In the past, when Yun Qingci was provoking him, Li Ying would probably glance at him calmly warning him not to mess around.
But at this moment, he only frowned briefly, then wrapped the gauze around his wrist more gently.
“I’m taking a nap,” Yun Qingci continued to push him with his feet and said, “Shoes.”
Li Ying squatted down, helped him take off his shoes and said, “You need to wipe your feet. ”
Since Li Ying was here, let’s put him to use. Yun Qingci placed his feet directly on his lap. Li Ying took off his socks and ordered a new towel.
He wiped very carefully, from Yun Qinci’s ankles to the gaps between his toes, every place was cleaned with warm water. When his sole was touched, Yun Qingci suddenly shrank.
Then he held back and looked calm again.
Who knows if Li Ying figured out he was ticklish, but he didn’t deliberately touch Yun Qingci’s soles again. After washing his feet dutifully, he wiped the residual water with a dry towel.
Then, without waiting for Yun Qingci to say anything, he picked him up, walked a few steps and put him on the couch.
This ‘servant’ had such a good temper that there was no reason to be displeased with his services. Li Ying took off Yun Qingci’s hairpin, then pulled the quilt and covered him, patting his chest lightly.
Yun Qingci glanced at him indifferently, turned away, closed his eyes and started falling asleep.
For a quarter of an hour at the beginning, he was thinking about Yuanbao’s unfinished words. His Majesty, what happened to His Majesty?
He did not find the answer, and his body, which had long been accustomed to napping, slipped into the familiar drowsiness. Yun Qingci relaxed and slept soundly.
A hand reached to his ear carefully and then slowly retracted.
Forbidden City, Taici Palace.
A section of a dead branch was cut off by well-maintained fingers. Empress Dowager Zhang took the scissors and pruned patiently, saying, “The emperor has gone to the Prime Minister’s Mansion again?”
Beside her, the eunuch Qin Yan, her close attendant, lowered his head: “He has been there several times.”
“No wonder he didn’t go crazy.” She sneered, “He got lucky this time. The emperor rushed to him a few times and lifted him to the sky again.”
Qin Yan chuckled: “After all, he’s the youngest son of the Prime Minister’s family, it’s no surprise he’s a little willful. “
“Useless thing.“ Throwing the scissors on the edge of the basin, Empress Dowager Zhang turned around, and Qin Yan immediately handed her a cloth to wipe her hands. “Favor that is obtained easily isn’t cherished. The emperor doesn’t understand this truth, doing such a dishonorable thing instead.”
“His Majesty must have been really distressed when the Lord Empress cut his wrist this time.”
“No matter what, he still needs to be picked up. How is Zhou Zhao’s injury?”
“He was a nuisance and was frightened by His Majesty.”
“The emperor had never liked Aijia (widowed empress referring to themselves) to take care of his affairs. Zhou Zhao dared to mention it – he’s already lucky to keep his life.” She sat down on the main seat, accepted a cup of freshly brewed tea and said: “But the emperor was quite heavy-handed this time. I haven’t seen him like this before.”
“The Lord Empress’s injury must have irritated His Majesty.”
“After all, they are childhood sweethearts,” the Empress Dowager said, her expression suddenly very subtle. “Then you need to go and coax him to come back,” she added uncaringly.
“His Majesty can’t coax him to come back, this servant…”
“The emperor only follows him, how can he coax him to come back.” The Empress Dowager said casually: “You have to scare him and make him afraid. If you indulge him blindly, he will be arrogant and willful.”
Prime Minister Yun and Lady Yun had originally been a couple that everyone in the capital envied. They were deeply in love, but later they fell out because Prime Minister Yun was involved in a romantic incident. Lady Yun was a woman who couldn’t stand such an insult. She was pregnant then, and she moved straight to the other courtyard in the suburbs. Prime Minister Yun was not allowed to step into the other courtyard, and she raised Yun Qingci alone, from his birth till he was seven years old.
Perhaps it was due to excessive stress during pregnancy, or perhaps due to the fact that her husband of many years had an affair with another woman, Lady Yun’s mental health collapsed. She put all her hopes on Yun Qingci. Yun Qingci was not allowed to interact with anyone else, was ordered to be around her all the time and was not allowed to mention his father.
Later she discovered that Prime Minister Yun hadn’t really had an affair, so she relented and sent Yun Qingci back to his father. Unfortunately, Yun Qingci was wounded in an assassination attepmt soon after returning to his father’s mansion, which made the barely recovered relationship between Prime Minister Yun and Lady Yun disintegrate again. For Lady Yun, Yun Qingci was her whole life. With him being in a coma for a year, her tortured heart crumbled.
Yun Qingci had no friends, and after his mother died, he resented his father extremely. Li Ying’s appearance almost replaced Lady Yun’s existence in his heart.
Li Ying was Yun Qingci’s lifeline, and it would be more effective to intimidate him with the possibility that Li Ying might abandon him.
Qin Yan lowered his head and said flatteringly: “Thank you for teaching this servant.”
After Yuanbao returned to the palace, he was called by Liu Ziru. He cautiously saluted: “Mr. Liu.”
“I heard that you picked up Lord Empress’s wooden pendant today. It is a token of affection between His Majesty and Lord Empress.” Liu Ziru smiled and asked him to take a seat. “It is very important for His Majesty. He specifically asked me to call for you and give you a gift.
He clapped his hands, and soon someone brought up a plate. Liu Ziru stretched out his hand to raise the yellow silk on it. Yuanbao saw the contents, and his face suddenly turned pale.
He was stiff all over, and there was a sharp buzzing in his head.
Liu Ziru let out a sigh and waved his hand hastily: “What should I do? Look, Xiao Gonggong Yuanbao is so scared. Bring the one that is on the third shelf in the locker.”
The eunuch who had brought the plate hurriedly apologized, covered the dagger on the plate and retreated swiftly. Liu Ziru sighed and said, “These slaves are all so useless, xiao gonggong, come on, drink some tea.”
Yuanbao shivered and picked up a teacup, accidentally splashing himself with the tea. Liu Ziru immediately took out a handkerchief and handed it over, kindly saying. “Be careful.”
“Sir… what do you have to say to Yuanbao?”
Those who served the emperor were not fools. Liu Ziru smiled hearing this and said, “Although His Majesty and Lord Empress have some conflicts now, they have also grown up together. No one can compare to this relationship.”
Yuanbao looked at him.
Liu Ziru continued: “His Majesty has been having nightmares a few days ago. During this period of time, he has been in poor spirits and has behaved a bit differently from the past. However, Doctor Xuan has examined him. There is no major problem. There is no need to worry the Lord Empress. ”
Sure enough, His Majesty didn’t want Lord Empress to find out how crazy he looked when he woke up that day, and Yuanbao knew it in his heart.
The eunuch who had changed the reward had already come back, and Liu Ziru raised the yellow silk for the second time. There was a bunch of silver taels and a recommendation letter there.
“I heard that your mother is sick and bedridden, and you have two younger sisters. You can use this money. The recommendation letter will allow your brother to enter Hanhua College. If he is successful in his studies, he will be able to get an official position.” Liu Ziru added meaningfully: “Yuanbao, thank the grace given.”
This grace was offered, and you had to accept it in any case, willing or not. The difference was which one you’d choose.
It could be a gift or it could be a death sentence.
After Qin Yan returned from the Prime Minister’s Mansion, he went directly into the Empress Dowager’s palace. Soon after, there was an angry shout from the inside: “What?!”
When did Yun Qingci become so bold, refusing to see the person she’d sent, saying that he was sick? Sick? He went to the ice rink just yesterday!
The Empress Dowager looked gloomy and said, “What did Yun Yu say?”
“Master Prime Minister said that his low position didn’t allow him to question the Lord Empress.”
“Insolent!” Empress Dowager Zhang said bitterly: “The Yun family is getting bolder and bolder, they actually dare to openly oppose my family!”
If the Yun family was not eliminated, there would be a disaster.
She hid the murderous intent in her gaze and asked, “Do you know what the emperor wants to do with the ceremonial driving?”
“I heard that His Majesty had a nightmare two days ago. He fears that his current way of ruling the country might displease the late emperor, so he wants to go to the imperial mausoleum to worship.”
Li Ying was a filial son. He had a deep affection for his father, the late emperor. The late emperor had been a person who only wanted to take money but didn’t want to take life. When encountering corrupt officials, he just confiscated their property and sent them to jail, or dispatched them to guard the frontier. Li Ying was different. He wanted to take both money and life.
He was quite generous to the palace people, but he hated corrupt officials. Once discovered, they were thrown to jail all over the country. There were officials who admonished that wives and children shouldn’t suffer because of the crimes committed by the head of the family. Li Ying argued that since they had enjoyed the superior material conditions brought about by their corrupted husbands and fathers, they deserved to share the blame.
In the past few years, he had reformed the court. He had killed many officials and brought great prosperity for the people. Those who had never done evil praised him for his generosity, benevolence and virtue, while those who had done evil hated him to the bone.
However, most people looked for money for the sake of their children. Since the criminal law judging a father and a son for the same crime was issued, corruption had indeed become rare.
Li Ying had gone to the imperial mausoleum to worship several times before, but he always used a small driving, never a ceremonial one. The Empress Dowager mused for a while and decided that this nightmare had probably really shocked the emperor.
She said: “If he goes to the imperial mausoleum with a ceremonial driving, he won’t return for three days. Tomorrow, after he leaves, Aijia will personally go to the Prime Minister’s mansion to visit the Lord Empress.”
She spat the last words venomously.
Next day, before dawn, the palace was full of the sounds of clanking armor. The commanders of each battalion counted their people. The honor guard hurriedly took their weapons and rushed to the front door.
There was chaos in the palace, but Yun Qingci slept sweetly. He didn’t wake up until dawn. After eating the dumplings made by Aunt Ding, he sat at the desk, wrapped in his cloak, and practiced calligraphy.
With the sunrise, the emperor walked out of Jiangshan Palace, with a splendid umbrella raised high above him and surrounded with painted fans.
On the other side, a small carriage drove out of the East Gate. The Empress Dowager sitting with her eyes closed said, “Take a detour, don’t collide with the emperor’s cortege.”
If Li Ying knew that she was involved, he would complain again.
Yun Qingci sneezed suddenly, his hand shook and the words he had finally written were stained.
He sighed, crumpled up the discarded rice paper and threw it into the paper basket.
Suddenly he heard someone come to report: “Lord Empress, the Empress Dowager has come to visit you, she is already in the front hall.”
Today Prime Minister Yun was at home and receiving guests.
Empress Dowager Zhang’s success depended not only on luck but also on other means. Prime Minister Yun knew she was the one who promoted Yun Qingci and Li Ying’s marriage, but at that time, Yun Qingci was so in love with Li Ying that nothing could be done about it.
Now seeing the mother and the son coming here one by one was a bit funny.
Although the Yun family was powerful, they had never been disloyal. Prime Minister Yun and the late emperor were like brothers, but in the eyes of these mother and son, he had become an ill-intentioned minister.
Prime Minister Yun didn’t know what Yun Qingci thought now, but he didn’t take the initiative to mention Li Ying, and Prime Minister Yun didn’t ask, fearing that their newly repaired father-son relationship would be broken by accident.
Yun Qingci arrived quickly. He was wrapped in a cloak, his long hair casually held by a wooden hairpin, without a crown. He looked simple and elegant.
Empress Dowager Zhang glanced at him, her mood complicated.
She didn’t know whether Yun Qingci didn’t treat her as an outsider or didn’t take her seriously. She made a kind and worried expression, quickly got up and walked forward: “How is your injury? Let your mother see – did you lose some weight?”
Yun Qingci avoided her hand that wanted to touch his cheek, took a step back and saluted: “This child has seen Royal Mother.”
He stepped forward again and said to Prime Minister Yun: “This child has seen his father.”
“We’re a family, don’t be polite.” Prime Minister Yun smiled and said. “Since the Empress Dowager is here, do you want your Dad to leave, so you can talk to her alone?”
Prime Minister Yun knew Yun Qingci treated the Empress Dowager more intimately than him. After all, she was Li Ying’s mother. Yun Qingci valued Li Ying, and, naturally, he valued the Empress Dowager.
Prime Minister Yun was leaving, which was good for the Empress Dowager. With this old fox around, she had to be careful if she wanted to fool Yun Qingci.
She said, “Aijia has been impolite.”
Yun Qingci said: “No need.”
Empress Dowager Zhang’s smile stiffened, her gaze fell on his face, and there was a touch of disbelief in her eyes.
Yun Qingci turned and said softly: “I don’t know why Royal Mother has come here?”
He wanted to see whether this witch dared to show her ugly face in front of his father.
Prime Minister Yun sat down again.
The Empress Dowager also sat down slowly and said: “The emperor is going to the Imperial mausoleum today to worship his ancestors. He won’t come to see you soon.”
She was reminding Yun Qingci not to push too hard. The Son of Heaven had many things to do and he didn’t have time to coax Yun Qingci every day.
Prime Minister Yun said, “His Majesty is really a filial son. ”
Yun Qingci agreed: “He has been there a few times before, I wonder what he communicates with to the late emperor.”
Empress Dowager Zhang: “?”
What do you mean ‘communicates with’? The previous emperor had been dead for many years. Are you cursing your husband?
Prime Minister Yun said, “The meaning of my child’s words was that he didn’t know if the late emperor would understand His Majesty. After all, every emperor has his own characteristics.”
Yun Qingci continued: “Father is wise and experienced, he understands the principle of seeking common ground while preserving differences. His Majesty often goes to the imperial mausoleum, perhaps he misses his father.”
Prime Minister Yun bit the bullet and said, “The late emperor and His Majesty have a deep affection between father and son, and everyone can see His Majesty’s filial piety.”
He noticed that Yun Qingci was deliberately targeting her. What seeking common ground while preserving differences? If that was the case, how could Li Ying have nightmares? Also adding that His Majesty often went to the imperial mausoleum, it seemed he was mocking Li Ying for going to the imperial mausoleum under the pretext of having nightmares, while in reality he was just a kid who couldn’t separate from his father.
With a sigh, he hoped that his youngest son would restrain himself and stop talking, seeing what the Empress Dowager’s face looked like.
Yun Qingci was not in a hurry: “His Majesty was raised by the late emperor, it is true, but…”
He changed his words and looked at the Empress Dowager: “His Majesty is going to the imperial mausoleum, how can the Empress Dowager have the time to come and see me?”
Everyone knew that although the late emperor loved Li Ying, he didn’t particularly love Empress Dowager Zhang. The two had always respected each other like guests. Li Ying also knew it, so every time he went to visit the mausoleum, he didn’t make much noise, and he didn’t take the Empress Dowager along.
But in the past, he would always greet the Empress Dowager in advance when he went. This time he didn’t.
Yun Qingci didn’t know this last point, but the Empress Dowager knew that this time Li Ying not only traveled to the imperial mausoleum in an open and righteous manner regardless of her mood, but he didn’t even come to greet her before leaving, as if he didn’t take her seriously.
Originally, she hadn’t thought much about it, but now she suddenly realized that Li Ying’s behavior this time was completely different from before.
Yun Qingci accidentally hit her sore spot, and the Empress Dowager’s face turned cold.
Prime Minister Yun tried to lighten the mood: “…The Empress Dowager is worried about you.”
“Prime Minister Yun,” the Empress Dowager said slowly: “Although the emperor is the son of Aijia, Aijia will talk without prejudice. This contradiction happened because Ah Ci provoked him first. If anyone else had done it, they’d already have been accused of desecrating the emperor’s body and trying to assassinate him. The emperor is taking it lightly for now, and Prime Minister Yun has to weigh the situation carefully.”
The implication was that His Majesty had already given enough face to the Yun family. Don’t indulge your youngest son and let him cause too much trouble.
Yun Yu was displeased, but this incident was indeed the result of Yun Qingci’s jealousy. He could only say: “The Empress Dowager is right. This child is ignorant, and the old minister must strictly discipline him.”
The Empress Dowager turned the subject of their conversation and sighed: “The emperor is young and vigorous, he might act rashly at times. He can understand your resentment, but you are the Lord Empress after all. What does it look like if you keep living in your parents’ house like this?”
“Lord Empress?” Yun Qingci said: “He confiscated my ceremonial escort. Am I still Lord Empress now, what does Royal Mother think?”
The Empress Dowager smiled and secretly thought: so, that’s what you’re angry about. “You have been together for so many years, do you still care about such little things? Mother will pick you up later, isn’t the Empress Dowager’s escort good enough?”
Prime Minister Yun felt resentful and wanted to say something for Yun Qingci’s sake: “Just now, the Empress Dowager said that the crime of desecrating the emperor’s body should be punished with death. But now you say it’s just little things. If this child shouldn’t care about it, shouldn’t His Majesty be the first one who doesn’t care?”
Empress Dowager Zhang: “…”
Prime Minister Yun had been an official for quite a while, and he was very good at grasping the words of others.
“Empress Dowager, the only thing this old minister asks for is being treated fairly. If His Majesty is angry and upset, my Yun family will never say anything and willingly accept the guilt. But since the ceremonial escort has been confiscated, my son’s reputation has been ruined and there is gossip and slander. Now the Empress Dowager wants my son to take a ride back to the palace to be called the Lord Empress? This old minister cannot allow it.”
Empress Dowager Zhang knew that this opponent was too tough for her, so she once again set her sights on Yun Qingci, implicitly threatening: “Xiao Ci, have you thought about it? Are you really not going back with your Royal Mother? Now that His Majesty feels ashamed, he still wants to indulge you, but if he…”
Prime Minister Yun’s face sank, and he squeezed the teacup tightly.
Seeing Empress Dowager Zhang like this, he seemed to begin to understand why his youngest son was growing more and more paranoid.
He frowned and looked at Yun Qingci who said lightly: “Then let him abolish me.”
Prime Minister Yun suddenly relaxed.
The Empress Dowager’s heart tightened, she almost got up and said in a low voice: “Think clearly, if the emperor doesn’t want you anymore…”
Prime Minister Yun couldn’t stand it anymore. What do you mean Li Ying doesn’t want him? His child has a father and elder brothers, and he is an independent person. To actually threaten him like this, but he also knew that since the Empress Dowager had said this, it meant that such a threat had happened more than once.
He said solemnly, “Then he’ll stay with me!”
Yun Qingci lowered his eyelashes and smiled slightly.
The Empress Dowager’s expression stiffened, and then she sneered. She didn’t believe it. Yun Qingci wouldn’t really leave Li Ying.
At this moment, there was a sound of gongs and drums outside.
The cavalry opened the way, and the armored soldiers, infantry, shooters and crossbowmen, surrounded by a phalanx, followed the guard of honor. Tens of thousands of people and several vehicles accompanied the Son of Heaven coming to the Prime Minister’s mansion in a mighty manner.
Steward Ding hurriedly reported: “Master Yun, the emperor with his ceremonial cortege has come here to return the Lord Empress to the palace.”
Empress Dowager Zhang, who got up gracefully, suddenly felt her legs soften and fell back in the chair with her face pale.