“Are you sure?” Sitting on the high chair in Shou Wang Manor, Dou Xiyin subconsciously bent her body forward because of excitement.
“One hundred percent.”
Dou Xiyin’s pupils dilated, then she leaned back on the chair, seemingly in deep thought. After a while, she suddenly became excited again. She stood up and said, “Someone come, prepare a carriage. This Wangfei is going to enter the palace.”
“Imperial Physician Liu has done well and will be rewarded. Continue keeping your eye on Imperial Physician Zhao and report to This Wangfei anytime you find news. As long as you do your job well, This Wangfei will never treat you badly.”
In the Cining Palace, Empress Dowager Yang sat up with the help of a Mama and slowly drank her medicine. Many people in the capital had fallen ill following the long rain this year, including the Empress Dowager. Empress Dowager Yang was old after all, and not even her position as the most honorable woman in the world could spare her from the passing of time.
Empress Dowager Yang had been ill for a long time. Imperial Physicians came to diagnose her pulse every day, and precious medicinal materials were spent without a second thought, but Empress Dowager Yang’s illness still was not getting better.
When a palace servant came with a report, “Shou Wangfei is here,” Empress Dowager Yang frowned subconsciously and said with disgust, “Why is she here?”
Since the incident during the Lantern Festival banquet at the beginning of the year, Empress Dowager Yang had a big quarrel with her brother Yang Fucheng and became disgusted with the Dou family’s mother and daughter. Empress Dowager Yang was ruthless and cruel in her life. She had harmed so many people but had treated the Yang family the best she could. She had given Dou Xiyin fifteen years of honor and favor, but Dou Xiyin repaid her in this way. And Yang Yan, that white-eyed wolf, actually dared to blame her for being partial. She scolded her for favoring Empress Yang and disregarding her life and death.
Empress Dowager Yang was so angry that she no longer cared about the Second Prince. For so many years, she had worked so hard to nurture a political force for the sake of the Second Prince, yet no one appreciated her effort. Every single one of them blamed her for overreaching, hating her for stretching her hands too long. Since that was the case, then just let the Second Prince marry whomever he liked. From now on, she would never care about their Yang family’s affairs again.
Despite deciding to be ruthless and stop taking care of the Yang family’s affairs, Empress Dowager Yang couldn’t help but feel hurt. Because she had been depressed for a long time, the long rain in the sixth month caused her already weakened body to fall ill.
When the patient was already emotionally fragile, diseases came like a mudslide. Empress Dowager Yang enjoyed the life of highest luxury, surrounded by priceless treasures and using only the finest things in life, but when she looked around the hall, what she found were only old palace maids and old mamas, and none of her family was by her side. Even on the sickbed, she had no sons, daughters-in-law, or grandchildren to take care of her.
Although people like Cheng Yujin indeed didn’t stop coming to pay respect every day, they all left after a few polite words. Cheng Yujin was her granddaughter-in-law after all, and it was not her duty to serve by her grandmother-in-law’s side, let alone that she was pregnant now. As for the son and daughter-in-law who were supposed to be by her sickbed, one was the Emperor in charge of the whole country, and the other was the Empress in charge of the inner palace. These two were naturally very busy, and it was already very filial for them to ask about her condition every day. It was impossible for them to stay by Empress Dowager Yang’s side and nurse her personally. As for those imperial concubines — Empress Dowager Yang disliked them for being noisy and scheming, and thus she kept them out of her sight. With her current physical condition, she didn’t have the energy to watch the younger generation making a fuss at every turn.
Empress Dowager Yang lay in bed to recuperate from her illness, surrounded by emptiness. She was confined in a dim bedroom all day, unable to see sunshine, as if waiting for death. Facing the desolateness, Empress Dowager Yang couldn’t help reminiscing about her son who died young. This caused her to feel even more depressed, which in turn hindered her recovery.
When the palace servant announced that Dou Xiyin was here, Empress Dowager Yang was really surprised. Although Dou Xiyin was the wife of the Second Prince, a Wangfei was different from a Crown Princess. Both the Crown Prince and Crown Princess lived in the palace, but other princes and their wives were granted a separate manor and lived independently outside. This looked like freedom, but in fact, it distanced them from the power center in the palace.
Naturally, it was not easy for outsiders to enter the palace. The Second Prince attended the morning court, but Dou Xiyin, as a woman, had no reason to frequent the palace. Thus, despite her position as a daughter-in-law and grandaughter-in-law, Dou Xiyin was not required to pay respect to the Empress and Empress Dowager every day. Except for the compulsory visit with the rest of the inner palace’s members on the first and fifteenth of every month, Dou Xiyin never went to Empress Dowager Yang’s palace.
So Dou Xiyin’s arrival at the Cining Palace today was totally unexpected.
When Dou Xiyin entered the Cining Palace, she was choked by the strong smell of medicine. Empress Dowager Yang was an elderly person who lived alone and was still ill on top of that. The air in her palace naturally would not smell good. It was the mix of medicinal smell and dampness which made people feel heavy, as if the whole palace was shrouded in a gloomy atmosphere of decay.
Dou Xiyin held back from exposing her displeasure and tried her best to show a smile as she greeted Empress Dowager Yang, “Empress Dowager, are you feeling better today?”
Empress Dowager Yang glanced at Dou Xiyin with a sneer, “It seems I have disappointed you. Unfortunately, I’m not dead yet.”
Being attacked so suddenly, Dou Xiyin let out an awkward laugh, “It seems you have gotten better. This granddaughter-in-law is relieved to see it.”
Empress Dowager Yang smiled coldly, showing a clear alienation. Dou Xiyin reminded herself of her intention to come today, so she resisted the discomfit atmosphere and leaned forward to gently massage Empress Dowager Yang’s legs, “Your Majesty, this grandaughter-in-law recently learned about something by accident and was deeply troubled by this matter. I don’t know if it is appropriate for me to expose it or not.”
Hearing this, Empress Dowager Yang’s interest was piqued, and she finally gave Dou Xiyin a second look: “What is it?”
Dou Xiyin laughed inside. Deliberately putting on the aura of mysteriousness, she leaned closer and whispered: “This grandaughter-in-law accidentally got the news that the Crown Princess seems to be pregnant with twins.”
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