Emperor Lin couldn’t help but pull her into the palace. He ordered the palace servants to heat the carbon stove, poured some hot tea, and insisted that Xiao Lan, who wanted to bow down again, sit on the soft seats and said, "Do I not know your personality yet? Your kindness makes you reluctant even to trample ants to death, so what sort of serious crime could you possibly have committed? Or is there another unsightly ‘thing’ that pestered their way into your palace?"
A while ago, some concubines deliberately went to the Mingyue Palace to cause some trouble by trying to catch her off guard or mess up. However, Xiao Lan’s personality was like water— no one could hold onto it nor stop it from flowing. Those concubines ended up getting in trouble for trying to undermine a Consort and got what they deserved.
He held the teacup and handed it to Xiao Lan, "Drink a sip of hot tea to warm up your body. You are physically weak, so don’t torment yourself like this in the future."
Xiao Lan was touched as she glanced at him. After drinking the hot tea, she softly spoke about Lin Feilu’s encounter with the Xiao family’s misbehavior outside the palace.
After she finished speaking, her eyes turned red again. Then, she got up and kowtowed, "I didn’t know that my maternal family would be this ignorant of Your Majesty and the law. I’m afraid what happened yesterday might just be the tip of the iceberg, and I don’t dare to think about what else they might have done. With that, I came here to face Your Majesty and ask for your punishment."
Emperor Lin thought that some sort of chronic issue might have arisen, but it just turned out to be this instead. It was not the first time the imperial relatives and friends have been domineering in public. Even Jing Zhaoyin would occasionally dismiss behaviors like these as long as there were no life-threatening situations, let alone the Emperor himself.
Usually, though, should any of the relatives from his concubines’ maternal families act up, his wives would come flocking in, asking him to excuse their relatives’ behaviors. This was his first time having someone approach him just to ask for a punishment— Consort Lan was genuinely different from the rest, after all. She didn’t mind putting herself in a problematic situation by splitting the burden with him; what a beloved Consort!
Emperor Lin was very emotional. He helped her up and pulled her to sit beside him before saying, "It’s all trivial matters. Didn’t the Little Fifth Princess send that person to the Jing Zhaoyin(1) already? Even if he is guilty, that has nothing to do with you, my Consort."
(T/N: Mentioned it in the , but Jing Zhaoyin is a title, not a person. Occasionally, the author refers to the residing office of the Jing Zhaoyin as the ‘Zhaoyin Administration’ as well)
Xiao Lan shook her head with reddened eyes and whispered, "It’s a small matter now, but if you condone it, there will be more of such arrogance in the future. It is this Consort’s luck for Your Majesty to dote on me, but this Consort can’t take advantage of Your Majesty’s Imperial favour and tolerate the disrespect towards your pride and name. This Consort entered the palace because I adored Your Majesty and wanted to love you forever, not to seek blessings and exceptions for anyone."
Distant relatives have always been a hidden danger in various dynasties. For example, the current Noble Consort Ruan was from the dominant Ruan clan, and Emperor Lin sometimes had a headache when he had to think about how to deal with them adequately.
At this time, Xiao Lan took the initiative to mention this matter. When she even expressed her thoughts considering his position, Emperor Lin was very touched.
He took her hand and asked, "Then, according to my beloved Consort, how should I deal with this?"