Chapter 1029 Ask for Punishment or Make Amends?

In the Rui’an Great Elder Princess, Shao Wanru had arranged with Great Elder Princess what they should do next. Then, they went to the Palace.

In the Palace of Benevolent Peace of the Empress Dowager, Infanta Yuan’an wailed with great sorrow and crumpled to the floor. Beside her knelt Ruiping Great Elder Princess, who cried so bitterly that she couldn’t get up like Infanta Yuan’an.

The Empress Dowager was sitting in the distinguished seat in the middle, and the Empress was next to her.

The Empress’s face appeared glum, and her eyes fell on Infanta Yuan’an with some displeasure. “A lovely girl ended up like this. It’s so unlucky for my son.”

If it hadn’t for the status of Infanta Yuan’an, the Empress would have broken off the engagement for her son.

“Your Majesties, please back me up. They… these people from the Marquis Xing’s Mansion have bullied me too much!” Ruiping Great Elder Princess said with resentment while wiping away her tears.

“Get up and talk about it!” The Empress Dowager ordered, waving her hand. Then two palace maids came over and helped them up.

Ruiping Great Elder Princess and Infanta Yuan’an obediently accepted this kind offer and sat down together.

“What did the imperial physician say about your illness?” The Empress asked, her gaze falling on Infanta Yuan’an.

Her whole face was wrapped up, and only her eyes could be seen. On her forehead, there were some scratches, but they were not deep. The Empress didn’t know if she had any other scars on her face and if they were light. Could her face restore its original state? All these things mattered to her son’s vital interests, so the Empress must get to the bottom.

“Your Majesty, although her face can recover some treatments, she is so close as to be disfigured. My granddaughter is going to marry Prince Zhou soon. There may still be some scars on her face.” Ruiping Great Elder Princess sobbed weakly, her tears falling again. She was an outstanding talker indeed.

Ruiping Great Elder Princess didn’t say Infanta Yuan’an wouldn’t recover but only said she might marry with some wounds on her face. For a woman, getting married was a once-in-a-lifetime thing. If any woman had to go through her wedding with some scars on her face, it would be a fatal blow.

Once again, Infanta Yuan’an couldn’t hold back her tears as she called out in a low voice, “Grandma!”

But she couldn’t utter a word.

The Empress, so provoked by this scene, violently patted the armrest of her chair and snapped, “Are there any laws and rules in his eyes? How dare he dashes around madly in the street? Mother, we must inflict severe punishments on him! Yuan’an seldom wandered through the streets, but still, she encountered such a tragic thing. What if it happens to the daughters of other manors?”

Infanta Yuan’an had a title of nobility and would become Princess Zhou. Therefore, any suffering she got would be an insult to Prince Zhou and the Empress.

Prince Zhou, the Empress’s son, might be the crown princess and even the Empress in the future. If she showed up with an injured face at the marriage, how could she handle all the malicious gossip in the future? Such an embarrassing event that her son married a disfigured woman might even become an eye-catching, disgraceful affair in history.

Whenever she thought of this, the Empress would be swollen with anger. “Sure enough, people in the Marquis Xing’s Mansion are indeed not decent ones. In the past, I even wanted Shao Yanru to marry into my son’s mansion.”

“Fortunately, she didn’t marry my son. If she became my son-in-law, she would throw Prince Zhou’s Mansion in turmoil every few days.”

“What do you think we should do about it?” The Empress Dowager frowned and asked slowly.

“Mother, the Marquis Xing’s Mansion should take responsibility for Yuan’an’s misfortune this time, and its elders should be punished for not disciplining their juniors well enough. The noble title of this mansion can also be demoted to stop them from stirring up more trouble. I heard that the Emperor in the previous dynasty had been perturbed by the issue of the title of the Marquis Xing’s Mansion. These people in this mansion have become flighty and impetuous in fighting for the title. Why don’t we just cancel their noble title?”

The Empress commented sarcastically.

There was nowhere else for her to vent her anger, so she aimed straight at the title of the Marquis Xing’s Mansion.

Infanta Yuan’an was her future daughter-in-law. Offending Infanta Yuan’an was like humiliating her. Thus, she meant to show all the officials how high Infanta Yuan’an’s status was.

Shao Jing, who was Marquis Xing, was the master of the Marquis Xing’s Mansion. Did he still think his mansion was as powerful as Duke Xing’s Mansion in the beginning?

The Empress was quick-witted. Since the Marquis Xing’s Mansion had given her a handle against themselves, how could she not use it? She might as well punish the Marquis Xing’s Mansion to improve the status of Infanta Yuan’an and to display her great importance. By doing so, she could provide some help for her son to compete for the throne in the future.

Yuan’an enjoyed noble status, not because she was Infanta Yuan’an, but because she would be Princess Zhou. For this reason, the Empress would severely punish those who offended Infanta Yuan’an to show others that Empress Dowager and the Emperor valued Prince Zhou.

A little favoritism from them to Prince Zhou would become the key to the throne.

All the people in the imperial court were secretly trying to figure out whom the Emperor favored the most to be his successor. If the Emperor treated Prince Zhou with a bit of favor, those officials of the imperial court would swing to him in secret.

It was also one of the main reasons that the Empress insisted on punishing the Marquis Xing’s Mansion. More than that, it had to be severely punished.

Then, all the civilian and military officers in court would see how much the Emperor and the Empress Dowager treasured her son. In this case, her son would be the future crown prince in the eyes of these officials. Both Prince Zhou and his wife-to-be were in an almost unassailable position.

For the Empress, even if she could do nothing to a dying prince, couldn’t she do nothing to the Marquis Xing’s Mansion on the decline?

Shao Wanru’s younger brother was the present heir of a duke of the Marquis Xing’s Mansion, so the Empress wanted to take the title away from them so that people in their mansion would have nothing to fight for. Prince Chen had embarrassed the Ruiping Great Elder Princess’s Mansion at the gate of the Palace, which also vaguely brought disgrace to Prince Zhou. What a coincidence! The Empress thought she could punish them for this matter in passing to save the lost dignity.

“Your Majesty, Rui’an Great Elder Princess and Princess Chen want to see you!” A eunuch rushed in and reported.

Infanta Yuan’an silently cast her eyes on Ruiping Great Elder Princess, who nodded slightly in response.

“Let them in!” The Empress Dowager ordered.

The eunuch withdrew and soon came in with Rui’an Great Elder Princess and Shao Wanru.

After greeting the Empress Dowager and the Empress, they took their assigned seats.

“Princess Chen, do you come here today for the conflict between Yuan’an and the Marquis Xing’s Mansion?” The Empress asked candidly without beating about the bush, her steely eyes lingering on Shao Wanru. As soon as Shao Wanru asked for mercy, she would burst into anger. She could do nothing to Chu Liuchen, but she didn’t believe she couldn’t deal with Princess Chen.

“Your Majesty, I do come here for this!” Shao Wanru said softly. Before they came here, she had discussed with Rui’an Great Elder Princess how to cope with any possible situation, so the Empress’s question didn’t surprise her.

“Since you come here for this matter, you don’t need to mention anything. Don’t you see Yuan’an’s face? Even on her wedding day, these scars on her face would not be completely healed, which might remain in the future. The Marquis Xing’s Mansion has committed such a brutal crime. How could you want to evade the responsibility?” The Empress pointed to Infanta Yuan’an and accused sharply.

Infanta Yuan’an, whose face was well wrapped up, burst into tears again. She turned her head and murmured, “Grandma!”

She threw herself into the arms of Ruiping Great Elder Princess.

Ruiping Great Elder Princess held Infanta Yuan’an close, looking unkindly toward Shao Wanru. Though she didn’t say anything, the meaning in her eyes was crystal clear: this matter couldn’t be settled peacefully.

The Empress Dowager’s face was darkened with anger. Indeed, she had promised her grandson that she would protect Shao Wanru, but she didn’t need to consider the Marquis Xing’s Mansion. Even if Prince Zhou couldn’t compare with Chu Liuchen, he was her grandson, a legitimate grandson. How could she let any outsider bring shame to him?

The Empress Dowager used to think Shao Wanru knew well how to behave. Moreover, because of Chu Liuchen, she thought better of her. But now, it seemed that she had no sense of propriety at all. This time, she came with Rui’an Great Elder Princess. Was she going to stick up for the Marquis Xing’s Mansion and plead with the Empress Dowager to forgive them?

The Empress Dowager thought that if she still chose to support Shao Wanru, how could the Empress and Prince Zhou accept it?

“Princess Chen, what do you want to say?” The Empress Dowager asked with a deep frown, her eyes deep and cold. If Shao Wanru came to intercede for the Marquis Xing’s Mansion or to say that Infanta Yuan’an was also responsible for this matter, the Empress Dowager would be very disappointed with Shao Wanru, a granddaughter-in-law not up to her preference.

“Imperial Grandmother, I’m here today to apologize to Infanta Yuan’an on behalf of my eldest brother!” Shao Wanru stood up and bowed to the Empress Dowager again.

“Apologizing to me?” Infanta Yuan’an, stunned for a moment, raised her head and forgot about crying.

Unlike others, she knew what had happened. Shao Hua’an, riding on his horse, bumped into her carriage, which startled her horse. When her carriage flipped over, she got up and asked her servants to break his leg. Then she cried and went to complain about the incident to her grandmother.

Later on, the horse of Shao Hua’an was brought to her mansion. However, the following investigation showed that the incident had nothing to do with Shao Hua’an’s horse. Instead, it was the horse pulling her carriage that went wrong.

The horse was frightened all of a sudden and kicked Shao Hua’an’s horse, which happened to come over. Then, hardly had one wave subsided when another rose — his horse crashed into her carriage.

But Infanta Yuan’an certainly wouldn’t tell anyone about this result, nor would she mention it to the Empress Dowager or the Empress.

She stated firmly that Shao Hua’an’s horse was shocked, and he carelessly broke his leg. As for any other things mentioned by others, Infanta Yuan’an ignored them all and merely needed to cry.

But now, what on earth did Shao Wanru mean by apologizing? How could Shao Hua’an admit his guilt?

Infanta Yuan’an felt helpless and confused as if her violent punch ended on a cotton ball. All the tactics she had already decided on turned ineffective to Shao Wanru, who came with tremendous momentum but apologized gently.

Shouldn’t Shao Wanru wage a tit-for-tat struggle against her and make her utmost efforts to fight for the Marquis Xing’s Mansion? The Marquis Xing’s Mansion had invited Shao Wanru over. Of course, they wanted Shao Wanru to fight for them.

“Yes, I’d like to make a sincere apology. I hope you can forgive us for this accident!” Shao Wanru bowed deeply to Infanta Yuan’an with an ashamed look. “No one expected that my brother’s horse would be startled all of a sudden. This sudden change hurt not only Infanta Yuan’an but himself. Even now, my elder brother is still lying in bed. When he becomes a little better, I will ask him to come over and apologize to you in person!”

The guilty look on her face turned into a sincere expression. Once again, Shao Wanru gave an extremely earnest salute to Infanta Yuan’an. Then, she put up a solemn look and raised her head. “No matter how Infanta Yuan’an wants the Marquis Xing’s Mansion to make amends, my grandma said that we will listen to your arrangements. As an official’s mansion, the Marquis Xing’s Mansion must stay faithful to its state!”

When Ruiping Great Elder Princess and Infanta Yuan’an heard that, their faces changed color!