Chapter 41: Urgent business, her countermeasure
"Its urgent business, isnt it? If its that important I wont blame this girl. Whatever has happened?" Grand Concubine Yi feigned an expression of amazement.
The empress only pretended not to hear as she continued to school Princess Changping. "Since Qin Wangfei and the Duke of Qin are both out, you should look for your father, the emperor. Have him summon the Duke of Qin back, surely he has ways to find him." When she finished, the empress gave Grand Concubine Yi a significant look. "Wouldnt you say so, Grand Imperial Concubine?"
One side menaced with the Duke of Qin while the other side put on pressure with the emperor. All the people present quaked where they stood as their hearts pounded. Princess Changping seemed to have woken up from her muddled thinking with pleasure. "Right! Ill ask imperial father, this time hell definitely help me!"
Grand Concubine Yi understood the empresss personality. With her status, she never spoke impulsively. To mention the emperor in this conversation meant that Princess Changpings business really was very serious; at least, she had enough certainty to bother the busy emperor with her affairs.
"Muhou, lets go! Well take the carriage and find father immediately!" Princess Changping was very excited as she tugged at the empress.
With that Grand Concubine Yi grew anxious. If this had been any other day, it wouldnt matter; any excuse would do to surrender Han Yunxi. But right now Han Yunxi was locked in the woodhouse, nearly starved to death. If news of this spread and made their family scandal public, where could she show her face afterwards?! Just when Grand Concubine Yi was about to speak up, Murong Wanru opened her mouth instead.
"Esteemed Empress, Princess Changping, please wait!"
The empress had long expected this and tugged Princess Changping back to wait. She did her best to keep harem matters away from the emperorone of the main reasons why he favored her so much. Murong Wanru hastily went forward to pay her respects.
"Esteemed Empress, Princess Changping, actually the Qin wangfei returned last night. Except, mufei only came back from her other estate today and wasnt aware. I didnt tell her in time, so this is all my fault."
With Murong Wanru giving her the chance to get out of an awkward situation. Grand Concubine Yi was no longer so embarrassed. She hastily said, "Shes returned? Why didnt you tell me so earlier? Princess Changping has urgent matters, what if we delayed her?"
"It was daughters oversight," Murong Wanru lowered her head, looking appropriately remorseful and conscience-stricken.
Grand Concubine Yi didnt even give the empress and Princess Changping a chance to speak as she hurried on, "Empress, Changping, sit awhile. Ill find her for you personally."
Princess Changping wasnt satisfied, but the empress silenced her with one look. "Then well have to trouble Grand Imperial Concubine."
When Grand Concubine Yi turned back, she was still smiling and self-possessed, but after leaving with Murong Wanru her face was drenched in anxiety, such an ugly and horrific sight! If it wasnt for Murong Wanru just then, she mightve never had the chance to get off her high perch. Who knew how much disgrace she mightve suffered?
"Just what is going on here?!" Grand Concubine Yi fumed as she sped along.
"Mufei, why do I feel like sister-in-law knew this would happen?" Murong Wanru asked in a low voice. If possible, shed prefer for the empress and Princess Changping to go find the emperor, all the better to give her more time for her murder plot. But right now, Han Yunxis death would only stir up more trouble and cause her the most worries.
"Many thanks...for being on esteemed empresss mind," Han Yunxi replied weakly.
Princess Changping stood to one side, unable to bear it any longer. She called her imperial aunt, but her tone was commanding. "Imperial Aunt Qin, I...I have urgent business, hurry back to the palace with me."
Han Yunxi caught a glimpse of Grand Concubine Yi jerking in surprise on one side, her face extremely sullen. She didnt know what sorts of temper Grand Concubine Yi endured from mother and daughter, but she knew this was her chance to set herself free. That frigid lord the Duke of Qin had only paid her back for a favor. He couldnt protect her all the time. If she couldnt leave this house, then she should try her best to gain the approval of its high-and-mighty mistress.
Now was an excellent chance!
Han Yunxi didnt answer Princess Changping, but docilely looked towards Grand Concubine Yi as if to say it was her decision. It was at this moment that Princess Changping felt her face starting to itch again. Impatient, she hastily went to beg, "Grand Concubine Yi, just agree to it. Let imperial aunt go with me to the palace, I promise shell return safe and sound in good condition."
If this was any other day, the empress wouldnt allow Princess Changping to beg this way, but seeing her daughter anxious made her realize the itching had started again. With no other choice, she could only add to the pleas. "Grand Concubine Yi, its a private matter between these children. Lets just let them do as they will."
Grand Concubine Yi expected Han Yunxi to use this chance and flaunt herself and give her looks. Who knew that this little daughter-in-law actually gave her this much face to take charge of the decision? She was suddenly much less sullen, feeling as if the empress and Princess Changping were here to beg her instead. Her smug glance traveled to Han Yunxi before she seized the chance. Like shed let off the empress and princess so easily!
"Yunxi, aye...look at how ill youve gotten. If you catch a chill on the way to the palace again and grow sicker, how will mufei explain things to the Duke of Qin? Wouldnt he blame this mother-in-law for not looking after you?"
This...since when did Grand Concubine Yi learn to care for her daughter-in-law?
Hearing this, the empresss face grew dark. Grand Concubine Yi was obviously seizing the opportunity to bully them! The smart Han Yunxi saw through Grand Concubine Yis wishes and added, "Mufei is just saying things. Chenqie knows of His Highnesss temper. He only listens to you and the emperor and would definitely respect all your wishes. How could he dare to blame you? Mufeis care, chenqie will remember in her heart."
Tsk, look at how powerful Han Yunxis words were. She was mentioning both the Duke of Qin and the emperor before the empress. Not only did she avoid disrespecting the emperor, she got to flatter Grand Concubine Yi in the same breath.
Han Yunxi really had no idea that the empress had used the emperor to force Grand Concubine Yis hand. But the truth was that her words sounded incomparably sweet to Grand Concubine Yis ears, even better than 100 of Murong Wanrus usual sentences.
On one side, Murong Wanru stood with her heart in a flurry, wondering exactly what Han Yunxi was up to. The angry empress smoothed her lips into a flat line, unable to speak. Princess Changping had no time to watch them give tit for tat and hide words beneath their words. Her itchy face was already getting unbearable.
"Grand Concubine Yi, if her illness gets worse, Ill take responsibility! Just let her come back with me!" Princess Changping was nearly choked with sobs.
But Grand Concubine Yi kept at a leisurely pace, looking at Han Yunxi with a light sigh. "Aye...this..."
"Muhou!" Princess Changping was really crying as she pulled at the empresss hand. "Muhou, help me convince her, hurry!"
The empress had been holding herself back so much that she was quick to erupting, but still she had to speak. "Grand Concubine Yi, Changping really does have urgent matters. Our carriage is waiting just outside the gates, and I can promise that Yunxis illness wont get worse. Theres Imperial Physician Gu at the palace toohe can examine her right there and then. Just let Yunxi go with her, all right?"
Truthfully speaking, Grand Concubine Yi wasnt the compassionate type at all. Even with the empress like this, she still looked like she was hesitating. Finally, Princess Changping broke out in sobs and cried out, "Grand Concubine Yi, Im begging you! Begging you!"
Excellent. This begging was exactly what Grand Concubine Yi wanted. Finally, she nodded her head. "Yunxi, just go to the palace with the empress."
"Un," Han Yunxi nodded her head obediently.
The empress immediately had people raise Han Yunxi into a sedan chair and carry her out of the gates. Before she boarded the carriage, Grand Concubine Yi gave her a look. Unfortunately, Han Yunxi acted as if she didnt see. Her mouth held the piece of ginseng that Grand Concubine Yi had given her, thinking to herself, Grand Concubine Yi, Murong Wanru, just wait until I return!
 renzhong acupoint (???) renzhong xue, located in the vertical groove above the middle of the upper lip, AKA the philtrum. Pinching it can revive people from fainting, relieve back pain, and sometimes restore the sense of smell. Its pathway originates between the kidneys, goes up through the spine, and around and over the head to end just above a persons gums.
 Little Fourth (??) xiao si, another servant of the Duke of Qins household.
 muhou (??) imperial mother, the variation on mufei; in this case, the mother is an official consort/empress rather than a concubine.
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