The high gates of the Prime Minister’s mansion were wide open, and nearly a hundred people headed by the Prime Minister, including the youngest master, the housekeeper, maids and attendants walked out of the mansion to greet the emperor.
The high-toe dragon boots stepped down the steps of the jade sedan chair, and the ankle-length golden dragon robe followed the boots. The Son of Heaven strode past the honor guards kneeling on both sides and bent over to help Prime Minister Yun up.
In the silence, only his calm voice could be heard: “Teacher doesn’t have to be polite.”
In the crowd of tens of thousands of people, Qiu Xian’s face turned slightly green. The only thing in his mind was the words he hastily said a while ago: “If he can still turn the situation around, you will be my elder brother.”
His future was dark.
The situation when the emperor used his ceremonial cortege to pick up the Lord Empress who was almost abolished was truly unprecedented.
But despite the confusion and shock in everyone’s hearts at this moment, this huge force composed of soldiers from various battalions, guards of honor and musicians was silent and solemn.
A ceremonial driving was the face of the royal family and represented the dignity of the country. If there was the slightest divergence, one could lose their head.
No matter what they felt, no one dared to show anything outwardly.
Empress Dowager Zhang watched Prime Minister Yun being helped up. She glanced at the kind and gentle emperor, feeling in a daze that she didn’t know him anymore.
How could he do this for Yun Qingci?
In the past two years, the youngest son of the Yun family repeatedly angered him but still wasn’t able to disgust him?
“Dare to ask Your Majesty, this is…” Prime Minister Yun looked behind him, and Li Ying said: “I will pick up the Lord Empress and return to the palace.”
Yun Qingci was standing next to Prime Minister Yun, with his cloak hanging loosely on his shoulders. It seemed that he had just put it on casually when going out. He didn’t even pin up his long hair.
He looked a little neglected, and his face was clean and light, but unexpectedly, he seemed a bit frail and pitiful.
This was the Yun Qingci Li Ying knew best. He was not immaculate and dignified, but he was closest to his heart.
Behind him, someone brought a neatly folded platinum phoenix robe, a double-layered crown and a set of accessories including high-toe phoenix silver boots. Liu Ziru stepped forward cautiously: “Please, Lord Empress, go back and dress.”
Li Ying suddenly caught a glimpse of Empress Dowager Zhang standing aside with a solemn expression. At that moment, something unexpected flashed in his eyes, too fast to be noticed.
He looked away and walked up to Yun Qingci.
The brim of the black gauze crown was decorated with splendid brocade, and two finger-wide gold bands hung from its sides, matching the exquisite and distant handsome face, both elegant and majestic.
He stared at Yun Qingci and said softly, “I’m here to pick you up and go home.”
Behind him there was the imperial dragon jade sedan chair, as well as the phoenix sedan chair specially designed for Yun Qingci, which made it convenient for the Lord Empress to choose whether to sit together with the emperor or ride alone.
Liu Ziru knew that Li Ying had indeed made up his mind to take Yun Qingci back to the palace this time, and he also knew that once the cortege drove back to the palace, within half a day the rumors about the abolished Lord Empress would be extinguished.
Yun Qingci would be the Lord Empress of the country again, enjoying the honor and pride of his position above ten thousand people and under one person.
Yun Qingci had no reason to refuse the emperor’s ceremonial driving.
Empress Dowager Zhang understood it very clearly.
But at this moment, she suddenly hoped that Yun Qingci would refuse. Li Ying spent a lot of time preparing, and it was obvious that this trip was important for him. If Yun Qingci continued demonstrating his pride he had shown to her just now, it would be disastrous…
Rejecting the Son of Heaven in front of so many people would be tantamount to relying on the power of the Yun family to declare war on the emperor.
Li Ying would have no reason to tolerate the Yun family anymore.
And except for the Yun family…
Prime Minister Yun frowned slightly. As a father, of course, he hoped that Yun Qingci would leave Li Ying, but now that the ceremonial cortege was parked in front of his mansion, this favor was not easy to decline.
His emotions became complicated for a while.
He hoped Yun Qingci would refuse to return to the palace, and knew that if he really refused, within half a month, the rumors of the Yun family’s unwillingness to surrender would spread all over the country.
In the long run, it would become a serious problem.
Everyone present had different thoughts, but no one dared to speak in the presence of tens of thousands of people. Everyone was holding their breath and waited for Yun Qingci’s decision.
Yun Qingci stared at Li Ying with scrutiny, doubts obvious on his face, and a bit of sarcasm in his eyes.
Li Ying breathed lightly and clasped his hands behind his back.
This was the motion he made when he felt uneasy. Liu Ziru knew it well and started feeling nervous. In the past few days, Li Ying had nightmares every night. Every time he woke up, his eyes were bloodshot and his expression was crazy. He often had to sit for a while before he gradually relaxed.
He guessed that Li Ying must have experienced some unbearable pain in his nightmare, causing him to look insane every time he woke up.
Sometimes he even asked Li Ziru what year and month it was now.
The emperor had been looking forward to this day. If he couldn’t pick up the Lord Empress today, he’d lose his face and among those who served him, some people might die.
The emperor who was awakened by nightmares every night was really terrible.
In silence, Yun Qingci finally moved. He took a step back, bowed slightly and said, “This subject will come as soon as possible.”
Liu Ziru breathed out a sigh of relief and personally led people to follow in Yun Qingci’s footsteps.
Prime Minister Yun wiped the cold sweat from his forehead. He could mention separating again later, but now the ceremonial driving couldn’t be ignored.
Yun Qingci had the heart to protect his family. Although it made Prime Minister Yun feel relieved, he also couldn’t help but feel a little sad. What happened to his youngest son that made him so sensible?
Li Ying’s taut body relaxed, and he couldn’t help smiling. Prime Minister Yun said, “Your Majesty, let’s go in and wait.”
Li Ying followed him with his head lowered, and when he glanced at Empress Dowager Zhang again, his smile deepened, but his eyes suddenly darkened. “Royal Mother is here too,” he said.
Empress Dowager Zhang thought he was a little strange. She said kindly: “Aijia has also come to see the Lord Empress. What’s the matter with you, since you wanted to pick him up, why didn’t you tell me?”
“I was negligent.”
Prime Minister Yun said, “The Empress Dowager also came to pick up the Lord Empress to return to the palace. She also joked that His Majesty doesn’t want the Lord Empress anymore.”
He smiled and stroked his beard, observing the expressions of the mother and the son, and saw that the Empress Dowager’s face changed slightly. Li Ying glanced at the Empress Dowager again with an unfathomable expression.
This emperor was deeper and more reserved than before.
The atmosphere between the mother and the son was also a bit different from before.
It took Yun Qingci half an hour to freshen up and change clothes, but Li Ying’s attitude was always very good. He talked to Prime Minister Yun calmly, until Liu Ziru walked over with a smile: “Your Majesty, Lord Empress is coming.”
Everyone raised their eyes, their expressions startled.
In midwinter, in the beginning of the twelfth lunar month, the snow started to fall again. In the far end of the corridor, there was a man dressed in a silver robe, his posture straight and unreserved. His hair was gathered in a high crown with a wide hairpin, and the feather lapels of his robe were inlaid with gold and jade. He walked closer soundlessly.
The silver boots approached quickly, the hem of the clothes swayed.
As soon as Yun Qingci was about to salute, Li Ying walked up to him in two steps, stretched out his hand to hold his arm, and stared at him for an instant.
Leaning slightly, he said: “Get up and let’s go back to the palace –”
Yun Qingci was held up by him, and Li Ying’s palms were hot and even a little damp.
They walked neither far nor close, maintaining the exact distance the Emperor and the Lord Empress should maintain, but Li Ying seemed to slow down deliberately to stay next to him patiently.
Two pairs of high-toe boots, black and silver, stepped out together. The golden phoenix and the nine-claw golden dragon were coming out. The armor clanked, and the guards lined up fell to the ground one after another. Only the horse gunfighters stayed upright and shouted together: “Welcoming Lord Empress back to the palace, may the Emperor live forever-”
Li Ying asked Yun Qingci: “Do you want to ride the jade sedan chair with me?”
His long eyelashes fluttering, Yun Qingci said quietly: “This subject dares not transgress. I’ll go to the phoenix one.”
Li Ying didn’t insist.
The phalanx next to the jade sedan chair moved, leaving a passage. Under Yun Qingci’s smiling gaze, Li Ying continued to hold his hand accompanying him all the way to the phoenix sedan chair.
When the cortege started moving, Qiu Xian turned and got on the horse. The stirrup slipped suddenly, and his chin almost hit the saddle. Immediately, someone said, “Commander, be careful. ”
Qiu Xian’s face darkened and he climbed onto the back of the horse for the second time.
What the hell was His Majesty doing? No matter how powerful the Yun family was, they were not big enough for him to personally support the Lord Empress to the sedan chair, right?
Great, the Yun family had something to brag about again.
Ning Rou was really useless.
The cortege drove off first, and the Empress Dowager also got into the carriage with a gloomy face. Her fingers pinched into her flesh and her expression was dark.
What was the emperor thinking?
The vast team moved steadily in the snow. Yun Qingci sat in the phoenix sedan chair, staring at the dragon jade carriage in front of him, thinking.
The people fell on their knees and watched the procession, and some talks reached his ears.
“His Majesty actually went to pick up the Lord Empress in person to return to the palace?! Could it be that there was a misunderstanding before?”
“I said it a long time ago: how could the little young master of the Yun family be arrogant and domineering? Someone must have spread rumors maliciously…”
“It’s unprecedented for the ceremonial cortege to pick up people. Lord Empress’s position is really unparalleled! ”
“I heard that Lord Empress and His Majesty were childhood sweethearts, and the two of them are deeply in love. There was a rumor that when the couple was doing their bows to each other when they got married, His Majesty deliberately waited for Lord Empress to get up first.”
“Hahahaha, what a story! No matter how much His Majesty loves him, it is absolutely impossible for His Majesty to do such a shameful thing in front of hundreds of officials-”
Yun Qingci was full of mockery.
According to the country’s marriage ceremony, the husband was supposed to get up first, which meant that the wife would put the husband first in everything in future. Back then, Li Ying deliberately waited a few breaths, getting up later than him, and Yun Qingci thought that it was a sign of his respect.
If he hadn’t been sent to the Cold Palace, he might never have believed how extremely calculating Li Ying was for every step of the way. These little details were nothing more than long-term poison and secret murderous intent.
Today’s ceremonial driving could be interpreted in a good way meaning that the emperor loved him and gave the Yun family supreme glory. Or it could be interpreted in a bad way and regarded as him threatening them.
But whether it was to show favor or to threaten, Li Ying’s purpose was nothing more than to keep him at his side, so that he could continue to control the Prime Minister’s Mansion.
The ceremonial cortege stopped at the main palace, but Yun Qingci’s sedan chair did not stop and carried him all the way to Chaoyang Palace.
The gauze curtains on both sides were lifted, and as soon as Yun Qingci was about to walk down, he found that ghost-like guy was here again.
Yun Qingci felt angry. Even after picking him up, Li Ying was still putting on airs.
He looked at the offered hand that was as pale as an autumn bamboo, pursed his mouth and leaned on it heavily. Li Ying walked him all the way into the palace. The subordinates in the palace fell on the ground welcoming him back. Yun Qingci walked in without blinking and waited for Liu Ziru to stop anyone who could disturb him, before abruptly withdrawing his hand.
He turned around, dropped on the beauty couch without removing his silver robe and looked carelessly at the familiar furnishings around him.
This gold-embroidered phoenix robe was tailored specially for him. As he lay down lazily, his slim waist was clearly outlined by the spread of the cloth. Li Ying looked for a moment, walked over and sat down beside him, saying: “I will accompany you for dinner tonight.”
“Okay,” Yun Qing said. “Find some musicians and a few dancers, and this subject will accompany His Majesty to have a good time.”
“You don’t like dancers…”
“Who doesn’t like beauties?” Yun Qingci tilted his head, his expression slightly teasing: “Besides, although I don’t like women, I quite like men.”
“His Majesty must choose wholeheartedly. If there are no handsome musicians in the palace, this subject will be bored…” He deliberately teased Li Ying: “Then I’ll just go back to my father’s house.”
And you can come to pick me up every day.