After Xiao Heng left Gu Sui’er and the others, he went to the Palace.
Today, when he accompanied Gu Sui’er around the GuiYuan in front of all the noble Lords of YanJing City to appreciate the beauty of the blooming osmanthus flowers and enjoy the food, he had offended Princess ZhaoYang for Gu Sui’er.
Naturally, this matter brought about a huge commotion.
After returning, Princess ZhaoYang had tearfully complained about it to the Empress, who in turn, had directly gone to the Emperor.
When Xiao Heng went over, Emperor JingKang had just pacified the Empress and persuaded her to return to her Palace.
“Ah Heng, what did you do!” Emperor JingKang sighed as he watched Xiao Heng kneel in front of him: “You know very well what kind of a temper ZhaoYang has.”
“This official has erred so he begs His Majesty to punish him.” Xiao Heng didn’t say much. He just knelt on one knee and he admitted his fault, bowing his head.
“Zhen1He’s using ‘朕’ (zhèn) which was used by the Emperors to refer to themselves has always taught you that there are numerous ways to deal with a situation. Why did you have to go and choose the most troublesome one?”
Emperor JingKang’s expression was not good. He squeezed the Jade Lion paperweight in his hand as he looked at Xiao Heng with displeasure.
“This official was wrong.”
Xiao Heng replied with four simple words.
“You––” Emperor JingKang choked from anger.
None spoke any further. Xiao Heng continued kneeling while the Emperor just looked at him.
Since it was a private summon, Xiao Heng was not wearing his official uniform. Today, he was dressed in dark reddish-purple clothes. He was born tall and calm, making him appear chaste and undefiled. Even though he was kneeling at this moment, his back was straight and the atmosphere around him was cold and calm too. Moreover, his facial features were extremely beautiful. Such ice and jade beauty was rarely seen in a man.
Emperor JingKang stared at the kneeling jade-like youth for a long time. In the end, he sighed as he said faintly: “Get up.”
Xiao Heng heard his command and stood up: “Yes.”
The Chief Eunuch, who was standing by the side, immediately came over with a low stool.
Xiao Heng said calmly: “Many thanks, Eunuch Hu. However, this official should stand now.”
Emperor JingKang: “Sit down.”
Xiao Heng sat down.
Chief Eunuch Hu brought tea and first poured a cup for Emperor JingKang, before pouring another cup and handing it over to Xiao Heng.
In the Imperial Study, the Emperor and the official slowly savored the aroma of the tea silently.
After taking a few more sips of the fragrant tea, Emperor JingKang felt much better. He asked unhurriedly: “You have always been a cold and cheerless person. At least, Zhen has never seen you being so attentive to anyone. This time, you really managed to surprise Zhen with your attention towards a mere Concubine.”
Xiao Heng put down the teacup and bowed his head towards the Emperor as he said respectfully: “Replying to Your Majesty, although she is only a concubine, she is carrying the flesh and blood of this official in her belly. Moreover, she had taken some harmful medicines when she had just conceived so her pregnancy has been a bit unstable. If that whip had successfully hit her, it would have endangered the flesh and blood of this official.”
When he said this, Emperor JingKang was also taken aback.
Although it was night, the lights in the Imperial Study were brightly lit. When Emperor JingKang stared at Xiao Heng’s eyes, he clearly noticed the love and protection through the ever-present layer of indifference.
He smiled before sighing.
“I had already said that it’s better for a man to settle down and get married.” Emperor JingKang seemed to have recalled the past: “A man can only become responsible when he has a family. Only then can he look ahead, think thoroughly and become capable of comprehending every aspect. When Wang ZhongZhi said that governing a country is similar to governing a family, I thought he was spouting nonsense. However, now I know that he was correct.”
Wang ZhongZhi was an experienced official. When he had first suggested that governing the country was similar to governing one’s family, Emperor JingKang was quite dissatisfied.
Emperor JingKang was a solemn and majestic monarch in front of outsiders, but in private, he actually spoke very casually.
He always felt that although the former Xiao Heng seemed to have an indifferent personality, he was like a horse that had thrown off its reins. Such a Xiao Heng had always been a headache for him because he did not know what to do with him before.
However, everything was fine now. Since Xiao Heng had a woman and a soon-to-be-born child, his heart was also relieved.
“Your Majesty is absolutely correct.” Xiao Heng praise expressionlessly.
“Since you know that I’m right, why didn’t you listen to me before?” Emperor JingKang raised his eyebrows and asked again, “Long ago, when I advised you to settle down and get married, why didn’t do so?”
“…….” Xiao Heng was silent.
“You ah. You just don’t listen to me. Outwardly, you pretend to hear all my words and be respectful but you always act at your own will. You are already nineteen years old. When this child is born, you’ll be almost twenty and have only one child. Look at the eldest Prince, he had a child when he was sixteen. Look at the second Prince, he got married at the age of fifteen and had two children at the age of 17. Then take a look at the third Prince…”
As he started talking about the third Prince, the Emperor remembered that the three Prince had not yet married even though he was already 18. As a result, he had to stop without a choice.
But this did not prevent him from continuing to lecture Xiao Heng: “How can a man not start his own family? Even if you don’t want to marry at this moment, you should take in a few Concubines. I had selected so many good girls for you before, you didn’t even fancy one of them…”
“Your Majesty.” Xiao Heng suddenly said, interrupting the Emperor.
“The girls that His Majesty had chosen for this official in the past were either too ugly or too stupid.” Xiao Heng said flatly, “None of them was good enough.”
“You––” This time, the Emperor was furious.
The girls he had picked out for Xiao Heng were either the legitimate eldest daughter of some Ducal family or the legitimate daughter of a Prince’s family who had a different surname. He had even selected the daughters of ordinary Marquis families, but Xiao Heng rejected all without fail!
Seeing that Xiao Heng did not like any of them, he even selected the most beautiful girls in the Palace for him. But, the cold young man rejected all. Finally, the Emperor had no choice but to send two of them directly to the Marquis’ residence.
Could anyone find an Emperor who is trying harder than him just to get someone married?
It was a pity that Xiao Heng didn’t appreciate his kindness.
Xiao Heng raised his eyebrows and continued slowly: “The ones you chose were not good.”
Emperor JingKang was speechless. He didn’t know what to say.
The Chief Eunuch, who standing aside, just bowed his head respectfully.
He was used to seeing this situation.
Emperor JingKang was the dignified Son of Heaven. Even the Empress was respectful when she spoke to the Emperor. Only this person, the third Young Master of the RuiDing Mansion was… It was hard to explain this situation.
After a while, Emperor JingKang himself started talking.
He coughed: “Ah Heng, remember to bring the child here and show it to me after it is born.”
Xiao Heng replied respectfully: “Yes, this official will remember.”
Emperor JingKang took a sip of tea: “Hmm, now that even Ah Heng is going to be a father, I realised that I’m really getting old.”
Xiao Heng could discern the Emperor’s feelings when he said these words, but he remained quiet.
He raised his head and looked at the person who sat on the dragon throne. He realised that the lines on this person’s face had already become deep.
For a moment, he recalled the time when he was just four years old. That was the first time he had seen this person. At that time, this man, who was in his prime years then, had picked him up.
Being held in his arms, Xiao Heng had clearly seen the affection in the eyes of the Emperor.
Xiao Heng lowered his eyes, having a sudden urge to ask Emperor JingKang a question.
He raised his head, looked at the old Emperor on the chair, and asked: “Your Majesty, this official wants to ask you a question.”
Emperor JingKang glanced at him: “Ask.”
Xiao Heng was silent for a moment before he asked, “I want to ask Your Majesty, how does it feel to become a father?”
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- 1He’s using ‘朕’ (zhèn) which was used by the Emperors to refer to themselves