On the second day of Xizhao festival, the noble consort started the investigation about the dormant spiders’ origin.
They soon found out the connection with Yuzhou xiunus due to the uniqueness of these spiders.
Together with the assistance of the palace punishment department, the culprits were soon after caught.
Strangely, the two xiunus confessed to carrying the dormant spiders into the palace but denied vehemently the allegation of framing xiunu Jiang Pin Ting.
Since the two understood the principle ‘one ought to choose the lesser of two evils’, they did not reveal the fact that they wanted to frame Mu Xi Yao as it would only add them more serious charges.
Ultimately, the case ended with two Yuzhou xiunus being stripped of their xiunu identities and sent back to re-educate themselves as they lacked virtue and broke palace etiquettes.
Mu Xi Yao did not ask them what was the reason behind their enmity against her but she could guess that it was more or less induced by the despicableness of the human’s nature.
Some people just couldn’t stand others being more outstanding than themselves.
They would rather destroy such people than let them hinder them.
It did not matter that these people were total strangers to them or that they held no grudges against each other.
Mu Xi Yao expressed a gratification to the outcome of this case.
According to her words, those two xiunus went back to the stove to remold themselves.
The following days went on tranquilly.
Having the example of killing the chickens to warn off the monkeys set prior on, even the wildest monkeys cowered in fear and did not dare to make any further moves.
The re-selection was held in the imperial noble consort’s Yaohua Palace.
Xiunus were to go through an assessment which included a display of their talents and testing their knowledge of palace etiquettes.
With song《The floating goblets》played on the guqing Mu Xi Yao successfully passed the initial inspection and got the praise of ‘a beautiful maiden with an exceptionally elegant guqin skill and passion’.
On the other hand, Mu Xi Yao’s elder cousin’s card has been turned down, thus leaving only Mu sisters to participate in the final selection that would take place in three days.
At the time Yuancheng Emperor will grace the event with his presence and personally select mates for imperial princes and members of the imperial clan.
Naturally, there were also some private interests he sought to gain during the process.
Zhong Zheng Lin stood silently inside the Weiyang House, his eyes gazing toward the direction of Wangxiu Palace.
In the morning his secret agents had reported to him that when fifth princess consort went to specially pay a respect to her Ladyship consort De yesterday, she voiced her wish to let Mu xiunu of Qingzhou enter fifth prince’s residence as shufei.
This was truly unexpected.
That rabbit indeed knew how to make troubles and attract problems! The fifth princess’s idea Without even meeting the actual person how could she know that Mu shi was ‘dutiful and well-behaved and able to bear children’
Moreover, when did Zhong Zheng Ming notice that rabbit Well, there were still few days.
He will settle matters with her once the imperial edict passes down.
He has again recalled the two Yuzhou xiunus who were kept under surveillance on his orders.
Before he could find any clues, the two were already disposed of.
It was too much of a coincidence.
If she truly had hands in it………..Zhong Zheng Lin remembered the saying: If you make rabbit anxious, it will bite you back. A smile flashed in his eyes.
Mu Xi Yao did not know that she has turned into a rabbit in Zhong Zheng Lin’s eyes.
She was currently lamenting her failing memory.
Yesterday, she has seen in the imperial garden Zhong Zheng Lin’s ‘favorite consort’ from the previous lifetime, the shufei Yi Ru of Tang House.
How come this woman appeared here She was supposed to enter the prince’s estate in the next selection as she had caught a cold during this one and had henceforth missed her chance.
She must be living in the west palace since Mu Xi Yao has met this ‘love rival’ of hers only now.
Mu Xi Yao decided to wait and silently observe.
Moreover, that Pin Ting of Jiang House has not yet left the palace.
In any case, there was no difference between fighting against one person or two people.
On the contrary, if there were more people it would be more convenient for her to fish in troubled water.
Besides, mahjong game needed four players.
In the future, the inner yard of the prince’s estate will be a picture of flowers blooming like a piece of brocade .
There could be more than one table set for the mahjong game.
What a perfect opportunity to make a straight kill!
The final selection arrived.
There were still seventy-three xiunus left in the palace.
Dressed in identical clothes, they were led to the Empress Dowager’s Fengan Palace by the supervising momos.
Yuancheng Emperor occupied the top seat while beside him was seated the Empress Dowager.
The imperial consorts above the second rank were all seated according to their ranks.
Once the chief-eunuch started to call their names, all the xiunus had to form a group of ten people.
As soon as they entered the hall, they were to divide into two rows and stand still.
Mu Xi Yao looked at xiunus that came out – some of them were full of joy while others looked upset.
There was even a xiunu who was so nervous she directly passed out.
Naturally, her card has been turned down and she has been dragged down.
It’s so good to pass out, Mu Xi Yao was envious.
She even suspected that that woman was only pretending.
Alright, this woman (Mu Xi Yao) obviously couldn’t read the situation.
In Great Wei, if one passed the final selection and was bestowed a marriage by the emperor it meant an exceptional glory to the maiden and her clan.
In other words, it was an honor.
There was no one who would dismiss it for no apparent reason.
More than half of the xiunus had already gone inside.
Even Mu Xi Ting went inside with the last group.
Mu Xi Yao thought that it was very strange.
Weren’t xiunus’ name supposed to be called out in sequence according to their family backgrounds Even Mu Xi Ting has gone in.
How come she was still waiting
The sixth highness Zhong Zheng Lin could answer this question.
Zhong Zheng Lin thought that since the fifth princess consort informed consort De beforehand about that Mu maiden from Qingzhou, their wish shall be fulfilled.
Thus, Mu Xi Ting was the first to go inside and was subsequently bestowed to the fifth prince to be his shufei.
Consort De has thus kept her promise as she has kept Mu Xi Ting’s card.
When Mu Xi Yao went inside, consort De became quite puzzled and thought, ’How come there are two xiunus from Mu House’ When she compared Mu Xi Yao’s appearance and physique to the previous maiden, sure enough, the one that fit fifth princess consort’s ‘dutiful, well-behaved and able to bear children’ description was the previous one.
This one was quite a beauty.
The fifth princess consort surely wouldn’t want this maiden to enter fifth prince’s estate and upset herself.
Moreover, no matter how she looked at those pair of watery and quick-witted eyes they didn’t look well-behaved at all.
This was an enormous misunderstanding! Originally, when fifth princess consort heard Zhong Zheng Ming’s hint she hasn’t yet met the person.
Hence, she used such a compliment only as her pretext.
After all, which principal wife wouldn’t wish for the concubines that would enter the inner yard to be ‘dutiful, well-behaved and able to bear children’ Moreover, it may also conveniently emphasize the wife’s virtue.
Who would have guessed that an error would occur
Her Ladyship consort Shu was, on the contrary, in a great mood.
She had already kept three cards and picked different kind of beauties for her son.
There ought to be at least one he would find attractive, right Then she saw Mu Xi Yao who has just come in – a striking beauty with quite a good family background and a well-formed shapely figure which did not appear vulgar.
She gave off to people a very neat and exquisite vibe.
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It has been long known that this maiden had great manners.
Consort Shu had recalled her son mentioning about lady Wu’s dull and wooden personality.
On the contrast, this quick-witted maiden was a better match for her son.
Therefore, she had quickly asked her questions and then kept her card.
Subsequently, she shot glances at Yuancheng Emperor indicating him that this one must be kept for her son.
When Yuancheng emperor saw Mu Xi Yao entering, his eyes flashed with a light.
Just as he was about to make her his concubine and grant her title of meiren, consort Shu cut him off by inquiring her with questions and eventually keeping her card.
He thought that it was only a mere woman and since she happened to match well with his sixth son, he nodded his approval.
If Mu Xi Yao had learnt that her grand scheme was almost disrupted by the old cow Yuancheng Emperor, she would probably commit a regicide and then remarry.
Fortunately, Yuancheng Emperor was a wise ruler and did not bring this demoness to his imperial harem.
After the final selection ended, all the xiunus left the palace and returned to their respective residence to wait for the imperial decree to pass down.
Mu Xi Yao again went to live with her grandparents.
She could finally take a good nap.
Zhong Zheng Lin also slept well this night.
Everything would be finalized after the imperial decree passed down tomorrow.
On the following day, the deputy-chief eunuch arrived at Yu estate with a fanfare to announce the imperial decree.
The di daughter of Qingzhou Mu House, Mu Xi Yao, shall be bestowed the title of shufei and enter the sixth prince’s estate.
The shu daughter of Qingzhou Mu House, Mu Xi Ting, shall be bestowed the title of shufei and enter the fifth prince’s estate.
The whole household was shocked.
It was unbelievable.
Moreover, these two shufeis were sisters.
The Qingzhou Mu House indeed had a good fortune.
Besides, they may be shufeis now but if they will produce offsprings they could still rise to the higher ranks.
Who could tell If they were then granted the title of cefei it would be an enormous honor as their names would be listed into the imperial genealogy!
Mu Xi Yao was perplexed.
In the previous life, Mu Xi Ting was bestowed to a nobleman to be his concubine.
How come she had become shufei Could these memories of hers fail her even more She personally had been a concubine in the past incarnation but in this lifetime she was granted the title of shufei.
It may be linked to the fact that she had maintained a high-profile in the palace.
Mu Xi Yao did not waste her time on unimportant matters.
As long as Mu Xi Ting stayed like now, knew propriety and followed the conducts, she should fare well.
The fifth princess consort was a generous person, after all.
Moreover, she had a person planted on Mo Wan Qing’s side.
Nowadays, what Mu Xi Yao truly cared about was who were going to be her colleagues.
Zhao Qing soon after brought in the news.
As expected, Yi Ru of Tang House was still bestowed the title of shufei.
In addition, there were two more concubines: lady Zhang and lady Qi.
Well, they were all acquaintances.
Finally, there was not too much of a deviation from her memories.
She would rather slowly deal with familiar people than with complete strangers.
As for lady Jiang, Mu Xi Yao could only express a remorse for she has been knocked out by Mu Xi Yao.
Her whereabouts was still unknown.
According to the imperial edict, the two concubines will enter the sixth prince’s inner yard in the middle third of the next month.
Mu Xi Yao and Tang Yi Ru, on the other hand, were to enter the estate at the same time in the first third of the next month.
Only the ones with ranks above shufei were allowed to perform a simple wedding ceremony.
Therefore, a to be married life started for Mu Xi Yao.
 Going back to the stove to remold oneself means to acquire new education and reform oneself
 Guqing is a plucked seven-string Chinese musical instrument of the zither family with over 3000 years of history
 If xiunu has her card turned down, it means that she has been eliminated in the selection process
 Consort De – De is a title meaning virtuous and morality
 Shi – means clan name/maiden name
 If you make rabbit anxious, it will bite you back is a saying meaning if you corner/threaten one too much he/she will viciously fight back
 To fish in troubled water is an idiom meaning to take an advantage of a crisis for personal gain/ acquire profit in a time of trouble
 Flowers blooming like a piece of brocade is an idiom and in this context, it means that the prince estate will flourish with women