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Chapter 143 Miserable princesses
Qiu Yelan was convinced that although she did not know who Kuang Qingwu was, Jiang Yashuang must do.
Surely enough, after Su He informed Jiang Yashuang, he came into the room through the window, which demonstrated that he did it frequently. Qiu Yelan, who was waiting for him urgently, had dismissed her maids already. They flirted with each other for minutes as usual. Finally, Qiu Yelan pinched his arm and said, “To be serious. Who is Kuang Qingwu? Why did he make trouble for my brother? I thought that the Kuang Family owes for the Ruan Family.”
Jiang Yashuang did not hasten to answer her. Instead, he pointed the empty teacup on the table. Qiu Yelan immediately served him tea. He picked the cup up and sipped. Then he said with satisfaction, “There is an old saying, ‘If someone else is in distress and you give them little help, he will be grateful. However, if too much help is given and it creates dependency, once the help is stopped, it will cause people to hate it.' That is how the Kuang Family thinks about the Ruan Family.”
“They should not do that to us.” Qiu Yelan said. She felt unworthy of General Ruan as she was thinking about it. “I am wondering how this man oversees the Western Army. He was so mean to his leader who even cultivated him. Are his followers afraid of being sold out by him?”
Jiang Yashuang paused for a while. Then he said, “I should make it clear last time. The thing is not like it looked. General Ruan's favor to Kuang Shihan was not as simple as cultivating him!” Last time, they talked briefly about Kuang Shihan before changing the topic to the enormous property that disappeared in the Prince's Mansion of Xihe. Then they fought for nothing. As a result, they had no chance to finish their talk.
Thus, Qiu Yelan did not fully understand what's going on between General Ruan and Kuang Shihan in the past. To dispel her doubt, Jiang Yashuang explained, “Kuang Shihan's father was a colleague of General Ruan in the army. But he died in a battle when Kuang Shihan was six years old. The Kuang Family was not a wealthy one, indeed. Although Kuang Shihan's father fought to death in a battle, he had already been an influential figure in the army. The property he made in his life, combined with the government pensions, could ensure his wealth and prosperous life anyway…”
“Unfortunately, after one year of his father's death, his mother, who took all money, ran away with someone else, leaving him untended. Since then, she had disappeared in the world. His uncles counted the rest of the property and they realized the rest was not enough to raise him. They even had to pay more for raising him. So, they abandoned him too. Fortunately to him, General Ruan accepted him and raised him as his son!”
Qiu Yelan was shocked, “This was a big favor to him. Why did he want to kill all members of the Ruan Family?”
She always thought that she was the most shameless person. But now, she knew that many were more brazen than her! If you really asked her to sell Ruan Qingyan, Su He or Mrs. Zhou, she certainly could not make her mind, let alone the favor General Ruan did to Kuang Shihan!
“He was brutal. He is an animal!” sighed Qiu Yelan. The more Qiu Yelan thinking about him, the more she hated him.
Obviously, Jiang Yashuang disliked Kuang Shihan very much, “Most of the Generals in the Western Army have a big picture in their minds. That year, General Ruan was framed and then defeated by the western savages. Thus, he was guarded back to the capital for trial. At that time, your father died in a battle. The only man who could oversee the Western Army was Kuang Shihan. The western savages might invade Darui if it were not Kuang Shihan as the leader of the army. My grandfather told me that at that time, many Generals in the Western Army were reluctant to follow Kuang Shihan's command, but they had to… After Kuang Shihan knew what they thought, he sent them to the most dangerous fronts…”
He smiled disdainfully, “That's why I said before that Kuang Shihan and Empress Dowager Gu did not trust the Western Army fully. Kuang Shihan wantonly murdered those who sympathized with General Ruan in order to seize power as soon as possible. Since then, many generals had become his followers for surviving. We can't tell who was sincere to him and who was not. Everybody wants to survive. It's normal.”
“… My poor grandfather had a wolf in his team!” sighed Qiu Yelan. “You mean Kuang Shihan intended to eliminate the Ruan Family to appease his ruthless heart?”
Speaking of this, she demonstrated a cold tone.
Jiang Yashuang said, “To kill members? I don't think he could do it. Ruan Qingyan is also a wolf, but he was a kind one. Normally, he will not give him the chance to kill more members! I guess Kuang Shihan planned to ruin his political career. After all, he is in a weak position. Even Ruan Qingyan is a civil official and he will not seize power in the Western Army. However, he knows that he did too many bad deeds in the past to General Ruan. He must feel terrible when he thinks there is an official in the government who comes from the Ruan Family.”
Qiu Yelan smiled coldly, “He did so many bad deeds in the past. Does he want peace in mind? He will be peaceful until the day when he dies!”
“Kill him if we have a chance!” said Jiang Yashuang with a smile. “But he is a tough man now. Not easy to deal with.”
“So… You mean you will watch my brother and Kuang Shihan fight and do nothing?” asked Qiu Yelan, rolling her eyes.
Jiang Yashuang certainly would not let the opportunity slip away from him to court her. Although yesterday, he thought that it would be better if Ruan Qingyan left the capital and hid somewhere else to avoid fighting directly with Kuang Qingwu. But he had to demonstrate his resolve in front of Qiu Yelan. He said firmly, “How is that possible? I work in the Directorate of Education. If Kuang Qingwu became one of us, I would teach him how to be a man each day. He would be busy in that and leave Ruan Qingyan alone to do his mourning.”
“It's said that he planned to come to the capital secretly… And he will go to the Directorate of Education after dealing with my brother.” said Qiu Yelan. Apparently, she was not satisfied with what he said.
Jiang Yashuang smiled when he heard it. “Who told you this message? Kuang Qingwu can come secretly only if all members in the Kuang Family are dumba.s.s. Let me tell you something. It might be G.o.d who also wants to punish Kuang Shihan as he did too many bad things in the past. Although he has many wives and concubines, he has few children. Kuang Qingwu is his only son. If he was killed on the way to the capital because he moves secretly… do you think Kuang Shihan could take it?”
Qiu Yelan got the implications from his words: If Kuang Qingwu dared to come to the capital secretly, the Jiang Family would kill him quietly!
“I think Yang deceived me!” she pursed. She was about to go on when another thing suddenly occurred to her. “How old is Kuang Qingwu?” asked she.
Jiang Yashuang answered dismissively, “Older than me… He must be over twenty but under thirty.”
“So, he is the son of Xingkang Grand Princess?” Qiu Yelan asked shockingly, “I remember that Xingkang Grand Princess is the former emperor's daughter. She was seventeen years old when she married Kuang Shihan. It was fifteen or sixteen years ago, at most.”
“Of course not.” Jiang Yashuang replied. “Kuang Shihan is much older than Xingkang Grand Princess. Kuang Qingwu has been born when she married Kuang Shihan. At that time, Kuang Shihan did not have a wife. He sent his son somewhere. He even did not give his son a family name at that time. Then Kuang Shihan married Xingkang Grand Princess and got concubines then. But he did not have children. Thus, he fetched Kuang Qingwu from the foster family. For this reason, Kuang Qingwu has been angry at Kuang Shihan.”
Qiu Yelan grunted, “Kuang Shihan can mistreat his benefactor. It's not weird he treated his son like that.”
Qiu Yelan couldn't help snorting when she thought that what Empress Dowager Gu did caused all the trouble, “Empress Dowager Gu is ruthless. She even consented to let her daughter, who was under eighteen, marry an old and rude man. What's more, her daughter became the step-mother when she got married. Xingkang Grand Princess is the daughter of the emperor but unfortunately, her mother is an aggressive woman. I am wondering how she is feeling to have such a mother!”
Jiang Yashuang smiled coldly, “Do you think Xingkang Grand Princess is a poor girl? She is a princess anyway. But how about Changping Princess? She is also the daughter of Empress Dowager. After she married Tang Zimo's son, Tang Dan, she was even not a Grand Princess!”
Qiu Yelan was shocked, “I even did not notice that Tang Dan's wife is a princess if you did not remind me. Why didn't she get a t.i.tle?”
“It is Kuang Shihan who can't have children, which resulted in Xingkang Grand Princess's infertility. Changping Princess is fertile, but she gave birth to five daughters. The Tang Family wants a boy. So, they talked with her and wanted to force her to accept her husband to get a concubine… Think about it, Xingkang Grand Princess and Changping Princess, they both the daughters of Empress Dowager Gu, and they are Princesses. Certainly, they would not agree.”
Jiang Yashuang stopped to pick up a cup of tea and sip a mouthful of water. Qiu Yelan continued, “I don't know Changping Princess very well, but Kuang Shihan got many concubines after he married Xingkang Grand Princess.”
“Kuang Shihan is the leader of the Western Army. He is Empress Dowager Gu's indispensable force to fight against my family. On the surface, Kuang Shihan might respect Xingkang Grand Princess, but that's not the true story.” said Jiang Yashuang coldly, “And Empress Dowager Gu has no another force behind her back except him… True to Empress Dowager's nature, she would not allow a rife between them to arise because of concubines?”
At the bottom, in Empress Dowager Gu's mind, her daughter's lives did not matter as much as her aggression.
Anyway, it's not uncommon that she took her son as the essential condition for her regent. Fortunately, her rival, Empress Jiang and the Jiang Family were also brutal. Or the Jiang Family had been killed just like General Ruan.
“Well, Changping Princess?” said Qiu Yelan in confusion, “As Changping Princess did not allow her husband to get concubines and at the same time, Empress Dowager needs the Tang Family, so they deprived of her t.i.tle as a ‘grand'?” Wasn't that out of place? No royal majesty existed at all.
Jiang Yashuang smiled, “In private, Empress Dowager Gu had persuaded Changping Princess to accept her husband to get a concubine. She could get rid of the concubine after the concubine gives birth… But she did not agree to court the Tang Family like that. So, her ‘grand' t.i.tle was removed by my aunt.”
Qiu Yelan felt at ease after hearing it, “Oh, I see!”
Out of curiosity, she continued, “I don't think that her ‘grand' t.i.tle was deprived just because she rejected her husband to get a concubine.”
Jiang Yashuang explained, “Yes, you're right. Unexpectedly, Changping Princess pushed her mother-in-law by accident, which caused Tang Dan's mother to roll down from the stairs. Fortunately, her mother-in-law didn't get hurt, but people began to think that she was a woman who did not respect the seniors.”
Qiu Yelan pursed, “It might not be her. It might be somebody else who did it intentionally.” Changping Princess had given birth to five daughters. She must know her mother-in-law's personality.
They knew that Changping Princess would not accept her husband to get a concubine. Meanwhile, they had to respect her opinion as she was a Princess. Thus, they must have said something which angered her, and her mother-in-law fell down the stairs intentionally. One thing led to the other, even if Empress Jiang did not deprive her t.i.tle, Empress Dowager Gu would persuade her daughter to accept a concubine in order to appease the Tang Family.
Poor Changping Princess. Her life was screwed up by her mother's family and mother-in-law's family.
“Now only the Tang Family knew what's really going on that day.” said Jiang Yashuang. He realized that Qiu Yelan must sympathize with Changping Princess. He said, “At that time, Empress Dowager Gu sent many persons into my aunt's house… My aunt was also angry but she did nothing until she knew what's going on about Changping Princess. So, one thing leads to the other…”
It turned out she was a vent of other's anger. Anyone who had such a self-mother would be living in misery!
Qiu Yelan asked with emotion, “Well, how about Tang Dan now?”
“He has three sons but none of them was Changping Princess's child.” said Jiang Yashuang with a smile. “But the children's mothers have been kicked out of the house. Changping Princess is responsible for raising them.”
“Being a woman sucks in today's world.” said Qiu Yelan after a pause. She continued sarcastically, “A girl before getting married has to be busy in ch.o.r.es, embroil and entertaining… Anyway, all things such as lyre-playing, writing, poem, cooking, all things, no matter elegant or vulgar, girls must know. And then, after getting married, she had to serve the whole family members carefully. She must be busy all day and do not allow to be angry. Even so, somebody in the family may be selective about her. The most important to a woman is what, you know, she must be fertile. Even all these she does, her husband may cheat on her! She couldn't be angry or she was not a virtuous woman if so. She must accept it and not be jealous…”
Hearing her long speech, Jiang Yashuang said sarcastically, “It seems like you have been through all of this. Okay, look at me. I have been tortured by your brother and you for many years. Even so, I am still here, serving you with my heart. If I did something bad, I might be a dead man already. What you described is my life. I am the one who suffered a lot but n.o.body would like to listen to.”
“Oh, who do you want to hear your story?” As expected, Qiu Yelan turned to be serious. She grabbed his ear and asked angrily, “Now, I see that you have a close female friend who is willing to listen to you? Tell me, who is she?”