The Emperor didn’t say a word, but the silence clearly expressed his stance. Empress Dowager Yang smiled coldly: “This is a baseless accusation, truly a great injustice. How can This Dowager do such an outrageous thing? This Dowager simply wanted an experienced Mama to check on her fetus.”
In fact, Empress Dowager Yang was not lying. However, the Emperor had just seen with his own eyes the people of the Cining Palace chasing the people of the Eastern Palace, even daringly barging into his Qianqing Palace. Now that Empress Dowager Yang openly admitted that she wanted to let experienced palace Mamas check on Cheng Yujin’s fetus, it was no different from an admission of guilt in the Emperor’s ears. The Emperor had been on the throne for so many years. Naturally, he was aware of so many tricks and dark secrets buried deeply under the glittering inner palace. The so-called checking on the fetus was just the pretense these old women used to control palace maids and imperial concubines.
Once the Emperor was wary of the Yang family’s power, so when Empress Yang and Empress Dowager Yang dealt with pregnant maids like this, he simply turned a blind eye and endured. But the Emperor never expected that even the Crown Princess, the legal consort of the Crown Prince that the imperial clan welcomed with full ceremony, a woman with high status whose name was recorded into the imperial family’s jade genealogy, would also be treated like this by them.
This arrogance was equal to trampling on the imperial family’s dignity.
Empress Dowager Yang did not expect her explanation, which she thought to express her clear conscience, to have completely opposite effects in the Emperor’s ears. A preconceived prejudice could not be underestimated. Empress Dowager Yang was used to being domineering, which also built the Emperor’s preconception about her. Even when Empress Dowager Yang was defending herself, the Emperor only thought that she was inverting right and wrong.
Empress Dowager Yang had no idea about the storm currently brewing in the Emperor’s heart. Thinking that the Emperor had calmed down, she victoriously landed a second thunderstorm: “Actually, there is a reason why This Dowager suddenly wanted to let someone check on the Crown Princess’ fetus. The Crown Princess is only six months pregnant, but her belly is as big as an eight-month-old pregnancy. Most likely, she is pregnant with twins.”
Twins? The emperor frowned. It was extremely taboo for the first child of the imperial family to be born twins. In the case of daughters, it would be fine, but the birth of the twins eldest sons would bring confusion on the matter of succession. Therefore, in order to protect the country’s interest, in case of the first child of an emperor or crown prince was suspected to be twins, they would usually be killed.
Even if the possibility was only fifty-fifty, directly terminating the pregnancy was the surest way.
Was Cheng Yujin really pregnant with twins?
The emperor thought about it for a while. In the end, he did not express his opinion, but said in a deep tone: “Zhen has sent the imperial physicians who are personally serving Zhen to diagnose the pulse of the Crown Princess. Whether she is truly with twins or not, we will know in a moment.”
After a while, a group of imperial physicians came out of the inner hall. The first was about to bow to the dignitaries present, but immediately knelt down upon seeing the Emperor and the Empress Dowager. “This subject greets His Majesty the Emperor. Long live the Emperor. This subject also greets Her Majesty the Empress Dowager. Long live the Empress Dowager.”
“Get up.” The Emperor waved his hand and asked, “How’s the Crown Princess?”
The lead physician stroke his gray bread and replied, “The Crown Princess’ fetus is fine, and her pregnancy is currently very stable. However, she was frightened a lot today and will need a long rest.”
The emperor nodded, “Then you can prescribe some tonics to nourish her body and calm her spirit. Starting today, you will go to the Eastern Palace to check the Crown Princess’ pulse every ten days.”
The physician bowed in reverence, “This subject obeys the decree.”
The moment the Emperor ordered his personal physicians to check on Cheng Yujin’s pulse, Dou Xiyin felt a chill in her heart. How high was the Crown Prince’s position in the Emperor’s heart?
Empress Dowager Yang listened to the Emperor’s conversation with the imperial physician. However, he didn’t ask the most important question and even ordered his most veteran physician to check Crown Princess’ pulse as a matter of routine. Unable to bear it anymore, Empress Dowager Yang opened her mouth, “Imperial Physician, This Dowager has a question for you. Is the Crown Princess pregnant with twins?”
The imperial physician paused for a moment, seemingly deep in thought. After a while, he bowed and replied humbly: “This subject is ashamed. This subject’s medical skills are so shallow that I didn’t notice it. However, it is hard to diagnose twins at such an early stage, as this matter can only be confirmed not long before the labor. But Empress Dowager can rest assured; this subject will definitely pay more attention in the future.”
Liu Yi, who was staying outside, was thoroughly relieved to hear this. Hearing the imperial physician say it was not twins, Empress Dowager Yang couldn’t help but feel very suspicious: “Are you sure? Did you diagnose it wrong?”
The gray-bearded imperial physician immediately lifted his robe and knelt down. Bowing his head deeply, he said: “This subject is stupid and ignorant. Begging for Empress Dowager’s forgiveness.” The rest of the imperial physicians also knelt down and pleaded guilty together.
These imperial physicians were the elite group trusted by and personally tended to the Emperor. Seeing Empress Dowager Yang openly questioning their credibility and even making them kneel to plead guilty, the Emperor frowned in displeasure. Quickly suppressing his emotions, the Emperor said to Empress Dowager Yang, “Empress Dowager, that’s enough for today. It’s already dark outside. If you continue to make trouble, you will become a joke for others.”
The Emperor’s personal physicians testified for the Crown Princess in person, leaving Empress Dowager Yang with no choice. She could be rampant in the inner palace, but in front of the Emperor, she still had to give in. Empress Dowager Yang had no choice but to nod her head and take a step down, “This Dowager is tired too. So many troubles happened today. This Dowager will retire first.”
The palace servants knelt down to send Empress Dowager Yang off. She had just turned around and was about to leave when a voice suddenly came from behind: “Empress Dowager, please stay.”
The voice was particularly conspicuous in the silent hall. Empress Dowager Yang turned around and saw a pale woman standing behind the bright yellow curtain.
Cheng Yujin was supported by the servant girl and looked weak enough to even stand on her own. However, her back was straight, and when she spoke, her voice was calm and composed. “Empress Dowager is tired and wants to return to Cining Palace to take a rest. This granddaughter-in-law naturally didn’t dare to disturb Empress Dowager’s rest. However, there is still a matter left to take care of, no?”
“Empress Dowager is wise and always reasonable, yet you misunderstood this granddaughter-in-law today. Presumably, someone with a bad intention incited you to do so.” Cheng Yujin’s gaze slowly moved and finally landed on Dou Xiyin, “This person provoked the relationship between the Eastern Palace and the Cining Palace, scheming to murder an imperial heir. Such an evil mind deserves a just punishment. Shou Wangfei, what do you think?”
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