“I’m not worthy of being Crown Princess, then, are you”
As soon as this clear and pleasant voice rang out, the original cheerful twittering and giggling instantly quieted.
The ladies turned their heads stiffly, and when they saw the figure clad in goose-yellow, the smiles on their faces became even stiffer.
Especially the Fourth Lady Tao who had said that Tao Ti was only worthy of carrying the crown prince’s shoes—her fair little face went green with fear, not knowing to sit or stand, looking completely at a loss.
To be caught by the person she was gossiping about—even Tao Ti felt awkward on her behalf.
After calming down a little, Tao Ti strode forward with a kind smile on her face, “I didn’t expect to find sisters in such a good mood.
Ah right, a nice warm spring day like this is the best for chitchat.
Fourth Lady Tao smiled mockingly, “Fifth Sister, weren’t you talking with Eldest Aunt Why are you out so soon”
Tao Ti’s bright eyes narrowed slightly, and she said in a whine, “Perhaps I sensed my sisters thinking about me, and suddenly wanted to come out for a walk.”
She deliberately put emphasis on the words “thinking about me”, making everyone present feel a little guilty.
Fourth Lady Tao was no exception.
The smile on the corners of her lips had frozen, yet she wondered— Tao Ti had always been a pushover that anyone could deal with, even the concubine-born daughters in the main branch looked down on her weak and cowardly personality in private! Why should she be afraid of her
Thinking of this, Fourth Lady Tao straightened.
Adopting her usual air, she said in a loud voice, “Fifth Sister, what we sisters said just now was just for fun, please don’t misunderstand, lest our sisterly harmony gets damaged.”
“Harmony” Tao Ti gave a light laugh, but her tone was full of unconcealed sarcasm, “Fourth Lady Tao, you’re always so understanding, both before and now.”
“You—What do you mean by that!”
“What I mean is, you may not be good at anything, but you’re number one when it comes to transferring blame,” said Tao Ti evenly.
“You lot were clearly the ones gossiping away and got caught by me, yet you’re now flipping things around and telling me not to hurt the peace.”
There was plenty of discord in this vast manor.
While the original owner had the status of the legitimate daughter of the main family, she was weak and easily bullied, and had suffered much at the hands of these sisters.
This Fourth Lady Tao in particular had caused countless difficulties for her, both in secret and overtly.
The original owner just suffered in silence and did not fall out with them, but Tao Ti would not stand for it—everyone lived only once, why should she allow others to step all over her
Seeing that the atmosphere was becoming increasingly tense, someone immediately came out to ease the situation.
“All right, Fourth Lady Tao had said the wrong thing, but it’s Fifth Sister’s first time back at your maiden home, let’s not spoil the mood because of these few words on such an auspicious day.”
“That’s right, that’s right, we were just joking around.
Fifth sister, it’ll be no fun if you take it seriously.”
They meant to ease the situation, but were implicitly asking Tao Ti to back down.
This Fourth Lady Tao seized the opportunity to make a stronger attack.
She took a handkerchief and pressed it to the corners of her eyes, dabbing at the non-existent tears and said aggrievedly, “Fifth Sister, now that you’ve become the great Crown Princess, you put on airs towards your own sisters as soon as you’ve returned.
We’ve merely said a few words, and you’re being so fussy about it…”
As she pretended to cry, someone came forward to comfort her.
In an instant, it seemed as if Tao Ti was bullying others on the strength of her position.
In the face of all the gazes that were full of complaint, Tao Ti couldn’t help but applaud Fourth Lady Tao.
What a skilful use of retreating for the sake of advancing!
Since they all felt she was throwing her weight around, then, she might as well take on that persona for real.
She did have the position, so why not use it
Tao Ti stood up straight, red lips slightly raised.
When not speaking, it was a dignified and gentle appearance, but the moment she spoke, the aura around her changed entirely, “I am the crown princess of the Imperial family who was married to the Eastern Palace with all the official and ceremonious rites.
Neither His Majesty nor Her Majesty has said that I’m not worthy, so when has it become your place to say so Or do you think your judgement is better than His Majesty’s”
Fourth Lady Tao was just a young maiden who usually only played petty tricks within the house.
When Tao Ti brought out the emperor, her expression changed immediately.
Her eyes flickering, she said, “I—I don’t mean that…”
Tao Ti refused to relent, “Then, what did you mean”
Fourth Lady Tao panicked; she fumbled helplessly for words, unable to say anything.
“You can eat whatever you like, but you can’t say anything you wish.” Tao Ti approached her, tilted her little head, and looked at her with a shadow of a smile, “Do you still think I am the Tao Ti who can be bullied and insulted at will”
Even the rest of the ladies felt a chill down their backs and shrank into themselves reflexively, much less Fourth Lady Tao.
Fourth Lady Tao smiled in a way that looked uglier than crying.
In a voice that sounded like a duck being choked, she said “Fifth Sister, ah, no, Crown Princess, I was wrong, I’d spoken without thinking, you’re big-hearted and magnanimous, please forgive me…”
“This apology is not too bad.”
Tao Ti’s brows lifted slightly, then suddenly raised her hand and patted Fourth Lady Tao’s face, but she swept her clam gaze over everyone present.
“I know what you are all thinking.
You can think what you what, after all, I have no control over your thoughts.
But before you speak, you’d better examine your own status and see if you’re qualified enough to say it.”