Edited by Halley & Larkspar
Chapter 12: Receiving Guests (Part 1)
Wei Furen should think that I was an obedient daughter-in-law since I was already waiting outside the doors when she got up, like usual on the next day.
Wei Jue had stayed in the concubine, Madam Zhang, thus there was no need for any evasion.
“Young Furen is rather early today.” Wei Furen was all smile and sweetness, “Eldest Gentleman is not up yet?”
I smiled lightly, “Eldest Gentleman had gone to the barracks last night and did not stay the night at home.”
“Oh?” Wei Furen looked at me and her eyes roamed for a moment before smiling, “Eldest Gentleman is very busy. Young Furen have to be more considerate.”
I replied softly, “Respectfully comply.”
Unexpectedly, Second Gentleman, Wei Zhao, came over not long after.
“Greeting Mother. Greeting Eldest Sao.” His head was wrapped with a scarf and he was wearing a narrow-sleeved robe. He was dressed in an attire to practice martial arts but his every move was very elegant.
“Zhong Ming.” When Wei Furen saw him, the smile rose from the bottom of her eyes. “You have only returned from the barrack last night, why did you get up this early?”
“This child was practicing swordplay with Father before the day broke and is not at all drowsy.” Wei Zhao answered.
Wei Furen took his hand lovingly before asked about other daily matter and Wei Zhao answered each one of them.
On normal days, Wei Zhao and I would only nodded at one another as greetings thus I could only stand aside in such an occasion to watch the deep affections between Mother and Son.
Wei Furen feared that swordplay would be strenuous to Wei Zhao and after a brief chat, she turned to order the maid to bring some porridge from the kitchens. During the break, Wei Zhao suddenly looked towards me.
As our gaze met, I nodded my head.
He smiled as his eyebrows rosed slightly, making him look more elegant.
Upon exiting Wei Furen’s courtyard, I walked under the corridors when I suddenly heard footsteps behind me. Upon turning my head back, one saw Wei Zhao walking over.
“Eldest Sao.” Wei Zhao greeted with a gentle voice.
“Second Shu.” I returned the greetings and smiled gently, “Where is Second Shu headed?”
Wei Zhao replied, “To the barracks. Father wants to watch the forward troops drills and ordered me to follow.”
I nodded my head, “Second Shu has worked hard.”
“Ibe dare not accept the honour.” Wei Zhao said. When his lips were slightly curved, he looked a bit similar to Wei Tan but was more effeminate. “If one were to compare with Eldest Brother, I am far behind.”
My brows frowned slightly.
Speaking of which, even though Wei Tan and Wei Zhao were brothers of the same Father, they were very different in the eyes of everyone else. I heard some discussions about Wei Tan taking resolute actions in the speed of lightning and would be a man of one’s words, thus being quite prestigious among the military commanders. In contrast, Wei Zhao treated another amiably and had a good capacity for writing, making him popular among the scholars in Chang An. Wei Jue’s treatment towards both sons also made others contemplate. When he was in an expedition or when dealing with national issues, he would relied on Wei Tan but would often bring along Wei Zhao when he goes around.
I smiled gently, “Father-in-law worked hard for the country. Husband, as the younger generation, would not dare to have any slights.”
Wei Zhao smiled lightly.
“The weather today is rather good.” He looked out the corridor, “The scenery in Yong capital is beautiful in spring. Has Eldest Sao gone for an outing?”
I replied, “Last month, I went to the temple to worship. However it was only done once or twice.”
“The original green willow are now scattered with peach blossoms.” Wei Zhao said slowly, “The spring sights in Yong capital is rather good.”
I was startled.
Wei Zhao smiled gently, “When I was young, I had the honour to visit Minister Fu and when I was taught, had used his poetry as a model.”
I looked at Wei Zhao and his face slightly caught the morning sun, and his brows looked particularly delicate with the ends slightly raised. I carefully traced it in my heart. I had to admit that I did not have half an impression of this handsome and elegant face.
“Young Furen.” Just at this moment, the steward’s voice was heard from behind.
The two of them looked over and saw him walking over quickly and greeted before speaking to me, “Young Furen, Eldest Gentleman is receiving guests at the back gardens and have invited Furen to make a trip over.”
Receiving guests? I was a little surprised. I turned to Wei Zhao, “Since Husband has requested, I will leave first.”
Wei Zhao bowed, “Eldest Sao do go head slowly.”
The residential walls of the Wei residence was previously the official residence of the Marquis of Yong. In the troubled times, royalty, marquis, generals and ministers were all waste, thus the entire family of the Marquis of Yong died in the hands of bandits. When Wei Jue entered Yong province, the property was empty and Wei Jue set this place up as the Prime Minister residence.
The Marquis of Yong was considered to be born from the Royal clan and even though the Marquis residence was nothing compared to the noble households, the courtyard was constructed very elegantly. There were towering old trees, various flowers, bridges and flowing water. It was quite pleasant to enjoy the sights and play here.
When Wei Tan said that there were guests, I had thought that it was only one or two. I did not expect to discover that there numerous being presents when I reached the back gardens. It seemed that there were around twenty people.
There were a few banquet tables and in front of the first painting screen, Wei Tan wore a wide-sleeve robe and a bamboo crest on his head. When I entered the gardens, one could feel his eyes glancing over sharply.
“Young Furen.” The people that were standing by the garden gates greeted me. The voices were not loud nor soft and was able to reach the banquet.
The discussing voices suddenly stopped and the guests all looked over curiously.
“Furen.” Wei Tan got up from the seat and came forward smiling.
In front of everyone’s gaze, I walk to Wei Tan and greeted, “Husband.” Before the greeting was finished, a pair of hands held me. Looking up, Wei Tan had a warm expression and his usually grave and stern facial features looked radiant under the sunlight.
“Gentlemen, this is my humble wife, Madam Fu.” He supported me with one hand and turned towards the guests.
I looked over and saw the individual faces of the guests. I was taken aback. Except for the few that I had never met, majority were familiar.
“Furen, the gentlemen that attended today are all Chang An’s scholars. In those years ago, Minister Fu had feasted with these attending gentlemen and they are now the guests. One do not know if Furen remembered?” Wei Tan said warmly.
I looked up and his head was slightly lowered, displaying a warm attitude of a husband to a newly wedded wife. Only from my angle, one could then see the calm and scrutiny behind those eyes.
“This wife was young at that time and only remember some voices.” I replied softly.
Wei Tan smiled slightly and took me to the banquet and introduced these scholars to me individually.