3 : Lunch with Mother in Law
Ju Hua was exceedingly satisfied, but worried at the same time. "Niangniang, is it alright walking away just like that." The first rank palace maid implores. Although, this was not the first time that her mistress dismissed the emperor with a wave of her sleeve. She still felt unsettled.
Chen Daiyu playfully smiled, "If the Emperor wish to punish ben gong for such a thing. Then ben Gong was wrong about him all along." More or less, she has some understanding of the Hongwu emperor's character. The memory from her predecessor plus her own experienced for the past three years proved to be useful when needed.
Hearing her mistress teasing tone, Ju Hua felt helpless. But nonetheless, feeling assured. The little maid had learned the hard way that everything her mistress did was within reason. As for she, a mere slave has to go along the flow.
The walk toward the Empress Dowager Qu's palace did not last long as a servant that served by the Taihou's side came out to greet them. Zhu Mama gave a deep bow and respectively said.
[A/N: Taihou: Empress Dowager.]
"Empress-niangniang, please come inside. Her imperial highness is awaiting for your arrival."
"Many thank Zhu Mama."
The old maid said she didn't dare and ushered the Empress inside. Although she was very favored by Qu Taihou. The fact that she was only a mere slave did not change. That why, it was not wise for her to accept a thank from such an esteem existence like the Renxia Empress.
The inner hall of the Cui Yuan palace never ceased to amaze Chen Daiyu. The eyes catching thing about the hall was the thick spiritual energy that radiating off the huge Buddha status and the paintings on the wall. The entire palace gave off a feeling of peace and serenity, making one's heart calm.
"Good evening, imperial mother. This daughter-in-law is here for the foods at your place again." The Empress smiles brightly, giving a proper bow toward her mother-in-law.
The middle aged woman with an aristocrat face and scholarly aura laughed joyously. "Come here, come here! Let's Aijia take a good look at you."
[A/N: Aijia: means the grieving one, self addressed use by the Empress Dowager.]
Chen Daiyu straightening her back and gracefully walk toward the Empress Dowager Qu. She saw that today, Qu Taihou wore a complimentary blue robes with a pair of Buddha bead bracelets and a simple Jade hairpin. Humble yet dignify. Really befitting the title of the Ming dynasty's Empress Dowager.
"Imperial mother, how is your health lately? Any aching or pain anywhere?" The Empress inquires in a concerned tone, earning an amused chuckle from the king's birth mother.
"Aijia is healthy, Empress could rest her worry." Qu Taihou gently patted the Empress's hand and sighed with emotion. She really likes this daughter-in-law of her, such a virtue. It is hard to come by. Her son is very lucky, she must add, in case the stupid boy didn't knew it already.
While waiting for foods and various delicacies to spread out, the pair of mother and daughter in law chat merrily. Chen Daiyu felt really good about the relationship between her popo and herself. Because, majority of the popo in this era like to bully their daughter-in-law but at the same time, they afraid that other people will look down on their daughter-in-law. Such a strange tradition, really.
[A/N: Popo: mother-in-law]
However, it was entirely different in her case. From the beginning of her marriage to the king, Qu Taihou always stood by her side, guiding her through the complicated life as an imperial daughter-in-law. Even when she has yet to won her husband's affection, she had her popo's support.
"Where is the Emperor?" Qu Taihou questioned with knitted brows. It was already a norm around the palace for the Emperor to tailed behind the Empress like a shadow, wherever she goes. Hence, it was strange to see that he was absent today.
Where is that boy? Why did he leave his wife all by herself?
Chen Daiyu's expression became awkward. "His majesty the king accompanies Mo Yao-mei mei to lunch. That's why, daughter-in-law is here to have lunch with Empress mother instead." She didn't restrain from dragging Lin Mo Yao into the mud. After all, that woman did not respect rank and exhibited such a distasteful act. She was asking for it.
At the mentioned of the noble consort Lin, Qu Taihou's expression darken. Before her son took over the throne. She had once been an Empress of the harem. Empress Dowager Qu understood the bloody battle for the king's favor in the inner palace. After all, her experience in the back palace was accumulated for over thirty years. Thus, when she witnessed that her eldest son had settled for a good woman. She was extremely satisfied.
"What does that little Guifei have compared to you an Empress?" Qu Taihou eyes were cold, gazing at the distant place. If she remember correctly, this Lin Guifei is the legitimate daughter of the Dukedom of Lin, arrogant in conduct and rash in brain department. Simply distasteful.
Zhu Mama leaned in closer, narrating about the occurrent inside the imperial garden this afternoom. Finishing, Qu Taihou's expression worsen than before. She suddenly shouted:
"Such a disgrace. How did the duchess of the Lin household discipline her daughter! Zhu Mama take aijia's sign and visit Lin's Fu tomorrow." Zhu Mama bowed in acknowledgment.
"Imperial mother, please do not be angry with younger sister Yao. The Emperor does not belong to daughter-in-law alone but other consorts as well. More importantly, be careful with your phoenix body."
"You, you this...why do you have such a good heart? In these six inner palaces, even the most innocent soul changed through time and yet look at you."
Qu Taihou frustratedly stare at her docile daughter-in-law. "Empress mother, please be careful about your health. It's this daughter-in-law fault for mentioned this, making you all upset."
Chen Daiyu lowered her head to disguise her smile. She was never one to look for trouble, but when she did, it will be big. Recalling that she come bearing gift she spoke. "By the way, Imperial mother. This daughter-in-law had brought some plaything, hoping that imperial mother will take a liking to it."
The Empress motions for her personal maid to bring the box forward and present it in front of the Empress Dowager Qu. With just one look, the elderly woman's face cracked into a big smile.
"Good good good."
Everyone laughed along the Empress Dowager. Inwardly they pity the consort Lin, right now she did not offend only the Empress but the Taihou as well. How will she live in the future now?