Chapter 158: The Female Lead Enters the Prince Li Manor
The two dowager consorts in the palace were particularly affected. Even though they'd been going head to head with the dowager empress her entire life, all those remaining in the world of living were those who sided with the right party at the right time. They were all part of the dowager empress' faction. The two women naturally wouldn't feel well after her sudden death. Hence, they too were constantly depressed in the past few days, unable to ease the stuffiness in their chest. However, ever since they moved two potted plants from Bai Xiangxiu's residence to their own, the two women would feel much better upon inhaling but a mere whiff of the plants' scent.
At first, they didn't think that the positive change in their mood had anything to do with those plants. But, when they simply threw the plants to a side upon returning to the palace, they would feel unbearably depressed before too long. At that moment, the fragrant scent drifting through the room from the plant would breathe new life into them. When the dowager consorts ordered their servants to bring the plant over to them, sure enough, their moods would lift.
The two dowager consorts met to discuss this matter and came to the conclusion that this virtuous act was actually the old madame's doing. They felt that she was really the dowager empress' close confidante and truly understood the depths of their hearts' distress. Hence, the two dowager consorts chose a valuable item as a gift in return for the old madame's kindness, startling the recipient.
All the return gifts should've already been received that day, and most of the gifts should've been small items, no? Why was there another return gift? Moreover, one that was quite valuable too. She guessed that the two dowager consorts wanted to look to the Prince Li Manor for support. But that didn't make sense. Long Heng wasn't a prince of the royal blood, and they themselves were part of the dowager empress faction as well. Now that she was gone, shouldn't the imperial consorts be looking for support from the empress' faction?
It wasn't until she asked the palace maids that she learned of everything that had happened. Unexpectedly, this series of events had been thanks to nèe Bai, and now they'd made the good acquaintance of two dowager consorts. One of them was Prince Rong's birth mother, so it wasn't as if she was completely without power. Who would've thought that nèe Bai would be such a harbinger of good luck? However, she was a bit stubborn to go to these lengths when she was indisposed.
The old madame was quite touched after receiving the gift and the shower of compliments that accompanied them. Nèe Bai hadn't even sought the limelight after doing all this and given all the credit to the old madame. Someone who was such a role model for good behavior were few and far in between. And so, Bai Xiangxiu began to quickly rise in the old madame's esteem. The old madame picked a few presents to send over to Bai Xiangxiu, but the servants who came back said that the madame had slept for half the afternoon and had no intention of getting up.
The old madame took it as a sign of her tiredness and didn't have anyone wake her. The old madame also gave orders to the kitchen to make nutritious supplements to present to Bai Xiangxiu as soon as she woke up that night. As a result, she almost got a nosebleed from consuming it all. She was only tired and didn't need such enormous supplements! This lifestyle would surely be the end of her.
Xiaoshi and the others, who didn't know the truth, only thought their mistress really was pregnant and was on tenterhooks around her. Ye-mama in particular would start giving her pregnancy tips at random intervals. For Bai Xiangxiu, it was the height of awkwardness. Sadly, Long Heng wasn't back yet, so she could only endure it silently.
However, Long Heng was also depressed when he came back. As he entered Apricot Garden, Ye-mama carefully poured him a cup of water. "Your Highness, Madame Xiu has already slept. Would you like to rest in your own residence?"
"There's no need to do so." Which courtyard didn't belong to him? Did he need to justify where he wanted to sleep?
However, Ye-mama frowned in response, saying, "But, Madame Xiu's body is not in the best of conditions right now. Your Highness, why don't you go to the two other residences first..." and relieve yourself with other women? However, who knew that her master would viciously glare at her before she could even finish her sentence? She couldn't muster the will to say another word for a very long time. Her whole body had turned so rigid from terror that it was about to turn into a block of ice.
"Since when did servants start giving orders to their masters in this household? You deserve to be punished." Long Heng didn't say anything else, but that was enough for Ye-mama to go outside and slap herself a dozen times. It was apparent that she'd forgotten her place lately. She could only blame it on Long Heng acting like a young kid completely in love in recent days. Even those next to her had felt the warmth radiate from him.
However, thinking clearly, he was only ever tender to the one lying in bed. That had nothing to do with them. Unknowingly, she had become too proud in this matter first. She'd thought that because of her mistress, she could lift her head and speak boldly to the prince. This was why she'd ended up where she had today.
As for Bai Xiangxiu, she had no idea any of this was happening. She, in fact, was sleeping like a log. Why do we say this? That would be because because she'd almost kicked off all of her covers and wasn't wearing her clothes properly either. She was revealing everything she should and shouldn't reveal.
When Long Heng walked into her room and was greeted by this scene, that body of his that'd wanted to just take a break began to stir. What was wrong with him? Why did his body always act up when he saw her? He coughed lightly and understood that it really wasn't the appropriate timing for doing any funny business. He got ready for bed and pulled the covers solidly around her, holding her tightly and only falling asleep after a thorough cuddle.
When Bai Xiangxiu awoke the next day, she felt that she had had an extremely poor night of sleep. There seemed to be a mountain lying right on top of her, and she couldn't turn around no matter how she struggled. By dint of sheer effort, she managed to slightly wriggle around, but then froze. Something's wrong! This position was quite ambiguous, and it was obvious that a certain man was trying to do something to her from behind. It was definitely something untoward, and she was in quite a precarious position already.
She knew who this man was and absolutely wanted to avoid him. But at the same time, she couldn't do so. Firstly, she was only half conscious after waking up, and secondly, the other party seemed to have waited half a day for her to wake up. "... Ah... You... are so bad so early in the morning!"
"There's a good girl. You only have to bear with it for a moment. This prince has been holding myself back for the entire night already."
"..." Was there a need to be so energetic? Was this kind of thing so good that he couldn't do without it? Reality proved that it was really that good for Long Heng. As a matter of fact, he seemed to be nearing the point of insanity.
As a result of that, Bai Xiangxiu didn't get up first thing in the morning. She only ran to the toilet and then continued sleeping. In the end, she'd barely slept for an hour before someone woke her up. They informed her that the old madame was receiving an honored guest and wanted her to make arrangements for said guest.
Bai Xiangxiu got dressed and asked Xiaoshi out of curiousity, "Where's the prince?"
"The prince has left the manor, but he mentioned that he wanted to return and have lunch with you." Xiaoshi smiled as she spoke. The prince really treated her mistress very well. That thought soon flew straight out of her mind when she learned who the guest was. It was none other than the fabled future mistress of the household, Lin Qianzi!
Bai Xiangxiu was also at a loss and starting to panic. Why had the old madame asked her to entertain that woman? However, the mama that the old madame had sent seemed to anticipate Bai Xiangxiu's reaction. "Madame Xiu, Miss Lin is here to fulfill her filial duty to Old Madame, but the old madame needs peace and quiet at the moment, and so has asked you to arrange living quarters for her."
Bai Xiangxiu understood the meaning behind her words. This old madame was handing this enormous inconvenience over to her on purpose, putting Bai Xiangxiu in a bit of a difficult position. Miss Lin was supposed to live in Apricot Garden, but now that Bai Xiangxiu had moved in, she didn't want to leave. The old madame probably wanted to test her resolve, but Bai Xiangxiu really didn't want to leave. Hence, she smiled and said, "How considerate of Miss Lin."