TCPCHW Chapter 2 Part 2
The Crown Prince Chases His Wife
Chapter 2 Qin Yan (2/2)
It was late spring, and the begonia flowers in the courtyard were blooming particularly thriving. The night breeze brought wisps of floral fragrance into the window. In a trance, Prime Minister Qin remembered the years when he first became the Prime Minister.
At that time, he was appointed the Prime Minister straight from Hanlin Imperial Academy, and many people in the court were jealous, saying that he was relying on the power of the Duke of Zhenguo of his wife’s family.
In the court, the Left Prime Minister’s fraction had repeatedly fought against him due to political disagreements. His family background was not profound, which was far inferior to the Left Prime Minister who had Empress and Imperial Concubine in the family. Moreover, Taizi* was still the Left Prime Minister’s nephew.
(Taizi* – the crown prince, the heir to the throne)
At that time, he also went straight to Xi Garden whenever he returned to the mansion. What awaited him was not the current gentle beauty, but another woman who was bright and flamboyant and whose mind and means were not under his control.
The two incisively commented on political affairs and analyzed the situation in the court. At that time, Shen Shiying was his wife, friend, and also an aide to the Prime Minister Mansion.
Over the years, Emperor had intentionally supported him to balance the situation where the power of the Left Prime Minister’s fraction was greater than him.
Now the two sides were locked in a stalemate, which was supposed to be equal to each other, but since Taizi returned to the capital, Emperor ordered Taizi to supervise the country on the grounds of recuperating. In the past two years, there had been dozens of ministers above the fifth grade who had been impeached by the Imperial Censor Bureau alone. Taizi asked the Imperial Court of Judicial Review to investigate strictly, without exception. Many people had been demoted, dismissed from the court, and even had their mansions raided.
Today, the Imperial Censor Bureau impeached the minister of the Ministry of Finance for corruption, and Taizi ordered the Imperial Court of Judicial Review to suspend him from duty and investigate. This minister of the Ministry of Finance, An Binghuai, was the younger brother of Taizi’s Taifu*, An Shifeng. Taizi was really merciless.
(Taifu* – assistance minister of the court and the teacher of the emperor)
Taizi, Feng Zhan, had been trained for many years in the army, and he was very decisive in making decisions. One after another decrees made people confused, and everyone in the court was at risk.
Prime Minister Qin had been feeling more and more exhausted recently. Now that the war in the Northwest had ended, Emperor ordered the Pingxi Army to return to the court and take a break to support the people. The Chief Commander of the Pingxi Army was the Duke of Zhenguo, Shen Changshan. When he returned to the capital this time, he was afraid he would settle the accounts of Shen Shiying that year. Piles of piles, which was really overwhelming.
A few soft coughs interrupted Prime Minister Qin’s thoughts. Prime Minister Qin turned his head and asked, “Is Madam suffering from a cold?”
Song Mei turned around and took out the silk handkerchief, covered her lips, and coughed a few more times.
Prime Minister Qin instructed his servants to close the window, took Song Mei’s hands, and said softly, ” I neglected my duty as a husband, and I forgot that Madam can’t bear the cold.”
Song Mei hurriedly said, “Prime Minister must not spoil this concubine. When I was pregnant with Ming’er, my pregnancy was not good. It was a blessing from Heaven to be able to give birth to Ming’er safely. My body is constantly tired, and it is Heaven’s reward to be able to live a few more days.”
“Madam has worked hard. How is Ming’er recently? I’ve been busy with work these past few days, and I haven’t been able to look at his study.” Prime Minister Qin attached great importance to carrying on the family line, and he loved his only son Qin Ming even more.
Song Mei said softly, “Ming’er is all right. Today, the teacher praised him for his good writing. He is looking forward to Prime Minister taking a look.”
Prime Minister Qin’s eyebrows stretched out, “It’s too late at this time. I’ll go see him tomorrow. Ming’er looks up to me, and I look up to you, without insulting the status of our scholarly family.” After speaking, he also laughed happily.
Song Mei suddenly lowered her eyes and wanted to cry.
“What’s wrong with Madam? Tell your husband if you have suffered any grievances.” Prime Minister Qin said hurriedly.
Song Mei raised her handkerchief and tried to reach the corners of her eyes, her voice trembling slightly, “In a few days, Niannian is about to reach marriageable age, and it’s time to discuss marriage.”
“Although many madams of noble families in the capital like Niannian, they still have reservations because Niannian is not born from the first wife.”
“Niannian is a daughter, whereas Ming’er is the only son of the Prime Minister. If they miss a good marriage and miss a good future because of my lowly status as a mother, then I’ll be to blame.”
Prime Minister Qin’s expression became complicated, he sighed and remained silent.
He knew Song Mei’s heart knot over the years. There was no one else in his rear courtyard, except for his wife, Shen Shiying, who married in the big sedan chair, and also Song Mei. In recent years, Song Mei had been in charge of the family, and the mansion regarded Song Mei as the mistress. The two treated each other as husband and wife, but the status was really difficult.
“How about let Ming’er be adopted under Madam’s name…” Song Mei said tentatively.
“It’s not right!”
Prime Minister Qin interrupted Song Mei’s words, “You are still alive, and Shen Shiying has already…”
“For so many years, Duke of Zhenguo Mansion insisted that Shen Shiying is missing and refuses to mourn. It was because I cared about Duke of Zhenguo, who has been guarding the Northwest for all these years, that I couldn’t raise your status.”
Prime Minister Qin also knew that the only son he loved was not the son of the first wife and also knew how much he was criticized in the capital city, where there were many noble families.
But adoption was absolutely impossible!
In the beginning, he was ridiculed by his colleagues because he relied on his wife’s family, which meant that he lived off a woman, but now he could not let his son be ridiculed!
“After a while, when Duke of Zhenguo returns to the capital, I will personally go to Duke of Zhenguo Mansion to announce about raising you as my equal wife. It also can be considered as giving face to Duke of Zhenguo.”
Song Mei was overjoyed but suddenly realized that when the Duke of Zhenguo returned to the capital, Shen Shiying’s only daughter, Qin Yan, was bound to return.
“Yan’er is coming back too, right?”
“Yes, let people clean up Lanyue Pavilion. When Qin Yan comes back, arrange for her to live there.”
Speaking of Qin Yan, Prime Minister Qin had a little impression of the daughter he once loved. She was only a few years old when she left that year, and he rarely remembered that there was such a daughter in these years.
Song Mei said, “Tomorrow, I will move back to the main residence with Niannian. After all, this Xi Garden belongs to Madam and Yan’er…”
“No, you are not in good health. The doctor said in the beginning that Xi Garden is suitable for you to recuperate your health. It’s better for Niannian to live closer, so that both of you, mother and daughter, can take care of each other. Qin Yan should understand this reason at her age.” Qin Wenzheng rebuffed Song Mei’s proposal flatly.
Song Mei lowered her head to agree, then raised her head again, with a softer tone, “Prime Minister, for Niannian’s hairpin ceremony*, I invited some noble daughters from good families in the capital, and the young lady from Marquis of Yongding Mansion also accepted the invitation. I thought, our Prime Minister Mansion can’t neglect the guests, so I’m thinking about whether we should do it a little grander.”
(hairpin ceremony* – a ceremony held when a young lady reaches a marriageable age.)
“You can figure it out. If you need anything, just send someone to the warehouse to get it.”
Looking at Song Mei, who was dressed in plain clothes, Prime Minister Qin felt a little guilty. He hugged Song Mei and stroked her back gently, “I know that you are usually simple in food and clothing, so I’m afraid others will misunderstand you. After you have raised your position, you can show the panache of the official madam. Madam has suffered so many years of grievances.”
Song Mei leaned against Prime Minister Qin softly, closed her eyes, and thought, she was satisfied with the outcome.
What she had suffered, she could not let her children suffer again.
Shen Shiying was not her opponent at the beginning, nor would this Qin Yan be her opponent.
In the Northwest, perhaps she had cultivated into a wild girl who had never seen the world. Regardless of whether the eldest daughter of Prime Minister Mansion came back, she would only be in contrast with her Niannian, who was the true young lady of a noble family.
When she was raised as an equal wife, would not many noble families come to ask for marriage with Niannian?
Maybe, Qin Yan’s marriage contract with Shizi of Marquis of Yongding Mansion would also fall on Niannian…