After receiving the decree, Consort Yun smiled in front of people, but later, she was the same as Fu Zhiyu, without the slightest expression on her face, as if she was caught in some memories.
Fu Zhiyu looked very distressed; he slowly moved over and reached out to hold his mother in his arms.
“Xiaobao,” Consort Yun gently called his nickname, “What is going on?”
“Mother Consort doesn’t have to think too much,” Fu Zhiyu said soothingly, “If he gives something, just enjoy the benefits, and I’ll do the rest.”
When Fu Zhiyu put his plan into action, he didn’t expect this to happen. For him, it was a complete surprise. Although it also placed him in the limelight in the palace, the matter of being named the Wang was considered good news.
He would have more options in the future.
All these things were an unpredictable butterfly effect because of his choice at the beginning, but the person he wanted to protect in his life remained the same.
Fu Zhiyu hugged his mother tightly and comforted her: “It’s fine, it’s fine, there’s me.”
“Xiaobao,” Consort Yun grasped his sleeve tightly, “When will I be able to truly get out of all this, as you said?”
Fu Zhiyu clenched her hand and said softly, “Soon, I will take Mother Consort with me. At that time, whether it is a Jiangnan town by the water or any other place, Mother Consort can go wherever she wants and do whatever she wants.”
His mother consort was originally the legitimate wife of Fu Qingyan. Of course, that was before Fu Qingyan became Emperor Qingyuan.
More than twenty years ago, Emperor Chenyang, Fu Heng, ascended the throne. In terms of seniority, he was Fu Zhiyu’s uncle and Fu Qingyan’s elder cousin.
The young emperor’s ascension to the throne was extremely smooth, as his father was particularly devoted and the empress at the time enjoyed the exclusive favour of the harem, giving birth to one son and two daughters. Fu Heng, being the only son, was the Crown Prince since his birth and had a smooth ride to become the emperor without incident.
Fu Heng was not stupid, he was well read and talented. It was just that he had lived happily since he was a child, and his nature was really simple. After the death of his father emperor, he couldn’t hold down the powerful families of the ministers around him. Soon after, he got an “acute illness” and passed away.
However, the country cannot be left without a monarch for a single day. If the ministers directly usurped the throne, it wouldn’t look justified in the eyes of people. Moreover, Fu Heng’s methods in the past few years of governing the country had been gentle, taxes had been greatly reduced, and the weather had been smooth. The people’s evaluation of him was very good, and the common folk even took the initiative to set up temples to worship him. Forcibly changing dynasties would likely be harshly criticised by the world.
The imperial Fu family had been in decline for several generations. Emperor Chenyang had not left any children, and after his lineage had been extinguished, the only one left in the imperial family was Wang Rong, Fu Hui.
Wang Rong had a crippled leg and a scar on his face because he had been on the battlefield. He was really not suitable to be the emperor.
He had two sons, the second son Fu Qingbin born from the main wife, and Fu Qingyan, the eldest son. The two were three years apart, one seventeen and the other twenty. Fu Qingyan was already married for more than a year at that time, and married to Yuan Wanyun, the young lady of the Yuan family. In terms of talent, development potential and all other aspects, Fu Qingyan, as a concubine’s son, was not comparable to the strong-willed Fu Qingbin.
But in the end, Fu Qingyan won.
The reason was actually very simple. Everyone knew how Fu Heng died. Those families looking for candidates for the position of emperor didn’t really want to find a perfect emperor; they were looking for a puppet. At that time, Fu Qingyan looked like a poor scholar. Compared with the smart and outgoing Fu Qingbin, he was simply the best candidate for a puppet. Just marry him to a woman from your own family and wait for him to give birth to the crown prince who will be completely controlled by the family, and that’s it.
As for the matter of being already married, it was all trivial. The Yuan family was nothing more than that of a fourth-rank official. How could they have the ability to resist?
In this way, Fu Qingyan was transformed, becoming the emperor in yellow robes. He married the daughter of General Lin as the Empress, and the daughter of Prime Minister Xue as the Noble Consort. His original legitimate wife was only given a consort position at the beginning.
Not long after Fu Qingyan ascended the throne, the empress gave birth to the Crown Prince. The name Fu Lingxiao was not given by the emperor, but by General Lin himself. It was self-evident what this name meant (líng = approach, xiāo = heaven).
But everyone had underestimated Fu Qingyan.
He was not willing to be a puppet. He secretly planned and schemed, and slowly cultivated his own power in the court. Xie Ke’s father, Xie Lin, was promoted by him. Gradually, Fu Qingyan created the rivalry between the Lin family and the Xue family, and even subtly overpowered them. When Fu Zhiyu was old enough to remember something, Emperor Qingyuan was already in power, and no one in the court dared to act up in front of him. He was no longer the puppet emperor, firmly sitting in the dragon chair.
But the remaining power of the Lin family and the Xue family was still there and it was hard to break their foundations. Emperor Qingyuan couldn’t do it and didn’t plan to abolish the Crown Prince. He still feared these families, and there was no need to shed the pretence of cordiality with them.
Fu Qingyan’s road to counterattack was really cool to sum up.
Back then, the concubine’s son of Wang Rong’s family was not favoured. He had a bit of talent, but not too much. There was no choice, and when the main wife’s son grew up and took the title, Fu Qingyan would be nothing after the separation from the family.
Although Yuan Wanyun’s father was only a fourth-rank official, Miss Yuan was the most beautiful woman in the capital, and her qin had been praised by countless literati and prominent figures. It was not an exaggeration to say that it reverberated around the rafters for three days (sonorous and resounding when describing a singing voice or music sounds). Such a woman, who knew what kind of accident it was, but she actually fell in love with such a man.
When Fu Qingyan married this beautiful woman, during the ceremony in the ancestral hall, he swore to heaven that he would never take a concubine and only wanted Miss Yuan as his beloved. But just a little more than a year later, this vow was no longer valid.
After all, this was the throne. Many people didn’t feel that Miss Yuan was losing out either. What was the point of being a single wife of a waste person? Now that Noble Consort Yun came to the scenery, oh no, already Imperial Noble Consort Yun, and even the Yuan family had been upgraded from the rank four to the rank three and got a cushy job, what was there to feel unhappy about?
Fu Zhiyu had known all these things in his previous life, but it was only after reading the original book that he understood exactly what was going on at that time.
When his mother, Yuan Wanyun, was a young girl, she didn’t seek wealth or status, but a sincere heart.
She was still naive at that time, always full of a kind of extremely innocent stubbornness. She didn’t look at the sons of the prominent families who were courting her. Instead, she looked at a relatively ordinary young man. He was quiet and attentive, and he seemed to be ready to do anything for her.
For a year or so after she was married, she did have a very happy time, completely ignoring the distractions of the outside world.
She was playing the qin in the courtyard, and her husband was reading in the study. However, when she was playing the qin, her beloved husband would always be distracted and couldn’t help but come over and kiss her on the forehead, boasting that she was the most beautiful and lovely woman in the world.
A year or so later, Yuan Wanyun finally became pregnant, but her husband, who had been looking forward to having a child, heard the news and uncharacteristically didn’t look very happy.
The day after the doctor diagnosed the pregnancy by pulse, the Momo (an elder maidservant) brought a bowl of pregnancy medicine. After drinking it, Yun Wanyun woke up at night in pain, bleeding heavily, and the quilt was dyed red. The child was gone that night.
Her body was so damaged by this incident that she almost passed through the Gate of the Ghosts. When she really woke up, she heard that her husband had ascended the throne and became the new emperor. He married another woman to be his empress and one more to be his noble consort. She was carried into a strange palace and had a new name, Consort Yun.
She seemed to understand something overnight. It was impossible for Fu Qingyan to let that child be born. He wanted to be a puppet emperor. If he had a firstborn son at that time, it would be awkward and ruin his plans.
When Fu Qingyan first became emperor, he was in a very difficult position. His hands were tied and he could do very little. He didn’t come to Liuli Palace for several years. Later he explained that this was a kind of protection for her, but only Yuan Wanyun knew that the palace the emperor didn’t visit, the Consort with no background, the “legitimate wife” who had been demoted, had a very difficult life to live in the imperial palace where the high were worshipped and the low were stepped on.
She couldn’t even live a low-key life. The harem headed by the Noble Consort Xue targeted her as if she was a thorn in their flesh, and her husband didn’t protect her forever as he had promised.
It was only when Fu Qingyan gradually gained some power that her life became better. She became pregnant with another child and gave birth smoothly, and then she was made the Noble Consort. Eventually, those consorts and concubines didn’t dare to offend her again, but everything was no longer the same.
She used to be a carefree girl, spoiled by her family and loved by her husband, but now she was a fake person who always wore a mask. She had to act as soon as she raised her head, pretending to be gentle and virtuous, pretending that she never held a grudge, and only in front of her son could she get a moment of rest.
“Mother, don’t be afraid.” Fu Zhiyu hugged her tightly and whispered softly in her ear, talking to her but also to himself, “Believe me, I will take you out of here. From now on, Mother can be carefree again. All those things he promised you but ultimately failed to do, I can do them all.”