When she saw that all eyes were on her, she did not shrink timidly, but smiled graciously and generously.
This smile was like the warm winter sun reflecting off white snow, and also like the continuous brush of spring rain on green willows, making one’s heart feel very comfortable.
Consorts Gui, Shu, and De, were all at the age of motherhood.
When they saw such a well-behaved and beautiful little lady, they were all delighted.
“This son greets Your Majesty, the Empress, and all Your Highnesses.” Pei Yan said as he arched his hands in a bow
“This daughter-in-law greets Your Majesty, the Empress, and all Your Highnesses.” Tao Ti followed his example and curtsied with a bow.
Empress Zhou smiled kindly, “All right, all right, you may all rise.
Someone, lead them to their seats.”
Tao Ti sat down next to the crown prince, then heard Empress Zhou beckon to the princesses, “Come, the few of you should also quickly greet your brother and sister-in-law.”
The five princesses came forward in order of seniority.
The eldest princess had been married off to Pingxi at an early age, so the oldest in the palace was now Second Princess Pei Lingbi.
She was the same age as Tao Ti; they were both sixteen.
The rest of the princesses were around eleven or twelve years old, and the youngest, the sixth princess, was only eight years old.
Tao Ti greeted them in a friendly manner.
Except that the second princess looked at her a little oddly, which made her uncomfortable, the whole experience was generally quite harmonious.
Smiling, Empress Zhou exchanged pleasantries with them.
The entire time, Pei Yan answered good-naturedly, while Tao Ti sat at one side, obediently being a smiling vase.
After sitting for about a quarter of an hour, a chubby eunuch walked in and bowed respectfully at Empress Zhou with a smile.
“Your Majesty, His Majesty is asking for His Highness.”
“All right.” Empress Zhou looked at Pei Yan and said warmly, “Yan’er, go and greet your Imperial Father first.
Crown Princess will sit here with me for a while.”
There was a slight movement in Pei Yan’s black eyes.
He looked at Tao Ti thoughtfully, seemingly hesitant.
Tao Ti gave him a light wink, indicating that she could handle things here alone, so he didn’t have to worry.
“……” Pei Yan smiled at her, then rose and took his leave, following behind the chubby eunuch.
Empress Zhou took in the interaction between the young couple; a dark colour flashed in her beautiful eyes, but her face was still kind and warm.
She said teasingly, “You are newlyweds indeed.
You can’t even bear to be apart for such a little while, such affection really makes others envious.”
The other consorts also smiled and echoed their agreement, praising the good relationship between the crown prince and his wife, then praising Tao Ti’s appearance and good manners.
Seeing that the empress and consorts’ attitude towards her was fairly friendly, Tao Ti secretly breathed a sigh of relief.
However, according to Pei Yan, the empress was aware that she had poisoned herself.
Yet, she was still being so loving and friendly to her, clearly expressing that she was going to feign ignorance, and wasn’t going to expose her doings… From this perspective, the acting skills of the ladies in the harem lady were truly quite good.
Just as her thoughts strayed, Second Princess Pei Lingbi suddenly said, “Second Sister-in-law, my Brother Crown Prince is not in good health, you have to take good care of him and mustn’t make him angry.”
Tao Ti was momentarily taken aback.
With a polite smile on her face, she said, “His Highness is my husband, I will naturally take good care of him.
Second Sister, you don’t have to worry.”
Hearing her calm reply, Pei Lingbi’s expression changed slightly, staring at Tao Ti as if she had seen a ghost.
Tao Ti did not look at her and turned to chat with the other princesses.
After another fifteen minutes, a eunuch entered to convey that His Majesty had asked for the crown princess.
“Your Majesty, Your Highnesses, then this daughter-in-law will be taking her leave.” Tao Ti rose with a flourish; the palace maids behind her were carrying armloads of gifts bestowed by the empress and the consorts.
“Good child, go ahead.” Empress Zhou nodded with a smile.
“Queen Mother, I will see Second Sister-in-law out.” Pei Lingbi got up abruptly, and hurriedly caught up to Tao Ti without waiting for Empress Zhou’s consent.
As soon as the two were out of the main hall, Pei Lingbi suddenly grabbed Tao Ti’s wrist.
Tao Ti was startled; her brows knitted, and she said, displeased, “Second Princess, what is this”
Pei Lingbi stared closely at her face, her lips pursed.
This Tao Ti seems to have… become a lot more beautiful
Although her appearance hadn’t changed, she always had a lifeless, priggish, and unsociable air about her in the past.
But today, she’s graceful and generous, and so blazingly vibrant that it was hard for one to keep one’s eyes open…
To think that she had even specially dressed up today, intending to dim Tao Ti’s limelight.
She didn’t expect that the moment Tao Ti came, the attention of everyone in the hall would be on this shrew, how hateful!
The dissatisfaction in Pei Lingbi’s eyes became more and more intense.
She raised her chin arrogantly and said in a commanding tone, “Come with me, I have something to ask you.”
Her tone made Tao Ti extremely annoyed.
But thinking that they were still within the boundaries of Ganlu Palace, and were being watched by so many palace maids and eunuchs all around them, it wouldn’t be good to get into an argument with her.
So, she followed her behind a pillar.
After making sure that no one could hear their conversation, Pei Lingbi’s pretty face instantly darkened.
Her tilted phoenix eyes stared straight at Tao Ti as she said coldly, “Tao Ti, why haven’t you died”