Chapter 191: Meeting the Emperor (1)
By the time Chu Lian had awkwardly gotten up from the floor with the help of Eunuch Sun, she glanced back and saw that Prince Jin was still standing at the top of the stairs. His azure eyes were definitely pointed in her direction. Strangely, Chu Lian got the feeling that there was a trace of humor in those unusual eyes of his, almost like he was laughing at her.
After she finished straightening out her clothes, Chu Lian stomped her foot in frustration. She didn’t dare to turn back around anymore, afraid that she would fall down again. This time, she obediently followed behind Eunuch Sun, carefully watching her steps.
Prince Jin turned around, and at an angle that Chu Lian couldn’t see, the corners of his lips hooked up into a slight smile.
Now that he had seen more of Chu Lian’s personality, he couldn’t quite believe that she would arrange a secret meeting with Xiao Bojian.
Perhaps his good friend He Sanlang had misunderstood her?
Eunuch Sun brought Chu Lian inside the imperial gardens to Tingyu Pavilion.
He announced, “Your Majesty, Honoured Lady Jinyi has arrived.”
After that report, he retreated to one side, revealing Chu Lian behind him.
Chu Lian lowered her gaze and kneeled down to greet this Chengping Emperor. “Chu Lian pays respects to Your Majesty.”
Suddenly, bell-like laugher rang out. “Your Majesty, this new Honoured Lady Jinyi that you’ve named is quite the well-mannered young lady!”
The Chengping Emperor above her laughed along with her. His voice was low and magnetic, imposing through sound alone. Chu Lian listened as the Chengping Emperor said, “Alright, Imperial Concubine, don’t tease the girl.”
Chu Lian’s head was still lowered, but a glint flashed through her eyes. Imperial Concubine? Imperial Concubine Wei?
Her face contorted into an expression full of suffering. The more she didn’t want it, the more likely it was to happen, wasn’t it? She had gone against Imperial Princess Leyao before. Now the moment she entered the palace, she was faced with Imperial Princess Leyao’s mother, Imperial Concubine Wei? Were the heavens toying with her?
“Rise, and let me take a look at you.”
The Chengping Emperor seemed to be in a good mood today, so his tone was rather carefree.
Chu Lian stood and slowly looked up. She sneaked a glance at the two people seated above her.
The Chengping Emperor was dressed in imperial yellow. Although he was already middle-aged, he hadn’t lost his figure. His eyes were deep and unreadable.
The beautiful woman next to him, dressed in an elaborate purple court dress, looked to be in her twenties. She had a tall and slender figure. Her dress was tied right below her bust, emphasising the fullness of her bosom. She radiated an aura full of pride and strength. Her makeup only added to her charm- with lips painted bright and red, she was just as equally a temptation as she was untouchable by mortal men. This was the Emperor’s most favoured concubine at the moment: Imperial Concubine Wei. The cat-like shape of her eyes made it seem as if she was peering down at Chu Lian from the corner of her eyes.
Chu Lian had only taken a quick peek at these two great personages before looking down again. Since she had moved too quickly, she hadn’t been able to get a clear view of their expressions.
When the Chengping Emperor caught sight of Chu Lian’s face, there was a minute shift in his originally calm expression. The deep pools of his eyes flashed for an instant, quickly masking over the change as if he had never been surprised in the first place.
Imperial Concubine Wei held onto the Chengping Emperor’s toned arm, all smiles. She purposefully rubbed her bosom on his arm, smiling tenderly as she said, “My, my, what a surprise… So fertility isn’t the only virtue of a lady from House Ying. Look at how beautiful she is. The He Family’s Sanlang is a lucky one.”
After saying so, she let out a peal of laughter.
Chu Lian frowned, but kept her head lowered. To a bystander, Imperial Concubine Wei’s words might seem like nothing but a harmless joke.
However, Chu Lian could discern the mockery within her words. As a noble lady, who would want their fertility, a matter that was usually kept quiet, to be taken as their main selling point? If not for House Ying’s declining status, not a single person in this entire capital would dare to mention such a topic in front of a Chu Family lady.
The Chengping Emperor kept his stare on the girl before him. Suddenly, his brows drew together.
“Jinyi, I’ve heard that you know how to make longevity peach buns that are a little different from the norm. They say your longevity peach buns look like real peaches. Since there’s a festival today, why don’t you make a plate to add to the festive spirit?”
Chu Lian hadn’t expected such a request from the Chengping Emperor. However, after thinking about it for a bit, it wasn’t all that strange. On the day she had visited the Dingyuan Estate, that plate of longevity peach buns had given Madam Huang a huge slap on the face and earned the praise of the Old Marquis Dingyuan. It had likely spread to all the social circles of the capital by now.
Chu Lian agreed to the request without any hesitation. When Eunuch Sun heard this, he quickly stepped forward and asked Chu Lian what ingredients she would need.
The Chengping Emperor was momentarily surprised. He hadn’t thought that she would agree so quickly. The people of this era guarded their secret recipes with their lives. Getting a secret recipe was akin to getting a huge fortune.
Making those longevity peach buns right here in Tingyu Pavilion, in front of a crowd, meant that all the servants here would be able to watch. The secret recipe would definitely be exposed. Did she not care about that one bit?
The Chengping Emperor’s impression of this magnanimous girl increased favourably.
If Chu Lian were to find out that the Chengping Emperor had been using that request to test her personality, she would have definitely rolled her eyes. Even longevity peach buns could be deemed a secret recipe? She was lacking in everything right now, and of them all, the biggest was money! But the one thing Chu Lian did actually have was secret recipes.
If the Chengping Emperor wanted ten secret recipes, she could write them all out for him now without even blinking.