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Chapter Seventy-Nine: Preference
After Yan Jin Qiu left, the servant woman who served the Empress Dowager came out with tea. “His Highness Xian Wang is so pure and kind—how can he reach the goal on behalf of niangniang?”
“It is good for him to be kind. If he was as cold as Yan Bo Yi, aijia would not dare to prop him up.” The Empress Dowager took a sip of tea. Her eyes were satisfied. “People who have a weakness are easier to grasp.”
“Empress Dowager, you are above the rest. You managed to discover beforehand that Xian Wang Fei was of extraordinary beauty, and managed to match Xian Wang and Xian Wang Fei. The two are deeply in love now, which is the best situation.” The servant woman’s tone was reverent and full of praise. “You are extraordinary in wisdom.”
“Yi’an Marquis Fu is well-managed, but it cannot be said to be completely leak-proof.” As the servant woman praised the Empress Dowager, she couldn’t help but say a few more words. “Such a good daughter, when they were not raising her in the general fu, she was in the marquis fu, as though she couldn’t be seen in public. They also allowed people to discuss her freely. This Yi’an Marquis Fu can be said to be a generous family, but they should not be so generous. Therefore, there had to be a reason. Just as aijia had thought, the di daughter of Yi’an Marquis wasn’t a female without beauty, but one who has devastating beauty. Aijia had someone investigate a few years ago. Hua shi does not like to manage matters, and is lazy. However, she has a seductive voice and beauty. Whichever family she marries into, she would have them wrapped around her little finger. Even if Xian Wang succeeds the throne in the future, he will lose his motivation if he has such a wang fei. This kind of emperor is the best for aijia.”
For the Empress Dowager, it was not good if either the Crown Prince or Sheng Junwang took the throne. The Crown Prince was not a capable person, and he had his own birth mother. If he succeeded the throne, there wouldn’t be any room for her, the Grand Empress Dowager, to establish herself. Sheng Junwang was too vicious, vicious to himself and even more so to others. She could not hope that this kind of emperor would be filial to her.
Only Xian Wang had grown up by her side. He was reverent of her, and liked scholarly pursuits. While he somewhat understood how to scheme, he was not vicious, and placed great importance on emotions. For her, he was the best choice to ascend the throne.
The servant woman saw the Empress Dowager sink into thought and silently retreated to the side. Her careful attitude didn’t show any of her curiosity about Xian Wang from just a moment ago.
Hua Xi Wan woke up from her nap and found that there was a figure beside her. When she saw it was Yan Jin Qiu, she rose up from the bed. “When did you get back?”
“Just now.” Yan Jin Qiu put down the book in his hand and took an outer robe from the hanger to pull over her. “You were slighted these two days. In the future, the Empress Dowager will not bully you using these kinds of matters.”
Hua Xi Wan’s hand stilled where she had been holding the edge of the clothing. She looked at Yan Jin Qiu’s calm face. “What did you say to the Empress Dowager?”
“Nothing, don’t worry about these horrid matters.” Reaching out to touch her soft hair, Yan Jin Qiu had a slight smile on his face. “I had the kitchen already prepare the evening meal. First rise and take a walk with me in the yard. That way, you will have an appetite.”
“All right.” Hua Xi Wan did not know what Yan Jin Qiu did to have the Empress Dowager retreat, but she did not want to waste mental effort thinking about this. She changed into a simple dress, washed and then put her hair into a simple style before walking out of the door shoulder to shoulder with Yan Jin Qiu.
Some of the trees and flowers in the yard had started to bud, and it was livelier than it was in the winter. Hua Xi Wan breathed in a breathful of fresh air. She raised her head to look at the blue sky and then turned to say to Yan Jin Qiu, “Is it the higher one stands, the more beautiful the scenery they see?”
“If it is just one person admiring the scene, no matter how beautiful it is, in the end, there is only loneliness. But if there is someone who understands accompanying them, even if the scenery isn’t that good, it is still a pleasure.” Yan Jin Qiu gripped Hua Xi Wan’s hand and spoke in a gentle tone. “The beauty of the scenery depends on the mood of those who admire it.”
Hua Xi Wan smiled when she heard this. “But sometimes, one cannot have both the person who understands and the scenery. There is always a part of life that isn’t perfect.”
“How do you know without trying?” Yan Jin Qiu said with a smile. “Some things are the kind that one has to try before knowing if they will regret it.”
Hua Xi Wan was silent. Was this man counseling her? Also, he had done this before. Was he so worried that she wouldn’t want to live with him?
“You are right.” Hua Xi Wan felt that it wasn’t easy for her to have the patience to reassure a man.
As expected, when he heard Hua Xi Wan’s words, the smile on Yan Jin Qiu’s face became gentler. His hand held Hua Xi Wan’s hand with more strength.
The two walked slowly in the yard. Just as the atmosphere was perfect, sounds of porcelain breaking suddenly came from the corner. Hua Xi Wan turned back to look and saw a green-robed servant girl at the end of a little stone path. There were smashed teacups in front of her. The rising steam formed wisps of white that caused this servant girl who was kneeling on the ground to appear pitiful.
Hua Xi Wan had a slight smile on the corner of her mouth when she saw this. She said lazily, “Where do you work—how can you be so careless?” Since the other wanted to act pure and innocent, she had to act as an arrogant wang fei in order to not waste the other’s efforts.
“Wang Fei, have mercy. This servant serves in the tea room. This servant accidentally tripped and startled Wang Fei. Please forgive me.” Before Hua Xi Wan could say anything, this green-robed servant girl touched her head to the ground and gave a great bow. Her black hair draped over her shoulders and caused people to feel that the black strands and the snowy skin were beautiful in contrast.
Glancing at Yan Jin Qiu who stood expressionless next to her, Hua Xi Wan raised her chin slightly. “Raise your head.”
Fine brows, long and narrow eyes, an exquisite face; adding on that snowy skin, this was a rare beauty. Of course, this would be if the person standing in front of her was someone else and not Hua Xi Wan.
Sometimes, beauty could only be seen in comparison. No matter how beautiful this servant girl was, or how white her skin was, in front of Hua Xi Wan, she was dim. It was the same as a peacock that was just a little plain bird next to a phoenix.
“Such a beautiful girl.” Hua Xi Wan laughed lightly and then turned her head to say to Hong Ying behind her. “I think she is more beautiful than you are.”
Hong Ying and Bai Xia had faithfully protected their mistress and had been praised by the Empress Dowager. So after they recovered, they had high status among the servants of the fu. The other stewards were courteous in front of them and didn’t dare to offend the two.
Hua Xi Wan’s teasing words clearly showed how highly she viewed Hong Ying. Hong Ying responded with a smile, “Being able to serve Wang Fei is this servant’s greatest honor. With a mistress as good as Wang Fei, beauty is not important.” Finishing, she walked forward and used her finger to hold up the green-robed servant girl’s chin. She examined the other carefully and then said, “This servant only feels that this beauty is average; only her skin color is slightly acceptable.”
“You serve Wang Fei, you are used to Wang Fei’s appearance, and when you look at anyone else, it is natural for you think that they are all average.” At the side, Zi Shan covered her mouth as she said with a smile, “If you stare into the mirror, you will even dislike your own face.”
The servant girls who served Hua Xi Wan laughed lightly as though they were all laughing at Hong Ying. However, the expression of the green-robed servant girl who was kneeling on the ground was ashen. She felt as though she had no face, and they had stripped her of her clothing as she was being laughed at. However, when she had taken this step, she had thought that there would be a possibility of something like this. The more arrogant Wang Fei was, the more pitiful she would seem. She could endure this bit of humiliation.
They were all women. Hong Ying and Zi Shan could see this green-robed servant girl had other intentions. The two of them exchanged a look, and Hong Ying bent down to help the green-robed servant girl up. Then she said, “We are just joking, don’t take it seriously. It’s fine if the teacups were smashed—just be more careful next time.”
Zi Shan beckoned and two third-rank servant girls came forward to pick up the pieces of porcelain. Someone also came with a rag to wipe away the fine shards on the ground. In a flash, everything on the ground was cleaned up.
The green-robed servant girl felt hate rise up. Wang Fei’s personal servant girls were so cunning. They were clearly laughing at her, but still acted as though they were honest and generous. Wasn’t this acting for Wang Ye?
“Seeing benwang and Wang Fei touring the yard, you do not know to move aside. This really is not according to etiquette—how has the steward for the tea room taught you?” Yan Jin Qiu had lived in the imperial palace when he was young and was used to seeing the moves of the concubines. When he had been living in the wang fu in his childhood, he had also seen the concubines fighting for favor. Therefore, he had seen at first glance what the green-robed servant girl intended and said, fed up, “The tea room steward is to have fifteen blows, and is demoted, with his duties to be taken over by the vice steward. As for you…”
The green-robed servant girl felt her heart go cold. She had only thought about enraging Wang Fei and having Wang Ye notice her, but hadn’t thought about what would happen to her if Wang Ye was dissatisfied with her.
DIdn’t they say that the Empress Dowager was dissatisfied with Wang Fei? Didn’t they say that Wang Ye would distance himself from Wang Fei because of the Empress Dowager and would even take a concubine? Why was Wang Ye still protecting Wang Fei like this? Even before Wang Fei had spoken, he started to speak for her?
“Wang Ye…” Before the green-robed servant girl could plead for mercy, two female manual labor servants came to stuff her mouth. She wanted to push away the servant women’s hands, but found that these older women were extremely strong and she couldn’t make a sound.
“Such an ill-mannered person disrupting our time.” Yan Jin Qiu felt hate. He had just managed to make his wang fei happy, but they had been interrupted by this horrid servant girl. It would be strange if he was in a good mood. “Since she cannot fulfill her duties of bringing tea, then have her sentenced to twenty blows, two days without food, and then she is to work in the laundry room.”
The green-robed servant girl violently shook her head, and even looked hopefully at Wang Fei in hopes that she could plead for mercy on her behalf. However, she only saw Wang Fei’s faint smile. Until she was pulled away by the servants, she didn’t see Wang Fei say even a word.
“If the wang fu has more of this kind of people, immediately bestow twenty blows and then kick them out. Benwang feels irritated seeing them,” Yan Jin Qiu said to Mu Tong. “There’s no need for Wang Fei to carry out such a minor matter; you can do this.”
“Yes.” Mu Tong bowed his head respectfully.
After everything was done, Hua Xi Wan slowly said, “The steward from the tea room is capable. This time, he might have slipped up and someone managed to make it through. The punishment of taking his position away is quite severe—how about making him a vice steward?” She touched the tassel in her hair of a bird holding a pearl in its beak. She said with a faint smile, “The laundry room coincidentally lacks a vice steward at the moment. Let him go fill that position.”
How could she let other people look at something of hers? Since the other dared to reach out, then they should be prepared to have their hand chopped off.
Yan Jin Qiu smiled when he heard this and said, “You are right; it should be done like this.” His wang fei did care for him. He immediately felt good.
Mu Tong silently buried his head lower. Wang Fei’s action was really vicious. That steward had just lost his position as steward because of this servant girl. Now, he was moved to the laundry room to be a vice steward. What outcome would await the servant girl who had just been demoted to the laundry room?
It could be seen that while Wang Fei was gentle and approachable usually, she was not someone whom one could afford to offend. This green-robed servant girl was the example.
As he saw it, these servant girls who had other thoughts were just seeking their own deaths. They should think about what kind of person Wang Fei was, and what they were. In terms of personality, beauty, and status—in which area could they compete? Also, his master just liked a woman like Wang Fei, could others compare?
In any case, in Wang Ye’s eyes, when Wang Fei kicked the fake mountain, that was called being valiant; Wang Fei liking to nap and sleep, that was being relaxed; Wang Fei liking to listen to the gossip in Jing, that was called passing the time; Wang Fei liking to eat good food, that was called experiencing life. If other women did this, it was being crude, lazy, meddling, and greedy.
Even if Wang Fei had countless shortcomings, she had her own skill in getting Wang Ye to like everything about her, protect her all the time, and let her have her way on every matter.
Even Wang Ye had changed many of his living habits following Wang Fei. If other people still had intentions, it was likely that the one angered first would not be Wang Fei, but Wang Ye.
Translator Ramblings: Mu Tong is the ultimate third wheel.