Royal Descendants

Royal Descendants

Chapter 1 - Chapter 1

"Prince... Prince..."

Qi Xiao's phoenix eyes opened slightly. Seeing that the sky was barely light, he closed his eyes again, his brows slightly furrowed. "What is it?"

Outside the screen, the chief eunuch of the prince's mansion, Jiang Deqing, bowed and said in a low voice, "Your Highness, this servant just received news that Princess Dunsu arrived last night and will enter the palace early this morning."

Upon hearing this, Qi Xiao rubbed his brow and sat up. Hearing the movement, Jiang Deqing turned and entered from behind the screen. Qi Xiao got up, took off his sleeping robe, and slowly put on the inner garment placed on the small table beside the bed, without needing Jiang Deqing's assistance.

Jiang Deqing approached, drew up the bed curtains and hung them on the coiled dragon gold hooks. He turned to take the court attire from beside the couch to help Qi Xiao get dressed. While carefully arranging the court dress, he continued, "The princess will likely discuss Your Highness's marriage with the Emperor today... The princess has truly put in a lot of effort. The Emperor now attaches great importance to Lingnan. If Your Highness can marry into Lingnan, it would be equivalent to gaining the support of the Dongling clan, with all advantages and no harm..."

Princess Dunsu was Qi Xiao's biological aunt. After Emperor Wu and Empress Xiaoxian both passed away, Princess Dunsu was considered Qi Xiao's closest relative. Qi Xiao naturally followed Princess Dunsu's wishes without exception.

However, when it came to marriage, Qi Xiao had always been evasive. Jiang Deqing, who had served Qi Xiao for many years, naturally understood Qi Xiao's thoughts. He advised in a low voice, "Moreover, as the imperial princes are growing day by day, isn't Your Highness anxious... This servant's thoughts are the same as Princess Dunsu's. It's better to plan for many things early on. Besides..."

Qi Xiao turned to take the jade pendant, his thin lips slightly pursed. He lowered his head and slowly put it on. Seeing that Jiang Deqing had stopped talking, he smiled and said, "What's the matter? Go on."

Jiang Deqing carefully observed Qi Xiao's expression, trying to discern his thoughts. He smiled and said, "Besides, it's just a concubine. If Your Highness likes her, then our mansion will have one more person to serve you. If you don't like her, just treat her as an idle person. It's not a big deal."

Qi Xiao smiled without saying a word. He turned and left the inner chamber. Jiang Deqing quickly summoned the palace servants outside to attend to him.

In Chengqian Palace, the Emperor looked at the memorial presented by Princess Dunsu and smiled slightly. "It's only been a few years, but Imperial Sister has become much more worldly than me. Why did you bring so many things? Where is Brother-in-law?"

"The Prince Consort went to the Ministry of Personnel first to hand over documents." Princess Dunsu's eyes were smiling as she said softly, "It's because the continuous heavy rains that I missed the Emperor's birthday celebration. Consider these as my punishment."

Princess Dunsu had just turned forty last year. Due to proper maintenance, she did not show her age and was still considered a beauty.

As the legitimate daughter of the empress dowager, her demeanor was dignified and proper. When she spoke with a smile like this, it made people feel very comfortable. The Emperor unconsciously softened his tone, "Imperial Sister is joking again. It's just a birthday celebration. What does it matter if it's missed? I said before that there was no need to come. With the plague raging in the south, it's a blessing that Imperial Sister and Brother-in-law didn't contract any illness on the way here in the past two months."

Princess Dunsu nodded and sighed, "There will inevitably be plagues after major disasters. Thanks to the Emperor's great fortune, the Prince Consort and I are both fine. At first, I didn't realize it, but after coming out, I learned that the flooding was indeed severe. This year's taxes..."

"We can still sustain that." Since ascending the throne, Qi Jing had been making up for the deficits caused by Emperor Wu's years of warfare. In recent years, the national treasury had become much more abundant. The Emperor smiled, "Fortunately, only two provinces suffered calamities."

Princess Dunsu nodded and seemingly casually said, "I heard... Lingnan was completely flooded?"

The Emperor laughed, "Not at all. It was only flooded south of Mount Mao, not that severe... But they first suffered a severe drought and then severe flooding. Indeed, they are not having an easy time."

"Exactly, that's why they came to borrow grain from you." Princess Dunsu smiled with satisfaction, "I heard about it all along the way. The Lingnan prince personally came to borrow grain, causing quite a stir. The commoners' tales about it could fill a book. I heard from the Prince Consort that the Lingnan prince stayed behind?"

A hint of a smile flashed in the Emperor's eyes. Lingnan was the fief of a king with a different surname, a constant worry for the emperors of the Great Xiang Dynasty throughout history. Now, for the first time, the King of Lingnan had lowered his head to the imperial court during his own reign.

The Emperor couldn't help feeling pleased, but he always maintained a modest demeanor. He smiled and said, "Dongling's Bairen originally came on behalf of his father, Dongling Yi, to discuss borrowing grain from me. He is only fifteen years old. After staying in the imperial capital for a while, he admired its grandeur and wanted to observe and learn, so he didn't want to leave.

"I also really like him, so I let him stay. That child is the same age as Hua'er, exceptionally handsome. What's rare is that he is very intelligent and extremely likable. Imperial Sister, when you come back, you should meet him more often. You will definitely like him too. Oh right, this is the tea they offered as tribute. Imperial Sister, have a taste..."

Hua'er referred to Qi Hua, the second imperial prince.

Princess Dunsu inwardly chuckled. Since he was a hostage sent by Lingnan, she didn't dare to "meet him more often".

The topic had already turned to where Princess Dunsu needed it to be. She no longer spoke much about Bairen and continued with casual conversation, "I remember... the Crown Prince's birthday is coming up after the Emperor's birthday celebration, right?"

The Emperor nodded, "Yes, Xiao'er's birthday is on the tenth day of the twelfth lunar month."

"In the blink of an eye, Xiao'er is already eighteen years old..." Princess Dunsu put down the gold-painted tea cup in her hand and took out a silk handkerchief from her sleeve to dab the corner of her mouth. "It's time to choose a crown princess for Xiao'er."

The Emperor paused for a moment and smiled faintly, "It's still a bit too early. It's the perfect time for him to learn how to handle affairs and make progress. If he marries a principal wife, spending every day in conjugal bliss, won't it interfere with important matters?"

Princess Dunsu couldn't help but laugh, "The Emperor places too much importance on the Crown Prince. How could you forget that you also married before coming of age? In fact, you were even earlier than Xiao'er. You had just turned sixteen, remember? Before the grand wedding, you ran to the princess' manor and asked me if you could still go back and live with the Empress Dowager after the ceremony..."

The Emperor's birth mother had passed away early. As an infant, he was brought to Fenghua Palace to be personally raised by the empress dowager. Princess Dunsu was nearly ten years older than the Emperor. Before she married, she also lived in Fenghua Palace.

At that time, she treated the Emperor very well. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say she was like an elder sister and mother to him. Mentioning past events, the Emperor smiled, "Imperial Sister still remembers?"

Princess Dunsu smiled gracefully, "You and Emperor Wu both grew up under my watch. What do I not remember?"

Mentioning Emperor Wu, Princess Dunsu's eyes turned slightly red. She laughed again, "Enough, why are we talking about this? Let's talk about Xiao'er's marriage. Do you have any ideas in mind?"

The Emperor was certainly a hundred percent unwilling to bring up this matter in his heart, but after listening to Princess Dunsu's gentle chatter for half a day, stirring up some childhood memories, he couldn't dampen her enthusiasm at this juncture.

He smiled bitterly and said, "I have indeed thought about it, but there is no suitable person. The Crown Princess will need to be a model for the world in the future, and cannot be wrong in the slightest. I hope you can understand, sister?"

Princess Dunsu nodded, "Indeed... well then, I just wanted to mention it to the Emperor since it came to mind. How could I have a say in who is chosen as the Crown Princess? It's just that the Crown Prince since childhood... sigh, you know, I can't help but dote on him a bit more. What the Emperor said makes sense, the Crown Princess can't be casually decided... How about selecting two concubines for the Crown Prince first, would that work?"

The Emperor smiled, "Has my sister set her eyes on the daughter of some family?"

Princess Dunsu had three daughters and two sons. The eldest daughter was married last year, and the second daughter was fourteen this year, also at the age to be betrothed. The Emperor reckoned that Princess Dunsu most likely wanted to deepen the family ties through marriage, which he was most wary of.

Just as he was about to change the subject, he saw Princess Dunsu purse her lips and smile, "Since I went with my husband to his post, I only see some country girls every day. How would I know about any noble daughters? This should still be left to the Empress to worry about."

Before the Emperor could breathe a sigh of relief, Princess Dunsu's eyes lit up and she laughed, "Right! Who says I don't know any noble daughters? I just mentioned that Lingnan prince. I heard... he has two sisters of marriageable age."

The Emperor's smile froze on his lips. Just as he was about to say something, a palace servant bowed and entered, eyes lowered respectfully, "Your Majesty, Princess, the Crown Prince has come to pay his respects."

The Emperor nodded. The palace servant bowed and left. Before long, Qi Xiao walked in. He approached and greeted the two.

Princess Dunsu repeatedly told Qi Xiao to come closer. She held Qi Xiao's hands and looked him over carefully. The royal family's appearances were mostly good, and Qi Xiao especially took after his late mother, Empress Xiaoren, extremely handsome.

Only his phoenix eyes were very much like Emperor Wu's, sharp and stern, imposing even without anger, with a few more hints of heroism. Seeing that Qi Xiao looked more and more like his deceased parents, Princess Dunsu's heart suddenly ached.

She smiled to cover it up and said with satisfaction, "I haven't seen you for half a year, and Xiao'er has grown taller again."

Qi Xiao smiled, "Aunt, on the other hand, hasn't changed a bit. Your complexion looks even better."

Princess Dunsu turned to the Emperor and smiled, "Listen, so good with words..."

Before the Emperor could respond, Princess Dunsu laughed again, "Truly an adult now. I was just telling your Imperial Father to select a concubine for you, the princess of the King of Lingnan. Do you like that?"

The Emperor turned the jade thumb ring he wore, displeased in his heart, but his face was very gentle. He smiled and said, "Imperial Sister is really too impatient..."

Although Qi Xiao was indifferent in his heart, Princess Dunsu had been planning for him for many days. In the end, he certainly could not ruin it for her. He smiled calmly, "Marriage is a major event. Of course one must obey the orders of parents and the words of matchmakers. This nephew dares not say more."

Princess Dunsu struck while the iron was hot. She turned to the Emperor and smiled, "Your Majesty, will you let me be the matchmaker?"

Princess Dunsu had a special status. Even the Emperor had to be wary of her to some degree and could not overly refuse her. Moreover, she must have come prepared today. If he insisted on stopping it, he feared it would create more complications.

The Emperor suppressed the anger in his heart and looked at Qi Xiao with a loving smile, "Aren't you going to thank your aunt for working hard on your behalf?"


Hi, I'm Nightowl. I thrive in the quiet hours of the night, where my translations come to life. You’ll often find me with a cup of tea, surrounded by my collection of vinyl records, sharing stories that keep us all up a little too late.

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