With many thanks to @NancyC there will be a Family Title Chart to better illustrate the relationship between all the households! I have also updated it to the post on family titles… Do check it out! 😀
Edited by Tnyhy
Chapter 76: Returning Banquet (Part 1)
Three days later, the Imperial family held a returning banquet and hundreds of civil and military officials were attending. Even though Emperor Wen Hui mentioned that it was a celebration for the monarch and officials, everyone was well aware that this returning banquet was the Emperor’s way of celebrating Shen Xin’s meritorious services.
The Shen family held huge influencing power in their hands and with such valiant military leaders like Shen Xin and Shen Qiu, if one used them well, it would be a good sword to defend Ming Qi. If one did not used them well, they could threaten the person who was sitting on that chair at any time. For the Shen family, the Imperial family of Ming Qi depended heavily on defences but when the foreign lands were unclear, the Shen family were at least safe.
As long as the Shen family does not enter the muddy waters of the fight for the heir, the Imperial family would not take any action against the Shen family within these ten years. This was something that those people in court that had brains could see. But previously Shen Miao was in love with Prince Ding which made others think that if Shen Xin were to marry his daughter to Fu Xiu Yi, the position of the Shen family in court would be at the knife-edge. But afterwards Shen Miao’s interest on Fu Xiu Yi gradually faded and the Shen family need not be caught up in the whirlwind of the fight for the heir, thus they were safe and sound. Within those next ten years, the reputation of the Formidable Grand General in Ding capital could deter a lot of people.
Early in the morning Luo Xue Yan came over to take a look at Shen Miao. In the past few days, Luo Xue Yan and Shen Xin were investigating about the events in the Shen residence but these matters were covered up very well, and even the small trivial matters could not be discovered. But despite this, Shen Xin and wife felt a lot strange and alienated from Old Shen Furen and the other two households.
Shen Miao did not tell Shen Xin and wife about the matter of Shen Qing losing her innocence, and it was impossible for Ren Wan Yun and Chen Rou Qiu to say it out on their own accord. Even the excuse for Gui Momo’s death was done anyhow, it was said that her hands and feet were unclean (aka steals stuff) and she was thrown out of the house. Ren Wan Yun thought that Shen Miao would have told the truth them but who knew that Shen Miao also used her excuse. Ren Wan Yun thus believed that Shen Miao would not make any complaints to Shen Xin and wife about any concerns and so became even more fearless than before.
“There are too little hairpins in Young Lady’s jewellery box.” Bai Lu styled Shen Miao’s hair into a long bun. Now that Shen Miao was slimmer, she lost her young appearance and was not compatible anymore with the kind of looks that she had previously used. Moreover today she needed to enter the Palace so it would probably be best to dress up more dignified. However previously Shen Miao’s jewellery was bought by Ren Wan Yun and most of them were gold and now these jewellery were used to buy Yan Mei and Shui Bi in San Fu Ban, and for Mo Qing to make arrangements with Physician Chen and hence were pawned off and spent. Now those jewellery boxes were empty.
“Did not Master carried the rewards that His Majesty bestowed yesterday?” Shuang Jiang was struck by a brainwave, “Why not let Young Lady pick something from there? The rewards from the Palace are definitely good.”
“Forget it.” Shen Miao rejected it. Those things from the Palace, which one of it was not stained by blood. Now she was not willing to wear those things on her body, as if it could infect her and made her remember all those tragic years. She thought about it and opened a jewellery box and picked a hairpin from one of the layer.
“This hairpin is really beautiful!” Bai Lu was pleasantly surprised, “When did Young Lady have such a hairpin, was it Furen who gifted it?”
Shen Miao picked up that hairpin and placed it in front of her to carefully inspect it. This was the hairpin that Xie Jing Xing exchanged after picking the real Begonia from her head during the academy examinations, in the middle of the plum blossoms forest. If it was not Bai Lu mentioning about the matter, she would have thrown it to the back of her head.
The hairpin was made of jade, from the light to dark, when it reached the part with the flower, the entire jade was sparkling with a reddish purple colour. The craftsman who did the carving was very talented as the petal of the Begonia was in full bloom, and there was a feeling of a flourishing meaning. When one touches it, there was a cool and moist texture, obviously from the finest grade of jade. For such a jade Begonia hairpin, one fear that it was valued higher than a thousand gold. Previously Shen Miao saw a lot of good stuff in the Palace so she could naturally see that this hairpin was out of the ordinary. As such, she was even more unexpectedly surprised at Xie Jing Xing to be so generous as no matter how rich the residence of the Marquis of Lin An, one would not be able to squander at such a level.
Seeing Shen Miao lost in thoughts, Bai Lu was afraid of holding up the time and reminded, “Young Lady, this hairpin looks good, this servant will put it on for you.”
Only then Shen Miao recovered herself and went accordingly with Bai Lu’s wish.
Finally Shuang Jiang put a little rouge on the cheeks before it was considered finished. Gu Yu walked over with a Lotus blue rabbit fur cloak and put it on her before smiling, “Young Lady really look very good. Furen will definitely like it when she see this.”
Outside the door, Luo Xue Yan and Shen Xin were waiting as Shen Qiu ripped the leaves apart as he said, “Mother, why not let Younger Sister go to the chests of rewards for clothes and jewelleries?”
“What do you know.” Luo Xue Yan said in a bad mood, “It is always bestowing bolts of materials, one do not see clothes being bestowed. Even if there were clothes, who would know if those Ladyships and Concubines had worn them before. I would not dare to let Jiao Jiao wear them. As for jewellery, you might as well forget about it. Jiao Jiao will wear whatever she likes and desires, it is better not to intervene.”
Shen Miao had all along liked wearing tacky clothes and this point made Luo Xue Yan’s head to ache. No matter how much Luo Xue Yan persuaded, Shen Miao was unable to abandon her love of gold and silver jewelleries and after a long period, Luo Xue Yan gotten used to the look. Luo Xue Yan was born in a family with military lineage and even though she was fiercely beautiful, her dressing went towards the heroic style and had some vibe of a heroine.
Shen Qiu stuck his tongue out and softly spoke, “If Younger Sister wear gold and glittering again this time…” He hardly finished his words when he heard the squeaking sound of the door being pushed open.
“Younger Sister, Younger Sister…” Shen Qiu opened his mouth and stared foolishly at Shen Miao speechlessly.
The young female was wearing a purple jaded silk robes, with a rabbit fur cloak over it. The velvet rabbit fur covered her neck fully, making her small face look like it was the size of only a palm. Her complexion was already fair so when she wore the dark colours like lotus blue, it would not appear dull but looked extremely distinguished. The white straight teeth were like embracing the wind and with the lovely gestures from the young female, it make her more attractive due to her calm and quiet distinguished posture, as every single movement had a touch of prestige to it.
Luo Xue Yan and Shen Xin looked at her blankly. For a brief moment, they seemed to have saw pass the young female, and were now staring at the Empress of the throne with that noble air in the Palace that even surpassed the golden crown.
It was precisely because Shen Miao had always been wearing gold and silver that now when she was dressed simpler, she had an extravagant air and that kind of calm temperament was something that they had not seen before. Luo Xue Yan unconsciously pat her chest because she was born in the Northwestern region of the desert and only came to the Ding capital after she married Shen Xin, she was mocked for being uncouth, vulgar and lacking of etiquette. Luo Xue Yan herself did secretly invited a Momo over to learn but no matter how much she learnt, she was unable to portray the kind of elegance that was in one’s bones so she gave up.
Now her daughter looked more noble and dignified than any one of the daughters from Ding capital noble families. How could she not be happy and surprised!
“Hahahaha.” It was Shen Xin that first broke the silence, he raised his head and laughed out loud several times. When he looked back at Shen Miao again, there were pride and happiness in his eyes, “Shen family has a fully grown daughter. My Jiao Jiao is now also a great beauty!” The words he use were extremely coarse which provoked a fierce stare from Luo Xue Yan. When she turned her head, she saw the few guards that Shen Qui brought back from the army were also staring blankly at Shen Miao, she could not help but felt a trace of pride before she said, “Never mind. We will head to the horse carriage first. It would not be good to be late.” Finishing, she pulled Shen Miao along and talked to her intimately.
Shen Miao was not used to be treated as a little child like this but paused when she saw Shen Xin’s and Shen Qiu’s pampering looks. In the eyes of her parents and older brother, she was still that Shen Jiao Jiao.
Luo Xue Yan noticed the Begonia hairpin in her hair and said with a smile, “Jiao Jiao’s hairpin looks really good, did you pick it?”
Shen Miao vaguely responded and intended to walk towards the door but saw that there were two carriages that stopped there.