Not long after the fraud case was over, it was time for the traditional summer banquet in the palace.
On a cool and breezy evening, the consorts and concubines of each palace would gather together. After the banquet, the emperor and the Empress Dowager would give them some rewards and open an ice warehouse to make the harem feel better in the hot summer.
Fu Zhiyu and Consort Yun had been very low-key recently, but this special traditional banquet was difficult to skip, so they had to come.
It was a very lively affair, and the food on the table was also very rich. But Fu Zhiyu, his mother and Mingdao had already had a delicious meal before coming here, and they couldn’t eat anymore. Fu Zhiyu only took some fruit and began to observe the people at the banquet covertly.
Everyone was present. Even the empress who couldn’t be seen normally was here. She was holding a string of beads in her hand. She hadn’t eaten, and her upper body hardly moved, except for her fingers slowly touching the beads in her hand. She looked like a Bodhisattva; with her sitting far apart from Emperor Qingyuan, they both represented a true portrayal of a couple that had the appearance of unity but was divided at heart.
Further down, there was the Empress Dowager sitting on one side and the Crown Prince Fu Lingxiao on the other. Naturally, opposite Fu Lingxiao was Fu Zhiyu and his mother, followed by Consort Xue and her two sons.
But further down the line, the ranking changed.
Sitting in such a front position for the first time, Consort Yue didn’t have the slightest expression on her face. She lowered her head and was talking to the Eleventh Prince Fu Yanxi. She looked very serious, but Fu Zhiyu heard a sentence or two. The two of them were clearly discussing whether the descriptions of the grasslands beyond the border in “Qingming Record” were too flamboyant and smacked of piling up rhetoric. Consort Wen was sitting next to her, feeding rice cakes to the Sixteenth Princes who was crying; Consort Cen was opposite her, with the Fifth Prince and several daughters. These three were all consorts.
Below the consorts were imperial concubines, headed by the newly named Concubine Yi. She was Fu Yanran’s birth mother, the former Meiren Zhao of Hua Ruixuan. After Fu Yanran got the emperor’s attention, she naturally soared along with him, but her origin was too low, and it was a miracle for her to jump from a meiren to an imperial concubine.
She and her son quickly moved out of the side hall of Hua Ruixuan and moved into the Qinyi House not far from the imperial study. Concubine Yi looked very different from before. She bowed her head and talked to Fu Yanran gracefully, and her behaviour was not as timid as before and a bit more at ease.
A mother is strong (from the expression “A woman is weak but a mother is strong”); she couldn’t let her son be ashamed of her in front of others.
After Concubine Yi, there were more people, seven or eight imperial concubines, guiren (“noble lady”, a rank higher than meiren), meiren and so on, countless lively people. The number of people in Fu Qingyan’s harem was always changing, and Fu Zhiyu didn’t carefully calculate how many there were now.
Among all these people, Fu Yanran had changed the most. He was dressed in brocade and silk, a young man pleased with himself. He seemed to notice Fu Zhiyu’s gaze, turned his head and smiled slightly at Fu Zhiyu. Fu Zhiyu wasn’t worried and smiled back at him calmly.
How nice; Fu Zhiyu slowly turned his head, very satisfied with the current state of affairs.
Fu Qingyan began to feel panicked and tried to cultivate new forces among the princes in order to regain his ideal balance. But the more weights he added to the scales, the more the scales would shake.
So although Fu Zhiyu didn’t like this occasion, what he observed made him happy. Moreover, this was a harem gathering, and Xie Ke had to avoid suspicion and stay outside. Finally, Fu Zhiyu didn’t have to endure his overwhelming gaze, which also made him feel a lot more relaxed.
Towards the end of the banquet, the consorts and concubines gradually began to leave the table. What Fu Zhiyu didn’t expect was that Fu Yanxi, who was sitting opposite, took advantage of this moment to brush against him and secretly slip him a booklet under the table.
Fu Zhiyu was puzzled and asked him in a low voice, “What is this?”
“This is a copy I made from Ninth Brother’s previous painting and calligraphy,” Fu Yanxi whispered in a voice that only two people could hear, with obvious excitement in his tone, “Ninth Brother is very good, I can’t learn to be as good. Mother Consort often praised you, saying that you were a star from the sky, but this world couldn’t bear you. She also praised the Imperial Noble Consort Yun, saying that her qin sound was heavenly, but unfortunately, she only plays it for Father Emperor now.”
Fu Zhiyu: “……”
It was really a pair of honest mother and son, daring to say this kind of thing.
But after being in the palace for so long, they should have also had a sense of proportion, at least not saying this in front of Emperor Qingyuan. However, Emperor Qingyuan had been scared recently, so he liked honesty and it was not necessarily a bad thing.
Fu Zhiyu flipped through the booklet casually. It was true, he could see traces of Fu Yanxi’s style from it.
“But I can’t draw or write now,” Fu Zhiyu said. “That’s what happens when you hurt your brain. I can’t do such delicate things anymore.”
“I know,” Fu Yanxi looked regretful for a while, and then raised his bright eyes to look at Fu Zhiyu, “But if I can do what the Ninth Brother did one day, even if it’s only for one day, I’ll be satisfied.”
Before he left, he looked at Fu Zhiyu reluctantly and urged: “Even if your brain is damaged, you have to study more, you know?”
Fu Zhiyu: “…okay.”
This mother and son were quite interesting, their hearts full of books, books and books. If they were allowed to go to the Library of the Hanlin Academy with ten thousand books, maybe these two would not want to be a consort and a prince.
But not everyone was so broad-minded as Fu Zhiyu.
“A bastard born of a cheap maidservant and a nerd who can’t speak politely, are these two actually in the limelight? The emperor, is he crazy?”
As soon as Consort Xue returned to Linyue Tower from the banquet, she couldn’t hold back her anger any longer and dropped the teacup in her hand.
“Keep your voice down,” Fu Rongye made a gesture to her. He didn’t seem to be in a fluctuating mood, very calm.
Her son’s advice didn’t help Consort Xue suppress her anger.
Momo Gui was naturally disposed of. She made such a big trouble for the Xue family at this juncture, it was impossible to spare her.
In the end, only Fu Rongli couldn’t bear it, and at least she was buried properly instead of being thrown into a mass grave to be eaten by wild dogs.
Linyue Tower lacked the senior maidservant now, and everything was not going well. The temperature of the tea delivered was wrong, and the decorations were not good-looking here and there. Consort Xue was already very angry, and these bits and pieces made her even more unhappy.
“Father didn’t like the Xue family in the first place, did he?” Fu Rongye said, “We forced him like that before, and finally he was able to hold onto the power. Whether it was given to the Crown Prince or to me, he would feel uncomfortable.”
Even though she had already told the servants to leave, Consort Xue was still a little nervous when she heard this. She looked around for a long time and couldn’t bother to lose her temper anymore.
The absent-minded Fu Rongli, who was sitting aside, also felt that something was wrong. He leaned over and asked anxiously: “Brother, what does this mean…?”
“I thought that Fu Zhiyu was our worst enemy, and Father Emperor liked him the most, but since that incident, this thought has been dispelled.” Fu Rongye glanced at him and continued, “In fact, like the Crown Prince, we are not his favourite sons, because the other half of the blood flowing in us always disgusts him to the extreme.”
Consort Xue was taken aback and cried out, “But you are his sons, the ones he always taught…”
But she knew very well what had happened before, and she also knew that Fu Rongye was telling the truth.
The Lin family and the Xue family were the two families who chose Fu Qingyan as their puppet in the first place. Even if Fu Qingyan came to power later, he had no way to uproot the authority of these families. They could only get along like this, pretending that those things in the past had never happened.
There were no eternal enemies in the world, only eternal interests. Later, the Lin and Xue families and the emperor got along passably, and the two sides got what they needed. Prime Minister Xue was still the prime minister, and General Lin was still prestigious.
However, under such circumstances, the Lin and Xue families gradually changed.
Originally, General Lin was the dominant figure in the whole matter. He had military power in his hands, and Prime Minister Xue had to lower his head in front of him. But Fu Qingyan’s increasing strength brought some benefits to the Xue family. The military power of the Lin family was cut down, and Xie Lin was given a large piece of power. Consort Xue gave birth to two princes. Fu Rongye’s excellence was comparable to that of the Crown Prince. The Xue family originally only cooperated, but now, they also had a chance to compete for the throne.
Fu Rongye paused, and then dropped another bomb: “Grandfather sent the news. He said that General Lin’s soldiers have moved.”
“The Crown Prince is thinking…?” Fu Rongli reacted quickly and took a deep breath, “Is he crazy?”
Fu Rongye shook his head and said, “He’s not crazy. If you have seen Fu Yanran, you know that Fu Lingxiao’s only choice is to do this.”
Consort Xue’s voice became shrill: “That palace maid’s bastard son? It’s just a moment of glory, what the hell is he?”
“Mother Consort, this bastard born to the palace maid is very smart and learns things quickly. The Crown Prince must regret it now. He used to treat the Thirteenth as a pawn to be used and thrown away, but he didn’t expect this child to really catch the emperor’s eye. And the emperor discovered a more important point. It turned out that none of us were the best choice,” Fu Rongye continued. “The emperor’s favourite and most desirable child is brain-damaged. We are not very obedient. But Fu Yanran is different. He has no background and is very obedient. He can only rely on the emperor and can be controlled by him forever.
Even if we kill Fu Yanran, there is an alternative, Fu Yanxi, and Father will only be more vigilant. In some ways, Fu Yanxi is even more difficult to deal with. Although Grand Master Li is dead, his students are all over the world. Many people in the court were taught by him and the Li family is not without backers. Mother Consort, Brother Li, open your eyes and take a look. Do you still think these two people are just having a moment of glory?
In fact, Father’s thoughts have always been very clear. If he can’t give the throne to his favourite son, he has to give it to the most obedient one.The Crown Prince and I are both the baits that dangled in front of the Xue and Lin families not to let them bounce too much.”
“He…” Consort Xue’s voice began to tremble, “Do you mean, he will really give the throne to Fu Yanran? To the son of a palace maid?”
“He is nothing now, but Father is still in good health. He is forty-six years old. I don’t think it will be difficult for him to live for another ten years. By then, Fu Yanran will be in his early twenties, which is the best age. Everything is just right. Why is it impossible?” Fu Rongye said, “Mother Consort, Fu Lingxiao is smart. This person is like a mouse. He started to make holes before the flood came. Are we really going to do nothing?”
It was difficult to get Consort Xue to accept this. She had never thought that such a method could be used. This was a treason and a rebellion.
After Fu Zhiyu’s brain was damaged, she felt that the throne would be handed over to Fu Rongye smoothly. The Crown Prince was just a trivial episode; just like Fu Zhiyu, whom she hated, he would eventually be trampled under her son’s feet.
“What does Brother want to do?” Fu Rongli was much calmer than her, “I will obey Brother in everything.”
Fu Rongye’s fingers moved; his face darkened and he said, “It is not too late to plan ahead for a rainy day. Grandfather has already started to make his move, wait and see.”
4 thoughts on “Buddha-like Rebirth Chapter 37”
Thanks for the chapter! The mother & son book duo are 2 more souls trapped in that golden prison full of shiny cages.
True! They really have a lot in common, between the duos and between each mother and son!
Thank you for the chapter!