Chapter 186: Secret Meeting 98.1
Chapter 186: Secret Meeting (98.1)
“How are you keeping, father, grandmother?” Ye Li asked in a small voice after tea was served and the servants left.
Minister Ye paused for a second. He studied Ye Li’s expression before he answered: “We are fine. But your fourth sister...”
Ye Li's brow rose. “Prince Li didn't bring fourth sister with him when he left?”
Minister Ye shook his head.
Fortunately, Mo Jing Li didn't bring Ye Ying with him, otherwise, Ye Family would be condemned to rebellion in association with Prince Li. Now that Ye Ying was put under house arrest, the emperor finally believed that Ye Family didn't associate with Prince Li.
Deep in thought for a moment with her head down, Ye Li asked: “Who did Prince Li take when he left?”
Minister Ye had nothing to hide and answered in a serious tone: “Only that woman from Nan Zhao. He even left Consort Xian Zhao here. Empress dowager has took Consort Xian Zhao to the palace. However, with Prince Li’s rebellion, empress dowager has a difficult time.”
That thought made him regret what he did. He did work for empress dowager and he did favor Prince Li.
However, it never occurred to him that Prince Li would rise in rebellion out of nowhere. If he had known Prince Li was such a fool, he would have followed the emperor wholeheartedly. Before, he at least had a daughter who was Lady of Bright Deportment and a grandson who was a prince. Now, he had nothing.
“Fourth sister is under house arrest?” asked Ye Li with raised brow. “Why didn't Prince Li take her with him? She is his legitimate wife. He should know what would happen to her if she remained here.”
Minister Ye sighed helplessly and said: “Ying-er is two months pregnant. She couldn't travel a long way.”
Realizing something, Ye Li looked at Minister Ye and Old Lady Ye with a faint smile as she said: “Prince Li didn't know she was pregnant, did he?”
No matter how heartless Mo Jing Li was, he wouldn't have left his kid behind. More importantly, for now, the baby that Ye Ying was pregnant with was his only kid. The only possibility was that he had no idea that Ye Ying was pregnant, who made excuses to stay.
A bit uneasy under her gaze, Old Lady Ye spoke awkwardly: “Princess Qi Xia isn’t easy to deal with and Prince Li dotes on her. Given Ying-er’s ability, she might lose her child before she reaches Ling Zhou. Besides, Prince Li stays in the capital most of the time. We want Ying-er here when she’s in labour.”
Ye Li knew what was on Old Lady Ye's mind. With Lady Ye of Bright Deportment and the little prince gone, now that Ye Li had Prince Li’s child, the child must stay in the capital so that it would grow close to Ye Family after it was born. However, Mo Jing Li didn’t even inform Ye Family when he raised the rebellion, which in turn saved it by accident. Certainly, the emperor didn’t punish Ye Family probably partly taking Prince Ding’s Manor into consideration.
Sighing slightly, she turned to Minister Ye and said: “Father, I’m afraid His Majesty already knew about fourth sister’s pregnancy. He hasn't harmed her probably because he wants to use her child as coercion against Prince Li.”
Surely, Minister Ye had thought about that as well. He didn’t really come here in a hurry for Ye Ying. “Then, what shall we...”
Ye Li lifted a hand and stopped him. She then became serious as she spoke: “Father, I don’t know how to be a state official, but I know the man that sits on the throne resents disloyalty. You don’t think His Majesty didn’t know what you have done in the past two years? In my humble opinion, Prince Li is no match for the one who gives commands in the palace.”
Minister Ye’s expression changed a bit. “Do you mean...”
Ye Li took a sip of tea quietly while Minister Ye sat there worriedly.
Old Lady Ye, who was less patient, asked: “Li-er, what shall we do now?”
Ye Li answered calmly: “Father, you should submit a statement and condemn Prince Li’s crime as well as admit your error and beg for His Majesty’s forgiveness. However... His Majesty won't trust you anymore. Therefore, you’d better ask for a leave from your position. Afterwards, keep a low profile and educate Brother Rong.”
“Well...” Both Minister Ye and Old Lady Ye paused with unwillingness.
After some thought, Old Lady Ye turned to Ye Li cautiously and said: “Li-er, Prince Ding has rendered great service putting down a group of bandits in Yong Zhou, could he...”
As she watched Old Lady Ye’s hopeful face, Ye Li smiled coldly and answered calmly: “His Highness has done that plenty of times. Grandma, even if you aren’t aware, father should know the situation he is in.”
Minister Ye sighed in frustration.
Prince Ding couldn't intercede on Ye Family’s behalf right because he had just made a great contribution. Otherwise, the emperor would beat down Ye Family harder. Right now, Minister Ye didn’t know who to blame. Because of Prince Ding, the emperor wouldn’t place Ye Family in an important position anymore. However, also because of Princess Ding, Ye Family was spared a fatal disaster.
“Father, face the reality. Fight for what is yours when it is supposed to be yours and leave what isn't yours behind. Power and fortune are nothing if one dies.” said Ye Li quietly.
Minister Ye paused. He looked as if he was in a struggle. He then turned to Ye Li and spoke: “If I...”
She cut him off. “Father, think twice before speaking.”
Head hung in depression, Minister Ye breathed a deep sigh without a word.
Old Lady Ye understood it was a rejection, which meant Ye Family had lost its last hope. The thought that she wasn’t going to be the old lady of the Minister's Manor and that Ye Family would fall stirred her resentment. “Li-er, you are so cruel. No matter what your father did wrong in the past, he is still your father. Ye Family is still your parents’ family. What do you have to gain from the fall of our family? Prince Ding’s Manor has few relatives. Will you never need help at court?”
“Help?” Ye Li murmured. She turned to Old Lady Ye, hurt. “Father, grandma, have you visited big sister and the eldest son of Marquis Nan?”
Reduced to silence, Old Lady Ye recalled that they had been to Marquis Nan’s Manor as soon as Prince Li rose in rebellion. However, Marquis Nan shut them out. They didn't even get to see him nor his eldest son. Only a few days ago, Ye Zhen went to Ye's Manor in secret. She made it clear that Marquis Nan couldn't help. After all, no one wanted anything to do with a rebellion.
“Last year, uncle mentioned to me that though you had been cautious all your life, you were carried away by success in the past two years, father. I brought it up to grandma once. It was a pity that you guys wouldn't listen. You probably thought I was just jealous of second and fourth sister because I was resentful for marrying Prince Ding. As matters stand, His Highness couldn’t intercede on your behalf. Even if he could, how will you gain a foothold at court again, father? On my way back, I’ve heard His Majesty has been doting on Consort Yun and Lady Zhaorong Wang. There are also rumors that he wants to make Noble Consort Liu’s son his heir. He is going to place Yun Family and Wang Family in important positions. Liu Family is getting more powerful as well. Father, all three are established families. More importantly... they don’t get along well with our family. Don’t you understand what’s on His Majesty’s mind?”
Minister Ye looked as if he had aged ten years in an instant as he spoke with a hoarse voice: “I see... I’ll submit a statement of my error and beg forgiveness as soon as I’m home.”
Ye Li shook her head at Minister Ye but didn’t feel anything in particular. She didn’t have a way out for a person who valued power and fortune over his life.