Chapter 273 – Princess Yi
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don’t read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
Concubine Xiao broke her cup in anger.
The noise made Gao Bingze jump. How could he not know the seriousness of this matter? Prostrating on the floor, he stuttered, “Your Ladyship, this lowly official was framed. I have no knowledge of how it happened. This lowly one beseeches your understanding!”
Ji Muqing was sobbing to the side, her tear-stained face beautiful despite the sorrow. She clenched the front of her clothes as she kneeled on the floor weakly. Her eyes raised to Concubine Xiao, and she shook her head with all her might. Her explanation came, punctuated by intermittent sobs. “Your Ladyship, I absolutely could do no such thing. I do not know how this situation came to be. I really don’t know…”
“Enough nonsense! The facts are laid out in front of my eyes, and you two still want to deny it?!” Concubine Xiao snapped.
Immediately, Ji Muqing closed in on her knees and held onto Concubine Xiao’s thigh. “I did not lie. I don’t know him, so how could I have done such things with him? Your Ladyship, if this matter is to be known, my reputation will be gone. I will not be able to live. I absolutely cannot bear such injustice,” she implored.
“Humph!” Concubine Xiao flung her sleeve and kicked Ji Muqing away. She roared, “Are you saying that this imperial one has wronged you?”
“N-no… This wasn’t my meaning, b-but I really do not have an improper relationship with this man,” she teared while sitting paralyzed on the floor – her clothes in disorder; her hair, a mess; and her makeup had smudged due to the tears.
“As for your purity, this Imperial One will let people examine you to ascertain the truth.” She then hinted at San Lang with her eyes.
San Lang understood her without the need for words. She ordered a few palace maids to pull Ji Muqing up and supported her into the inner room.
Soon after, Ji Muqing was dragged back and thrown to the floor. San Lang walked to Concubine Xiao and bowed down to whisper something into her ear. Concubine Xiao’s expression turned gloomy. Next, she got up and walked over to that good-for-nothing Ji Muqing. She crouched to Ji Muqing’s level and asked, “You are no longer pure but dare to say you were framed?”
Although Ji Muqing’s eyes were wide opened in shock, they were two spiritless orbs. Earlier inside the inner room, a palace maid had examined her body and discovered with surprise that her hymen was broken. She was terrified because this could only mean that she had an intimate affair with a stranger yesterday.
Gao Bingze lacked the courage to lift his head. His eyes showed terror and his whole person went limp. He had no recollection of yesterday’s events. The only thing he remembered was he went to sleep in his bedroom. Did he sleepwalk?
The silence was heavy until it was broken by Ji Muqing’s whine. “Why? Why did it happen? It’s impossible that I did such a thing. Impossible…”
Concubine Xiao frowned and questioned her. “Impossible? Then, explain to this Imperial One how the event yesterday came to be? Why were you inside Han Academy?”
Ji Muqing firmly bit on her lips while pulling on her clothes, absentmindedly. “Someone delivered to me the Crown Prince’s letter and told me to go to East Palace alone. On my way there, my neck suddenly hurt, and I lost my consciousness following that. W-when I awoke… Your Ladyship, what I said is the truth. I must have been plotted against. Your Ladyship must investigate clearly! Someone wants to harm me.”
Concubine Xiao sneered in satire before directing her gaze to Gao Bingze. Although Gao Bingze didn’t make a scene, he was so scared that his mind had long blanked. He had slept with the future Crown Princess – a crime which he couldn’t afford.
“Lord Gao, this Imperial One is asking you once more. If the situation is as Ji Muqing has said, was the person who knocked her out you?”
Gao Bingze shrank back in fear. “This small official absolutely did not do such a thing. The Emperor’s birthday is approaching, and I have not left Han Academy for several days to work on the preparations for the event, even yesterday was no exception. I didn’t take a step outside of Han Academy. I beseech your Ladyship for your understanding.” He kowtowed several times, knocking his head several times on the floor.
Concubine Xiao’s temper didn’t flare. The coldness in her expression receded and beckoned the servants at her side. “Drag this scum into prison! Without my orders, what happened should not be leaked out. If anyone dares to say even half a word, be careful about keeping your heads.”
“Yes, your Ladyship!”
Three eunuchs immediately grabbed Gao Bingze and dragged him outside.
“This small official beseeches your Ladyship! I didn’t do it! Please, I beg your ladyship to re-examine this-” He shouts grew increasingly desperate, but the sound became smaller as the distance grew.
Ji Muqing made herself small as her complexion paled with anxiety. She didn’t want to be thrown into prison. Her eyes were glued to Concubine Xiao who moved toward her. As she closed in, the fear in Ji Muqing multiplied. She reached her limit and collapsed, begging for mercy. “Your Ladyship, this lowly girl doesn’t want to be in jail. I beg your Ladyship to let me go.”
Unexpectedly, Concubine Xiao crouched in front of her and held her hand gently with eyes exuding benevolence. “Muqing. Come, get up.”
Ji Muqing was stupefied by Concubine Xiao’s actions. While trembling, she let Concubine Xiao help up get up and pulled her to a seat.
Following that, Concubine Xiao waved at her servants and ordered, “Go out.”
The servants curtsied before retreating to the outside, leaving San Lang to attend her mistress.
Concubine Xiao took out a handkerchief and wiped Ji Muqing’s tear-stained face. “This Imperial One knows there is nothing between you and him. You were harmed by others, but rest assured that I won’t let that matter be known. Treat it as if nothing has happened.”
Ji Muqing’s expression lit up with hope. “Your Ladyship wants to say that I still can be the Crown Princess?”
Don’t even think about it!
Concubine Xiao shook her head. “You are no longer pure. The possibility of being the Crown Princess has been forever barred to you.”
“This Imperial One feels sorry that you have encountered such misfortune.” She paused a bit, taking her time to pull out the jade hairpin in Ji Muqing’s hair. Then, she brushed Ji Muqing’s tangled hair before placing the hairpin back where it should be. “You don’t need to attend the Crown Princess’ selection tomorrow. Since your body is no longer pure, it would be a great crime if it were to be discovered. This would implicate your big brothers.”
“Then, what should I do?” Her worry came through as quaking in her voice.
“Don’t worry. This Imperial One has a plan to help you out.”
“A plan?” Ji Muqing didn’t understand.
Concubine Xiao’s red lips curled up. “Muqing, I am quite fond of you. As long as you say a few words. After the Crown Princess selection, this Imperial One will help you get the Emperor’s edict and have Prince Yi take you in as his princess.”
As soon as the words were out, Ji Muqing’s fear melted into shock. Her body taunt and her eyes widened opened. “Your Ladyship, are you telling the truth?”
Concubine Xiao got up and lightly strutted away. “My words are held when said. Prince Yi will listen to me and marry you. No one will know about the matter that transpired yesterday.”
To be able to marry Jing Yi in addition to concealing her lost chastity, the Heavens still blessed her! Ji Muqing was completely oblivious to the viciousness of Concubine Xiao’s trap. She was completely ensnared – voluntarily giving her the Crown Princess’ position. With a single scheme, Concubine Xiao successfully let her son marry Ji Muqing and roped in Ji Li and Ji Huan.
Ji Muqing pranced and tugged at Concubine Xiao’s sleeve. “Will that man say anything?” she asked anxiously.
Concubine Xiao’s phoenix eyes rose with chilliness. “This Imperial One guarantee you that he won’t have a chance to open his mouth.”
Grenn‘s Rants Corner
*gasp* Will the innocent Gao Bingze get killed like that? This is too cannon fodder-ish.