This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
- 氏 shi: clan/maiden name; used to refer to a woman’s original surname after marrying into another family
- 太太 taitai: married woman, madam
- 郡王 junwang: prince (of the second rank)
- 府 fu: compound or estate
-  亲王 qinwang: prince of the first rank; also referred to as wang ye (王爷). Title usually accorded to sons of the Emperor.
- 夫人 furen: mistress or madam/lady; usually refers to the legitimate wife
- 嫡 di: refers to the legitimate/first wife
-  妹妹 meimei: younger sister
-  嫂嫂 saosao: older brother’s wife
-  儿 ’er: literally child; added to the end of names to show affection or closeness
Chapter Two: Familial Love
When the matter of Hua Xi Wan’s marriage was mentioned, the thoughts of the females in the room were all different, but they all had smiles on their faces. Yao shi did not feel good inside but she smiled prettier than anyone else. “Old Taitai, it is normal to not bear to part with Third Miss as she marries. However, marriage to Xian Junwang is our third miss’ good fortune. There are so many people in Jing City admiring our Hua Family.”
These recent days, she had people go and listen to the outside. She knew that what the public was discussing was not pleasing to hear. Thinking about those discussions, such as calling this marriage a fresh flower inserted in manure, Yao shi felt great. So what if Hua Xi Wan was beautiful, so what if she was a miss of the marquis fu. In the eyes of other people, she was just a female without any beauty that could not be seen in public and ruined the handsome Xian Junwang.
The old taitai was not very happy when she heard this. In the past, it was due to her family’s lack of high status that she had been married to the old marquis as his second wife. Everyone had said that she was fortunate to marry up, but only she knew what the reality was like. However, even if she did not feel good inside, Yao shi was her son’s wife, so the old taitai did not let her lose face in public. She smiled faintly and said, “In the future, a harmonious coupling between husband and wife is the greatest good fortune.”
Yao shi gave her agreement. She knew that what she had just said was not appropriate, so she closed her mouth and did not speak anymore.
As the subject of discussion, Hua Xi Wan had been holding almond milk tea and eating refreshments in complete silence. Even though, in other people’s eyes, this was because she was not talkative and was embarrassed, Lu shi knew that it was due to being lazy. Looking at the rate at which she was eating, it was possibly because she had wanted to sleep in later and had not eaten breakfast.
She pretended to naturally push the pastries near her hand towards Hua Xi Wan. Lu shi said to the old taitai, “Old Taitai, you are right. As an elder, don’t we all hope that our juniors will live well?” What junwang, qinwang, these titles were useless. They were not as useful as a man that would treat her daughter with his entire heart. Their marquis fu was not a top-tier family in Jing City, but they were not at the point that they needed to rely on the happiness of their daughter in order to maintain the glory of their family.
The old taitai nodded and conversed some more with her juniors. She indicated for Lu shi and her daughter to use the noon meal together, but she did not persist after Lu shi gently rejected it. They exchanged a few more courtesies before Lu shi took Hua Xi Wan and left the home of the third Hua Master.
Spring was the time when the males and females in Jing City went out on horses to admire the season. Therefore, the streets of Jing never lacked for those richly dressed. When the sedan stopped in the middle of the road, Hua Xi Wan knew that there was someone of status that was coming from the opposite direction.
In a TV series that she had been a part of in her past life, there had been two influential families of equal rank that had gotten into a disagreement over whose sedan would go first. Only when she came here did she know that both sides were extremely polite in this circumstance and would at least give the right of way to the other, trading between a few times before deciding who would go first. Even if one side was of higher status, they would not have a proud attitude. If the person who gave up the right of way had some status, the other would at least have a servant come to give their appreciation.
The families that could establish themselves in Jing mostly had gone through generations of storm and rain. They were very careful in their conduct and were not willing to stain the reputation of their families for minor matters.
A short while later, Hua Xi Wan heard the voice of a woman from outside the sedan. “Many thanks, Yi’an Marquis Furen, the princess is in a hurry to return to the fu. Furen is so polite, this servant thanks Furen’s virtue for the princess.”
“Servant-woman is polite. Princess is of great status and has something important. There is nothing virtuous about this subject-wife giving right of way.” Lu shi’s voice was not loud or soft, but it was enough so the servant-woman could hear her clearly. “Servant-woman, please.”
The matron once again expressed her gratefulness. A beat later, Hua Xi Wan heard the sound of a carriage passing by. She picked up a corner of the curtain and managed to see a carriage embroidered with phoenixes pass by. There were also the characters “Rui He” embroidered on the carriage.
So it was the carriage of Princess Rui He. Hua Xi Wan put down the silk curtain and laid back against the soft cushion behind her to keep resting.
The present Imperial One was weak in children. Even though he had many women in the palace, up until now he only had one son and daughter. The Princess Rui He who had just passed by was his only daughter. Even though she was married, she was still very favoured by the Emperor.
When mother and daughter returned to the marquis fu, Yi’an Marquis was present. When mother and daughter came in through the door, Hua He Sheng said, “Today, the Holy One has sent down another imperial decree which has moved the date of Daughter’s wedding earlier.”
“What?” Lu shi’s expression was slightly ugly. Looking at her daughter beside her, she raised her hand to indicate for the servants to leave. “Didn’t it say that the marriage wouldn’t be completed until after autumn has started?”
Hua Xi Wan’s brow creased slightly. After helping Lu shi sit, she said, “Father, what time did the Emperor move the wedding to?”
Hua He Sheng sighed. In his eyes, his daughter was perfect everywhere. Even her shortcoming of being slightly lazy was blamed on the sickness she had in the past. How could he bear to let his daughter marry in such a hurry to that kind of family? “The Emperor said that the twenty-eighth of the next month is a good day.”
Hua Xi Wan raised an eyebrow and did not speak. She only played with the little walnuts in the blue porcelain bowl and was clearly not concerned with the excuse the Emperor had given.
The present Crown Prince was average in talent and was also a person who could not listen to others. He was not popular in the court. But the Emperor only had this one son, so he was always extremely wary of his brothers and their sons. This could be seen from the people he bestowed in marriage to his nephews.
Of these decreed marriages, if the female did not have a family who was not intelligent, the families were of high status but had no real power. Even though her own family did not belong to the two types, the outside word was that she was of weak constitution and had a crude appearance.
Everyone knew the handsomeness of Xian Junwang and all of Jing also knew just how much all of Yi’an Marquis Fu loved her, the daughter. So when an exceptional man married an ugly woman, how could he not be angry, how could he not favor the concubines and neglect the di wife? That was equivalent to offending the entire Yi’an Marquis Fu, and also offending all of the families that were on good relations with the Yi’an Marquis Fu.
But who could say that the Emperor was purposefully giving his nephews matches that did not have good birth? As to the rumors about her appearance, the Emperor was not the common people—how could he go and listen to something like this?
Hua Xi Wan could think of this and Hua He Sheng naturally could too. He sighed. “That place is covered in gold and glory, but it is actually the dirtiest place.”
When she heard this, Hua Xi Wan smiled. She hadn’t expected that someone of such status as Hua He Sheng could say something like this. His thinking was pretty progressive.
“If I knew before that it would be like this, I would have set down Xi Wan’s marriage early on.” Lu shi was in a slightly low mood. “Who knew that the outside rumors made Xi Wan’s appearance to be like that, yet the Emperor still decreed marriage.” Personally, she had wanted to choose a son of her brothers or sisters to be her daughter’s husband. This way, it would ease some of her worries and her daughter would not be slighted.
When the rumors about their daughter’s average appearance spread, husband and wife had never planned on standing up and giving the truth. Even though it was good for a female to have beauty, being too beautiful was not a good thing.
Not speaking of how short a female’s spring was and how even the best beauty would have one day when it would become old—if that appearance was what caused the intentions of a man, then when the appearance was gone, the outcome would be for the female to guard her chambers alone. If her daughter’s appearance was known early on, it would cause trouble. At that time, no one would say that a man was lustful, they would only say that her daughter was a beautiful calamity.
Their family could not afford to gamble and did not want to gamble with the happiness of her daughter’s life. Who could anticipate that, no matter how much they schemed, an imperial decree would be sent down to easily decide her daughter’s life.
Hua Xi Wan knew the wishes of her parents. She put down the walnut in her hand and urged gently, “Father, Mother, Xian Junwang’s appearance is a temptation for others, but at least it shows he is a good choice. His status isn’t quite what is wished for, but due to his reputation, we know of his conduct and appearance. Also, this daughter’s appearance is not as terribly crude as in the rumors. I think that Xian Junwang will not do anything outrageous. You have done enough for me. The Emperor has spoken, so how can anyone blame you?”
Hua He Sheng heard this and knew that his daughter did not bear for husband and wife to worry. He forced a smile and said, “You are right. If Xian Junwang is not good to you, I will ask for a decree for the two of you to divorce. The marquis fu will support you for your entire life.”
“Good,” Hua Xi Wan said with a smile. “At that time, don’t find this daughter troublesome.” She knew very well. How could a marriage bestowed by the Emperor be allowed to end in divorce? Other than the Emperor giving the decree, but that was the Emperor slapping his own face. Wouldn’t that imply that his decree of marriage had not been a good one?
But it was extremely rare that her parents were able to do such a thing. If this was any other family, they would have started to dance and celebrate that their daughter was getting married to Xian Junwang.
After having the noon meal with her parents, Hua Xi Wan returned to her own rooms. Looking at the furnishings in the room that were all for her own comfort, her lips curled. Then she had the servant girls take off her hairpins, reclined on the bed and went for a noon nap.
Sun shi looked at the two words “Leisure Garden” on the doorway and couldn’t help but recall how shocked she had been when she saw her younger sister-in-law the second day after her marriage. Before she married into the marquis fu, she had heard the rumors that her younger sister-in-law was average in appearance. Before her marriage, her mother had especially warned her to treat her younger sister-in-law well and to not slight the other because of her appearance. She herself felt that it was really terrible that a good girl was being talked about because of her appearance and had always thought how to get close to her younger sister-in-law without causing the other to feel awkward. But when she finally met the person of interest, everything she had thought about was useless.
There were no words that could describe the appearance of her younger sister-in-law, but if she were a male, she would definitely want to marry her and hide her in the home.
“Eldest Young Mistress.” Bai Xia saw Sun shi walk in and hurriedly bowed. She lifted up the curtain for Sun shi to enter the room.
“Has Meimei risen?” Sun shi was close with her younger sister-in-law, so she was more casual when she talked with Bai Xia and the others. “Am I disturbing Meimei’s noon nap?”
“Saosao, don’t mock me. It is almost night, there is no noon nap to speak off.” Hua Xi Wan walked out of the room in a blue dress and pulled Sun shi down to sit close. “Saosao, have you come to see me for something good?”
“Can’t I come see you even if there isn’t anything good?” Sun shi smiled as she handed a box to Hua Xi Wan. “I need to go back to see Fu’er, I won’t stay.”
Fu’er was Eldest Brother and his wife’s son and eight months old at the moment. This was the time he wanted to stay close to people. Sun shi had come most likely because she found a chance where Fu’er was sleeping and the nanny could look after him. Therefore, Hua Xi Wan did not ask her to stay and let Sun shi leave after exchanging a few more words.
After Sun shi left, Hua Xi Wan opened the box. She found what was inside was not jade and jewelry but a thick stack of paper. Written on the papers was information about people connected to Xian Junwang and the connections between the families.
Closing the box, Hua Xi Wan smiled. Regardless of how useful this was, what was most precious was Sun shi’s feelings and intentions.
Translator Ramblings: Background development is slow. Translating this is a calm, relaxing affair. There is something hypnotic about thinking and analyzing what is being implied as I read through. I tried to catch typos but I probably missed a lot. I’m also trying out justify rather than align left. How is it to read?