Chapter 290, Entering the Heavenly Hall
“Empress, please change and enter the Heavenly Hall.”
“The emperor is waiting for the empress in the palace.”
“Empress, this way please.”
“Empress, please do place the princess down first.”
Bai Xiangxiu was feeling very dizzy. They were calling her daughter the princess, so she had sort of figured things out. She’d have thought the emperor had gone crazy cooped up in the palace to start suddenly calling her empress, but now it seems Long Heng was the one who’d taken his marbles and tossed them out the window!
He, he he, he actually became the emperor? How was this possible? What happened to the border vacation? What happened to the long-distance family trip!? After she was politely but forcefully dressed, the palace eunuchs and maids outside started making lots of noise, setting out for a return journey to the palace. Goodness, she was still a little unaccustomed to this sudden jump in status to the most noble woman of the entire dynasty.
When the mass of people entered the palace and then the Heavenly Hall, there was indeed someone already waiting. That someone was Long Heng, similarly garbed in brilliant gold. She had never thought Long Heng would look so dashing in dragon robes. His aloofness and personal aura made him appear as even more of an emperor than the two emperors that had held that seat. Okay, so this is the legendary natural emperor destiny, right?
Just as the daydreaming Bai Xiangxiu was about to fall to her knees, she suddenly hesitated. Was she really going to leave him? As the emperor, he would choose a beauty every three years. That meant that the palace would soon fill with countless beauties.
Long Heng was already walking over to hold her hand. But at the same moment Bai Xiangxiu hesitated, his heart involuntarily trembled. He felt as though Bai Xiangxiu had made a frightening decision in her mind. They had been wedded for so long, how would he mistake that resolution in her eyes? “We are a wedded couple, you need not kneel.”
A eunuch on the side murmured to him, “Your Majesty, etiquette must not be discarded.”
Long Heng turned to look at the eunuch. “Oh? Why don’t you become the emperor then?”
The eunuch was frightened out of his wits and immediately dropped to his knees “This servant dares not, this servant dares not.”
“Take him away for punishment.” Long Heng was completely different from the previous two emperors. He was dominant and decisive, bold and astute in word and action. He neither bothered with empty formalities nor gave other people face. He had been, after all, pushed to do something beyond his ability. The palace eunuchs could only imagine that everyone desired to become emperor. And seeing how he was newly appointed and seemingly ignorant, they’d taken it upon themselves to teach him the rules.
After the eunuch had been hauled away, Long Heng pulled Bai Xiangxiu up and said to everyone, “Rules are made by people, but those people are not you. Do not try in vain to impose rule on this Pr... Us. You still lack the ability to do so.”
Indeed, it seemed like the people in the palace viewed themselves as seniors, ill-treating their masters. Hence, after Prince Rong and his princess consort had arrived in the palace, they’d spoken at length of traditions, regulations and rule, including arranging beautiful concubines for him to visit.
They were the rules of the reckless late emperor in begin with, why must he obey them? What possible disarray could the nation befall if the rules weren’t obeyed? Prince Rong had done his best to follow these so called rules, and the nation had still turned out a mess.
“All of you are servants of the empress and me. Therefore, do what a servant should do. The empress will be the one taking charge of the imperial harem in the future. Anyone dares disrespect her will, without exception, meet with death. Anyone who dares deceive superiors and bully subordinates will meet with death. Anyone who dares send women into my residence will meet, with absolutely no exceptions, death.”
Ah? Death even for that? Bai Xiangxiu blinked her eyes as she raised her head. When she met his eyes, a smile tilted her lips. It was a smile that lit up the room, bringing her gorgeous visage to another level . Having just passed her first month after childbirth, she appeared all the more mature. It was safe to say that that smile could utterly vanquish any competition the women in the imperial harem had to offer.
“A large part of the harem of the late emperor, the now Prince Rong, was messy due to you servants. In order to handle the affairs of the nation with peace of mind, I will set an example and not fall prey to the charms of females, thus ensuring the nation’s future in the days to come. Rise, and return to your chores. The ceremony will be held tomorrow.” Long Heng’s words were first the very picture of his natural dominance, but soon rang with the righteous reason of the good of the nation.
Bai Xiangxiu glared at him, speechless. He sure was gaining more and more of an emperor’s grandeur by the minute, huh? How had she let that slip past her? No, truthfully, she’d noticed it a long time ago, right? Long Heng’s bearing, even compared to late emperor, or even his predecessor, had always been unparalleled. A simple glance had always been more than enough to pick him out from a crowd of a million.
Now that she gave it some thought, none of this had ever happened in the story. So, did that mean the female had actually become the empress in the end? And by extension, she herself had stolen this oft-desired position right now?
Despite Bai Xiangxiu observing ten seconds of silence in remembrance of the female lead, she had absolutely no regret, nor was she apologetic, about snatching this seat from her. She’d birthed three children for him, she’d taken care of his family, and she’d gone to war with him. She’d put in so much, so she had every right to enjoy the fruits of her labor.
Pulled along by Long Heng, she did appear to have some of the regalness an empress ought to have. As she walked with her shoulders back and head up, Long Heng asked softly, “Thinking of escaping just now, hmm?”
“How did you know?” Bai Xiangxiu was shocked. Had she accidentally voiced her inner thoughts?
“Just wait till I sort you out tonight!”
“There are so many people around!”
“Would they dare eavesdrop on us?”
“That, they wouldn’t.”
With that eunuch as an example of what would happen if anyone else had rules for him, there was not a single person who dared breathe the word “rules” around the emperor. And just like that, the dizzyingly beautiful couple spent their first night in the Heavenly Hall. Of course, what happened that night remained something kept between only them.
The crowning ceremony was held the next day. Even though Bai Xiangxiu and Long Heng hadn’t ever held a proper wedding ceremony, they more than made up for it this time. It could be said that this ceremony was the grandest wedding ceremony yet.
She was so exhausted she could barely hold herself up straight, but she still had to assume a posture regal enough to be an empress. She couldn’t help it, she had to make up for a lack of high birth with her body language. Long Heng was very considerate towards her through the entire thing. Despite having a lot of matters to deal with on his side, he helped her by holding her hand throughout the ceremony, and that saved her quite a bit of energy.
Unbeknownst to them, this caused a shift in the previous stern image of Prince Li. They all felt that he was a loyal man who’d repaid his princess consort’s devotion towards him with the position of empress, and treated her with all deference. What they hadn’t considered was that Long Heng had lacked any choice to begin with. He only had this one wife, and she’d borne all his children. Therefore, there was no quibble about confirming her as the empress. There hadn’t been any of the public’s assumptions of consideration, granting of a favor, giving face, or anything of the like!
After the ceremony, the dowager empress and the two princes and princess were invited to the imperial harem, and Long Lin was immediately confirmed as the crown prince. There were still some officials that supported the former imperial faction and believed that Long Heng, after finishing his job as an emperor, should return the seat to members of the former imperial family.
Long Heng’s response was a cold smile, “Are you playing me for a fool? Why don’t you become the emperor, and then return the seat to the late emperor’s offspring after all the work is done?”
Who would be stupid enough to give up the emperor’s seat to someone else’s kid after painstakingly rebuilding the country from scratch? Especially since Long Heng hadn’t wanted to become the emperor, he was on the lookout for a channel to vent his ill humor about the whole affair.
The officials unanimously decided to keep their laments to themselves after seeing the reaction to a simple suggestion. They sure weren’t about to offer themselves as his replacement. The military troops stationed at the borders weren’t just for decorative purposes.
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