When he noticed the empress’ irritation, Eunuch Lu quickly said in an obsequious tone, “Replying to your highness, this servant personally made a trip to the Imperial Palace and passed on the words to Sir Zu.”
“Then did he agree?” Empress Liu Ning asked. She had waited expectantly for so long, and yet Zu An never appeared. Her neglected body was starting to burn with a hint of evil flame.
“I think he agreed,” Eunuch Lu said, trying to recall what had happened.
The empress quickly sat up straight. Her voice became an octave higher as she snapped, “You think?!”
Eunuch Lu hurriedly explained, “Your highness is such an incredible beauty; which man in this world could refuse you? If your highness invited him, wouldn’t he be eagerly rushing over?”
The empress harrumphed, replying, “Don’t think everyone else is like you. He’s different from normal men.”
Eunuch Lu was so moved that he was about to cry. So her highness did know what I thought of her! Everything I’ve done over the years was worth it! He thought for a bit before replying, “I believe it’s because Sir Zu has just returned to the capital and was held up by someone. He should be here a bit later.”
“I hope it’s as you say,” the empress said as she gently brushed a finger across her body. This body is so beautiful; how can he be willing to give it up?
However, she didn’t know that Zu An had already completely forgotten about her, instead enjoying the Sang clan’s warmth.
Sang Qien cuddled docilely in Zu An’s embrace. She had been worried about hurting the baby in her belly, so she had her back to him on purpose. However… How could a distinguished daughter like her, who was as innocent as a white sheet of paper, possibly withstand the methods of a seasoned veteran like him? Furthermore, Zu An was the child’s father, so she already considered him her man.
At first, she was still a bit embarrassed, but after some resistance, she eventually yielded. In the end, she even took the initiative to adjust her body so she could receive him better. Her entire body trembled. She could only tightly purse her lips so as to not wake Zheng Dan up.
By the next morning, Zu An had already gone to the palace. Even though a morning court session wasn’t held every day, whether due to his Eastern Palace position or Embroidered Envoy identity, he had to show himself; it was even more important right now when Sang Hong’s situation hadn’t been dealt with yet.
After Zu An left, Zheng Dan sat down on a grooming chair, applying her makeup while calling out to her sister-in-law, “Little Qien, come here. I’ll help you with your grooming.”
“I think it’s better if I don’t. I’ve heard that makeup isn’t good for children,” Sang Qien replied with a smile while fixing the bed. Compared to her usual pale appearance, she looked much more radiant today.
“Alright, fine. I’m no match for your pregnancy,” Zheng Dan said with a pout, becoming a bit upset.
“Come on, that’s not what I meant. Won’t this child still call you ‘mom’ in the future?” Sang Qien quickly explained.
“I’m not really angry, you know?” Zheng Dan replied with a sigh. “But I should also pretend to be pregnant. That way, the outside world will eventually be able to accept the situation.”
She knew about the Sang clan’s plans. She was amazed that the Sang clan really had carried it out, but she was also a bit moved. That was because it meant the Sang clan tacitly approved of her relationship with Zu An. They wouldn’t have to be all secretive anymore. When she found out that she would be the child’s mother in name, the two women’s relationship had also become much closer.
Unlike the other great clans where the women fought with each other, the two didn’t feel the need to fight against each other at all. On the contrary, to a certain degree, their interests were aligned. Furthermore, they had been mutually dependent on each other for survival in the Sang clan for some time, so they were already like real sisters. As such, she had made that joke on purpose.
“Hmph, where would you find a pregnant woman as pretty as you?” Sang Qien replied, unable to help but sigh. After all, Zheng Dan was a widow now, but she was nothing like the other widows in the capital who always looked grim and miserable. She was probably the most gorgeous widow in the entire capital.
Even though she was Zheng Dan’s sister-in-law, Sang Qien didn’t feel angry at all. On the contrary, she felt a bit of sympathy, as they were both women. Zheng Dan had married her big brother because of the family, but her big brother had died before they could even get married properly. This woman would probably have to spend the rest of her life alone.
Thank goodness there was big brother Zu…
Sang Qien’s face heated up when she thought of that man. Her sister-in-law had clearly already been close to him for some time. If something hadn’t happened to her big brother, wouldn’t he have died from anger?
Still, her big brother had already passed on. What mattered most was the Sang clan’s future. This entire matter was quite unfair to Zheng Dan, but things would be much easier with her cooperation.
“Hmph, if it were anyone else saying something like that, I’d pull their tongue out,” Zheng Dan harrumphed, recovering a hint of her domineering manner as the boss of Brightmoon City’s gang. She suddenly asked, “Ah, Little Qien, why are you sorting out the covers? You can just have some servants take care of it!”
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“There’s no need. Our Sang clan is lacking personnel right now, so I should do what I can to keep my body in shape,” Sang Qien said, blushing. She blocked Zheng Dan’s view with her body and hastily rolled up the bedsheet.
Zheng Dan quickly walked up behind her. She craned her neck and asked, “Is there something making you feel guilty?”
Sang Qien jumped in fright. She couldn't help but give Zheng Dan a pinch. Her chest rose and fell as she exclaimed, “You scared me! Don’t appear suddenly like that!”
“Those who don’t do shameful things in the middle of the night won’t be scared of ghosts knocking on their door,” Zheng Dan said, giving her an ambiguous smile.
“What ghosts? You’ll end up scaring and hurting your adopted son,” Sang Qien said, rubbing her belly awkwardly. Was she hinting at something by mentioning the middle of the night?
“Once my adopted son grows a bit bigger, he might end up picking up a stick to bother his sleeping father all the time,” Zheng Dan said with a pursed smile, rubbing Sang Qien’s belly.
“Why is that?” Sang Qien asked, confused.
“Because his father keeps prodding him when he’s asleep, of course,” Zheng Dan said with a laugh, running away as if she were scared of being attacked.
Sang Qien’s face instantly turned entirely red. She naturally knew that Zheng Dan had probably seen everything after waking up in the middle of the night! She was ashamed and distressed. She quickly ran after Zheng Dan to get her revenge. The two sisters-in-law began to play-fight for a while.
Zheng Dan pleaded for mercy, crying, “I was wrong, I was wrong! Don’t let the baby get hurt!”
Inwardly, however, she was quite moved. You silly girl, if I hadn’t created that opportunity for you on purpose, how could you two have become like a real couple so quickly?
Whether it was the Zheng clan’s business or her past experience as a gang leader, both of them had given her considerable awareness of danger. Even though Zu An hadn’t said anything, she more or less had a sense of just how formidable her rivals in love were. Even though she had been one of the best in Brightmoon City, she still seemed to pale a bit in comparison now.
Sang Qien’s situation probably wasn’t much better. Only if they banded together would there be a chance of facing the sharks raised by that playboy king of the sea.
“Achoo!” Outside the Eastern Palace, Zu An rubbed his nose. Did I catch a cold last night?
“Sir Zu seems to be in quite high spirits. Did something good happen last night?” a guard asked, winking at him. He had dark circles around his eyes and looked somewhat lacking in nutrition. He was naturally Piao Duandiao, who loved frequenting brothels.
“Isn’t that obvious? Sir Zu has established such a world-shocking achievement, and he was promoted to marquis yesterday. Is that not good enough for you?” Jiao Sigun replied, still just as stiff and righteous as before.
When he saw the two guards of the Eastern Palace, Zu An immediately felt a sense of familiarity. He interacted with them closely, just like before. He wrapped his arms around them naturally, laughing and chatting with them; he remarked, “It’s been a while, but the two of you haven’t changed all that much, I see.”
When they saw that even though Zu An’s status had risen so much, he still treated them as well as before, the two guards’ smiles grew even bigger. They chatted happily for a while.
Soon, however, an attendant arrived with a report, saying, “Sir Zu, the Crown Prince has asked for an audience.”
“Crown Prince?” Zu An asked in surprise. Still, he couldn't continue to chat leisurely with the guards anymore.
When Zu An and the attendant entered the main hall, they discovered that that fatty, the Crown Prince, seemed awfully happy as he played games with the eunuchs. Zu An bowed and asked, “What does the Crown Prince need me for?”
“I didn’t need you for anything. It was Linglong who wanted to see you. Hurry up and go in already,” the Crown Prince replied, waving his hand as if he were shooing away Zu An for disturbing his own fun.
Zu An suddenly realized what was happening. That’s what I thought; why would this dumb prince look for me? He then walked inside.
Not too far away, Eunuch Wen secretly watched their interactions. Then, he summoned a lesser eunuch and gave him instructions. Even after the other eunuch left, however, he still didn’t feel at ease. He felt that he had to look around himself. If he really saw something happen between Zu An and the Crown Princess, countless heads would tumble as a result.