Please pardon me for this chapter as my abilities to translate the description and names of the gifts itself is bad. Most the time I do not know what I am translating and how it looks like. At one point, I was scolding XJX for giving too much gifts. LOL
Chapter 184: Betrothal Gifts (Part 1)
These few days the Shen family was caught in a very strange mood. Because of Shen Miao’s bestowed marriage, everyone seemed to be clouded with anxiety. Even though everyone was trying to express joy, but one could not hide the bleakness of it at the end.
Shen Xin and Luo Xue Yan would leave early and return home late daily, most likely they were searching of ways to get this marriage rescinded but they returned without success. Upon some thought it was as so, since Emperor Wen Hui had concealed from the entire court of officials to write this decree, most likely it was to sever Shen Xin’s intention of refusing. A Monarch’s words were not of a joking matter and words spoken were like water that was splashed. In the previous dynasty there was a Princess who fancied a Zhuang Yuan (top scorer in the Imperial examinations) but that Zhuang Yuan already had a wife but it was because of the phrase of ‘Monarch’s words were not of a joking matter’ that he divorced his wife and married another?
Every time when Shen Qiu saw Shen Miao, he would have a conscience-stricken expression and these days he would often gift Shen Miao some rare treasures. He only said, “Older Brother do not have any abilities and can only find these playthings for you.”
Shen Miao was rather speechless with the Shen family’s mood. She naturally knew that things were not that bad but she could not tell the Shen family so. If Shen Xin knew that Xie Jing Xing’s real reason, one feared that there would even more trouble.
In Ming Qi she has to think about the Shen family but on the contrary, it was not convenient for her to take action but once she was in Great Liang, it would likely be much easier to do many things by using Xie Jing Xing’s name.
She was relaxed but the people by her side all thought she was pretended. When she was reading in the room today, she saw Bai Lu run in a hurry and said, “Young Lady, Furen want you to quickly go to the main hall. The people from Prince Rui residence had come to send the list of betrothal gifts.”
Shen Miao was startled. List of betrothal gifts?
Xie Jing Xing was really extremely daring. He obviously knew that the Shen family did not want to see him and even hated him but he actually dare to send the list of betrothal gifts over. Wasn’t this adding fuel into the fire?
However thinking about Xie Jing Xing’s absolutely unrestrained temperament, this was indeed something he could do.
Upon reaching the main hall, one could see from afar that Luo Xue Yan was holding a long thing and beside Luo Xue Yan, Shen Qiu and Shen Xin was standing as they stretched their heads over. Luo Tan pursed her lips while Luo Ling’s gaze became complicated. In short, everyone’s was behaving very strangely.
When Shen Miao stepped into the room, she only then found out that other than the Shen family, there was someone else standing in the room. After looking clearly at that person’s appearance, Shen Miao almost choked. Shen Miao had seen this middle aged man that had a big beard before, he seemed to be a guard that was always following Xie Jing Xing and Cong Yang would call him ‘Tie Yi’. From a glance, one could tell that he was a brave person with martial arts but today he deliberately wore a red robe and on it, there were gold embroidered peaches and clouds. Most likely it was bring out the cheerful atmosphere but Tie Yi’s complexion was dark so by wearing this attire, the heroisms were all covered up and on contrary, he look foolish.
Upon seeing her, Tie Yi bowed at her and said seriously, “Wang Fei (Prince Consort).”
Translator note: When the author refers to a position, I will be using Prince Consort. When it is referring to a person, like there, I will use Wang Fei instead.
This time even Shen Qiu could not help but cough and glared at Tie Yi, “Don’t call that inconsiderately.”
Tie Yi simply did not pay any attention to him.
Shen Miao wanted to laugh somewhat unfathomably. Was Xie Jing Xing trying to muck up the place? Even if one were to send a list of betrothal gifts, he should find a happy and festive looking married woman to read. The residence of Prince Rui was so rich but only let Tie Yi, such a rough big male to come over. Wasn’t this purposely making one laugh?
Seeing that Shen Miao was being startled, Luo Tan called her, “Youngest Biao Sister, what are you standing there for? Quickly come over to take a look at this list of betrothal gifts.” She looked surreptitiously at Shen Miao, seemingly very excited with it.
Shen Miao walked over.
The list of betrothal was exquisitely done. It was made from scented wood, sprinkled with gold dust and there was an emerald cat eye on the front, making it very valuable. Just this list itself was already expensive. Even though Shen Xin and wife were not vain people, Prince Rui doing so would express the value of Shen Miao to him and their expression became better.
Luo Xue Yan handed the list of betrothal gifts to Tie Yi and said, “Read it.”
In Ming Qi customs, the list of betrothal gifts would be ‘sung’ by the male side. The longer it was sung, the generous the betrothal gifts were and the more honorable the female side would be.
Tie Yi was obviously not accustomed to do such a thing so he flipped to the first page and sang dryly, “One yellow daylily, crab-apple flower and begonia bed. One blackwood three screen panel arhat bed. One set of yellow daylily pear wardrobe, bookcase and display shelving. One pair of black-eyed bean vases. One pair of conch inlay yellow daylily pear desk. One speckled conch yellow daylily pear money chest. One pair…”
The first page consisted of furniture which made everyone who heard it dumbstruck. Even if one were to put these many things in the current Shen mansion, it would not be enough. It was enough to place in three mansions.
The second page was display items and one only heard Tie Yi singing, “One incense aloewood Ruyi. One mountain peak jade Ruyi. One tin paper lamp. One gold gilded table clock One silver pocket watch. One green jade bamboo bonsai. One gold gilded hexagonal pot of plum blossom bonsai. One three coloured eighteen secionted serving plate. One coloured dust jar for tea leaves. One barrel of pure privet wine. Bamboo and plum blossoms folding screen…”
Luo Xue Yan and Shen Xin also raised their eyebrows. This Prince Rui’s list of betrothal gifts is rather ggenerous.
However there was no time to be surprised as Tie Yi had continued to sing. The third page was daily necessities, “Six boxes of boxwood combs. Two boxes of bamboo brushes. One red sandalwood table. Sandalwood cub for gurgling, perfumed soap, satin canopy, glass bean hanging screen, eight mandarin duck tasseled cushions…”
Everyone in the Shen family, “…”
Tie Yi continued onto the fourth page, “One coat of silver rate, grey rat, sheepskin, pearl feathered each and twelve different cotton wadded coat. Thirty two sets of robes of silk, satin and cotton. One fox hide satin jacket. Twelve flower chiffon overcoat. Twelve sets of clothes with five fortune, phoenix, and thousands of fortune and flowers embroidered. Thirty pieces of top graded silk hide. Twenty bolts of pattern brocade. Ten bolts of Yun brocade. Ten bolts of Shu brocade. Twelve bolts of different coloured muslin. Thirty six embroidered satin quilt. Twenty pairs of embroidered shoes. Forty pairs of Jiang silk socks…”
Luo Xue Yan could not help but asked, “This… This Young Brother, could it be that you have taken the wrong list of betrothal gifts? This… This is not right.”
How was this marrying a wife? This was like for a Princess instead. One feared that even a Princess would not be that detailed.
Tie Yi spoke expressionlessly, “It cannot be. There is only one list of betrothal gifts in the residence of Prince Rui. May Furen continue listening.”
He started singing the fifth page of the list of betrothal gifts, “One tray of coral, gold leaves, scented agarwood prayer beads. Four pieces of different types of green jade each. Four pieces of different type of white jade. Two pieces of different crystal accessories each. Strings of pears, jadeite, coral…”
The sixth page he sang was on antique, calligraphy and paintings, “Four pairs of Zhi Jin porcelain bottles. One pair of spring balas vase. One pair of Chen Hua ware bottle. One blue glazed white plum blossom bottle…”
The seventh page that he sang was all on the works of the four scholarly arts.
The eighth page that he sang was for servants and exclusive guards.
The ninth page was on horses and carriages.
The tenth page…
Everyone in the Shen family, “…”
The more Tie Yi sang, the smoother it was. He sang with one long breath that was even better than those older students in the theater in Xiao Chun City. Every lingering note in every sentence made everyone feel as if they seemed to have taken a glimpse of large sheets of money. At the very end of the last sentence, he even suck in his tummy and breathe out deeply as he closed the list of betrothal gifts. Then he finally looked at Shen Miao.
“Storefronts and estates are not entered in the list of betrothal gifts because they are all in Great Liang.” Tie Yi smiled sincerely, “His Highness has converted all of them to gold, which amount to ten thousands Jin of gold (1 Jin = 500g).”
Ten thousand Jin of gold.
Luo Tan could almost pass out.
Tie Yi continued speaking, “The mansions between the residence of Prince Rui to the Shen mansion were bought and will be included in it. Later on there will be someone who will send the title deeds over.” He respectfully handed the list of betrothal gifts to Luo Xue Yan, “May Furen accept it.”
Luo Xue Yan did not accept it.
The entire room of people was as dumbstruck as wooden chickens. Luo Xue Yan dared not accept it.
That was ten thousand Jin of gold and such a long list of betrothal gifts. Was their Shen family going to become the richest people in Ming Qi?
Prince Rui did not move the entire treasury of Great Liang over right?
Prince Rui’s brain was not ill right?
Shen Xin frowned but it was Shen Qiu who reacted first. He hesitated before cautiously probed, “Does your Emperor know of the list of betrothal gifts that Prince Rui wrote?”
Tie Yi was blanked for a bit before remembering something and smiled, “His Majesty does not value mere worldly possessions much and moreover this is not considered a big amount.”
Seeing the thundering expression of everyone in the Shen family, Tie Yi continued, “In the Imperial family of Great Liang, gold, silver and pearls could fill up Ming Qi’s treasury instantly but is considered like sand and fine soil in Great Liang.”
Everyone felt a deep veneration. It seemed that Great Liang was indeed rich and power. They were so such that the betrothal gifts could fill the entire treasury were only sand and fine soil in their view.
Tie Yi again spoke, “However may General and Furen rest assure, with regards to His Highness marrying Young Lady Shen, everything done is accordingly to Great Liang’s Imperial family procedure.”
Luo Xue Yan and Shen Xin could only the place their hearts down. Even though they were not short of money, they still paid special attention to Shen Miao’s matter and followed all etiquette. They were moved but also sighed as the betrothal gifts that Emperor Wen Hui gave the Empress those years back was not even half of Shen Miao’s betrothal gifts.”
If it was a normal official who was marrying a wife, they naturally had to take into consideration and not gift more than that of the Imperial family. However Prince Rui was not a citizen of Ming Qi but Great Liang, thus naturally one did not have to consider to this level. Even if the gifts were much more valuable than the Imperial family, the Imperial family would not say anything. Since it was so, Shen Miao’s betrothal gifts should be the grandest in Ming Qi since the founding of the country.
Shen Xin’s and Luo Xue Yan’s heart finally had a trace of comfort. In any case since the Imperial decree could not be change, Shen Miao was destined to marry to Prince Rui. Perhaps marrying this grandly and extravagantly was a wish of many young ladies and at least was a form of compensation for Shen Miao.
Thinking of this, the ill will that they had of Prince Rui had dissipated a lot that they have more amiable attitude towards this big bearded man.
Luo Xue Yan asked, “However why was the age card not sent over?”
Before getting married, one had to match all eight characters of birth. However because Shen Miao’s marriage was special as it was bestowed directly by Emperor Wen Hui, this step was skipped.
Tie Yi said, “His Highness had already matched Young Lady Shen’s eight characters and it is a couple that is made in Heavens, one that have been in the making for five hundred years. Since Furen request for the age card, one will bring His Highness’s age card over.”
The other party’s attitude was filled with sincerity that one was unable to find anything wrong with it.
Luo tan could not help but asked, “When will the wedding be held? There was no indication of when it will be on in the Imperial decree.”
Tie Yi smiled, “The marriage request memorandum has been completed. His Highness will be returning to Great light after the end of the year so on the day of the return to Great Liang, it would also be the day that Young Lady Shen will be married over and there will be a red procession all the way to Great Liang’s city gates.”
This was as good as marrying out from Ming Qi to Great Liang with drums and gongs beating all the way. The ceremony and traditions would start from Ming Qi and upon returning to Great Liang, the citizens would be officially announced. This was considered as lifting Shen Miao to a very high and distinguish position as it was the same as announcing to the everyone under Heavens that Shen Miao had the identity of Prince Rui’s consort.
Shen Xin and Luo Xue Yan exchanged a look and both of them saw the doubts in each other’s gaze.
For this Prince Rui to treat Shen Miao this meticulously, why did it looked like… It was really sincere and committed to Shen Miao?
How could it be possible? Shen Miao did not see Prince Rui for more than a few times.
Luo Ling’s gaze was so dark that the light was barely visible. He kept his head lowered as he looked at the floor, as if he could see a flower.