The news of the awakening of the Lord of Guangju spread throughout the harem in no time, and even the court heard some rumors. A group of people with various intentions came in and out of the gate of the Guangju Palace, almost trampling the threshold.
After dealing with everyone and finishing the performance he had to put on, Shen Fengyue was just about to rest for a while when someone disturbed his peace again.
The eunuch Yang, who was a personal eunuch in the palace, came over to tell him, “Your Majesty, Concubine Zhang is requesting an audience outside the palace.”
“I don’t want to see her.” Shen Fengyue turned over and pulled the blanket over his head.
Eunuch Yang had received many benefits from Concubine Zhang, so he naturally tried to convey her meaning as much as possible, and then said, “Your Majesty, Concubine Zhang says she has an important matter to discuss.”
The Imperial Concubine remained silent, her back turned to him.
The Imperial Concubine moved slightly.
Eunuch Yang tentatively called out again, “Your Majesty?”
Shen Fengyue was annoyed by the interruption, sat up with a turn, and impatiently looked at him to say, “Let her in.”
Eunuch Yang was relieved that the noble Concubine was angry but didn’t punish him. He respectfully retreated and called Concubine Zhang in.
Concubine Zhang came in with the same pretentious appearance as usual and briefly stated the purpose of her visit.
Shen Fengyue leaned against the head of the bed with a soft pillow behind his back, and a deep red quilt covering his body.
“Alliance?” he asked.
Concubine Zhang nodded, “Women in the harem are just like the court, with party alliances and scheming against each other. My father and brothers have not been in the same party as the prime minister for many years and have remained neutral, suffering from exclusion. Now that Imperial Concubine is favored by the emperor and has great power, I would like to be with Imperial Concubine.”
Shen Fengyue did not make a quick decision but pondered with his hand on his chin.
Seeing that Shen Fengyue had not agreed with her, Concubine Zhang tried to persuade him repeatedly, “The empress is the emperor’s formal wife and has held the position for many years with great power, and no one in the harem can match her. As Imperial Concubine is favored by the emperor, she has become a thorn in the empress’s eye like a bone stuck in her throat. If we do not take precautions in time, I am afraid that Imperial Concubine… ” She suddenly stopped, frightened, and then continued, “I am willing to accompany Imperial Concubine and help her.”
“The empress?” Shen Fengyue seemed to sense something, recalling the deep meaning hidden behind the empress’s caring eyes that he had seen before, and hoping he could die in the jaws of a wolf.
Concubine Zhang said, “This time, when the Imperial Concubine was in danger, don’t you know who might have done it?” She stopped talking and gave Shen Fengyue a meaningful look, letting him ponder over it.
Shen Fengyue, “…”
Finally, he replied with a nod, indicating that he understood. Concubine Zhang was a clever person and when she achieved her goal, she left with a smile
Shen Fengyue naturally understood what Concubine Zhang meant and those provocative words she used were meant to incite him against the empress. Shen Fengyue slipped back into the covers like a slippery fish and adjusted his pillow.
The recent danger he faced during the hunting trip was a wake-up call. Someone had already attempted to kill him, and if he continued to be a passive bystander, he would only end up leaving empty-handed with no reward.
Therefore, he needed to take action.
Shen Fengyue thought about consulting the system, but before he could speak, the system spoke first.
“You’re pregnant,” the system said, clear-headed for the first time in a long time.
Shen Fengyue, “???”
The system pondered and said, “Don’t you want to scheme against the empress? After watching so many palace dramas, haven’t you figured out the routine? Get pregnant, have a miscarriage, and frame someone else. Although this won’t bring down the empress, it’s enough to shake her up a bit.”
As he pondered over the idea, Shen Fengyue found the system’s suggestion oddly insightful.
The system’s mind was racing with thoughts, and it confidently said, “Don’t worry, I’ve got this all figured out.”
When you get pregnant, I’ll finally be able to get out of this mess!
Shen Fengyue was already capable of crossdressing, so getting pregnant was just another challenge to overcome. The system successfully led him astray and he fell for its trickery.
With each person having their own agenda, they reached a consensus and when Shen Fengyue’s right foot had recovered enough to allow him to get out of bed, they held a chrysanthemum viewing banquet in the Imperial Garden, admiring the chrysanthemum flowers, eating crabs, and inviting all the Concubines.
Concubine Shen: Get rid of the empress!
Finally liberated system: Get out of this predicament!
Chrysanthemum Appreciation Banquet.
The concubines sat in the pavilion, with palace maids holding pots of rare chrysanthemums and arranging them in a circle on the railing.
The bright yellow chrysanthemums had layers of petals and looked very beautiful in full bloom.
Shen Fengyue spoke first, “The cool autumn air makes it a great time to appreciate chrysanthemums. Today, I am hosting and inviting all my sisters to join me in this banquet.”
Ever since joining hands with Imperial Concubine, Concubine Zhang would always flatter her as much as possible whenever she spoke, “Imperial Concubine is truly elegant and refined.”
“When did Concubine Zhang become so close with Imperial Concubine? We see you running to the Guangju Palace every day, and you haven’t left her side these past few days,” another Concubine said snidely.
The others also understood that Concubine Zhang had joined hands with Imperial Concubine.
Shen Fengyue said, “Alright, alright, we can’t miss out on crabs for this chrysanthemum viewing. I’ve instructed someone to prepare some plump and juicy crabs. Let’s eat crabs and drink wine while enjoying these blooming chrysanthemums. Wouldn’t it be wonderful?”
Hong Mei and Luo Xue immediately called for the crabs to be served. Plates filled with crabs were brought to the table, and the palace attendants provided green bean noodles smoked with chrysanthemum leaves and osmanthus flower petals for washing hands.
Everyone was provided with the appropriate tools for eating crabs, a cup of hot yellow wine, and a dish of vinegar.
Despite all the food being laid out, no one started eating until Concubine Zhang was the first to pick up a crab. She deftly picked one up, cut it open with a pair of scissors, and a spoonful of bright orange crab roe spilled out. She dipped it in vinegar and tasted it carefully before taking a sip of hot yellow wine. “Your Majesty is so generous and talented. Each crab is full of meat and roe. This Concubine is so fortunate to have such a treat today,” she said.
Once the first person started, everyone else began to dig in. The autumn breeze blew, the chrysanthemums bloomed, and the atmosphere was harmonious as they drank wine and ate crabs.
Feeling that the timing was about right, Shen Fengyue picked up a crab, scooped out the crab roe with a spoon, and just as he brought it to her mouth after dipping it in vinegar, he suddenly acted like a drama queen and threw the spoon on the table, pretending to retch in an exaggerated manner.
“Imperial Concubine, what’s wrong?” Concubine Zhang put down what she was holding and quickly wiped her hands with a handkerchief, then went to help Shen Fengyue.
Shen Fengyue continued to retch with his hand covering his mouth, intermittently saying, “I don’t know, I suddenly feel nauseous.”
“Feeling nauseous?” Concubine Zhang was shocked.
The calmest person in the room was the empress. Seeing Shen Fengyue’s behavior, she thought of something and her expression became momentarily ugly, but she quickly covered it up and said with a dignified expression, “Imperial Concubine, are you pregnant?”
After retching twice, Shen Fengyue stopped when he felt better. He covered the lower half of his face with a handkerchief and pretended to be coy, saying, “This Concubine don’t know.”
A Concubine who had given birth before asked, “Has your menstrual cycle come this month?”
Shen Fengyue pretended to be shy and said, “No, it hasn’t come for two months.”
The empress immediately called Eunuch Yang, who was by Shen Fengyue’s side, and said, “Quickly go to the Imperial hospital and invite Physician Zhang.”
“Imperial Concubine” seemed to be pregnant, and everyone’s expressions were different. Shen Fengyue sat quietly on the stool, feeling calm in his heart. With the help of the system, he was definitely “pregnant” this time.
After a while, the chief physician from the imperial hospital, Zhang, hurriedly arrived with a medicine box under the urging of Eunuch Yang. After bowing to all the concubines, he came to check Shen Fengyue’s pulse.
Physician Zhang felt his pulse for a long time, and only after making sure did he dare to speak, “Congratulations, Imperial Concubine! Your pulse is flowing smoothly like a pearl, with a strong and powerful rhythm. This is a pulse of pregnancy, Imperial Concubine!”
“What?” Shen Fengyue was surprised. “Does that mean… I’m pregnant?”
Physician Zhang replied, “Imperial Concubine has been pregnant for two months. I will immediately prescribe a safe prescription for the pregnancy. Imperial Concubine should take it regularly to ensure the safety of the fetus.”
He looked at the crabs on the table and added, “However, crabs are cold in nature, so it’s better for Your Majesty to avoid them.”
Shen Fengyue nodded obediently and looked particularly well-behaved and sensible.
As soon as the physician left, Emperor Chu hurriedly arrived. He saw Shen Fengyue sitting quietly on the stool and laughed heartily, “I heard that Yan Yan is pregnant, so I rushed over immediately. How are you feeling, Yan Yan?”
Shen Fengyue lowered his head gently and said, “I’m fine, but I’ve been worried about you, Sanlang.”
The Empress was surprised by how quickly Emperor Chu had arrived and subconsciously looked at Shen Fengyue. Shen Fengyue smiled back at her, and the Empress understood that this woman had something to do with it, feeling unhappy inside.
Emperor Chu was overjoyed and kept saying that he didn’t expect to still be able to become a father of a child at his age.
Shen Fengyue, “…”
The rewards kept flowing into Guangju Palace. Seeing Emperor Chu’s ecstatic expression, everyone understood that the favor towards Concubine Yan was probably even stronger now.
With Concubine Yan’s pregnancy, the harem was likely to change drastically.
The banquet ended early due to the news of pregnancy. As soon as Shen Fengyue returned to the palace, Eunuch Shen came with an old midwife and a wet nurse.
“Eunuch Shen, what brings you here?”
The old midwife and the wet nurse bowed and Eunuch Shen introduced them, “I am here on the Emperor’s orders to bring a midwife and a wet nurse to assist you. Concubine, you have the Emperor’s favor.”
He sighed and then looked at Shen Fengyue’s still-flat belly with a smirk.
Shen Fengyue subconsciously covered his belly, and asked Hong Mei and Luo Xue to take care of the midwife and wet nurse, so the only ones left in the hall were Eunuch Shen and Shen Fengyue. Eunuch Shen’s gaze became even more intense, staring at his belly as if trying to see a flower.
His gaze made Shen Fengyue feel uneasy, as if this person knew the truth. Irritated, he couldn’t help but scold him, “Presumptuous!”
Eunuch Shen then took his eyes off him and left after leaving a remark that left Shen Fengyue seething with anger.
“May the Imperial Concubine give birth to a son soon and enjoy endless glory and wealth.”
Shen Fengyue thought of the words he said and was so angry that her teeth were itchy.
The day after Shen Fengyue’s pregnancy was announced, someone couldn’t sit still and secretly summoned the Prime Minister to her palace.
Wei Yunping shook his head and bowed, “Empress is overstepping.”
“Given the intimacy between us, your behavior makes it seem like we have become estranged.” Empress invited Wei Yunping to take a seat.
Wei Yunping sat down and knew the Empress’s purpose before she spoke, he said, “I know what’s troubling you, Your Majesty’s concerns are about Concubine Yan.”
The Empress nodded, her brows furrowed with anger as she said, “Concubine Yan was already highly favored, and now that she’s pregnant with the heir, it’s even more of a threat to me.”
Wei Yunping looked serious and thought about court affairs before explaining to the Empress in detail, “Concubine Yan’s favor is excessive, and I’m also concerned, so I’ve repeatedly reminded the Emperor in court. However, the Emperor is too enamored with Concubine Yan, and my repeated reminders only angered him further. He not only didn’t listen but intensified his favoritism.”
“Is that so?” The Empress was alarmed. “Concubine Yan is already pregnant. What should we do?”
Her eyes suddenly turned cold, and she muttered, “Second Uncle, we must make plans early. We need to get rid of Concubine Yan as soon as possible…”
“Your Majesty!” Wei Yunping saw the sinister look in her eyes and reminded her in time, “As the Empress of a country, you bear the responsibility of the entire nation. Please be mindful of your actions and demeanor.”
After Wei Yunping’s reminder, the Empress managed to restrain herself and looked off into the distance with a sharp gaze.
“Second Uncle must be aware of the palace’s concerns. Since then, whenever it comes to matters of childbirth, this palace cannot control itself…”
After giving birth to the crown prince, the empress suffered physical damage, and the imperial physician declared it unlikely that she could conceive again.
Knowing where the empress’s concerns lie, Wei Yunping said, “This matter should not be rushed. The crown prince has been firmly seated in the East Palace for many years, not to mention there is also the imperial grandson. His Majesty is already advanced in age, and even if the Concubine Yan were to give birth to a prince, it would be difficult to shake the position of the empress and the crown prince. Why worry?”
“The Concubine Yan’s previous accident was probably the result of various forces competing with each other.”
“Do you know, Your Majesty, that she is a foreign woman, and the bloodline of the child she gives birth to is impure. How could they ascend to the supreme position?”
“If His Majesty behaves recklessly…”
“His Majesty won’t behave recklessly.” Wei Yunping shook his head and said, “If it were to happen, do you know the saying ‘kill the mother and keep the child’?”
The Wei family has always been led by Wei Yunping, and the empress has always followed his advice. Upon hearing this, her eyes lit up, and she nodded in agreement.