Chapter 32: Endure Silently
The light green paper umbrella and the two lean figure was the same as before but their pace is no longer light. When it was near shenshi (modern timing: 3 – 5 pm), there were many more people that were coming and going from palaces. Even though their head was bowed down, they could not help but to steal a look at the female from Hao Yue, who was conferred as a Concubine in one month. After seeing the scar clearly on Qing Feng’s face, they all gasped and hang their heads lower.
The reactions of the people in palace were seen by Fu Ling, one did not need to have an acute sense of observation to see the glimpse of contempt and the slight astonishment and mockery in their eyes. Fu Ling slightly turn her head to look at Qing Feng. Throughout the entire thing, she was staring ahead, without releasing her pursed lips, like she did not feel everyone’s attention but her pace quicken.
Recovering her line of sight, Fu Ling followed Qing Feng back to Qing Feng Hall without a word. The two of them just entered the place when Lan-er joyfully came out and smilingly said, “Congratulations to your Ladyship, just now Wu Gonggong from the JingShiFang came by to convey a message, the Emperor tonight…”
Cold words interrupted Lan-er chattering. Qing Feng’s expression was cold and dark, Lan-er stood stiffly, unsure what did she do wrongly. There are numerous beauties in the Palace, when they heard that the Emperor will require their attending, they would be filled with joy but the mistresses she serve is just too temperamental.
Lan-er looked at Fu Ling, who was standing behind Qing Feng, for help but Fu Ling only shook her head gently. Lan-er was still in a daze when Qing Feng suddenly snapped, “Get out!”
Lan-er started trembling under Qing Feng’s cold stares and cried out a “Yes” before quickly retureating. Qing Feng open the many layers of curtain and walked into the inner chambers. Seeing the slender yet proud and aloof figure, Qing Feng hesitated for a moment and did not follow. She gently closed the door and headed out of the hall.
The blazing sun shine through the half open wooden windows, that were carved with flowers, down onto the beautiful silhouette. The faint smell of peonies filled the room and with the occasional breeze, it should be a pleasant summer afternoon but the shrouded figure, that was standing in front of the window, did not felt the warmth of summer and trembled slightly.
Qing Feng folded her arms and tightly wrap her body. Even so, she could not suppress the rising chill from her heart and the accompanying fear and nausea that was devouring her. Attending at the bedchamber! During the first time when she heard those words, she was excited because it means that she can be close to Yan Hong Tian, she can kill her enemy with her hands but now… She cannot do that. Her Eldest Sister and Youngest Sister is still alive and they are still living in Qiong Yue. If she assassinate Yan Hong Tian, they will die. In the ruin temple, she has nearly killed them once, she will not do harm upon them the second time. Thus the words “attending at the bedchamber” is like a cold snake wrapped around her neck that was choking her.
Qing Feng’s narrowed eyes were staring at the blue sky outside the window. The dazzling bright sight sting her eyes as a tear fell from her eye silently, the slender fingers dug deep into her flesh.
Father, Mother, what should this daughter do, to submit to humiliation and obediently let others trample oneself? She do not want to be resigned… Really don’t want to take it!
As the sun gradually set in the West, Lan-er was holding the scissors and was triming the peonies without looking, showing a face full of gloom. Perhaps it was due to the scare that Qing Feng gave in the afternoon, Lan-er did not go near to Qing Feng’s room. Xia Yin walk to Fu Ling’s side and whispered, “Fu Ling, the hour is late, if her Ladyship does not start to prepare it would be too late. At that time when the Emperor start to blame, us getting punished is a small thing but her Ladyship will also be convicted.” Attending to Emperor’s bedchamber was a major event in the Inner Palace. Her Ladyship needs to bathe, groom, immerse in fragrance… If anything is neglected which lead to the Emperor being unhappy, everyone will need to suffer.
JingShiFang’s steward has sent the mamas from ShuQingChi to help Qing Feng to groom. After waiting for half a shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours), the mamas were already very impatient. Fu Ling look at the doors, that are closed for the entire afternoon, then look at worried looking Xia Yin and finally nodded with a reply, “I understand, you can go and prepare.”
Fu Ling walked to the front of the door and gently knocked. Just as she was about to open her mouth, Qing Feng’s sharp but sorrowful eyes flashed over made her swallow what she wanted to say. Fu Ling cannot go in or retreat and could only stand stiffly in front of the doors before a voice called out from the room, “Come in.”
At the time to light up the lamps
As night falls, all the palaces started to light up the lanterns and the palace maids and eunuchs also started to carry lanterns around. At the small trail behind the JingShiFang, a female dressed as a palace maid did not carry a lantern and deliberately hid herself under the shadow of the tree. With the dark and hazy night, it doesn’t look like there was anyone there.
There came a person running from far on the trial. Wu-er took a step back and squinted to see the person’s stature and face before going forward and whispered, “Did you inquire into it?”
The eunuch look left and right and determined that there was no one around before replying very softly, “Replying older sister, tonight the Emperor has appointed Concubine Qing to attend at the bedchamber. At this moment he is at the Xi Xia Hall accompanying the West Empress Dowager for dinner.”
Wu-er thought for a while before asking, “Concubine Qing attending at the bedchambers was decided through the flipping of tablet?”
“No, I heard that during noon the Emperor had a chance encounter with Concubine Qing at the gardens and decided to spend the night at Qing Feng Hall.”
A chance encounter? A look of disbelief crossed Wu-er eyes. How can there be a chance encounter happen in the hot mid afternoon in the gardens? This Qing Feng indeed have some skills, she even found out about the Emperor’s path. Her Ladyship did not guess wrongly, Qing Feng should not be underestimated.
Wu-er pulled out a small pouch from her sleeve and place it on the hands of the eunuch, whispering, “All right, you can go back first. Be quick-witted in the future. If there are any movements in Qing Feng Hall, you should tell me everything.”
Secretly weighing the money pouch, the eunuch smiled flatteringly, “Rest assure older sister, this little one’s heart will always be with her Ladyship Imperial Concubine Hui.”
Wu-er waved her hands and replied, “All right, quickly leave.”
The eunuch carried the little money pouch in his arms and ran back nimbly. Only when the eunuch has gone far away, Wu-er then headed towards another direction.
Before the bright polished bronze mirror, sat a white-clad female. The plain white clothes made her jet black hair even more enchanting but the female impatiently stopped that hand which is busy placing more makeup with a cold voice, “Enough, however it is covered up, it’s still the same.”
Qing Feng is secretly a little proud and happy, the two scars were unable to be covered up by any amount of makeup, just like the pain that she felt when she lost both parents, the loss will never ever be filled up.
Fu Ling obediently placed the powder down. In fact, Qing Feng complexion is very good, she did not even need any powder and her skin was already clear and translucent. She did not style her hair up and only let some strands of her hair hang down to obscure half of the scar so that she will look significantly gentle and beautiful. Fu Ling’s heart was praising, this is the case of a beauty. That willow eyebrows that does not require one to draw a curve, that pair of eyes that were as deep and vast like the seas and her skin which were as soft and smooth like jade. If her facial appearance was not destroyed, she should be a supreme beauty?
Fu Ling picked up the lip rogue and lightly pad it on her lips. A touch of bright red colour immediate made this cold lips look vivid, Fu Ling could not help but admire, “So beautiful.”
It was indeed beautiful, in the bronze mirror there was an enchanting female, who was like a delicate flower in spring waiting for someone to pick. Staring at herself in the bronze mirror, she felt hate. Why! Why did she do herself up to please Yan Hong Tian! Why!
The raised hand rubbed the colour off her lips and left a residual red on her mouth. Qing Feng was still not satisfied and suddenly picked up the comb on the table and threw it to the mirrow. The smooth mirror was dented by her and could not reflect the pretty appearance before Qing Feng stopped.
Qing Feng’s frenzy look scared Fu Ling endlessly and she quickly lightly patted Qing Feng’s back so that she can catch her breathe. Fu Ling anxiously spoke, “Mistress mustn’t be angry, your injury has not yet fully recovered.”
Injury? She would rather die now…
Leaning against Fu Ling, and seeing the twisted face in the mirror fill with craziness, Qing Feng’s heart start to hurt. Why is she like this? Didn’t she decided? Because of her dearest sisters, the only family in the world, no matter what she must endure. As long as it can exchange a lifetime of peace for them, no matter what she become, what will it matter? Painfully closing her eyes, Qing Feng said in a trembling voice, “Fu Ling… Help me to put on makeup again.” Her pride and dignity will be broken tonight, why care about her face?
“Yes.” Fu Ling picked up the silk cloth and wipe the residue away from Qing Feng’s lips. She felt heartache for this weak but stubborn female. The life in the Palace only just begin.
The moon has risen high above ones head, the cool moonlight shone on the blooming peonies making the flower look paler as compared to the beauty they were during the day, but retains the beauty in a different style. Lan-er supported her chin and set on the steps of the porch facing the dark palace ally outside the hall and murmured, “Older sister Xia Yin, Haishi (modern timing: 9 – 11 pm) has passed. Will the Emperor come over tonight?” It is at this timing, if he were to come he would have came earlier. In fact, it is good that the Emperor doesn’t come. Qing Feng chased away the ShuQingChi’s mamas and only left with Fu Ling who was helping her. She was so eccentric, if the Emperor really come, she was unsure what will actually happen.
Xia Yin gently admonish Lan-er with a stare and whispered, “You always shoot your mouth off. Be careful of getting yourself into trouble.”
Casting a sidelong glance at the shut doors, Lan-er pouted slightly which a face of disapproval. At this time, a piercing voice sounded from outside the hall.
“The Emperor has arrived!”
The Emperor indeed came! Lan-er stuck out her tongue before she quickly got down her kneels to perform a greeting. Lan-er twitched her mouth towards the room but refused to say anything. Xia Yin shook her head helplessly and softly called towards the room, “Your Ladyship, the Emperor has arrived.”
It was really quiet in the room and Qing Feng did not come out to receive. Lan-er and Xia Yin exchanged a look and was unsure what to do. At the same moment, Yan Hong Tian strode in to the hall.
“Long live the Emperor.”
Lan-er kept her head bowed and that pair of bright yellow boots suddenly stooped at the steps and no longer walked forward. Lan-er’s heart tighten as she raised her head to glance and only saw the Emperor’s handsome face expressionlessness, his eyes looking on coldly at the shut door. That not angry but powerful energy of a monarch scared Lan-er so much that she quickly bowed her head lower. The Emperor has arrived but Qing Feng did not come to receive and even don’t open the room doors. The Emperor must be angry about it!
Lan-er is scared witless, Xia Yin felt ill-at-ease and that door, which was closed the entire day, choose this moment to open…