Royal Descendants

Royal Descendants

Chapter 5 - Chapter 5

In Yuxiu Palace, Princess Dunsu looked at Qi Xiao with a smile and said softly: "How did you suddenly make up your mind? Princess Roujia... forget it, no matter what, she is of legitimate birth and won't disgrace you. Although Princess Kangtai is also good, her mother's status is lowly and not worthy of marriage."

Qi Xiao smiled faintly: "Aunt is right."

"Ah..." Princess Dunsu looked around, "How come I don't see Jiang Deqing?"

Qi Xiao lowered his head and said, "Nephew sent him on an errand."

"Oh... never mind what errand, you could have just sent anyone. Why did you have to send him out? You have no shortage of servants by your side, but I see only Jiang Deqing is still useful. Won't you suffer if he's not by your side? Alright, I was just asking. You're standing there stiffly as if I'm punishing you. Come sit over here quickly."

Princess Dunsu doted on him in her heart and couldn't help nagging a few more sentences. She pulled him over to sit together affectionately. Patting the slightly loose kingfisher hairpin at her temple, she smiled and said: "Let's talk business. For the marriage alliance, we still need to send word to Lingnan first to see what they think. Once they agree, we can officially propose the marriage."

Qi Xiao nodded and asked as if unintentionally, "When can we get Lingnan King's response on this?"

"I heard that in a few days, your Imperial Father will send Tang Jing'an to deliver grain and provisions to Lingnan. We can take this opportunity to convey a message to them. A round trip will take... at least a month and a half." Princess Dunsu joked with a smile, "What? Are you in a hurry? Who knows what Princess Roujia looks like... I met the Lingnan Queen a few years ago. She was extremely beautiful, so I imagine their daughter can't be too far off."

Qi Xiao smiled faintly: "Just judging by the Lingnan Crown Prince's looks... his sister shouldn't be bad."

Qi Xiao seemed lost in thought. He recalled that night under the bamboo grove, the restrained face of Bairen who was only fifteen years old, clearly still an immature child, clearly unable to bear it... Suddenly he also remembered how Cen Chaoge embraced and coaxed him. Qi Xiao laughed cruelly in his heart. Did he really take Cen Chaoge as his support? Could he be relied upon?

The hint of a marriage alliance would be sent along with the 200,000 dan of grain to Lingnan. A round trip would take at least a month. Once the message was sent, there would be ample time, at least a month.

After sorting through his plans from beginning to end, making sure everything was arranged meticulously, Qi Xiao put his mind at ease. Seeing him not speak for a while, Princess Dunsu joked: "What's the matter? Lost in thoughts about your concubine?"

Qi Xiao paused, then smiled gently without answering. He took the tea offered by the palace servant and sipped it, his face still calm as always.

After paying his respects to Princess Dunsu for half a day, Qi Xiao left the palace to return to his residence. He was no longer young. Only occasionally when it was late would he stay overnight in the palace. Usually he lived in his residence outside the palace.

Qi Xiao was different from other princes. He established his own residence at the age of sixteen. At that time, the Emperor spared no expense, encircling an area of several li to build the Crown Prince's residence for Qi Xiao, with carved corridors, painted beams, pavilions and terraces, the epitome of extravagance. It caused countless court officials to kneel in protest at the time, but the Emperor only said that Qi Xiao had been pampered since childhood and could not suffer the slightest grievance.

No matter how much was spent, it was deserved. The Emperor gained a reputation for doting love, but made the world think Qi Xiao was arrogant and unbearable.

Qi Xiao got off the sedan chair. Looking at the four characters personally written by the Emperor on the ceremonial gate, he laughed mockingly and led everyone into the inner courtyard.

Jiang Deqing had been waiting in the residence for a long time. Seeing Qi Xiao return, he hurriedly came out to greet him. Qi Xiao took off the jade pendant from his waist and handed it to him, walking towards the inner chamber while asking, "Did you explain everything clearly?"

Jiang Deqing bowed and followed behind Qi Xiao, quickly responding: "Yes, Your Highness can rest assured."

Jiang Deqing put the jade pendant in a box and put it away properly. Turning around, he helped Qi Xiao take off his robe and said in a low voice, "This servant also inquired about Cen Chaoge. He is the eldest son of Cen Hailu, the Civil Minister of Lingnan. Cen Hailu's wife is the cousin of the Lingnan King's wife. Because of this relationship, the two have been close since childhood. This time when the Crown Prince came to the Imperial City, Cen Hailu ordered Cen Chaoge to escort him all the way. After arriving, he claimed to be the Crown Prince's study companion and didn't return with the Lingnan people."

Qi Xiao narrowed his phoenix eyes slightly and repeated: "Cen Hailu ordered Cen Chaoge to escort him all the way..."

Jiang Deqing paused, handed Qi Xiao's outer robe to a palace servant beside him, and asked hesitantly, "Your Highness... is there anything inappropriate?"

Qi Xiao smiled faintly and shook his head: "No, if it's really as I thought... then things will be much easier to handle."

Jiang Deqing forced a smile: "Your Highness has his own plans in mind that this old servant can't understand... but Your Highness..."

Jiang Deqing waved his hand to dismiss all the palace servants, stepped forward and advised in a low voice, "This servant only wants to advise Your Highness one thing. Although the Crown Prince is just a hostage, his status is special. Even the Emperor treats him with great courtesy, fearing any mishap.

"In the past two years, the southern border has finally become more peaceful. It's really not advisable to stir up trouble. The Crown Prince... does have good looks, but if Your Highness wants good-looking boys, what kind can't this old servant find for you? Why go to such great lengths to get involved with him!

"This old servant has served in the palace for a lifetime and seen several generations of Lingnan Kings. I know well that the people of the Dongling clan are all fierce. Although the Crown Prince is still young, in this old servant's opinion, he is also a stubborn one. If he just refuses to comply and does something like perishing together..."

Qi Xiao raised his eyebrows and smiled: "Then let him perish and show me."

Jiang Deqing didn't expect Qi Xiao to still be like this after his earnest advice. He became even more anxious. He had served Qi Xiao since he was a child and knew his temperament well, but this time he couldn't understand at all. Indeed, Qi Xiao was not a very kind and merciful person. He was more ruthless than lenient in his actions.

But he had always been indifferent to matters of lust and desire. This time, who knows what demon possessed him. He only met that Dongling Bairen a few times and exchanged a handful of words, yet he wanted to take this person in at all costs.

Jiang Deqing wiped the sweat from his forehead. If it were someone else, a few threats and ample rewards to appease them would suffice. But this was the legitimate eldest son of the Lingnan King! How could he be so easily subdued?

Qi Xiao had put in a lot of effort this time, determined to succeed. The more Jiang Deqing thought about it, the more worried he became. He couldn't help asking, "What exactly does Your Highness like about him? Cold as ice, clearly not one to easily submit. Even if you get your hands on him, what's the fun in that? How can it compare to the service of concubines?"

Qi Xiao tidied his sleeves and said after a while, "In your eyes... who does Bairen resemble?"

Jiang Deqing paused. He racked his brains for a long time but couldn't think of who Bairen resembled. His mind was full of doubts. He probed, "Could it be someone Your Highness fancied before?"

If only it were that easy. Who was that person anyway? Surely he couldn't be harder to deal with than Bairen. They could just capture him and save Qi Xiao from being so haunted by him.

Qi Xiao shook his head and chuckled, "He's like me."

Jiang Deqing laughed in disbelief, "How... how is he like Your Highness..."

"He's like me... but much luckier. He still has a mother, a legitimate elder sister, and even a little lovebird by his side. Heh..." Qi Xiao couldn't help but recall that scene in the bamboo grove that night, a cruel smile spilling from the corner of his mouth. "Just for that... am I not allowed to torment him a little?"

Jiang Deqing didn't know what to say. Qi Xiao was always like this, and he didn't dare say anything. He just couldn't understand how the two were alike. Although they were both equally handsome, they were as different as chalk and cheese, not similar at all.

Qi Xiao seemed to sense Jiang Deqing's doubts and explained with a smile, "I was puzzled before too, wondering why I always thought of him after meeting him a few times. At first, I thought I was captivated by his appearance, always feeling like I'd seen him before and wanting to get close to him. Later, I understood that when I looked at him, it was like looking at my past self."

"When I first understood what happened between my father, the Emperor, and my mother, the Empress, there were a few years when I didn't want to say a word. Every day I was in a daze, sometimes wanting to take a dagger and slaughter the Emperor, sometimes wanting to use that dagger to slaughter myself... I even thought about setting a big fire and burning down the entire palace..." Qi Xiao suddenly laughed. "But later I felt it wasn't enough... it would be better to burn down the entire imperial city..."

Jiang Deqing thought of Emperor Wu and Empress Xiaoxian and felt great pity in his heart.

Just as he was about to say a few words of persuasion, Qi Xiao continued, "Later, I realized that I was only ten years old. Forget about the entire imperial city, I couldn't even burn down my own Haiyan Palace. The nannies were watching me all the time, and if there was any movement, they would go report to the Emperor. I resigned myself to enduring it, waiting until I grew up to burn whoever I wanted to burn..."

Qi Xiao's handsome face twisted for a moment, then instantly returned to its usual gentle appearance, with a faint smile. "Later still, I finally understood and stopped trapping myself in a cocoon. I knew what I really wanted... But the impression from those few years before was too deep, and I could still recall it from time to time."

"Of course, Bairen is different from me back then. At that time, I was just a madman. What I mean by similar is the twelve or thirteen-year-old me. At that time, I had a great epiphany and knew that I had to fight and seize what I wanted. But just understanding it in my heart was useless. As the crown prince, I had no power in my hands." Qi Xiao thought of Bairen's eyes filled with unwillingness and smiled. "Just like Bairen now, he has the heart to fight, but lacks the power to do so."

Jiang Deqing suddenly understood and said after a pause, "So Your Highness is confident that the young master will take the bait?"

"He will." Qi Xiao nodded with a gentle smile. "If someone had told me back then that there was a way to bring my mother, the Empress, back to life, let alone this body, even if I had to give my life to him, what would it matter?"

"Bairen will definitely agree."


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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