When Song Yixiao heard this, she knew that the Ji Family had been planning for Ji Wangzhu’s future for a long time.
It was probably because of this matter that Ji Zhou wanted to return to the court this time, even at the expense of demoting himself. Otherwise, Ji Zhou had been seeking to return to the court for a long time, and had waited for so many years, so how could he have been so anxious this year that he had brought his family back first before things were implemented?
"Time really flies!" Song Yixiao thought about it and said politely, "A few years have passed in a flash. I remember when I was just married, I happened to have a casual conversation with Empress Wei from the Ji Family and mentioned her eldest brother’s daughter. She was just a little girl at that time. But now she’s supposed to be at a similar age as Wangzhu. How time flies!"
You knew that the Ji Family was not an imperial family. So, in the matter of the Crown Prince’s marriage, you would not have the benefits of a favorable position, for there was the niece of Empress Wei’s maternal family who was about the same age as the Crown Prince!
As for the beauty of Ji Wangzhu, among all the beauties Song Yixiao had seen in her life, there was no one more beautiful than Dowager Concubine Nuan. But after all, she had not been able to win more favor than the others, had she?
A royal heir had no shortage of beauty on his side.
"Indeed." Jian Lizhi understood what Song Yixiao meant, but she was not frustrated. She smiled and said, "The look of Wangxi as a child still seems to be in front of my eyes, but suddenly he has become a father. Your uncle and I have several children so that we are not lonely. But they are so different in age. Wangzhu is our youngest daughter. Although Wangxing is only two years older than her, he is a boy, so they don’t usually play together. Wanglan is even four years older than her, and they don’t have many topics in common to talk about. I often think that if only she has a few sisters of her own age to play with!"
It didn’t matter if she couldn’t compete with the lady in the Wei Family. She could still take the position of side concubines if she couldn’t be the consort! Even if Empress Wei wanted to promote her maternal family, she couldn’t send all of her nieces, who were about the same age as the Crown Prince, into the Eastern Palace in one go. This would be too ugly. Didn’t she need to think about the dignity of Ruiyu Hall?
The royal family was not like ordinary people. They could live in the Palace of Weiyang, but they might not be able to live in the Palace of Mingren!
Wasn’t the current Emperor a case in point?
Noble Consort Cui was unfortunate and died early. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be Empress Wei’s turn to be the most famous woman. It would have been Empress Dowager Cui!
Although the original wife of Emperor Xianjia had become the Empress Dowager by virtue of her status as the legitimate mother, Empress Dowager Su, who had already moved out of the Palace of Weiyang, was not able to live in the Palace of Mingren. It was not that Grand Empress Dowager did not want to give this place to her. It was mainly because Grand Empress Dowager was in very poor health and the doctors had advised not to move for the time being. In this case, Empress Dowager Su could not force her mother-in-law to vacate the house for herself. So she had to go and live in the Palace of Huiyi next to the Palace of Mingren.
In short, Jian Lizhi wanted her daughter to obtain the favor of Empress Wei, so that her daughter could marry the Crown Prince in the future. But she did not care much about whether her daughter would be the consort or side concubine.
Song Yixiao understood this meaning and thought to herself that this was more like it. Even the Ji Family, who had been released to an outside city, showed interest in the Crown Prince’s marriage, not to mention the nobles in imperial city.
There must be many families who were thinking of making their own daughters the Crown Princess. If Jian Lizhi also wanted Ji Wangzhu to be the Crown Princess, it would be a deliberate attempt to make things difficult for her nephew and niece-in-law.
After all, Ji Wangzhu was the daughter of the Ji Family but not the young lady of the family of Duke of Yan. Even though Jian Xubai and Song Yixiao respected their aunt and uncle, in the end they couldn’t support Ji Wangzhu as much as they supported Jian Qingyue.
But even this request…
Song Yixiao pondered for a moment and gently said, "I have taken care of Qingyue for some time and have not gone out for some days. I would like to introduce Wangzhu to a few sisters who could play together with her, but I may have to wait for my husband to come back and ask him. Although my husband does not know the girls in other families, a girl’s upbringing always follows that of her father and brothers. A girl from a family with a good father and brothers won’t be taught poorly. Auntie, don’t you think so?"
The Crown Prince had a stake in the country. Even the matter of the position of side concubine was related to every aspect of the court.
Therefore, Song Yixiao said that she could not make the decision herself, and that she had to wait for Jian Xubai to decide after he returned.
In fact, she already had a plan in her mind, but she had to beat around the bush.
Otherwise, she would be telling her husband’s own aunt that she had him in her hands and that she was in charge of the family.
Her own mother, Wei Mengying, had said back then that it was most taboo for a daughter-in-law to give such an impression to her husband’s relatives. Because people were partial and always liked to see their own family get the upper hand.
In fact, the reason why Wei Mengying and Elder Lady Pang were at loggerheads was that she didn’t know it when she was a teenager and thought that if she coaxed Song Yuan into being obedient to her, there would be no problem.
However, the better Song Yuan treated her, the more Elder Lady Pang hated her. After Song Yixiao mentioned Jian Xubai at this time and put on a show that she would listen to her husband, Jian Lizhi didn’t dwell on it. She politely said that Ji Wangzhu’s future depended on Jian Xubai’s and Song Yixiao’s support, and then excused herself.
After she left, Jinxun came to serve. Seeing that there were only two of them in the room, she couldn’t help but wonder, "Your uncle has been helped by Duke, and now he is Vice Minister in the Ministry of Rituals, so his future is wide open. Why do they send their daughter to the imperial palace? It’s not easy to be a daughter-in-law in the imperial family, let alone to be a concubine. Isn’t Young Lady Cui an example of that?"
Song Yixiao said, "My aunt and uncle have only returned to the imperial capital this year, so we have had little contact with them. How can I know what they are thinking? But it is their daughter. So if they want to make arrangements for her, how can we, as the juniors, stop them? I’ll talk to my husband later and see what he thinks."
When she said that, she was reminded and glanced at Jinxun, "Speaking of the marriage, what have you considered about Yu Shiheng? It was proposed in the first half of the year, but it’s almost the end of the year now and you still haven’t come up with a definitive answer. I don’t mind delaying Yu Shiheng, but the problem is that you’re delaying it so much that you’re putting your youth on hold!"
"Madam, we have to teach a group of people for you, right?" Jinxun’s face flushed with shame at Song Yixiao’s words and she said in a small voice, "Qiaoqin is older than me, and so are Xiandeng and Liyu. If you want to make me marry someone, you can’t keep them around, either. Then there will be no first maid serving you. And the young lady is still young. That’s why I think I should teach the subordinates well, so that they can at least know all the things, in case you’re not served well, right?"
Hearing this, Song Yixiao sighed, "You make me unwilling to make you marry Yu Shiheng!"
"Then I will serve you for the rest of my life?" Jinxun was not nervous, and said with a smile, "I am unwilling to leave you, either!"
"Why are you so insensitive?" Song Yixiao rolled her eyes, "Can’t you just pretend to be shocked and stammer that you’re just saying it, but you’re still thinking about Yu Shiheng and plan to marry him later?"
Jinxun said unconcernedly, "Madam, you have always favored me. Even if I am willing to stay unmarried and serve you for the rest of my life, you may not be willing to agree! After all, I have served you for so many years. If I don’t even know this much about you, won’t it be a waste of time?"
"How dare you talk back!" Song Yixiao waved her hand, "What’s the use of keeping such an ill-behaved maid? In a couple of days, I should ask Yu Shiheng to come and take you away, so that you won’t make me mad all the time!"
"Madam, you are so annoying!" When Yu Shiheng was mentioned again and again, Jinxun finally couldn’t hold her face up and left, "You act unreasonably when you can’t beat me!"
Song Yixiao smugly said, "Who says I can’t beat you? You’re so ashamed that you’re going to leave, aren’t you?"
The joking between them two was tantamount to making public the affair between Jinxun and Yu Shiheng.
The three maids, who worked with Jinxun, Qiaoqin and the others, had arranged their marriage some days before.
It was just that Jinxun had been thinking about it. When Song Yixiao had proposed marriages to the maids at the same time, those three couldn’t leave Jinxun behind and get married first. At this moment, Jinxun had finally decided. Later on Song Yixiao had sent words that she would keep the four maids for the rest of the year at most.
In any case, she would marry them off in the first half of next year.
This was, of course, in view of the two mourning periods that the Duke of Yan’s Family had to observe: the five-month Mourning for Uncle for Emperor Xianjia, and the nine-month Mourning for Father for Song Yuan, which Song Yixiao observed alone.
Because Jian Xubai was only Song Yuan’s son-in-law, he only had to observe mourning for his father-in-law for three months, and it would be completed before he finished mourning for his uncle.
Therefore, after March next year, the first maids could get married.
Qiaoqin and the others did not say anything, but in their hearts they were all relieved.
After all, the youngest of the four maids, Jinxun, was 16 years old this year, and they were a year or two older. If they didn’t get married at this time, they would really be old girls.
So how could they not hope to get out sooner rather than later, so as not to waste their youth?
At this moment, Song Yixiao had given the promise, and they were relieved of their worries.
However, Jinxun’s words about how she was worried that after the four of them had left, the newcomers would not know Song Yixiao’s temperament and would not be able to serve her well also were spread out. The young maids under her were particularly attentive, all hoping that they would be recommended to Song Yixiao through their performance, so that they could fill the gap of the first maid in the future.
Song Yixiao didn’t pay much attention to these trivial matters. She was more concerned about her husband’s attitude towards what Jian Lizhi was asking for, "Aunt personally came to ask us for this favor, so we shouldn’t reject it. But since Aunt didn’t care about whether Wangzhu can be Crown Princess, I think she obviously valued the heir. This heir… We have already been through the mess once, so it seems unnecessary for us to worry about it again."
Helping Ji Wangzhu become the Crown Prince’s side concubine was admittedly not difficult for the current Duke of Yan’s Family.
But, what about after Ji Wangzhu had become the Crown Prince’s side concubine?
Walls had ears. The relationship between the Ji Family and Duke of Yan’s Family was no secret. Everyone would know that the Crown Prince’s legitimate uncle had her back. If she competed with the Crown Princess for favor and helped her son fight for the throne when she had a son in the future, how could Jian Xubai and Song Yixiao get away with it?
Song Yixiao remembered that her husband had said earlier that he had no choice but to help Emperor Duanhua fight for the throne earlier. It was mainly because under the suppression of filial piety, the only thing that could help him was power.
But Jian Xubai was only 19 years old at this time, and had assumed the title of first-rank Duke of Yan. And he had the job as Vice Minister in the Ministry of Works which was fourth-rank. He was on the same level as Ji Zhou, who was a scholar and had spent most of his life in the officialdom!
Ji Zhou even obtained this fourth-rank position with Jian Xubai’s help.
He was so distinguished that there was no need for him to take part in the fight for the throne again.
Moreover, Song Yixiao’s relationship with Empress Wei was not bad. It was not like the Wei Family didn’t have a girl suitable to be the Crown Princess. So if the Crown Princess did come from the Wei Family again in the future, Song Yixiao didn’t want to create a rift with Empress Wei over a cousin she had only met two or three times!
So when she told the story of how Jian Lizhi had asked the favor, her words were inevitably a bit displeasing and revealed her intention to reject it.
Jian Xubai played with his daughter while listening. After that, he asked, "Have you heard of other people’s plans for the Crown Prince’s marriage?"