This chapter has been brought to you by me, Adnana, and Vivie.
妃 fei: a higher-ranked imperial concubine
府 fu: compound or estate
贵妃 guifei: imperial concubine, the highest of the fei ranks
堂姐 tang jie: father’s brother’s (older) daughter
通房 tongfang: the lowest rank of concubine
郡王妃 junwang fei: the official wife of a junwang
夫人 furen: mistress or madam/lady, referring to the legitimate wife
氏 shi: clan/maiden name
郡王 junwang: second-rank prince; also referred to as junwang ye, i.e. “His [Your] Royal Highness”
The third day after they returned from the palace, Hua Xi Wan heard an astonishing piece of news. Min Fei who had been pregnant had a miscarriage. The reason why she miscarried was that the Crown Prince had suddenly turned around a corner and collided with her belly. Min Fei’s ankle twisted, and the child inside her belly was gone with the fall.
Because the Emperor did not have many children, he had been very happy when he heard Min Fei was pregnant, especially as he was having trouble dealing with the rumors about the Crown Prince. However, before he could be happy for a few days, someone told him that the child was gone—and the reason for that was also the Crown Prince who was the source of his headache.
After this stimulation, the Emperor was so angry he took away the Empress’ phoenix seal and had her undergo seclusion for a month. Then he called the Crown Prince over to scold him before having him beaten ten times. He also ordered the Crown Prince to stay in the Crown Prince Fu to study with the Grand Tutor, and not appear in court or enter the palace.
In Hua Xi Wan’s view, if the Emperor didn’t have just the Crown Prince as his only son, the Crown Prince would have lost his seat a long time ago. It was a pity that the Emperor only had such a child as his son. No matter how angry he was, he could not take the title of Crown Prince away. But even so, the Emperor probably had less love towards the Crown Prince now.
Sometimes, love could not be tested over and over. Also, Qi Long Emperor was an emperor. Even if he had paternal love for the Crown Prince, it could not be as pure as in the families of the common folk.
The actions that Qilong Emperor committed in his anger were like a slap on the faces of the Empress and the Crown Prince. The Empress, the mother of the country, had her phoenix seal taken away and was forced to stay in her palace for a month. In the nobility circles of Jing, this almost became a joke. Not to mention that the Crown Prince, the future successor of the Great Zhao, was beaten. This was akin to putting the Crown Prince’s face onto the ground and stomping on it. Even if he succeeded the throne, this would be a black mark on his history.
It seemed that Qilong Emperor was very angry. Otherwise, he would not have made such a decision. Hua Xi Wan did not have any good feelings about the Crown Prince, so when she heard these rumors, she immediately had the Food Room add a few dishes for her to celebrate her good mood.
After the Empress and Crown Prince were slapped in the face, even Princess Rui He started to restrain herself. She, who usually liked to invite people to watch plays or admire flowers, stayed for a few days in her princess fu. The people who usually liked to flatter and follow her became careful as well.
Several days later, maybe it was because Qilong Emperor’s anger had dissipated or because he realized that his actions were not correct, he bestowed many things to the Crown Prince who had been beaten, and returned the Empress’ phoenix seal. These actions were telling the people of Jing that this matter has ended. The Empress was still the Empress, the Crown Prince was still the Crown Prince.
贵妃 guifei: imperial concubine, the highest of the fei ranks
A few days later, Min Fei was promoted by the Emperor to guifei and was given a lot of things by the Emperor. In this time, many people in Jing looked at her. However, Min Guifei did not become proud due to this and became even more low-key. Gradually, no one mentioned her anymore.
After hearing about Min Fei, Hua Xi Wan couldn’t help but sigh. It was not a fortunate matter to be a woman in the inner palace. She had finally managed to become pregnant and then had a miscarriage. For a woman of the inner palace, this was akin to lightning on a clear day. What was the use in giving Min Fei the position of guifei? Could that return her child to her?
Just as she was thinking about this, she saw Yan Jin Qiu walk in, his face full of smiles. She asked, “Jin Qiu, what good matter did you encounter?”
“I just obtained a book of a famed family. It is a rare and precious object, and naturally, I am happy.” Yan Jin Qiu took the tea that a servant girl presented. He took a sip and said, “I heard there is going to be a joyous event in Minister Hua’s Family?”
“Yes. My tangjie is going to marry the son of Minister Zhou soon.” Hua Xi Wan thought about how Zhou Yun Heng had gotten a tongfang pregnant just after he had gotten out of the mourning period and how he had caused many people to learn of the matter when he did not agree with his parents to abort the child. Even though that tongfang had been sent away, and the fetus aborted, in Hua Xi Wan’s view, this was not a good match.
Seeing that her expression was not quite right, Yan Jin Qiu asked, “Is something wrong?”
“It’s nothing. I just heard there are some matters in this Master Zhou’s rooms.” Hua Xi Wan sighed. “I am worried that Eldest Tangjie will not be well off if she married.”
“Parents are the ones to agree to the marriage. If there is something wrong with the marriage, her parents should have ended the engagement a long time ago. Since your Eldest Tangjie’s family has not reacted to this yet, then it means they have decided to marry her into the Zhou Family. What is the use of your worry?” Yan Jin Qiu raised an eyebrow, saying, “Your Eldest Tangjie’s maternal family is now one that has a marquis title. The Zhou Family will not dare to slight her.”
Yan Jin Qiu was not clear about the feelings between the sisters, so he did not say that with her as the junwang fei present, the Zhou Family would not dare to be outrageous. He reached out to pat the back of her hand. “Do not think too much, it will tire your mind.”
Hua Xi Wan smiled and turned to chat about other matters. Yan Jin Qiu would not mention outside matters to Hua Xi Wan, and Hua Xi Wan was happy not to bother. After the two talked about a variety of topics, they talked their way onto the bed.
When Hua Xi Wan woke up, over half the afternoon had passed. She stood up from the bed and looked at the man sitting and reading. The remnants of sunlight spilled onto his hair and dyed them golden. Hua Xi Wan admired beauty, and she thought seriously, if this had been when she was eighteen in her last life, she would definitely fall in love with such a handsome, noble, warm, elegant, and romantic man. But after she entered the entertainment circle and clawed her way for her survival, she was used to what the rich men were like behind the scenes. So her attitude about tall, handsome and rich men was that they could be looked at, hugged, and played with, but she could not love them.
Life was so short and love was so ephemeral. She did not want the ephemeral love to take over her brief life. Women were always used to giving everything for love, even forgetting themselves. She probably just loved herself more, so love was not so important.
Yan Jin Qiu turned his head and saw Hua Xi Wan looking at him. He put down the book in his hand and said, “You are awake?”
“En.” Hua Xi Wan walked in front of the mirror and started to slowly comb her hair. Looking at her face that was slightly blurred in the mirror, she said, “Jin Qiu, your drawings outside cannot be bought with a thousand gold. I had not thought that you would be happy just because of obtaining a set of words and pictures.”
“It is worthwhile for me to admire and learn from the outstanding traits of those before me. The more precious something is, the more one likes it after they obtain it.” Yan Jin Qiu walked behind Hua Xi Wan and took the comb from her hand. He started to comb her hair for her. Because Hua Xi Wan’s hair was extremely smooth, the comb went down and easily reached the bottom.
“Xi Wan’s hair is really beautiful.” He chose a green jade hairpin from the box and lightly wound up her hair. He seemed to think that his work was not very good and adjusted it a few times. “Every time that I am in a bad mood, when I touch this hair, nothing is irritating.”
Was it really good to speak of having a hair fetish like this?
Hua Xi Wan felt that she couldn’t bear to look at her hair after Yan Jin Qiu worked on it, but in order to not impact his initiative and for her own sense of beauty, she decided to not look at herself in the mirror. In any case, if she didn’t see it, she wouldn’t be bothered. “Then Jin Qiu cannot make me angry in the future. I heard that if women are frequently angry, they will shed their hair.”
“How can I bear to?” Yan Jin Qiu picked another jade hairpin to secure the hair so the knot did not look so loose. “With you in this life, I have no unfulfilled desires.”
Hua Xi Wan smiled and did not speak. The man behind her desired a lot. How could she compare to what he desired?
After the two intimately had a personal conversation, they ate a heart-warming meal and then fell asleep in each other’s arms.
On the second day of the eighth month, Hua Xi Wan had a rare instance of getting up early. After washing and dressing, she put on a light purple dress and sat on the carriage to travel to the fu of the Second Master Hua. Since today was the day of Hua Yi Liu’s marriage, no matter how she liked to have a lie-in, she would not do it today.
When she got to the assistant minister fu, many guests had arrived already. When Hua Xi Wan entered the fu, many womenfolk came over to greet her. Even Zhang Furen had come to voice her gratefulness because of Master Zhang’s case two months ago.
Probably because today was the day her granddaughter was getting married, Zhang Furen was wearing a dark red robe. However, her slightly thin face looked ashen.
“Everyone, quick, sit down. There is no need to be so courteous.” Hua Xi Wan held Zhang Furen’s hand to sit and then said with a smile to the seated womenfolk, “Today is the good day of Eldest Tangjie, we do not need to heed these courtesies. Otherwise, Second Aunt will be unwilling to have me come in the future.”
Because Hua Xi Wan had come to give face to her daughter, the joy on Zhang shi’s face could not be suppressed. “Junwang Fei is not right about Second Aunt. If you are willing, it is fine for you to stay in Second Aunt’s fu. But I’m afraid that Junwang Ye will not be willing.”
The married womenfolk heard this and laughed in friendliness. The misses who had not married lowered their heads with embarrassed expressions to pretend not to understand these jokes.
Everyone in Jing knew how much Xian Junwang loved his junwang fei. Today, Hua Xi Wan had come to the minister’s fu in the junwang carriage and had the guards in the front opening the way. Behind her had been palace maids holding mirrors and stoves. It could be seen that Junwang Ye did not want her to be in any discomfort or slighted at all.
Men were afraid of going into the wrong profession, women were afraid of marrying the wrong man. The third miss of the Hua Family had married Xian Junwang and received such love from Xian Junwang. This must be good fortune cultivated from a few lifetimes.
Some people were admiring, so there were naturally those who were jealous. There were girls present in the hall who were in love with Xian Junwang. Seeing Hua Xi Wan come out so grandly today, they felt extremely jealous. They wanted to have Hua Xi Wan to also feel some of what they felt, but due to their unmarried status, they could not speak up.
“I heard long ago that Xian Junwang Fei is beautiful. This old one has never had the good fortune to see. Seeing you today, this one has learned the rumors are true.” An old woman said with a smile, “To say something that is out of bounds, this old woman has lived for more than sixty years and never seen a woman more outstanding than Junwang Fei.”
Hua Xi Wan had a faint smile as she said, “Lu Furen, I almost do not have the face to see people after you say this. I have seen many good-looking girls in the room. Even I am delighted when I see them.”
Some of the smarter womenfolk were surprised when they heard this. This junwang fei almost never appeared in a gathering of this many people in the past, but she could so easily recognize this person. What mind did she have?
No wonder she could bewitch Xian Junwang. Which man the world could resist such beauty and wiles?
Translator Ramblings: Poor Qilong Emperor, your unborn child who might be a son or your adult son … … he cut his losses. Hua Xi Wan charms the women as well as the men.