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Chapter 76 Part 1: Forced to adopt a daughter

    "Nucai greets Rong zhuzi!" When they heard the palace maid berate them, the eunuch bent his body to bow respectfully to the figure in the yellow dress.

    Yun Qian Meng heard him call the girl Rong zhuzi. Seeing person in front of them was just a young woman, she quickly realized that this girl must be Rong Yun He's older sister. She immediately pulled Mu Chun down with her to bow, "Yun xiangfu Qian Meng greets Rong zhuzi!"

    When she heard Yun Qian Meng's greeting, the girl slowly turned around. A pair of unsympathetic, cold eyes cast a glance at the bowed head of Yun Qian Meng. She saw the pool of blue skirt spilling onto the floor as Yun Qian Meng bent her knees to perform her greeting. The skirt was made with multicolored threads and embroidered with butterflies. As it swayed, the butterflies on the fabric appeared to be real, vividly flying about the skirt. The formerly apathetic eyes flashed with admiration, "Everybody rise! Cao gong gong, where are you going?"

    That Cao gong gong was Rong Xian taifei's personal eunuch. He was proud of this lady of the Rong family that had just been installed in the harem. This da xiaojie was even going to be named imperial consort soon. A smile formed on his face as he made his reply, "To answer Rong zhuzi, taifei invited xiaojie to the palace!"

    Rong xiaojie cast a glance at Cao gong gong as she articulated her reply, "By chance, I am also going to see gugu. Gong gong should go ahead and inform gugu that I will take Yun xiaojie with me and that we will go together."

    A flash of astonishment appeared beneath Yun Qian Meng's hooded lids. She was puzzled by Rong da xiaojie's words. But she did not immediately speak, after all, the company of Rong xiaojie was preferable to Rong Xian taifei, whose reason for calling her over was still a mystery. Perhaps she would be able to gain some information from her.

    When Cao gong gong hear Rong xiaojie's command he suddenly lifted his head. His face had an awkward expression as he looked at Rong xiaojie. He said in a placating voice, "Rong zhuzi, taifei has been waiting for half a day, how can I let her wait longer? Please allow nucai to bring Yun xiaojie to her."

    Rong xiaojie had a faint smile on her face and, in a manner of lightly brushing other people away, said "Then you must go now. I will take responsibility for this and explain to gugu myself."

    Cao gong gong could see that the best thing to do was to follow her way. Now that there was an iciness to her tone and that she was the taifei's niece, he thought that the taifei wouldn't blame him very much. He bowed his head in assent, then turned to Yun Qian Meng to bid farewell, "Xiaojie, nucai will now return to taifei niangniang's palace!"

    Yun Qian Meng bent her knee in a bow to return the farewell, saying meekly, "I troubled gong gong!"

    The people left behind trailed the retreating figure of the eunuch as he departed. Rong xiaojie then turned around, her eyes once again looking at the imperial flower gardens, a hundred flowers abloom. For a moment, the world was suddenly quiet.

    Mu Chun was a bundle of nerves. She looked with curiosity at Rong xiaojie. It was an amazing discovery. This person who came from the same parents as Ron Yun He had a head of fine black hair. At this moment she could not see the front of her face, but from her profile alone at once could see that this Rong xiaojie's beauty was a great beauty capable of causing the downfall of city and state. She had a pair of thick and slender eyebrows, a straight and delicate nose that only a few people had, captivating red cloves of lips, and snowy white skin with the luster of mother's milk. But this Rong xiaojie radiated an air of coldness, as if everything in the palace had nothing to do with her. She did not even look at the xiaojie she had just asked to remain with her. She stood as if there was nobody else in the vicinity, wallowing in her own world!

    Yun Qian Meng did not feel indignant at this treatment. Instead, she respectfully walked over and positioned herself behind Rong xiaojie, joining her reverie in admiring the flowers. Her calm bearing made Rong xiaojie's maid raise her eyebrows in surprise.

    "Yun xiaojie, first, follow me to my temporary palace. There are some gifts there that I wish to bring to taifei." Rong xiaojie had turned around at this time, her eyes and voice were full of coldness.

    Yun Qian Meng bowed and made soft sound of assent.

    When the palace maid saw that her zhuzi intended to return, she expertly stepped forward to support her. The two people walked in front, followed by Yun Qian Meng and Mu Chun behind, as they walked through the Nine Bend Corridor, towards the direction of the secluded palace.

    Yun Qian Meng saw the splendid mansion ahead of them. She knew that while this Rong xiaojie had yet to be conferred the title of imperial consort, her treatment in the palace was already as if she were the imperial consort. Apparently Yu Qian Di was still an expert at keeping up appearances. Not because he was using Rong Xian taifei was he treating her poorly.

    "Yun xiaojie wait here and have some tea. I will be right back." Rong xiaojie said politely when they arrived at a large hall in the palace. After she said this a maid appeared with a pot of hot tea. It seemed as if they were expecting company.

    Then, Rong xiaojie left the hall with her personal maid and went into a side chamber.

    "Jiejie!" A voice called out from the room. Rong Yun He who had been waiting in the room for a while. Now that his sister had finally returned, he immediately got up from his seat.

    He was different from his reclusive manner of ordinary days. Rong Rong saw that Rong Yun He looked anxious. Especially since he unconsciously get up, it made Rong Rong become aware that her own didi was not heartless, it's just that right now nobody could be kept in his heart.

    Rong Rong felt some concern as she regarded this severely agitated person in front of her. She feared that her younger brother was going to do something crazy.

    "Jiejie, were you able to bring her?" Rong Yun He asked worriedly. He had seen her straight-faced expression and felt his heart about to burst out of his chest.

    Rong Rong couldn't bare to see him so anxious. She promptly replied, "Luckily, you came in time, otherwise Cao gong gong would have brought her to gugu already!"

    Rong Yun He heard his most trusted sister say this, and the worry in his eyes slowly dissipated as his expression turned into one of relief!

    Seeing Rong Yun He so worked up today, Rong Rong's cold face was replaced with a warm smile. She extended a hand and pulled up her younger brother, scolding him with feigned anger, "You're an adult now but you still act like a child! This is jiejie's palace, can't you show a happy face!"

    Rong Yun He Rong xiaojie's rebuke, and answered in a low voice, "Thank you, jiejie!" It wasn't clear whether he was thanking her for her words or for something else.

    Rong Rong had already regained her cold smile, and saw that Rong Yun He understood. She asked without ceremony the most important question, "I already intercepted this person for you, what do you plan on doing now?"

    After she asked this, Rong xiaojie's expression turned into a graveness rarely seen on her face. But Rong Yun He was not the least bit bothered. He replied in a slow but steady manner, "I will now see what gugu means by this!"

    Hearing this, Rong Rong's delicate brows wrinkled as she looked at Rong Yun He with a slight disapproval. Her eyes strayed towards the direction of the main hall as she recalled how she had just deliberately stood in silence in the imperial gardens. Other noble ladies would have found that silent treatment unbearable. But this Yun Qian Meng had stood calmly smiling from start to finish. Her calm and steady bearing had made Rong Rong gain a whole new level of respect for her. It was no wonder that Rong Yun He began to be pay her such attention. He even sent two educated, superb yaotu to the xiangfu.

    But if gugu were to find about this, it was unknown if it will good news or bad news for Yun xiaojie!

    Based on Yun He's expression and attitude one could tell that if gugu wanted to treat Yun xiaojie this way, he would never allow it!

    Regarding what Rong Rong said, Rong Xian taifei and Rong Yun He were blood relatives. For her, both the palm and the back of the hand are made of flesh (she valued both equally). If a wedge were to be driven between them, she would be the one who would suffer.

    Since she was very young Rong Xian taifei had treated her very well. Aside from Chen laotaijun and her own mother, Rong Rong considered Rong Xian taifei to be her second mother.

    She was only older than her Yun He didi by a few years, but she loved him dearly like he was a son to her. Because Yun He had white hair he did not receive his father's love. So every since they were children Rong Rong had spared no effort to take care of him.

    These two people were people she loved very dearly. If she were to pick one she loved more, she would not be able to choose!

    "Yun He, gugu has lived in the palace for many years. You must know that it's because of her that the Rong family enjoys a generation of peace." She urged in a voice full of worry as she pulled him so that he was now standing beside her.

    At these words, Rong Yun He's hands tightened into fists before slowly relaxing open again. Her brothers soft reply came to her ears, "Jiejie, was sacrificing gugu's life not enough? Why did you have to be sent here too? The Rong family has sons, why do we send the daughters to preserve the peace of the family? If jiejie meant to comfort didi with these words, then it was futile."

    Rong Rong heard the determination in his voice and inwardly sighed. Ordinarily, this younger brother did not care about anything, but towards people he cherished he had an indescribable determination.

    So let it be, she had doted on him for so many years why not dote on him some more. But there were still some matters she had to make clear to Yun He, "Yun He, gugu has loved us and doted on us for so many years. I'm sure she isn't against us on purpose for her any selfish reason! When we arrive in front of gugu, you cannot let your emotions get the better of you and break gugu's heart!"

    Rong Yun He saw that he had gained his sister's support. He nodded and replied, "I will behave respectfully. Please don't worry about it, jiejie."

    Rong Rong thought that they had already talked for too long. Fearing that at this moment their grandmother was already on her way to Xian Rong taifei's palace, she said, "I will have Xiao Li Zi bring you to the small lane. Remember that you have to accompany zumu and enter gugu's palace together, or else gugu will be suspicious!"

    When he heard Rong Rong's sincerely giving him help, Rong Yun He's eyes were filled with gratitude. But time was running out so he did not say more. He quickly followed the where young eunuch who had just entered from the back door and left Rong Rong's palace.

    "Yun xiaojie waited too long." Rong Rong had returned. Behind her the maid was holding an object covered in red silk. It must be the present for Rong Xian taifei.

    "Not at all Rong zhuzi!" Yun Qian Meng rose and replied respectfully.

    Rong Rong did not say more. Together they departed for the taifei's palace.

    At this moment Rong Xian taifei's palace was in the midst of receiving Chen laotaijun and Rong Yun He. When a servant came in to announce their arrival she was in the middle of reciting Buddhist scriptures. She put down the text and allowed the maid to support her as she entered the hall to welcome her guests. Smiling, said, "Mother and He'r, what brings you here today?"

    Her eunuch Cao gong gong had reported to her a moment ago that Rong Rong was bringing Yun Qian Meng with her. Rong Xian taifei anticipated that her own mother and nephew would also come. But she did not expect them to arrive this early when she hadn't even seen Yun Qian Meng yet.

    "Chenfu brings su'r, greets taifei!" Chen laotaijun said when Rong Xian taifei entered. She brought Rong Yun He forward and they both knelt before Rong Xian taifie!

    How could Rong Xian taifei let her own mother kneel for her? She quickly stepped forward and helped Chen laotaijun up, "Mother please get up. Don't bend to daughter!"

    Chen laotaijun was made to rise while Rong Yun He remained kneeling. He kowtowed before Rong Xian taifei three times, his clear voice echoed, "Zhi'r greets taifei!"

    Rong Xian taifei saw that today Rong Yun He was being earnest, and smiled to Chen laotaijun. Then said, "Rise! You are hurting your legs kneeling like that. We are all family here."

    Rong Yun He was moved by Rong Xian taifei's concern. Then his face returned to its usual unreadable expression.

    Rong Xian taifei understood his character well and was used to his ways so she did not take offense. She still cared deeply for this once small boy who was now a sensible and smart young man.

    The three people took their seats in the order of their ranks. Tea was then brought out. Then Rong Xian taifei said, "Why did mother and He'r come here today?"

    Chen laotaijun was a straightforward person and did not like to beat around the bush. When Rong Xian taifei asked, she promptly replied, "Taifei knows the current situation in the Rong family. Because of He'r's hair, no lady consents to an engagement with him. Now He'r is already a fifteen year old young man, after three years he will have the ruoguan ceremony. Chenfu thinks that if an appropriate lady comes our way, it would be best to show her to taifei for approval. Asking taifei to please agree to this so that nobody will have regrets in the future."

    When Rong Xian taifei heard this she did not immediately make a reply. She only gracefully held the teacup in her hand, a white hand lifted the lid, hooded eyes looked at the liquid thoroughly infused with the essence of the tea leaves. She lightly blew on it to cool it, took a small sip, pondered over the taste, then returned the lid. With coldness in her eyes she replied to Chen laotaijun, "It looks like mother has already taken a liking to someone? Coincidentally, daughter wanted to invite mother over to the palace today to discuss a certain matter."

    Even though Chen laotaijun was Rong Xian taifei's mother, her status was much higher than Chen laotaijun's. Both of them had things they wanted to bring up. Chen laotaijun naturally waited for Rong Xian taifei to speak first.

    But when Chen laotaijun saw the silent Rong Yun He from the corner of her eye she said with a smile, "Wondering what taifei has to say?"

    Rong Xian taifei's eyes calmly looked over Rong Yun He, then she turned to Chen laotaijun as she articulated her words, "Mother must know the hardships I endure in the palace! The Rong family is a merchant family and lacks noble blood. All these years daughter did not bare any children, but the new king has been kind and has allowed to daughter to continue to live in the palace and live a comfortable life. But the real reason behind this, daughter need not explain. Mother must understand all of it very well! Daughter has been prudent and cautious all these years. I also only seek the well-being of the family. My wish is for the Rong family to have peace forever for all generations! However, just depending on daughter to live in the palace and live a simple life is far from enough. The assistance of the entire family is needed to stay away from disputes in the imperial court and to put the emperor's suspicions away. Rong'r has also entered the palace and on the ninth day of the night month will be conferred the title of imperial consort. Now only Rong Yun He remains of the first wife's children. His marriage is not just his own business, but is a matter of life and death for the whole Rong family! If you choose wrong, then the Rong family will be dragged into a war. It would be the end of our peaceful days! This, mother, did you think about it?"

    Chen laotaijun expected Rong Xian taifei to say words of reprimand to her and Rong Yun He. She did not expect these sincere dredging up of the Rong family's position.

    It was correct that these days the Rong family could establish themselves among the four great families . It was because from the beginning the Rong family persisted to remain neutral that Rong Xian taifei was forced to drink the sterilization drug.

    Otherwise, with the influence the other three families had, how could they allow the Rong family to have a place in the capital?

    Rong Xian taifei used these words to make Chen laotaifei understand Yun Qian Meng's status.

    Yun Qian Meng was the current Empress Dowager's waishennu, a sun xiaojie of Fu Guo Gongfu. Even though she was outwardly cool-headed, she was sharp and clever and had gained Rong Yun He's eyes. But because of her status they were fore-ordained to never be together. To marry Yun Qian Meng would make it appear that they were siding with the Empress Dowager, sooner or later it would cause war between the great families and make her the sacrificial victim.

    But, Chen laotaijun had already considered this in her plans. She looked at Rong Xian taifei who could not be more than a little over 30 years old living out her days as if she were old and past her prime. She had sent her own daughter away for the good of the family and allowed the former emperor to force her to drink the sterilization drug, Chen laotaijun's heart was bleeding!

    She had already sacrificed one daughter and now she had sent away the granddaughter she had raised herself into the palace. If the peace and reputation of the Rong family relied on these skirts in order to be maintained, she would rather not have it this way.

    Rong Yun He, who was beside her this whole time, heard Rong Xian taifei's words rejection of towards Yun Qian Meng. The hands that were neatly placed on his lap could not help but tighten into fists. He was about to say something but was interrupted by Chen laotaijun.

    "Chenfu knows that these years have been difficult for niangniang. As a result, Chenfu earnestly taught He'r herself. Hoping that one day he would be able to stand out among his peers. Taifei must understand chenfu's intentions?" Words can only express so much. So many people were listening in the palace, add to that the fact that everybody present was smart people, Chen laotaijun's words were clear. When these words reached Rong Xian taifei's ears, it meant that Chen laotaijun did not accept her words.

    Rong Xian taifei's cast her eyes on her mother and her nephew and saw that their minds were alike on this matter. Rong Xian taifei lamentably sighed in her head. This Yun He deserved to be called a person taught by her mother, he had a stubborn spirit. Indeed he was not one to bend his waist to influential bigwigs.

    However, this palace was not the place for people to do as they wished!

    At this point, Rong Xian taifei rose from her seat, shaking her head at a maid on the side. Slowly, she walked forward until she reached Chen laotaijun, in an extremely low voice she whispered in her ear, "Mother must think about this carefully. Why did the Empress Dowager arrange a marriage for Yun xiaojie the moment she was born into this world? Xi Chu is a large and vast country, there are a lot of young, talented and handsome noble gongzi, but unexpectedly the Empress Dowager's enemy was chosen, Yuan De taifei's son."

    She ended her speech here. Rong Xian taifei knew that Chen laotaijun was aware of this matter herself. She added, "We cannot guess what the Empress Dowager's motives are. In any case, Yun Qian Meng is an abandoned child. The Rong family would gain and enemy. Daughter also knows that He'r is a talented young man, but now his wings have yet to fly. The enemy is very strong, we would not be able to withstand them. If mother really favors Yun xiaojie, take her in as an adopted daughter. This way it would not provoke suspicion from the Empress dowager. This is daughter's most generous offer, please consider it mother!"

    When Chen laotaijun heard her words she became silent.

    Rong Yun He who was sitting on the side did not speak. His face could not help but betray some anxiety. He then stood up and turned to Rong Xian taifei, "Taifei, this is zhi'r's only wish, please taifei help make it true!"

    At this, Rong Yun He knelt down before Rong Xian taifei!

    But now Rong Xian taifei did not indulge him. Her face showed a severe expression and she said in a stern voice, "You know your status, do not gamble with the lives of your entire clan!"

    Saying this, Rong Xian taifei no longer spared Rong Yun He a look. She returned to her seat and sat with her back straight. Chen laotaijun's mind was also in a turmoil from Rong Xian taifei's speech just now. Her face showed her opposing opinion.

    "Reporting to taifei, Rong zhuzi and Yun xiaojie are waiting outside the hall." At this moment, Cao gonggong entered the hall with some urgency. He stopped a few steps away from Rong Xian taifei and made his announcement.

    When Cao gong gong had entered the hall, Rong Xian taifei restrained herself from continuing the confrontation with Chen laotaijun. Her expression returned to indifference. When she heard Cao gongong's announcement, she nodded her head to signal to let them enter.
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