The Girl Who Struggled Through Palace Intrigues to Become the Empress - C.11: Eyeliner in the Palace

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In the palace these couple of days, the most illustrious person is none other than [Noble Consort Li].

[Emperor Xiao Jingheng] seems to be quite satisfied with her. Just yesterday, he promoted her title again.

Amongst the new concubines who entered the palace recently, she is the only one who has been summoned to the imperial bedchamber twice.

The consorts compete to fawn over her, especially [Consort Chen]. Gifts from her palace come unceasingly.

[Song Zhao] watched from the [West side hall] as the [East side hall] gate was bustling with people delivering gifts, wave after wave.

Later, even [Ying Xiang] from [Consort Chen]'s side came to deliver gifts to [Noble Consort Li]. When she left, [Noble Consort Li] personally escorted her out.

[Noble Consort Li] said loudly to [Ying Xiang], "Thank you for personally coming over. I really like the pink pearl earrings [Consort Chen] bestowed upon me. I will definitely come to thank her in person another day."

After seeing [Ying Xiang] off, she returned inside swaying her hips, looking very smug.

[Song Zhao] watched this happen. She suddenly ordered [Yun Shan], "I remember that among the jewelry I brought into the palace, there was a pair of pearl earrings. Go take them out and find a nice box to put them in. Come with me to congratulate [Noble Consort Li]."

[Noble Consort Li] was at the height of glory. She looked down on [Song Zhao] to begin with. Of course she would mock her a bit when [Song Zhao] came to give gifts.

"Let me see what you've brought," she said.

She opened the redwood gift box and took out a pair of pearl earrings, sneering,

"These soft-shelled river mussel pearls are commonplace, too petty for formal occasions. And these pearls are so tiny, they would be hard to find if they fell onto the floor. Sister, it's a bit shabby for you to bring such gifts."

Then she casually took a pair of plump, round, pink pearl earrings from the table and compared them to the ones [Song Zhao] brought.

Not to mention the pink pearls were a size bigger, the pale pink color was also much more eye-catching than the plain white.

[Song Zhao]'s eyes opened wide, as if she had never seen such fine jewelry.

Seeing [Song Zhao]'s expression, [Noble Consort Li] became even more smug. "These were bestowed by [Consort Chen]. The pink pearls are from eastern sea giant clams. To get a pair this finely matched is one in ten thousand. Now these are proper treasures."

[Song Zhao]'s eyes shimmered as she stared at the pink pearls, unable to look away.

"Such beautiful pearls, I've never seen them before. Noble Consort's graceful bearing matches these pink pearls perfectly. I've also heard that [Consort Chen] rarely bestows gifts, which shows how much she values you."

"This is nothing," [Noble Consort Li] said proudly, raising her chin. She picked up a nearby gold-mounted phoenix hairpin and twirled it in her hand. "This hairpin was bestowed by the [Empress]. The workmanship is exquisite and I really like it."

[Song Zhao] said, "The hairpin is beautiful, but it's a bit too plain. In comparison, I still think the earrings [Consort Chen] gave Noble Consort are more beautiful. If you wear them tomorrow when you greet the emperor, you will certainly outshine everyone."

"Fool, what do you know?"

[Noble Consort Li] rolled her eyes at [Song Zhao] and inserted the hairpin into her own hair bun by herself.

"The consorts all sent over gifts, of course I will pick the best to wear tomorrow. [Consort Chen]'s gift is good, but she has an unyielding temperament, petty and jealous. What good would it do to rely on her? It's still best to rely on the [Empress]. After all, she holds the position of Empress, not some common consort."

Seeing [Song Zhao] looking confused, she spoke in a lecturing tone, "To survive in the harem, you must observe people's expressions and understand the circumstances. Newcomers to the palace have little status or power, so they must find the most worthwhile person to attach themselves to, only then can the future path be smoother. Do you understand?"

[Song Zhao] pretended to be enlightened and quickly bowed in gratitude to [Noble Consort Li]. "Thank you Noble Consort for your guidance."

[Noble Consort Li] said smugly, "From now on, I will rely on the Empress, and you will follow me. With your looks, you won't gain favor anyway. Serve me well, and I can ensure you're fed and clothed, that's no difficult task."

After that, [Noble Consort Li] said a lot more snide remarks for quite a while. [Song Zhao] accepted it all obediently, and even flattered her profusely, praising her as an unparalleled fairy on heaven and earth.

[Yun Shan] watched this happen and felt injustice for her mistress.

After listening to [Noble Consort Li] talk for nearly half a hour, she finally let [Song Zhao] leave.

Upon returning to her palace, [Yun Shan] massaged and kneaded [Song Zhao], saying sorrowfully, "Mistress, you know you would inevitably be humiliated by seeing her, why did you still go and give her gifts?"

[Song Zhao] casually picked up a grape from the table, peeled and ate it. "She's a Noble Consort and I'm a Concubine, it's normal for me to fawn over her. We live under the same roof after all."

[Yun Shan] sighed. "I just hope Mistress can be summoned soon. That way, life in the palace would be easier in the future."

The windows in [Song Zhao]'s [West side hall] happened to overlook the side gate of the [East side hall].

After fawning over [Noble Consort Li], she kept staring out that window.

Soon, she saw [Lian Er] who served [Noble Consort Li] hurriedly leave through the side gate, sneaking away stealthily. Only then did a hint of a smile emerge on her lips. 𝖋𝖗𝖊𝖊𝔴𝖊𝖇𝔫𝖔𝖛𝖊𝖑.𝖈𝖔𝖒

[Xi Ying] had said that [Consort Chen] planted spies beside all the new concubines.

So [Song Zhao] went to give gifts to [Noble Consort Li] today specifically to provoke her into speaking ill of [Consort Chen] and praising the [Empress].

With [Consort Chen]'s unyielding temper, even without [Song Zhao] taking action, [Noble Consort Li]'s good days were probably limited.

*

At the same time, in [Yong An Palace].

"She really said that?"

[Consort Chen] sat at the head position, her words tinged with anger.

[Lian Er] who served [Noble Consort Li] was kneeling below. She respectfully said,

"This servant does not dare speak falsehoods. [Noble Consort Li] did say those words. [Song Zhao] who shares her residence also tried to dissuade her, saying the earrings you gave suit her well. But she said the [Empress]' gifts were more to her liking. She even explicitly said she would rely on the [Empress] in the future, and told [Song Zhao] who has not gained favor yet to rely on her in future."

[Consort Chen] gave a cold snort. "Hmph, she sure is ambitious. A mere Noble Consort who just entered the palace a few days starts plotting and forming alliances immediately? She likes relying on the Empress, this palace will satisfy her wish. Doesn't the Empress like advising His Majesty to favor all equally? [Ying Xiang]."

[Ying Xiang] stepped forward and knelt down. "This servant is here."

[Consort Chen] said, "Go to the [Palace Eunuch Office] and tell them [Noble Consort Li] is feeling unwell from wind-chill and cannot be summoned. Have them take down her green plaque. And tell [Zhang Jiugui] to remind His Majesty that there is still [Song Zhao] from [Yao Hua Palace] who has not met the emperor since entering the palace."

[Ying Xiang] accepted the order and withdrew. [Consort Chen] looked at [Lian Er] again and asked, "Do you understand what I mean when I said [Noble Consort Li] is unwell from wind-chill?"

[Lian Er] smiled cleverly, "This servant knows what to do."

[Consort Chen] nodded, very satisfied. She had the palace maid bring a few silver pieces to give [Lian Er], before saying, "You may leave. Take good care of your mistress."

[Lian Er] thanked [Consort Chen] for her grace, and left happily hugging the silver.

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