The Emperor’s Beloved Ugly Girl - Chapter 73
Ah Chou was taken aback. It dawned on her that when Zhong Mingwei asked about “Lao Jiang,” he was referring to the original guard. With another thought, she understood even more. Zhong Mingwei had mistakenly believed that the person who brought the rocking chair earlier was also Lao Jiang. When she recalled how Lao Jiang had treated Zhong Mingwei before, Ah Chou instantly grasped what had been bothering Zhong Mingwei all day. She felt so heartbroken that she couldn’t even eat.
“I inquired with Officer Kong. It seems the guard surnamed Jiang has been ordered back to the capital. They say he won’t come to Ningguta anymore,” Ah Chou said slowly, placing down her bowl. She asked Zhong Mingwei, “Do you still want jasmine tea?”
“No,” Zhong Mingwei muttered, then continued struggling to pick at his noodles. After a while, he whispered, “I want red bean congee.”
“Alright, I’ll make it for you tomorrow morning,” Ah Chou said with a smile, feeling relieved. She took a few bites of noodles, then, somewhat shyly, asked, “Was the tea I brewed especially awful?”
“Not bad,” Zhong Mingwei raised his head, looking at Ah Chou. He slightly curled his lips. “There were just too many flowers. It was overpowering.”
“Okay, I’ll use fewer next time.” Ah Chou nodded repeatedly, smiling like a pleased chicken pecking at rice.
“You said Lao Jiang was ordered back to the capital?” After the meal, while Ah Chou was still massaging Zhong Mingwei, he suddenly asked.
“Yes, Officer Kong personally told me. Lao Jiang left in a hurry, and he won’t be coming back. The two guards surnamed Kong are staying, saying they will be working in Ningguta from now on,” Ah Chou hurriedly said, paused, then added in a low voice, “Don’t worry, the guard surnamed Jiang won’t return to Ningguta. You can stop worrying.”
Zhong Mingwei didn’t pay much attention to the added statement. After a pause, he suddenly said, “It’s probably the Empress Dowager pleading for me.”
Ah Chou, not understanding, asked, “What?”
“Lao Jiang is clearly not from the Imperial Army, but he is well-informed about the capital. It shows he has close connections there—maybe some high-ranking minister or a person under a consort or prince in the palace,” Zhong Mingwei said, recalling Lao Jiang’s demeanor when he first arrived at Ningguta. His brows furrowed as he continued slowly, “Ningguta is a place where various forces are intertwined. Almost everyone has some influence here. But Father Emperor insisted on banishing me to Ningguta without care, fearing I might pose a threat. He couldn’t attack his own son directly, but now, as soon as the guards from the Imperial Army arrived in Ningguta, Lao Jiang hurried back to the capital. It seems Father Emperor has changed his mind. The only person capable of making Father Emperor, who has a heart as hard as iron, change his mind is the Empress Dowager.”
“He… he wants to kill you?” Ah Chou’s hands suddenly froze, and her whole body stiffened. It took a long time for her to recover. “He is your father. You are his son. Why would he want to kill you?”
“I don’t know,” Zhong Mingwei said calmly, his gaze fixed on the dim candlelight. “I’ve always been afraid of Father Emperor. Not because he is the ruler of the world, but I always felt that he hated me, truly hated me.”
“No, that can’t be. How could he?” Ah Chou couldn’t stand his indifferent tone and hurriedly reassured him, “You are his legitimate eldest son! I heard that His Majesty and the Virtuous Empress have a deep affection. You, being the only child of Empress Zhenxian, how could he not cherish you? How could he hate you?”
“But what if Mother Empress lost her life because of me?” Zhong Mingwei continued slowly, “Tell me, would he hate me as his son if my mother died because of me?”
Ah Chou took in a sharp breath. It took her a while before she asked in a hushed voice, “Empress Zhenxian… didn’t she pass away due to a sudden illness?”
“Saying it was a sudden illness would make sense,” Zhong Mingwei said indifferently. “But more accurately, it should be a postpartum collapse, resulting in death.”
Who here has been getting sick a lot lately??? ◝(⁰▿⁰)◜
And that is me telling you guys that my absence isn’t due to laziness, but because of illness (although I heard somewhere that laziness is an illness…)
It was a nasty cold. (≖͞_≖̥)
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