“Zhen is only thinking for her own good. She is not like the women in the harem, zhen does not want to ruin her happiness.”
Mo Qi Qi shakes her head, “I really can’t understand you men….”
Jun Qian Che does not wish to continue the topic. Instead, he turns to her, “How is your health today? Did you eat properly?”
Mo Qi Qi nods, “The baby has been good today. Chenqie is fine. Your Majesty, it is late, shouldn’t you go to Yang Meimei?”
Jun Qian Che glares at her.
She smiles at him sweetly, “Be careful as you walk, Your Majesty. Chenqie will not send you off,” she waves at him, blatantly chasing him away.
The anger inside Jun Qian Che’s heart is reignited once more. He gets up and walks off angrily.
“Goodbye, Your Majesty,” says Mo Qi Qi sweetly.
Jun Qian Che leaves in anger. She has always been good at angering him.
After he left, Mo Qi Qi sighs in relief. People are right, keeping an Emperor’s company is the same as befriending a tiger. He is so tiring. She really cannot understand why the other concubines are so hell-bent on attracting him. They must be tired of living.
The next day, right after the morning court, Jun Qian Che pays the Grand Empress Dowager a visit.
“Grandson greets Imperial Grandmother,” Jun Qian Che greets her respectfully.
The Grand Empress Dowager gives him a benevolent smile, “No need to be so formal, come and sit.”
“Thank you, Imperial Grandmother,” replies Jun Qian Che as he sits down.
When Gong Ya Xian finds out that Jun Qian Che is there, she dresses up prettity and heads over to greet them.
The Grand Empress Dowager happily beckons Gong Ya Xian to sit next to her. She smiles at the two of them, “Che Er, Ya Xian….. No wonder the Empress wants to pair you two off. You two look so good together. The man is handsome and the woman is pretty, both of you are match-made in heaven.”
Gong Ya Xian lowers her head shyly while muttering, “Grandmother—-“
Jun Qian Che, on the other hand, remains calm, “Imperial Grandmother, grandson is actually here to talk to you regarding that matter.”
The Grand Empress Dowager smiles in joy, “Oh, so you already knew? Are you here because you are eager to marry Ya Xian? You want to marry her as soon as you can? As long as you two are happy, Imperial Grandmother will have no objection.”
“Imperial Grandmother, grandson will have to disappoint you. Grandson is here today to say that grandson has no plan to marry Ya Xian,” replies Jun Qian Che emotionlessly.
The Grand Empress Dowager turns to him in shock.
Gong Ya Xian looks on desolately.
“Why are you so cruel, Che Er? Did the Empress regret her decision and argued with you?” asks the Grand Empress Dowager.
“No, this has nothing to do with the Empress. This is what Grandson wants. All these while, Grandson has only viewed Ya Xian as a younger sister and nothing more,” explains Jun Qian Che.
The Grand Empress Dowager laughs, “Even brotherly love can turn into something more. Both of you suit each other so well, you will be able to come to love her later. Weren’t you like a brother to Yang Guifei back then? Aren’t you two doing well right now? Don’t tell me you don’t know what Ya Xian feels for you. Won’t you give the girl a chance?”
“Imperial Grandmother, Ya Xian is a good woman, she will be able to find someone good for her, in the future. Grandson does not wish to ruin her happiness. There are a lot of things going on in court, Grandson has no time to think about anything else. Please forgive Grandson, Imperial Grandmother. Ya Xian, zhen will help you find a good husband,” explains Jun Qian Che without holding back.
The Grand Empress Dowager still refuses to let it go, “Why don’t you consider it some more, Che Er? Even the Empress thinks you two would be good together. You two—-“
After seeing what has happened, Gong Ya Xian pats her grandmother’s arm as she forces herself to smile, “Don’t make things hard for His Majesty, Grandmother. To be honest, Ya Xian only see him as a brother, as well. All these while, Ya Xian have always treated him with respect and reverence, but only those of a younger sister’s to her brother. So please do not make things hard for us.”
The Grand Empress Dowager sighs, “Since both of you are saying the same thing, aijia cannot force you two. Aijia originally thought that aijia could see both of you together. From the look of things, when the time comes for her to marry, she will still have to live outside the palace.”
Gong Ya Xian smiles warmly, “Ya Xian cannot bear to part from Grandmother. Ya Xian is willing to spend the rest of her life to accompany Grandmother.”
The Grand Empress Dowager looks at her in playful displeasure, “This child, such foolish words. Once girls grow up, they need to get married. To be happy. It doesn’t matter if you are close to Grandmother or not, if you are happy, Grandmother would be happy for you.”
“Don’t worry, Imperial Grandmother. Even if Ya Xian marries someday, she can enter the palace whenever she pleased to see you.”
The Grand Empress Dowager smiles, “You are right, Your Majesty.”
Jun Qian Che chats with the Grand Empress Dowager for a while longer before leaving.
Gong Ya Xian runs after him outside, “Brother Che—“
Jun Qian Che stops and turns to her, “Yes, what is it, Ya Xian?”
Gong Ya Xian smiles shyly, “Your Majesty, please do not blame the Empress for trying to match us off. She was only thinking for your own good. The Empress has changed a lot. She has become more virtuous and kind, Ya Xian really admire her.”
“Don’t worry, zhen will not blame the Empress. As for you, zhen hope you will not resent the Empress for this.”
Gong Ya Xian smiles, “What are you saying, Your Majesty? Why would Ya Xian hate the Empress? The Empress meant well. Both of you are very loving lately, it makes people envious.”
“Zhen still has matters to attend to, you should keep Imperial Grandmother company.”
“Yes, Your Majesty,” Ya Xian curtsies in front of him.
Jun Qian Che then leaves.
And so, the matter is settled. Unfortunately, the news already spread inside the palace. When the servants learned that the Emperor rejected Gong Ya Xian, a lot of assumptions are made. Some people express sympathy, thinking Miss Gong would look really good next to the Emperor. Some other mocks Gong Ya Xian for trying to climb a higher branch, only to falls flat on the ground. Since the Emperor himself said no, Miss Gong will never have this chance again in the future.
Some other says that this is all part of the Empress’ greater plan. She goes around telling everyone she is matching the two people, only to threaten the Emperor using the child in private, and so, using this chance to kill the match once and for all.
All in all, a lot of opinions are thrown around.
The Grand Empress Dowager and Gong Ya Xian are in the imperial garden when they hear some of those talks. The Grand Empress Dowager is furious. “These servants are preposterous, they actually dare to gossip about their masters in private! Don’t be upset, Ya Xian. Grandmother will punish them heavily!”
“Don’t be angry, Grandmother!” Gong Ya Xian stops the Empress Dowager. “It’s nothing. Ya Xian is not upset.”
“How dare they blacken your name,” mutters Grand Empress Dowager angrily.
Gong Ya Xian simply smiles, “People will talk about everyone, not just Ya Xian. Ever since Ya Xian lost my parents and live with you, people have been talking about Ya Xian non-stop, but Ya Xian does not care about what they say. As long as Grandmother loves me, I will have no complain. Right now, these people are talking because they do not know the truth. That’s why they come up with all these speculations. If you punish them, it will not only validates their speculation, it will also makes things hard for Ya Xian inside the palace. Ya Xian has a clear conscience, there is no need to pay any of these people any attention. They will stop once the matter dies down. If you punish them, it will fan the flame even further. Ya Xian will feel guilty for upsetting you.”
The Grand Empress Dowager takes Gong Ya Xian’s hand, “You-ah… Why are you so kind? You always think for other people and always ends up swallowing all your grievances to yourself. Things have been hard on you. If your mother sees you now, just how much would her heart ache? This is all Grandmother’s fault for not taking proper care of you.”
Gong Ya Xian shakes her head, “Don’t say that, Grandmother. Ya Xian knows how much Grandmother love Ya Xian. Ya Xian is thankful for that. Had it not been for you, Ya Xian would have died long ago.”
“You foolish child, stop saying such inauspicious things! You are so good, why didn’t the Emperor like you? If you marry the Emperor, you would have been able to stay by Grandmother’s side forever,” the Grand Empress Dowager shakes her head in disappointment.
Gong Ya Xian smiles at her warmly, “To be honest, being the Emperor’s little sister is good as well. If I marry him and become his consort, there will come a time where I lose his favour. How painful would it be to watch him with another woman? I would come to resent him. If I view him as my brother, I will never be disappointed by him. That is not bad, at all. Ya Xian has come to understand things, so please do not be disappointed, Grandmother. Ya Xian believe that someone, somewhere, is destined for Ya Xian, someone that will belong exclusively to Ya Xian.”
The Grand Empress Dowager laughs and pats her hand, “Hearing you say that makes Grandmother relieved. Grandmother was worried you would not be able to get over this.”
“Don’t worry, Grandmother. Ya Xian is not that weak,” she smiles at her beautifully.
A couple of the maids are still obliviously gossiping, “That Miss Gong is so weak, and His Majesty so strong. If she marries the Emperor, she would never be able to take care of him in bed. His Majesty must have seen that coming, that’s why he rejected her. If he accidentally hurts her, how would he reply to the Grand Empress Dowager?”
“It must have been so! In fact, the Emperor must have given her a try and finds her performance unsatisfactory, hence the rejection! Hahahaha—-“
“This must have been the Empress’ plan to begin with. She knows everything and made a fanfare of match-making the two together, purposely trying to snuff out their flames. She knew he wouldn’t marry her. The Empress is really clever!”
“Naturally! If she is not clever, she wouldn’t have been the first one to bear His Majesty’s child. Just look at Yang Guifei! She serves His Majesty in bed pretty much everyday, and even she is not pregnant yet. Something is off!”
“Even Yang Guifei cannot win over the Empress, much less the weak Miss Gong. She is always sick, which men would even begin to like her? She is not good enough for the Emperor!”
“What on earth are you people saying?” a powerful voice bellows as Mo Qi Qi stands in front of the three maids who have been busy gossiping while pulling out weeds from a flowerbed.