Fu Zhiyu comforted her: “Don’t worry, I will make it clear to him. Besides, Mother has been named the Imperial Noble Consort, and I have been named Wang Zhao. This seems to be getting better and better, how can we have suffered?”
Consort Yun smiled reluctantly; she still didn’t look very happy.
Fu Zhiyu knew why his mother was unhappy. When the two uncles came home, she couldn’t go back to the Yuan residence to visit.
The rules about consorts leaving the palace were very strict. In the last three years, the only time his mother had left the palace was the great ceremony a few months ago, but it was at Longquan Temple and the scope of activities was limited, so it was no different from being in the palace.
“Don’t worry, Mother,” Fu Zhiyu said, “I will try my best to find a chance for you and my uncles to meet.”
After she got this promise, Consort Yun smiled a little.
In order to go to the Yuan residence, Fu Zhiyu took Yuan Mingdao out of the palace in the morning a few days later. It was early and the sky on the horizon just started to brighten. It was still very cold at this time in the spring. Fu Zhiyu put on a thick cloak on himself and Mingdao.
The reason he picked this time of day was not only to get to the Yuan residence earlier, but also because it was the time of the court and Xie Ke had to be at the emperor’s side, so there would be no chance of meeting him.
Indeed, Fu Zhiyu didn’t meet Xie Ke in the imperial garden this time, but when he passed by there, he heard a loud noise, as if someone was arguing.
Yuan Mingdao held Fu Zhiyu’s hand and said, frowning when he heard the voices: “Which palace maidservants and eunuchs don’t know rules like this? So noisy in the imperial garden early in the morning.”
“We have things to do today, leave them alone,” Fu Zhiyu said, “Let’s go quickly, the carriage outside the palace is already waiting.”
He didn’t even take an imperial carriage in order to go faster. That thing was prestigious but in fact, it was very slow and it had to take the main road.
The fastest way to get from Liuli Palace to the palace gate was to take the shortcut through the imperial garden’s flower viewing path, but it seemed that every time he walked there, he had to encounter someone.
He had met Xie Ke last time, what was it this time?
A little further on, the noise became more obvious.
“…Today I will teach you a good lesson for the Thirteenth Prince!”
Listening to this harsh sentence, Fu Zhiyu couldn’t help but prick up his ears.
He wondered if he was in conflict with the feng shui of the imperial garden. Every time he walked here, he would see people he didn’t want to see.
It was Momo Gui from Linyue Tower, another nasty acquaintance.
Although she was a Momo, she was not very old, just in her thirties, and she was raised in the palace, so she didn’t look old. She was originally the dowry maid of the Noble Consort Xue. Later, when the Eighth Prince Fu Rongli was born, she was also the nursemaid of the prince for a while, and then she often served by Fu Rongli’s side.
This woman was very powerful and loyal. She regarded Fu Rongli as her own son. In the previous life, she died to save Fu Rongli. But she was indeed arrogant and domineering. She was in charge of all the eunuchs and palace maids in Linyue Tower. Consort Xue relied on her in big and small things. Her masters treated her so well that some low-ranking consorts didn’t dare to provoke her, and even some unpopular princes had to be careful with her.
The proof was right in front of them.
The Thirteenth Prince Fu Yanran was only eleven years old this year, about the same age as Yuan Mingdao. Fu Zhiyu saw him rarely, and it took a while to recognise him.
He was standing on the stone path of the imperial garden with a horrified expression on his face, tears still hanging on his eyelashes, and his clothes were in a mess. His maidservant knelt in front of Momo Gui. Her face was obviously swollen and red, but Momo Gui’s hand was still raised high. It seemed that she hadn’t beaten the maid enough. Even when Fu Yanran gathered all his courage to stand in front of the maid, he was rudely pulled away by the other maids beside Momo Gui.
This scene looked a bit ridiculous. It was clear who was high and who was low, and a slave stepped on the master’s head.
But there were too many children in the palace. Emperor Qingyuan was really an excellent stallion. Within a few months of Fu Zhiyu’s return, two children were born, one female and one male, numbered seventeen and eighteen.
There were so many princes, but not many of them had the power to fight for the throne. The one in the Eastern Palace (the Crown Prince) and the Noble Consort Xue’s sons stole most of the limelight, and Fu Zhiyu consciously withdrew. Except for them, only Consort Wen’s family had some background, but her Sixteenth Prince was just three years old and was unlikely to have enough time to grow up to fight for the throne.
Therefore, the two-level differentiation in the palace was particularly obvious.
Emperor Qingyuan was also very biassed. It was estimated that if half of the eighteen princes and princesses had changed their clothes and stood in front of him, he wouldn’t recognise his own children. This palace was too big and there were too many people. There was always something that the emperor couldn’t take care of or perhaps didn’t have patience enough to take care of. The situation where an unpopular prince was inferior to a favoured slave was not uncommon.
When Fu Zhiyu walked up, Momo Gui stood with her back to him and didn’t see him, but the Thirteenth Prince saw him. He suddenly cried out and sat down on the ground abruptly.
“Ninth Brother!” He roared with all his strength, “Please, please save Ah Ye!”
Fu Zhiyu had already walked up here, so naturally he couldn’t just watch this matter and leave.
Fu Yanran’s words were also a bit useful. At least Momo Gui and the others heard them, so they immediately stopped, turned around and knelt on the ground.
“Please, Wang Zhao,” Momo Gui lowered her head but kept talking, “This old slave is here to teach the disobedient palace maid and doesn’t want to disturb Wang Zhao. Begging for Wang Zhao’s forgiveness.”
After Fu Zhiyu took a few steps forward, he saw a broken bowl on the road and a wooden tray on the side. He felt some medicinal smell and saw that there was a brown trace of medicine on the kneeling maidservant. The picture was almost clear.
“But the palace rules don’t say that the Momo of Linyue Tower can teach the maids from other palaces,” Fu Zhiyu pondered for a moment as if unable to remember. After thinking for a while, he asked Fu Yanran, “By the way, which palace are you from?”
Fu Yanran sniffed, sobbed and said, “Hua… Hua Ruixuan.”
“Yes, according to palace rules, Hua Ruixuan’s palace maid should be punished by the senior maidservant of the palace. If not, it should be the maidservant who has a higher position than Hua Ruixuan’s senior maidservant,” Fu Zhiyu smiled, turned his head and said sarcastically, “It’s not the turn of a palace maid to boss people around here. I think it’s Momo Gui who’s used to running roughshod over the palace and is bullying people here.”
“The slave doesn’t dare,” Momo Gui bowed her head even lower. “It was this girl who didn’t understand the rules and ran recklessly in the imperial garden, knocking over the medicine of the Eighth Prince. The medicine is made of precious material and the imperial doctor has prepared just the right amount, not a drop less can be used. Such a big mistake should be punished.”
Although she said she didn’t dare, Momo Gui’s words were still arrogant and domineering through and through.
Fu Zhiyu knew that she was sure that he wouldn’t punish her for this trivial matter. It wasn’t that Momo Gui was arrogant, she just had experience in this matter.
In the past, Liuli Palace wouldn’t take the initiative to cause trouble in the imperial palace, let alone face Linyue Tower for the Thirteenth Prince who didn’t have any connection to them.
It was not out of fear. If Consort Xue took the initiative to cause trouble, Consort Yun would fight back every time, but the matter in front of them had nothing to do with Liuli Palace. The Third Prince did a good job during the imperial examination and won a lot of praise from the emperor. Even the Eighth Prince was finally praised by the emperor for his participation. Linyue Tower was now in the limelight. There were also rumours that the emperor was about to give the Third Prince the title of the Wang and make the Noble Consort Xue the Imperial Noble Consort. Even the Eastern Palace had to give in a little at this time, and there was no need for others to step on the minefield.
But Fu Zhiyu didn’t care about it. He took a step forward and said, “Really? I do think that medicine is always three points poison. Eighth Brother is already in good health. After drinking it for so long, maybe it’s better for his body to drink less medicine today?”
“…you!” Momo Gui raised her head angrily. She knew why the Eighth Prince was still taking medicine. It was because of Fu Zhiyu that Fu Rongli had been whipped. The injury hadn’t completely healed yet, and it hurt when he moved a little bit more. Because of this, the Eighth Prince could count the times of going out on the fingers of one hand, and Momo Gui was distressed when she looked at him.
But this was Wang Zhao in front of her, not some unknown prince. Although Momo Gui’s tone was harsh, she didn’t dare to really offend this one.
“I don’t know whether Hua Ruixuan’s palace maid made a mistake or not, but Momo Gui makes a lot of noise in the imperial garden in the morning, disturbing my peace and blocking the way. This is really unwarranted and should be punished. Look, you even scared Thirteenth Brother.” Fu Zhi glanced at Fu Yanran and asked, “Tell me, how many times did she slap your maid?”
Fu Yanran raised his hand and wiped his face, and then said loudly: “She was the one who spilled the medicine when she ran into Ah Ye, and Ah Ye has already knelt down and apologised! She still won’t let her go, hitting her at least twenty times!”
Fu Zhiyu stretched out his hand and called the guard by his side, saying, “Go ahead. But Momo Gui is an old woman, so this wang will spare her some. Just make it ten times. After that, get out of here.”
Momo Gui endured the punishment with a grimace, covered her face and left. Before leaving, Fu Zhiyu also saw her glaring viciously at the maid named Ah Ye.
Ah Ye cried even more severely after Momo Gui left. Fu Zhiyu saw her holding the hand of the Thirteenth Prince and sob while saying, “The prince shouldn’t have done this, he really shouldn’t… let her be angry, it’ll be over this time, but if she hates you like this, what can you do in the future?”
This was a sensible person, but Fu Yanran didn’t listen. He stubbornly said: “No matter what, I am still the prince. If she comes looking for trouble again, I will hit my head on the pillar and see if she dares to bear the responsibility of killing the prince! Anyway, I won’t let them bully you anymore!”
Ah Ye shook her head desperately, unable to speak as she cried.
Fu Zhiyu, who was listening clearly from the side: “……”
He had to say that Fu Yanran’s idea was correct. The child was still young and he must have been frightened just now, so he didn’t react at once. Dealing with such a domineering person, he needed to be more rogue than her.
This child was quite smart and ruthless, but Fu Zhiyu didn’t care much about him in his previous life and he basically wasn’t mentioned in the original book, so Fu Zhiyu didn’t expect him to be so interesting.
One plot of this world was more interesting than the other, including the people.
After Fu Yanran finished speaking, he remembered something. He ran a few steps in the direction of Fu Zhiyu, stopped in front of him, knelt down and knocked his head. Before Fu Zhiyu reached out to help him, he stood up again and said, “Thank you, Ninth Brother… No, thank you, Your Imperial Highness Wang Zhao.”
“It’s not just this matter,” Fu Yanran raised his sleeves and wiped his face casually, and said seriously, “Before, Wang Zhao was sick. Because I often went to the Imperial Hospital to ask for medicine for my mother consort during that time and the Imperial Court of Judicial Review couldn’t find any clues, my mother consort and I were almost forced to surrender. Then Wang Zhao told Father Emperor he didn’t want to pursue this matter, and my mother consort and I were spared.”
Fu Zhiyu didn’t say anything, thinking what a sensible child it was. So young, he already understood those things clearly, and Fu Zhiyu hadn’t even heard of him.
But he didn’t ask more questions; he just thought for a while and said, “Thirteenth Brother, you have to know that I didn’t do these things for you. I didn’t know about the Imperial Court of Judicial Review’s actions. As for Momo Gui, I have long been displeased with her.”
Fu Yanran glanced at him firmly and said, “I know, but you still helped me. I will always remember this kindness. Wang Zhao, in the future, I will repay you.”
He said the latter sentence carefully word by word but Fu Zhiyu really didn’t take it to heart. He only felt that Fu Yanran was young and wanted to speak like a valiant man of Jianghu. Not all his teeth had grown yet and his speech was stumbling. It would be nice if he could protect himself, what’s the point of talking about repaying?
Fu Zhiyu finished solving the matter and looked at the sky. It was getting late, and he had to rush.
Fu Yanran also slowly helped his maid to walk away. Yuan Mingdao was a little worried and asked Fu Zhiyu in a low voice, “Is it fine?”
“It’s okay, I have a sense of proportion and I won’t cause trouble to Mother Consort.” Fu Zhiyu comforted him, “Moreover, what I just said is the truth. I really didn’t do this for Fu Yanran. Momo Gui and I have a grudge, and I just had a chance to vent my anger.
You don’t know, when I was four years old, Fu Rongli was defeated by me in reciting and cried all night in anger. This woman secretly gave me medicine. Although it wasn’t fatal, just an allergy, it made me uncomfortable for many days. At that time I came into contact with too many people and I didn’t know who did it, but later I learned that it was her.”
This was also true. Fu Zhiyu never knew who it was in his previous life, but it was mentioned in the original book. It was deliberately done by Momo Gui out of spite.
“But at this time…” Although Yuan Mingdao was angry about what happened to Fu Zhiyu and felt emotionally that Momo Gui deserved this punishment, after all, he had the soul of an adult and he was still worried rationally. He reminded, “Now Linyue Tower has a great time.”
Fu Zhiyu patted him on the head and said with a smile: “It’s only great at this moment. Don’t worry, Linyue Tower will soon have no time to bother with Liuli Palace about the trivial matters of the servants.”
Yuan Mingdao tried hard to recall, but he was still practising martial arts in the Yuan family at that time in his previous life, and he really didn’t know what was going on outside.
But Fu Zhiyu knew very well that the Crown Prince Fu Lingxiao wouldn’t let Fu Rongye go big. In his previous life, in order to target him, Fu Lingxiao had planted spies and created a fraud case that shocked the court. Although the target in this life was changed, the Crown Prince hated Fu Rongye as much as he hated Fu Zhiyu.
The troubles he had experienced before were now left to Fu Rongye, who was in the limelight. Whether Fu Rongye could survive depended on his own abilities.
Fu Zhiyu calculated the days; it was almost today. At that time, Linyue Tower would hardly have time to worry about Momo Gui.
“This is the real ‘dog bites dog’, you have to wait and see.” Fu Zhiyu said to Yuan Mingdao leisurely as he quickly left the palace and sat comfortably in the prepared carriage.