2023 Chinese Drama List

Blooming Days – Peter Ho, He Hongshan

Blooming Days is a historical romantic drama directed by Gao Han, led by Peter Ho and He Hongshan, with Huang Shengyi in a special appearance, co-starring Huang Youming, Zhou Liqi, Morni Chang, Shen Tai, Gao Shuguang, Luo Haiqiong, Zeng Yixuan, and Xia Nan.

The drama begins with the turbulent crisis of the capital city and revolves around the emotional development of He Lianxin and Luo Qinglian. It tells a story of refusing to compromise for true love, striving for the well-being of the people, and seeking peace for the world.

Details

Blooming Days

English Title: Blooming Days
Chinese Title: 岁岁青莲
Other Titles: Story of Qinglian, 熹妃传, 清宫熹妃传
Genre: Historical, Romance, Drama
Tag: Harem, Power Struggle, Sibling Rivalry, Forced Marriage, Arranged Marriage, Miscarriage
Episodes: 36
Duration: 45 min.
Director: Gao Han
Writer: Zhang Yongchen, Ling Jiujiu, Yi Wenxue
Producer: Li Eryun, Li Xiaobiao, Hu Po
Product Company: Tencent Penguin Pictures
Released Date: 2023-10-23
Broadcast Website: WeTV, MZTV Exclusive, Viki, 腾讯视频

Cast

Synopsis

In the city of Qu Liang within the fief of Lord An, a remarkable young woman named Luo Qinglian becomes embroiled in the succession struggle among the sons of Lord An due to her striking resemblance to the late Rani. She becomes a concubine to the third son, He Lianxin.

At first, Qinglian's only desire is to escape this situation, but as time goes on and she experiences ups and downs with He Lianxin, she witnesses his compassionate heart towards the people.

Determined to stay by his side and support his ambitions, Qinglian decides to remain with him.

Recap

In the first year of Qi and Yuan, the previous emperor passed away, and the young emperor ascended the throne. Prime Minister He Lianxin wholeheartedly supported the young emperor, and for a while, the court was in turmoil. Many ups and downs occurred. General He Yunshuo was conferred the title of An Prince and sent to a barren and uncultivated borderland. When he first arrived in Qu Lian, he was met with wilderness and barbarity. The land was undeveloped, the people were uncivilized, there were tribal invasions from the outside, and internal conflicts among the Manchus. He Yunshuo used his martial skills to quell the chaos, his literary talents to attract talent, and his virtue to win the hearts of the people. After thirty years of hard work, he ultimately turned Qu Lian into a thriving city.

Lord Wang was selecting concubines, and Luo Qinglian's mother wanted her daughter Luo Qinglian to participate. However, Luo Qinglian was completely unwilling and tried to escape. Her attempt failed, and she was brought back by her mother and brother. Lord Wang had never selected concubines before, but this time it was the emperor's intention to take another wife. Many families with daughters were scheming to find a way for their children to have this opportunity. Luo Qinglian felt that her mother was selling her because she wanted to secure a position for her son in the mansion. In her anger, she jumped out of the carriage, narrowly avoiding being crushed by an oncoming cart carrying goods. Fortunately, her younger brother, Yi, appeared in time to save her.

He Lianxin's side consort, Mu Haiyao, was in charge of the selection of concubines. She instructed her personal maidservant, Ruhua, to screen the candidates. However, Ruhua believed that none of the candidates were suitable. Mu Haiyao assumed that Luo Qinglian did not show up because she knew she couldn't compete on the stage and had backed out. Mu Haiyao was a ruthless person. She ordered one of her maids to be punished severely for accidentally spilling tea on the floor.

For the concubine selection, Mu Haiyao had Ruhua hold a portrait to find someone with a similar appearance. The person in the portrait was the late queen, who had passed away 30 years ago. However, He Yunshuo had always been obsessed with her. The late queen was the mother of He Lianxiu, who was the second son of He Yunshuo. He Lianxin and He Lianxiu were the third and fourth sons of Lord Wang. Although they shared the same father, their relationships were not so pure. He Lianxin was different; he had no interest in the power struggle and only wanted to live a carefree and comfortable life.

He Lianxiu's legitimate wife, Ruan Zhimei, also came to observe the concubine selection. However, Mu Haiyao paid her no attention and acted as if Ruan Zhimei couldn't measure up. Ruan Zhimei knew that Mu Haiyao came from a powerful family and had a haughty attitude, so she had to swallow her pride.

Luo Qinglian and her brother, Lu Beiyi, came up with a plan. They used a special medicine that, when applied to the face, created the appearance of a red birthmark. Luo Qinglian successfully deceived Mu Haiyao with this trick. However, she was seen by Jin Fang, the maidservant who had been hiding behind a fake rockery. Mu Haiyao drove Luo Qinglian away, and Jin Fang followed her. Jin Fang had been the late queen's personal maidservant and had not seen anyone who looked so much like the late queen since her passing. Jin Fang owed He Lianxin a favor, so she deliberately reminded Mu Haiyao that the girl who had just left not only looked like the late queen but also behaved similarly in every way. She hinted that the girl wanted to be rejected. Luo Qinglian left Lord Wang's mansion, unaware that the bag containing the disguised medicine had fallen at the gate.

After leaving the An Prince's mansion, Luo Qinglian immediately found Lu Beiyi at the medical clinic. Lu Beiyi learned that Luo Qinglian had not been chosen and was deeply disappointed. However, Mu Haiyao saw the whole scene and realized that Luo Qinglian had intentionally made herself unattractive to deceive Lord Wang. She arranged for Ruhua to report this to the authorities.

In order to get Luo Qinglian into Lord Wang's mansion, Mu Haiyao deliberately framed her parents. Luo Rongyu, who had lived an upright and honest life, was a magistrate for the people but was falsely accused of corruption by Mu Haiyao. She had also deceived Luo's mother into signing a statement without carefully reading it, unknowingly admitting her connection to the rebels of Tianqing Society. Today was supposed to be a joyous day for Luo Qinglian and Lu Beiyi, but in order to protect her family, Luo Qinglian had to give up the marriage and return to Lord Wang's mansion. Mu Haiyao promised that as long as she behaved well in the mansion, she would not trouble Luo's family again.

In the An Prince's mansion, Luo Qinglian met He Lianxin and Jin Fang. Jin Fang saw Luo Qinglian and thought of the late queen. She promised He Lianxin that she would help Luo Qinglian get selected. Although Luo Qinglian was just an ordinary woman, she was not ignorant. She knew that He Lianxin usually pretended to be carefree but was secretly plotting a big game. He wanted Luo Qinglian to replace the late queen so that the arrogant heir could fall from favor, giving He Yunshuo a chance to rise to power.

He Lianxin pretended not to understand Luo Qinglian's words, and Luo Qinglian was not surprised by his reaction. When He Lianxiu, the fourth brother, arrived, He Lianxin quickly took Luo Qinglian into a carriage. He Lianxiu sensed that something was amiss and went home to discuss the matter with his wife. The fourth wife speculated that it might be Mu Haiyao who had found someone resembling the late queen and wanted to investigate. He Lianxiu felt a twinge of jealousy and asked his wife if she wanted to use this as an excuse to see He Lianxin. The fourth wife stated that since she was already the fourth wife, she would always remember her position and consider everything for He Lianxiu.

Luo Qinglian still had not given up on her desire to leave. She deliberately told Jin Fang Matron that she wanted to live in a larger room because the current place was too small, and she felt confined. Mu Haiyao learned of this and firmly refused, as her place was the largest in the estate, except for He Lianxin's courtyard. She suspected that Luo Qinglian was trying to find an opportunity to escape, and she would not allow her that chance.

The fourth wife came to He Lianxin's courtyard, and he took her to the side of Unxi Pool, explaining that this pool was built for her. The fourth wife believed that there was no need to bring up the past. He Lianxin knew that she had chosen someone else back then because she thought he had no chance of inheriting the title, and now she was testing the waters. The fourth wife told He Lianxin that she had lost too much, so she needed to ensure everything was foolproof in every matter.

According to their agreement, Lü Beiyi wanted to rescue Luo Qinglian, but he was discovered by Mu Haiyao. Mu Haiyao captured Lü Beiyi, and to free him, Luo Qinglian had to agree to Mu Haiyao's conditions and focus on her studies in the mansion. Luo Qinglian was confined to her room every day. One day, she saw a little cat run in, and shortly after, Hui'er entered looking for the cat. It turned out the cat was called Rongqiu, and it belonged to Hui'er. Hui'er couldn't understand why Rongqiu ran away when she had provided it with a carefree life. Luo Qinglian told Hui'er that Rongqiu might want a life of freedom.

He Lianxin arrived, and Hui'er wanted him to release Luo Qinglian. He Lianxin said that Luo Qinglian could leave tomorrow. He Lianxin told Luo Qinglian that Lü Beiyi didn't dislike official positions; he only pretended not to care because she didn't like them. He hoped Luo Qinglian would forget Lü Beiyi, as that would be the best outcome.

After studying with Jin Fang Matron for several days, Luo Qinglian's demeanor had become very similar to the late queen's. During this time, Luo Qinglian felt that Jin Fang Matron treated her very well and was puzzled. Jin Fang Matron told Luo Qinglian that she looked very much like her own young miss, the late queen. Since the late queen's passing, she had been yearning for her every day, and the lord missed her even more.

On the day of the selection of palace attendants, Luo Qinglian entered the palace. According to the requirements, the girls who wanted to become attendants had to wash their faces. Unfortunately, a gust of wind blew leaves into some of the girls' basins, leaving their faces dirty. Only Luo Qinglian's basin remained clean, so she had everyone use her basin to wash their faces. After washing their faces, the other girls' appearances were ruined. The lord called Luo Qinglian, but upon seeing her, he was instantly captivated because she looked so much like the late queen. The fathers of the girls whose appearances were ruined came to the palace to seek justice for their children. They believed Luo Qinglian had done it intentionally, but she was completely unaware. He Lianxin also spoke up for Luo Qinglian, stating a simple truth: if she wanted to harm someone, why would she poison her own basin in front of everyone? However, the fathers believed that Luo Qinglian might be using this logic to clear herself of suspicion.

Luo Qinglian explained that she had no grudges against the other girls, and there was no reason for her to harm them. Even if she wanted to eliminate her competition, with over a dozen girls participating in the selection, it didn't make sense for her to harm only three of them. Someone wanted to frame her. Regardless of her explanation, the injured girls' fathers still suspected that she had acted intentionally and hoped that Lord An would give their children justice.

Lu Beiyi learned about Luo Qinglian's situation and rushed into the palace, attempting to take her away. However, they were no match for the palace guards and were quickly captured. Lu Beiyi was accused of assassination and sentenced to execution. To save Lu Beiyi, Luo Qinglian reluctantly admitted that she wanted to harm those girls. Now that she had confessed, she hoped that Lord An would release Lu Beiyi. The late queen was willing to give up her life to bear the late king's child, believing it was a worthwhile sacrifice. Now, Luo Qinglian was willing to exchange her life to save Lu Beiyi. Jin Fang Matron stepped forward to explain, revealing her identity. Lord An recognized Jin Fang Matron and, in consideration of the late queen's memory, agreed to listen to her.

She believed that everyone could see that Luo Qinglian was forced to admit her wrongdoing because of the circumstances. Lord An was not a person who would ignore the truth for a woman, so she hoped everyone could give him some time to investigate the matter. If they insisted on making Luo Qinglian take the blame, she was willing to stand in for her. Just as she finished speaking, Jin Fang Matron rushed into a flower bed and passed away on the spot. Luo Qinglian never expected Jin Fang Matron to do such a thing, and she couldn't help but cry.

With the situation having reached this point, nobody could pressure Lord An any further. They had to await the results of Lord An's investigation, as Jin Fang Matron had suggested. In the end, Lu Beiyi was banished for generations on charges of assassination, and Luo Qinglian lost her qualifications to become a palace attendant. She was sent to He Lianxiu to work as a servant.

Dongli visited Luo Qinglian and told her that her family was worried about her, but in this situation, they were powerless. Luo Qinglian's main concern now was Lu Beiyi. Lu Beiyi was proud and had been banished, which must have been very difficult for him. Luo Qinglian started learning from scratch, starting with cooking. Although her family's conditions were average, she had never done such manual labor before. He Lianxiu was also quite annoyed. This servant girl was almost his father's woman. Now that she had been assigned to his household, he didn't know how to handle the situation.

He Lianxin came with a fine horse to meet He Lianxiu, knowing that He Lianxiu liked horses. His purpose was to take Luo Qinglian away, so he deliberately praised the food, and He Lianxiu suggested taking the chef instead if He Lianxin liked it. Seeing the opportunity, He Lianxin immediately praised the girl who cooked. This praise fulfilled his wish, and He Lianxiu gave Luo Qinglian to him.

The fourth son saw He Lianxin taking away Luo Qinglian and told He Lianxiu about Luo Qinglian's identity. He Lianxiu couldn't believe that He Lianxin had dared to take his father's woman. He went to complain to Lord An, but to his surprise, He Lianxin also arrived. He voluntarily admitted that he and Luo Qinglian were in love and hoped that his father would agree to their marriage.

Lord An agreed to He Lianxin's request, but he emphasized that Luo Qinglian should be made a concubine, not treated as a servant. This pleased He Lianxin greatly. Before returning home, he went to meet Lu Beiyi, who was drowning his sorrows in alcohol. Lu Beiyi wanted to redeem himself and avoid a life of servitude, and He Lianxin offered to help, surprising Lu Beiyi.

Luo Qinglian was tied up and placed in a sedan chair, which was carried into He Lianxin's courtyard. She had no intention of staying there, so as soon as she stepped out of the sedan chair, she removed her head covering. Mu Haiyao considered her to be disrespectful and wanted to punish her. He Lianxin's other wives, secondary wives, and maidservants watched, with some supporting Mu Haiyao's decision and others choosing to remain silent. Fortunately, He Lianxin's legitimate wife, Fang Huairui, arrived in time to prevent Luo Qinglian from being punished. Unlike Mu Haiyao, Fang Huairui was kind and gentle. Combined with her status as the legitimate wife, the other wives dared not go against her.

Mu Haiyao wanted to instigate a rebellion against Luo Qinglian being made a concubine, but they were interrupted by the arrival of He Lianxin and Lord An's attendant. The attendant read Lord An's decree, and since it was his wish, the other wives didn't dare to oppose it further. In the evening, He Lianxin went to Luo Qinglian's room. He knew whom she was thinking about, so he took her to see Lu Beiyi, who was cleaning horse dung. When Lu Beiyi accidentally made a mess, the steward ordered him to pick it up with his hands. Seeing this, Luo Qinglian was filled with sorrow.

He Lianxin had intentionally arranged for Lu Beiyi to work at his residence to keep Luo Qinglian in check, but as long as Lu Beiyi cooperated, He Lianxin would help him escape servitude when the opportunity arose. The Crown Prince came to the residence to celebrate the promotion of the fourth prince to a higher title. However, the fourth prince heard about the promotion, and this time it was the third prince who was promoted. He was an idle person who hadn't accomplished anything, which surprised He Lianchu. He suspected that Luo Qinglian was behind this. When He Lianchu was worried, his attendant Song An informed him that he had a fellow townsman working as a maidservant in He Lianxin's residence, living unhappily. He suggested that they could make use of her. He Lianchu found this proposal reasonable.

He Lianxin sent someone to Luo Qinglian's family to arrange for a maidservant. Dongli was chosen to go to He Lianxin's residence. Upon arriving, she saved Luo Qinglian from a staged accident involving a flowerpot placed in their path. Luo Qinglian was glad that Dongli was there to accompany her, as she now had someone she could trust at the residence. As for the flowerpot incident, she had an inkling of Mu Haiyao's intentions, but she didn't explain and simply admitted her fear of cats, which was why she accidentally pushed it over, resulting in the death of the cat. She asked Lady Fang Huairui to punish her. Fang Huairui was moved by Luo Qinglian's candor and decided not to punish her. Mu Haiyao was surprised by Luo Qinglian's admission that she had killed the cat.

In the evening, Luo Qinglian planned to escape. However, Huier suddenly rushed in, wanting to take her to confront their father and have him punish her. Huier remembered what Luo Qinglian had told her before, and she realized that Luo Qinglian was not to blame. Thus, she chose to believe Luo Qinglian. Since Luo Qinglian was not responsible for the cat's death, it had to be Mu Haiyao. Huier went to confront Mu Haiyao, who was in a hurry to catch Luo Qinglian. She pushed Huier, and Huier accidentally hit her head on a cabinet, resulting in her death. Mu Haiyao panicked, and one of her maids wanted to frame Luo Qinglian for this. She convinced Mu Haiyao to go after Luo Qinglian while she placed Huier's body in Luo Qinglian's room.

The legitimate wife held Huier's lifeless body, grieving and crying, and He Lianxin arrived at the scene. Huier was their only son, and he was gone. The legitimate wife couldn't accept this outcome and believed that Luo Qinglian had killed Huier. She demanded that Luo Qinglian be executed, but He Lianxin stopped her and had someone take her back to her room to rest.

Mu Haiyao and her maidservant, Lan'er, acted together and successfully shifted suspicion onto Luo Qinglian. He Lianxin believed that Huier had blocked the escape of Luo Qinglian and Lu Beiyi, so he took action. He decided to sink the two of them into the Unxi Pool. His attendants reminded him to remember Lord An's words, and He Lianxin didn't want to let Luo Qinglian pay with her life so easily for Huier's death. Luo Qinglian requested He Lianxin's permission to investigate the murderer, promising that if she couldn't find the culprit, she would be buried with Huier.

He Lianxin had Lu Beiyi locked up and deprived him of food and water until Luo Qinglian found the truth. Luo Qinglian went to see the legitimate wife, but she was unwilling to see her. Luo Qinglian knelt outside the door, expressing that everyone saw Huier as a privileged child, but she believed that Huier was very unfortunate, deprived of his parents' love and ordinary childhood happiness, and no one genuinely cared for him. Luo Qinglian questioned whether the legitimate wife, as Huier's mother, would want to see her child die unjustly.

The legitimate wife allowed Luo Qinglian to enter the room. With the legitimate wife's help, Luo Qinglian gained the authority to question the servants. She only asked if Lan'er was Mu Haiyao's personal maidservant and then let her go. However, she kept Ru Hua for two hours. Mu Haiyao was worried about Ru Hua making a mistake, so she went to find her. Fortunately, Ru Hua arrived in time; otherwise, she might have revealed the truth. Mu Haiyao had Ru Hua taken away to interrogate her. Even when Luo Qinglian tried to intervene, Mu Haiyao ignored her.

Dongli felt that they were so close to discovering the murderer, but Luo Qinglian told her that she had already found out. She had no hope that Ru Hua would confess. She was waiting for the person behind the scenes, who couldn't sit still. It turned out to be Mu Haiyao. Luo Qinglian went to see Rong Bu, asking if she had seen anything that night. Rong Bu claimed that she hadn't. Luo Qinglian knew that Rong Bu must have seen something but didn't want to say. She chose not to press the issue.

On the day of Huier's burial, Luo Qinglian had Dongli hide under the coffin to speak as Huier. She hoped to catch Mu Haiyao off guard and see her reaction. Mu Haiyao panicked, and the legitimate wife noticed. He Lianxin also observed this but didn't say anything. They decided to proceed with Huier's burial.

Afterward, at Song An's request, Lan'er put poison in Luo Qinglian's teapot. Luo Qinglian brought the legitimate wife to her room and made sure she was the only one who drank the water. Later, she took the legitimate wife to see another maidservant, Lady Rong, hoping that she would tell the truth about what she saw that night. When Lady Rong was hesitant, the legitimate wife threatened to use torture. To protect Lady Rong, Luo Qinglian asked the legitimate wife for time to persuade her. Eventually, Lady Rong revealed that someone had carried a sack into Luo Qinglian's room that night. The sack was about the size of a child, but it was dark, and she couldn't identify the person. Luo Qinglian fell ill from the poison, and the doctor believed there was no chance of recovery. She hoped that Lady Rong would go to find Lu Beiyi. Lu Beiyi had not eaten or drunk anything for several days, and he was also in critical condition. In an effort to save Luo Qinglian, Lady Rong risked her life to bring Lu Beiyi water. After Lu Beiyi regained consciousness, he shared the method to save Luo Qinglian with Lady Rong.

Lady Rong, following the method taught by Lu Beiyi, saved Luo Qinglian's life. Luo Qinglian was very grateful to Lady Rong. Through these events, Lady Rong saw that Luo Qinglian was a good girl and recognized her as a younger sister. In reality, Lady Rong had seen the person that night, but Luo Qinglian didn't want her to say anything without concrete evidence, as it would put her at risk of being poisoned. Nonetheless, Lady Rong mentioned Lan'er.

Lan'er was planning to escape but discovered a hidden compartment in a room. She took a precious item from it, hoping it would spare her life. Lan'er met with Song An, and like a painting saw her, deciding to report back to Mu Haiyao. Mu Haiyao bound Lan'er, not expecting her to betray her. Mu Haiyao wanted to know what Lan'er had given to Song An and was willing to plead with a maidservant for the sake of the Lord.

Luo Qinglian and the legitimate wife rushed over but found that Lan'er had already died. Mu Haiyao's explanation was that Lan'er had an affair and took her own life after she scolded her. Luo Qinglian hadn't expected that Mu Haiyao would outpace her once again. Luo Qinglian knew that finding the real murderer would be very difficult, so she secretly released Lu Beiyi and had Dongli accompany them. By doing so, she would fall into He Lianxin's hands. He Lianxin intended to help her and had just raised a knife when a royal messenger arrived. The Lord ordered He Lianxin and Luo Qinglian to pay respects to the late Queen Mother the next day, and the same message reached the Crown Prince's estate.

In the hidden compartment, Lan'er found evidence collected by He Lianxin about the Crown Prince. He was not just an idle noble but was secretly amassing power. The Crown Prince hadn't anticipated He Lianxin's cunning strategy. He had arranged for people to ambush them on the road and create a rockslide when the right moment came. He planned to die there to protect his position because once the Lord discovered what he had done, his position as Crown Prince would be untenable. So he set up the trap, and the outlaws detonated the rockslide. Many stones fell down, and Luo Qinglian rushed out to save herself. He Lianxin was also trapped underneath. With great effort, he moved the rocks and saw a boy who was about to be crushed. He quickly saved the boy. Luo Qinglian, witnessing this, didn't expect He Lianxin to value the common people so much. She rushed over to help him.

Mu Haiyao wanted to go rescue He Lianxin, but Ru Hua disagreed, saying that she wouldn't be able to explain how she knew about this incident. Mu Haiyao decided to go anyway. The legitimate wife came and slapped her, saying that she had heard her mention saving He Lianxin, indicating that she must have known about the incident.

The Crown Prince arrived, accusing He Lianxin of disregarding the lives of the common people in his attempt to assassinate him. The Seventh Prince came to defend the people from He Lianxin's estate, and the Crown Prince had to leave. Mu Haiyao called her brother over and asked him to save He Lianxin. The legitimate wife's brother, Lord Fang Erge, also arrived, saying that the Crown Prince had found evidence against their father. He promised to bring charges against their father once He Lianxin returned. The honor of their entire family now rested with the legitimate wife, and they couldn't allow He Lianxin to come back. When He Lianxin regained consciousness, he realized that Luo Qinglian had saved him. But he still believed that Luo Qinglian was the culprit behind Huier's death and was determined to punish her when they returned home.

Luo Qinglian told He Lianxin that in this world, not everyone is heartless; many people have feelings and righteousness. He Lianxin knew she was talking about Lu Beiyi. He reminded Luo Qinglian that Lu Beiyi's top priority is his career, not her. One day, Luo Qinglian will understand this. Luo Qinglian took He Lianxin to the place she had arranged to meet with Lu Beiyi. He Lianxin had already decided to support her relationship with Lu Beiyi, and when he returned to see the Lord An, he would falsely claim that Luo Qinglian had died trying to save him. Luo Qinglian was grateful to He Lianxin, and he repaid her for saving his life.

Dongli came to find Luo Qinglian and informed her about the tragic death of Lu Beiyi's parents due to their low status. Luo Qinglian personally went to their graves and made a tombstone for them, feeling responsible for what had happened. He Lianxin hoped that Luo Qinglian could go back with him, and once he succeeded, he would personally pardon Lu Beiyi's low status. Just as he spoke, hidden assassins released arrows, but fortunately, the Seventh Young Master and his soldiers arrived in time to save He Lianxin.

He Lianxin kept his promise and let Luo Qinglian leave, but the Seventh Young Master stopped her because only she could prove He Lianxin's innocence. He Lianxin asked Luo Qinglian a question: how long would she be miserable if she didn't marry Lu Beiyi? Luo Qinglian told him, "a lifetime." Hearing this, He Lianxin agreed to let her go. Surprisingly, the Seventh Young Master begged Luo Qinglian to help his third brother and explained that in the Wang Mansion, it was different from ordinary people's homes. Once they lost their father's trust, they couldn't achieve their ambitions. Other soldiers knelt down as well, pleading with Luo Qinglian to return to the city with He Lianxin.

Luo Qinglian wanted to wait a bit longer, hoping that Lu Beiyi would come back, but he never did. In reality, he was watching her from a distance but didn't show himself. Luo Qinglian was heartbroken and decided to follow He Lianxin back to the city to help him achieve his goals. He must remember his promise to remove Lu Beiyi's low status if the opportunity arose, and He Lianxin agreed to this.

After returning to the city, Luo Qinglian told the Lord An about her experiences on this journey. However, her story contradicted what the Crown Prince had told him. She didn't know what the Crown Prince had said, but she assured the Lord An that everything she said was true. The Lord An received a secret letter that confirmed Luo Qinglian's story, and he appointed He Lianxin as General Zhao De to reward Luo Qinglian for protecting him. He also gave her a flute that once belonged to the late queen, granting her a lifelong reprieve from death. The Crown Prince was shocked by the unexpected outcome and couldn't sit still in his chair. When asked why he had chosen to ennoble these brothers, the Crown Prince replied that he wanted to motivate them to achieve great things. The Lord An was disappointed with the Crown Prince's dullness and told him not to come and pay respects for several days, instructing him to reflect on his actions in the Crown Prince's residence.

He Lianxin asked Luo Qinglian why she hadn't mentioned the Crown Prince's plot to kill him. Luo Qinglian explained that if she had spoken up, it would have been the Crown Prince who suffered the consequences, not the Seventh Young Master. He Lianxin believed that Luo Qinglian wasn't the one who had killed Hui'er, but he wanted to know who did it. Luo Qinglian had no evidence but was willing to stake her life on the claim that it was Mu Haiyao.

Upon returning to the mansion, He Lianxin arranged for Luo Qinglian to stay at Lianwei Residence, which was close to the Unripe Pond. Mu Haiyao then staged a drama by pretending to be ill and didn't go to welcome He Lianxin back. She even conspired with the imperial physician to falsely claim she was three months pregnant, further hurting the legitimate wife's feelings.

Luo Qinglian, upon arriving at her new residence, had new attendants and maids. However, she instructed them that if they heard people talking about her outside, they should ignore it. She didn't want them to be insulted because of her past, and she would never force them to stay. When Luo Qinglian entered her room, she was surprised to find He Lianxin already there. She realized that He Lianxin had received a significant promotion that day, which meant he was willing to overlook the death of Hui'er, as he had also allowed Fang Huairui's brother, Fang Erge, to remain unharmed. The past, no matter how painful, was behind them, and the future was what truly mattered.

He Lianxin was impressed by Luo Qinglian's intelligence, confirming that he had made the right choice in her. He ordered that she was not to leave the residence without his permission. Luo Qinglian understood his reasons and didn't question them. After the recent events, she could see that He Lianxin cared about the people and would likely be a wise ruler in the future. However, she also sensed that Mu Haiyao was cunning and malicious, and her influential family would eventually pose a threat to He Lianxin. He had confined Luo Qinglian for her safety, as she had attracted attention and made enemies in the household, particularly from the Crown Prince.

Luo Qinglian's house arrest lasted for a year, during which time she took the opportunity to learn about all the matters within the residence. She had a hunch about He Lianxin's intentions, so she asked the servants assigned to her to share any information they knew.

On a stormy night, He Lianxin was summoned to the Lord An's mansion, and Luo Qinglian woke up, sensing that something was amiss. She learned that He Lianxin had gone to the Lord An's mansion, which confirmed her suspicion that something had gone wrong there. The Lord An was furious because the treasury at his mansion had been emptied. He inquired if anyone had volunteered to recover the debts, and the Crown Prince was the first to back down. Lord An then recommended the Third Young Master, and ultimately, He Lianxin was tasked with the job. In reality, Lord An used this opportunity to clear the way for the Crown Prince. Recovering the debts would please Lord An, but it would anger other high-ranking officials. Failing to recover the debts was not an option, as it would be seen as a failure, making it a thankless task. The other young masters took delight in He Lianxin's predicament.

With a troubled expression, He Lianxin realized he was at a loss, but then he thought of Luo Qinglian and considered seeking her help to resolve the current crisis. Su Nanchun was tasked with taking Luo Qinglian to the Lord An's mansion. However, on the way, they encountered a maid of Mistress Mo who would report this to her mistress and deliver a hairpin she had found dropped by Luo Qinglian. Mistress Mo knew that Mu Haiyao bore a grudge against Luo Qinglian and intended to interfere, so she shared this information with Mu Haiyao.

Luo Qinglian, along with He Lianxin, met with the Lord An. The Lord An inquired about how He Lianxin treated Luo Qinglian, and she replied that he treated her well. The Lord An informed her that there was more to it than just being treated well; He Lianxin treated her the same way he treated everyone. He insinuated that He Lianxin was not being overly affectionate. Although He Lianxin had not yet grasped his father's intentions, he believed it wouldn't be a bad thing. Mu Haiyao had a miscarriage, and it was Mistress Mo who had orchestrated this incident, framing Luo Qinglian for it. Upon returning to the mansion, Luo Qinglian was taken to Mu Haiyao's room. She saw the stillborn baby and then Mu Haiyao produced the missing hairpin. Luo Qinglian realized she was in trouble and tried to escape, but the servants blocked the door. At that moment, the legitimate wife and Mistress Mo arrived, and Luo Qinglian came up with a plan to pretend that everything was fine and that she had not suffered any harm.

The legitimate wife noticed that Mu Haiyao appeared pale and unwell. Although Mu Haiyao tried to conceal her condition, the legitimate wife wanted to visit her room, and Mu Haiyao's attempt to stop her raised suspicions. Fortunately, Luo Qinglian intervened and helped Mu Haiyao deceive the legitimate wife. She also mentioned that the maid of Mistress Mo, Banqiu, had found her hairpin, causing Mistress Mo to deny it. The legitimate wife believed Luo Qinglian and assumed that Mu Haiyao was fine. She also deduced that it was Mistress Mo who was behind Mu Haiyao's fall. The legitimate wife advised Mistress Mo to rest and not come out before childbirth, and then she left.

Mu Haiyao went to see another concubine, Lady Rou, and told her about Luo Qinglian's assistance. Lady Rou was surprised at how fast Luo Qinglian had grown in just five months. Mu Haiyao thought that if Luo Qinglian truly surrendered, it could be a good thing, but Lady Rou was suspicious and decided to test her.

Mu Haiyao continued acting as if she were pregnant. She purposely had her attendants and the physician walk by Luo Qinglian and Lady Rou. They talked about her experiencing a miscarriage, which was all staged by Mu Haiyao. She did this to test Luo Qinglian and to strip the legitimate wife of her control over the household's daily affairs. The legitimate wife heard about Mu Haiyao's supposed miscarriage and sent her maids to check on her. Mu Haiyao played her part in front of the maids and even made one of them, Ru Hua, appear as if she held a grudge against her. Mu Haiyao acted as if she had been wronged and put on a convincing performance, even adding something to the medicine. The legitimate wife's maids saw this and rushed back to report to her.

Luo Qinglian sensed that something was amiss and hoped the legitimate wife would not go. Although the legitimate wife resented Mu Haiyao, she didn't want to see harm come to He Lianxin's child. She went to intervene but discovered that it was all a staged act. Mu Haiyao had colluded with the physician, and they acted out a scene in front of He Lianxin to convince the legitimate wife that she was unwell. He Lianxin advised the legitimate wife to rest and handed over the household matters to Mu Haiyao.

After this test, Mu Haiyao began to trust Luo Qinglian, believing she could be useful. However, Lady Rou had a different opinion and suspected Luo Qinglian's motives. To send a message, she gifted Luo Qinglian a spider, revealing her own intelligence and influence.

The Second Young Master started selling calligraphy and paintings in the street to repay debts. Upon learning of this, He Lianxin and Luo Qinglian went to the scene to investigate. They discovered that the Crown Prince's attendants were deliberately obstructing the officials responsible for collecting debts, making it difficult to recover the money. He Lianxin learned that the treasury had a practice of having workers strip and shout when exiting to prove they were not stealing money. However, even with these measures, money was still frequently disappearing. He Lianxin came up with a plan and prepared ginger soup with laxatives for the workers to drink. The intention was to flush out anyone stealing money. The Second Young Master heard about this and was shocked by He Lianxin's unorthodox approach. His wife's brother was involved in stealing money, and she begged him to save their only male heir. With no other option, the Second Young Master promised to help. His first step was to repay the debts, and even Song An couldn't stop him from doing so, as he was surprised by the Second Young Master's decision.

Luo Qinglian went to visit Mu Haiyao and Lady Rou, but she was told that He Lianxin wanted to take her to his favorite place. This made Mu Haiyao jealous, as she knew that He Lianxin had never taken his wives and concubines there before. Luo Qinglian remained silent. Later, as per He Lianxin's instructions, Su Nanchun brought a box of jewelry for Mu Haiyao. Mu Haiyao asked Luo Qinglian to pick one, and she chose the smallest one, which she wore as instructed. When Lady Rou saw the bracelet, she recognized it as a valuable one. Luo Qinglian claimed it was a family heirloom that she always wore. After Luo Qinglian left, Lady Rou accidentally knocked over the snacks she had brought, which angered Mu Haiyao. Lady Rou believed Luo Qinglian was untrustworthy, but Mu Haiyao thought otherwise and told Lady Rou to rest, reminding her not to let accidents like dropping plates happen again.

He Lianxin took Luo Qinglian to Bai Zhen Lane under the guise of going shopping, but he was actually gathering information. Many people were selling their antique calligraphy and paintings to repay debts, allowing He Lianxin to learn about their intentions. His every move was under Lord An's watchful eye. The eunuch believed that He Lianxin's unique approach in debt collection was part of Lord An's test. However, Lord An found the situation strangely calm and sensed that something more significant would happen later.

He Lianxin learned that Lady Mo's father, Minister Li, was selling his artwork to repay the debt, even though the pawnshop owner considered the items of low quality. He Lianxin bought the artwork and personally delivered it to Minister Li, stating that other people borrowed money for their own extravagance, but Minister Li was trying to help disaster victims. He praised Minister Li as a good official and hoped to ease his debt. He couldn't do much more but wished for a safe birth for Lady Mo's child, whom he would care for diligently.

As He Lianxin was about to leave, he noticed his sister Yuan Xue, who had disguised herself as a man. But Yuan Xue spotted him and hurriedly left. She accidentally entered the Li family's residence and stumbled upon the dead body of Minister Li, who had been assassinated. Pursued by the assassin, Yuan Xue and her maids got separated. She eventually ended up in a restaurant sitting next to a man and hoped he would help her. When she escaped, she took the man's wine flask. The man was Lu Beiyi, and the wine flask was a gift from Luo Qinglian. Lu Beiyi wanted it back and coincidentally saved Yuan Xue's life. The assassin proved no match for Lu Beiyi, who swiftly defeated him.

In the evening, Luo Qinglian personally visited Lady Rou. Lady Rou warned her that the bracelet given to her by Mu Haiyao wasn't suitable and might be too tight. Luo Qinglian noticed that Lady Rou's hands were ice-cold, which struck her as odd. She wondered why Lady Rou intended to visit the ice house and what she planned to do there. Later, in the ice house, Luo Qinglian discovered Mu Haiyao's dead baby and realized that Mu Haiyao had been attempting to exchange children. Lady Ye also stumbled upon this secret and planned to use it to threaten Mu Haiyao. However, Mu Haiyao had her maids poison Lady Ye. Despite being close to death, Lady Ye went to see the legitimate wife and revealed Mu Haiyao's sinister plot.

Meanwhile, Mu Haiyao learned that Minister Li had committed suicide. She purposely spread the news, which led to Lady Mo going into labor prematurely. Mu Haiyao also falsely claimed that she had a premature birth. The legitimate wife, upon hearing the news, tried to see Mu Haiyao, but Mu Haiyao's maids prevented her from entering the room.

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