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- 府 fu: compound or estate; (jun)wang fu: prince’s estate/compound
- 郡王 junwang: prince (of the second rank); also referred to as junwang ye, i.e. “His [Your] Royal Highness”
- 郡王妃 junwang fei: the official wife of a junwang
- 太监 taijian: eunuch employed by the Imperial Family, with an official position
- 公公 gonggong: how to refer to a taijian
- 嫡 di: child born of the official wife, not of a concubine
Chapter Eight: Not As The Rumors Say
Not three days since Hua Xi Wan married into the junwang fu, the entire fu knew that she had the affection of Junwang Ye. There were even people that said that Junwang Fei was as beautiful as the celestials and people who saw her would forget the mortal world. However, there didn’t seem to be many people that believed this rumor, and it was felt that the person who said this was trying to endear themselves with Junwang Fei but was not skilled. It would be better to praise the junwang fei for a good presence and beautiful figure.
Bai Xia and the others knew the rumors in the junwang fu. On the surface, it seemed that Junwang and Junwang Fei were very close, but as people who had served Junwang Fei for many years, how could they not see that the conversation between Junwang Fei and Junwang was courteous yet awkward? Not to mention that Junwang Fei did not usually mention Xian Junwang privately, as though Junwang Ye was just someone she was living with.
“Sister Bai Xia, did you see what was on the list?” Hong Ying walked in with a list. She saw Bai Xia was making Junwang Fei’s socks and said as she put down the list, “Your embroidery is getting better and better. No wonder Junwang Fei likes wearing the inner garments that you make.”
Hong Ying was not purposefully flattering Bai Xia. The hidden twin lotuses pattern embroidered on the pair of socks was extremely lifelike. If one did not look closely, the pattern was hard to detect, and if one touched it, it felt soft to the touch.
“I’m just making a few pairs in my spare time.” Bai Xia put down her needlework and put the basket to the side. After she had Hong Ying sit down, she said, “Right now, Junwang Fei has people from the Needlework Room serving her. The embroiders of the wang fu are skilled in Shu and Su embroidery, and there are quite a few that have skills passed down from their ancestors. I cannot compare to them. It is just that Junwang Fei is used to wearing the inner garments that I make and remembers old affections.”
“Why do you humble yourself so?” Hong Ying looked at the banana tree that had started to turn green outside the window. “The skills of the embroiders in the wang fu are rare, but your care towards Junwang Fei is something that those embroiders cannot rival.”
Bai Xia smiled upon hearing this and took the list that Hong Ying had come in with. She made a comparison and then said, “I have already performed a match with Chief Steward Mu Tong at the storeroom. There is no problem with the things on the list.”
Hong Ying nodded and released a breath. There were many good things in the storehouses of prestigious families, but because the objects had been accumulated for too long or the servants were not clean, the objects in the storeroom would not be the same as what was recorded in the inventory. Accidents like this would happen even in the marquis fu. She had not expected that the junwang fu was managed so well without a female mistress.
“This way, no accident will happen when Junwang Fei returns to her paternal family tomorrow morning.” New marriages were supposed to be lucky. If the gifts that were taken back to the paternal family were damaged, then it would be a mess. Hong Ying looked at the list. “Junwang Ye has treated Junwang Fei pretty well on the surface.”
When the new bride returned to her home, the gifts she brought back represented the respect her husband’s family held for her. If it was too little, she would feel bad, and even her paternal family might be laughed at by others.
“All right, there is no problem with the gifts.” Bai Xia sighed. The last remaining major question was if Junwang Ye was willing to accompany Junwang Fei back to her home. She looked at the color of the sky. “Junwang Fei is going to wake up from the noon nap soon. Let us go over now.”
Hong Ying nodded. She also understood. The junwang fu did not lack for these things. Whether or not Junwang Ye was good or bad did not depend on this, but on the future.
Horses were learned after long trips, people’s hearts were learned after long times. Time was the fairest witness. Jewelry, beautiful clothing and delicious food were just the exquisite pasties on the outside. As to what the taste inside was like, no one knew until they took the last bite.
“Junwang Fei, you have woken?”
Hua Xi Wan was sitting on the bed. Looking at the servant girls standing outside the silk canopy, she rubbed her forehead and said, “Put the curtain up.”
The silk curtain was put up by two servant girls. Hua Xi Wan washed her face in the warm water Bai Xia held. After wiping her hands clean of water, she said in a low voice, “Have the things for the return to the fu been prepared?”
Bai Xia handed the dirty water that had been used to a junior servant girl behind her. She helped Hua Xi Wan sit down before the mirror. “The things for the visit to the paternal home have been prepared.”
The hand Hua Xi Wan was using to select jade bangles stilled. She then showed a sliver of a smile. “En, that is good.” Bai Xia was right; tomorrow, she was not returning to the fu when she went to Xi’an Marquis Fu, but to visit her paternal home.
“Pick a loose set of clothing for me.” Hua Xi Wan picked out several hairpins and put her hair in a simple hairstyle. She was indolent in this life, but after lazing about these few days, she needed to exercise her body. For example, do a few exercises of female self-defense.
The females of noble and prestigious families in this dynasty preferred poem conferences, polo and admiring flowers. She was too lazy to go out the door, so only exercise where she would be at her original spot suited her.
When Mu Tong hurried into the main yard, he saw Junwang Fei standing in the yard. There were many servant girls standing around her. Before he could bow to Junwang Fei, he saw Junwang Fei easily flip over a solid carved wooden chair. The presence she had made his legs soften.
The rumors said that Yi’An Marquis’ wife was the daughter of a martial family. The rumors also said that Yi’an Marquis had not taken a concubine in more than two decades because the wife of Yi’An Marquis was valiant in her conduct. Could Yi’an Marquis defeat her in combat? The rumors said that when Yi’an Marquis had gone to request marriage, he had been threatened by all the people from the General Fu.
Even though these rumors were a mix of truth and falsehood, there was one point that was certain. The women of Yi’an Marquis Fu were all powerful and valiant woman. Their junwang fei… most likely inherited well from her mother?
A scene of Junwang Ye beaten down to the ground by Junwang Fei appeared in his mind. Mu Tong rubbed the corner of his mouth and made the smile on his face appear more sincere. “This small one greets Junwang Fei. Junwang Ye encountered His Highness the Crown Prince in the palace. His Highness the Crown Prince has stayed Junwang Ye for the evening meal, so he had this small one report to you.”
“I know.” After two repetitions of the routine, Hua Xi Wan slowly cooled down. After slowly exhaling, she took the handkerchief that Hong Ying handed her to wipe the fine sweat on her forehead. “Did Junwang Ye have anything else he wanted to let you tell me?”
Mu Tong shook his head. “Junwang Ye just said for you to rest early.”
So… he had his personal taijian make this trip to tell her he was not coming back to the fu to eat?
Such considerate actions that were so moving did not move Hua Xi Wan at all. She examined Mu Tong from head to toe. This person had long legs and was thin. Was this a result of running about?
As Junwang Fei had not spoken, Mu Tong did not dare to go. Detecting that Junwang Fei was examining him, Mu Tong made it so his standing posture was more respectful.
“Thanks to Mu gonggong for running this trip.” Hua Xi Wan felt her hair was becoming loose and took down the hairpins. As she recoiled her hair, she said, “Bai Xia, see Mu gonggong out.”
“This one doesn’t dare to trouble Miss Bai Xia.” Mu Tong raised his head to see Junwang Fei coiling her hair and hurriedly pushed his head back down. After retreating out of the main rooms, he released a long breath.
People that looked beautiful were beautiful no matter what they were doing. Even the action of coiling one’s hair was full of elegance, but the movements were just slightly valiant.
The di daughter of Xi’an Marquis Fu that was rumored to be of few words, low self-esteem and no beauty—why did she become someone that didn’t have anything in common with the rumors?
Thinking carefully, Mu Tong found that there were still commonalities, for example… the gender?
Translator Ramblings: I have an editor! Someone to keep me on track (and stop experimenting with the terms.)
People who volunteer their time to help other people out are amazing.
I’ve also discovered that the shorter the chapter, the more I like to translate it.