Published at 12th of December 2019 05:49:23 AM

Chapter 184

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Next day in the morning, Minglan ordered someone to take out an incense burner table from the storeroom. After the servants had scrubbed the table and wiped up the surface, they carried it to the hallway to dry it in the air. The texture of the table was delicate and smooth while the wood gave out dark purple gloss, which showed that this table truly was an ancient treasure.

“Using a good stuff like this to receive the imperial edict should be enough to show our sincere gratitude.” Minglan touched the wood surface while praising the table inwardly.

Gu Tingye was sitting upright in the main room in a scarlet rope embroidered with Qilin pattern right now. With tenderness in his eyes and smile on the corner of his mouth, he said meaningfully,

“I knew my wife is sincere. I’m your husband after all.”

Minglan flushed at once. Last night, this man had asked a credit for the imperial mandate. He requested that Minglan had to express her thanks to him with practical actions. As a legal worker who was discriminating in her rewards and punishments, Minglan had spared no effort to reward him... Right now, while Minglan was rubbing her sour waist, she thought secretly, ‘Luckily he still remembered that we had to go to the imperial palace today and knew how far to go.’

About seven o’clock in the morning, a eunuch as well as some imperial bodyguards who were holding umbrellas came to their mansion to announce the imperial edict with the sound of gongs. Gu Tingye held Minglan’s hands and went out without haste. After they had opened the Morning Sunlight Hall and set out the incense burner table there, they knelt down together to adopt the imperial edict. The eunuch who announced the edict here called Eunuch Xia and was around twenty years old. He had two straight eyebrows and a square face with a genial smile. It seemed that Eunuch Xia was quite familiar to Gu Tingye. So he just saved the nonsense and started to proclaim the edict directly.

The format of the imperial edict was just like the news broadcast. First, the edict claimed the grace of His Majesty. Then it commended Minglan as a gentle, elegant, virtuous and tamely woman. At last, Eunuch Xia declared that Minglan was ennobled as the second-class madam. Over.

Minglan took over the imperial mandate scrolls embroidered with phoenix and lion pattern in rhinoceros shape and a tray on which was a pearl crown and an embroidered vest with both of her hands. Then, she kowtowed reverently while expressing her gratitude to His Majesty. After she had got up, Gu Tingye told her to get changed right away. In the meantime, he asked Eunuch Xia to have tea with him in the hall. Eunuch Xia, having hovered by the door for a moment, accepted Gu Tingye’s offer and entered into the hall.

“I never realized it would be you who announce the imperial edict.” The moment they got into the room, the stern expression on Gu Tingye’s face disappeared. He held Eunuch Xia’s hand and sat down with the latter together while saying smilingly, “I heard you were going to take charge of purchasing vegetables in the Imperial Kitchen. Why are you still running those errands for His Majesty right now?”

Eunuch Xia who didn’t mind being teased by Gu Tingye said with a joyful look on his face, “Gosh... never have I had the chance to be in such a profitable position like that. I can only run some errands at first. By the way, Second Master, you have had your days lately.”

Gu Tingye glared at him while joking, “An official should never be friends with eunuchs. I won’t keep you here. These days the imperial palace is heavily guarded, you should take care of yourself.” On these words, Gu Tingye took out something from his sleeves and then thrust it into Eunuch Xia’s hand, saying, “I know you like this so I have already prepared it for you long ago. I thought that I would have to meet you in the palace.”

With the grin on Eunuch Xia’s face dissolving, he said seriously, “Second Master, you are a reliable person. I know it very well in my heart.”

After they had chatted for a while, Gu Tingye sent Eunuch Xia off. As he returned to the room, Minglan was already fully dressed. Right now, she was wearing a dark cyan vest embroidered with golden clouds and phoenix patterns which had gold pendants with the same phoenix patterns. On her waist was a jade belt. Also, her hair had been combed into a compact round topknot. The crown with two gold phoenixes carrying pearls in their mouth and flower jade tassels on her head looked extremely dazzling.

Today Gu Tingye didn’t ride his horse. Instead, he sat in the spacious coach with three horses with Minglan. Inside of the coach was a bunk, on which was a little tea table. At present, the couple was sitting face to face by the table -- in order not to mess up with their decent appearance.

Gu Tingye put on his black gauze cap steadily while saying, “We should go to the Cining Palace to pay our respects to the empress dowager first after we enter into the palace.”

“... which one?” Minglan, holding the heavy pearl crown on her head, said with naughty expression in her eyes.

With the corner of Gu Tingye’s mouth curled slightly, he answered, “Both.”

Minglan, with her hands still on the crown, raised her head to look at the ceiling of the coach in a daze. There were clamour of the market coming through from outside the coach. Some stores had already opened and their owners began to advertise their goods in loud voices. “... Why there are two empress dowagers?” Minglan uttered that question unconsciously.

“I thought you wouldn’t ask.” Gu Tingye reached out his hand and corrected Minglan’s posture and then helped her steady her crown. Today she had put on a light make-up, which made her look graceful and well-mannered. As a matter of fact, the make-up had covered half of her beauty. Though she still looked pretty, the make-up was meant to make her seem super docile and meek. This was the second time he ever saw her putting on the make-up. The first time was when they had got married with each other. -- He knew why Minglan had asked that.

Seeing him watching her in a trance, Minglan patted on his hand gently and said, “Say it.”

Gu Tingye smiled and said, “Empress Dowager De really is an unlucky woman. It is said that the night before Fourth Prince started the mutiny, our previous emperor has already written an imperial edict to appoint the Third Prince as the crown prince and Imperial Concubine De as the empress. However, after one day, everything in the edict was canceled. Our previous emperor who felt sorry for her then appointed her as the Imperial Noble Consort. And before he died, he told His Majesty to take care of Noble Consort  De and her families. After our previous emperor deceased, some officials proposed that Noble Consort De should also be appointed as the empress dowager and there should be two empress dowagers in the imperial palace. His Majesty has approved that.”

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Minglan stayed there blankly without making any comments for a long while. Then she said, “His Majesty really is a filial son.”

Gu Tingye stared at Minglan with a faint smile on his face, “The look on your face has betrayed you.”

Minglan, with her eyes squinted, put on an enigmatic gesture while shaking her head slowly, “One should always pick up a cap that suits his head.”

Gu Tingye pinched Minglan’s little hand smilingly with light flashed in his eyes-- From ancient times to the present, the empress dowager was either the emperor’s legal mother or biological mother. However, Imperial Consort De was neither of the two identities.

“Nevertheless,” Gu Tingye said again, “Empress Dowager De has managed the imperial harem for years. Her powerful background is unquestionable.”

His words made Minglan overly nervous. Then Gu Tingye patted her hand and comforted, “Don’t worry. You are not the only one who got ennobled. Today, Marchioness Weibei and the wife of vice commander of the imperial guards also come to express their gratitude.”

Minglan held her face while saying surprisingly, “Has His Majesty waited until now to ennoble them because of you?” Was Second Uncle favored by His Majesty that much?

Gu Tingye clapped her chubby hand softly and rolled his eyes to her, saying, “One of them is the wife of the empress’s brother. The other is the sister of the empress. They are definitely going to be ennobled. You are just the extra one being added on the list.”

Minglan was a bit depressed. As she massaged her hand, she muttered, “As the saying goes, the wife’s honor increases as her husband’s position rises and the mother’s honor increases as her son’s position rises. Then, the empress’s sister...” The vice commander of the Imperial guards didn’t seem to be qualified to be the husband of the empress’s sister.

Gu Tingye dragged her little hand over and started to give her a massage, saying, “His Majesty is a wise emperor who always knows what to do. So he has only ennobled Shen shi as the Third Class Virtuous Madam.”

Hearing that, Minglan sang her praise to the emperor without a break. Suddenly, she recalled something and blurted out, “Then, why didn’t you marry Empress Shen’s sister? That will make you a member of the imperial family.” After saying this, Minglan dodged away from him like a little rabbit.

However, Gu Tingye wasn’t angry at all and only found her funny, “His Majesty has just returned to the capital two years ago and hasn’t gained a strong foothold yet. Not only has Zheng Jun been in control of the imperial guards for many years, he is said to have connections with the Three Large Camp too. Also, Duke Ying is an essential official to the country. These two families never get themselves involved with the struggles for position of the crown prince. So His Majesty will definitely draw them over.”

Minglan nodded. Now she totally understood.

Empress Dowager An only had one son. Moreover, she and her son had been given a cold shoulder by the previous emperor for years. Therefore, the emperor didn’t have too many reliable people around him except for the people from his wife’s clan. Gu Tingye was on the emperor’s side at the beginning. If he married a woman from the empress’s family, that would be a waste of the resource. In the long run, the marriage between Gu and Shen family was not something the emperor would like to see. To be more specific, letting Gu Tingye marry a daughter of an ordinary official was actually in the emperor’s interest.

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