Half a month passed without any incident. Bai Yu Chen kept to his words, never again stepping foot into Feng Qi Palace. Just as Xia Hou Shang Yue thought things will remain peaceful, Mo Yuan arrives to bring chaos.
“This servant greets the empress.”
“Get up. What’s the matter?”
Xia Hou Shang Yue is busy tending to a couple of flower pots inside the hall as she asks. Everyday, other than greeting the empress dowager in Ci Ning Palace, she spends her time reading and tending to her begonias.
“The empress dowager instructs this servant to inform you about a banquet in Ci Ning Palace tonight. At around ‘you shi’ (5pm-7pm). “
“I understand. Send my regards to the empress dowager.” She looks up and gives Mo Yuan a smile.
Mo Yuan retreats after a reply. She really is a calm and generous empress, why did the emperor took another consort just three days after their marriage? This empress is so kind, she did not complain and even praise the emperor time and time again in front of the empress dowager.
Xia Hou Shang Yue stops everything she’s doing and looks at Mo Yuan’s back. She did not say anything and continue standing there for a while. Later, she goes back to wordlessly tending to her flowers.
You Shi arrives really fast. Xia Hou Shang Yue brings Xue Wu with her to Ci Ning Palace.
Ci Ning Palace, at this moment, is brightly lit. The empress dowager is already sitting at one of the side chairs, drinking tea. Yan Ruyu is sitting next to her.
“Shang Yue greets imperial grandmother.”
“This servant greets the empress dowager.”
Xia Hou Shang Yue and Xue Wu pay their respect. The empress dowager put down her tea cup and smiles lightly at them.
“Yue Er, I told you to not abide to formalities when you’re with me. Hurry and sit!”
“Thanking imperial grandmother.”
“Meimei greets Jiejie.” Yan Ruyu gets up and softly says. She was just about to curtsey but was immediately pulled by Bai Yu Chen who has just arrived. His burning eyes are set on Xia Hou Shang Yue.
“I told you to not let Ruyu bows to you, do you not remember what I said?” Bai Yu Chen’s words were clearly intended for Xia Hou Shang Yue.
Yan Ruyu knows that wasn’t the case, but she didn’t say a word, merely allowing herself to be nestled within Bai Yu Chen’s embrace, her eyes red as though she has been wronged.
“Your Majesty, my mistress never told Yu Guifei to bow to her. Yu Guifei did it herse-“ Before Xue Wu can even finish her sentence, she receives a slap from Bai Yu Chen, followed by a kick to the ground.
“Since when can a little servant like you interfere when I am talking!”
Xia Hou Shang Yue did not speak nor did she reach out for Xue Wu. Not because she fears of being implicated, but because she knows, the more concerned she is, the farther Bai Yu Chen’s transgression will be.
Xue Wu lies on the floor, her hand touching her burning cheek while the other hand clutching her stomach that has just been kicked.
“Your Majesty, Jiejie did not make Ruyu bows, Ruyu herself chose to go with the formality!” As Yan Ruyu says those words, she glances at Xia Hou Shang Yue who is calmly drinking tea in her seat. As an empress, she can’t even protect her own maid, how can she have the face to even drink tea at a moment like this.
The empress dowager observes the turn of the event with a pair of cold eyes. She frowns, a touch of frost in her face, but other than that did not say anything.
That Yan Ruyu is really good at putting a show. She was the one who bowed without being told to and then act as though she was mistreated. She must’ve done that to drive a wedge between Bai Yu Chen and Xia Hou Shang Yue. She really is too tricky, such an injustice to that gentle and delicate face of hers.
“Someone come and take this maid to the dungeon to reflect!”
Eunuch Hai immediately beckon his hand and call for two eunuchs. The eunuchs lift Xue Wu from the ground. Just as they were about to take her away, Xia Hou Shang Yue unhurriedly puts her tea cup on top of the table, the sound of it noticeable amidst the silent atmosphere of Ci Ning Palace.
Bai Yu Chen looks at Xia Hou Shang Yue who is standing up. He frowns but did not say anything. He wonders what she is trying to do.
“Your Majesty, even though I have only entered the back palace, I am more or less aware of the rules here. Every palace’s maids or eunuchs who committed mistakes are to be punished by the owner of their respective palaces, am I right?” Xia Hou Shang Yue’s tone is not big, but every single word she said are gems. Bai Yu Chen did not directly answers her, he simply scoff.
“Don’t tell me I don’t even have the authority to punish a little maid who did not follow the rules.”
“Your Majesty is too serious. I just want to know whether the things I said just now are right or now. Don’t tell me you don’t know whether I was right or wrong?”
This is the first time Bai Yu Chen sees Xia Hou Shang Yue arguing.
A cold smile forms in his mouth, who would’ve thought that the indifferent her will actually argue with other people.
“What the empress said is not wrong…..”
“Since Your Majesty yourself admits that I am right, Xue Wu’s punishment will be handled by me since she is a servant from my Feng Qi Palace. No need to trouble Your Majesty.”
Xia Hou Shang Yue smiles and turns over to look at Xue Wu who is in the arms of the two eunuchs. “Xue Wu, go back to Feng Qi Palace. Without my direct order, you are not allowed to get out!”
After she says that, the two eunuchs still did not show signs of wanting to let go of Xue Wu. They merely look at Bai Yu Chen, hesitantly standing there. On one side is the emperor, the other side is the empress, neither of them can be offended ah!
“What’s wrong, did you two not hear me? No matter what, I am still the owner of the back palace, let go of her!”
Seeing the two people still not letting go, a trace of discontent can be seen on Xia Hou Shang Yue’s usually calm face. Her indifference does not mean other people are allowed to bully her closed ones. Her constantly giving in does not mean others can just dismiss her!
Bai Yu Chen squint his eyes. This is the first time Xia Hou Shang Yue ever shows sign of anger in front of him. So even she can get angry, even she can throw tantrum ah!
Facing Bai Yu Chen’s expressive eyes, Xia Hou Shang Yue tip her chin and look back at him. Out of the corner of her eyes, she can see Yan Ruyu who is tucked against Bai Yu Chen’s chest. Did she think she can bring her down by feigning grievance and putting on a show? That’s wishful thinking on her part.
“You two can let her go! So the empress can actually get angry, I always thought she was an iced beauty, immune to both happiness and anger. Looks like I overestimated the empress!”
“Your Majesty, I am still a person. It is only natural that I have people that I want to protect.”
After Xia Hou Shang Yue says that, she allows Xue Wu to return to Feng Qi palace. She then sits back down.
Bai Yu Chen scoff, don’t tell him the person she wants to protect is that little maid?
Just as he was about to speak, the empress dowager coughs a couple of times and says, “I did not come here to see a pair of husband and wife bickering. Alright, all of you should sit and accompany me to dinner!”