Edited by Larkspur
Chapter 5: Confidential News of the Palace (Part 2)
Qin Yi had always been thinking of ways to leave here.
The red flakes in Chu Jin Yao’s jade had been reduced by nearly half but Qin Yi felt that recovery from his injury was still far away. The meaning behind it was chilling. After the red flakes were consumed, could it still cultivate the soul? Qin Yi did not want to gamble.
Moreover, he could not heal his injuries indefinitely like this. He had been in a coma for a long time and once this news grew big, it would be a disaster. Qin Yi even thought about returning to his body in this manner but did not know how to leave the jade pendant. Chu Jin Yao was only an unmarried young lady, he could not let her bring him to his body. Also, he was not assured if it were the men of the Chu family.
While Qin Yi was deliberating over his matter, Chu Jin Yao knew nothing about it. She still didn’t know what Qin Yi was worried about. When she saw the Marquis of Chang Xing, she was only surprised for a moment before quickly taking care of her expression and greeting the Marquis of Chang Xing, “Greetings to Father.”
When Marquis Chang Xing saw Chu Jin Yao, he was obviously surprised. Chu Jin Yao actually became like this after a month?
Marquis Chang Xing carefully scrutinised the girl and finally smiled with satisfaction. “Not bad. You have gotten even rounder, no longer as thin as before. It is very good.”
Chu Jin Yao’s current greatest regret was that she was still somewhat dark. As her body gradually recovered, Chu Jin Yao was no longer stick-thin and weak, and her true appearance gradually surfaced. She was after all Marquis Chang Xing’s and Madam Zhao’s daughter, both were of noble clans thus with their foundation, she could not be bad. However, compared to her fellow sisters, only Chu Jin Xian was slightly more beautiful than her. She had a pair of eyes that was round with the ends slightly hooked up. The shape of the eyes was beautiful, the pupils extremely black and shiny. When not smiling, they would be shining brightly. When smiling, it was as if thousands of stars had fallen into the pair of eyes and they could shine into another’s heart. Chu Jin Yao was only thirteen years old this year, with time and a fairer complexion she would be amazing.
Marquis Chang Xing nodded his head slightly and placed the teacup in his hands down before speaking to Madam Zhao, who was sitting at the side, “You have raised her very well. Her manners are especially good. You have given a lot of thoughts.”
Madam Zhao’s smile suddenly became somewhat stiff. She had tidied up early today, made up, and dressed very brightly. However, Marquis Chang Xing had no thoughts of paying attention to her and instead kept drinking tea indifferently, making her inevitably frustrated. But she had never thought that Chu Jin Yao’s arrival would make him notice. Madam Zhao rarely got praise and it was due to Chu Jin Yao.
Chu Jin Yao was overwhelmed by the favour. After Qin Yi had guided her on etiquettes, she had hidden in her room and practiced until he was satisfied. She had thought that this was the standard of a noble family. However, this in fact contained a lot of personal preferences.
Marquis Chang Xing felt that even though Chu Jin Yao’s way of greeting, walking with a raised neck, and non-evasive speech was not chaste and weak, it was more pleasing to the eyes than ordinary females who spoke and walked with their heads bowed. If it were concubines and maids, Marquis Chang Xing would prefer a shy and submissive female but for his Di-born daughters, however, he liked brilliant and imposing young ladies that would have their heads held up high. Chu Jin Yao did this well. Chu Jin Xian was taught by Old Furen, thus even though she was outstanding in etiquette, Marquis Chang Xing felt that the Eldest Daughter was overly quiet and dignified. Chu Jin Miao was indifferent and looked like she was in a plight, that when she was walking, the sleeves would float to and fro. Although there was an air of a weak beauty, Marquis Chang Xing felt that it was unhealthy no matter how he looked.
Everyone had two sets of standards for women and daughters.
Three sisters were present but only to praise Chu Jin Yao alone, it was somewhat embarrassing for Chu Jin Xian and Chu Jin Miao. The recipient of the praise showed no arrogance, she did not take a seat but instead walked over to Chu Jin Xian and greeted, “Eldest Sister.”
Chu Jin Xian nodded. She was the Di-Eldest Daughter, so why was she bothered about such trivial matters? She said, “It can be seen that you have worked hard recently. This is very good. You just returned so there is no need to rush. Just slowly learn and do not let Father down.”
“Thanking Eldest Sister.”
Chu Jin Yao then greeted Chu Jin Miao. In fact, their identities were somewhat awkward. Even though Chu Jin Miao’s position was higher than Chu Jin Yao’s, she was actually not Chu Jin Yao’s older sister. Chu Jin Yao had given her a lot of face in front of so many people, she stood up unwillingly and responded with a courtesy that of one’s peers.
When Marquis Chang Xing saw his Di-daughters greeting each other, he was extremely happy and nodded to Chu Jin Xian satisfied, “ Xian-er is becoming of an Eldest Sister. Like this, even when one is at the husband’s place, Father would not need to worry about you.”
Chu Jin Xian was seventeen this year and had long been engaged to her cousin at thirteen and would be marrying off soon. When Chu Jin Xian heard Marquis Chang Xing’s words, she stood up and said, “Thanking Father.”
Chu Jin Miao’s expression was not very good. What did this mean? First, it was praising Chu Jin Yao’s manners, then applauding Chu Jin Xian’s temperament. This meant that these sisters were friendly and affectionate but she, Chu Jin Miao, was completely an outsider? Now that she was not the biological daughter, he was unwilling to say a good word?
Madam Zhao also felt that it was wrong and upon seeing Chu Jin Miao’s embarrassed expression, she placed her hand on the girl’s back in distress.
No one noticed the actions of the mother and daughter as the Shu-daughters and YiNiangs entered. The crowd of people had filled up the room. As Marquis Chang Xing was around, the young masters had also arrived. Normally, they used to stagger the greeting time with the young ladies but with the presence of Marquis Chang Xing, they no longer needed to do so.
When Marquis Chang Xing saw the entire room filled with children and concubines, he felt satisfied and stood up to speak, “Let’s go and eat.”
There was no need to give Old Chu Furen greetings today, thus there was no rush in finishing the meal. Besides, as it was only their own family members, there was less emphasis on table etiquettes and thus no need to enforce the rule of not talking while eating. Second Young Master lost his appetite after a few mouthfuls and asked Marquis Chang Xing, “Father, one rarely sees you these days. What are you busy with?”
Upon hearing Second Young Master’s question, many people stopped moving their chopsticks and looked at Marquis Chang Xing. It seemed that since Chu Jin Yao’s return, Marquis Chang Xing suddenly became so busy that he did not only returned to the Inner Courtyard a few times. Madam Zhao, the official wife, and the two YiNiangs, Madam Huang and Fu Rong, wanted to know what had happened too.
Marquis Chang Xing sighed, “This is related to His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince.”
His Imperial Highness the Crown Prince? The Chu family was somewhat surprised. Madam Zhao asked, “Everything is perfectly all right, so how is one involved with His Imperial Highness?”
Even though the confidential matter that happened last summer was the Heavenly family’s private matter and could not be laid out in the open, but in actual fact, basically all the officials in the provinces knew about it. And because of ShanXi’s geographical advantage, they knew more about it.
This was home and the people around were his wife, concubines, and children so Marquis Chang Xin did not feel the need to evade and spoke directly, “In June, BeiZhiLi transferred troops from ShanXi to the Five Armies Camp toand perform an exercise with SanQianYing’s and ShenJiYing’s troops. The Emperor brought the Ladyships of the Inner Palace to the city walls to watch. This was originally a good matter to increase the country’s prestige as the soldiers rarely saw the Emperor and wanted to show their faces to the Imperial Family. ShenJiYing wanted to show off and brought out many firearms. It was the first time the Empress saw these firearms and felt that it was novel and thus instructed people to perform.”
When Marquis Chang Xing finished speaking, he moistened his throat with some tea. Chu Jin Yao did not understand matters of the Imperial Palace and officialdom but as she listened, she felt that something was not right.
To specially deploy troops from ShanXi, one feared that the scale of this exercise was not small at all, moreover, the Generals and soldiers served the country and people by defending the frontier. They were all heroes. The Empress felt some interest and novelty and called the troops to perform for her… Was this watching a show or acrobats?
Chu Jin Yao felt that it wasn’t appropriate but she looked at the rest secretly and did not see anything different. She did not know what was going on so she did not say anything and listened quietly.
Marquis Chang Xin placed the teacup down and continued, “Originally, things here went well. Her Ladyship liked it so we as courtiers would just need to do it accordingly. When ZhenJiYing demonstrated, the Emperor’s and Empress’s interest increased and instructed people to beat the drums to liven things up. A favoured Palace maid by the Empress’s side took the initiative to do it and the Emperor approved it in a spur of joy.”
When Marquis Chang Xin spoke till this part, the rest of them could not help but respond with “Ah”. This… was just too absurd. A military parade is of great importance, what sort of decorum was it to let a female beat the drum?
Marquis Chang Xin obviously thought that it was ridiculous, but the Younger Empress Qi was favoured. Also, the Emperor was superstitious of alchemists over these years and heavily favoured her, and no longer cared about the affairs of court. On that day, everyone felt that it was not appropriate. They watched as a female beat the drums with smiles and the Emperor and Younger Empress Qi were chatting and laughing. Even the cabinet ministers could only laugh in accompaniment and dared not speak more.