? She doesn’t act dignified at all, but I like it. What Long Heng didn’t know was that he was actually the reason Bai Xiangxiu was acting like that. As long as women were doted on by their men, they’d always act like they were thirteen or younger. Bai Xiangxiu was that kind of girl. And because of that, Long Heng would always see her as a young lass even when she becomes an eighty year old granny.
Prince Li Manor was peaceful and bustling with noise, but the emperor’s harem was the direct opposite of that. The young princess was still very sickly even though her poison had been cured. Plagued with worry, the empress had collapsed due to illness. The emperor’s health had taken a turn for the better, but he just couldn’t help but feel a boulder constantly weighing on his heart. It was at this moment when he received the news that Long Heng and his family was going to move to Tranquil City.
Is he planning to escape and live a life free of worries? Upon realizing this fact, Prince Rong could no longer stay calm! You were the one who persuaded others to rebel against the previous emperor when he and his woman offended you. You were the one who told them to persuade the late emperor into leading the troops into battle. But why am I the one with the throne forced into my hands, while you get to live a life of leisure for the rest of your life?
How does this make sense? Emperor Rong discussed this matter with the empress for an entire night. At the end, he put quill to paper and wrote a secret decree.
On that fateful next day, Long Heng swaggered his way to court while dreaming about his life after moving to Tranquil City with his family. He dreamt about how he was going to teach his son to ride a horse and his daughter martial arts at the same time. That little girl’s physique was too weak, so he definitely had to toughen her up. He’d even come up with a nickname for her. She was going to be called Little Three. His mind was filled with ideal fantasies, but reality had other, scarier plans for him.
The emperor coughed weakly as he took his seat on the dragon throne. He seemed particularly unwell today, even his voice sounded a little weaker than usual. He raised his hand, a slight tremble in his fingers as he gestured for everyone to rise, “You may rise, my loyal subjects. Ever since I’ve become the emperor, I’ve been living a life filled with nothing but fear and trepidation. It is with great disappointment that I have to admit that I’m not destined for the life of a monarch. I’m sad to say that I’ve not lived up to everyone’s expectations.”
“Your Majesty, your loyal subjects are all ashamed for our incompetence.”
“While I do have a few unworthy sons, the eldest is only twelve. The preceding emperor’s son is also around ten. HIs youth excuses him from bearing such an onerous burden. Learning from wise monarchs of the past, I’ve decided to pass the throne to a virtuous and wise man. Does anyone object to this decision?”
Yes we do! We strongly object object to this! It’s fine if you wish to pass the throne to someone else, but the important question is, who?
“Announce the decree.” For once, the emperor didn’t wait for replies, his final decree embodying a true emperor’s domineering nature.
Nevertheless, it didn’t stop the decree from being entirely long-winded. After singing praises left and right, the emperor finally dropped the name. He was going to pass the throne to Long Heng. After all, a general who’d fought on the frontlines to drive away the enemy and protect the nation was altogether a logical choice. Everyone was taken aback when they heard the decree. Long Heng immediately dropped onto his knees and begged, “Your Majesty, please don’t! This isn’t appropriate!
He was kneeling with the utmost sincerity in his heart. He’d promised his wife that he wouldn’t become the emperor, and that he was fine with living the rest of his life as a laidback prince. Wouldn’t his rear court explode into trouble if the responsibilities of the throne were suddenly thrust on him?
“Loyal subject Long, what are we to do if you don’t want the throne? Who else but you is worthy of becoming the emperor?” Emperor Rong emphasized on the word worthy on purpose, and looked at the crowd of people kneeling below him. Who among them could possibly stand up to compare themselves to Long Heng? Nobody present would ever dare think that they were worthy to be his rival.
This was precisely the reason why he’d made his choice; he knew that nobody would ever dare openly object. They could not afford to offend Long Heng. After all, who’d dare offend a man who commanded tens of thousand of soldiers in the city, hundreds of thousands more in Tranquil City, and plenty more in other provinces? This was a man who could move the entire army with a snap of his fingers. Even an emperor would think twice before offending him. Why insist on sitting on the throne if that were the case? It was easier to just let him have the throne in exchange for some tranquility in his life.
Long Heng didn’t want the throne at all, but the decree was already announced, and the other ministers and officials were all as quiet as frightened mice. The furthest anyone dared to go was plead with the emperor to think twice on his decision.
He probably only made this decision after thinking about it twice, thrice, or as many times as it’d take to make up his mind! What’s the use of telling him to think twice? There’s no way he would reconsider his decision again!
And thus, Bai Xiangxiu who was still packing up her things while playing with the children, suddenly become the empress. There wasn’t even a rumor to precede the wave because of the unpredictable nature of the matters of the court, and because the emperor had every intention of hiding his decision before it was announced. Morning court today has gone on really long. Shouldn’t he be back by now? Bai Xiangxiu thought to herself while playing with the children. Did the emperor give him a task after court was dismissed? Why didn’t he send anyone to pass me a message? I’m still waiting for him to eat breakfast together!
Her stomach was growling because the sun had almost fully risen. She was just about to tell Xiaoshi to serve breakfast, but was promptly interrupted by a bunch of palace maids and eunuchs who barged into her home. Some minstrels seemed to have tagged along, giving their panicked rush a musical timbre! Bai Xiangxiu was caught by surprise. Her two, now crying children, were very surprised too. Why did so many people suddenly appear? The clothes they’re wearing are all so vivid.
“What are all of you do-…”
“We servants pay our respects to the empress. We wish the empress a million blessings and eternal harmony.” The entire crowd spoke in sync with each other, which only confused Bai Xiangxiu even more.
“Please rise. Surely you’ve addressed me wrongly?”
Why are they calling me the empress? Did they make that mistake because they’ve gotten so used to using that term in the palace? I’m the princess consort alright? Not the empress! Addressing people wrongly in this day and age is a sin that’s punishable by death! However, none of these people seemed to have paid her words any heed. Minding their own business, the palace maids carried their trays and formed a line, holding it up for her. Carefully placed on the tray was a very beautiful phoenix coronet and ceremonial robe. Both of them were all golden in color, and an embroidered phoenix soared among the golden skies. There’s no mistake. This is definitely the empress’ clothing.
This only made Bai Xiangxiu lose more of her marbles. She quickly picked up one of her children to help her get over the shock, but her daughter had the same exact expression on her face. Both equally astonished, but for vastly different reasons, mother and child stared stared blankly at the crowd.