Chapter 198: Wives and Concubines (Part 1)
On the same night when Xie Jing Xing returned, Shen Miao told Xie Jing Xing about the matter of the invitation. Xie Jing Xing told Shen Miao if she did not want to go, it was alright to reject it. Even though the Lu and Ye families were arrogant, they currently dared not tear away all pretenses with the residence of Prince Rui. In another words, Shen Miao had the power to reject.
It was just that even it was so, Shen Miao did not want to refuse. Knowing oneself and knowing one’s enemy would lead one to be victorious in every batter. Currently she had no knowledge of the different fractions in Great Liang and one could take advantage of this opportunity to understand it better. Not mentioning the Ye family, just want kind of thoughts the Lu family had towards her can be seen in this time.
Naturally Xie Jing Xing would not stop Shen Miao’s decision. After the husband and wife discussed about it, Shen Miao instructed others to reply to the invitation that she would be there punctually.
Two days later, it was the day of the Bright Summer Banquet.
Shen Miao woke up very early and when she was eating breakfast, Xie Jing Xing was already not in the residence. It seemed that after returning to Great Liang, he was very busy every day and would leave early in the day and only return late at night. Shen Miao felt that this Imperial city did not seemed to be as calm as it seemed on the surface.
Jing Zhe combed Shen Miao hair for her. After she came to the residence of Prince Rui of First Rank, due to convenience, she still used her own personal maids. Speaking of which, there were very few female servants in the entire Prince residence. Other than the cook and a few MoMo, it was an entire scenery of males. Hearing from Tang Shu, after Xie Jing Xing was conferred a Prince of First Rank two years ago when he returned to Great Liang, he would catch a few spies that were dressed as maids. Most likely there were more matters with females and it was easy to let some unscrupulous people to exploit. Afterwards, there was no longer any more females in the entire Prince residence.
However it was because of this reason, the Prince residence was like a copper wall. After so long, the people outside hated it but they were also helpless as they are unable to find any ways around.
Gu Yu said, “It is Furen’s first time participating a banquet in Long Ye thus one must dress up beautifully. When other see Furen as such, they would not say more and Furen will also give our Ming Qi some face.”
Xie Jing Xing was considered as prestigious in Long Ye. When Jing Zhe and Gu Yu went out to buy things, they heard outsiders talking about it that it was Shen Miao’s past life blessing to be able to marry to Prince Rui of First Rank in this lifetime. Jing Zhe and Gu Yu listened to it till their heart felt not convinced. What was not good about their family’s Young Lady? Even in Ding capital in Ming Qi, she was one of the higher ranking Young Lady. Not mentioning intelligence, she has a kind character and that temperament, she would not even give in to a Princess, so what was all these climbing up?
But one mouth would not be able to beat everyone else. It was better to use facts to slap another’s face. Shen Miao thought that this time Shen Miao should surprise everyone so that those people would no longer speak of all these stuff.
“What is there for to mind this?” Shen Miao laughed, “They only said it to make their hearts feel comfortable but it will not affect us.”
“Furen, Gu Yu did not say wrongly.” Jing Zhe was helping Shen Miao chose the hairpins in the jewelry chest as she said, “One must not be lower than her in this opinion.”
Just as she was speaking, she saw Tang Shu knocking the door from outside. Shen Miao signaled her to come in and saw that a young lady was following behind Tang Shu. She seemed to look even younger than Shen Miao and was slightly chubbier, most likely because of her young age, but she had an very pleasing appearance and a pair s smiling eyes. Her lips were stretched wide and her complexion was fair and tender. In a moment, Shen Miao thought of Su Ming Lang… But it was a young girl.
“Today Furen is going to Bright Summer Banquet.” Tang Shu smiled, “Young Master had instructed to find someone familiar to give pointers to Furen, thus this old servant has transferred Young Lady Ba Jiao over. Furen can bring Ba Jiao along as a maid and if one encounters unfamiliar people, Young Lady Ba Jiao would explain it to you.”
Shen Miao smiled, “Tang Shu, thank you.”
Tang Shu waved his hands and said continuously that he dare not accept before speaking with smiles, “One had thought that Furen would not accept the invitation but did not expect that Furen would accept it. Furen is really courageous that this old servant admires.” When ordinary people reached an unfamiliar location, there would always be some timidity in one’s heart. Not to mention a young lady of an official family, even if one was more courageous, after one’s arrival in an totally unfamiliar environment to go to a place where everyone was a stranger and knowing that it was a place of ill-intention, this would require a lot of courage.
“It is only to drink some tea and chat.” Shen Miao said lightly, “Where would courage be used at?”
Tang Shu nodded his head, “Exactly. Exactly.” His gaze towards Shen Miao was much more with satisfaction and he withdrew after giving out a few more instructions.
Shen Miao looked at this Ba Jiao. Ba Jiao stood properly and smiled as she looked at her. This kind of look was a bit silly but made one’s heart felt exceptionally adorable. Today’s Shen Miao trip to the Bright Summer Banquet would be difficult if there was no one guiding and if there was someone at the side explaining, one could save a lot of effort. Shen Miao smiled gently at Xie Jing Xing’s thoughtful consideration when she thought of something suddenly. Shen Miao looked at Ba Jiao and asked, “Isn’t there no female maids in the Prince residence? You…”
Other than the female cook and a few MoMo, there were only male servants and guards in the Prince residence and there were no maids at all. Thus Jing Zhe, Gu Yu and the few that Shen Miao brought over became the few fragrances in the Prince residence.
Ba Jiao smiled, “This servant is not a maid in the Prince residence. This servant is Mo Yu Army’s people that was specially transferred over to accompany Furen.”
“Mo Yu Army?” Shen Miao was startled. She had heard Xie Jing Xing vaguely mentioned a few words. When in Ming Qi, this army would help Xie Jing Xing on many matters and seemed to be Xie Jing Xing’s privately raised army that was extremely powerful. However for Xie Jing Xing to dare to take action that open boardedly, it seemed that Emperor Yong Le knew about the matter.
She asked, “Do you know martial arts?”
“This servant knows how to kill people.” Ba Jiao answered with smiles. Jing Zhe and Gu Yu both suck in a breath of cold air when they heard it as they could not believe that this smilling female who looked like Su Ming Lang would actually have a good hand in killing people.
Shen Miao was however satisfied. She thought that Xie Jing Xing was indeed evil to send Ba Jiao to her for the Bright Summer Banquet. But this also meant that at least on the area of martial arts, she would not be at a disadvantage.
Shen Miao said, “Since it is so, then you will come together with me. Jing Zhe will remain in the residence and sort out the warehouse with Bai Lu, Shuang Jiang and the few people. Gu Yu, you and Ba Jiao will set off with me.”
Jing Zhe had almost finished tidying up but was only told that she would not be going so her heart felt somewhat grievance and was not happy with Ba Jiao but she feared that Ba Jiao would be angry and kill her in anger, so she unwillingly instructed Ba Jiao to take great care of Shen Miao before leaving.
When everything was ready, Shen Miao then got onto the horse carriage and headed towards the location where the Bright Summer Banquet was held, the Lu residences.
This time Shen Miao did not bring Mo Qing along and the guards that she brought along were all people from the residence of Prince Rui. Naturally she had her considerations as Mo Qing was after all a person from Ming Qi but bringing the people from the residence of Prince Rui would make other feel some restrain and would not take action easily and only shoot with their mouths. Moreover Shen Miao was most fearless with sparring others with words.
The difference between Ding capital and Long Ye was that Great Liang’s land was towards the East and would be nearer to the sun. Thus even during winter, it would not be as cold as Ding capital, much less summer. Currently it was the fifth month and if one was in Ding capital, it would still be spring but in Great Liang, it was already the beginning of summer and there was a slight heat.
As the horse carriage journeyed, Shen Miao and Gu Yu parted the curtains with a gap and looked out. Seeing the busy streets of Long Ye and liveliness made one’s heart feel moved.
No wonder those citizens of those defeated countries would open their gates to welcome. If one would bring good days to people of under Heavens, the commoners would find that the name of the country was a small matter. Emperor Yong Le was one who had the talent to rule the world.
After almost an hour of journey, the horse carriage finally stopped. Ba Jiao lifted the curtains and said, “Furen, one have arrived at the Lu residences.”
Gu Yu and Ba Jiao supported Shen Miao down the horse carriage and saw that there were a number of carriages that were parked at the entrance of Lu residence but there was not a single person at the gate who was welcoming. Gu Yu was stunned, “This… Why is there no one from this family not out to welcome? Could it be that one had come to the wrong place?”
Even though it was said that it was the wrong place but it did not look wrong as the doors of the Lu residences were not closed as if it was opened for her.
Shen Miao swept a glance at the door and had an inkling in her heart. She asked Gu Yu, “What time was it indicated in the invitation of the Bright Summer Banquet?”
Gu Yu quickly took out the invitation from her sleeves and opened it up, “It is SiShi (modern timing: 9am – 11am). Currently it is not even SiShi yet.”
“One thinks that only our invitation is as such.” Shen Miao said lightly.
Gu Yu said, “Furen, what is the meaning of it?”
“There are horse carriages in front of the doors so obviously guests had arrived but even if one came in advance, there would not be that many. There are no one at the gates to welcoming but the doors were opened for us, so it meant that they knew we will definitely come. If I did not guess incorrectly, the other’s invitation would have indicated the time as ChenShi (modern timing: 7am – 9am) but our invitation is at SiShi. This is deliberately letting us come late.” After finishing, her heart smiled, it seemed that no matter if one was in Ming Qi or Great Liang, these noblewomen would always use those tricks.
Ba Jiao was in smiles but Gu Yu suddenly understood and said with indignation, “What kind of benefits does she have to make us of Young Lady? This is just being too much!”
“Benefits?” Shen Miao’s voice turned slightly cold, “There are a lot of benefits. Entering without anyone welcoming, it is rude and they would say the Shen family of Ming Qi is arrogant. Not entering means disrespectful as it is unreasonable to accept the invitation yet leave halfway. The reasons are all with them and when one was caught, one would have to lower one’s head from the beginning. The more it head down, the more one would be laughed at.”
Confronting and quarrelling with others was an art. From the beginning, one’s mistakes could not be caught by others else one’s head would be lower than others. She and Mei Furen had been fighting for so many years but she understood this point.
Ba Jiao asked, “Does Furen still want to enter?”
“Enter.” Shen Miao picked up her skirt and was about to head inside.
“But Furen.” Gu Yu asked, “One’s mistake will be mention upon going in and it is also wrong if one do not enter. Since entering and retreating are both wrong, why would one still enter?”
“Then one will need to let others commit bigger mistakes than you.” Shen Miao smiled gently, “Like that, no one would notice of your mistakes.”