The concubines look at her in disbelief. They feel like they are in the middle of a dream, “Your Ladyship, your joke is a little too much.”
Mo Qi Qi looks at them earnestly, “Bengong is not joking. As long as one of you managed to serve His Majesty, and perhaps receive his continual favour, just like Yang Guifei, bengong will let you use the phoenix seal and exercise authority as the Empress for a month!”
The concubines look at her, stupefied.
Mo Qi Qi raises her eyebrows playfully at the crowd, “Is there anyone amongst you who is interested in bengong’s offer?”
All eyes fall on the beautiful and tempting phoenix seal.
Just how many women in history willingly forfeited their lives just for the chance to wield this seal and to sit on the phoenix seat? Dying will be worth it if it means they can hold both for a month. Just—– why exactly is the Empress doing all this?
Doubts begin to rise inside their hearts. They are worried that the Empress is only doing this to test their hearts.
One of them speaks up, “Your Ladyship, since you love His Majesty, why would you let us serve him? Won’t you get angry? Won’t you get jealous?”
The rest nod at that; that is exactly what they have been worrying about.
A sweet smile is formed on the Empress’ lips as she pats her flat stomach, “It is true that bengong loved His Majesty. Bengong went through a lot just to marry him. But now, things are different. Bengong is now with a child. A lot of things have become clear to bengong now that bengong is pregnant. In the past, bengong used to get very jealous whenever someone tried to approach His Majesty. But now that bengong think about it, what was there to be jealous of? It’s not like His Majesty belongs to bengong alone. Being graced by His Majesty alone is a great honor. Bengong is very lucky to be gifted with this child. Now that bengong is happy, bengong can now clearly see what is happenning around bengong. What you are going through now is what bengong had been going through before. The tormenting wait for even one chance. Bengong’s heart aches for you. Bengong regrets making things hard for you back then. Although our identities are different, we are all collectively known as one thing: His Majesty’s women. Now that bengong has gotten what bengong wished for, bengong wants to help you next. Bengong is pregnant and cannot serve, and His Majesty cannot always only favours Yang Guifei. Everything is just too unfair for the rest of you.
Bengong knows that all of you are feeling down right now. You feel like as long as Yang Guifei is around, no one will get the chance to serve. To tell the truth, that is merely your own brain taunting you. You put yourself down, causing you to lose your confidence. You let yourself go. How could the Emperor possibly like you now? That’s why all of you must be strong, you must continue to fight for favor. Now that you have changed your style, all that is left for you to do is to seek His Majesty. He will definitely like your new image. You must discuss it amongst yourselves. Go to His Majesty in groups of twos or threes; there will definitely be one that catches His Majesty’s eye. Do not give up, as long as there is even a sliver of hope.”
Under Mo Qi Qi’s encouragement, the concubines’ spirit to fight begins to lift.
But still, there is one of them who still worries, “Your Ladyship, His Majesty released an edict that forbade concubines from entering his palace without summons.”
Mo Qi Qi rubs her nose, “Don’t be afraid, bengong has a way! Bengong has this one pendant that allows one to enter Yu Jing Palace. No one will dare to stop you!”
The concubines are ecstatic when they see the pendant.
“This was given by bengong’s father when bengong first entered the palace.”
Duke Zhen was worried that his daughter would get mistreated inside the palace and no one would know; and so, he gave her the pendant that the late Emperor bestowed him. If anyone dared to pull anything with her, she would have the authority to leave and enter the palace as she pleased. This pendant not only allowed her to enter the Forbidden City, but also every single palace in the back palace. This goes on to show just how much the late Emperor trusted Duke Zhen.
The fact that Duke Zhen gave this precious pendant to his beloved daughter, on the other hand, shows just how much he dotes on her.
And so, when the sun sets, a crowd of concubines gather outside Yu Jing Palace. They enter in group of twos, one by one.
When each group walks in, Jun Qian Che only utters one word, “Out.” He only gives them a simple glance, as though he does not even want to give them the chance to approach him.
By the time the last of the groups walk in, they keep their heads down, not daring to look at him.
Jun Qian Che, who is reading a book, speaks without even lifting his head, “Are there more waiting outside?”
The two concubines shake their heads, “No, Your Majesty.”
Jun Qian Che lightly raises his eyebrows, “Good. It is said that nobody stopped you because you entered using the Empress’ token, is it true?”
The two ladies nod, “Yes.” They are shaking, not out of fear, but out of excitement. The groups before them got kicked out so quickly. The only thing the Emperor said to them was ‘Out!’ When it comes to their turn, on the other hand, the Emperor actually speaks with them. Does this means they will have the chance to serve for tonight?
Jun Qian Che continues speaking coldly, “Take out the pendant.”
The two concubines exchange a look. This has been lent to them by the Empress to allow them access into Yu Jing Palace. If the Emperor confiscates it, how will they explain it to the Empress?
Jun Qian Che is too lazy to waste any more time with them, so he simply says, “It is either the pendant or your lives. Choose.”
The two ladies’ legs turn soft after they hear that. Although it will be hard to explain the loss of the pendant to the Empress, it’s not like they were the ones begging to borrow it. The Empress came up with the idea herself, so it is very unlikely that she will blame them in this. Besides, if they don’t hand it over right now, they will lose their lives! They immediately take out the pendant and places it on top of the table in front of Jun Qian Che.
And so, Jun Qian Che heartlessly speaks again, “Out!”
They both rush out.
Some of the concubines who are waiting outside to see how this plays out are disappointed when the last two does not come out. They thought the Emperor picked them for sure. And so, they decide to leave with their hearts completely crushed.
However, before they can even turn around, the two concubines rush out, their forehead completely covered in sweat.
The ladies circle around the two curiously, “What is going on? You did not come out for the longest time, so we thought His Majesty picked you two!”
The two concubines shake their heads profusely, “No. His Majesty took away the pendant!”
“Huh?” exclaims the crowd in shock. “What are we supposed to say to the Empress tomorrow?”
“Yeah! Her Ladyship kindly came up with this plan just to let us meet the Emperor, but in the end, not only did we fail, we also lost her pendant! We are so terrible!”
“His Majesty wanted it, did you expect us to say no? Never mind all this, let’s just apologize to the Empress tomorrow. From the look of it, there is only Yang Guifei in His Majesty’s heart right now, he is not interested in us.”
The concubines slowly leave the frontyard of Yu Jing Palace in disappointment.
Inside Yu Jing’s palace, Jun Qian Che’s grip on the pendant tightens as his face turns cold. This was given to Duke Zhen by the late Emperor. Duke Zhen lovingly gave it to her so that she could use it whenever she got into trouble, but instead, she used it to help other women. He did not expect her to take this out. He definitely underestimated the level of her so-called generosity and kindness.
He has been disturbed the entire night and seeing this pendant only serves to anger him. He furiously throws his book to the floor and heads over to Feng Yang Palace in large strides.