Chapter 288: Prince Rong Collapses From Exhaustion
Long Heng was now even more worried about Bai Xiangxiu’s health. She had given birth to too many children in far too short a span of time for comfort. None of the ancestors in the Long family had ever given birth to fraternal twins before. Xiaoshi was also quite agitated. “I’d heard from the old Bai madame that the princess consort also had a fraternal twin when she was born, but her twin brother hadn’t survived the birth. I never imagined that the princess consort would give birth to fraternal twins as well.”
However, the young miss’ cries doesn’t sound very loud. Could she be frail and feeble too? The young miss looked as frail as a newborn kitten. Her cries weren’t very loud, and her body was also terrifyingly small. It was almost like her brother had stolen all the nutrients meant for her, causing her to suffer quite a lot in her mother’s womb. However, she seemed to have inherited both her parents’ looks. She might only be a baby, but everyone’s first impression of her was that they’d never seen a baby quite so beautiful. Her skin was white as snow, and her eyes were round and black like small little grapes.
The moment she laid eyes on her, the old madame said, “This… well, she does look a little weak, but that can be rectified. But… her looks…”
The Prince Li Manor is going to be turned upside down in the future, isn’t it? Then again, there might not be any trouble if her personality is anything like her mother’s.
Long Heng didn’t take a close look at either of his children. He was more worried about Bai Xiangxiu‘s condition. The midwife explained that Bai Xiangxiu had fainted due to overexertion, but there would be no lasting complications. Bai Xiangxiu woke up when Long Heng was just about to leave, after everyone was about finished cleaning. “Your Highness, I don’t want to give birth to any more children.” Bai Xiangxiu said with tears welling up in her eyes.
“Mm. Alright. I won’t force you to. Get some more rest.”
“Your beard is so long…”
“Alright, I will shave it.”
“Don’t go. Keep me company for a moment.”
“Alright, I will accompany you.”
“How are the children?”
Pff! Bai Xiangxiu laughed.
“You.. what are you laughing at?”
“Your Highness has only been saying alright for a while now. Is everything really alright?”
“Mm. We are all doing fine.” Bai Xiangxiu had already fallen asleep before he could finish. He took another glance at her before going to see his children. He was a little more biased towards his daughter because he already had a son. However, she was simply too small! He couldn’t even cradle the child in his arms for fear of breaking her! He was even a little worried that she might not survive the night, but the midwives all reassured him to a one. They’d delivered babies even more feeble than her, and those babies had all grown up fine. His daughter would definitely get healthier.
Relieved, Long Heng could finally leave to go wash off the dust and dirt from his journey, but he went straight to visit Bai Xiangxiu after he was done. The midwives didn’t want him inside the room with Bai Xiangxiu, but how could Long Heng remain at ease without seeing her? Moreover, they hadn’t seen each other for such a long time that he couldn’t help but feel that she’d gotten thinner. It wasn’t really a surprise that she’d gotten thinner; she’d just borne him two children.
Two children! This fact worried Long Heng a lot. If he’d known earlier, he would have fretted about home even if he was on the battlefield. Why didn’t she mention anything about this? I only noticed that she seemed a little out of sorts when I came back months ago. It doesn’t matter. Everything would be fine as long as she’s safe.
Long Heng stayed by Bai Xiangxiu’s side until she woke up. The next day, he visited the palace to have a meeting with the current emperor. Prince Rong was indeed a smart man, as it didn’t take him long to become familiar with national matters. But because he was used to living the easy life, the entire process had obviously taken a toll on his health. In fact, it was highly detrimental to his health. One could easily tell that by looking at how dark the circles around his eyes had become.
The two royals talked about the issues at the border, which also included discussions on how they were going to deal with the citizens from the enemy nation. To keep the citizens in check, Long Heng believed that they should be assimilated into society via marriage. Otherwise, the citizens would surely rebel and restore their fallen country.
“Alright, then we shall settle this matter according to your suggestions.”
“Please take care of your health, Your Majesty. Also, I believe that Song Jiaoyue is a man capable of dealing with important matters like this.”
“That I know. He has helped me-… this emperor with many matters.”
“That’s good.” It was inappropriate for Long Heng to speak about other matters. He’d heard that the emperor’s harem was now in shambles because a new and favored noble consort of his had sought to climb the ranks. Because of her ambitions, she’d been fabricating sinister plans to harm Empress Rong and many of Prince Rong’s original concubines.
Most of Prince Rong’s troubles… uh, I meant most the emperor’s troubles must come from this issue. There was no longer peace in his rear court. There hadn’t been this many women in Prince Rong’s harem in the past, which was why he’d failed to handle this issue appropriately. After all, both he and his princess consort were unfamiliar with palace harem politics.
As the emperor’s subject, Long Heng believed that it was not his place to give him advice on such matters. After all, he believed that all would be fine as long as the emperor remained focused on governing the country well. However, Long Heng was wrong, and his mistake here would come back to haunt him later.
After just two days’ worth of rest and listening to everyone sing his praises, Long Heng was presented with the news that the emperor had collapsed due to illness. The emperor was even said to be gravely ill. The cause for his sudden illness was due to the death of two of the noble ladies in his harem. His favorite daughter had also suddenly collapsed due to an illness as well, apparently because she had been poisoned.
Long Heng was invited into the palace and investigated the truth behind everything. One of the noble consorts had poisoned the young princess because she’d wanted to exact revenge on the empress, but had then accused another noble consort as the perpetrator instead. The emperor executed the accused noble lady in his anger, but later realized that the perpetrator was actually the cruel and evil noble lady. He’d killed two women in one day and nearly harmed his wife and daughter. Overcome by stress and anger, the emperor had fallen ill.
Long Heng couldn’t say much after he heard the entire story. “Maybe it was this subject’s mistake for forcing the burden of becoming an emperor onto you.”
“No. You were not wrong. My brother was truly becoming less and less suited for the throne, but so am I.” Prince Rong let out a long sigh. He wasn’t ruthless enough to be an emperor. And because of that, he’d failed to protect the people he wished to protect. His empress might be virtuous, but she was eminently unsuited to be an empress as well. The roots of this disaster came from many places.
Long Heng felt that these things took some time to get used to. Even a palace official would take some time to get used to things, let alone the emperor.
Bai Xiangxiu was taking a longer time to recuperate this time, but her daughter was growing very quickly. She might have looked a little weak back when she had first entered the world, but she was now only about half a pound lighter than her twin brother. She was really not lacking any meat on her bones.
Even Bai Xiangxiu felt that she was growing a little too quickly. The young lady was also growing more and more vivacious by the day. So vivacious that anyone who looked at her would find themselves intoxicated by her looks. Even a small glance would turn into a long stare. The same could also be said for her twin brother. Even though though they weren’t identical in looks, they still resembled each other a lot. Because everyone was obsessing over the young princess’ beauty, they’d failed to recognize how much of a scourge the young prince would eventually grow up to be. He was simply much too beautiful, even though he was a boy! Of course, they only realized this much into the future.
However, Bai Xiangxiu quickly realized a problem. Her twins could actually hear Huo’er’s voice! She only realized this particular tidbit because they would always stare in Huo’er’s direction whenever Bai Xiangxiu was conversing with Huo’er. They would even reach their hands out to Huo’er. This was proof that they could hear Huo’er speak, and very clearly for that matter. Does this mean that I won’t be the only one speaking to the cactus anymore? She had never imagined that her abilities would be hereditary. It was truly a miracle.
The children grew up very quickly. Soon, a month had passed by in the blink of an eye. More people had turned up for their one month old celebration than they had for Long Lin’s. Even the sickly emperor had sent some gifts. However, Bai Xiangxiu really disliked some of the people that turned up. For example, the clansmen from the Long family, including Long Heng’s uncles and his many cousins.