Since she had already phrased her words so clearly, Royal Prince Yang naturally wouldn’t disagree, quickly nodding, “You’re right, madam. I’ll be more careful in the future!”
“Our Cao’er is slowly growing older, so it’s not so convenient for her to meet with a male outsider in the future. If you have any official business with her, please discuss it with her at the yamen or at the Imperial Plantation. Royal Prince Yang, do you think...I’m being reasonable?” Lady Fang’s intentions were quite clear. First, have the two of them keep their distance, and if Royal Prince Yang was truly sincere, then she would follow her daughter’s wishes and agree to their engagement in three years. At the very least, if he changed his mind, her daughter’s marriage wouldn’t be affected!
Zhu Junyang felt troubled. Could he say no? But if he agreed, then it would be harder for him to see the little lass in the future. Passerbys, father-in-law, mother-in-law...they were all here just to meddle with his affairs!
“But...Godmother, I’ve asked Royal Prince Yang to help me find suitable residences!” Yu Xiaocao had abruptly transmigrated into this world, then brought up in the countryside, so she was not so concerned with the worldly decorum. Her heart mildly rejected the idea that she might not so easily see Royal Prince Yang in the future.
Lady Fang glared at her daughter who interrupted her and said, “Even if you wanted to buy some properties, does it necessarily have to be Royal Prince Yang? Are your godfather and I decorations? Don’t you worry, your godfather will take care of this matter!”
“Why do you want to buy a residence? Wouldn’t it be nice to have the whole family merrily celebrating New Year’s together?” Fang Zizhen originally planned to have his daughter celebrate New Year’s with them, but now it seemed that the plan was about to fall flat. Sigh! What was the point if it were just the three of them coldly celebrating New Year’s? Cao’er, that little lass, was so determined to buy a house, and it seemed that he could only help her! He needed to keep an eye out for suitable, nearby residences that were for sale…
Zhu Junyang’s eyebrow twitched. In just a short period of time, the task he was entrusted to by his ‘wife’ was now snatched away by another person? Indeed, his father-in-law was made to suppress him! ‘However, you can buy yours, but I’ll still buy mine. We’ll see which residence the little lass likes more!’
When he exited the Fang Residence, Zhu Junyang paused in his steps, hesitating, then he turned his horse around and once again rushed in the direction of the imperial palace.
After Zhu Junfan accompanied the empress and his son for lunch, he had wanted to return to Qianqing Palace to rest for a short while. He had not anticipated for a small eunuch to report that Royal Prince Yang was requesting to meet him.
‘Yang’er? He’d hurriedly left the Hall of Supreme Harmony this morning, I heard he’d gone straight to the Fang Residence. Shouldn’t he be flirting with his sweetheart in the Fang Residence now? How had he remembered to come to the imperial palace to see me?’
“Let him wait for me in the Imperial Study!” Zhu Junfan was so curious he put off his rest, immediately changed his clothes and headed towards the Imperial Study.
“Your Imperial Majesty!” Once Zhu Junyang went through the ruler-subject decorum, he didn’t even wait for the emperor to start, “Official Yu of the Ministry of Revenue has cultivated a third more corn than last year, perhaps more than that. Even without mentioning the good growth of winter wheat, just the vegetables grown in the greenhouses alone enriches not only the meals of the people of the capital, but also fills your inner treasury. Shouldn't this be a cause for merit?”
“Merit? Hadn’t we already resisted the pressure and appointed her as a sixth-ranked official? Is that not enough? Did she complain to you? She’s so young, yet has such a big appetite! Aren’t a few plantations all she’s relying on? Her accomplishments are so little and she’s already beginning to feel conceited over her talent and act spoiled because she’s special?!” Zhu Junfan pretended to be enraged and heavily slammed his hand on his desk!
“No! She hasn’t complained about anything. Rather, she only feels grateful towards your majesty. It is this subject that...thinks your majesty has not rewarded her enough, as merely anyone in the capital dares to scheme against her!” Zhu Junyang was absolutely unafraid of his cousin’s act. There wasn’t any sign of anger from him at all!
“Then what do you suggest we reward, to show our favor and trust in her?” Zhu Junfan amusedly leaned into his seat, scrutinizing his younger cousin, trying to figure out what he was up to.
Zhu Junyang ignored his scrutiny and said, “Official Yu intends to receive her family into the capital for a reunion, but she is currently staying in Count Zhongqin’s residence and it is utterly impractical for her. So...shouldn’t your majesty reward her with a residence?”
“A residence? Which residence do you think is suitable for us to reward?” Zhu Junfan thought, ‘What a good brat you are; you only know to side with your ‘wife’, and now you’re even starting to stuff things into her hands? Most of the residences in the capital already have an owner, and haven’t I already rewarded you with the best one? If you really want to please her, you could just give it to her, right?’
“This subject thinks that the residence of the Grand Preceptor of the previous dynasty has been well preserved, moreover the surroundings are elegant. It is perfect as a reward for a meritorious official!” Zhu Junyang suddenly raised his head to look at his cousin, the emperor, and enunciated.
“The residence of the Grand Preceptor of the previous dynasty? Hadn’t I already given it to…” Zhu Junfan’s brows creased. He stared at his younger cousin for a while before he smiled. People always said that women always sided with their husbands, but it would seem that men, too, sided with their wives. His younger cousin had really given his all to court his ‘wife’.
But since his cousin was happy to do so, why should he become the bad guy? Zhu Junfan chuckled. Originally, he was worried that his younger cousin would live the rest of his life alone, but now it seemed his worries were for nought! Could this brat also have transmigrated? His tactics in courting girls were endless! Zhu Junfan somewhat admired him.
However, as the emperor, even if he wanted to flaunt his tactics in courting women, he would first need to be presented with the chance! If he spent a fortune on just a woman, what would the future generations say of him? That he was lecherous? That he loved his women over his empire? Or would they say that the woman he courted was a seductress who bewitched the emperor? Zhu Junfan was slightly excited——er, still, let’s forget it. Even if he wanted to be lecherous, he would still first need to have the conditions to do so. Now that there were still many things to be done for the Great Ming Dynasty, he was better off being a wise emperor!
That very evening, Yu Xiaocao, who had been lying on a cushioned seat playing with Little Linlin, received the emperor’s decree to attend court the next morning. As Yu Xiaocao was only a sixth-ranked official, she did not usually have the qualifications to attend court, unless the emperor specially allowed her to.
The next day, before dawn, Yu Xiaocao, who was sleepy and hazy, was awoken by a few maidservants. They helped her dress, combed her hair, and even the washing up was done in a dazed state. ‘I'm still a growing child, I need sleep, I don't want to go to work before dawn…’
Yu Xiaocao, who had finished her breakfast with her eyes barely open, was hurriedly stuffed into a horse carriage headed towards the heart of the capital. At the side of the horse carriage was Fang Zizhen, who had only just returned to the capital yesterday. Royal Prince Yang, clad in black, waited atop his black horse at the midpoint of the journey. He almost blended in with the night, but his handsome, cold face was still so dazzling in the darkness.
Yu Xiaocao yawned, thrusting her hands into mittens made from ferret fur. Hearing the familiar sound of a horse's hooves outside the window, she hurriedly lifted the carriage’s curtains and looked straight into a pair of eyes as deep as ink. The moment their gazes met, the cold ice in the eyes that were as deep as ink instantly dissipated, and his cold face was dyed with a warmer color. Yu Xiaocao stared at his beautiful face, stunned to the point that she almost forgot what she was going to say.
“My dear daughter, can we be more reserved, please?” Fang Zizhen bitterly laughed, but fiercely shot a glare at Royal Prince Yang. ‘It’s all his fault; why does a man need to be so beautiful? To seduce little girls?’
“Keke!” Yu Xiaocao heard her godfather’s words and awkwardly coughed twice.
Zhu Junyang, however, worriedly looked at her and said gently, “It’s coldest when it stops snowing. How do your servants take care of you? Don’t they know to dress you in more layers? My cloak is made from sable fur and is the best at keeping warm. Why aren’t you taking this and putting it on your mistress?”
Seeing that he was left with only thin, black robes after he took off his cloak, Yu Xiaocao rushed to stop his movements and said, "I’m already wearing a cloak! It’s made from ermine fur, and it's warm! Your size differs too much from mine, if I put on your clothes, I’ll be able to take part in operas! By the way, do you know why the emperor suddenly decreed for me to attend court?"
She cocked her head to one side and thought hard about it. She had not delayed a single matter concerning the Imperial Plantation, and nothing had gone wrong with the greenhouse-grown vegetables that were currently the chicken that laid golden eggs! Besides, it was currently the season when agricultural activities were most inactive, and all the farmers would be hiding at home. There shouldn't be any important matters that could alert the emperor! Or did he…change his mind and set his sights onto her multicolored stone?
"Don't think nonsense," Zhu Junyang wanted to soothe the folds in her brow, softly comforting, "Maybe the emperor wants to compensate you for the success of your greenhouse-grown vegetables!"
Yu Xiaocao seriously scrutinized his expression, and when she saw nothing different, she put away her worries and a smile appeared on her face again, "Hehe, I've earned so much money for the emperor, so it's only natural for him to give me some reward. I still have a big gift for the empress at the beginning of spring!"
"The empress gets a part in that beauty salon of yours?" In his heart, Zhu Junyang felt that the emperor was a little outrageous. It was enough that he got a portion since the greenhouse used to grow vegetables occupied imperial land and the Ministry of Works supplied the plastic film, but how could he let his sister-in-law exploit the little lass's salon that she was establishing with her own craft?
Yu Xiaocao excitedly said, "The idea for this beauty salon actually sprouted from the empress’s suggestion. Back then, how many people tried to get my flower tea recipes? If the empress hadn't spread word around, how could I, a pitiful girl without a backing, have possibly kept those precious recipes? As such, the empress deserves ten percent of the profit as this beauty salon will be run using the empress’s good name!"
Her words had caused the two men to take offense. Fang Zizhen: ‘My dear daughter, with godfather around, how could you ever become a pitiful girl without a backing? Who would dare to covet my daughter's secret recipes? Come out and fight, we'll see if I can't kill you!’
Zhu Junyang: ‘Little lass, am I dead to you? You say you don't have a backing? I, Royal Prince Yang, and the entire Prince Jing Estate are your backing!’ However, the Prince Jing Residence would eventually belong to his eldest brother, the heir of Imperial Prince Jing. Even if they were brothers, they still needed to maintain clarity with each other! It seemed that the title of 'Royal Prince' was still too low, so he needed to work harder and get more merit! That way, in the future, she would be able to parade around the capital as she liked because he could protect her.Previous Chapter Next Chapter