Chapter 544 Pick A Fight Directly, Osmanthus Honey!
“Your Highness, Old Madam of Duke Xing conspired with an evil Taoist priest and attempted to hurt my granddaughter Shao Wanru. Please uphold justice for us!” Rui’an Great Elder Princess cried in front of the Empress Dowager and said tearfully in a choked voice, “My daughter had to leave Duke Xing’s Mansion, and she lost her unborn child because Old Madam was too insolent. If… if she continued staying in Duke Xing’s Mansion, she probably would never have a child. In this case, the title would naturally be inherited by the second branch of Duke Xing’s Mansion. I feel sad every time I think of my child… who remained mentally deranged till the end of her life and only kept thinking of…”
Rui’an Great Elder Princess cried as she spoke. Her hair, which had always been tightly tied up into a bun, was a mess. The Empress Dowager was shocked because she had never seen Rui’an Great Elder Princess in such a mess for so many years.
She hurriedly stood up and helped her up, while comforting her, “Take your time. Strong emotions will do harm to your health. You’re not young anymore. Take it easy.”
Old Madam of Duke Xing’s Mansion, who was a few steps behind Rui’an Great Elder Princess, trembled all over in anger. She was just a little slower than the arrogant and overbearing Great Elder Princess, but Great Elder Princess had lodged a complaint against her in such a short time. The Empress Dowager seemed to have taken Great Elder Princess’s side without saying anything. How could Old Madam bear it?
Old Madam took two steps forward, calmed herself down, knelt, and respectfully bowed to the Empress Dowager. After that, she reached out to point at Rui’an Great Elder Princess and said, “Your Highness, please uphold justice for me. When I was handling something, Great Elder Princess came over and dragged me out by my collar without saying anything… She just disregarded the dignity and rules of the royal family!”
“Seeing that I was about to lose my granddaughter, I was in no mood to care about decency and rules! Back then, I cared about decency and rules too much so that the second branch of your mansion benefited from it and inherited the title!” Rui’an Great Elder Princess, who had sat down, turned her head at this moment and shouted at Old Madam.
“Infanta Qinghua was the one who caused my son’s death… Despite her identity as an infanta of the royal family, she should take care of her parents-in-law… and get along well with her brother-in-law and sister-in-law after getting married. However, she left my son regardless of all consequences and caused my son’s death… Great Elder Princess, what do you think of this?”
Old Madam also wiped her tears off, glared at Rui’an Great Elder Princess with red eyes and said.
The Empress Dowager felt a little headache. The two of them had raked up what had happened many times, but they still maintained their decency on the surface every time. Now they directly started a fight regardless of their decency!
“Help Old Madam up and lead her to her seat. She is so old. If anything terrible happens to her, it will cause big trouble!” The Empress Dowager touched her head and gave an order.
Two palace servants came over, helped Old Madam up, and then helped her sit down at the opposite side of Rui’an Great Elder Princess. Now the two of them were sitting on each side of the Empress Dowager.
“Your Highness, everyone saw that Wanru has been possessed by an evil spirit. I asked her to shave her head, become a nun and pray in front of the Buddha for the time being. However, Great Elder Princess came to drag me over without saying anything and claimed that I intended to hurt Wanru. Besides, she raked up all those past events and started a fight with me. Your Highness, look, my collar was torn apart by Great Elder Princess!”
Old Madam pulled her untidy collar, which had been dragged by Great Elder Princess along the way. Although she had tidied it up a little when entering the imperial palace, it still looked unseemly.
Looking at the collar, which was obviously unseemly, the Empress Dowager showed a trace of delight in her eyes. The collar obviously had been dragged, and it seemed like the sort of thing Great Elder Princess might do.
During so many years, she had never seen Great Elder Princess became so furious. It was astonishing. After thinking of what Old Madam said carefully, the Empress Dowager became sullen. Wasn’t the Fifth Miss of Duke Xing’s Mansion the girl engaged to her grandson Chen’er?
“Are you going to shave the Fifth Miss’s head? Whose idea is this?” The Empress Dowager said in displeasure.
“Your Highness, we are not going to shave her head and make her a nun forever. It’s just temporary. She’s possessed by an evil spirit so that she may make her family disharmonious and even influence her family members negatively. I have no other choice except for this!” Old Madam wiped her tears with a handkerchief and said, knowing that she couldn’t go against Rui’an Great Elder Princess at this moment.
“If it’s just temporary, is it necessary to shave her hair all at once? The razor you left there can be presented as evidence. Let’s stop talking about these for the time being. You intended to collude with an evil Taoist priest to mislead others with evil doctrines and ruin my granddaughter’s future. Why don’t you ruin the future of your beloved eldest granddaughter?” Rui’an Great Elder Princess wiped her tears off and said aggressively.
“I… don’t know what you are talking about!” Old Madam was annoyed and said, “Yanru has nothing to do with it. Great Elder Princess, don’t involve her in it.”
“Does Zhuozhuo have anything to do with it? You just can’t tolerate her. In the past, you couldn’t tolerate her mother and now can’t tolerate her. If you really don’t like her, just give her back to me, lest she should be set up and forced to be a nun with her head marked before she lives in Duke Xing’s Mansion. When she returns to the secular life in the future, what will people think of her, a girl with her head marked?”
Rui’an Great Elder Princess rebuked her loudly.
The Empress Dowager’s face darkened. Now she basically understood. She put the teacup in her hand heavily on the table, making a crisp sound. Startled by the sound, Old Madam, who was going to talk back, involuntarily looked at the Empress Dowager, only to find that the Empress Dowager, who had always been peaceful, showed a cold face.
“Old Madam, are you going to make the Fifth Miss of your mansion become a nun?” The Empress Dowager asked in a soft but harsh tone, “Since she is the granddaughter of Great Elder Princess, your Duke Xing’s Mansion can’t deal with her at will. Do you consider that she, a member of the royal family, and other Misses in your mansion are of the same status?”
Her words were so sharp and didn’t seem like what the gentle Empress Dowager might say in the past. Old Madam immediately realized that the Empress Dowager was angry. She knelt down and said hurriedly, “I didn’t mean that. It’s just that Wanru is possessed by an evil spirit and will do harm to all members of Duke Xing’s Mansion. I have no other choice.”
“Possessed by an evil spirit? Is this what you are talking about?” Rui’an Great Elder Princess said with a sneer and waved to Nanny Gao, who was standing aside. Nanny Gao stepped forward and presented a box.
“What is it?” The Empress Dowager’s asked and looked at the box, which was presented without being opened.
“It’s the longevity lock. Old Madam claimed that it contained an evil spirit and attracted plenty of ants. Your Highness, don’t be afraid. In addition to the longevity lock, there is an ant, which is slightly bigger than ordinary ones, inside.” Rui’an Great Elder Princess made the Empress Dowager prepared, and then instructed Nanny Gao to open it.
There was indeed a longevity lock in the box. Looking at it carefully, Empress Dowager could find a big ant on the lock. There was only an ant, and Rui’an Great Elder Princess had told her about it before. So the Empress Dowager did not panic and looked toward Old Madam of Duke Xing’s Mansion with her face darkening after only a glance at it.
“Your Highness, I asked some nuns to conduct a religious rite in the hall, and the hall was struck by lightning and burned down that night. Today I went up the mountain and instructed some servants to dig up the bracelets of my grandchildren. However, after the bracelets were dug up, only Wanru’s silver bracelets were covered with disgusting ants bigger than ordinary ones. Yanru and Wanru went to ask Puming Nun of the Yuhui Nunnery about it, and she advised them to turn to Taoist Priest Xiushui of the Baiyun Taoist Temple.”
“After receiving Puming Nun’s letter, I went to ask Taoist Priest Xiushui for help. Taoist Priest Xiushui was afraid to make a wrong judgment, so she wanted another piece of jewelry of Wanru’s. I thought of the longevity lock I gave Wanru before, so I instructed some servants to ask for it. Wanru said that it was kept in Great Elder Princess’s Mansion, and the servants of our mansion followed her maid there to fetch it. Unexpectedly, when they fetched it, they found it covered with ants. Your Highness, what should I do? I don’t want to do that, but it’s related to the lives of all members of our mansion…”
Old Madam cried loudly and knelt on the ground, while telling the causes and effects of the matter, including the fact that Great Elder Princess had grabbed her collar rudely.
“Your Highness, don’t listen to her nonsense evil spirits. You can instruct an imperial physician to examine the longevity lock. It doesn’t contain any evil spirit at all but is smeared with osmanthus honey, the most fragrant honey. If it can’t attract ants, what else can do that?” After Old Madam finished speaking, Rui’an Great Elder Princess sneered and said.
She reached out to take the box from Nanny Gao and gave it to a servant beside the Empress Dowager after closing it.
“What? It’s smeared with honey!” The Empress Dowager said with her face turning cold. Her gentleness did not mean that she was really amiable. It was not a simple thing to be the most powerful person in the imperial palace. “Send for an imperial physician to examine it!”
The servant left with the box in arms.
“What… what? Smeared with honey?” Old Madam stammered and raised her head with a pale face.
“Old Madam, don’t you know it?” Rui’an Great Elder Princess raised the corners of her mouth and said with a sneer.
“How… how could I know it? The longevity lock is in your hands!” Old Madam defended herself angrily.
“Who knows? Since even the bracelets buried under the hall could be smeared with honey, what else is impossible?” Rui’an Great Elder Princess said with a sneer and stared at Old Madam of Duke Xing’s Mansion with burning eyes. She didn’t believe that this old woman really knew nothing about it. Thinking that the old woman pretended to be decent in front of her but pushed her granddaughter to the most miserable situation, Rui’an Great Elder Princess got so furious that she even wanted to kill her.
“How…how could I know it? It was my servants who reported it to me, and it was Taoist Priest Xiushui who gave such an explanation!” Old Madam stammered and became fluent gradually.
“Old Madam, please get up!” The Empress Dowager gave an order in a cold voice. A palace maid hurriedly helped Old Madam up.
Old Madam sat down and pinched the handkerchief in her hand tightly with her face darkening. She compressed her lips and narrowed her eyes to look at the door of the hall.
The palace servant had returned to the main hall with the box in her hands. The Empress Dowager had grown old, so there had always been imperial physicians on duty in the side hall. Thus, they could have the longevity lock checked without going to the Imperial Institute of Medicine.
“Report to Your Highness, there is indeed honey on the longevity lock. It’s fragrant and thick osmanthus honey!”