Chapter 198: Wives and Concubines (Part 2)
In the Lu residence, at this moment the atmosphere in the hall was very harmonious. As the well-known military commander in Long Ye, the Lu family’s status is extremely high, thus the residence was large and it was renovated luxuriously. Todays’ Bright Summer Banquet was personally handled by Lu Furen, thus the compliments kept flowing in without stopping.
Lu Furen was in her early forties and her prime was passed. Most likely she was a beauty when she was younger but after maturing, she was so thin that she lost some dignity appearance. Despite this, she still wore gorgeously, as if this would be able to add a little brilliance onto her.
It was just that when a female, with age, still wore inappropriately bright clothes, not only it would not let her look better, it would expose one’s shortcoming of age.
“Lu Furen is truly fortunate.” A round faced Furen said with a smile, “Her Ladyship Consort Jing gained His Majesty’s favour in the Palace and Her Ladyship Consort Jing is still this filial to you. This Bright Summer Banquet His Majesty specially sent over gifts, which is enough to see the weight of Her Ladyship Consort Jing in His Majesty’s heart.”
Lu Furen was pleased in her heart but still had an modest expression on her face, “It is all the Emperor’s generosity and pity to Consort Jing that made our entire family enjoy the light.”
“What kind of words Furen is saying?” Another short statured Furen smiled, “Consort Jing gained favoured and the Second Young Lady of the residence had married to a provincial military governor and one heard that recently she was even pregnant with twins. One have to also let us be bless with a little of such fortune.”
Lu Furen shook her head and said with an expression of a headache, “Is there not Third Son and Fourth Daughter? These two truly make my head ache.”
The round face Furen spoke with exaggeration, “Furen, a headache is needed for these? Third Gentlemen is a talented person that has martial art skills that is outstanding at such a young age. One do not know which family’s young lady would have the fortune to marry him. As for Forth Young Lady, needless to say, she is a fairy like character. She is inept with the four scholarly arts, so what matter need one worry with?”
“Furen has praised.” Lu Furen shook her head and smiled bitterly, “Forget about Third Son since it is understandable for men to gain more experience for a few years but Forth Daughter’s marriage cannot be dragged on. I am really having a headache about it…”
“Mother. You are still talking about my bad points in front of other Furens!” A delicate female voice rang out. Everyone turned around and saw that a young female appeared in the main hall. This young female was about sixteen and seventeen, wearing a light purple butterfly pattered and cloud and bird embroidered robe. From a closer look, it was butterfly shaped pears. This female lady had a delicate and beautiful appearance and most likely with the pampering, there was a natural romantic deposition of a wealthy young lady. With the surrounding pearls and jewelry, she was a sensational radiance, as if she was a butterfly fairy in spring. She was indeed very eye-catching.
This was the Fourth Young Lady of the Lu family, the Fourth Younger Sister of Consort Jing, Lu Wan-er.
Lu Furen stroke her head dotingly and said, “How would I dare to sideline our Young Lady Wan-er?”
Lu Wan-er snorted and did not speak any more. There were still other young ladies of official family in the hall but when Lu Wan-er stood in the hall, comparing to her, they all looked awkward.
Lu Wan-er had an arrogant expression and looked around, “Is that Shen family’s Young Lady of Ming Qi coming or not?”
The volume of her voice was not low at all and all the Furens and Young Ladies in the hall heard it and in a moment all started whispering.
Lu Wan-er referred Shen Miao as ‘Shen family’s Young Lady of Ming Qi’ and refused to call her ‘Rui Wangfei’, this itself had said many things clearly. Thinking of that, it would be as such as everyone had said that the beginning that the Fourth Young Lady of the Lu family would be marrying into the residence of Prince Rui of First Rank to be the Prince Consort of First Rank. Lu Wan-er was satisfied with Prince Rui too but who knew that halfway Shen Miao would appear. The people of the Lu family were not happy and Lu Wan-er was even more irreconcilable.
The purpose of today’s Bright Summer Banquet was not as it seemed. However most of these Furen were here to see the buzz and perhaps want to flatter Lu Wan-er. That Shen family’s Young Lady was currently glamorous but did not have any roots or foundation in Long Ye so who would know how far she could drift? Prince Rui of First Rank is at his prime age so how would he place that much time and feeling on just one female?
All in all, that Young Lady of the Shen family did not seemed to have a good ending.
Lu Furen smiled, “Perhaps one had experience a delaying matter on the road.”
“Really such great airs.” Lu Wan-er said unhappily, “Other Furens and Young Ladies are all punctual but only she alone is late. Is the rules and regulation in Ming Qi all dead?”
Just as she was speaking, one saw a round faced young lady suddenly appearing outside. Everyone did not know when did she entered. That young lady smiled, “May one ask if this is the Bright Summer Banquet?”
Lu Furen was startled and smiled, “It is, are you Rui WangFei?”
“This servant is not.” That smiling young lady said, “WangFei is here.” As she was speaking, she turned back and supported a Young Lady to walk over.
One did not know if it was because that round face maid or was it that everyone had imagined Rui WangFei was not adequately worthy enough. In short, when that Young Lady walked in, everyone was stunned.
She wore a lotus green phoenix robe with butterflies surrounding hundreds of flowers with a translucent purple white magnolia gauze. One could not say that it was gorgeous but it was definitely not simple. The young ladies of Long Ye’s official families loved to eat and dress well but when they saw her overall complementing clothes, they felt that it was very tasteful. There was only an inlaid phoenix shaped gemstone on one’s head and despite the single hairpin, it made one look even nobler.
This young lady had eyebrows like a new moon with clear apricot shaped eyes, a small and straight nose with a rosy lips that slightly smiled. She looked like a very gentle person but that slightly lifted chin and straighten back as she walked over made one felt a little tremble as she took every step. Involuntarily, one could not help but look up with a gaze, as if she was an unattainable nobility.
Speaking strangely of it, today this Rui WangFei of First Rank and the Fourth Lu Young Lady were wearing purple robles. The purple that Forth Lu Young Lady was wearing was light in colour and Rui WangFei’s purple was darker. Young Ladies who wear light purple would looked lively and gentle, whereas wearing darker purple would look mature and stiff. However Shen Miao’s entire appearance of purple seemed to be tailored made for her as there was a luxurious style to it that could suppress the entire field. In contrast, Fourth Lu Young Lady looked like an actress who was singing in a theater, somewhat unable to be seen in public.
Lu Wan-er was one who pay great attention to this on normal days and was accustomed to being the center of the limelight thus she did not expect that others would snatch her limelight today, in particular this was the person who robbed her position of Rui WangFei, Shen Miao.
Lu Furen’s eyes flashed and she smiled, “WangFei of First Rank finally arrived. The Furens have been waiting for you.”
Shen Miao smiled gently and said not too fast or slow, “One did not think that Furens would be so early. The invitation indicated Sishi (modern timing: 9 – 11am). I mentioned it to His Highness about it and His Highness even mentioned to leave early and avoid the crowd. One had not thought that one would still be late and it is my fault. One have to blame His Highness for not reminding me to leave even earlier. One should leave… At Chenshi (modern timing: 7 – 9 am).”
Lu Furen’s heart jumped as she did not expect that Shen Miao would speak of it so unobtrusively. Sure enough when the words were spoken, the furens around looked at her differently.
Shen Miao was after all an outsider and those furens would be in favour of the Lu family as compared to Shen Miao but it was a joke to others’ eyes when one used this kind of ridiculous child play. Lu Furen was also somewhat regretful as she originally wanted show a initial show o strength but there was no need to play tricks on the invitation but Lu Wan-er was unable to keep it in and she had insisted on it to be done like that. Now when Shen Miao’s words enter others’ ears, these Furen’s invitation did not indicate Sishi (modern timing: 9 – 11am) so they understood. One would always feel somewhat happy when watching the Lu family.
If Shen Miao informed Prince Rui of this matter when she returned, with Prince Rui such an intelligent person, how would he not understand when he heard it? If he was dissatisfied with the Lu family on this matter then Lu Furen felt that this was a bad move.
However Lu Wan-er was unable to see Shen Miao doing well and sized Shen Miao up, “Why did Rui WangFei not inform others and just enter? If one do not know, then others would say that we have slighted another.”
It was indeed rude to enter the residence without having another to report. Shen Miao looked at Lu Wan-er and laughed, “This is exactly what I wanted to say. If there is not enough manpower in one’s distinguished residence, there is no need to be that constrained. Such a big residence but without any guards on duty is indeed somewhat dangerous. She smile warmly, “I will instruct the guards of the Prince residence of First Rank to guard one’s distinguished residence so that there would not be strange people entering it. Else it would not be good.”
When Lu Wan-er and Lu Furen heard it, they almost wanted to vomit blood.
What was going on? One initially wanted to say that Shen Miao was rude as naturally the entrance of Lu residence was deliberately not guarded. However from Shen Miao’s words, it had become that it was their Lu residence that was so poor that they were unable to afford servants. By letting the guards of the Prince residence of First Rank guard their main doors, what would the commoners think when they pass by?
Shen Miao said kindly, “Furen do not need to thank me. In the future if there is any need, it is alright to let His Highness send some manpower over to the residence.”
Send some manpower over? Who know if those people who were sent over were spies? The residence of Prince Rui dared to gift but they dared not accept.
The surrounding Furen also understood clearly that this Rui WangFei of First Rank was not a soft persimmon that could be easily grasped. Originally the Lu family’s arrangement was to destroy Shen Miao’s prestige so that Shen Miao would make a mistake. After she make a mistake, after saying some ambiguous things, it would be enough to make this Rui WangFei’s heart feel a little bottomless.
Who knew that one would not only fall behind but also checkmate the Lu family.
Lu Furen barely forced a smile out, “May WangFei of First Rank please sit down.”
However she had arranged Shen Miao an unobtrusive position.
Shen Miao decline to comment. Her presence today was not to fight for anything and also not to quarrel. It was only to show one’s attitude and also take the opportunity to see some things clearly.
Ba Jiao secretly bend down to speak to Shen Miao, “That round faced Furen is the Furen of Emissary Shu, Shu Furen and is on good relationship with the Lu family. The short statured Furen is Furen of the Minister of Revenue, Wei Furen and are in-laws with the Ye family and likewise have a good relationship with the Lu family… At the utmost left side, the yellow clad Furen, her husband is the current dynasty’s Left Minister. You are also familiar with her youngest son, which is Young Master Ji.”
Ji Yu Shu’s mother? Shen Miao looked towards that Ji Furen. Ji Furen had a dignified appearance and seemed to have a very different temperament with Ji Yu Shu.
Shen Miao was pondering about it. These Furens were wealthy and respectable people, no wonder one said that the Fu family’s power in Long Ye was not small. Consort Jing was so arrogant that she did not take the Empress into consideration and it was because there was a big tree behind her back and shade over her head. Even these aristocratic families had to give them face thus it was clear that the Lu family has a very wide-spreading relationships.
If Emperor Yong Le and Xie Jing Xing want to completely suppress the Lu family, it was indeed not an easy task. The interest of the Lu family would involve many other officials’ families and if the Lu family fell, there were be many aristocratic families that would also fall. Even if it was for one’s survival, these aristocratic families would not watch as the Lu family went down.
Just as she was thinking, someone walked over to her side and sat down. Ba Jiao immediately stood up straight and no longer explained matters to Shen Miao. Shen Miao turned around and that delicately beautiful and proud Fourth Lu Young Lady had sat by her side.
Lu Wan-er said, “Rui WangFei of First Rank, may one take the liberty to ask you a question?”
Shen Miao said, “Please speak.”
“How long have you known Prince Rui of First Rank?” Lu Wan-er asked.
Shen Miao was laughing in her heart as she roughly knew what this Lu Wan-er was here for. Speaking of which, Xie Jing Xing was in Ming Qi during his youth and other than Emperor Yong Le and Xie Jing Xing knew of it, the rest of the people should not be aware of it. Great Liang people only knew that Xie Jing Xing had followed his master and travelled round the land and their whereabouts were very mysterious.
Then her ‘knowing’ Xie Jing Xing should be from when she returned to Ding capital from Xiao Chun City from the tribute banquet. Calculating from that, it was less than a year.
So she said, “Less than a year.”
Hearing this, Lu Wan-er laughed and her smile was somewhat prideful and a little contemptuous. Lu Wan-er said, “So it is less than a year. As such one thinks that Rui WangFei would not know much of Prince Rui of First Rank.”
Shen Miao smiled, “It seemed that Fourth Young Lady know His Highness very well?”
“You mustn’t mind.” Lu Wan-er said, “I know your Shen family’s position in Ming Qi but my Lu family in Long Ye is in a better position than your Shen family in Ding capital. Prince Rui of First Rank is a very good person that in Great Liang, almost every single young lady dreams of marrying into the residence of Prince Rui. However those ordinary families are not worthy of him.”
Lu Wan-er looked at Shen Miao, “Rui WangFei, Prince Rui is a very ambitious person.”
“From when he returned to Long Ye, he had accomplished a number of big issues in court. This kind of person would not be constrained by romance and relationship. What can you help him with? Naturally now it is it would still be sweet but in the future when you are no longer of use to him in the future, he would be able to give up and abandon you.”
Shen Miao was surprised in her heart. Originally she had thought that Lu Wan-er was a naïve and ignorant arrogant lady but after hearing her words, she felt that this Lu Wan-er was able to see clearly the situation and even able to pin point the advantages of the relationship out.
“So?” Shen Miao asked.
“His Majesty has the intention to let me be Prince Rui of First Rank’s PingQi (equal wife) but Prince Rui cannot have two Rui WangFei.” Lu Wan-er said as if she was bestowing, “So you be the concubine and I will be the wife.”