Jun Qian Che’s voice becomes colder as he says, “Zhen has seen neither the dragon robe nor the Marquis of Ning Nan himself. Persecuting him without proof will be too unfair. Zhen will only decide on the punishment upon questioning the Marquis myself. That’s enough, the court this morning shall end now. The discussion will continue tomorrow.” Jun Qian Che gets up and leaves.
The ministers kneel before him respectfully, “Long live the Emperor.”
Jun Qian Che returns to the imperial study in anger. He clenches his fists tight in an attempt to quell the anger inside his heart.
Chu Ling Xiao walks in not long later, “This official greets Your Majesty.”
“Ling Xiao, investigate this matter secretly. And inform Yi Xiao to secretly protect the Marquis of Ning Nan on the way to the capital. Someone is bound to lift their hands against him,” orders Jun Qian Che.
“Yes, Your Majesty. There must be a certain someone behind all this,” replies Chu Ling Xiao.
A cold look flashes in Jun Qian Che’s eyes, “Duke Zhen was far away in Camp Sheng Jing, and yet he still went out of his way to search the Marquis of Ning Nan’s residence, his intention is clear.”
“Your Majesty, the Marquis of Ning Nan is our supporter that we secretly planted in the south. It will not be good if we let Duke Zhen get rid of him,” says Chu Ling Xiao in worry.
“That’s why we must protect the Marquis at all cost. We must not let Duke Zhen get what he wants,” replies Jun Qian Che coldly.
“Yes, this official will immediately look for Yi Xiao.”
Jun Qian Che nods.
Chu Ling Xiao leaves the imperial study.
On another part of the palace, the bored and idle Mo Qi Qi takes a stroll around the harem. She quickly notices how happy everyone looks today. She turns to Ban Xiang in confusion, “Is there a special occasion today? Why does everyone look so excited?”
Ban Xiang laughs before saying, “Your Ladyship, today is the 7th day of the 7th month! The Qixi Festival is celebrated grandly in our Hua Chen Kingdom. Young men and women would gather by the riverside and release lanterns. They will also go to Yue Lao Temple to make a wish before hanging their true love’s knot under the Marriage Tree. The streets and the marketplace will be packed. Lovers will give their significant others gifts, so today can be considered an auspicious day. This is to celebrate the meeting of the Cowherder and the Weaver Girl. All the unmarried people are hoping to meet their other half in the near future.”
(TN: Qixi Festival is like Chinese Valentine’s Day.)
Mo Qi Qi nods in understanding, “So, it is like that. No wonder those palace maids look so happy. Will there be a celebration in the palace?”
Ban Xiang shakes her head, “No, but palace maids will still find ways to secretly gift their loved ones with love tokens like scented pouch. As for the concubines, they will personally prepare something to be given to the Emperor.”
Mo Qi Qi sighs in disappointment, “Why can’t we celebrate it inside the palace? There are so many people here, the celebration would have been merry. You should have informed bengong earlier, bengong would have arranged it.”
Ban Xiang secretively whispers, “Your Ladyship, today is the Qixi Festival. Why don’t you send His Majesty a little gift to represent your love for him?”
Mo Qi Qi laughs at her exagerratingly before checking Ban Xiang’s forehead, “Are you ill? How on earth did you even manage to say that nonsense so openly? You want me to give Jun Qian Che a gift? What a joke! Since today is the Qixi Festival, bengong will give you a leave! You can leave the palace and look for your lover outside!”
Ban Xiang immediately reddens, “You are making fun of this servant again, Your Ladyship! This servant has no lover!”
“Hahaha,” Mo Qi Qi laughs at her in amusement.
Jun Qian Che is busy in the imperial study the entire day and only returned to Yu Jing Palace for dinner. As for Mo Qi Qi, she finds that the night is still young after eating dinner. She is not sleepy at all. That, aided by Ban Xiang’s description of the festival outside makes her feel restless. “Ban Xiang, let’s sneak out of the palace tonight and join the merriment! I want to see how it’s like outside!”
The moment Ban Xiang hears that, cold sweat fills her forehead, “You want to sneak out of the palace? No! His Majesty will be furious if he finds out! If we are late by even one minute, the palace’s gate would be closed and we won’t be able to get in!”
“We’ll go early and return early! His Majesty will never know! It won’t take long!” Mo Qi Qi negotiates with Ban Xiang.
Ban Xiang does not dare to promise anything, “No. Please do not make things hard for this servant, Your Ladyship. You are currently with a child. There are so many people on the streets out there, what if they bump into you? If anything happens to you, His Majesty would never spare this servant! Perhaps, Your Ladyship should ask for His Majesty’s permission first. If he agrees, this servant will keep you company.” Ban Xiang regrets telling her about the festival today. In the end, she could only use the Emperor’s name to suppress the Empress’ desire. She originally thought it would kick the idea out of her Mistress’ head, however, contrary to her expectation, Mo Qi Qi suddenly jumps up.
“You are right, Ban Xiang! I should ask for Jun Qian Che’s opinion. I will go to him right now. If he won’t let me, I will cry and throw a temper tantrum in front of him. I am pregnant, so he will never kill me. I’ll continue complaining until he agree with me!” Mo Qi Qi has always been the type that does whatever she wants, so she immediately rushes out of Feng Yang Palace.
“Please slow down, Your Ladyship,” Ban Xiang sighs.
Mo Qi Qi heads straight towards Yu Jing Palace and directly enters Jun Qian Che’s resting chamber.
Jun Qian Che is currently reading in front of a table. The dim light casted upon his figure gives him an indifferent air. He is currently lowering his head, even the warmth of the light cannot warm up his cold countenance. Hs phoenix eyes are long and narrow, his nose bridge is high and his lips are thin and proud. The most eye-catching thing is the dragon headgear on top of his head. It made him look magnificent and formidable at the same time.
Mo Qi Qi stomps her way to his side while smiling, “You are reading, Your Majesty?”
Jun Qian Che has already sensed her presence from the moment she cautiously poked her head in by the door. However, he did not say anything since he wanted to see what she wants to do.
“En,” he replies simply.
“What kind of book?” Mo Qi Qi leans towards him.
He shows her the title.
When Mo Qi Qi sees the traditional characters on the title, the smile on her face turns awkward, “Hehe, it looks so complicated. Chenqie cannot understand a single word.”
Jun Qian Che puts down the book before asking, “Is there something you want to say?”
Mo Qi Qi scratches her neck, “Nothing. Just chenqie wanted to see if you are asleep.”
Jun Qian Che looks at her.
Mo Qi Qi laughs awkwardly.
Jun Qian Che picks up the book before dismissing her, “If there is nothing else, the Empress can leave.”
Mo Qi Qi chokes a little before giving him a perfunctory smile, “Your Majesty, it was not easy for chenqie to come over and you’re already kicking chenqie out? To tell the truth, chenqie has a little request.”
Jun Qian Che has seen this coming long ago. Even a ghost would not believe it if she says she comes with no intention.
“What is it?” asks Jun Qian Che calmly.
Mo Qi Qi purses her lips before jumping straight to the point, “It’s the Qixi Festival today. Chenqie heard it’s really lively outside. Chenqie wants to take a look….”
Jun Qian Che immediately glares at her, “Mo Qi Qi, you are the Empress! Do you think it suits your position to leave the palace in the dead of the night? Besides, you are pregnant. It is not safe. Zhen will not let you.”
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