Royal Descendants

Royal Descendants

Chapter 2 - Chapter 2

In the Yuxiu Palace, Princess Dunsu, who had watched the crown prince grow up since childhood, sighed, "How many years has it been, and this place is still empty."

Qi Xiao smiled, "The palace of the legitimate princess, how could it be easy to let someone move in?"

Princess Dunsu turned to look at Qi Xiao and laughed softly, "Then wait for your princess to come and live here in the future."

Qi Xiao turned to look at Jiang Deqing. Jiang Deqing understood and led the palace servants out.

Qi Xiao personally poured tea for Princess Dunsu and said in a low voice, "Aunt... why must you argue with the Emperor over this matter."

"Heh... if we don't fight anymore, who else will know that you are the Crown Prince?" Princess Dunsu lost her gentleness in front of others and sneered coldly, "The south has suffered a disaster. In dispatching grain and supplies, you have been working hard. When everything was ready, the Emperor let Qi Hua be the governor to appease the two provinces!

"It sounds nice, fearing that there will be a plague after the disaster, and the identity of the Crown Prince is too precious to be at risk. With a light sentence, he erased your merits, and all the good reputation was earned by Qi Hua! Fortunately, Qi Hua is incompetent. He became a jokes when he went to the south and lost the people's hearts."

Qi Xiao smiled faintly, "The Emperor wants to use me as a stepping stone, naturally I can't be too compliant with their intentions."

Princess Dunsu was stunned, "On Qi Hua's side... was it you who made a move?"

Qi Xiao smiled without answering. Princess Dunsu understood in her heart and her face looked much better. She said with satisfaction, "The prince consort often says that you have a grand vision in your heart, it is indeed true, but... can it be done cleanly? If the Emperor finds out..."

"From beginning to end, I never intended to hide it from him." Qi Xiao lightly fiddled with the jade pendant at his waist and said indifferently, "Hiding one's edge is cowardly. I have to let him understand that he can't touch me now."

"As long as you know what you're doing... let's talk about business. There are currently two princesses waiting to be married in Lingnan. One is Princess Roujia, the biological elder sister of the Lingnan hostage. It is said that she is virtuous and talented with excellent character... and the other is Princess Kangtai, born to the Lingnan King's concubine. This concubine is extremely favored by the Lingnan King. Although her daughter is of concubine-born status, she is even more the apple of the Lingnan King's eye..." Princess Dunsu was hesitant in her heart and looked up to ask Qi Xiao, "Which one do you like?"

The two princesses, one with a noble status and the other more favored by the Lingnan King, each had their pros and cons. Princess Dunsu couldn't make up her mind, so she let Qi Xiao choose for himself.

Princess Dunsu frowned slightly and said in a low voice, "It's a pity that the preparations were made too late. I hate that I had limited knowledge before, always fearing that the Emperor would fight with Lingnan, so I never took it to heart. If I had known, I should have tried to meet these two princesses when I was in the south with the prince consort. No matter how good they are, it's all hearsay. If I don't personally assess them, I can't feel at ease."

Qi Xiao smiled faintly. This was not Princess Dunsu's fault. The Lingnan King was a king of a different surname and had always been the root of disputes, not to mention the bad blood between the Lingnan's Dongling clan and the imperial clan over the years.

The old Lingnan King had fought together with Taizu to conquer the world back then. After Taizu ascended the throne, he rewarded merits and granted titles to seven kings of different surnames. But in less than ten years, the other six kings had all fallen from power. The luckiest one, King Zhenbei, had his fief taken back and his title reduced to a commoner. The unlucky ones, such as King Bo'an, all faced the fate of their entire clan being executed. In the end, only the Lingnan King remained.

The old Lingnan King naturally did not survive because of luck. In the seventh year after being granted the title, the Wengxi clan from the south came to invade. The old Lingnan King Dongling Wu led his troops to attack. The battle lasted for nearly three years, and he lost nearly 100,000 soldiers.

Taizu intended to let Lingnan and the Wengxi Kingdom destroy each other. Battle reports were sent to the imperial capital one after another, but Taizu did not send a single soldier, just waiting to reap the benefits. Unfortunately, after several defeats, Lingnan actually won a series of victories, not only driving back the Wengxi people but also pursuing them fiercely. In the end, they attacked all the way to the Wengxi capital, slaughtered the city, and wiped out the Wengxi royal clan. The old Lingnan King directly occupied the mountains and became king, swallowing Wengxi.

The Wengxi Kingdom was twice the size of the previous Lingnan, with more arable land and abundant products. Naturally, Taizu could not sit still. After greatly rewarding the old Lingnan King, he sent the then prime minister to Lingnan to discuss who would take over Wengxi in the future.

The territory was fought for by the old Lingnan King, and the imperial capital had never helped at all. He naturally refused to let the imperial capital share a piece of the pie, let alone Taizu wanting more than just a share. The correspondence between the two sides was like snowflakes, and they couldn't reach an agreement for nearly a month.

As misfortune never comes singly, King Bo'an in the west rebelled. Taizu, unable to split his attention and fearing that the old Lingnan King would join hands with King Bo'an, had to compromise. He doubled Lingnan's annual taxes and tributes, and then left the matter unsettled. This delay lasted for several years.

By the time Taizu had free hands to deal with Lingnan, the old Lingnan King had already firmly established his foothold in the south. Taizu was old and lacked the energy, leaving this thorn in the side of the imperial capital until now.

In recent years, the relationship between the imperial capital and Lingnan had become increasingly delicate. Many people were worried that the two sides would go to war at any time due to a disagreement. But unexpectedly, since two years ago, Lingnan had suffered repeated disasters and its fortune had been greatly damaged. It no longer had the strength to fight against the imperial capital.

This year, in order to borrow grain, they even sent a hostage, and those with discerning eyes could see that as long as the Lingnan King was not crazy or foolish, the two sides would not go to war.

Since there would be no war, the relationship that needed to be repaired should be repaired. Marriage was only a matter of time. Princess Dunsu took the initiative and handed this matter to Qi Xiao, and even left a backup plan. As long as it was a concubine-born princess, even if the southern border and the imperial army confronted each other in the future, it would only take a word from Qi Xiao to depose a concubine, and nothing would be hindered.

As a legitimate princess, Princess Dunsu naturally preferred a legitimate princess in her heart. It was a pity that the Lingnan Queen was really out of favor. Princess Dunsu sighed, "You handle it as you see fit..."

Qi Xiao was naturally also clear about the situation in the Lingnan Kingdom. He chuckled lightly, "The father and brothers of the Lingnan Queen all died in the Wengxi War back then. She is not favored and has no maternal family to rely on. Naturally, her legitimate son is not as valued as the favored illegitimate son. Moreover, now the heir has also become a hostage, so the legitimate line is even less regarded."

Princess Dunsu nodded, "That's exactly it. It doesn't matter... even if it's a collateral branch, as long as it's a girl from Lingnan, it'll be fine. This way, in the future, when there's no other choice... the Lingnan people will certainly be more willing to support you who has married into Lingnan. With Lingnan's support... future matters will have an additional layer of assurance."

Qi Xiao remained indifferent, "Your nephew listens to his aunt."

Princess Dunsu looked at Qi Xiao's eyes, which were very similar to those of Emperor Wu, and felt heartache. She couldn't help but hold his hand and said in a low voice, "Good child, your aunt knows you don't like this... endure a little longer. When you ascend the throne, your aunt will be at ease. At that time, no one will be able to restrain you in whatever you want to do..."

Dunsu, the eldest princess, was quite advanced in years. The long journey had taken its toll on her, and although it wasn't apparent during her visit to the Chengqian Palace earlier, her fatigue was now evident when no one was looking. Even Qi Xiao, with his cold and aloof nature, couldn't help but feel a pang of heartache. He said in a low voice, "Aunt, you don't need to go to such lengths for me. I can handle these matters myself..."

"You already have enough on your shoulders. Just let your aunt arrange these small matters for you. And don't take it too much to heart. I'm not doing this solely for you..." Princess Dunsu took a deep breath. "I'm also doing it for myself. Among the direct bloodline of Emperor Taizu, only you and I remain. If I let you fight alone again, I'm afraid our ancestors wouldn't forgive me."

Although Qi Xiao had always been indifferent to the idea of an arranged marriage, seeing Princess Dunsu's concern for him, he felt it would be inappropriate to remain too passive. The next day, after the morning court session, Qi Xiao deliberately lagged behind a few steps and waited by the Lianyan Pond in front of the Qianqing Palace. As expected, he encountered the Crown Prince of Lingnan, who had just left the Huixin Academy.

Everyone was well aware of Prince Bairen's status as a hostage, but the Emperor had always been able to maintain appearances. He took meticulous care of the prince's daily needs, including food, clothing, housing, and transportation. Upon learning that the prince was still studying while in Lingnan, the Emperor directly assigned him a grand tutor and allowed him to enter the palace daily to attend lectures at the Huixin Academy, treating him in all respects like an imperial prince.

Qi Xiao chuckled inwardly. Whether the Emperor truly valued Lingnan or simply wanted to keep a closer eye on the prince was a matter of individual interpretation.

Bairen had just finished his morning lessons and was hurrying to the Chengqian Palace with his attendants, as the Emperor had bestowed upon him the privilege of having breakfast there. Seeing Qi Xiao from afar, he knew it would be inappropriate to avoid him, so he approached with his entourage.

Qi Xiao smiled, "Prince, where are you headed?"

Bairen performed a proper salute and greeted him with his eyes lowered.

Qi Xiao nodded, "Prince, you've been in the imperial city for many days, and I haven't had a proper conversation with you yet. Is everything going well here? Do you miss home?"

Bairen looked up at Qi Xiao, a flicker of surprise passing through his eyes, but his face remained as calm and unperturbed as ever. He replied indifferently, "His Majesty treats me very well. I haven't missed home."

Qi Xiao could sense Bairen's aloofness but didn't press the matter. He smiled warmly, "My father, the Emperor, has countless duties to attend to, so there may be things he overlooks. If there's anything that doesn't sit well with you, just tell me. Don't spread it around. Since my father has summoned you, I won't delay you any further. Let's chat again when we have the chance."

Bairen nodded coldly and, with a slight bow, turned to follow the palace servants. He didn't show a single smile from beginning to end. Qi Xiao watched Bairen's retreating figure with an amused smile, "The Crown Prince of Lingnan is quite mature for his young age."

Jiang Deqing hurriedly offered a flattering smile, "It's understandable that the prince's mood is not the best, having come to the imperial city alone at such a young age. Your Highness, being older, should be more understanding."

Qi Xiao was lost in thought. Naturally, he wouldn't be displeased by Bairen's coldness.

It was just that... the Crown Prince of Lingnan hadn't been in the imperial city for long, and Qi Xiao had only seen him twice before, always from a distance. He only remembered that Bairen had a delicate appearance, but he didn't have a strong impression of him otherwise.

After taking a closer look just now, Qi Xiao couldn't help but feel a stirring in his heart.

He smiled faintly, "Of course." 


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.

Give me feedback at moc.ebircssutol@lwothgin.