Reborn After Widowhood – Chapter 55
Since the two imperial envoys arrived in Lingzhou City, the people outside Lingzhou City seemed to be celebrating New Year in advance, and they rushed to the city in waves.
The imperial envoys borrowed the Prefect’s yamen to interrogate Prince Xiang and then interrogate the stewards, guards, servants, and maids of the prince mansion. At first Prince Xiang refused to plead guilty, but they had the confessions of the servants who helped done the evil as evidence. Not to mention, Prince Xiang Shizi was still in Jinyiwei’s hands. Prince Xiang’s mouth only remained firm for one day and one night. The next day, under the weight of a large number of witnesses and material evidence, Prince Xiang finally willing to confess everything.
It was just that he committed too many crimes, and the imperial envoys actually spent four days and nights checking each one.
On the morning of the fourteenth of Fourth Month, Shi Yao and Zheng Hong finally walked out of the Prefect’s yamen and came to Ningyuan to meet the princess.
After not seeing each other for a few days, Hua Yang found that both of them looked haggard and had dark eyes, which proved that they had stayed up late to review the case.
“Sirs, thank you for your hard work. Please sit down.”
The maids also brought tea.
Shi Yao and Zheng Hong saluted and thanked her. After they sat down, Shi Yao said first: “Princess, the seventeen charges you filed against Prince Xiang, Prince Xiang and his henchmen have all pleaded guilty. This minister has made a memorial and sent them with six-hundred-miles urgency to the capital to be passed on to His Majesty for a ruling. Once it got there, we will know the result in about ten days.”
Hua Yang didn’t look joyful, but looked regretful: “Prince Xiang is my uncle. Today he has fallen to this point, how can I bear it?”
Zheng Hong advised her bluntly: “Princess, there is no need to be sad. Prince Xiang was corrupt and abused the law while oppressing the common people, which made the people in Lingzhou miserable and full of complaints. This not only violated Taizu’s ancestral precepts of enfeoffing vassal princes, but also failed His Majesty’s great kindness to him, become a sinner towards the imperial clan and the common people. No matter how His Majesty punishes him, he deserves it.”
Shi Yao: “Sir Zheng is right. Princess, please take good care of your body and don’t bother about this.”
Hua Yang sighed: “That’s fine, but children are innocent. If there are still young clan members in the prince mansion, Sirs should ask the guards to take good care of them until Father Emperor’s decree arrives.”
The two imperial envoys left the seat at the same time, cupped their hands and said: “Princess’s mercy is really a blessing to the clan and the people.”
Hua Yang smiled lightly and told them to go back to the post house and have a good rest.
Wu Run sent the imperial envoys out, and Hua Yang no longer had to act like a princess and took the maids back to Qifeng Hall.
Chao Yun was beaming with joy: “Now that Prince Xiang has confessed his crime, His Majesty will definitely not let him off lightly. Finally, the dust has settled, and Princess can celebrate your birthday properly.”
Hua Yang had little interest: “We celebrate birthdays every year, and it’s the same old things. I’ve long since gotten tired of it.”
Chao Yue: “Princess, this is your second birthday after you got married. Last year coincided with Old Lady Chen’s funeral, and we had just arrived in town. That time was basically just a perfunctory one. This year, we have to celebrate it more grandly.”
Hua Yang shook her head: “No, Prince Xiang is my uncle after all. Their whole mansion is waiting for the decree to be issued, but here we are singing and dancing, it will look like we take pleasure in others’ misfortune. Even if we think so in our hearts, we cannot let others gossiped about us.”
“Ah, are we going to be perfunctory again this year?”
Hua Yang didn’t expect anything, and naturally she wouldn’t be disappointed. Birthday was just a trivial matter, Prince Xiang was going to be convicted, and there would be one less vermin for the court. This one thing alone was enough to make her happy for a whole year.
Chao Yun and Chao Yue felt unhappy for the princess. Before the princess got married, the emperor and the empress had to make a big fuss every birthday, it was lively and festive. But how could it be deserted as soon as she left the palace?
When Chen Jingzong came back in the evening, Chao Yue stopped him outside Qifeng Hall and asked quietly: “Does Prince Consort know what day it will be in four days?”
It was strange if Chen Jingzong doesn’t know.
Before her birthday last year, his mother specially called him over and gave him a piece of mutton-fat jade qilin pendant, which could be split into two pieces, one qi and one lin.
According to his mother, this was a dowry given to her by her grandmother. She was reluctant to share it with the old man, and kept it as a family heirloom, waiting to be passed on to her son and daughter-in-law.
But after having too many sons, one heirloom was not enough, so his mother changed her mind and decided to keep it for herself.
Unexpectedly, her youngest son was so lucky that he married a daughter-in-law princess. What kind of treasure the princess had never seen, it would be hard for her son to give birthday gift to express his sincerity. So she simply gave him a family heirloom to give to the princess as his first birthday gift, which could showed his sincerity.
Since his mother had thought carefully about it for him, Chen Jingzong couldn’t think of a better birthday gift than this pair of jade pendants. On the morning of the eighteenth of Fourth Month last year, he gave the jade pendants to her.
As a result, the noble princess didn’t cherish it at all. She didn’t care whether the jade pendant could be divided into two pieces. She looked at it twice, said a faint thank you, and asked the maids to put it in the trunk.
This year, on the rest day at the end of Third Month, because of the incident with Prince Xiang, the couple along with the eldest brother and sister-in-law did not return to the ancestral home. A few days later, his mother actually sent a maid over to remind him that it would be her birthday soon, and he had to prepare gifts in advance!
Is this his wife, or his mother’s wife?
Facing Chao Yue’s question at this time, Chen Jingzong thought for a moment and said, “It’s the Princess’s birthday.”
A smile appeared in Chao Yue’s eyes. Although prince consort was rough, he remembered the princess’s birthday, so he was still a good prince consort.
“The Princess has no intention of making it a big event, what does Prince Consort think? The Princess couldn’t celebrate her birthday properly last year, so this year it’s time to be lively, even if it’s just in Ningyuan.”
Chen Jingzong: “That’s how it should be. But I’m a rough guy and I don’t know the Princess’s preferences. You have been serving her for so many years, so I leave this matter to you. Tell me in advance if you need my cooperation.”
Chao Yue: “That won’t do. You are the closest person to the Princess now. You must make the decision. No matter how well we prepared, if the princess is just going through the motions, there won’t be much joy in her heart.”
He couldn’t even think of what to give as a gift, and he still has to think about how to celebrate her birthday?
Chen Jingzong wanted to refuse, but thinking of her thin and pitiful look when she first arrived at the Chen family’s ancestral home last year, he had no choice but to agree.
When he went to bed that night, he hugged Hua Yang and asked, “Isn’t your birthday soon?”
Hua Yang raised her eyebrows: “Did Chao Yun and the others tell you?”
Chen Jingzong: “Can’t I remember it myself?”
Hua Yang: “Okay, just pretend you remember it. The timing is not right, so don’t make a fuss. I’m not in the mood to watch the play or listen to music.”
Chen Jingzong had already eliminated the theatre troupe. At this time, if there were sound of play came from Ningyuan, the people would think that the couple were looking forward for Prince Xiang to be out of luck.
“How did you celebrate your birthday before you left the palace?” Chen Jingzong asked, hoping to gain some insight.
Hua Yang thought for a while and said: “It’s all organized by Father Emperor and Mother Empress, either by inviting the noble ladies in the capital to the palace for a peony banquet, or by holding a lantern show at night, or by asking the theatre troupe to arrange a few performances. One year, fireworks were set off in the palace for a whole hour…”
Chen Jingzong: “No wonder you are so precious. It turns out you were raised by money.”
Hua Yang pinched him hard.
Chen Jingzong: “I just want to help you arrange something, but I don’t have that much money, unless I imitate Xiang Baoshan and others and become corrupt. But then I will be beaten into a cripple by the old man, or be killed by you out of righteousness.”
Hua Yang: “I don’t want you arrange something either. Don’t listen to Chao Yun and the others.”
Chen Jingzong: “Do you want a birthday gift?”
Hua Yang glanced at him: “What, you don’t want to give it?”
In any case she embroidered a handkerchief to celebrate his birthday last year. If Chen Jingzong dared not give her a gift this year, Liuyun Hall would not be vacant anymore!
She could refuse Chen Jingzong’s gift, she could not liking it, but if Chen Jingzong didn’t even give one, that’s a completely different matter.
Chen Jingzong asked: “Do you remember what I gave you on Fourth Month last year?”
Hua Yang was startled.
She was reborn on the night of twenty-fourth of Fourth Month last year, and what happened on the eighteenth of Fourth Month was equivalent to her previous life, seven or eight years apart from now.
She tried to remember.
Chen Jingzong suddenly sneered, took his hand out from under her neck, lay on the side and said, “Look, what’s the use of giving you a gift? You won’t take it to heart at all.”
Hua Yang sneered back at him: “The fact that I can forget only mean that the gift you gave me was not thoughtful, so it’s not surprising.”
Chen Jingzong: “That’s natural. I came from a poor family, and all my private money is only a few taels of silver. What rare treasures can I give you?”
In terms of being sarcastic, Hua Yang couldn’t catch up with him, so she simply sat up and called Chao Yue who was keeping watch tonight.
Chen Jingzong was lying alone.
Tonight was Hua Yang’s “day off”, and the lights in the inner room have been turned off early.
Chao Yue hurried in holding a lantern: “Princess, what’s wrong? Do you want to light a lantern?”
Hua Yang: “You check something and find out the birthday gift that Prince Consort gave me last year. I want to see it.”
Chao Yue thought for a while and said: “Princess, wait a moment, I will go to the warehouse right now.”
The princess brought more than a dozen trunk with her when she came to Lingzhou. Last year, the emperor rewarded them several times. Those that were not usually used were put in the warehouse.
After Chao Yue left, Chen Jingzong sneered: “I didn’t put the handkerchief you gave me that far away.”
Hua Yang: “Where did you put it?”
Chen Jingzong: “When we were in the ancestral house, I put it in the east wing. I took a bath there and could reach it whenever I wanted. After moving here, I put it in the study room of Liuyun Hall, where I reach for it almost every day.”
Hua Yang: “Isn’t that what you should do? In the whole world, except for family, I have only given a handkerchief to you. Even Father Emperor has only received a few times when I first learned needlework.”
Chen Bozong’s and Chen Xiaozong’s calligraphy treasures could be worth hundreds of golds if they were sold in the market. If her handkerchiefs were circulated, it would be difficult to buy one for a thousand gold.
He didn’t speak, but moved towards her, reaching out to hold her back into his arms.
Hua Yang slapped his hand away.
Chen Jingzong knew that she was angry, so he did not move again.
About a quarter of an hour later, Chao Yue came back. She lit the lamp and looked at the hanging curtains of the babu bed. She suddenly didn’t know how to put the box in. After all, prince consort was still lying inside.
At this time, Hua Yang kicked Chen Jingzong: “Go and get it.”
Chen Jingzong stood up, straightened his clothes, and went out to get the box.
Chao Yue bowed her head and withdrew.
Chen Jingzong handed the box to Hua Yang and took the initiative to open it for her.
Hua Yang lowered her eyes and saw a mutton-fat jade pendant.
Mutton-fat jade’s quality could be divided into three grades: upper, middle and lower. Chen Jingzong’s one was considered low grade, so it was strange to leave a deep impression on her.
Before she opened her mouth to express her disdain, Chen Jingzong explained: “It was a dowry given by my grandmother to my mother. They are all small families, for them this is already a treasure, and this thing has an important meaning.”
After saying that, he sat down, took out the jade pendant, and with a little effort, he separated it into two pieces. He looked at Hua Yang and said, “A pair of qilin, one male and one female. Do I still need to tell you the meaning?”
It was obviously a token of love between a man and a woman, but when it came out of his mouth, it turned into a male and a female.
She said firmly: “You definitely didn’t say that to me at the time.”
Chen Jingzong: “You received the jade pendant, took one look at it, and then threw it to the maid. How should I speak?”
Hua Yang: “It’s because you were so sloppy back then that I despised you, and that’s why I treated you like that.”
Chen Jingzong couldn’t refute. He touched the jade pendant in his hand. He then raised his head and looked at her probingly again: “You really disliked me at that time, then why you didn’t dislike me all of a sudden?”
He remembered clearly that the change occurred on a night that he still occasionally recalled secretly.
Hua Yang had been bickering with him for so long, and finally lost her momentum at this moment. She looked away and said, “I also dislike you now, stop putting gold on your face.”
Chen Jingzong: “Who are you fooling. When you really disliked me, I offended you just by looking at you. Now if I slow down a little, you will…”
Hua Yang slapped his mouth!
Chen Jingzong smiled and accepted her throwing herself into his arms, then pressed the person to the bed.
“I won’t say any more. This year I promise to give you a gift that you will never be able to forget.”
The author has something to say:
Old Four: Why my lines are always interrupted?