“Achoo—-“ Mo Qi Qi, who is busy checking the portraits that the kingdom’s noble families have sent, suddenly sneezes. She rubs her nose in irritation, “Who is talking about me behind my back?”
“His Majesty must be missing you, Your Ladyship,” teases Ban Xiang.
Mo Qi Qi scowls in disdain before picking up one of the portraits, “Who cares about him? There are so many beauties here, bengong hope at least one of them will suit His Majesty’s taste. Just look at this one, she is pretty and youthful. If I am a man, I would definitely like this type of women.”
Ban Xiang scowls, “Yes, these women are pretty, but their beauty is nothing compared to your’s. I don’t think His Majesty will like them.”
Mo Qi Qi glares at Ban Xiang, annoyed, “Please think twice before speaking, Ban Xiang! Whilst it is true that bengong is pretty, bengong disagree with your last sentence. What do you mean His Majesty will not like them? If he does not like them, who will he like?” Mo Qi Qi suddenly laughs wickedly, “Why don’t we ask the painter to paint you as well, Ban Xiang? Let’s put your portrait here. His Majesty might like you!”
Ban Xiang pouts, “Stop making fun of this servant, Your Ladyship. You know that this servant only wish to stay by your side. This servant has no plan to marry.”
Mo Qi Qi shakes her head in regret, “Seems like Jun Qian Che is not that great of a man, after all. You’d rather be a servant than to be his concubine. Poor guy.”
Ban Xiang tries to warmly persuade her, “Your Ladyship, it is not that this servant think His Majesty is a bad man, it is just that this servant knows her own place. His Majesty is an outstanding man. He is the top when it comes to everything; be it in appearance, in position, in intelligence and in status. No one is above him. He is perfect. Only Your Ladyship, who is also perfect, is good enough to stand next to him. Don’t think too much, Your Ladyship. As for these portraits, this servant will help you throw them away.” Ban Xiang starts collecting the portraits.
Mo Qi Qi jumps up and bends over the table, blocking her from taking the portraits away, “Don’t touch them! These are for His Majesty! If anything happens to any of the portrait, will you be able to take responsibility?”
Ban Xiang feels like crying. She feels really bad for the Emperor, at the moment.
Mo Qi Qi spends better part of the day checking the portraits. Just as she is resting her tired eyes, she can feel a sudden burst of chillness in the air. She cannot help but shudder. The weather has been getting warmer lately, where is this sudden coldness coming from? She slowly opens her eyes and jumps up in shock when she sees the figure standing in front of her. Even her voice unconsciously tremble when she speaks to him, “Y-Your Majesty, why are you here? Why didn’t anyone announce your arrival?”
Jun Qian Che is too lazy to answer her question. He purposely forbade the servants from announcing his arrival. He wanted to see for himself, what she has been so busy about.
His fixes his cold gaze on her, causing her hair to rise ominously. She avoids eye-contact and pretends to fix her clothes, “Why are you looking at chenqie like that, Your Majesty?”
Jun Qian Che narrows his eyes at her, causing her to feel as though she has been enveloped by a bubble of cold air.
“Zhen is here to see what kind of trick the Empress is playing,” replies him coldly.
Mo Qi Qi looks at him, stunned, “Trick? Chenqie is not playing any trick, hehe. Chenqie does not dare to play any trick in front of the wise and all-knowing Majesty. In fact, chenqie is doing the complete opposite. Chenqie is helping Your Majesty find marital bliss. Come and look, Your Majesty.” Mo Qi Qi slips past him and walks towards the table. She motions at the dozens of scrolls on the table, “Do you know what these are, Your Majesty? These are the portraits of various beauties! Chenqie is helping you prepare for the new concubine’s selection. Come and see if there is any that you like!” Mo Qi Qi graciously and warmly invites him to check the portraits.
Jun Qian Che does not look at the scrolls and instead watches her unflinchingly, “Is the number of consorts in the harem not enough for Empress?”
Mo Qi Qi nods without hesitation, “Indeed, there are not enough concubines in the harem. Just look at how big the harem is! There are so many empty palaces and courtyards right now. If you think about it, Your Majesty only has around 30 concubines. You are supposed to have like 3000 beauties, 30 is nowhere near enough. That’s why chenqie thought we should expand the harem. The palace will get livelier, and we will be able to have more chances to further the imperial line.”
Jun Qian Che continues speaking icily, “Have you forgotten the ancestral rule? The selection will only be done once every three years. Zhen has only been ruling for two years, and the first selection has already been done during zhen’s ascension. We are not supposed to have any selection until next year.”
“Next year?” By then, she would have already given birth. What will be the point of working so hard, then? She is only doing this to distract the Emperor from her pregnancy, this matter cannot wait until next year.
She smiles, “Your Majesty, rules are made by people! Besides, what is wrong with holding it one year early? Just look at this beauty, Your Majesty! How fascinating and glamorous!” She opens one of the scrolls and show it to Jun Qian Che.
The look in his eyes becomes icier.
When he remains quiet, Mo Qi Qi puts the scroll down and picks another, “Since you don’t like the glamorous type, why don’t you take a look at this one? How innocent and pure, she looks like a fairy amongst mortals. Very pleasing to the eyes!”
Jun Qian Che does not say anything and Mo Qi Qi immediately picks another scroll, “This one is not bad as well! She looks pure and glamorous at the same time! Although looking pure and glamorous at the same time might look weird on other women, it suits her really well! She is an example of excellence amongst the best. This one should satisfy you at last, no, Your Majesty?”
Jun Qian Che reaches out and throws the scroll to the floor, causing it to tear into two.
Mo Qi Qi is shocked by his outburst. She feigns courage and looks at him steadily, “If you don’t like them, you can just say it, Your Majesty. No need to get angry.
The look on Jun Qian Che’s face is borderline dangerous now. Had he not taken into account the state of her pregnancy, he would have given her a good scolding long ago, “Do not forget your place, Empress. You cannot simply change our ancestral law as you please. You can push it back if you’d like, but you cannot bring it forward. Do you want the common people to think that zhen is a lecherous ruler? Stop the selection immediately. Zhen does not want to hear anything about it tomorrow.”
Mo Qi Qi looks at him hesitantly, “Your Majesty, chenqie already released the order for the selection to commence. All the available young maidens are currently preparing for the selection. Even their portraits have been sent over. It is not good to cancel it so suddenly. Let’s just get on with it.”