“Thank you for your concern, your majesty and your highness. It’s just that the years have not been kind to me. Each year I gain in age, and the topic of succession becomes inevitable. I just wanted to take advantage of the lantern festival to report to your majesty and ask for consideration of appropriate candidates!” Of course he’d expected the emperor and queen dowager to disagree, yet his words were still as uncertain as ripples in a pond. Since he’d already brought up the topic of succession, why in the world would he ask the emperor for a decision on specific candidates? The Chu King was really impossible to pin down.
Not only the officials were confused this time. Even Emperor Yu made a pained expression.
When he spoke these words, however, Yun Qianmeng lowered her head and raised her hand to her lips, a smile gracing her face. She couldn’t help but think to herself that this group in the court had been in politics so long that their thoughts were going in loops!
With the Chu King’s position, Emperor Yu had no reason not to respond positively to his requests.
But right now he was only asking after the matter of succession as bait!
It must be that the unrest in the Chu families had roused Grandfather. He was here today purposefully to erase the triumphant smiles on their faces.
Such a simple intention was torturing the minds of every official in the room, producing thousands of possibilities.
“And you’re still smiling? This will decide your future destiny as Princess Chu!” Other people couldn’t see Yun Qianmeng’s face, but Qu Feiqing could see her as clear as day. Seeing how indifferent she was, she couldn’t help but panic, even reaching out to remind her with a pinch to be careful!
“Please don’t worry! How could something so important as the succession be determined so quickly? Plus, everyone present is only officials of third grade and above. With how important the position of Chu King is, the emperor would never just blurt out a decision. If something in the world belongs to you, it’ll never escape. If it doesn’t, you won’t even be able to steal it. Everything Grandfather and my husband are doing today is part of a larger plan, so please don’t worry!” Those final words were enough to explain to Qu Feiqing that Chu Feiyang was a participant in everything happening today.
Handing the matter of succession over to the emperor to decide meant turning the assassin’s eyes away and making the Chu palace safer.
To Qu Feiqing, it was absolutely admirable that Yun Qianmeng could treat the position of Chu Princess so lightly. The people who thought she wanted to be princess or queen could never imagine that Yun Qianmeng never had any designs on the role!
“If that’s the case, then I will be sure to keep my eye out for your sake. Please, seat yourself!” Seeing that the Chu King wasn’t intent on deciding immediately, the emperor smiled and gestured to Chu Nanshan to sit. After that he glanced toward the Rui King, standing in the wings, and issued a few words to Yu Gonggong standing behind him, before finally speaking to him again. “My fourth brother, why don’t you follow Yu Gonggong to change your clothes?”
“Thank you, Royal Brother!” Bowing, the Rui King followed Yu Gonggong out of the court.
Everyone who was still fixated on the Chu King didn’t notice old lady Gu and Ji Shuyu exchanging a communicative glance.
Perhaps the two of them were just overthinking things. But it seemed that when Emperor Yu was looking over the ladies of the court, his gaze had lingered on Qu Feiqing.
If the Chu King hadn’t jumped up to speak, the Emperor Yu would probably have chosen Qu Feiqing as the Rui King’s bride. Whether it was coincidence or on purpose, both of them were thankful to the Chu King.
After sitting down again, Chu Nanshan recovered his original state of sickliness. Every once in a while he coughed and instructed Chu Feiyang to pour him water and tea. Yun Qianmeng wanted to laugh but had to stifle it.
Once again the dancing and music resumed. Underneath the sound and lights was a dark tide moving, covered by the apparent luxury of surface level entertainment.
“Cousin-in-law, the man in amber garb must be the Duke Hai from the Hai King’s palace!” Xiahou Aner leaned toward Yun Qianmeng, gazing at Hai Chenxi’s cold smile.
“You’re right.” Seeing that Xiahou Aner had guessed his identity, Yun Qianmeng nodded. She was curious why Xiahou Aner was fixated on Chenxi with all the other nobles at court, so she asked, “Do you know him, Aner?”
Xiahou Aner couldn’t help but seem a little irritated. Watching him depart and walk out of the court, she looked down and spoke angrily, “Who’d know him!”
Seeing her anger, Yun Qianmeng shook her head and smiled to herself for overthinking everything. They’d only met once, so it seemed too quick for her to fall for Hai Chenxi. Plus, she had grown so used to Chu Feiyang that even if Hai Chenxi were outstanding, she wouldn’t have lost her composure so easily before him.
Just then, the Rui King reentered the court. This time he was dressed and groomed neatly, with the handsome nobility only a royal could have. He followed Rui Gonggong, stepping into the court with an air of majesty, his eyes scanning the ladies of each family, pausing slightly upon Xiahou Aner’s lovely face.
Xiahou Aner was too busy thinking about embarrassing herself in front of Hai Chenxi to notice, but Yun Qianmeng had caught his gaze.
Seeing how his eyes had widened when seeing her, Yun Qianmeng felt her heart pound. With a smile she pulled Xiahou Aner to her feet. “We’ve had a little too much to drink, let’s go for a walk to relax!”
She didn’t wait for a response before pulling her out of the court.
“What’s wrong? Walking so quickly even when you’re drunk, be careful that you don’t trip and fall over!” Xiahou Aner said after the two of them made it outdoors.
After only a few days together, Xiahou Aner understood that Yun Qianmeng was extremely calm and steady, never showing a hint of panic to outsiders. Because of that, she found her quick escape from the court quite humorous.
Hearing the girl laugh at her, Yun Qianmeng sighed. If she knew that the Rui King had his eye on her, this girl would probably have jumped up in shock. To be smartmouthed like this after helping her escape was quite unfortunate indeed.