Ruyi frowned, tried to recall, and said with uncertainty, “It should have been Duke Zhen, right? At that time, the Duke’s manor was still located in Chang’an, and Madam’s pregnancy was not stable when she was pregnant with Miss and second young master.
At the same time, the situation outside the manor was not peaceful, as the court was searching for rebels every couple of days.
Duke Zhen was afraid of frightening Madam, so he sent Madam to the villa on Zhongnan Mountain to recuperate.
Madam gave birth to second young master and Miss in that villa, but unfortunately, Madam could not hold on and passed away right after giving birth.
Once the Duke brought young master and Miss back to the manor, no one had seen momo Su since.
Since Madam died from excessive bleeding, even if momo Su wanted to retire and return home, she couldn’t have asked her, so only the Duke could have agreed.”

Ming Huashang didn’t know that so many things happened in the year she was born.
Combined with the scene in the dream, Ming Huashang hazarded a guess.

Could it be that because Wang Yulan gave birth in the villa outside the city where there were fewer rules than in the Duke’s manor, it gave momo Su an opportunity.
After she quietly switched the two children, she had a guilty conscience, so when Wang Yulan died and Duke Zhen didn’t know the truth, she ran away in the name of returning home?

It was very possible, but Ming Huashang had a lingering feeling that she had overlooked something.
Ming Huashang asked, “Who else followed my mother to the villa to prepare for the labor?”

Ruyi shook her head, “This servant doesn’t know.”

This happened sixteen years ago, and Ruyi only entered the manor twelve years ago, so how could she know what happened during the Yonghui1 period? Ming Huashang said, “Go ahead and inquire about the people who accompanied my mother to the villa.
When you find them, keep quiet and report to me first, and then quietly bring them here.”

Ruyi accepted the order, then she paused, and asked cautiously, “Miss, why are you investigating this?”

Of course, it was to save her own cheap life.
If it wasn’t for her life being threatened by unknown people, who would be willing to investigate these old matters? Ming Huashang exhaled and said, “I’m curious about some things.
You are not allowed to tell others about this.
After leaving this door, you must not mention this to anyone, not even to my father or second elder brother, do you understand?”

It was rare for Ming Huashang to be so severe, Ruyi was taken aback and hurriedly agreed.

After Ming Huashang finished asking her questions, she asked Ruyi to retreat.
Sitting alone in the room, she looked at the flickering candles, and suddenly felt a sense of bewilderment.

She was Ming Huashang, but she was not the Zhen Duke manor’s Ming Huashang.
When the real daughter returns next year, where can she go?

Or should she take advantage of this year to quickly find a good man to marry?

This idea only appeared in Ming Huashang’s mind for a moment before she rejected it.
Wasn’t the bride’s status the most important factor in the marriages between nobles and officials? What they wanted to marry was a symbol that would act as a proxy for the wealth and kinship of the other party’s clan, so the marriage alliance person herself was the least important thing.
Even her own father, who regarded her as a treasure, gave up on her immediately after learning of her true identity.
Why would she trust that a man she had just met would never leave her?

The idea of staying with the Ming family was crossed out by Ming Huashang early this morning; she didn’t want to be killed inexplicably again.
Maybe she should go back to her real family, the Su family?

Ming Huashang also didn’t think this was a good choice.
In that family, there was a grandmother who could exchange her own granddaughter with the daughter of the duke for money.
Would such a household be a good family? Not to mention that momo Su also had a very promising grandson, and the whole family supported this son’s education.
Who knows if they would sell Ming Huashang when she returns?

She couldn’t stay in the Zhen Duke manor, and she couldn’t go back to the Su family, so she could only find a way to establish herself.
But independence was not as simple as buying a house.
She was a woman, and if she wanted to survive independently without a father, brother, or husband, she could only establish a female-headed household.
However, there were various harsh conditions for establishing a female household, so it was not easy to accomplish.

Even if she found a way with the government and successfully set up a female household, how will she survive in the future for she was just a good-for-nothing who was incompetent at all four of the arts?

Thinking about her gloomy future, Ming Huashang sighed deeply for herself.
Seeing that the Gan Zi Su in her hand was getting cold, she drank the rest in one gulp.

The sky was great, and the earth was great, but eating and sleeping were the greatest.
Fortunately, there was still one year left so she could make arrangements slowly.
The top priority was the upcoming Feihong banquet.

Ming Huashang pulled out a list and carefully noted what food she wanted to bring.
The plum blossom cake from the southern market was tough to buy, so she had to get Jinbao to prepare quickly.

In a blink of an eye, the fourteenth day of the first lunar month had arrived.
The curfew in Shendu was lifted, and the whole country celebrated for three days, with no restrictions.
Red lanterns were hung up high on the Vientiane Shrine, and the streets and alleys were filled with colored lanterns.
Even the cold and compassionate Buddha statues seemed infected by the warmth of the world.
People from surrounding regions and counties came to Luoyang to watch the Lantern Festival with their families.
At the same time, there were many precious horses and magnificent carriages leaving the city against the flow of people.

Taiping Gongzhu was hosting the Feihong banquet on Mang Mountain and invited all the talents in the capital to Mang Mountain to trek in the snow and enjoy the lanterns.
Ever since the Empress came to power, the saying that a woman’s virtue was to have no talent became ironic.
In front, there was the Empress who ruled the world, and behind was Shangguan Wan’er2 leading the way.
With the two of them as models, there was a series of female officials who participated in politics and who became lords and officials.
These positions were no longer exclusive to men.
More and more women have stepped out of the boudoir and participated in the fields where only men used to be.
The same was true for Taiping Gongzhu’s banquet.
Not only did they invite talented young masters from aristocratic families, but they also invited many noble and talented women.


Momentarily, luxurious horse-drawn carriages adorned Mang Mountain’s roads.
Ming Huashang was worried that the road up the mountain would be difficult, but she didn’t expect that the snow would be flattened by the continuous stream of carriages, so she reached the top of the mountain smoothly.
After getting out of the carriage, Ming Huashang was stunned by the scene in front of her.

People dressed in beautiful clothing and a hall filled with wealth; probably all the dignitaries of Luoyang were present, right? Ming Huashang had been a salted fish for sixteen years, so it was the first time she saw such a big scene.
She subconsciously went to Ming Huazhang, “Second elder brother.”

Ming Huazhang was leading the horse and was talking about something with the person at the door.
Seeing that Ming Huashang looked over, he handed the reins into his attendant’s hand, and said briefly, “Lead the horse to the stable.
Don’t use their fodder, use our own, and go supervise it yourself.
There’s no room for mistakes.”

The attendant accepted the order and led the horse away.
Ming Huazhang walked towards Ming Huashang and asked, “It took longer than expected to go up the mountain.
Are you feeling uncomfortable?”

Ming Huashang shook her head, “I’m fine, I had food and drinks in the carriage, how could I be uncomfortable? On the contrary, second elder brother rode the horse all the way here, you didn’t feel cold, I hope?”

She even had the mood to eat then she seemed to be alright.
Ming Huazhang replied, “This distance is nothing to me.
Since you are fine, I will take you to your living quarters first.”

Ming Huazhang and Ming Huashang were about to leave, when suddenly, a clear voice containing a smile came from behind them, “Jing Zhan.”

Ming Huashang didn’t notice that her elder brother Ming Huazhang’s eyebrows twitched, and he showed a very helpless look.
She followed the direction of the voice, turned her head, and saw a man dressed in a long and slender blue robe standing under the cedar tree.
When he saw Ming Huashang, he raised his eyebrows in a smile, his countenance unbridled and flirtatious, “Jing Zhan, is this your second younger sister?”




永徽: the first month of 650 AD to the December of 655 AD, it was the first year of Emperor Gaozong’s reign A real historical figure at that time who was described as a female prime minister

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