2 Prologue 2
Of course, no one in the room knew of Concubine Wu's wicked thoughts. Everyone ate and drank happily. The atmosphere in the room gradually turns lively. Empress Chun Fang sitting in her seat grimace a little bit. Her precious baby kick about in the womb, which causes considerable discomfort.
Hack! Hack! Hack!
Emperor Yuan cough a few times, trying to clear his throat. He wanted to make it through the banquet. However, his health is not getting any better, even after seeing the top-notch royal physicians. Many physicians could not figure out the cause of the illness nor the cure for it.
The feast is held in honor of his beloved wife, for she is about to give birth soon.
The Empress has conceived many times; Misfortune seems to visit her every time the babies are about to be born.
\"Your Majesty, I ask for permission to give a toast to the mother of our nation.\" Gao Don requests sincerity interrupting the busy chatters.
Everyone immediately lay their eyes upon Gao Don. Gao Don, a short middle-aged man with broad shoulders. An old scar down ran the right side of his square face. Due to the injury, many people assume Gao Don has a fierce temperament. On the contrary, he has a gentle and kind personality. Emperor Yuan gave him the seat position Minister of War.
\"You may give a toast.\" Emperor Yuan said nodding his head
Grinning, Gao Don raises the cup of wine in his hand. Clearing his throat, he said, \"Your Majesty, may you and the future Highness have a grand future.\"
The corner of Empress Chun Fang's lips lifted upward into a sweet smile. This smile causes everyone except Consort Wu to feel warmth like a fire burning during a cold day.
Using a soft tone of voice, Chun Fang responds, \"Minster Gao, thank you for your sweet gesture.\"
Other officials glare at Gao Don suspiciously. Many of them thought Gao Don is trying to curry favor with the Empress. So, later on, she would speak to her husband about him in a favorable light.
\"Well, spoken.\" praise Emperor Yuan, raising a cup to him.
\"Your Majesty, this humble servant does not deserve such praise.\" Gao Don opines while scratching his head somewhat embarrass.
Empress Chun Fang faces her husband and bean happily, \"Majesty, I appreciate you putting on a feast for me.\"
\"I was happy to do so since it's a celebration of our child Li Shimin Bide,\" reply Emperor Yuan affection visible in his eyes.
\"I hope he becomes like you and inherits your fine qualities.\" Chun Fang said while patting her round stomach.
\"I hope he will be more like you.\" Emperor Yuan says.
On the side, Concubine Wu sat silently. Anger whelmed up inside of her from hearing the conversation between the two. Her mind fills with deject thoughts. How come I did not get success treatment when I conceive his firstborn son? Does the Emperor not view my son and me as valuable?
Concubine Wu's thoughts got interrupted by the sharp sound of glass shattering. She and everyone else glance towards the disturbance. Near Empress Chun Fang's table lay on the ground is the scattered pieces of a teacup.
\"Ah!\" Chun Fang cried out in pain.
\"Are you alright?\" inquire Emperor Yuan hurrying over to her.
His eyebrows arch upward. Grave expression visible on his face. Placing his firm arms around his wife, he let her lean against him.
\"My baby is going to come. I feel discomfort in my lower back,\" answer Chun Fang wincing.
Cramping pain intensified over a short period. Other parts of her body begin to experience throbbing. Emperor Yuan froze on the spot, unsure what to do. The officials look at each other, feeling dither at the situation. They began to whisper among themselves. Seeing the chaotic scenes, Consort Wu stood up and went to the Emperor.
\"Your Majesty, please pardon this subject for speaking without your permission. I think the Empress should get escorted out of the banquet.\" Concubine Wu advised frankly.
Hearing her words, Emperor Yuan nods his head in agreement. In the next moment, Emperor Yuan orders, \"Servants come promptly and take the Empress to her chamber.\"
Maidservants at the side of the room scramble over to her side. A couple of them carefully assist her on her feet. Taking a deep breath, Chun Fang steadily strolls out of the room with the help of maidservants. Once his wife is out sight, Emperor Yuan faces the officials and says, \"You all may continue feasting. I will be with my wife.\"
He then exits the room, leaving everyone behind. Since the Emperor had left, the people went back to enjoying their meal. Concubine Wu hurriedly follow after her husband.
On her way to the bedroom, Chun Fang could barely handle the constant contractions.
\"Your Majesty, please be careful. \"said a maid anxiously.
Inhaling and exhaling, she continues onwards. Without saying a word, the maids silently accompany her. They pass by a few buildings before arriving in front of the bedroom entrance. Sliding the door open female servants help Chun Fang enter the chamber. The room looks dull compared to the royal chamber.
A beautiful size bed stands in the middle of the picturesque, spacious area with a lavender curtain. Next to the bed is a wooden dresser. On the furniture, there is a face, eye pigments, pieces of jewelry, and more. Chun Fang gradually lay down on the bed.
Pulling the silk blanket over her, one of the servant girls asks, \"Your Majesty, should I get a physician?\"
\"Close the door, then succor me into a more comfortable outfit,\" says Chun Fang.
\"Yes, Your Majesty.\" responded the girl.
The servant girl shut the door and help the Empress change into a white gown. Not long after, Concubine Wu enters the room, along with a couple of midwives and a servant girl.
The midwives already past their prime. They had gray hair tie up in a bun. Wrinkles could be seen on their faces. Two of them wear plane hanfu that lack any detail embroideries.
\"Miss Chun Fang, how are you feeling?\"
\"I could be better. Where is my husband?\" question Chun Fang
\"Uh, he is waiting outside, probably pacing around.\" Concubine Wu answer.