Blanket disclaimer: This novel don’t belong to me. All characters and plots belong to the author. I just translate during my leisure time.
Edited by Halley & Larkspur
Chapter 1: Second Marriage
I sat on the bed and listened to the hustle and bustle outside.
The entertainers played the instruments amidst the hearty laughter of the soldiers. The atmosphere was boisterous and loud. Separated by the military tent, the immediate surroundings seemed even more deathly still. The interior of the tent was very plain; a bed, a desk, a seat. At the back, was a lacquer screen, with a full set of shiny body armour hanging beside it.
One could see that its owner was prepared to break camp at any time. It was only due to the wedding, that the bed had new colourful sheets and curtains, and a silk carpet was laid on the floor, with the items for the nuptial toast placed on the desk. Though extremely simple, it still showed his utmost sincerity to this wedding.
“At the news of the glad tidings, the Lord’s numerous subordinates have all shown up to congratulate. Thus, the General is unable to leave.” A round faced elderly woman walked over and secured the pearl hairpins at my temples and said amiably, “Furen must not be impatient.”
I half-folded the fan in my hand and kept my silence as I lowered my head.
The elderly woman seemed to be very satisfied and ordered the maids to prepare the items to wash up so that it would be easier to serve when the General arrived.
This elderly married woman was surnamed Zhang and said to be the close confidant of my new Mother-In-Law. She had especially rushed over from Yong Capital to manage the wedding of their Lord’s eldest son.
There was nothing to be nervous about as this was not my first time. It was the same sweet candle, the same wedding dress and even the number of chests for the dowry were roughly the same as before. It was my second marriage. Previously, I was married over from Chang An to Lai Yang, and this time, my in-laws married me off to another person.
When the Late Emperor passed on, the fight spread from the Inner Palace out to the Court and the world descended into chaos. The different warlords competed and set up independent regimes and after many years, Wei Jue of the western lands of the river, emerged victorious. Holding onto the Heavenly seat, he shifted the capital to Yong Province, with an unprecedented fame and might. At the beginning of the year, Wei Jue declared war on Dong Kuang, who had separated from the seven counties of the east. Dong Kuang suffered successive defeats, while with each victory, Wei Jue unceasingly marched on. Last month, Wei Jue surrounded Lai Yang. On receiving the news, Han Tian, the Governor of Lai Yang raised the white flag without as much as a fight.
As the troops neared the city walls, panic descended upon the city. When Han Tian’s letter of surrender was sent out, Wei Jue did not respond. Instead, he replied Han Tian with an ‘invitation’ to a banquet in the camp out of the city, saying that, in the past, they were both colleagues in the same court and that he wished to reminisce about the old times.
Han Tian did not dare to refuse and opened the city gates in fear and trepidation to attend the banquet. Wei Jue was unexpectedly enthusiastic, with wine and music for company, they launched into a tirade. When they were semi-intoxicated, he suddenly laughed and asked Han Tian if it was true that the Late Emperor’s former Chancellor Fu Shi’s daughter was in the residence of Lai Yang.
One sentence had sobered up Han Tian and he repeatedly made sounds of agreement. On the second day, he had immediately sent Fu Shi’s daughter, Fu Jin, into the camp.
That is correct. I am Han Tian’s daughter-in-law. No. It should be said that I was his former daughter-in-law.
Wei Jue married me off to his eldest son, Wei Tan.
I had married over into Lai Yang at the age of fifteen, and had currently reached twenty. For a new bride, this age was considered very old.
That husband, Wei Tan, whom I had never met before and had never once heard of him either.
That was something one was powerless over. When I was in Chang An, Wei Tan’s father, Wei Jue, was the Colonel of Northern Luo Yang and his ZuFu, Wei Qian had already retired to the countryside even though he once held the title of the Supreme Commander. In a place like Chang An, where there were as many officials as hairs on a cow, a son of a Colonel of Northern Luo Yang would be as insignificant as a lice on a cow, no matter how noble his family was.
Unfortunately, the lice had turned into a big worm and now I would be marrying this big worm.
“Furen is really beautiful.” A servant helped me with the hairpins on my head and softly spoke. “More beautiful than before.”
“You have seen me before?” I asked.
That servant smiled shyly and said, “Have seen before. I am from Chang An.” Her tone carried an accent unique to Chang An, which felt very familiar.
I nodded but did not speak.
Madam Zhang was leading a few maids to move things around. The noise outside suddenly turned very loud and a cool breeze entered, swaying the candlelight.
The curtain of the military tent was lifted up and I saw a figure standing in front of the door. Shadows entwined amidst the cool night breeze, as if wanting to seize the candlelight away from the room.
“The General has arrived.” Madam Zhang smiled widely and the servant beside me quickly straightened out the fan I was holding and covered my face properly.
My vision was limited to the clean white fan in front of me that had a hummingbird fluttering among clouds at the back, thus one could only see golden light passing through.
I heard footsteps approaching on the silk carpet. The sound was not loud but I could feel it closing in.
Something seemed to be blocking the candlelight, as there was only a shadow on the white embroidered fan. I smelled an unfamiliar scent of alcohol and sweat mixed with grass. In a flash, the fan in my hand was pressed down.
I looked up.
With his back against the light, that was a completely unfamiliar face.
En… The shape of the lips was quite pretty, neither wide nor thick, just a little thin. The contour of the face was also not bad. The ears were plump, the fine outline of his nose betokened boldness of character, looking like those exquisite and refined types that were the pride of Chang An. However, the one unfortunate thing was that his complexion was somewhat dark, his eyebrows were too straight and thick and his eyes were too black and deep that when looking at another person, there seemed to be a sharp gaze hidden underneath it…
After looking for a short while, I quickly looked down. I was once taught by my wet nurse that when a female faced a male, one must always have a bashful and timid appearance.
The surroundings were so quiet that one could hear the soldiers outside guffawing and jesting and furthermore, could feel that the other party’s gaze had swept over every inch of my face.
One did not know if he had drunk too much or if the red and white powder on my face had made me look like a monster. He looked at me for very long, till my heart became apprehensive and my head was lowered.
I remembered that there was no such situation when I was married previously. That husband was not good with drinking and when he was carried over, he had become so plastered that the nuptial wine was only exchanged the next day.
“General, it is time to exchange nuptial cups.” Fortunately, Madam Zhang spoke at this time and I heard the male in front giving a hum in assent.
That voice was low and seemingly indifferent.
An attending servant came over to help me up. I kept my gaze forward as I slowly walked over, the jade and pearl ornaments on my body jingled as they came in contact with each other.
One was led to sit facing the other. After ‘washing of the face’ and ‘rinsing of the mouth’, the matchmaker sang a congratulatory message, the meat was divided into two and each drank the wine from their half of the gourd bottle. The bitterness of the alcohol stayed in the mouth. I did not even wrinkle my brows as I forcefully pushed it down my throat.
“After exchanging the nuptial wine, joys and tribulations cannot be avoided,” the matchmaker said, with a smile.
Throughout the entire process, I maintained the grace and elegance of a lady of noble birth from Chang An and sat in an impeccable posture with my eyes lowered.
Just like what Second Older Brother had previously said, putting on an act was my innate nature.
After everybody had withdrawn, I sat on the bed and was all alone with Wei Tan in a room.
The boisterous soldiers and onlookers had all been chased away, it was all silent now. The jewellery and clothes were removed and the make up on my face washed off. I was wearing only a light and thin set of nightwear. I saw Wei Tan’s legs heading towards me and under the shadows, my chin was gently lifted by a hand.
Under the weak candlelight, the beauty behind his face seemed to converge. Wei Tan looked at me and that pair of eyes was as deep as the night, like a beast quietly looking at the prey that it had just captured.
“Fu Jin.” He said with a slow and low voice, “The daughter of Chancellor Fu. One heard that when your Father and Older Brothers were escorted to the execution grounds, you wore mourning clothes and sung songs of mourning all the way. The common people viewed it as filial piety.”
It was like he was reciting a book and the corner of his lips hooked up, “Have I remembered wrongly?”
My gaze was fixed on the corner of his lips.
“Not wrong.” I replied calmly with a smile.
In fact, my heart was somewhat dampened and I even felt annoyed. Over the years, I had not experienced many joyous events and had the mind of being satisfied to just get through things. I did not even bother about marrying a second time, so why did he bring this up?
When the hand that was holding my chin was released, Wei Tan sat down beside me. I heard him take a long breath before laying on the bed.
I could not help but looked back. Our gazes met and suddenly, he stretched his arms and I was pressed below him.
“General…” That body was firm and heavy. I felt uncomfortable being pressed down and wanted to push him off.
“Should call Husband…” His arms were strong and his warm breath reeked of alcohol.
Those dark eyes drew so close that I could almost see my face in them and without any warning, my heart started to thump.
His face and body pressed down heavily and I could not help but close my eyes tightly.
My mind was as taut as a string. I had heard that it would be painful and that one would not be able to get out of bed the next day if it was severe…
As I let my imagination run wild, I waited for a while only to realise that the surroundings had turned deathly still.
Stunned, I opened my eyes.
Wei Tan was still pressed onto my body, but his face was tilted to the side, his even breath suffused with the smell of alcohol.
This person was already sleeping, soundly.
T/N: Just wanna say that I burst out laughing when Fu Jin referred to her 2nd husband as lice and big worm. And it is refreshing to read a FL’s rating of a male, like he is a piece of meat. LOL
Ed L: So long as she doesn’t use disinfectant and rotisserie