Published at 14th of December 2019 09:23:27 AM

Chapter 186

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Chapter 186: The Imperial Family (118.3)

Translator: Iris
As for the other three young madams who were talking by the empress’s side, the one who wore the most splendid clothes and talked in highest spirit was Shen shi, also known as the empress’s sister. She bore a resemblance to the empress. The woman behind her was the new wife of the empress’s brother, who was also the lady of Duke Ying’s mansion. Minglan couldn’t figure out the last one who seemed gentle and delicate. After a long while, she finally knew who that was according to their conversation-- She was the concubine of the empress’s brother, Little Zou shi, the sister of the first wife of the empress’s brother.

Even Zou shi had been ennobled a five class Yi’ren?! What’s more, she seemed to be quite close to the empress. Was Duke Ying so tolerant about that?

Last night, Gu Tingye told Minglan everything about the family background of the empress.

As the previous emperor’s less favored son, Eighth Prince lived in a remote and backward place. Thus, there was not a single noble family which was willing to marry their daughters to him. Shen Wang, Empress Shen’s father, had used to be a celebrity with a literary reputation. His family had been super prestigious. However, Shen Wang and his wife had died very early. After that, Empress Shen and her brother had had to seek refugees with their relatives. And at last, Empress Shen’s uncle had betrothed her to Eighth Prince.

When Minglan had heard of that, she had concluded, “The people of the Shen family must have treated Empress Shen and her brother very bad!”

Gu Tingye had been surprised, “How did you know that?”

Minglan had answered, “Right now, the government is short of officials. However, there is no other people of the Shen family engaging in politics. Obviously, Empress Shen must hate her relatives secretly!”

Then, Gu Tingye had hugged her tightly as a reward and a compliment to her.

According to the principle of diminishing, since the family of Eighty Prince’s wife was not too powerful, then the family of Shen Congxing’s wife would be poorer.

Zou Family was an ordinary family of scholars. Old Master Zou had been a county magistrate and died a few years ago. Master Zou was a Ju’ren. The eldest lady of Zou family had married into the Shen family. Until now, there wasn’t any outstanding person in their family.

The unluckiest thing for their family was not the shortage of talents in their descendants. When Eighth Prince, the brother-in-law of Master Zou’s eldest son-in-law, had ascended the throne, which meant the Zou family had finally been able to possess high position and great wealth, the eldest lady of Zou family had deceased.

All the people of the Zou family had almost cried to death. How tragic was that!

If Shen Congxing was just a common widower, then marrying his wife’s sister was not a problem. However, Shen family was the most important relatives of the emperor on the side of his wife (Empress Dowager An had been born of humble origins, so her original family was not able to be found). Therefore, Zou Family wasn’t qualified to betroth another daughter to Shen family.

Minglan glimpsed at the wife of Empress Shen’s brother and then at Zou shi who was chatting with the empress. She suddenly understood what had happened. The situation right now was the result of each party’s compromise-- Minglan didn’t know why she recalled Gu Tingye’s biological mother, Bai shi, which somehow led her to feel pity for Madam Shen.

Duke Ying’s family needed to build a good relationship with the new emperor with the help of Shen family. Empress Shen’s brother needed the well-established Duke Ying’s family to extend their powers. Zou family needed to keep their marriage alliance with Shen family and protect Madam Zou’s sons and daughters. Each family took their needs. So this abnormal and also harmonious situation had been formed.

Suddenly, Minglan felt down for no reason. The sullenness in her mind made her very comfortable. She asked herself if she would refuse to get married resolutely if her family forced her to do so. With her teeth gritted, Minglan thought, ‘Women should never stay in ancient times!”

After they had chatted for a couple of minutes, Empress Shen saw that it was time to leave. Then she bid farewell to the two empress dowagers together with Minglan and the other three madams who had just been ennobled. After they walked out of Palace of Benevolent Peace, Empress Shen asked Minglan and Little Shen shi to leave first while claiming that she, Madam Shen and Little Zou shi still needed to discuss something in Palace of Earthly Tranquility.

Little Shen shi dragged Empress Shen’s sleeves and said adorably, “Sister, you always bias my two sisters-in-law. Is there some delicious food at your place that you want them to have a taste first?!” Empress Shen pointed to Little Shen shi and scolded with a smile, “How old are you this year? All the thing you think about is eating. Later I’ll tell your mother-in-law about your behaviors. I’ll let her discipline you!... All right, everyone is laughing at you right now. I do have something to discuss with your sisters-in-law. It’s Madam Gu’s first time to the palace. You should show her around this place. You two can get to know each other along the way.”

Little Shen shi grinned and agreed. Minglan gave her obeisance to Empress Shen reverently with a graceful gesture, not behaving in an affected way and only looking extremely elegant and pretty. Little Shen shi seemed to be stunned by the grace Minglan demonstrated, staring at her in a trance. Then after bidding her farewell to Empress Shen, she took Minglan’s arm and left.

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On the way, Little Shen shi kept babbling about the scenery. Minglan only listened to her with a smile and echoed with her from time to time. They gradually walked out of the area of the Palace of Benevolent Peace and headed to the East Splendid Gate. Little Shen shi suddenly asked a question for no reason, “... tell me, what do you think the empress want to say to my two sisters-in-law? Are they talking about something that I shouldn’t know?”

Minglan’s heart missed a beat. Then she smiled and said, “Probably just some intimate conversations between sisters-in-law. At least they could speak their own minds when there are not too many people around.”

As a matter of fact, Minglan already guessed the empress’s intention. Madam Shen was dignified and gentle. Little Zou shi was reverent and well mannered. Although they seemed to get along well with each other, they had never had any eye contact or talked with each other just now. Since the women who didn’t belong to the imperial family couldn’t come to the palace every day, Empress Shen might want to give an education to the two wives of her brother while telling them how wives and concubines could get along with each other.

However... Minglan only found that ridiculous. Shen family broke the rule first.

It was rare to see a concubine being ennobled by the emperor. Unless a concubine had given birth to a superior son who had made contributions to the country. In that case, the concubine could be ennobled for the sake of her son. Throughout the history, there were only a scanty few of the concubines who hadn’t had sons being ennobled.

Maybe Shen family felt they owed to Zou family since the latter had offered help to them when they had been in a poor state. So Shen family had decided to make it up for Zou family in this way. However, in consideration of the power of Duke Ying’s family, Shen family only made Little Zou shi a concubine instead of a madam. Nonetheless, after Minglan had seen Little Zou shi’s behaviors today, she assumed that Little Zou shi might actually be treated like a madam in Shen family.

Little Shen shi had stared at the imperial garden blankly at first. Suddenly, she stopped and fixed her eyes on Minglan, “Do you think Shen family is very shameless? My brother has married Zhang shi and then Zou shi. First, he abandoned his wife in adversity. Then he chased the wealth and honor greatly.”

Minglan, being dragged by Little Shen shi, took a few steps back. Hearing Little Shen shi’s words, Minglan smiled slightly and said, “Those rumors were all spread by those guys who envy your family. Don’t take it seriously.” Nonsense. If you wanted to gain two pieces of benefit, you had to endure two times of the accusation.

“So what do you think of us?” Little Shen shi still dragged Minglan tightly, forcing the latter to air her opinion.

Minglan looked at the closed gate of the palace in front of her. Solemn guard troops were standing while the imperial maids and eunuch were coming and going behind the gate. Minglan sighed lightly and said slowly, “I think, these kinds of things only benefit the men and harm the women.”

The look on Little Shen shi’s face suddenly changed. With the lovely and adorable expression disappearing, she stared at Minglan with a stern look. After a long while, she smiled all of a sudden, saying, “You are an interesting person. I like you a lot. We should hang out together more in the future!”

Minglan, being amused by her words, couldn’t help laughing, “It’s my pleasure.”

Since Little Shen shi was capable of asking that, it meant this girl still had a conscience. Minglan found this frank and straightforward woman truly worth being friends with.
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