Yay for me cause its a short chapter! 😛
Chapter 65: The Celebration (Part 1)
After Qing Feng had the Imperial permission to feign ill, all the summons and greetings were all rejected and she had a few days of relaxing and calm days. The begonias in the courtyards bloomed and these ten over days she was busy arranging her flowers and her time was passed comfortably.
After being pregnant, she was more drowsy then usual. If Yan Hong Tian stayed overnight at her palace, she would be disturbed in the morning thus she will lay for a while and wake up during Sishi (modern timing: 9 – 11 am). These days Yan Hong Tian did not come over so she would only get up during Wushi (modern timing: 11 am – 1 pm). However today, the sky just became bright and Fu Ling was already standing in front of her bed to wake her up. With her eyes closed, Qing Feng muttered, “What shichen is it?”
Fu Ling replied softly, “It is almost Chenshi (modern timing: 7 – 9 am)”
Chenshi… Chenshi? Qing Feng’s eyes finally crack open strenuously and she ask puzzledly, “Isn’t the celebration starting at Wushi (modern timing: 11 am – 1 pm)?” Afraid that she would forget about the time, she asked Fu Ling the night before. Why wake up so early if the celebration was Wushi?
Qing Feng look as though she did not have enough sleep. Fu Ling smiled lightly and let the palace maids behind her prepare the things as she explained, “It starts at Wushi (modern timing: 11 am – 1 pm) but you have to start preparing now else it would not be in time.” In previous years, Yi Lan Palace started to prepare from Maoshi (modern timing: 5 – 7 am). Taking into consideration that Mistress was pregnant, she would not have woken her up this late.
Not in time? Qing Feng wondered but at this moment there inner chambers were filled with seven to eight palace maids and Qing Feng felt embarrassed to continue to sleep so she reluctantly sat up. Fu Ling saw that she finally got up and deftly took the hand towel over from the palace maid, mouthwash, teapot and then help her to groom. After Fu Ling tidied up, Qing Feng was fully awake.
After the curtains were separated, Qing Feng could then see clearly what the palace maids were carrying. Golden bouyao (dangling hairpins), emerald pearls, the various accessories and there was also a magnificent clear blue luxurious robe. Thinking of the special day today, Qing Feng understood why did Fu Ling woke her up that early. Without saying anything, she obediently let Ru Yi dressed her and sat in front of the bronze mirror to allow Fu Ling to put on her makeup.
Qing Feng guessed that this torment would certainly not end so quickly but she never imagine that after Fu Ling had finish it was more than one shichen later (1 shichen = 2 hours).
After checking carefully one more round and confirming that there was not one thing imperfect, Fu Ling then smiled and said, “It’s completed.”
This sound of “it’s completed” was a heaven sent for Qing Feng. She had been sitting motionlessly for so long that her waist was frozen stiff and Fu Ling had to help her before Qing Feng was able to slowly stand up to move her waist and neck. She just gotten up when the few people standing behind gasped. Qing Feng looked up and saw an amazed look from those young faces.
After dressing up for this long, Qing Feng knew that she was definitely beautiful but when she saw the person in the bronze mirror, Qing Feng was inevitably stunned for a moment. Dressed in a magnificent clear blue robe made her originally lean body look taller and the layers of dresses were fluttering in the autumn wind like the flowers flying. With the thick belt, her protruding abdomen was not obvious anymore and her tall hairstyle had seven or eight hairpins piercing into it. A emerald crystal bouyao was dangling even though she was not moving, making a soft gentle tinkle and both hands were wearing three gold and jade bracelets which made her hands look slender and fair. Fu Ling also drew a blue coloured flower between her brows and drew her brows more elegant. Matching with her makeup, the scars on her face was no longer that offensive. She stared at herself for quite a while before faintly sighed, “Is there a need to be this gorgeous?”
“There is a need.” The celebration was held once in three years and for Qiong Yue, it was the biggest banquet. Every time the Empress would start preparing for it for half a year before and Mistress was currently the only Imperial Concubine, thus must not be discourteous in front of others.
Fu Ling has been in the Palace for so many years and also knew that she was not fond of grandiose but still dress her as such. She definitely had her reasons and since she had habitually obeyed Fu Ling’s advice, she did not say anything more and smiled, “Let’s go.”
Qing Feng only brought Fu Ling and Ru Yi out of Qing Feng Hall. As Lan-er stared at the three figures walking away, she started to purse her lips as a look of resentment fell on her face. Forget about Fu Ling, now a newly came low ranking palace maid was even favoured than her. How can she take it! Lan-er was in the courtyard sulking when Xia Yin walked calmly in front of her and place the cut flowers to her. Lan-er glared at Xia Yin and complained, “Older sister Xia Yin, you are indeed tolerant!” These days, she still could occasionally have the opportunity to enter the room to serve but older sister Xia Yin had not been serving in front of her Ladyship for quite some time. She was not even anxious and not afraid of being a low rank palace maid in the end!
Xia Yin laughed bitterly, “We as servants need to know our own duty. Whoever the mistresses favour, it would be their fortune. If one did not have that ability, who else can be blamed?”
Lan-er coldly scoffed, her words boost other’s morale and reduce own’s courage. She stop cutting the flowers and stormed back to the house. At this moment Xia Yin did not have the embracing the wind expression, she was living each day in fear and panic. Qing Feng was guarding against her but did not make things difficult for her or chased her away. She really did not know what Qing Feng was thinking. There was also no action from her mistress. If this continued to go on, she would go crazy.
After walking on the palace road, Qing Feng then understood how grand this celebration was. Previously there was only one lantern in a long distance but now there was a bright red lantern every few steps. Except for female officers with grades, the other palace maids all wore a dark red dress and the eunuchs wore dark blue robes. There were also many times the usual amount of palace people and guards walking on the palace road.
Fu Ling saw that she did not walk toward Zheng Yang Palace and asked, “Mistress, you did not look for the Emperor?”
“Why look for him?” Qing Feng softly snorted, “This kind of situation the Empress would be the only person beside the Emperor. There would not be any meaning for me to go over.” She attended this celebration was first curious about how did the leader of six nations, Qiong Yue, would hold it and second thought that Eldest Sister definitely was required to enter the Palace. To be able to see her once would be the best. She would not care about Yan Hong Tian!
Qing Feng did not felt the sour tone in her voice but Fu Ling heard it clearly. She exchange a look with Ru Yi and both of them were smart enough not to say anything more. After all, what Qing Feng said was correct, there were not many concubines that could attend the celebration and other than the Empress that could walk together with the Emperor to the main seats, no one else was qualified to do that. Even the Empress Dowager could only sit beside them.
The celebration was held in front of Qian Yang Hall and when Qing Feng went there, the originally vast open space was filled with people, making it bustling. The Eastern gate of the Imperial Palace was facing directly to the Qian Yang Hall and the palace gates were opened. A line of carriages stopped outside the palace gates and fifth ranked officials and below could only stand near the Eastern gates. Qing Feng could only see the dense mass of heads and nothing more. In front of Qian Yang Hall, she finally saw a few familiar people, it would seem that only the third ranked officials and above could then be qualified to sit in front with the envoys. Above the long jade steps of Qian Yang Hall, there was a bright yellow throne placed in the middle and beside it, there was a red bench. There was no one who did not know who would sit on that seat high up there so Qing Feng turned her sight on something else.
The celebration has yet to begin, thus the ministers were exchanging greetings with one another and the envoys were flattering and lauding one another, making it bustling. It was fortunate that the officials and womenfolk were seperated and Qing Feng was walking to where they were located.
Qing Feng just reach where the womenfolk were resting when everyone who saw her started to get to their kneels to greet, “Greeting your Ladyship, Imperial Concubine Qing. May your Ladyship have thousand of fortune and peace.”
Qing Feng nodded her head slightly and smiled generously, “All rise. Today is universal celebration. Everyone need not need to stand on ceremony.”
“Thanking your Ladyship.”
Qing Feng was able to find her own sister with one look. Ignoring the people who were kneeling, she smiled and went up to Zhuo Qing who was not seriously greeting and help her up. Qing Feng happily called, “Eldest Sister.”
Zhuo Qing had seen luxurious Qing Feng long before. She was originally a young and beautiful female and after dressing up this meticulously, nothing more beautiful can be imagined. It was fortunate that Zhuo Qing was used to see beautiful people and even though her heart was praising, there was only a faint smile on her face, “Your complexion looks not bad.”
Qing Feng smiled helplessly, this kind of dressing, it would be a wonder if it did not look good. Seeing that there was no sight of Youngest Sister around, Qing Feng asked, “Why isn’t Younger Sister here?”
“She…” Zhuo Qing hesitated for a while before faintly smiling, “It was not convenient for her to come.”
Qing Feng frowned slightly, Eldest Sister was already married to Lou Xi Yan and she was officially Prime Minister’s Furen and thus able to come to such occasion. But Youngest Sister just followed Su Ling like this, without any name or title and would not be convenient to appear in such a situation. What did Su Ling mean? Will he marry Youngest Sister as his official wife? Qing Feng look towards where the officials were gathered and with one look, she saw Lou Xi Yan wearing a purple robe that excludes nobility. Not far behind him, Su Ling was standing in the middle of the crowd wearing a dark silver robe with a jade hanging from his waist and black plain boots. It revealed a low-key luxury and was very much unlike his usual unruliness… But there was a haggard look on his face.
Following Qing Feng’s line of sight, Zhuo Qing had already guessed what Qing Feng was thinking about and lightly patted her hand. Zhuo Qing smiled, “Don’t worry. Su Ling would not treat her unfairly.” Now she was much more worried about Gu Yun’s mental state, when will enlightenment dawns upon her.
Qing Feng did not know what happen between Gu Yun and Su Ling, thus she was not as optimistic as Zhuo Qing and continued to reply worriedly, “Hope that it is as you said.”
Zhuo Qing did not say more and just smiled. Seeing that she was six month pregnant and still so thin, she was just about to ask her how was she recently when her beautify and elegant female official rushed to her side looking slightly flustered and called out softly, “Mistress…”
Qing Feng was very happy to see her Eldest Sister and did not notice when Fu Ling was away from her but after seeing the anxiety and panic in Fu Ling’s eyes, she knew in her heart that something had happened. Apologetically smiling to Zhuo Qing, Qing Feng and Fu Ling took a few steps away and before asking, “What happened?”
Fu Ling stepped forward and whispered closely into Qing Feng’s ear, “Imperial Concubine Hui’s abdomen started to hurt since morning. It is estimated that she would give birth soon.”
“What?!” Give birth now?!