郡王妃 junwang fei: the official wife of a junwang
府 fu: compound or estate; junwang fu: prince’s estate/compound
夫人 furen: mistress or madam/lady, referring to the legitimate wife
氏 shi: clan/maiden name
太监 taijian: court or palace eunuch
舅舅 jiujiu: mother’s brother
堂弟妹 tang dimei: father’s brother’s (younger) son’s wife
郡主 junzhu: title given to a daughter of a qinwang (first-rank prince), or to a female of the Imperial Family by the Emperor’s decree
郡王 junwang: second-rank prince
驸马 fuma: the husband of a princess
亲王 qinwang: first-rank prince
嫡 di: child born of the official wife, not of a concubine
表妹 biao mei: father’s sister’s (younger) daughter; or mother’s sibling’s (younger) daughter
Chapter Thirty-Eight: Do Not Have To Worry
Princess Rui He was someone the noblewomen in Jing had to carefully respect. However, in secret, many people were happy to laugh at her. As for the reason, it was mostly because that Princess Rui He was slightly arrogant. Then, there were people who liked to see people above them in status have misfortune. This kind of mentality was not something that could be rationalized, but it was undeniable that the world never lacked for people like this.
Originally, the womenfolk had not been very interested in this kind of a gathering. But Princess Rui He had been silent for two months. Now that she had come back to life with full vigor, if they did not give face to her, they wouldn’t know how Her Highness the Princess would hate them. After thinking it over, it was still better to attend.
However, their disinterested attitudes took a turn after they learned that Xian Junwang Fei was attending. The womenfolk liked to gossip. This was not something to be disdained. It was just because there was only so much happening in the inner compound. What they could talk about was how this family had how many children, or how that family had someone favoring a concubine. Now, the victim of the matter that had been in the public eye recently was going to appear. This was a hard to come by excitement.
The one who injured Xian Junwang Fei was the Imperial Brother-in-law. That was the maternal clan of Princess Rui He. The wife of the man was also going to attend the gathering. When the wife of the culprit and the victim met, wouldn’t this be a great show?
No matter how these women thought, when they arrived at the princess’ fu, all of them looked dignified. They complimented each other with smiles on their faces. Even the wife of the Imperial Brother-in-law who had been demoted two ranks did not get the cold treatment. The women of prestigious families were best at these handkerchief relationships. On the surface, it was not possible to see who liked whom, or who and who were on bad terms.
The Imperial Brother-in-law’s furen, Lin shi, felt slightly ashamed, but after some conversation, she relaxed slightly. However, her good mood did not continue for long because a taijian came from the outside to report the carriages of Sheng Junwang Fei and Xian Junwang Fei had arrived.
Lin shi‘s smile instantly became slightly awkward. As a woman, she naturally knew how important the appearance of a woman was. This time, Xian Junwang Fei had been injured on her face. It would be all right if that did not leave a scar, but if it did leave one, how could she feel reassured? She hated how helpless she was. She was not favored by her husband, and was unable to persuade him in his daily actions. This had caused Xian Junwang Fei to be innocently injured.
Many womenfolk wanted to see if there was a scar on Xian Junwang Fei‘s face. So when Hua Xi Wan and Hou shi appeared, everyone greeted the both of them, but they looked out from the corner of their eye at Hua Xi Wan.
When they looked, they saw there was a lifelike plum blossom drawn on the forehead of Xian Junwang Fei. The pink flower and the crisp green leaves contrasted beautifully against Xian Junwang Fei‘s face and pale skin. However, no one was able to see if there was a scar or not.
It would not be good of them to stare at Xian Junwang Fei, so after some words, they all sat down. There were several spots between where Lin shi was sitting in the middle and Hua Xi Wan. When she saw the drawing on Hua Xi Wan’s forehead, her heart jumped.
She had heard that Xian Junwang Fei had a beautiful face. Even if she did not put on makeup, she was a rare beauty. Now, she had drawn out an exceptional flower right where she was wounded. If it was not to cover her scar, why was it there?
There were many people who had the same thoughts as Lin shi. However, because this matter was connected with Princess Rui He’s maternal family, they could not ask, so they turned to speak of clothing.
Princess Rui He saw the womenfolk were so perceptive, and the smile on her face grew. Her eyes flashed across Hua Xi Wan’s forehead, and she said in a slightly apologetic tone, “Jiujiu is a busy person and accidentally disturbed Tang Dimei‘s carriage. How has Tang Dimei‘s wound recovered?”
The smile on Hua Xi Wan’s face did not change as she said in a warm tone, “Your Highness, thank you for your concern. There is no more impediment.”
The word impediment was a very tricky word. It could mean that it had healed, or that it was almost healed, and there were no major problems. As to how it really was… everyone looked with slight pity at the flower. It really was a pity.
Min Huai Junzhu looked at Hua Xi Wan’s forehead and felt pleasure inside. Didn’t Hua Xi Wan enchant Xian Junwang based on that face of hers? Now that she lost this flawless face, what could she use to enchant people?
Princess Rui He heard this and nodded. She smiled and said, “Since there are no more problems, that is good.”
These words were really too meaningless. Xian Junwang Fei said there was no impediment—could she complain to you, the niece of the Imperial Brother-in-law?
The people watching felt speechless, but this did not stop Princess Rui He from wanting to show off because she had built a new building in the fu. If she did not have the other noblewomen come to see the scenery and drawings inside the yard, and give some praise, could she be at ease?
From an objective angle, this yard was truly beautiful. However, Hua Xi Wan personally liked the architectural style of Xian Junwang Fu, so after she gave some compliments with the other women, she did not speak anymore.
Princess Rui He’s goal was reached. After keeping everyone for a meal and then watching a play, she ended this gathering.
The other people left, but Min Huai Junzhu was still staying in the princess’ fu. Princess Rui He knew what Min Huai Junzhu thought about Xian Junwang, but she always scorned the romantic feelings between women and men. In her view, after marriage, having feelings or not was the exact same. Time was like a dull knife. It didn’t just grind and cool down people’s feelings, it could erase all feelings.
So for her, feelings were not as important as clothing and jewelry. In order to play, she even had some handsome manservants in her fu. So what if they did nothing? At least, they were pleasing to look at. In any case, her fuma was of a timid personality and could not control her. She also did not want to see the fuma acting sluggish, as if he was more dead than alive.
“After this autumn, you will be sixteen.” Princes Rui He saw Min Huai Junzhu had her head bowed and was silent, so she said, “Your mother only has one daughter and one son. The Yuan Family is not a very noble family—have you thought about your future?”
Princess Shun Yi’s mother was of low status. After she married into the Yuan Family, her relationship with the fuma could only be said to be respectful. Fortunately, she had a son and a daughter and it was not too lonely. It was a pity that this fuma was not a good one who worked hard. Princess Shun Yi’s relationship with the palace was not very close. Additionally, she had been on the sickbed the past few years. Min Huai Junzhuwas raised in front of the Empress.
A year ago, because a consort wanted to harm the Empress, Princess Shun Yi drank the tea instead of the Empress, so the plot did not work. Princess Shun Yi survived, but her body completely broke down. When the weather turned hot or cold, she could not get out of bed. She had to lie down and rest.
However, due to this, the Emperor made an exception and conferred to her son the title of marquis, and to her daughter the position of junzhu,something reserved for the daughters of qinwang and junwang. He had also given her a special title of Min Huai.
Princess Rui He looked down on the Yuan Family, but she liked Min Huai Junzhu‘s intelligent attitude. Therefore, she did spend some time on the other’s marriage.
Hearing this, Min Huai Junzhu stilled and then said with a bashful expression, “Whatever Your Highness and the Empress decide.”
“I’m slightly older than you, but it has to be Mother-Empress who makes the final choice.” Princess Rui He saw that she was not muddleheaded in the end, and her expression grew better. “If it was up to me, the di eldest grandson of the An Country Duke family is good. He is a humble and polite person, and he knows to work hard. The status of the Country Duke Fu is not a low one, but compared to your identity as an Imperial Junzhu, they can only respect you and will not make things difficult for you.”
Min Huai Junzhu felt bitter inside. The di eldest grandson of the An Country Duke was as described, but this family was a solid monarchist family on the Crown Prince’s side. Princess Rui He suggested this and was using her as a tool for a marriage alliance.
But what could she do? Her mother was not favored by the Emperor, and her father only had an empty position. If she did not curry favor with the Empress and Princess Rui He, how could her younger brother have a future?
“Everything is up to the Empress.” Min Huai Junzhu stood up and curtsied to Princess Rui He. However, she felt even worse inside. After she married, how much of a possibility could she have left with Xian Junwang?
Even though this dynasty had the example of the Xiaoyihede Empress Dowager who had married before entering the palace as a consort, that was because this Empress Dowager had a noble fate, and had beauty. Due to this, she received the favor of Emperor Jing, birthing the next Emperor and then receiving the seat of the Empress Dowager.
But it was a pity that she was not this Empress Dowager, and Xian Junwang was not the Emperor Jing.
Therefore, not long after Hua Xi Wan attended the gathering, she was shocked when the news came out of the palace that the Emperor was matchmaking for Min Huai Junzhu. As a woman, her sixth sense was still very strong. For example, she had detected long ago that Min Huai Junzhu had intentions towards Xian Junwang. However, she had not expected the other to so easily marry, and into the An Country Duke Fu who were staunch monarchists.
Thinking about the storm hidden in the Imperial House, Hua Xi Wan felt that she had some sympathy towards this Min Huai Junzhu. But it was just a little bit and nothing more.
In the afternoon when husband and wife were playing weiqi, they accidentally mentioned this topic. Hua Xi Wan saw that Yan Jin Qiu did not seem to have any response about the matter of Min Huai Junzhu‘s marriage, so she couldn’t resist asking, “The Emperor is really matchmaking the dieldest grandson of the An Country Duke and Min Huai Junzhu?”
“Why would you think of this matter?” Yan Jin Qiu put down the next piece before he said slowly, “The matter is pretty much finalized but a decree has not been sent.”
表妹 biao mei: father’s sister’s (younger) daughter; or mother’s sibling’s (younger) daughter
“I just heard about it and asked.” Hua Xi Wan grabbed a piece and played with it. Seeing that Yan Jin Qiu’s playing style had not changed, she said, “At least, she is our biao mei, and we should prepare the gifts that are required.”
Yan Jin Qiu looked at the board and said unconcernedly, “We are just cousins. It’ll be fine if it can pass on the surface. Do we have to add to her dowry?”
“These words…” Hua Xi Wan smiled and said with a sigh, “Listening to you say this, I sigh in relief.”
Yan Jin Qiu stilled and then understood what Hua Xi Wan’s sigh of relief meant. He smiled at Hua Xi Wan and did not speak, but that smile seemed to communicate his thoughts towards Hua Xi Wan.
Seeing Hua Xi Wan was not speaking any longer, he reached out to hold her hand. “Something like that will never happen—you will not have to worry about it in the future.”
This time, it was Hua Xi Wan who smiled and did not speak.