氏 shi: clan/maiden name
府 fu: compound or estate; junwang fu: prince’s estate/compound
太太 taitai: married woman, madam
郡王妃 junwang fei: the official wife of a junwang
大嫂 dasao: eldest brother’s wife
弟妹 dimei: younger brother’s wife
通房 tongfang: the lowest rank of concubine
堂姐 tangjie: father’s brother’s (older) daughter
郡王 junwang: second-rank prince
Chapter Thirty-Three: Lu shi‘s Anger
As they smiled and conversed, they heard a servant of the minister fu say that the son-in-law had arrived . Hua Xi Wan saw the old taitai already standing up from her seat and went forward with a smile to support the old taitai. “Grandmother, be careful. Granddaughter will help you over to watch.”
“Good, good.” The old taitai saw her junwang fei granddaughter support her, and the smile on her face grew. Even her steps became much steadier. The womenfolk around them came forward to praise Hua Xi Wan for being filial and caused the old taitai to break out into a big smile.
Yao shi and Lu shi followed behind the old taitai. Hearing the praise in the surroundings, Yao shi looked with slight jealousy at her dasao beside her. Now that Third Niece had become a junwang fei, the womenfolk in Jing started to flatter and respect Dasao as though the air Hua Xi Wan exhaled was some heavenly elixir.
Now she was just giving a hand to help the old taitai, yet it seemed as though she had done a great matter. She blushed on behalf of those people.
“Dimei, careful with your steps.” Lu shi reached out to touch Yao shi with an insincere smile. She caused Yao shi to refocus and force out a bit of a smile. “Dasao, you first.”
Lu shi glanced at her and then walked in front of her.
Yao shi, who had thought the other would be courteous, was so angry she almost broke her teeth in anger.
When the procession entered the inner yard, they saw Zhou Yun Heng was inviting Hua Yi Liu to come out of the room. They all stopped in their steps and examined Zhou Yun Heng from the side.
To be fair, Zhou Yun Heng’s appearance was still very good. The bright red groom attire caused his lips to look red and his teeth white. However, Hua Xi Wan could see the lightness in his brows—this was not a man who would be satisfied to live peaceful days. Men liked beauty and were greedy for it, but as long as they did not create big problems, in the eyes of many people, they would be called a romantic. It was just a pity for those women who married this kind of men.
“Oh.” The old taitai had lived for decades and could see that Zhou Yun Heng was not a good match. But because of her identity, and because the engagement between the Hua Family and the Zhou Family had been confirmed, she really could not speak more about it.
She might not like Hua Yi Liu’s personality, but that was still a grandchild of the Hua Family. Was she willing for people from the Hua family to marry out and be slighted in other families?
Hua Xi Wan heard this sigh, and her opinion of the old taitai increased. This one would occasionally do some muddle-minded things, but she did not have a bad heart.
Yao shi and Lu shi also heard the sigh, but no one spoke.
After Zhou Yun Heng made the invitation three times, the door was opened. Hua Yi Liu was carried out by her younger brother, Hua Cun Lu. Zhang shi was wiping her tears as she stood behind the door, her eyes full of yearning.
Hua Xi Wan saw Zhang shi‘s state, and for some reason, her gaze landed on Hua Cun Lu who was carrying Hua Yi Liu out of the door on his back. She had heard that the Emperor had recently intended to promote the Old Master of the Zhou Family as Minister and was preparing for him to be the main examiner of the Spring Examination next year.
Zhang shi could tolerate Zhou Yun Heng having something with a tongfang before marriage and could marry Hua Yi Liu to the Zhou Family—this was most likely to prepare the road for Hua Cun Lu. Maybe in Zhang shi‘s eyes, the son was the most important. As to her daughter’s happiness, in front of her son’s scholarly title, it was not worth anything.
Otherwise, how many mothers would be willing to marry their daughters to such a man? It wasn’t as though they were in desperate straits. Why did they have to be humiliated so?
Hua Xi Wan wondered, what did Second Uncle think about this matter? Did he give his silent permission or had he surrendered due to other matters?
The crackling of the fireworks caused Hua Xi Wan’s ears to ring. She went back with the other womenfolk to the guest hall, and after a while, she saw Zhang shi come back with red eyes.
The guests gave a few words of praise about Zhou Yun Heng and caused her to show a slight smile. “As my daughter has married, I feel like I am missing something in my heart.”
“It is always so. Before marriage, a daughter is the pearl in all families. Now that they have married into another family, it depends on whether the husband takes care of her. Otherwise, it would be a hard life.”
Hearing these words, Zhang shi‘s expression became slightly uncertain. But that was just for a second. She quickly said as though to comfort herself, “The Zhou Family is a famed literary family, and the most reasonable. My daughter will not be slighted marrying in.”
The other womenfolk smiled and agreed when they heard this, as though none of them knew about the matter of Master Zhang getting his tongfang pregnant right out of the mourning period. They turned to praise the Zhou Family’s conduct.
Yao shi twisted her mouth in disdain. Her second sister-in-law came from the Zhang Family, but she really did not do this well. She watched as her daughter married such a man and had the face to say that he was a good match. She wanted to get all of the benefits.
She thought of herself as a common person, but she would not bear to marry her daughter to a man like that. Her son and daughter were her heart, and she could not do anything like sacrificing one in order to supplement the other. The woman was like this and wasn’t embarrassed to say that she was born in a famous family. Pssht!
The old taotai saw the disdain in Yao shi‘s face was too evident and pulled her. “How come Second Miss did not come today?”
“Second Girl’s body doesn’t feel comfortable. Today is the great day of joy for Eldest Miss, so I had her rest in the fu.” Yao shi also realized that there were many guests present now and she could not show her emotions. She smiled and said, “When Eldest Miss returns, I will have her accompany Eldest Miss and have a good chat.”
There were rules about the marriage. If an unmarried girl was having her monthly cycle, she could not attend another person’s wedding. That would cause the wedding to become unauspicious. When Yao shi said this, as the guests present were womenfolk, they naturally understood what Yao shi was saying. The guests all felt that the second miss of the Hua Family was really a good and understanding person. She had not added bad fortune to her tangjie‘s wedding just because she wanted to see the spectacle, even though the man that this Eldest Miss Hua married was not really a good one.
Hua Xi Wan suddenly felt tired of all this. She walked next to Lu shi to sit. She picked up a teacup and slowly started to drink, too lazy to talk with people like Zhang shi.
“If we have to say who married well, I still feel that Third Miss married the best,” Yao shi suddenly said. “Xian Junwang is more outstanding in beauty, talent, and status than Master Zhou. He is also a considerate person. Doesn’t everyone think so?”
Yao shi‘s words were praising Xian Junwang on the surface but were actually slapping Zhang shi‘s face. There was also some intention of worsening the relationship. When her words came out, this could be seen from Zhang shi‘s expression. Anyone who heard that their son-in-law couldn’t compare to the son-in-law of other people would not be happy. Also, Hua Xi Wan and Hua Yi Liu were cousins, and people would compare them.
The womenfolk stared at each other. No one had expected Yao shi to say the words so crudely and blankly. How could they answer? If they said yes, that was clearly slapping Zhang shi in the face. If they said no, that was offending Xian Junwang Fei.
The conflict between the sisters-in-law of the Hua Family was a matter of the Hua Family. They did not want to be pulled in.
“I think both sons-in-law are good; they are all gentle and considerate people.” The old taitai looked at Yao shi with a smile and said loudly, “Today is the day of joy for our family’s eldest miss. The fu has already prepared some small amount of wine. Everyone, please do not disdain the simple food and drink.”
The old taitai spoke as the eldest person of the Hua Family, so everyone naturally gave her face. They quickly changed the topic and then sat down in their seats according to status to wait for the Hua Family to start the banquet.
After sitting for a short while after the banquet ended, Hua Xi Wan found an excuse to stand up and leave. She was too lazy to stay a moment longer in this minister fu. Also, she did not want to see Zhang shi‘s acting.
The more she sat here, the more she felt that Zhang shi was an even more horrid person than Yao shi.
Lu shi did not speak much, and only warned her to take care of her body before sending her off outside the second door. Seeing her enter the sedan, Lu shi watched as the sedan moved away before she walked back into the inner compound.
At this time, there were no guests left in the inner compound. Zhang shi and Yao shi were fighting over Yao shi‘s previous words. When Lu shiwalked into the room, she heard Zhang shi say, “So what if he is a junwang ye—he isn’t an imperial son. Right now, Hua Xi Wan is only being favored because of her beauty. After a few more years pass, what do you think will happen?”
Hearing Zhang shi curse her daughter like this, Lu shi instantly smashed a porcelain vase by her hand and then she pointed at Zhang shi, angrily saying, “Zhang shi, if you have the guts, say that again!”
Zhang shi looked at the shattered flower vase on the ground and saw her dasao’s furious face. She forced herself to say, “What did I say that is incorrect?”
“Ha.” Lu shi smiled in anger and then said scornfully, “At least, my son-in-law is an imperial relative at worst. I’m not like some other people, still willing to marry my daughter over even if the son-in-law got a tongfang pregnant. I cannot do this. You dare to lecture me, why don’t you take a look in the mirror? Look and see if you are a demon or a ghost. Don’t come out and disgust people.”
Lu shi‘s words were both crude and fast. She infuriated Zhang shi to the point where she couldn’t breathe. However, what Lu shi said did happen. Even if she wanted to argue, she could not find a reason.
Lu shi did not care how angry she got. She said carelessly, “I’m a rough person and cannot copy the conduct of those famous families, and cannot do something like sell my daughter for other things. My two sons are not very good, but we still remember to teach them to work hard for themselves, to not think that because their sister has married, they now have support. There is no free lunch in the world—don’t think others are stupid!”
Seeing the Primary Branch and Second Branch fighting like this, Yao shi was happy to watch, but she felt fear about Lu shi. If Yao shi made this one unhappy, the other could directly pull down her face and stomp on her. It was better to not provoke the other in the future.
“Since Second Dimei cannot tolerate common people like me in this place, then I will bid farewell,” Lu shi said after a bout of cursing. She looked coldly at Zhang shi whose face was white in anger. Turning, she led a group of servant girls and servant women to leave the minister fu.
Others might say she was a vicious wife, or that she was crude. But she could not copy what Zhang shi would do. No one could bully her children!
“Snort.” Yao shi laughed strangely. “You aren’t ashamed to compare that thing to Xian Junwang—you have such a thick face.” Finishing, she helped the old taitai out of the door, leaving behind a flushed Zhang shi to throw things inside the room to vent her fury.
After this fight, she felt that she liked Dasao more. A person who liked to pretend like Zhang shi should be treated so.
In the carriage of Xian Junwang Fu, Hua Xi Wan thought about Zhang shi and Yao shi‘s usual conduct. Zhang shi was more proud, and Yao shiliked to compare to others and take any benefit she could. In their attitude towards their daughters, Yao shi was much better than Zhang shi. Hua Xi Wandid not like people who acted like Zhang shi, even though the phenomenon of sacrificing the daughter to support the child existed in some prestigious families.
At this time, she heard shouts of alarm come from outside. The carriage she was sitting in shook violently. She was unable to hold on and her head hit the wall of the carriage.
“Junwang Fei!” After the carriage shook a few more times, it finally stopped. Bai Xia and Hong Ying charged into the carriage and helped her sit up. “Junwang Fei, are you all right?”
When Hua Xi Wan raised her head, they paled in fright. There was blood coming out of the corner of Hua Xi Wan’s temple. It seemed that her wound was not light.
“Someone, come quick, invite a Grand Doctor to the junwang fu.” Bai Xia took out a clean cotton handkerchief to cover Hua Xi Wan’s wound. “Return to the fu as soon as possible. Junwang Fei is wounded.”
Hua Xi Wan saw Bai Xia’s fear and waved her hand. She said, “Do not worry, it just appears frightening. What happened outside?”
Bai Xia’s face was slightly ugly. “The Imperial Brother-in-law alarmed a horse which crashed into many stalls. Right now, the Imperial Guards have controlled the horse.”
“Doesn’t the city have rules that, other than in special circumstances, the horses cannot be free?” There were many people in Jing, and so even though some noble sons liked to ride, they would go out into the suburbs. If they rode horses in the city, there had to be a guard holding the reins. What happened with this Imperial Brother-in-law?”
“Don’t know. I heard it was because Imperial Brother-in-law was betting with someone that his riding was so skilled, even if he rode inside the city, nothing would happen.” When Bai Xia said this, her teeth started to grind. “There are even children wounded outside.”
“This one is Guard Office Junior Official Zhang Hou, coming to ask for forgiveness from Xian Junwang Fei. This one was not good at maintaining order and alarmed Junwang Fei!”
A male voice came from outside the carriage. Hua Xi Wan did not speak.
Hong Ying walked out of the carriage and curtsied to this person. “This matter is definitely an accident. Official, please do not take it very seriously. However, our junwang fei has been wounded on the head and needs to return to the fu to be seen by a doctor. Official, please spend more effort here.” Finishing, she took out a pouch and presented it to this person. “Junwang Fei heard there is a wounded child on the road and especially ordered this servant to give this for the medical fees of the child. Official, please take care of this matter.” Finishing, she curtsied again.
“Miss is too polite. Junwang Fei is benevolent, and the family of the child will definitely thank you.” Zhang Hou was a fourth-grade Guard Office junior official. In Jing, he was someone who had some reputation. This time, the Imperial Brother-in-law had caused an accident and also wounded Xian Junwang Fei. He had thought that Xian Junwang Fu would not give him face due to their high status. Who knew that Xian Junwang Fei was such a generous person. He put the pouch away and then bowed towards the carriage. “This one bids farewell and hopes that Junwang Fei will recover as soon as possible.”
At this time, he heard a female voice come from the carriage. The volume was not loud but he could clearly hear it.
“Many thanks, Official Zhang.”
“This official doesn’t dare to accept.” He retreated a few steps and watched the carriage of Xian Junwang Fu move away. He then looked down at the pouch in his hand and smiled.
The Imperial Brother-in-law lost control of his horse and alarmed the carriage procession of Xian Junwang Fei, causing Xian Junwang Fei to be wounded. In the next few days, Jing would be busy.
It was a pity that he, and the rest of the Guard Office, would be dragged down by the actions of the Imperial Brother-in-law.