After Shao Jing returned to the mansion, he was called over by Old Madam in a hurry.
As soon as he entered her door, Old Madam asked with a livid face, “Do you know how many dowries of Qinghuas have been taken away by your wife”
“Mother, I dont know at all!” Shao Jing said with a frown.
Madam of Duke Xing had been in charge of the affairs in the inner courtyard, and he had never cared about these things in the past.
“She is so bold that she has pocketed more than half of Qinghuas dowries.
Does she really think that all these things belong to her” Old Madam was so angry that she raised her eyebrows.
She knew that Madam of Duke Xing had pocketed some of Qinghuas dowries, and in fact, she herself had pocketed some as well.
Madam of Duke Xing would give a part of the dowries she got from Qinghua to her.
The two knew it tacitly.
Old Madam never asked about it, and Madam of Duke Xing never told her about it either.
Old Madam didnt expect that Madam of Duke Xing would deceive her and pocket more than half of the dowries, even though Madam of Duke Xing was so cautious and respectful at the mention of Ruian Great Elder Princess.
She even hinted that since Ruian Great Elder Princess was still alive, they could only pocket Qinghuas dowries little by little.
Otherwise, if Ruian Great Elder Princess checked Qinghuas dowries someday, she would find about it.
Old Madam didnt expect Madam of Duke Xing to be so bold as to lie to her.
She was so angry that the blue veins on her forehead bulged.
Now, if they didnt give those dowries back, Ruian Great Elder Princess wouldnt let it go easily.
“More than half” Shao Jing also took a deep breath.
He didnt expect his wife to be so bold.
“Did you check what has been pocketed”
“Yes, she pocketed a lot.
I asked her servants about it and they told me that some of the dowries have been given to others as gifts, and some were burned when Huaans courtyard was decorated, and your wife still keeps some in her hands.
I also have some.
She didnt tell me they were Qinghuas dowries when she gave them to me.”
Frowning, Old Madam put all the blame on Madam of Duke Xing.
“Mother, collect all the dowries that are still in our mansion first.
For those missing ones, we can compensate Ruian Great Elder Princess with money.
After so many years, its natural that some dowries have been damaged.
When Qinghua married into the mansion, she also gave some of her dowries to others on her own.
Ruian Great Elder Princess cant put all the blame on us!” Shao Jing said decisively.
Old Madam was very worried.
It seemed that she could only do as her son said.
However, after checking, she found that they couldnt make up for some of the missing ones even if they wanted to.
“Some of Qinghuas dowries are made by the royal palace and are recorded in the album.”
“Well, objects made by the royal palace could be burned.
We could say that when Wanru moved into that courtyard, it had been prepared long ago.
We thought she was the daughter of the Qins Mansion, but it turned out she was not.
Thus, we burned the stuff inside the courtyard.
We could do nothing about it,” Shao Jing thought for a moment and replied.
That courtyard was decorated extremely gorgeously, and his wife had taken him to see it once.
It could be said to be the most gorgeous courtyard in the whole mansion.
After it was burned, his wife felt it was such a pity and even got sick.
Now it was reasonable to say that some of Qinghuas dowries made by the royal palace were burned away there.
When that courtyard was on fire, many people in the capital saw it.
“Then lets do as you say!” The matter gave Old Madam a headache.
She reached out to massage between her eyebrows and continued, “Ill make up for it with something of mine, and I also will return all the things given by your wife.
But there are some things that your wife has to compensate herself.
After all, it was her fault back then.
All of her dowries should be used to compensate them.”
“Mother, we have to consider Ruer and Huaan for this matter!” Shao Jing was not satisfied with his mothers words and reminded her that his wifes things would belong to his children.
“Ruer has entered the imperial palace now, and it seems things wont go well on her side either.
As for Huaan… you can compensate him.
Originally, your wife doesnt have many dowries, and she wanted to give them to Ruer,” Old Madam said with a gloomy face.
She had originally placed all her hopes on Shao Yanru, but now the latter failed her.
Thus, at the mention of Shao Yanru, she was in a bad mood.
The greater her hope was before, the more disappointed she felt now.
“Mother, Ruer may still have a chance.
It doesnt seem to be a bad thing for her to stay at that secluded place,” Shao Jing said implicitly.
“She didnt really get together with His Majesty before!”
“Are you still unwilling to give up” Old Madam stared at Shao Jing in surprise and asked.
Shao Jing stood up and looked at Nanny Yu, the only outsider in the room, cautiously.
Nanny Yu sensibly walked away from behind Old Madam, left the room, closed the door slightly, and guarded it for them outside the door.
As they were talking in a low voice, she could not hear them clearly though she was at the door.
She could only hear that the duke was talking to Old Madam.
Nanny Yu sighed in her heart.
In fact, she had wanted to leave the room a long time ago.
She didnt want to know what Old Madam and the Duke talked about at all.
If it were an ordinary secret, Old Madam would not hide it from her, but what they were talking about now was obviously very important.
Thus, the Duke did not want others to hear it.
Even though she was Old Madams trusted maid, he still wanted to hide it from her, judging from the cold glance he cast her.
This reminded Nanny Yu of the last time when the duke showed such an expression as he talked with Old Madam in the room; it had been more than ten years.
Not long after that talk, there came the news that the heir of Duke Xings Mansion had an accident.
When Infanta Qinghua came back, she was almost crazy.
Thinking of this, Nanny Yu felt a chill in her heart and hurriedly walked a few steps away to ensure that she could not hear the conversation in the room.
She was just a servant, even though she was favored by Old Madam.
As a servant, she shouldnt know too much about her masters secret.
In the room, Shao Jing approached Old Madam and whispered in her ear, “Mother, since there is nothing going on between Ruer and His Majesty, there may be an opportunity for her in the future!”
What he meant was clearer than before.
Old Madam was stunned by the words and looked at him in astonishment.
Her lips immediately trembled.
If such words were to spread out, it would bring disaster to the entire Duke Xings Mansion.
“What are you talking about” Old Madam calmed down and scolded.
“Mother, Im not talking nonsense.
Think about it, both Prince Zhou and Prince Yue are nice to Ruer.
Although they felt unpleasant about something that happened before, they would let it go after some time.
The more miserable Ruer is now in the palace, the more they would care about her.
In the future, no matter who Ruer will marry, he will have more sympathy for her.”
Shao Jings bold idea made Old Madam tremble all over.
She said in a trembling voice, “My son, your… words would get you beheaded!”
“Mother, Im just talking about it with you in private,” Shao Jing said disapprovingly.
“You spent a lot of time and energy raising and teaching Ruer, we cant give up on her so easily.
I have already had a plan.
As long as she behaves herself when she stays in the palace, she still has a chance!”
Shao Jing didnt tell anyone about the matter related to Prince Cheng, including Old Madam.
As for what to do next, he would send someone to discuss with Shao Yanru in secret.
He wouldnt give up on her anyway.
Except for her, he didnt have any other good candidate.
“But she is His Majestys concubine!” Old Madam replied in a low voice.
She was so shocked that her face turned pale.
Despite that, she was kind of convinced by Shao Jings words.
She brought up Shao Yanru personally and had high hopes for her.
She wished that she could become the queen, but now, it seemed impossible, and it made her feel heartbroken.
“Mother, dont worry about it.
As long as the future emperor likes Ruer and Ruer is still a virgin, then there is no need to worry about anything else.
Ruer has always been smart.
She knows what to ask for by then.
Even if the future emperor couldnt give her a title, she can still enter the palace with another identity.
It is also possible for her to enter the palace as the daughter of the branch family of our mansion!”
Shao Jing was quick-witted enough to come up with an idea.
However, this idea was too bold.
Not only did he plot against the current emperor, but he also plotted against the future emperor.
Old Madam lost her composure, and her cheeks trembled as she said, “Do… do you think its possible”
In fact, Old Madam was tempted by the idea.
If Shao Yanru married the future emperor as the daughter of a branch family of Duke Xings Mansion, she could still use the surname Shao.
Even if people found that she, with a new identity, looked like Shao Yanru, it wouldnt matter.
People wouldnt see her often as she was in the Cold Palace, and after some years, they would be unfamiliar with her.
By then, she could tell a lie that she was Shao Yanrus cousin and dress in a totally different style.
In this way, people would no longer suspect that she was Shao Yanru.
Moreover, with the protection of the future emperor, she would be fine.
“Of course, its possible.
Mother, dont worry.
Prince Yue and Prince Zhou are still very polite to me now.
They should have thought of this,” Shao Jing said confidently.
“Okay… Well do as you say, but you have to be careful now!” Old Madam was still a little worried and said.
“Mother, dont worry.
I will be careful.
I will find a way to send a message to Ruer and ask her to behave herself in the palace and not to show herself in front of His Majesty.
Its not bad for her to be a Secondary Consort with the lowest status.
She wouldnt be eye-catching or hateful.
People would only feel pity and sympathy for her.
No matter how angry they were with her, they wont go hard on her,” Shao Jing said.
The reason why he was so confident was that Shao Yanru had given him the message before.
She repeatedly indicated that Prince Yue and Prince Zhou were loyal to her and wanted to marry her.
Back when Prince Zhou and Prince Yue fought with each other, they both looked grave whenever they saw Shao Jing and their attitudes toward him were no longer as warm as before.
After that, Shao Yanru stayed in the palace, and these two princes ignored her, which caused Shao Jing to have a hard time in the imperial court.
Fortunately, the two princes changed their attitudes these days and had a warm attitude toward him again.
“It seems that they had gotten over it,” Shao Jing thought happily.
As the saying goes, it is upon bad fortune that good fortune leans, and upon good fortune that bad fortune rests.
After figuring this out, Shao Jing was not as depressed as before, but he pretended to look worried in front of others and waited for his opportunity to come.
After discussing with Old Madam, Shao Jing decided that he would continue to keep an eye on Shao Yanrus affairs and try to send a message to her, while Old Madam was responsible for dealing with Ruian Great Elder Princess, settling the dowry matter by making up for the missing ones or finding a good excuse.
Three days passed quickly.
Early in the morning, Ruian Great Elder Princess entered Duke Xings Mansion and met Old Madam, who seemed to be much calmer than before.
Ruian Great Elder Princess thought she would win, with her granddaughters advice.
Old Madam thought she would win as well since she had gotten a piece of advice from his son.
They both took a sip of tea calmly and smiled coldly at each other.
Then, they put down their cups together.
They both had a good plan against each other.
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