Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
Qiao Jinniang really disdained Qiao Ruoshui’s trick of playing weak, but she had to admit that this trick worked best.
She had been enduring Qiao Ruoshui for long enough. Today, hearing Qiao Ruoshui’s malicious speculation about her, most people would believe her words and doubt that she was innocent.
If she struck back hard, her reputation would be completely ruined.
When the Duchess heard “return to Lin’an”, she hurriedly held Qiao Jinniang’s wrist tightly. “No, don’t mention that ever again!”
Qiao Jinniang said, “Mother, ever since I came to the Duke Mansion, I’ve never done anything wrong, but Sister Ruoshui continues to speculate about me maliciously. If I don’t return to Lin’an, I won’t have the face to show up in public again.”
She could play weak too.
Qiao Jinniang’s tears then fell. “I think it will be better for me to go back to Lin’an.”
Nuomi cried sadly. “Madam, I have been serving Miss since I was a child, and she has never suffered such a grievance. Miss just tried to save Miss Ruoyun’s life.
“She personally cooked for Miss Ruoyun every day, but in the eyes of Fourth Miss, Miss took Miss Ruoyun back to the Duke Mansion with the intent to steal her husband.
“Although Miss grew up in an ordinary family, she was well-educated. How can she have such nasty thoughts?”
The Duchess looked at her youngest daughter who was sitting on the ground, crying. “How, how dare you frame your sister like this?”
Qiao Ruoshui cried. “Mother, why don’t you believe me despite the fact that I have lived with you for 15 years? Even if you feel guilty about Jinniang, you don’t have to go so far, do you? I am the one who you brought up by yourself, not her! Do you know what vicious thoughts Qiao Jinniang has?!”
“Why did you say I framed her? That’s just what she thinks!”
“Mother, quickly send her away to a manor. Don’t let her ruin the reputation of the Duke Mansion.”
Qiao Jinniang wiped away her tears. “Mother, you don’t have to bother to find a manor for me. I’ll just return to Lin’an.”
The Duchess said angrily, “Those Qiao Family bullies are still in Lin’an. How can you go back? The one who should be sent away to a manor is not you.
“Mammy Liu, take Fourth Miss to a manor to stay for a month. If she still doesn’t change her attitude toward her sister, she’ll stay in the manor for the rest of her life!”
Qiao Ruoshui was dumbfounded, as if a basin of cold water had been poured over her.
“Mother… I’m going to become the crown princess. How can you send me away to a manor now? Have you ever considered my reputation?”
The Duchess said to Mammy Liu, “Fourth Miss lost her mind temporarily because of an illness. She’s not allowed to take a step out of the manor until she recovers!”
Qiao Jinniang noticed that the Duchess’ eyes were full of distress even though her expression was calm.
She knew that she should intercede for Qiao Ruoshui, but she didn’t want to.
“Mother, I’m going back to my room first.”
The Duchess said, “Have you had dinner…”
“Yes, I’ve had dinner in Duke Rong’s Mansion.”
Qiao Jinniang saluted and returned to the Jin Garden. As soon as she entered her room, she couldn’t help but hold the quilt and cry.
Everyone in Lin’an said that she was so blessed that her husband was so handsome and that they had a cute son soon after their marriage.
She cried when she received the divorce letter he gave her.
But now what embarrassed her more was that in her husband’s eyes, she never deserved to be his wife…
After the Duchess had Qiao Ruoshui brought away, she immediately felt regretful as she walked into the Jin Garden. She wanted to defend Qiao Ruoshui a bit, but then she heard sad cries from the room.
Jinniang must feel so wronged.
The Duchess quickly went in. “Jinniang, tell me if you feel wronged. Don’t cry alone. It’s not good for your health…
“Ruoshui had insulted you so terribly. She should reflect on her mistake in the manor for two months. I won’t bring her back unless she admits her mistake.”
Hearing it, Qiao Jinniang hugged the Duchess and cried. “Mother.”
The Duchess hugged Qiao Jinniang tightly. “I’m sorry, Jinniang. I should have punished Ruoshui sooner. If I had done so, you wouldn’t have been bullied by her over and over again.”
“Good girl, don’t cry. It’s not worth crying over those who bullied you. You have me by your side.”
Qiao Jinniang was reluctant to leave her mother’s warm embrace. Yes, she had got to move on, and it was really not worth it to cry for that jerk…
Her tears were as worthless as her in that jerk’s eyes.
The Queen ordered to serve the dishes, and when Lu Chen sat down, the Queen stared at her son’s face. “Why did you apply make-up like those dandies?”
The Emperor looked at his face carefully. “Is your face swollen?”
Knowing that he couldn’t hide it from his parents, Lu Chen could only say, “I had a fall just now.”
The Queen said coldly, “A fall? Then why is there a handprint on your face? Who dares to slap the Crown Prince? Why are you covering up for that person?”
Lu Chen said, “Just take it as I slapped myself!”
The Queen said, “I guess the one who slapped you is a girl but you want to protect her, right? By the way, I didn’t tell you in the North Mountain, but I suspect that the second daughter of Duke Anyuan is that Jinniang you are looking for.”
Lu Chen responded. “I’ve already seen her.”
The Emperor raised his eyebrows. “Is she that daughter of Duke Anyuan who was swapped by Duke Anyuan’s concubine?”
Lu Chen nodded. “Yes.”
The Emperor said, “I think she can be your second concubine. If she gives birth to another child for you, she can be promoted to your first concubine.”
The Queen frowned. Which woman would be willing to be demoted from a wife to a concubine? Everyone said that the concubines of the crown prince were not ordinary concubines but were considered masters of the country, but after staying in the harem for so many years, she knew that a concubine would always be a concubine.
Although she felt pity for Qiao Jinniang, the Queen knew the rules of the imperial family. The Queen Dowager and Imperial Concubine Xian would definitely not agree to let her be the crown princess. It was already the best result for Qiao Jinniang to be the Crown Prince’s second concubine.
The emperor said, “You should select your crown princess now, and then I’ll grant a decree to Qiao Jinniang, making her your second concubine, so as not to arouse any suspicion.”
It was a scandal that the Crown Prince had once married into a merchant’s family, so it would save a lot of trouble to grant Qiao Jinniang to be the second concubine after declaring who was the crown princess.
Thinking of Qiao Jinniang, who tearfully scolded him for demoting her to be his concubine in Duke Rong’s Mansion, Lu Chen said to the Emperor, “Father, Jinniang is Duke Anyuan’s daughter after all. And Duke Anyuan is one of your favorite subjects. Isn’t the position of the second concubine too low for her?”
The Emperor looked at Lu Chen. “Then what position do you think is appropriate?”
Lu Chen said in a low voice. “The crown princess.”
The emperor said, “Choosing a crown princess is not a trivial matter. Although she gave birth to Tuan’er, she was brought up by a merchant. A girl who grew up in a restaurant doesn’t deserve to be the crown princess.”
Hearing this, Lu Chen pursed his lips and said nothing more.
Since the Queen entered the imperial palace, the Emperor hadn’t picked any more concubines.
As suggested by the Ministry of Rites, the date for the Crown Prince to choose his crown princess would be June 21, which was only two months away.
This event instantly became the hottest news.
Qiao Jinniang was recuperating in her room for three days before she came out.. It was a coincidence that she ran into Princess Fulu who came to the Duke Mansion when she walked out of the Jin Garden.
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