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Chapter 863 Two Imperial Consorts’ Provocation
The sedan chair stopped in front of Phoenix Palace. With the towering imperial-red palace in front of her, Shao Wanru’s eyebrows frowned. She had thought that it was Empress Dowager who summoned her, but it turned out to be the Empress.
A palace maid had been waiting there for a long time. When Shao Wanru arrived, she greeted her with a smile and said, “Fifth Miss Shao, Her Majesty is waiting for you. Please come with me!”
Shao Wanru nodded and followed the palace maid inside without Yujie, who was ordered to stay outside.
When they arrived at the main hall, Shao Wanru saw that a few guests had been there sitting next to the Empress. She immediately lowered her head to salute the Empress.
Although the Empress, who was sitting high on the main seat, had a smile on her face, the smile was not warm. She fixed her eyes on Shao Wanru with a cold look.
The laughter in the hall suddenly stopped and the atmosphere became odd. Those guests sitting next to her could feel the Empress’s displeasure, and they couldn’t help thinking about what att.i.tude they should show to Shao Wanru.
People living in the palace were the best at grasping others’ minds.
Some of them started to cast a sarcastic look at Shao Wanru. “She is no more than the fiancee of Prince Chen. It is hard to say what changes will happen in the future.”
Even if Prince Chen was favored, the future Princess Chen might not be. Look, the Empress’s att.i.tude was very obvious.
When it came to what had happened to Duke Xing’s Mansion recently, none of them was pleasant. First, it was First Miss Shao’s scandal, then it was the fight between the two princes at the wedding banquet of First Young Master Shao, which had just happened. No, no! It was not Duke Xing’s Mansion anymore. It was Marquis Xing’s Mansion now.
Thinking of that, someone among the guests suddenly sneered out loud. Low as her laughter was, it broke the silence in the hall.
“You may stand up,” the Empress said indifferently.
The palace maid helped Shao Wanru up and the latter sat down on a chair beside.
After sitting down, Shao Wanru looked at those guests, only to find that she knew most of them.
Both Infanta Yuan’an and Zhang Qilan were present. Not only them but also Qi Rongzhi and a Miss she didn’t know. But she had once seen her during the Pageant. She might be Prince Yue’s consort. As for the other two sitting just next to the Empress, Shao Wanru guessed that they were the favored consorts in the palace because both of them were good-looking and gorgeously dressed.
One of them, who was covering her smiling face with a round fan, looked Shao Wanru up and down and then said to the Empress with a smile, “Is this the Fifth Miss of Duke… Marquis Xing’s Mansion? Oh, how silly I am! I always forget that there is no Duke Xing’s Mansion anymore. It should be Marquis Xing’s Mansion.”
The lady said with a charming smile, which sounded like she didn’t say that on purpose. But every word she said was to sneer at Shao Wanru.
“Yes, Secondary Consort Li. I always forget, too. We have called it Duke Xing’s Mansion for so many years, but suddenly we have to change it into Marquis Xing’s Mansion. How unexpected it is!” The other consort in splendid clothes said with a smile.
It was obvious that she meant no kindness in her words.
Shao Wanru calmly listened to the two imperial concubines talking about the gossip of her mansion. The expression on her face had always kept the same, as if they were not talking about anything relevant to her.
The two consorts had an eye contact with each other and then became more and more disdainful of Shao Wanru. The future Princess Chen was not a powerful figure. She didn’t even dare to refute. The Empress had thought too highly of her before.
She was timid and cowardly. There was no need to be afraid of her.
“If the ancestors of Marquis Xing’s Mansion knew that their descendants were so disappointing, I wonder whether they would have come out from the earth to have it out with their children. I heard that the former Duke is a hero of his generation. He fought with the former Emperor for the throne. Now, his Mansion, instead of being brought to glory, have fallen so quickly under the rule of his unworthy descendants!”
The consort who spoke before fanned herself and looked at Shao Wanru with increasing sarcasm. There was no need to fear a timid future Princess. She would certainly taunt her as many times as she could.
The Empress didn’t like Shao Wanru either, did she? In this case, why not taunt her in front of the Empress?
Shao Wanru looked up at the Empress, who turned to whisper to the palace maid behind her. It seemed that she didn’t hear the two consorts’ sarcasm to Shao Wanru.
“Fifth Miss Shao, do you agree with us? I heard that your father used to be the Heir of Duke Xing’s Mansion. Unfortunately, he died early. If it were still your father who was in charge of Duke Xing’s Mansion now, such kind of disaster might not have happened to it!” Seeing that the Empress didn’t react to their words, the other consort talked to Shao Wanru directly.
Shao Wanru took a deep breath, with a trace of coldness in her watery eyes. She blinked, with her long eyelashes fluttering, which made her look beautiful and charming. But it was the coldness in her eyes that caught people’s eyes most.
“What do you mean, Your Highness? Could you please make it clear? I am young, so I don’t quite understand what you mean. Do you think my father is not qualified to be the Heir of Duke Xing, or do you despise my grandfather?”
As soon as she finished her words, the whole hall fell silent again. Those who were talking with each other immediately stopped and looked at Shao Wanru in astonishment.
The Empress turned to look at Shao Wanru, and she couldn’t help frowning when seeing Shao Wanru was looking at the two consorts neither obsequiously nor arrogantly.
The Empress had seen Shao Wanru several times during the latter was staying with Shao Yanru before. She knew that Shao Wanru was a gentle and beautiful woman. Even though she had not fully grown up, it could be seen how beautiful she would become in the future. Therefore, the Empress was not surprised that Chu Liuchen was fond of her.
Shao Wanru not only had a beautiful face but also had a powerful maternal grandmother.
But no matter how powerful her grandma was, she was a delicate girl, beautiful and pure. It was actually very easy to deal with such a girl.
But what was wrong with the current situation?
Seeing that the two imperial consorts were shocked, Shao Wanru smiled slightly and continued to focus her eyes on them, as if she hadn’t known that what she said just now made everyone speechless.
“How presumptuous!” One of the two consorts stood up in anger. She was being favored by the Emperor, so no one dared to treat her with disrespect in the palace, let alone a Miss from an official’s mansion.
“What did I say to make you angry, Your Highness? Didn’t you keep talking about my mansion? I don’t know which mansion you are from, but I bet you must come from a n.o.ble family.” Shao Wanru tilted her head with a slightly confusing face, looking as quite cute as a silly girl.
But it was a strong provocation in that consort’s eyes. For a moment, she was so furious that she raised her eyebrows, widened her almond-shaped eyes, and shouted with anger, “What an unruly person! How dare you speak like that in front of the Empress? Kneel!”
Few families in the capital city could be compared with Marquis Xing’s Mansion. This imperial consort was born in a declined aristocratic family, which was not at all the same cla.s.s as Marquis Xing’s Mansion. Even if it was degraded, it was still much above her declined family.
The imperial consort mentioned the Empress. If the Empress got involved, Shao Wanru was bound to face her. The imperial consort felt complacent in secret, thinking that she was helping the Empress to oppress Shao Wanru, which was also the reason why she came here.
Shao Wanru stood up, turned to look at the Empress with her watery eyes, and apologized to the Empress, “I’m guilty. Empress, please punish me!”
“It is sure enough that she was timid, and it was easy to deal with her. So I can’t go too far for the time being,” the Empress’ face relaxed, and she smiled slightly, being about to say something polite.
However, Shao Wanru raised her head, with her bright eyes flas.h.i.+ng with a trace of coldness, and said, “Your Majesty, I’m guilty, but the two Highnesses seem to be wrong too. I wonder why they kept provoking me just now? Is it because my grandma or my grandfather has once offended them, or because they dislike me due to I am Prince Chen’s future wife? ”
Since she was summoned to the palace today, Shao Wanru had made up her mind already.
In the past, Shao Wanru always showed weakness in front of the Empress, for her marriage with Chu Liuchen was not officially declared yet and her ident.i.ty was just the daughter of an official. What’s more, her eldest sister Shao Yanru had done something disgraceful at that time. So she had to be more cautious with her manners and avoid making any mistakes.
Now she was officially claimed to be the future Princess Chen. If she didn’t fight back today, she would lose not only her face but also Chu Liuchen’s. Therefore, she would never give in even if the Empress was angry with that.
No matter what was the Empress’ intention, she had no intention of making a concession today.
The Empress’s face darkened. She didn’t expect that Shao Wanru, who looked as delicate and young as a teenager, would say such sharp words. Not to mention the first two reasons, the latter one she said just now could even get the Empress punished, let alone the two imperial consorts.
Others might not know how much the Emperor favored Chu Liuchen, but how could the Empress not know?
“Your Majesty, you must uphold justice for me. The Fifth Miss of Marquis Xing’s Mansion despises us so much that she even dares to say such words in front of you. She is too presumptuous!”
The two imperial consorts were stunned at first, then they felt embarra.s.sed and so angry. Suddenly they stood up, knelt in front of the Empress, and cried out loud. One of them even messed her clothes and hair, looking as if she had been torn and beaten.
“Your Majesty, if you don’t uphold justice for me, I don’t deserve to live anymore. How could you let an official’s daughter defame us?” Said another consort, who was more irrational, suddenly standing up and then cras.h.i.+ng into a pillar aside.
The palace maids were shocked and rushed to hold her, and then they all tumbled.
The solemn main hall of the Phoenix Palace instantly turned as messy as a market. It was really noisy in the hall with shouts mixed up with the cry of hitting the pillar.
The Empress glanced over the n.o.ble ladies present and stopped on the face of Shao Wanru, who was extremely calm. Her facial features were delicate and beautiful enough to make people jealous of her. It was unbelievable that she still could remain calm when seeing the unreasonable behavior of the two favored consorts of the Emperor. Even the Empress started to admire Shao Wanru’s self-restraint.
“His Majesty arrives!” The sharp voice of a eunuch came from outside the hall, and the two imperial consorts stopped crying immediately.