The bumpy carriage suddenly shook the sleeping beauty in it awake. Xing passed over a bottle of water which Mingxia took gladly. The Games ended two days ago and for exactly two days Mingxia sat in the carriage waiting to arrive home. In these two days she hardly moved around and only ate and slept.
"How far away is home?" She grumbled and laid her head on her elbow.
"I believe that we'll arrive there in three hours. Mingxia just hang in there." Xing replied with a soothing voice. Mingxia merely let out a soft grumble and Xing chuckled.
True to Xing's words, in three hours the carriage stopped and the curtain flap opened. "Welcome back Lady Mingxia." A young servant girl said as she bowed. Mingxia let out a yawn as she did a lazy stretch and stepped out of the carriage.
Outside Viscount Wei alongside Mingxue and Tang Xiao Min stood in a row in front of her. MIngxia lifted her head to see her father's bright smile and she went in for a hug. "You're back. Good. Good." Her father gently patted her back and gently kissed the top of her head. He kept his voice calm but inside he was so afraid of losing her. After her mother's death he knows that he would not be able to handle losing Mingxia as well. After a long hug he pulled out and Mingxia looked around at the other individuals around her.
Tang Xiao Min had on a forced smile and gently nodded her head when their eyes met. Mingxia returned the gesture with a small bow. "Mingxia greet Second Concubine Mother." Mingxia was not able to see Tang Xiao Min's expression but she did see Tang Xiao Min's knuckles whitening as her nails dug into her handkerchief. Mingxia stood up and smiled then she looked at Mingxua. Mingxue looked up at her mother then at her sister.
"Welcome home sister." Like a proper lady Mingxue placed her hand on her side and curtsied. Mingxia merely smiled then turned around to follow her father into the house. Mingxue diligently followed after Mingxia but Tang Xiao Min stood there for a second before following in after her daughter.
A long line of soldiers and groups of men on horses entered the imperial palace. "Behold the return of the Princes!!!" Loud drums resounded through the palace and the emperor sat on his throne with a smile. "My sons are back! Let us praise and congratulate them for their victories!" The emperor's advisors all cried in unison. "All hail the emperor and his royal highnesses!"
Four handsome men casually walked into the imperial court and bowed down to the emperor, their father. "Father, this son has returned." They said together.
"Rise my children." The emperor commanded and the princes stood up. Seeing four handsome man standing next to each other is an unbelievable sight. The first prince, the second prince, the third prince and the ninth prince standing next to each is even more unbelievable. The emperor felt a sense pride grow in him as his eyes scanned over the four men but this pride became confusion when his eyes landed on the ninth prince, Zong Ching. He meant to ask his son how he was able to participate in the Games but he kept it in. Transferring gaze from his son to his Viscount he had a gut feeling that Viscount Wei had something to do with this. Of course the emperor knew just how much the Wei family has and a bitter feeling grew inside him. He did not realize that he had been gripping onto his throne so tightly that his knuckles were all white until a hand touched his.
"Is something the matter Your highness?" A beautiful woman with long black hair and wearing a light blue dress looked at him with her warm brown eyes filled with worry. Immediately his heart softened at the sight of his beloved wife, his queen. He gave a warm smile to his queen and relaxed his hand and body.
Wei Xia Chen smiled and retracted her hand. She sat back in her throne and gazed around the room. Her eyes stopped at her brother and their eyes locked. Very briefly, she nodded her head and her brother returned with the same gesture.
The emperor quickly calmed down and rewarded all of his sons exquisite gifts.
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An hour later the advisors and court officials exited the imperial court. Viscount Wei let out a tired sigh and was about to exit when a maid came up to him.
"The empress would like to meet you." The maid curtsied and waited for his reply. Viscount Wei nodded his head and the followed the maid to his sister.
"Your highness." Viscount Wei bowed politely.
Wei Xia Chen smiled and gently helped her brother up. "Brother, I've told you so many time that when there's only the two of us you can call me by my name." Her smile broadened to show her two dimples when her brother chuckled.
"Okay okay. Xiao Xia why have you called this old man out today?" Viscount Wei sat down as Wei Xia Chen poured out two cups of tea.
"Old man?" Wei Xiao Chen raised her brows. "Brother if you're an old man then what does that make me?" She pouted and Viscount Wei chuckled once again. Wei Xia Chen is only a few years younger than her brother and although she is in her late thirties her face certainly does not reflect her age.
"Brother I want to ask about little Mingxia and Mingxue."
"Mingxia and Mingxue? What for?" Viscount Wei took a sip of his tea.
"Brother, your daughters are almost of age and with Mingxia's sixteenth birthday coming up isn't it time to consider their marriages?" Hearing the word marriages, Viscount Wei set down his cup and folded his hand on his lap. It wasn't that he haven't considered this problem, in fact he was considering it just the other day but one part of him wants to selfishly keep them with him.
"I haven't consider it yet." He softly said but he can't fool his sister.
"Brother, you know that you can't keep them next to you forever. You have to learn to let go." Viscount Wei remained stoic and did not reply to his sister's advice. "Brother, Mingxia's sixteenth birthday is coming up and I'm assuming you are throwing a party for her. How about I choreograph the celebration?"
"You? Are you sure?" Wei Xia Chen smiled again to reveal her two dimples and nodded her head. "Don't worry, I'll make sure that it'll be the celebration to remember." Her brother let out a sigh and nodded his head in agreement.
He could already guess why his sister wanted to plan Mingxia's celebration but how could he reject his sister's offer? Especially now that she is the empress he can no longer stop her now.
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