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Chapter 503 The Relations.h.i.+p Between the Empress and Commandery Princess Xianyun
When Ning Xueyan returned to the Chenyuan Palace of the empress with Lanning, she happened to meet the palace servant sent by the empress to look for her.
When it was eating time, the emperor reappeared in the Chenyuan Palace with Ao Chenyi. Everyone took their seats, and a happy family banquet was held. This time, not only Honored Consort Ya and Honored Consort Shu but also Third Prince and Fourth Prince had come here.
Rarely, Honored Consort Ya and Honored Consort Shu were cordial this time. Not only did Commandery Princess Xianyun receive their kindness, but even Ning Xueyan also received lots of kindness from them. If it were not for the fact that Ning Xueyan had met Honored Consort Ya and Honored Consort Shu before and knew that they did not like her, now she would think that she was truly agreeable.
After the banquet, Ao Chenyi took her and Commandery Princess Xianyun to bid goodbye to the emperor and the empress and then left.
Their carriages were parked outside just in the same order they used when they came here. The carriage at the head was Ao Chenyi’s, which had a large frame and ornate curtains, and the carriages that followed were Commandery Princess Xianyun’s and Ning Xueyan’s. Compared with Ao Chenyi’s carriage, theirs were much more inconspicuous but still quite ornate.
Ao Chenyi stopped in front of his carriage, and the two followers stopped involuntarily and looked up at him.
“I heard you came across Honored Consort Xia?” Ao Chenyi glanced at Ning Xueyan and asked.
Ning Xueyan blinked her watery eyes and nodded blankly, but she did not ask Ao Chenyi about how he had learned it. If he did not even know such things, he would not be able to match the present emperor in strength.
“You, get on the carriage.” Ao Chenyi narrowed his eyes, turned around, stepped on the back of the little eunuch, and got on the carriage.
“Get on the carriage?” Ning Xueyan looked around and just saw the suspicious black jade-like eyes of Commandery Princess Xianyun, which were full of trances just like Ning Xueyan’s.
“Get on quickly!” An impatient cold snort came from the carriage. Ning Xueyan could not wait any longer this time and had to slightly step on the back of the little eunuch kneeing by the carriage with the help of Lanning’s hand.
She was really not used to stepping on the person’s back, but this carriage of Ao Chenyi was so tall and so large, much taller than other carriages. Without the help of external forces, she really couldn’t get on the carriage. Besides, the man in the carriage seemed very impatient.
Commandery Princess Xianyun was standing by the carriage. When she looked up and saw Ning Xueyan get on the carriage of Ao Chenyi, she had suspicions in her eyes again. No wonder, Prince Yi asking Ning Xueyan to him at this time was for the thing that Ning Xueyan came across Honored Consort Xia. For Commandery Princess Xianyun, she only heard of this favored mysterious consort in the palace but had never met her.
Even when she mentioned this person to the empress out of curiosity in the past, the empress changed the topic every time. This showed how mysterious Honored Consort Xia was! But Ning Xueyan met such a mysterious person the first time she entered the palace. Indeed, this was unspeakably weird. So, Prince Yi had summoned Ning Xueyan and went to ask about the situation and interrogate her!
As she thought about it, Commandery Princess Xianyun turned around and went to the carriage behind this one, got on the carriage, and leaned against the side of the carriage box, pondering it quietly. “What does the appearance of Honored Consort Xia mean? Does the empress know it? I heard that Honored Consort Xia has extraordinary life experience, but those in the place don’t know about her or just avoid talking about her…”
Inside the carriage in front, Ning Xueyan was not being interrogated by Ao Chenyi as Commandery Princess Xianyun had thought.
In the large carriage box almost twice the size of a regular one, Ao Chenyi sat reclining on the couch and instantly took Ning Xueyan who had just come to his arms. Ning Xueyan struggled a little but did not break free, and then she blushed and stopped struggling.
“Tell me about Honored Consort Xia!” Ao Chenyi was satisfied to see Ning Xueyan’s obedient and likable look. Since the “little wild cat” was married to him, such behavior had indeed become more and more natural, and she did not make the previous threatening gestures anymore. With the soft, warm, and enticing beauty in his arms now, he was naturally quite satisfied.
“Have you met Honored Consort Xia, prince?” Ning Xueyan asked unconsciously.
“Not in the palace, but I know her.” Ao Chenyi raised his eyebrows and said without caring about it so much. Then he took out a few dishes of exquisite desserts from under the table beside the couch and put them on the table. “You didn’t eat much just now. If you are hungry, you can have some more of these things, lest that you should not eat enough and get your health damaged.”
Ning Xueyan really didn’t eat enough in the palace just now. Since the emperor and the empress sat there and so many imperial consorts watched her, how could she eat well? She just picked a few things with her chopsticks to show that she ate something, and then she just silently sat there, listening to them.
At that time, Ao Chenyi and the emperor were discussing the affair of Annan, and he seemed to have a small dispute with the emperor. So, she did not expect that he would notice her at that time. Thus, she had a trace of warm softness in her heart.
She raised her head involuntarily and just saw the pair of thin, long beautiful eyes, where her reflection was clearly seen. Suddenly, ripples appeared in the water there. She could hardly believe that such a light smile would appear in this pair of eyes, which were no longer bitterly cold or mercilessly bloodthirsty, or contained any ferociousness.
She had an inexplicable panic and subconsciously turned away from the black jade-like watery eyes as if she had discovered some secret. Her long eyelashes were slightly shaken twice, and her jade-white ears turned red. “Don’t you want to know what Honored Consort Xia said to me, prince?”
“I’m not anxious to know what Honored Consort Xia said, but I think it should be that she befriended you!” Ao Chenyi moved her palm and raised her head, with a smile in his half-narrowed eyes, showing that he felt very comfortable, both physically and mentally.
Forced, Ning Xueyan had to see his handsome face, and the joking expression with a faint smile on that face really made her feel very uncomfortable. Although she was ashamed and annoyed, she was unusually bold. She pushed away his handsome face and said seriously on purpose, “We are talking about serious business, prince!”
Ao Chenyi held her moving hand with his hand and looked at her evilly. Knowing that she was ashamed and annoyed, he did not provoke her anymore. “I am listening. Had the empress been cold to you in the palace today?”
Seeing that he did not especially force her to raise her eyes again this time, Ning Xueyan became a little normal, blinking her watery eyes and slightly frowning. “Prince, I heard that the empress and Commandery Princess Xianyun are relatives, and the princess is a family member of Empress Dowager’s parents, so it is normal for the empress to be a little close to her, but the empress seems not to be a talkative person.”
The person did not talk much, but she and Commandery Princess Xianyun conversed for so long, and the others could not even intervene. Ning Xueyan felt that it was strange subconsciously. “Although Commandery Princess Xianyun is a family member of Empress Dowager’s parents and she and the empress are relatives, it is impossible for Her Highness the Empress to be so close to her.”
“What kind of person do you think the empress is?” Ao Chenyi chuckled lightly and relaxed his restraint on Ning Xueyan, which made her heave a sigh of relief. Hurriedly, she went to the side and sat down. The feeling of being close to him was never like the one he usually had with his cold personality. When she was held to his chest just now, his heartbeat appeared calmly in her ears, causing her entire face to burn.
Seeing that she instantly left him in a panic like a small frightened deer, Ao Chenyi did not force her and handed her a piece of cake. He could not act too anxiously, lest that she should be scared away. Anyway, she had married him and could not escape at all. He did not have to be anxious.
These words freed Ning Xueyan from her ashamed and annoyed emotions. She brushed away the black hair that fell on her face, subconsciously took the cake that Ao Chenyi handed over, bit it lightly, and muttered while pondering it, “The empress should be a dignified, sedate person, and she should be someone who is impartial to others, at least on the surface.”
“Will such a person be so affectionate with Xianyun in front of others but treat you indifferently?” Ao Chenyi reminded her.
Ning Xueyan’s eyes brightened as if she had thought some things through. She swallowed the cake in her mouth, ready to say something, but she coughed severely because she swallowed it too quickly. Suddenly, a long hand appeared before her eyes with a cup of tea in it. This was what she needed. Then, she took the teacup and instantly took two mouthfuls before she breathed normally.
“Don’t be so fast! Speak slowly!” Ao Chenyi took the empty cup from her hand, touched her head by taking the chance, and said with a faint smile.
Ning Xueyan blushed again and even felt that she did not dare to look at those deep eyes. Hurriedly, she had two low coughs again and then raising her head, said, “Do you mean that Commandery Princess Xianyun and the empress have a very close relations.h.i.+p and this close relations.h.i.+p is not just the one we see on the surface, prince?”
“Otherwise, how can the thing that the empress treated me coldly for the good of Princess Xianyun be explained?
“If the empress had such a calm character, she would have exchanged a few more words with me, at least on the surface, and she would not have sent me out to visit the garden. Anyone with a discerning eye will know whether this treatment was close or not at first glance. It is almost clear that she stood in line with Commandery Princess Xianyun.”
Ning Xueyan was a cautious person. Previously, the matter of the two young imperial consorts had given her a few suspicions. “At first glance, anyone would know that the two imperial consorts who newly arrived in the palace were those who were unable to see the fitness of things. Theoretically, such people should not have appeared in the palace of the empress today.”
“But they did appear. Not only did they appear, but they also satirized me. If Ao Chenyi had not protected me, I would have been the one who was bombarded speechless by their questions. If I had had such a flaw the first time I entered the place to visit the emperor and empress, I would always be ashamed when I go to the palace in the future.
“It seems that the empress did not mean to intervene at all and only focused on conversing with Commandery Princess Xianyun, so she paid little attention to me. Due to this reason, the two imperial consorts satirized me unscrupulously. Of course, Commandery Princess Xianyun did not have time to defend me also for the same reason. That was the imperial palace. Even if I had really been humiliated so much that I could not show my face, others would not blame Commandery Princess Xianyun.”
Besides, Ning Xueyan believed that Commandery Princess Xianyun would have made a pointless explanation for her in the end. But if she had been humiliated, it would have made no difference whether these words had been said or not.
“The relations.h.i.+p between the empress and Xianyun is indeed unusual. From now on, I will leave all the affairs of the inner courtyard to you. Yan’er, I hope you won’t let me down.” Seeing that Ning Xueyan had thought it through, Ao Chenyi smiled and looked at her with a deep meaning.
“Don’t worry, prince. I will guard the backyard of the prince’s mansion for you carefully,” Ning Xueyan said immediately.
“Not for me, but for us…for the two of us…” Ao Chenyi narrowed his eyes slightly and had a comfortable smile as the corners of his handsome lips were raised. Then he reached out his hand, but before Ning Xueyan realized it, he had again taken her to his arms, and his clear, happy laughter sounded in her ears.