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Title: ChongFei Manual
Chapter: 078.2 out of 171
An hour later, Elder Princes Gao Yang Zhang came to the palace from Prince Ru Yang's residence.
With a graceful bearing, Elder Princess Gao Yang walked into Zhao Yang Hall. She was wearing a honey color robe, an outer robe decorated with plum blossoms, orchids, chrysanthemum, and bamboo, and a light green skirt.
Before she had come here, she heard the Empress Chen was looking for her, but she didn't know the reason. As soon as she entered the hall, she saw Empress Chen and a few steps below her, there was Li Xiang with her head lowered. Her face immediately stiffened. She was preoccupied as she first saluted, then she straightened to asked, "What has Xiang-er done to upset older sister-in-law to the point of especially inviting me into the palace?"
Elder Princess Gao Yang loved her daughter dearly. Seeing Li Xiang pitifully standing there without a seat, her heart inevitably felt bad. So the tone of her voice had been her slightly acidic when she asked her question.
Empress Chen picked up a white jade cup with a hibiscus pattern from a square table, lowered her head to take a sip of e mei mao feng tea, and unhurriedly said, "Of course, there was a reason why I called you here. If there wasn't anything important, you probably wouldn't be willing to take even one step into my Qing Xi Palace."
(T/N: Below is a picture of e mei mao feng tea.)
Elder Princess Gao Yang was stifled by her words.
Empress Chen faintly glanced at her and allowed her to sit down on a rosewood chair. "Mama Qiu, bring over the hairpin that Liuli used for her hairpin ceremony. Let Elder Princess look at it."
Mama Qiu made a noise of acknowledgement. Soon after, she brought the hairpin that had been broken into two pieces over on a tray to Zhao Xuan.
Zhao Xuan glanced at it. Confused, she asked, "Why does older sister-in-law want me to look at this?"
Empress Chen didn't answer her question. In an indifferent tone, she said, "It couldn't be that Elder Princess usually curtails her children's spending? To the point that your daughter doesn't even have a single presentable hairpin? Today, Li Xiang saw Liuli's hairpin, then she secretly took it out to see. I won't mention the looking. But, not only did she look, she broke it."
After a pause, seeing that Elder Princess Gao Yang's face had turned ugly, she continued, "If this was a normal hairpin, this empress would feel its beneath my dignity to fuss over it. But, my son gave this hairpin to Liuli and it was used for her adulthood ceremony. It has exceptional significance. How could this empress not feel upset?"
Hearing these words, Zhao Xuan calmed down. After thinking, she said, "Where was this hairpin made? I'll have someone make another one for Liuli. Why does older sister-in-law have to be so angry? Xiang-er didn't do this intentional. Don't scare her."
"Does Elder Princess still not understand this empress's meaning?" Empress Chen put down the white jade cup on the table. She became sterner and her voice was severe as she said, "Would paying a hairpin fix the problem? She dare to casually take something that a princess used for her hairpin ceremony. What do established rules meant to her? Useless or empty words? Has she developed into the temperament that she had today because you never taught her these rules?"
Reprimanded by her in front of Zhao Yang Hall's palace servant girls, Zhao Xuan suddenly felt as if she had lost her face. She gripped the armchair and said, "Older sister-in-law..."
After looking at her for a moment, Empress Chen look away and lightly said, "Regardless if she done it intentionally or not, Li Xiang's understanding of rules must be properly taught. By chance, I have a book called Nei Xun. Mama Qiu will read it for her to recite. When Li Xiang recites the entire book, she can leave Zhao Yang Hall.”
Hearing these words, Li Xiang incredulously looked up.
That book had twenty pages. If she had to recite it, she might not even finish until tomorrow morning!
Elder Princess Gao Yang probably also knew this. Although she wasn't happy with this result, Li Xiang was the one who had done something wrong first. She stood up to plead for leniency, "Older sister-in-law, please be magnanimous. Xiang-er is still a child. Don't lower yourself to her level..."
However, Empress Chen didn't acknowledge her words. She tilted her head at Mama Qiu, "Read."
Mama Qiu opened to the first page of Nei Xun and complied with reading out loud, "Quiet and pure. Leisurely and carefree. Dignified and sincere. The virtues a woman should have are..."
Although Empress Chen normally looked amiable and polite, there was still fire in her bones. After all, she was someone that had been in the battlefields. Even if she had retired and curbed her wings, she had once been an eagle that soared through skies.
She would never forget how Li Xiang and Zhao Lin Lang had bullied Liuli when they were children. When Liuli had fallen into the lake that winter, she had almost lost her life. Although on the surface, it was seventh prince's fault, her heart knew that Zhao Lin Lang and Li Xiang were definitely related to this incident.
Fortunately, Liuli was okay. Otherwise, she wouldn't have stopped until she held them accountable.
During the past several years, she had only seemed friendly because they hadn't committed any crime in an area that was under her control. Today, Li Xiang's mind had been muddle-headed. She had actually committed a crime under her eyes. How could she lightly let her off?
As Mama Qiu's slowly read the book, Li Xiang and Elder Princess Gao Yang's faces didn't look good.
Li Xiang couldn't remember anything that Mama Qiu read. She didn't have the slightest impression even right after Mama Qiu finished reading a section.
Empress Chen didn't continue staying here any longer, "This empress is going back to rest. Li Xiang will stay here to learn. Once she's finished reciting, order people to inform me. At any time, Mama Qiu will come here to quiz her." Then, she looked at Elder Princess Gao Yang. With a slightly eased tone, she said, "Does Elder Princess want to talk with this empress in a warm room or stay here to wait?"
Zhao Xuan put away her anger and coldly said, "Thank you older sister-in-law for your kind intentions. I'll stay here to accompany Xiang-er."
Empress Chen nodded and didn't force her. She glanced at Li Xiang, then she said, "Don't blame this empress for being too harsh. Li Xiang is almost thirteen. Soon, she'll be married. If she's not well behaved, after she's married, she'll suffer grievances from her mother-in-law. This empress is only thinking about her future."
Zhao Xuan was immediately full of anger, but she still had to rise from her chair and unwilling say, "Older sister-in-law is right. I'll properly discipline Xiang-er."
Empress Chen said, "En." Then, she left for the warm room.
Inside Chen Hua Hall.
Wei Luo didn't immediately go home. Liuli had earnestly asked her to stay and keep her company.
Since she didn't have any urgent tasks and she wasn't in a good mood, it would be fine to stay here for a while. Zhao Liuli seemed to still be mad at Yang Zhen. The day was almost over, but he still didn't appear. What exactly was he busy with?
(T/N: If you're disappointed about Li Xiang's punishment being too minor, the important part of her punishment isn't that she has to stay up all night to memorize a book. It's that its publicly shaming her mother for failing to to raise her daughter properly and damaging her family's reputation, which will make it harder for her parents to arrange a good marriage for her.
In the comments below, derp asked why twenty pages would be considered long. Below is a picture of one side of the twenty pages. This book is very hard to memorize because its full of words that are rarely used and each sentence is very long without any commas. In terms of difficulty, it's almost like trying to memorize a book that's written in a foreign language. I was really surprised that the author wrote that it only took her one night to memorize. If I had to memorize this book, I might not even be able to do it after a month.)