Edited by Tnyhy
Chapter 124: Prince Rui (Part 2)
Shen Miao and Luo Tan followed the crowd into the Palace hall for a few steps, when someone pat her shoulders. Shen Miao looked back and saw a familiar face.
“Hey, I have long saw you in the morning but we were located far away and could not come over. Shen Miao, long time no see!” Feng An Ning hugged Shen Miao passionately.
As compared to two years before, Feng An Ning was more beautiful and the young female’s inexperience was undoubtedly exposed. Her hair was styled in a hundred flowers bun and was wearing pomegranate red robes, she looked elegant. She let go of Shen Miao’s hands and looked at her dissatisfied, “Why are you not a little surprise upon seeing me?” Not waiting for Shen Miao to reply, she said to herself, “Never mind, you always had such a character so I forgive you. But.” She looked up and down at Shen Miao to size her up, “Two years of not seeing, how can you be this beautiful? How did the Xiao Chun City’s water and soil be able to raise such a beauty? How can you be a total different person than before?”
Shen Miao was instructed by Luo Xue Yan to let the servants dress her up, thus she was wearing purple crescent Phoenix robes with a large flower embroidered at the outer lapel. Her hair was styled in a hanging cloud knot, which was secured with a jade Begonia hairpin and small pearls as earrings. She originally had a small and delicate face, but was so graceful that even if she was standing quietly, there was a warm and dignified air around her. That pair of eyes that were as black as a doe, made a number of young males look back frequently.
The female’s features were good, and had an out of the ordinary bearing. It was like adding flowers to the brocade, making one unable to forget.
Luo Tan had been standing by Shen Miao’s side looking curiously at Feng An Ning. Feng An Ning finally noticed her and asked, “And who is this?”
“My Biao Older Sister, Luo Tan.” Shen Miao said, “This is Young Lady Feng, Feng An Ning.”
Luo Tan and Feng An Ning said their greetings. Feng An Ning has a rash and hasty character while Luo Tan was straightforward and lively, thus both of them felt like old friends at the first meeting, and made so much noise that Shen Miao’s ears were somewhat sore. When it was time to be seated, Feng An Ning informed Feng Furen before slipping over to Shen Miao’s side, so that it was more convenient chatting with her.
During the ceremony before, one had to stand according to one’s official position, but now that it was the banquet, one could sit freely. Shen Xin just returned to the Ding capital and did not have particularly close colleagues, so he found a seat at will. But now that he was ‘invited’ back by Emperor Wen Hui, the surrounding colleagues naturally dare not neglect him, and spoke respectably to him one after the other.
Feng An Ning whispered in Shen Miao’s ear, “Chi. These fence sitters. Initially when General Shen left the city, they were not willing to even meet up and now to act so intimately. So hypocritical.”
Shen Miao smiled slightly, and did not express an opinion before hearing Feng An Ning speaking again, “Look. Your Tang Older Sister also came.”
Shen Miao was slightly startled, before looking towards the direction that Feng An Ning pointed up and just nice, met the other person’s eyes.
After two years, she finally got to see Shen Yue again.
Ever since Shen Yuan’s incident, Shen Gui’s position had plummeted. He had been relying on other benefits to climb up, but ever since Shen Yuan was beheaded, the other officials regarded him like the plague and hid away. Shen Gui himself did not have much skills or abilities so as days drifted along, he became more frustrated. In such an occasion, he did not have the opportunity to come. The one who came was Shen Wan’s family.
Now, Shen Wan’s career was smooth sailing, and at the moment he was toasting others with a smiling face. Chen Rou Qiu was sitting by his side talking with the other Furens by her sides, looking as satisfied as two years ago. But… As time passed, one would no longer be as lively as before. It might be assumed that there were no sons from the Second household after so long, Old Shen Furen would have given the Third household pressure. Chen Rou Qiu then gave Shen Wan pressure to spread out the branches, and thus her days were not relaxed at all.
The one who was looking at Shen Miao was Shen Yue. Shen Yue, Yi Pei Lan, Bai Wei and Jiang Xiao Xuan sat together and her eyes were firmly set on her. Even though they were sit far apart, Shen Miao could taste the resentment in Shen Yue’s eyes.
Shen Yue was wearing a smoky pink Rui Yi dress, and had a corolla styled hair. She was now eighteen and had a weak scholarly look, that was pretty and pleasant looking. But Shen Miao gaze landed for a moment on the bracelet on Shen Yue’s hand, and then glanced at the silver agate hairpin on Shen Yue’s head before her lips hooked up.
With Shen Yue’s love of being in the limelight, for fear to miss out on every opportunity to show off herself, to still use jewellery from two years ago, it only meant that currently the money in the Third household was tight. When one think about it, it probably was the case since Old Shen Furen liked to spend money lavishly, and after the separation from the family, there would not be a Shen Xin providing money to support, so Chen Rou Qiu, the one in charge of the household, would have to managed it with difficult. In addition to the arrangements required for Shen Wan’s career, the money that Shen Yue could use for jewellery would have been less by a lot.
No matter how aloof a scholar was, one would need to live, so without money, how would one be able to be unyielding. In fact with Shen Yue’s beauty, it was not difficult to marry an official’s young master of the same social class easily and like that, she would more or less be able to also help Shen Wan, but Shen Yue was not willing to be engaged till now. In the past lifetime Shen Miao did not understand this, and still foolishly thought of finding young talents for her, and only saw later that Shen Yue’s heart was so big. How would ordinary young talents enter her eyes?
Shen Yue kept on staring at Shen Miao, and her heart was filled with endless jealousy. She could see clearly, that the fabric of the clothes that Shen Miao had on was something that only the Palace had. Previously, Shen Wan did a task well, and he fortunately got a bolt of it, and initially she wanted to make clothes with it, but who knew that Shen Wan gifted it to his superior. In these two years, the bigger Shen Wan’s official rank was, the more Shen Yue’s money was tighter. Shen Yue blamed all this on Shen Xin taking most of the money away when he separated from the family, and thus putting her in financial straits. She initially thought that since Shen Miao went to such a desolate place like the Xiao Chun City, she would not return in her lifetime. But who knew that not only Shen Miao returned, but did it looking so glamorous that all those gentlemen around frequently looked over at her. Shen Yue was so jealous in her heart that she wished Shen Miao was dead.
Her gaze were as sharp as knives, but Shen Miao only smiled faintly before turning her head and started talking to Luo Tan and Feng An Ning, not looking at Shen Yue at all.
At this moment, the Emperor and Empress started to enter. All the uproar gradually lowered as Emperor Wen Hui laughed, and instructed everyone to enjoy and have fun.
After that, the noble guests, the Qin country’s Crown Prince, HuangFu Hao, and Princess Ming An also entered. Princess Ming An directly ignored the Palace regulations and was full of arrogance, she did not even bow to Emperor Wen Hui. The Emperor’s smile was somewhat stiff, and at the end, it was HuangFu Hao who put up a respectful appearance.
Luo Tan looked around and when Feng An Ning saw it, she asked, “What are you looking at?”
“Why is that Prince Rui of the Great Liang not here yet?” Luo Tan said, “Others said that the Imperial family of the Great Liang are incomparably beautiful, and even Emperor Yong Le was an exceptionally beautiful man. Since Prince Rui is Emperor Yong Le’s blood younger brother, naturally he is unlimited svelte. I want to take a look at this earth shattering beauty.”
When Feng An Ning heard this, her lips pursed, “Enough about it. After that Prince Rui came over from the Great Liang, other than to His Majesty, he had not appeared in front of outsiders. Furthermore, even if he were to appear, one will not be able to see his earth shattering beauty.”
“Why?” Luo Tan was puzzled, “Is his appearance ugly?”
The voice hardly landed when one heard a eunuch outside shouting out loud, “His Highness Prince Rui of the Great Liang has arrived—”
Everyone moved their gazes towards the door.
One saw an entourage of lean figures walking in. The bodyguards were following behind while that person walked in front. His stature was extremely tall and straight, and he was wearing a golden embroidered purple robes, with a rhinoceros horn belt decorated with white jade and deer skin boots. They were simple clothes and ornaments, but when compared to the entire court of civil and military officers, it was better. However the most attractive thing was not these.
On his face, there was a silver half mask.
The mask covered from the forehead to the tip of the nose, but because it fitted closely to the facial features, it showed the smooth lines of that face. One could see the high bridge of the nose, a pair of eyes that were as if they were drawn in painting, that even they were to take a glance, it would look romantic. The exposed chin was beautiful, and the thin lips were so red that even if it was close, it was as if they were silently inviting.
Everyone fell silent.
This young male was clearly wearing a mask, and others were not able to see his appearance, but he actually had the ability to make others go crazy. Everyone was looking at that face without blinking at all, but the chilling gaze from the mask made others feel cold. Even though that pair of eyes were bright, black and had some playful intentions, they were rather indifferent, making others unclear if the other person was warm or cold.
It was a person that could attract everyone’s attention, an exceptionally dazzling youth like the sun.
He went to the honoured guests’ area to sit down, and every action was elegant and magnificent. By contrast, HuangFu Hao who was just courteous before became as rude as an unrefined boor. Princess Ming An, who was beside HuangFu Hao, had long looked silly in affection.
Emperor Wen Hui laughed out and looked towards Prince Rui, “Is not Prince Rui not feeling well, why come to the tribute dinner? This make Zhen’s officials to could not help but be surprised.”
Prince Rui nodded his head towards Emperor Wen Hui, and had a causal and lazy attitude as he spoke, “Suddenly had the interest, so one then came.”
His voice was very good to listen to, it was low and was a bit magnetic, that the young females present slightly blushed. However these words were filled with impudence. The Ming Qi’s tribute banquet was a big even but from Prince Rui’s mouth, it was as if it was a common family’s banquet as he came and went as he wishes. This was truly condescending.
The officials of Ming Qi were furious, but dared not speak since Emperor Wen Hui also dared not speak, so what could they do. This Prince Rui of the Great Liang’s methods were almost the same as Emperor Yong Le, he was very presumptuous but had a very compelling force.
Emperor Wen Hui indeed did not pursue the matter, and let the rest of the officials continue to eat and drink, apparently intending to let the matter pass.
As Luo Tan was eating the pastries at the banquet, she quietly spoke to Shen Miao, “This Prince Rui is really very bold to even say such things to the Emperor. Does he not fear that the Emperor would punish him for the crime?”
“Punish what crime?” Feng An Ning heard this and her mouth twitched, “That person is Prince Rui of the Great Liang. The people of the Great Liang can only be the Ming Qi’s guests, and whatever the guest do, is correct.” Even though Feng An Ning’s voice was very low, she only vaguely spoke of it and dared not make it too understandable, as this was after all the Palace. If someone attentive heard it, who knew what kind of consequences would there be.
“One had never heard about this Prince Rui before.” Luo Tan rested her cheek on her hand, “Look like a beautiful male. Really want to see how he look like under the mask.” Luo Tan’s favourite pastime was looking at handsome men, and when looking at this Prince Rui, her eyeballs were almost stuck on him.
“Maybe under the mask he is an ugly person.” Feng An Ning dampened her enthusiasm, “Otherwise why the need to wear a mask?”
“I bet he is a rare beautiful man in the world.” Luo Tan shoved Shen Miao, “Otherwise Biao Youngest Sister, what kind of person do you think this Prince Rui is?”
Shen Miao did not even lift her head, “Do not know.”
“Say, say.” Luo Tan did not listen to excuses, “You guess between His Highness Prince Rui and the Little Marquis of the Xie family, who was the most beautiful in the Ding capital, who is more beautiful?”
Shen Miao did not expect Luo Tan would actually use ‘most beautiful in the Ding capital’ to describe Xie Jing Xing. She was originally drinking tea and choked on the mouthful of tea. She suddenly cough twice, scaring Luo Tan and Feng An Ning to quickly cover her mouth to prevent any disrespectfulness.
However the actions were too big and those people who were close by, looked over. Shen Miao wiped her mouth to cover up, but in an instant she saw a pair of eyes.
That male behind the mask that was sitting at the honoured guests’ seat slightly looked sideways. One did not know if it was real or an illusion, but his gaze seemed to have stayed on her for a moment before moving away.
Those eyes were filled with amusement.