This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
It’s that time of the week again.
-  太监 taijian: specific position in the Imperial Court or government which is occupied by an eunuch
- 王妃 wang fei: princess consort; the official wife of a wang or prince
- 郡王妃 junwang fei: the official wife of a junwang
- 郡王 junwang: prince (of the second rank)
-  郡王爷 junwang ye, 王爷 wang ye: His [Your] Royal Highness
-  本 ben: used by a speaker with a high rank to refer to themselves in the third person (illeism)
本宫 ben gong: literally “this palace”; illeism for imperial consorts. Empresses and major consorts have their own rooms/palace, so each of them refers to themselves as “this palace.” Princess Rui He, too, may use this illeism because of her status as a princess and the Emperor’s daughter.
-  郡主 junzhu: title given to a daughter of a qinwang (prince of the first rank). In this novel, Min Huai Junzhu is actually the daughter of a princess but the Emperor can bestow titles as he wishes to a certain extent.
- 府 fu: compound or estate; (jun)wang fu: prince’s estate/compound
-  妾 qie: two meanings, concubine, or I, your servant; deprecatory self-reference for women. Hua Xi Wan is speaking to Yan Jin Qiu as he technically is the head of the house and her superior.
Chapter Four: Dazzling The Eyes
Yan Jin Qiu felt that he had pulled the veil off so quickly that he dazzled his eyes.
The room was deathly silent. The taijian that attended Yan Jin Qiu, Mu Tong, saw that the entire room of people did not make a sound and was so frightened he did not dare to breathe. He also didn’t dare to look in the direction of Wang Fei. He didn’t know what kind of glorious appearance Junwang Fei had that she managed to shock the entire room.
A long moment later, the joy attendant found her voice again. She took the joy stick from Yan Jin Qiu’s hand with a smile, and said in a slightly trembling voice, “Congratulations Junwang Ye, congratulations Junwang Fei. Good wishes for Junwang Ye and Junwang Fei to grow until the hair turns white, children and grandchildren filling the halls.” She had acted as the joy attendant for many marriages of prestigious and influential families, but she had never seen such a beautiful bride before. She felt she was seeing a goddess from the paintings, and even she, this half-old woman, felt her heart beat faster.
Mu Tong could hear that the tone of the joy attendant was normal and peeked at Junwang Ye who was in the front and to the left of him. However, he could only see the slightly smiling face of Junwang Ye and could not judge if his master was happy or disappointed. Mu Tong dropped his head. With this movement, he coincidentally saw the red embroidered shoes on the feet of Junwang Fei. The shoes were embroidered with dragons and phoenixes playing with beads. This pair of feet appeared exceptionally pretty as the beads were made from fine pearls and the craftsmanship was also detailed.
Just as the room was in a deathly silence, the sound of footsteps came from outside the door. Yan Jin Qiu looked at the half-closed door and stepped forward to block Hua Xi Wan behind him.
“Today is Xian Junwang’s day of great joy. If ben gong does not come to spectate, it would not be fun.” Princess Rui He was wearing a luxurious long dress embroidered with phoenixes. Before she even entered, low laughter passed through into the room. When she came in with her servant girls, she swept a look towards the bed. However, she only saw the bright red dress of the bride. She covered a smile at the corner of her mouth with her handkerchief and said, “You do not bear to let us look?”
Then she reached and pulled the hand of Min Huai Junzhu who had come in with her. Princess Rui He patted Min Huai Junzhu’s hand with a smile. “Look at Xian Junwang. She has just entered the door and he knows to care for the bride.”
Min Huai Junzhu was not of age and clearly had been pulled here by Princess Rui He to spectate. But she really did not have the bravery to casually speak in a situation like this.
“Imperial Elder Sister is joking.” Yan Jin Qiu had a faint smile as he bowed towards Princess Rui He. “My wife is shy, and embarrassed when she meets many people.”
Princess Rui He smiled but did not make any further actions to see the appearance of the bride. She considerately stepped back to the side to an angle where she could not see Hua Xi Wan. “Since that is the case, I will not disturb you from your rest.” Her tone was calm as though she was only coming here to fulfill her duty as an elder female cousin and did not have any other intentions.
She naturally could see that Yan Jin Qiu was unwilling to let people see the bride in this kind of state. Therefore, she had confidence in the rumors. She said a few more words and took Min Huai Junzhu back outside. When she left the yard and no one was around, the smile on her face gradually faded.
She looked indifferently at Min Huai Junzhu beside her who had a dazed expression. Princess Rui He’s tone was slightly aloof. “Now that Xian Junwang has a wang fei, your marriage should be next.”
Min Huai Junzhu forced a smile at Princess Rui He and said, “I know.”
Princess Rui He nodded and did not speak further. Recalling Xian Junwang’s actions just now, her eyes showed satisfaction.
As Princess Rui He came and went, Hua Xi Wan could barely discern that Princess Rui He did not want Yan Jin Qiu to marry a satisfactory junwang fei. She was the only daughter of the Imperial One, of high status, and naturally wanted the next emperor to be her brother, and not a male cousin.
This Princess Rui He did have a great mind to purposefully come with an unmarried junzhu. Even though she had not said a thing, she made others feel that the junzhu and Xian Junwang had something between them, or that the junzhu had some intentions towards Yan Jin Qiu.
Before husband and wife could even start to nurture their relationship, someone first created a knot between them, so how could their future emotions be positive? Also, if she, the new bride, had low self-esteem due to her ugly appearance, with this supposedly beautiful and virtuous Min Huai Junzhu as the example, wouldn’t she feel even more inferior in the future?
But no one could catch any flaw in Princess Rui He’s conduct as visiting the marriage chambers was a joyful event both males and females did. If Hua Xi Wan really thought too much, that was because she was ungenerous. Could she blame other people?
The people of the Imperial Family were really the people of the Imperial Family. They could throw out hidden weapons as they talked and smiled, killing without seeing blood. Hua Xi Wan slowly raised an eyebrow and laughed lightly at Yan Jin Qiu. She said in a low voice, “Wang Ye, you must be laughing at this humble one.”
Standing at the side with a bowed head, Mu Tong thought that Junwang Fei’s voice was pleasing to hear, light and soft yet it did not seem unenergetic to the listener. It sweetened the heart of the listener. It could be seen that Heaven was fair. Even though it did not give Junwang Fei a good appearance, it gave her a heavenly voice.
The joy attendant and the females of the Imperial House saw this and bid their farewells, stating they wanted to join the celebration in the front hall.
“Junior Zi Ling is extremely grateful to the elders for helping with today.” Yan Jin Qiu bowed to the Imperial female family members. “Wife is timid, please have more tolerance in the future.”
“Xian Junwang is too polite. It is normal for the new bride to be embarrassed. As the husband, you should give more care.” The females present could hear that Xian Junwang’s words meant he hoped that they would not speak of what happened today to others. They had close relationships with Xian Junwang Fu to start with in order to accompany Xian Junwang to the marriage chamber and naturally would not make trouble. The old wang fei that was the leader of the group said, “Us old women will not keep you any longer. Have an early rest.”
When the people left the marriage room, Yan Jin Qiu picked up the two cups of wine on the table with his own hands and walked with a smile to sit next to Hua Xi Wan. “Xi Wan, today is the day of our great joy. You have to drink this cup of wine.”
A warm and white finger accidentally brushed the back of his hand as she took the wine cup from his hand. That beautiful hand increased the beauty of the red jade wine cup.
Under the candle lights, her exquisite brow caused Yan Jin Qiu who was used to seeing all kinds of beautiful people to feel amazement. In this moment, he was suspicious. How could there be such a beautiful person in the world?
Their arms crossed and they drank to the bottom from each other’s hands. Yan Jin Qiu took the empty cups and said to Mu Tong who was standing with a bowed head at the side, “Clear the table and put on food that is easy to digest.”
“Yes.” Mu Tong took the two empty wine cups from Yan Jin Qiu’s hands with his figure bowed. In this instant, he saw the wrist that was exposed from Junwang Fei’s sleeve. He thought inside, the skin is as white as snow, but it is a pity she is not a beauty.
Bai Xia and the other three people saw Wang Ye’s attendant go out to prepare food so they exchanged looks, bowed to the pair, and then retreated to guard at the door.
“Wang Ye.” After the servants in the room left, Hua Xi Wan pointed at her phoenix crown and said, “Can you help qie take this down? It is too heavy; qie’s neck hurts from its weight.”
The phoenix crown was smelted from pure gold and it was of a phoenix in flight with a pearl in its beak. Even though the craftsmanship was exquisite, it could not make up for the fact that this was still a heavy gold crown.
“Is it to take the hairpin here?” Yan Jin Qiu took out the hairpin that held the crown and gently took off the heavy phoenix crown to put it to the side. Then he started to naturally knead Hua Xi Wan’s neck and shoulders to help her relax. “It really is heavy.”
Because the phoenix crown and the hairpin had been taken off, the black hair fell to her waist. Yan Jin Qiu felt the soft strands of hair with the back of his hands. The fine feeling caused him to touch the strands a few more times and feel that the best brocade in the fu could not compare to these black strands.
The two were husband and wife now, but they were still strangers who were meeting for the first time. Yan Jin Qiu saw Hua Xi Wan sitting silently next to him and said, “In the future, we do not have to be too courteous between us. You can call me Jin Qiu.”
Hua Xi Wan raised her head to look at the person beside her. He was just about twenty and his appearance was truly outstanding. The corners of his eyes were slightly raised and seemed seductive, but his speech and conduct held an aura of consideration. She had a faint smile. “Large hills are mountains, mountains can also be called mounds.[i] Wang Ye really has a good name.”
Their gazes met in the air and then both gave a smile. Yan Jin Qiu said, “Names are just an appellation.”
“Wang Ye is right.” Hua Xi Wan did not continue this question. She smiled and tilted her head down to take off the bracelets on her wrists and the jade and bags at her waist. These things, when they were taken down, were also a considerable weight.
“Junwang Ye, Junwang Fei, the food is ready,” Mu Tong announced from outside the door and paused for a moment before he came in with servants to put out the prepared food.
“It is now night; if anything else is eaten, it will cause indigestion. You have not eaten anything today. Eat some of this to pad your stomach.” Yan Jin Qiu stood and held Hua Xi Wan’s hand to sit down beside the table.
“Junwang Ye, Junwang Fei, because the kitchen does not know Junwang Fei’s tastes, they have made two types for each dish.” Mu Tong said after introducing the style of each of the dishes, “If Junwang Fei has something you like to eat or use, please tell this little one. This little one will definitely get the servants to fulfill it.”
Hua Xi Wan jerked the corners of her mouth and then turned to say to Yan Jin Qiu, “Jin Qiu’s attendants are really attentive.” The words appeared to be announcing loyalty to her, but were actually telling her that the person in charge of the fu was he?
If Yan Jin Qiu had not given his permission, this eunuch called Mu Tong would not have the guts to say this. It seemed that Yan Jin Qiu had already implied this beforehand?
“In the future, if anyone in the fu does not listen to you, beat them out of the fu with sticks.” Yan Jin Qiu put the steaming meat porridge in front of Hua Xi Wan and said without concern, “Now that the junwang fu has you as the female mistress, it can finally be called a home.”
Hua Xi Wan took the porridge and smiled widely, but did not speak.
Mu Tong was slightly surprised. Did Wang Ye’s words mean that he had changed his previous idea? He secretly looked over and then felt his legs soften. His breathing stuttered and he almost fell to the ground.
Where was the female without beauty that was rumored to stay home because her appearance was frightening? Who was this peerless beauty?
Mu Tong felt that he was not in a good state because he felt that he was even more afraid to look at Junwang Fei because her appearance… was really too attractive.
There was only one phrase in his mind: a calamitous beauty.
[i] Qiu(丘) means hill, large hills are mountains, 陵 (ling) can mean mound or mountains.
Translator Ramblings: I agree that the cliffhanger last week was painful.
County lady is my translation of junzhu (郡主). I do not like it very much but it is not used often like Wang fei and Wang ye.