府 fu: compound or estate; junwang fu: prince’s estate/compound
郡王 junwang: second-rank prince; also referred to as junwang ye, i.e. “His [Your] Royal Highness”
郡王妃 junwang fei: the official wife of a junwang
Chapter Thirty-Seven: Invitation
Near the evening, Yan Jin Qiu came in from outside the fu. He allowed the servants to help him undress out of his outer robe and then sat down refreshed next to Hua Xi Wan. “Today, the Emperor bestowed two estates. Later, I will have Mu Tong bring you the property deeds for you to manage.”
“Why did the Emperor bestow down estates?” Hua Xi Wan saw that the heat on his face had not left, so she fanned him with the fan in her hand. “We have many estates under our name. Some we have rented out to tenants, and we have kept the more productive ones ourselves.”
Yan Jin Qiu had the servant girls in the room leave before he said, “Even though the matter of Fang Cheng De had a conclusion, many people in the Imperial Clan have opinions about the Emperor’s decree. The Emperor probably feels regret, so he especially bestowed down two estates.”
“It appears that with an injury to the head, I received two estates. This is very profitable.” Hua Xi Wan smiled. The Emperor’s actions were to stop their Xian Junwang Fu from saying anything. However, the Heavens watched one’s actions. Some things seemed smoothed over on the surface, but in reality, they had already caused a knot in other people’s hearts.
In the eyes of the Emperor, the dignity of the Imperial House was so easily taken care of. What did the other Yan family members think? If the Crown Prince succeeded the throne, would he really be able to keep that seat?
Yan Jin Qiu saw that Hua Xi Wan was smiling carelessly. He grasped her hand and did not speak, but there was unmelting coldness in his eyes.
“Are you hungry? I had the Food Room prepare some refreshing dishes. Eat some more later, you seem thinner recently.” Hua Xi Wan sighed. “No matter how busy outside matters are, you need to take care of your body.”
“Maybe it is because the weather is too hot that my appetite is not large. There are not many matters outside.” Yan Jin Qiu released Hua Xi Wan’s hand. “Now that you say it, I do feel slightly hungry. Have them serve the meal.”
When the rice and dishes were presented, husband and wife sat together to eat. After the meal, the two sat together to play weiqi. As a miss of the marquis fu, while Hua Xi Wan was a lazy person, she had learned everything that a noble miss should know. She could manage for a while against Yan Jin Qiu. Even though she would win a small minority of games, that was probably because Yan Jin Qiu let her.
“Someone sent up pearls from the Lin Sea a few days ago, and the color is pretty good. I had my dowry shop’s craftsman make some hairpins with pearls encrusted. Even though it is not very rare, it looks novel. How about I have the guests in the fu take them back to their womenfolk?”
“This is good. It will be Mid-Autumn in a few more days. It is good to have the visitors take something home.” Yan Jin Qiu stilled and then understood what Hua Xi Wan intended. Sometimes, pillow-talk worked better than anything else. Xian Junwang Fu did not have to worry about the loyalty of these people, but it was best not to forget to give them favor when they earned it.
“Since that is the case, I will add some more things and then send this. It would look better.” Hua Xi Wan looked at the pieces on the weiqi board. Yan Jin Qiu’s playing seemed warm, but it would unknowingly cut off all her paths of retreat, so that she was unable to advance or retreat. She put down a piece in the corner that blocked Yan Jin Qiu’s attack. “Jin Qiu is going to win this one again.”
“Playing is just for amusement—why care about victory or defeat?” Yan Jin Qiu smiled as he put down a piece randomly. “It is not early; we should bathe and sleep.”
Hua Xi Wan raised an eyebrow with a smile. She put the piece back into the bowl. “All right.” How could she not understand such a clear clue?
When Hua Xi Wan woke up in the morning, Yan Jin Qiu had gotten up and left. She rubbed her slightly sore waist and then yawned as Hong Ying and the others helped her dress.
Cheng Qiu had not been by her side for a long time, and was one who was of few words. However, her feet and hands were very nimble. She did not like to take work from Bai Xia and the other servant girls, so she gradually became familiar with them.
Her hairstyling skills were very good. When she worked on Hua Xi Wan, her hands were both gentle and nimble, so Hua Xi Wan put her in charge of the hair adornments.
“Mistress’ hair is even smoother than the best silk.” Cheng Qiu used a mutton-fat jade hairpin to secure Hua Xi Wan’ hair and couldn’t help but praise, “When this servant touches your hair and then touches mine, it is like touching dry grass.”
“You finally understand how much we have not liked our hair over the years.” Zi Shan came in with a smile and a box. A pair of blood coral and pearl earrings was revealed when she opened the box. After she helped Hua Xi Wan put them on, she said, “In a few more days, you will definitely start to disdain your own skin.”
“Look look, I was just wondering how Cheng Qiu learned such sweet words. So the person who taught her is here.” Because Hua Xi Wan was staying home and it was hot, she picked a set of mutton-fat white jade hair adornments. She felt it was more refreshing to wear than gold hairpins.
“Us servants do not know how to say sweet things. It is just that Mistress has hair that is too smooth, and skin that is too tender and white.” Zi Shan organized the jade pendants and pouches that were weighing down Hua Xi Wan’s skirts. “Aren’t servants allowed to say honest words?”
Hearing this, Cheng Qiu covered her mouth and laughed, taking care not to compete with Zi Shan.
Hua Xi Wan shook her head in helplessness and reached out to poke Zi Shan’s forehead. She was just preparing to tease Zi Shan when she saw Bai Xia come in with a gold-embossed invitation. Someone that could have Bai Xia personally come in with an invitation was not one who was normal. Her smile faded. “Which family?”
“The fu of Princess Rui He delivered it.” Bai Xai curtsied at Hua Xi Wan and then presented the invitation with two hands.
Hua Xi Wan took it for a scan and said with a smile, “Since Princess Rui He is inviting us to see the laurel, how can I not give face?” Finishing, she had Bai Xia start to grind ink. She was preparing to personally reply to the invitation.
Bai Xia was surprised that Miss would accept, but she did not hesitate in her steps. Turning, she followed Hua Xi Wan into the side room and started to grind ink for Hua Xi Wan.
Princess Rui He who had always been interested in hosting all kinds of gatherings could only become low-key in this period of time because of the Crown Prince and the Fang Family. Now that the matter was finished, with this person’s personality, she naturally could not wait to host a gathering.
So how could she, the victim, not go? It had to be said that all of Jing wanted to know how badly she was wounded. She was a kind person and she would relieve them of their puzzlement.
As to how she would do it, and what others would think, that was none of her business.
“Junwang Ye, Junwang Fei has already accepted the invitation from Princess Rui He.”
“Is she going?”
“Junwang Fei has personally sent a reply stating that she would arrive on time on the day of.”
A moment of silence.