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Chapter 22: The Crown Prince’s Harem

Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations

Qiao Jinniang saluted Princess Fulu. “Princess Fulu.”

Fulu tilted her head and looked at Qiao Jinniang. “Your sister went too far. I can’t believe she made you so gaunt. It has only been four or five days since I last saw you but you look so thin now. How poor you are!”

Qiao Ruoshui was making a scene at the gate of the Duke Mansion. With so many people coming and going at the gate of the Duke Mansion, this news quickly spread as Qiao Jinniang had guessed.

However, people just talked about Qiao Ruoshui, not daring to gossip that Qiao Jinniang tried to steal Qiao Ruoyun’s husband.

After all, Qiao Ruoshui who spread this rumor had been sent away to a manor…

No one in Chang’an dared to offend Duke Anyuan.

Qiao Jinniang had indeed lost a lot of weight in the past few days. Hearing Fulu’s words, she didn’t explain. “Princess, sorry for troubling you and your mother for Sister Ruoyun’s affair.”

Fulu said, “My mother often feels bored. The people of the Duke Qin’s Mansion come to beg my mother to return their daughter-in-law every day, which gives my mother a lot of fun.

“Besides, my mother was very angry when she heard what they did to your sister.

“The Qin Family had spread a lot of rumors about me for Qin Miaomiao, so my mother is happy to see them in trouble…”

Qiao Jinniang still thanked her. “I still have to thank you, Princess. My Tasty Pavilion will open soon. You can eat for free in my restaurant.”

Princess Fulu smiled at Qiao Jinniang. “If you really want to thank me, just tell me what the daughter of the Xie Family is like.

“I heard that she is so stunningly beautiful that is considered the number one beauty in the South.

“You are already so beautiful, but no one calls you the number one beauty in the South. Since that is the case, I wonder how shockingly beautiful she would be?”

Qiao Jinniang asked, “Is it Xie Yun?”

Fulu nodded. “Yes, the Crown Prince is going to choose his crown princess soon, so the Xie Family sent their daughter to Chang’an. Now all the noble ladies in Chang’an are guessing that she might have an 80% chance of being the crown princess.”

Qiao Jinniang was surprised that the Crown Prince was going to choose his crown princess soon. And when she heard Xie Yun’s name, she paused.

Xie Yun liked eating pastries, and Qiao Jinniang often sent pastries to her. Despite the difference in status between them, Xie Yun treated her very well.

Qiao Jinniang remembered that she once heard a matchmaker, who often came to her restaurant, say that the people of the Xie Family planned to marry Xie Yun into the imperial family, so the young men of the wealthy families in Lin’an shouldn’t waste time courting her.

“Jinniang, Jinniang?”

Hearing Fulu’s voice, Qiao Jinniang said gently, “Miss Xie Yun is extremely beautiful, like a fairy descending from the heavens!”

Fulu asked, “Although the crown princess would be selected on June 21, a casino has already opened a gamble on who will be the crown princess. The earlier I bet, the higher the odds. I plan to bet on Xie Yun to win.”

Qiao Jinniang: “…”

Princess Fulu said, “Are you going to bet too?”

Qiao Jinniang hurriedly waved her hand. “No, thanks.”

But she was thinking, if Xie Yun was the crown princess, what would happen to her Tuan’er?

When she once asked Xie Yun what a concubine maid was, Xie Yun had taught her how to overawe and punish concubines and their sons. At that point, Qiao Jinniang listened to her with relish and was shocked that there were so many dirty tricks in the strife among women in the high-ranking families.

But if those tricks were used on her Tuan’er… Qiao Jinniang suddenly got chills all over her body.

She didn’t know if Xie Yun would treat her Tuan’er kindly for the sake of the friendship they once had.

Princess Fulu put her arm around Qiao Jinniang’s shoulders. “Don’t worry. That casino is run by Junior Duke Rong, and it has a good reputation. Plus, I’ve done such a big favor for you, so just accompany me to make a bet!

“Last time when your family hosted the banquet for you, there was also a flower viewing banquet in the imperial palace to choose the wives and concubines for the princes.

“However, none of the top noble ladies in Chang’an attended the flower viewing banquet, so it failed.

“This time, after the Crown Prince chooses his crown princess, the royal family would choose wives and concubines for the other princes.

“My friends who want to marry into the royal family don’t go out at all these days for fear that their reputation will be tarnished. None of them dare to accompany me to a casino!

“Even those noble girls who don’t want to marry into the royal family are busy finding their fiances before the royal family starts to choose wives and concubines for the princes, so they don’t have time to go to the casino either.”

“So only you can accompany me to the casino.”

Since Princess Fulu said so, Qiao Jinniang could only go with her.

Lucky Casino had a good reputation just as Fulu Princess said.

There were a lot of women and old people in it.

There were even people playing leaf cards here, with the stakes being no more than a penny.

It could be seen how prosperous Chang’an was.

“Why is the youngest daughter of Duke Anyuan not included? The little imperial grandson is very close to Qiao Ruoshui, and she got off the Crown Prince’s carriage previously in the North Mountain.”

“You didn’t hear the news, right? Qiao Ruoshui had offended her sister, the long-lost daughter of Duke Anyuan, and was driven away to a manor. Thus, she won’t have the time to return to join in on the selection.”

“Will Duke Anyuan send his daughter who was born by a concubine, Qiao Ruoyi, or his brother’s daughter to join in on the selection?”

“Why can’t it be that long-lost daughter of Duke Anyuan? She is Duke Anyuan’s daughter too, right?”

Hearing their words, Qiao Jinniang walked over.

One of the women said, “Although she is Duke Anyuan’s daughter, she was raised by slaves.

“I heard that she used to run a restaurant. Raised by slaves and did business, if her father weren’t Duke Anyuan, she doesn’t even deserve to be the Crown Prince’s concubine.

“Even if she is a noble lady now, she can at most be the fifth concubine of the Crown Prince.”

Hearing what they said, Princess Fulu took Qiao Jinniang’s hand and said, “Don’t pay attention to their nonsense. If Xie Yun is really as beautiful as rumored, she will definitely win.”

“Why are your hands so cold?” Princess Fulu looked at Qiao Jinniang.

Qiao Jinniang said, “Maybe it’s because I haven’t recovered from my illness. On another note, how many concubines can the Crown Prince have?”

Qiao Jinniang only knew that a crown prince would have concubines, but she didn’t know that he could have so many of them.

Fulu explained to Qiao Jinniang, “You may not have been informed of it in the South. Except for the crown princess, a crown prince can have:

“Two first concubines, two second concubines, who are equal to level-three officials.

“Six third concubines, who are equal to level-four officials; ten fourth concubines, who are equal to level-five officials.

“16 fifth concubines, who are equal to level-seven officials; 24 sixth concubines, who are equal to level-nine officials, as well as many concubine maids who have no official ranks.”

“The Crown Prince should have chosen his crown princess in the year he disappeared, so now his harem is empty, and he doesn’t even have a concubine.

“This time, no matter what, the royal family will select for him a crown princess, a first concubine, two second concubines, and one for each of the other ranks…”

Qiao Jinniang had been running a restaurant, so she was very good at arithmetic, but it took her quite a while to count the number of women that would be in the harem of a crown prince.

So the Crown Prince could have one wife and sixty concubines in total!

Even if as Fulu said, there would be at least seven women selected into the East Palace this time, and it was considered not many…

Although Qiao Jinniang knew that rich men would have many concubines and an emperor could have a huge harem, she grew up in an ordinary family, and most ordinary families were monogamous. She could never imagine sharing her husband with so many women.

“Seventh Brother, what are you looking at?”

On the second floor of the casino, Junior Duke Rong saw Lu Chen stop and asked.

Following Lu Chen’s gaze, he looked down. “Fulu and Miss Qiao?”

Qiao Jinniang felt someone was looking at her, so she looked up, then her and Lu Chen’s eyes met.

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