When they arrived at the Forbidden City, Song Qingshu waited outside the Kunning Palace after the eunuch went to pass the news of his arrival inside. However, even after a long time, no news came out. Song Qingshu thought that Empress Tong didn’t want to see him, and was about to turn around and leave.
“Lord Song, please wait, the Empress invites you in.” At that moment, the eunuch ran out and hurriedly stopped him.
Song Qingshu was taken aback for a moment, and suddenly realized that it was just Empress Tong showcasing her prestige, and there was no good news for him inside.
After entering the Kunning Palace, as Song Qingshu expected, Empress Tong looked at him with a frosty face without saying a word.
Although Song Qingshu was considered Kangxi’s confidant, he had been traveling all the time, so this was the first time he was seeing Empress Tong face to face. Song Qingshu sized up Empress Tong without making it too obvious.
She was wearing a fiery red dress. Her neckline was embroidered with a phoenix pattern using golden silk thread, and her skirt was embroidered with golden auspicious clouds. She had a pair of bright pearls as earrings, which had bundle of tassels gently hanging down under them, reflecting the pretty face which was extremely magnificent to behold.
Song Qingshu secretly exclaimed that it was a pity, this Empress Tong looked somewhat similar to Guan Zh*ilin from his past life, could this be regarded as gene passing through the generations? However, her face was full of frost, trying to show the majesty of the Empress all the time, and she ultimately lacked Guan Zhi*lin’s innate charm.
“I don’t know why Commander Song is looking for this palace?” Empress Tong took a sip from her teacup and didn’t look at him directly. (G: Empresses and concubines with palaces, usually referred to themselves with “this palace”.)
Seeing the long decorated finger cots on Queen Tong’s fingers, Song Qingshu felt quite displeased. This phenomenon was common among nobles in the Qing Dynasty. He had asked Duo Long about this before, and learned that long nails were a symbol of status.
Noble ladies didn’t need to work, so they kept their nails long to symbolize their noble status. The decorated finger cots were used to protect the long nails. Song Qingshu, who was from the modern times couldn’t understand this kind of weird aesthetics. He always felt they looked like ghosts. The ghosts here naturally refers to those horrifying entities in ghost stories, not like those charming female ghosts in “The Fairies of Liaozhai”. (G: a TV series.)
“What a waste of such a beautiful body.” Song Qingshu secretly sighed.
“I’m asking you something!” Empress Tong felt a little annoyed after seeing Song Qingshu just standing there, and was unable to keep silent.
“The Empress should know why this one is looking for your audience.” Song Qingshu answered calmly.
“Song Qingshu, you are so courageous!” Empress Tong raised her eyebrows, sat up straight, and stared straight at Song Qingshu.
Song Qingshu looked at her indifferently, without saying a word.
Empress Tong took a breath, waved her hand and said to the eunuchs and the maids, “Leave us alone.”
Seeing the eunuchs and maids walking out one after another, Song Qingshu said with a smile, “The Empress is quite courageous, aren’t you afraid that I might have some wrong intentions?” Right after he finished speaking, he felt a little regretful. During the past few days, he had gotten used to teasing Shuang’er, so he subconsciously started to tease the empress as well.
Hearing his words, Empress Tong was taken aback, she obviously didn’t expect this commoner in front of her to be so bold, and coldly snorted, “Do you know based on what you said, as long as I tell the Emperor, you will have nothing to eat?”
Song Qingshu was startled. He knew the mentality of those in power, so kneeling down and begging for mercy would be of no use at all. Now that things had come this far, he had no choice but to bite the bullet and carry on, “Naturally, The Empress will not bother the Emperor with such trivial matters, so as not to appear overly willful…”
“Are you threatening me?” Empress Tong knew that with her status, as long as she so much as frowned, those ministers would beg for mercy to no end, but she didn’t expect that Song Qingshu would act out of common sense. In fact, she knew very well in her heart that she was not some concubine who had just been favored momentarily by the emperor. She was the mistress of the imperial harem who was the mother of the world. It was her duty to help the emperor and lessen his worries, so naturally, it was impossible for her to bother him with such trivial things.
“I dare not.” Song Qingshu respectfully bowed.
Only then did Empress Tong nod in satisfaction, and suddenly said with a smile that was not a smile, “Recently, people in the capital are saying that Commander Song is a romantic. He has been hanging around in the boudoir of the criminal Wei Xiaobao’s family for a long time…”
Song Qingshu didn’t wait for her to finish, and immediately interrupted, “That is just a malicious slander from ordinary people. The people from the Wei family is innocent, and the world can attest to it. The reason why I linger in the Jiaofang Division is just to guard the family of Wei Xiaoxiao, who I considered a good friend.”
Empress Tong, as a member of the Tong family, naturally knew the purpose of his stay in the Jiaofang Division. She didn’t really believe that Song Qingshu and Shuang’er had anything to do with each other. After all, with his current power and status, there were very few women Song Qingshi could get. In her opinion, it was really incomprehensible for him to ruin his reputation for the sake of a woman. But when she heard Song Qingshu’s words, she couldn’t help frowning, “Who do you want to guard them from?”
“Empress, why bother to ask the question you already know the answer to?” Song Qingshu smiled. Of course he wouldn’t be so stupid as to say the name of Orundai, who was Empress Tong’s cousin.
“You are really different from ordinary officials.” Empress Tong was taken aback for a moment, as if she was talking to herself, “If it was an ordinary official visiting the Kunning Palace and saw this palace would be too scared to breathe. How can you talk and laugh like this…” Suddenly the her tone changed, and she stared at Song Qingshu and asked, “Could it be that as a Han Chinese, Commander Song doesn’t have the intention of staying in my Qing Dynasty for a long time?”
Song Qingshu secretly raised his vigilance, he didn’t expect that the other party could figure out his state of mind with just a few words. It seemed that Empress Tong was not just a pretty flower vase, and she was much intelligent than she appeared on the surface! So he became serious and quickly responded, “Empress, I was just joking. This official was banished from one of the top sects in the Central Plains. My reputation is quite bad in the Wulin. Fortunately, the Emperor ignored the past and not only took this Song in, but also entrusted me with a heavy responsibility. With such a great kindness, this Song can only be grateful, so how dare I have other thoughts.”
Seeing Song Qingshu’s fearful expression, Empress Tong nodded in satisfaction, and the thought about him that had just arisen in her heart disappeared immediately. Then she said in a cold voice, “I know the reason for your visit, but Wei Xiaobao’s past words had insulted my grandfather and uncle. This retribution is well deserved. If you come here to intercede for his family, you don’t need to open your mouth.”
Song Qingshu was secretly getting quite angry. For a long time, he felt like he was a chess piece in Kangxi’s hands, rather than Kangxi being a chess piece in his own hands. Although Empress Tong was an empress, but there were many heroes in the world today, so there were no end of empresses and concubines. He suppressed his anger and said, “In that case, I will not disturb your rest.” After speaking, he turned around and left, leaving Empress Tong alone on the spot.
Not long after he left the room, he almost bumped into a beautiful woman in a palace dress again. When he looked up, he saw that it was the Noble Concubine Tong, and he quickly apologized, “I almost ran into the Noble Concubine, and I hope she will forgive me.”
Concubine Tong took a step back, a blush appeared on her pretty face, and she said in surprise, “So it’s you, and were you here to find my sister?”
“En.” Song Qingshu nodded angrily, because of Orundai and Empress Tong, he even disliked this Concubine Tong.
Noticing his expression, Concubine Tong didn’t get angry, and softly asked, “Did you ask my sister for something, but she didn’t agree?”
Song Qingshu was stunned for a moment, looking at the solemn and naive young concubine in front of him, he subconsciously nodded. In Song Qingshu’s opinion, Concubine Tong was not as sophisticated as her older sister, so maybe he could take advantage of her sympathy. Then he briefly talked about Shuang’er’s affairs.
“I have also heard about Sister Shuang’er, and I think what they have done is a bit too much. They should have never involved in her in the grievances between the Tong family and Wei Xiaobao. But don’t blame my sister. She takes the honor of the Tong family very highly. So she takes everything seriously, and naturally, she won’t treat you well.” Concubine Tong pursed her lips and smiled, “Leave this matter to me, and I will take care of it.”
“That’s right, it would be more convenient for you sisters to talk.” Only then did Song Qingshu have the time to carefully look at her appearance, which was very similar to her sister. However, Concubine Tong’s face was more delicate than her sister. ‘Damn, with two Guan Zhi*lins, is Kangxi not afraid to die of exhaustion on the bed!’ Song Qingshu cursed endlessly in his heart.
Although Concubine Tong noticed his strange expression, she didn’t know the dirty thoughts in his heart, so she shook her head, “This matter will not be solved with my sister. I will tell the Emperor when I find a chance, as long as the Emperor nods, Sister Shuang’er will naturally be fine.”
“May I know when the Concubine will tell the Emperor?” Song Qingshu also knew that he was being very rude, but now he didn’t care that much, “The Concubine should know that places like the Jiaofang Division is not safe for women. Not to mention your cousin, has been…hehe.”
Concubine Tong was naturally aware of what her cousin Orundai had done, but she didn’t expect Song Qingshu to be so relentless in pursuing the matter. She looked around, and seeing that the eunuchs and maids were far away from them, she quietly said, “The Emperor will come to see me tonight…I will tell him then.” After saying this, her ears turned red, and she hurried into the palace to find her sister.
Song Qingshu was left stupefied, he didn’t expect that Concubine Tong would reveal such secret things to him. He didn’t know if it was because she was too innocent, or because she was born an airhead.
The rotation system of the ancient imperial harems was set in a way to prevent the Emperor from favoring only one person, so that the beauties of the harem would be cultivated with imperial seed. However, the reality was often not so fair. The emperor always had a special favorite woman. The people in charge were not fools, so they naturally understood what the emperor wanted, and they could make the emperor find the concubine he wanted to see. For example, they could write the name of the same person on each ballots.
‘The things in this harem are really unpredictable. A while ago, didn’t Kangxi love Concubine Mi the most, why did it suddenly become Concubine Tong?’ Song Qingshu shook his head, dispelled the thoughts in his mind, and strode forward outside the palace. Now he could only wait for Concubine Tong to do her work.
That night in Jingren Palace, Kangxi couldn’t help frowning when he heard what Concubine Tong said, “You don’t have to worry about this kind of thing.”
Concubine Tong gently said, “Your Majesty, this Concubine doesn’t want to worry about it, but I just feel that the Emperor’s handling of this matter is quite inappropriate.”
“I heard that you met Song Qingshu today, did he ask you to say this to me?” Kangxi impatiently asked.
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