# 131. Rich Overnight Jingxiu Palace! Stepping on the soft grass with her exquisitely embroidered shoes, Princess Lin'an entered the Jingxiu Palace holding her brother, the crown prince's arm. The room was as warm as spring, the floor heating dispelling the frigidity of December. The luxuriously dressed Noble Consort was sitting at the table, waiting for her son and daughter with a sumptuous meal, a smile covering her face. Noble Consort Chen was in her early forties. Although she had already passed a woman's prime years, She was at the most full and plump age as a woman. Her skin was still delicate, and her eyes still rippled with watery light. Her well-maintained figure hadn't gone out of shape. The years seemed to have precipitated a mature charm on her body. Leaving aside the devastatingly beautiful empress, Noble Consort Chen was the most beautiful among the numerous beauties in the harem. Therefore, Among the four princesses, only Lin'an could be compared with the eldest princess... no, contend with her. "It's too hot. Have the servants outside burn less charcoal." The energetic princess Lin'an frowned. She usually only needed a small charcoal fire. She found the floor heating too hot, as if she was in a steamer. Noble Consort Chen, wearing a gentle smile, immediately ordered, "As Princess Lin'an said. Lower the Charcoal fire." Lin'an happily threw herself into her mother's arms. Smiling like a little girl, she said, "Mother, I'll be sleeping here tonight. Can I sleep with you?" Noble Consort Chen nodded with a gentle smile. Although this was against the rules, as any concubine may serve the emperor at night, but because Emperor Yuanjing had been practicing Dao throughout the years, he had always abstained from females, causing many rules in the harem to become mere decorations. If the Emperor cared about women, the rules would be strict. But, the emperor didn't care for the beauties in his harem anymore. So, as long as they didn't break any basic principles, they could do as they pleased. If the basic principles were broken... hehehe. Whatever state Emperor Yuanjing's harem was in, It was at the very least harmonious, since the concubines couldn't fight even if they wanted to. The crown prince accompanied his mother in her daily chores, while Princess Lin'an chirped in from the sidelines. "Today, the spirit dragon suddenly went berserk and almost hurt Lin'an. Father Emperor and his guards were almost unable to rescue her in time." The crown prince mentioned what had happened in the afternoon. The typically calm Noble Consort turned pale with fright, hurriedly took Princess Lin'an's hand, and looked at it with fear "Are you injured anywhere? Let Mother take a look." The second princess was a girl who liked to be spoiled, so she took advantage of the situation to make a pitiful expression "Daughter could almost not see mother today." The Noble Consort was scared, and said in anger, "What are those guards doing? They couldn't even tame a beast. My child nearly got injured." After she lost her temper, she held Princess Lin'an's hands, "What happened later? Did the crown prince save you?" The status of the crown prince was completely different from that of the other princes. Except for the queen, the other concubines in the harem must call him "crown prince", and couldn't refer to him as "son" or "Emperor's child". Lin'an scrunched up her nose, and complained, "Big brother Crown Prince doesn't have such ability. Every time Huaiqing bullies me, he just speaks but doesn't help me defeat Huaiqing." The crown prince smiled wryly and shook his head. As the noble consort got more curious, she glanced at the crown prince, then held her daughter's hands, saying, "Can you tell me about it?" Lin'an's charming eyes that looked like a peach blossom suddenly bloomed, "I had taken in a small bronze gong today... Well, the day before yesterday. I had brought him along today, and he was the one who saved me during the accident." "Bronze Gong..." Noble Consort Chen frowned, "From the Nightwatchers?" "Yeah." Lin'an said, "I know mother concubine doesn't like Nightwatchers, as they are Wei Yuan's people. But he's mine." Noble Consort Chen smiled, and nodded, "Did His Majesty give any rewards?" "Of course he did." the crown prince replied. "I also have to send some rewards, then." Noble Consort Chen solemnly said, "I will have someone pick up some jewellery and send them over later." The recipient of the Noble Consort's reward, of course, couldn't be the courtier, but would be the female relatives in the courtier's family. Hearing it all, the crown prince suddenly frowned, "When did Xu Qi'an become yours, then?" Princess Lin'an immediately raised her chin as white as snow, and said proudly, "I snatched him over from Huaiqing." "Does Huaiqing know?" "She knows." "And she didn't teach you a lesson." "If she dares to teach me a lesson... I'll take Xu Qi'an to see her, so I can be protected from her and annoy her at the same time." Speaking this, Princess Lin'an praised her wit. ... In December, the sky turned dark at the drop of a hat. When setting off from the Constabulary, The sun was still hanging in the western sky, stubbornly dyeing the clouds in its colours. When he arrived at the Xu Mansion, the sky was completely dark, and lanterns were lit up, reflecting the pedestrians running late, garrets, and tiled houses in the vicinity. The dark sky, the bamboo lanterns, and the antique buildings... Every time he saw this scene, Xu Qi'an chided himself for not learning to draw. At that time, the gate of the Xu Mansion had been closed as the gatekeeper, Old Zhang, knew that Dalang never went in through the gate. So, When Xu Qi'an knocked on the door, Old Zhang was surprised. "Call out the servants in the mansion. We have to move some things." Xu Qi'an ordered. *Move Things?* Old Zhang glanced over Xu Dalang's shoulder, and found the three carriages with him, along with the Nightwatchers traveling with him. ... In the front hall, the family of four was having their dinner. Xu Lingyue hadn't waited for her elder brother to have dinner today. Thinking of him, she lowered her head and said, "Big brother hasn't been home for dinner for many days by now." As the candle flickered, Her long eyelashes caught their light, making her sharp oval face glow with a lustre like warm jade. Considering her fair and beautiful oval face and her fresh and pure style, she would become a school belle conforming to the public aesthetics by simply wearing a sailor suit. Um, An mixed-race school belle at that. Xu Lingyue's face was more three-dimensional and deeper than other girls. "I'll leave some food for big brother to eat." Xu Lingyin and her sisters were on opposite sides of the spectrum in terms of their thoughts about Xu Qi'an. She believed that no one at home would compete with her for food if her big brother was away. As she held chopsticks in her stubby little hands, they flew all over the table, as if she was gifted by heaven. "Is it time for you to receive your salary in a few days?" Auntie looked over to Second Uncle, in a questioning tone. Second Uncle Xu bowed his head to continue eating, "En." In fact, he had already overdrawn his salary for the month. As the end of the year approached, Entertainment with colleagues and gifting colleagues all consumed silver. *... Anyway, Ningyan hasn't married a wife yet. Let's borrow his salary to deal with this first.* Second Uncle Xu silently said to himself. "We don't have enough money to make clothes for Lingyue, Lingyin, Dalang, and Erlang at the end of the year." Auntie sighed. The family still had some savings of dozens of taels of silver last month, before they went to Cloud Deer Academy. But, when they had come back, the savings were empty... Auntie wished to tear Second Uncle a new one on the spot, asking if he had been fooling around. But, Xu Dalang and Xu Erlang guaranteed personally that the money was used to form relationships and do business, and was definitely not used for fooling around. Auntie believed them. *Although Xu Dalang was annoying, he had a stubborn personality and never lied. Xu Erlang was a scholar, living a strict life since childhood, and was quite sensible.* "It's just a matter of a few taels of silver." Second Uncle Xu didn't care about it. Auntie glanced at him, "I want to purchase a bolt of brocade." Second Uncle Xu raised his head, surprised. He didn't think that the family's current financial situation could afford one or two bolts of brocade. Auntie counted the state for him, saying that Erlang would be taking the Spring Examination soon, if he wins, his status would be different, making it inappropriate for him to wear his previous robes. Lingyue had reached marriageable age. So, the dresses in her closet should be refurbished. Second Uncle Xu listened to her absent-mindedly, humming perfunctory yeses from time to time. Bang! Auntie hit the table with chopsticks, drawing everyone's attention. Auntie picked up the chopsticks again, holding a stiff expression, "Eat." Second Uncle Xu helplessly said, "During the Silver Tax case, Our home was emptied. I had to borrow from my colleagues for the rice and noodles in the first month. Let's wait until next year. I'll buy them next year." Auntie bowed her head, not showing her reddened eye sockets. "Careful, Careful... Don't touch the wall. If anything gets dirty, don't believe this old man won't hit you." The gatekeeper Old Zhang’s scolding sound sounded in the front hall. Second Uncle frowned and looked in a bad mood, The servants of the mansion were coming in cautiously under the command of gatekeeper Old Zhang, carrying bundles of silk. Auntie opened her orchid-like big eyes, watching the bright and beautiful silk bolts moving in disbelief. "So beautiful..." Xu Lingyue exclaimed. Lyu'e also widened her eyes as she drooled with desire. Only Xu Lingyin still remained faithful to her food, her cheeks bulging as her face remained buried in the bowl. "Where did you get these?" Second Uncle Xu asked blankly. The gatekeeper Old Zhang unfolded a piece of coarse cloth, spread it on the ground, and directed the servants to put down the silk. While doing so, he replied, "Dalang brought this back. He says these were given to him by His Majesty." *Given by His Majesty?* Second Uncle Xu's first reaction was to believe that the Sangpo case had been solved. As an Imperial Guard, he was on duty in the outer city on weekdays, and he didn't know what happened in the inner city. The Sangpo case caused a lot of trouble in the inner city, but people with insufficient status couldn't get access to relevant information. Thinking of his stagnancy in the Refining Qi realm for nearly twenty years, Second Uncle felt gloomy. But soon, his gloominess was washed away by joy, "Where's Ningyan?" "He's outside the door. His Majesty had rewarded a total of 500 bolts of silk." The gatekeeper Old Zhang happily replied. "Pata!" The chopsticks in Auntie's hands fell to the table.