The three maids are shocked by her presence. They kneel on the ground, “Your Ladyship the Empress.”
Ban Xiang points at them in anger, “You three are too preposterous! How dare you gossip about your masters behind their backs? You must be tired of living!”
The three maids kowtow in front of them, “Please forgive us, Your Ladyship! We were wrong! Please forgive us!”
Mo Qi Qi sneers icily, “Forgive you? Now you know to be afraid, why weren’t you afraid before? How dare you speak of things you do not know, and fan the flame of gossips? Bengong hates people like you the most! Now that bengong caught you three in the act, bengong must punish you heavily to warn the others! Let’s see if they dare to speak nonsense again, in the future!
“Please spare us, Your Ladyship! Please spare us—-“ the maids continue kowtowing.
Seeing this, Gong Ya Xian immediately walks towards them to plead for mercy, “Please cease your anger, Your Ladyship!”
Upon seeing Gong Ya Xian and the Grand Empress Dowager, Mo Qi Qi immediately curtsies, “Qi Qi greets Imperial Grandmother.”
The Grand Empress Dowager quickly say, “You are with child, Empress, no need for such formalities.”
“Thank you, Imperial Grandmother.” Then, Mo Qi Qi turns to Gong Ya Xian in pity, “Ya Xian, this is all bengong’s fault. Bengong caused you to be the subject of such rumors. Bengong will punish them heavily on your behalf.”
Gong Ya Xian shakes her head before warmly saying, “Ya Xian is fine, Your Ladyship. There is no need to be angry. Please do not punish them, either.”
Mo Qi Qi looks at her fondly, “It is exactly because you are too kind to them that they are treating you this way, Ya Xian. They are too disrespectful, did you hear what they say? If bengong does not punish them today, they will be even more uncontrollable in the future.”
Gong Ya Xian smiles beautifully, “Is there someone out there who does not talk about people behind their back? Is there someone out there who does not get talked about in private? You must not be angry, Your Ladyship. What if it affects your health? You are with a child, you must be careful. To tell the truth, Ya Xian is really not affected by this.”
“Ya Xian, you are too kind to people,” replies Mo Qi Qi in affection.
“You should not be too emotional, Empress. Take good care of your pregnancy. If anything happens to the child, the Emperor will be furious and might resent Ya Xian for causing it. Ya Xian is an unfortunate child, she lost her parents long ago. Aijia took her into the palace and caused her to be the subject of gossips since then. Whenever aijia caught the gossipers, aijia wanted to punish them, but this child kept intervening on their behalf. She is too kind. Kindness is a rare trait in the imperial palace and aijia wants to help her preserve that quality,” says the Grand Empress Dowager.
Mo Qi Qi holds Gong Ya Xian’s hand before saying, “It’s been hard on you, Ya Xian. Don’t worry, from now on, bengong will not let anyone bully you.” Mo Qi Qi feels a little guilty towards her because of Jun Qian Che. She feels responsible over this matter.
“Ya Xian is very happy to be loved by both the Empress and Grandmother,” replies Ya Xian with a gentle smile.
Mo Qi Qi turns towards the three maids angrily, “However, these three really need to be punished today. One bad apple spoils the whole bunch, if we don’t teach them a lesson, these types of matters will never cease. One of you will have to die today to teach everyone a lesson.”
The three maids immediately kowtow for mercy, “Please spare us, Your Ladyship! Please spare us! We will not dare to do this again!”
“Your Ladyship—-“ intervenes Ya Xian.
Mo Qi Qi puts up a hand to stop her, “Ya Xian, bengong knows you are kind and does not wish to punish them. However, bengong is the owner of the back palace, bengong cannot just ignore this. You three can pick which one amongst you that you want dead.”
The three maids exchange looks before desperately kowtowing again, “Please spare us, Your Ladyship. Please spare us!”
“It is too late to be sorry. One of you has to die. If you want to live, tell bengong who instructed you three to talk about Miss Ya Xian and the Emperor in the garden,” Mo Qi Qi smiles at them wickedly.
The three maids exchange looks.
Ban Xiang points at them angrily, “Have you think it through? The Empress does not wish to waste time on you. Tell us who the perpetrator is!”
After exchanging another look, the three maids shake their heads profusely, “No one ordered us anything, Your Ladyship. It’s all our fault for not holding back our mouths!”
Mo Qi Qi shakes her head, “So you won’t say? Alright, don’t blame bengong for being cruel. Guards!”
Realizing that the Empress really intends to kill them, the three maids turn to the Grand Empress Dowager and Ya Xian, “Please save us, Your Ladyship and Miss Gong! We were wrong, we will not do this again!”
Gong Ya Xian looks at them, torned.
The Grand Empress Dowager speaks first, “Empress, since they know their fault and Ya Xian does not wish to pursue this matter, let’s just leave this matter be.”
Mo Qi Qi insistently replies her, “We cannot let this matter go, Imperial Grandmother. If we don’t punish them today, the rules of the harem will always be ignored. As for these three, how dare they beg for Imperial Grandmother’s mercy after what they did? They really don’t know their own place!”
“Please forgive us, Grand Empress Dowager! We will not do it again! Please give us another chance!” the three desperately kowtows in front of the Grand Empress Dowager.
The Grand Empress Dowager looks torned as well, “They look so pitiful, Empress. Just spare them this one time. Aijia believe they will no longer dare to gossip about their masters in the future. You are pregnant, it will be inauspicious for your child if you kill people. You need to collect good karma for your child, so give them lighter punishment.”
Mo Qi Qi looks at the maids, “Since the Grand Empress Dowager personally spoke for you, bengong have to give you face. However, you will not be able to escape punishment. All of you are banished to the Nu Yi Department. Remember this lesson.”
Nu Yi Department is where punished servants are sent to. They will have the hardest chores there. They will not be able to eat or sleep well. They will also be frequently punished. Even if they are not technically dead, they will be half-dead anyway.
The three servants look at her, stumped.
Ban Xiang is furious, “The Empress already spared your lives, why aren’t you thanking Her Ladyship? Are you not satisfied with the punishment?”
The three kowtows in gratitude, “Thank you for sparing our lives, Your Ladyship!” Even though they are sent to the harshest department, at least they will still be alive.
“Take them away,” orders Mo Qi Qi lightly.
Guards immediately appear to take the three maids away.
Mo Qi Qi turns to the Grand Empress Dowager and smiles sweetly, “Are you alright with Qi Qi’s punishment, Imperial Grandmother?”
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