“Oh, so Shou Wangfei doesn’t know anything? However, you clearly went to Kunning Palace after I left Cining Palace. You actually claimed that you haven’t seen me, and you also don’t know what happened in the main hall?”
Dou Xiyin was stunned, completely speechless. In fact, Cheng Yujin didn’t have clear evidence. She couldn’t reveal that she was truly pregnant with twins, so it was impossible to reveal the matter of Imperial Physician Liu spying on Imperial Physician Zhao and him going to Shou Wang Manor to report his finding. All Cheng Yujin could use to attack Dou Xiyin was the latter’s suspicious itinerary after entering the palace today.
These alone can’t prove anything. To put it bluntly, everything was just based on a guess, including Cheng Yujin’s accusation that Dou Xiyin was the one who instigated Empress Dowager Yang. But this was enough. Just as the Emperor didn’t need evidence to suspect Empress Dowager Yang, he also didn’t need evidence to dislike Dou Xiyin.
The Emperor was already displeased by Dou Xiyin’s improper action prior to the marriage and how she used her family connection to forcibly tie herself with the Second Prince. Despite all the things that happened, Dou Xiyin still had the face to walk around in the palace with great fanfare, causing even more trouble. The Emperor’s annoyance with Dou Xiyin had practically reached its peak.
Glancing at Dou Xiyin in disgust, the Emperor sternly said, “Shou Wangfei. As a wife, you disregard the virtue of a wife and disrespect your eldest sister-in-law. Not only that, but you also dare to take advantage of the Empress and Empress Dowager’s love towards you to incite their disharmony with the Eastern Palace. Today onward, you don’t need to enter the imperial palace again. Stay behind the closed door in Shou Wang Manor and reflect on yourself. You should ponder over the Women’s Precept and other classics and once again learn what it means to be virtuous. Only after you truly learn to be virtuous will you be allowed to enter the palace again to pay respect to Empress Dowager.”
As if struck by lightning, Dou Xiyin slumped to the ground in shock. Empress Dowager Yang frowned. Her inaction just now was merely to teach Dou Xiyin a lesson, but she never intended to truly punish this girl. The Emperor’s reprimand was truly harsh, as he not only grounded Dou Xiyin, but also accused her of lacking in virtue. The most important thing for the women who married into the imperial clan was their reputation. With a Wangfei who bore the stigma of being unvirtuous, even the Second Prince would also be affected.
Moreover, the Emperor ordered Dou Xiyin to reflect behind the closed door but didn’t say when she would be released. Only after she truly learned to be virtuous could she come out again; but what were the criteria of ‘truly learned’?
Empress Dowager Yang wanted to persuade: “Emperor, although Shou Wangfei is also at fault, she is merely inexperienced due to her young age. Isn’t your punishment too severe?”
“What is ‘inexperienced due to her young age’? Crown Princess is the same age as her, but has the Crown Princess made such a stupid mistake like this? Look at them. Are they comparable?” The Emperor’s tone was harsh, and he said again with anger, “When a son is ignorant, the father is at fault for his failure to teach his son. Similarly, a daughter’s ignorance is her mother’s fault. She dares to be so rampant, all thanks to her elders’ excessive spoiling. Empress, if you really want to do her good, you shouldn’t spoil her so much.”
This accusation was too serious. Dou Xiyin’s biological mother was Empress Yang’s sister, and her mother-in-law was also Empress Yang. The daughter’s ignorance was the mother’s fault, which clearly pointed at Empress Yang and the Yang family. Empress Yang immediately lowered her head and replied softly. “Yes, Your Majesty. This consort knows my fault.”
An emperor’s words were extremely heavy and couldn’t be taken back. Empress Dowager Yang sighed. Knowing that the Emperor was still fuming now, she stopped speaking for Dou Xiyin.
Dou Xiyin was indeed too stupid and needed a harsh lesson.
Dou Xiyin was stunned. Seeing that Empress Dowager Yang and Empress Yang fell silent one after another, she was completely panicked. As both a Wangfei and a daughter-in-law, she was reprimanded by the Emperor himself and was even grounded too. Once this matter spread, how could she still raise her head in front of the imperial clan members and the titled madams? To make it worse, the reason for her grounding was her lack of virtue.
Dou Xiyin wanted to beg for mercy, but both Empress Yang and Empress Dowager Yang averted their gazes and avoided her plea. Dou Xiyin didn’t dare to enrage the Emperor any further. She looked around in panic, and when she turned her head, she was met with a pair of cold eyes.
Those eyes had beautiful shapes, as if painted by a fine brush. As a fellow woman, even Dou Xiyin had to admit that Cheng Yujin’s eyes are extremely beautiful. At this moment however, those eyes were extremely cold and emotionless, staring at her from a distance.
The distance separating them was not close, and there were also many servants in between, but Dou Xiyin could clearly see the cruel look in Cheng Yujin’s eyes. Cheng Yujin did it on purpose, and it was much more than that — she wanted Dou Xiyin’s life to be a living hell.
Dou Xiyin was totally frightened, but no one around seemed to notice. This kind of feeling was like seeing a ghost in broad daylight. She was the only one who saw it, and nobody believed her, nor did they understand her fear.
Dou Xiyin previously thought that this one failure was nothing, because there would always be a next time. However, Cheng Yujin wanted her to have no next time.
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