Male lead finally here! The cast and glossary pages will kept getting updated as the chapters progress.
Chapter Three Wang Ye
From very far away, He Heng had seen a procession of people in the garden but it had been too far to see everybody clearly. The woman at the very front, he didn’t see clearly, but from her movements, he could tell he was unfamiliar with her.
“Ming He, can you see who is it at the front?” He had just left the royal court, and didn’t want to spare the effort to deal with these women. After he spoke, he stopped in his steps, his expression of one who was fed up.
“Wang ye, this one sees that it seems to be a procession of Feng ce fei and Jiang ce fei,” Ming He opened his eyes wide for a look before quickly lowering his head. He might be an eunuch, but he didn’t dare to look straight at his master’s women.
“Then who is it at the front?” He Heng squinted his eyes to look at the woman at the very front, “Doesn’t look very familiar.”
Ming He quickly raised his head again. The woman walking at the very front had an extraordinary aura. He didn’t know what flowers were embroidered on that wide-sleeved silk dress but it seemed beautiful. For a while, he really didn’t recognize who it was. He spoke hesitantly: “Maybe it’s wang fei?”
Even Ming He himself didn’t believe what he said, but other than wang fei, what woman in this fu dared to walk in front of a ce fei?
Hearing Ming He mention wang fei, He Heng remembered that woman with a soft personality. Her father was the Duke of Chang De, her maternal uncle was the Xiang Qing Marquis and also Supreme Justice of the Court. Her birth was not in any way ordinary but she was raised to have that kind of personality. No wonder when his mufei chose Qu shi, nobody tried to interfere.
Qu Qing Ju saw from far away what the original in her memory had feared, Duan Wang. His appearance was that of a twenty-year old, tall and of good posture. He was wearing a white robe edged in black, with a white jade coronet. The first impression one would get would be that of a giant among men, a dragon among humans. After they walked closer, she saw that there was a hint of a smile on Duan Wang’s face, but there was no mirth in his eyes.
Slightly bowing, Qu Qing Ju smiled and opened: “Wang ye has finished court, is there a need for nourishment?”
“Wang fei has recovered?” He Heng’s gaze landed on that porcelain wrist, the red of the phoenix blood rock contrasting with the pale skin so that the wrist looked as though it would break with a touch.
“Thanks to wang ye’s good fortune,” Qu Qing Ju smiled falsely, using a handkerchief to wipe at the inconspicuous sweat on her forehead, “it is just that my body is weak and the taiyi had already ordered me to a diet. Who knew that the kitchen servants would only pay lip service and send restricted and oily foods. I was so angry at the time, I pushed them with a bit of a beating.”
Jiang Yong Yu, hearing wang fei mention this incident to wang ye, couldn’t resist looking at wang ye. She saw that the other’s expression was normal, obviously not placing any importance on this type of matter.
It was true that He Heng didn’t care for this type of incident but he was a bit surprised that wang fei was actually able to order and carry out a punishment. Even though he held no good feelings towards wang fei, but it wasn’t that he would embarrass her in this type of situation: “To servants that won’t serve faithfully, it wouldn’t be a pity to throw them out.”
“Wang ye’s consideration is the great fortune of qie.” If wang ye’s personality was really what she hypothesized, he was a controlled and ambitious man. She lowered her eyes and face, not smiling at him any longer. In her past life, she was considered a successful manager. What type of man she hadn’t seen before? This wang ye wasn’t peerless in his beauty, she didn’t care that much.
He Heng saw that the other had no intentions of speaking further and turned to his other women. He saw that while Feng shi’s face had a smile, it seemed to hold traces of humiliation. He looked once at wang fei and saw she had lowered her head. At the end, he only nodded: “Since you have gotten better, it is beneficial for you to exercise outside.” Finishing, he left behind the crowd of women for his study.
After He Heng left, Qu Qing Ju turned to look at Feng Zi Jin, her eyes slightly narrowed. She reached out with her right hand to lift a fine and glowing chin, and used a tone softer than silk, “This face of Feng ce fei, the more you look, the more you fall in love.” Finishing, the thumb smoothed over the curve of the face until it felt Feng ce fei shudder before retreating. She used her handkerchief to scrub gently at her thumb and index finger, “That’s fine, I’m tired. You can all leave now.” Finishing, she held Jin Zhan’s hand and turned to leave.
Feng Zi Jin looked at the handkerchief that wang fei had thrown to the ground after she took three steps away and her face, which usually held a warm smile, froze in anger. This was a great humiliation. What made her even more angry was that she had felt fear under Qu Qing Ju’s gaze. What was Qu Qing Ju worth, how dumb and dull she was, that she dared treat her like this?!
At this moment she felt that the other three beside was having a laugh at her expense. She swept them, her face dark as she scolded: “What are you looking at, leave immediately!”
The two shiqie quickly took a bow before leaving, but Jiang Yong Yu, who was of the same rank as her, slowly opened her mouth and said: “Meimei should return to your rooms early, I will leave first.” Finishing, she didn’t stay to look at Feng Zi Jin’s expression as she turned and walked away.
“Qu Qing Ju!” Feng Zi Jin, with a dark face, stomped a few time on the handkerchief on the ground before walking, full of rage, back to Xi Yuan.
“Wang fei, you really humiliated Feng ce fei today.” Jin Zhan felt satisfied yet worried, “If wang ye knew, and blamed you … …”
“There’s no need for worry,” Qu Qing Ju laughed lightly, her gaze looking towards the study, “wang ye isn’t the average person.” This type of man, he wouldn’t care about small things. As long as she, as his wang fei, didn’t do anything to damage the interests of Duan Wang, Duan Wang, at this point, would respect her, as his wang fei.
Even though Chang De Gong Fu didn’t care for her, but her jiujiu was titled a marquis and was the Supreme Justice. Her jiumu’s father was the Minster of Defense. The couple only had two sons and no daughters, and was very attentive to her, their niece. If it wasn’t for those two, how else would the original have protected her mother’s dowry?
Duan Wang might not need to depend on wang fei to accomplish things, but it was true he would never favor a qie over a wife to create conflict with those people. At this time, every imperial son was restless and Duan Wang wasn’t an unambitious person.
She wasn’t the type of person live in discomfort. If she really had to live in hardship and unpleasantness for her entire life, it would be better for her to just jump into a pond right now. As to how Duan Wang would treat her if he gained the throne? She was too lazy to think that much. Who knows what would happen in the future. Even if she was really virtuous and generous, it didn’t appear that this Duan Wang would like her very much.
Jin Zhan didn’t understand the meaning in wang fei’s words, but since wang fei didn’t explain, she didn’t dare ask. She, along with Mu Jin and the others, carefully walked wang fei back to zhengyuan and then saw the steward of the kitchen had been waiting for a long time.
The moment the kitchen steward saw them, he immediately came up and took a formal bow and rushed into a list of explanations and requests for mercy.
They were very misfortunate. In the past days, they had sent the same items to wang fei but nobody knew that wang fei would pick today to erupt. If it was only that, then it wouldn’t have been so major. But just now, even Ming He gonggong, who served by wang ye’s side came by to berate them. The original steward was discharged. He had originally been the assistant steward and managed to take advantage of the gap to become the steward. He didn’t dare overstep so he had come very early to zhengyuan to make his apologies.
Qu Qing Ju looked at this steward. He wasn’t very talk and looked very simple and honest. He did seem very obedient, but to become a steward in this wang fu, nobody was honest. She was weary of his apologies and said: “What the kitchen is like, I don’t care, but if in the future I find you are not attentive, you don’t need to kneel here.”
The steward nodded frantically and handed over a menu, saying that it was for wang fei to pick the dishes for today and tomorrow morning.
“In the past, you have always said that everything was according to protocol, so it isn’ possible to order.” Qu Qing Ju didn’t take the menu, only smiled at the steward.
Upon hearing this, the steward immediately said: “It was probably one of the messengers that said it wrong. It is true that wang fei’s food is mandated by the protocols, but it is possible to order dishes among the protocols.” Finishing, he started to castigate the messenger for being dumb and misunderstanding.
Qu Qing Ju didn’t want to hear any more wasteful talk and said: “Fine, I know you will be attentive. Yin Liu, give me the menu.”
On the menu once it reached her hand, there was all the ways of cooking, all kinds of dishes. She picked a few dishes that she liked and spoke: “In the morning, I don’t like using oily or heavy foods. The kitchen can cook like normal, if it meets my preferences, naturally there will be rewards.”
The steward felt a heavy weight. Who knew what things suited this wang fei’s appetite . His mouth kept repeating that wang fei was generous and compassionate and so on.
Sending away the kitchen steward, Yin Liu massaged Qu Qing Ju’s shoulders and said hatefully: “This pile of useless and spineless cowards.”
The pressure of Yin Liu’s massage was perfect. Qu Qing Ju leaned back comfortably on the recliner. Hearing Yin Liu’s remark, she smiled and said: “In this world, there are many people but they are all this way. It is not worth it to be angry over a small insignificant steward.”
Mu Jin came in carrying with a goblet of date and honey tea. Hearing what wang fei said, she laughed and said: “Wang fei is right, nubi thinks that from now one, there wouldn’t be any more disobedient servants.”
Qu Qing Ju opened her eyes and sighed over those words: “In the past, I always thought the best of others but it is today that I have decided to use goodness to repay goodness, use evil to repay evil. That is the way to live in the Imperial Family.”
Mu Jin smiled and placed the teacup on the redwood table. She pulled a thin blanket over Qu Qing Ju: “If wang fei thinks like this, it is a good thing.” In all the first-rank yahuan, she was the oldest. In the beginning, when furenhad brought her and taken her into the fu, the little mistress had only been a year old. Now, the little mistress has become a wang fei and she was over two decades. She had said very early on that she didn’t wish to marry, her only desire to guard beside wang fei. Now that wang fei had changed, it was for the best.
Qu Qing Ju looked at Mu Jin and thought back to the meaning of the flower Mu Jin. Resolve. This name was appropriate for this woman in front of her. It was one of the good things the original had, this yahuan who always wanted the best for her.
Closing her eyes, Qu Qing Ju didn’t look at the sincere concern in the other’s eyes, “Mu Jin’s wish, I understand.”
Mu Jin’s eyes became red but she smiled and said: “Wang fei’s words are embarrassing nubi.” Finishing, she covered her face and left.
In the study, He Heng folded closed a missive and waited for it to dissolve in a bowl of water before saying to Ming He: “Don’t touch what’s happening in the south, da ge and san di is fighting very fiercely. It’s better for me to watch from the sidelines.”
Ming He nodded. He saw the pieces of the missive dissolved in the bowl and turned to a new topic: “Wang ye, the people in the kitchen have been reprimanded. The new steward seems to be a smart one, he already went to zhengyuan to ask for mercy.”
He Heng nodded and didn’t pay much attention, only saying: “Qu shi is ben wang’s di wife. What she is due, she will receive.” Thinking back to Qu shi’s vibrant new appearance that was contrary to the past plain one, his brow moved slightly, “As to how wang fei does in the future, we will wait and see.”
Ming He nodded silently. This was between the zhuzi and the female zhuzi. He was a servant and naturally had no opinion. But he kept on sensing that today’s wang fei was different from before. It wasn’t just the change in wardrobe, even the gaze had changed. As the main steward of the fu, he had seen wang fei a few times before. He kept on feeling that wang fei seemed to have from … an unnoticeable gray bunny transformed to … a fierce female fox?
Recognizing he was guessing about his masters, Ming He buried his head deeper. Amitofo, he should be punished.
 贺珩 (He Heng): He is the surname, heng means the top gem that decorates a pendant, usually made of jade.
 大理寺少卿: shaoqing(少卿) is the highest position in the Department of Justice (大理寺). Similar to the Chief Supreme Justice.
 母妃: mother-consort or mother-concubine. Mother who is also an imperial consort. They cannot be simply referred to as mother because socially, the mother of the imperial sons is the Empress.
 玉冠: the historical Chinese coronet, unlike European coronets that encircle the head, sit at the very top of the head and is secured by forming a bun of hair and pin.
 妹妹: younger sister. All the women are “sisters” and the “age” is determined by first rank, and then seniority.
 舅舅: maternal uncle
 舅母: maternal uncle’s wife
 公公: how to refer to a taijian.
 奴婢: how a servant refers to herself. With bi(婢), the phrase is slave-servant, rather than just nu or servant.
 夫人: the mistress/wife. In this case, Qu Qing Ju’s mother.
 大哥: da(大) for big or eldest, ge(哥) is older brother
 三弟: san(三) three or third, di(弟) younger brother
 嫡: first and “legitimately” married to,