Bonus chapter. Happy Sunday!
I have updated the Character Lists and Glossary up to this chapter.
This chapter was translated by Sian for only and edited by Din2.
By Qian Lu
Birthday Feast (Part 1)
Since she already became the center of everyone’s attentions, Murong Shu Qing did not have any alternative but to walk over to He Xiang Jun.
Some people were not familiar with Murong Shu Qing so they were very curious with the woman who was wearing a silk dress, her face was without a makeup. She was walking to the elegant and noisy birthday feast, she looked like she was leisurely wandering on the trail to the forest. Her simpleness and luxuriousness, gentle and refined, they all seemed to fit together, and did not seem to give her any burden.
Xuan Tian Xing enjoyed watching at the woman who was walking leisurely, if a woman suffered a humiliation in the afternoon, she would usually dress up with splendid clothes now in order to wipeout of her previous shame. Even if she did not put any conspicuous make up, she would be sure to make a detailed preparation. Moreover, except for the An’s family, the financial resources for the Murong’s family could not be compared to within Dong Yu. If she wanted to dress up with the most outstanding clothing, that would be an easy thing. But this Murong Shu Qing was really unique. She was still wearing that silk green cheong sam, even her hair still had that pine wood hairpin.
No wonder Chu Qing was so angry that a silk handkerchief that was on her hands, was almost twisted into pieces, Murong Shu Qing did not pay any attention to her provocation at all. It seemed that the confrontation between those two people, one side already revealed the sharp sword, but the opponent did not even care facing the enemy. This would undoubtedly give Chu Qing a silent slap on her face.
He Xiang Jun lovingly pulled Murong Shu Qing to her side, and said: “Sit next to me.”
Murong Shu Qing arrived in front of the table, and half-bowed to salute and say: “Shu Qing pays respects to everybody.” It was reasonable to say that Murong Shu Qing should pay respects to each one of those noble people in accordance to the rules, but she disliked being inconvenient so she replaced the word ‘you’ to ‘everybody’.
It was a very rare opportunity for Qi Yu to return to the Capital, so he had not seen Murong Shu Qing even more. Looking at her silk clothing and black hair, her tranquil and light smile that were shown to everyone, her comfortable and casual appearance, he could not help but to recall Qi Yue from many years ago, his own younger sister whom he loved dearly and spoiled for many years. Looking at Murong Shu Qing with praise and tenderness, he clearly said: “Shu Qing is worthy to be Yue-er’s daughter.”
Qi Yu candidly complimented, so everyone who was present also conveniently gave her compliments. This made Chu Qing who was originally not happy, even more furious, but she only saw her (MSQ) slightly get up and raise her head with a smile on her face. So she waited until everyone was respectfully looking towards her, and slowly said: “I heard that Miss Qi Yue was a peerless talent during that time, her poetry verse was extremely fine, her chess, painting and calligraphy skills were unmatched, her singing and dancing were even more famous within the Capital, Miss Murong should be able to show it. Since today is Minister Qi’s big birthday, why not perform a song to wish a happy birthday, it will also give everyone the fortune to see her magnificent talent again.”
Many years ago, when she heard that Murong Shu Qing was engaged to Xuanyuan Yi, she dispatched someone to investigate Murong Shu Qing. But she was only a spoiled daughter of a merchant, with no talent, also no verse in poetry. She just wanted to humiliate her today.
This Princess was actually not stupid, using a perfect praise for Qi Yue like this, the Qi’s family would naturally be happy. And for the purpose of maintaining her mother's reputation, she, this daughter should show her talent. But unfortunately, she was not a 17-18 years old young woman who loved to be in the limelight, moreover, what kind of talent she could show either. Murong Shu Qing generously conceded and said: “The Princess is wrong in your praise, Shu Qing was naughty and mischievous since a child, so my talent is mediocre, it is nothing like mother’s talents.”
Just because you did not have any talent, that I insisted that you should show it, Chu Qing was secretly proud in her heart, but her face still looked elegant and she smilingly said: “There is no need for Miss Murong to be modest, how could Qi Yue’s daughter has mediocre talent, moreover, it should be a wonderful thing to play a song to congratulate (Minister Qi) for today’s birthday feast.”
As a noble Princess, Chu Qing was indeed cultured and wonderful, everybody who was on the side responded to applaud one after another. If Murong Shu Qing declines again, she would look narrow-minded and pretentious. Chu Qing raised her eyebrows in smile and looked at Murong Shu Qing who was standing at the side, she wanted to see how she could still decline.
Murong Shu Qing slightly nodded her head, and approvingly said: “What the Princess said, was true.” When Chu Qing thought that she was successful, she (MSQ) suddenly changed the topic, and smilingly said: “Shu Qing has prepared congratulatory gifts for Maternal grandfather for a long time, to congratulate for his big birthday.”
Not waiting for the Princess to flare up again, He Xiang Jun smilingly said: “Good, good, Shu Qing is considerate.” Once she finished speaking, she pulled Murong Shu Qing to sit down. How could she not know her own granddaughter, she was spoiled since a child, how could she have any talent. Even though she had not seen her for three years, and she was really different than in the past, but how could she train overnight for this musical song. Looking that Shu Qing felt embarrassed like this, how could she be willing to see her darling granddaughter be humiliated.
He Xiang Jun’s favor made Chu Qing looked angrier even more, as a noble Princess, she did not believe that she could not control one Murong Shu Qing. Was it her congratulatory gifts, she wanted to see if they could compare to her Imperial household’s eight colored glass lamp and big calligraphy painting from Liu Ruo Xi.
Chu Qing casually said: “Where are your congratulatory gifts? Let this Princess see them.”
Murong Shu Qing who already sat down, sighed in her heart, how did she provoke this pampered woman. If it was because of Xuanyuan Yi, that Lu Yi’s scolding in the afternoon could really satisfy someone.
Since the Princess had already said the words, even if it was a mule or a horse, she would have to show them. Murong Shu Qing instructed Lu Yi to get the congratulatory gifts that Tan Rui already put in the reception hall, and brought them back to the outside courtyard.
Everyone was looking at the three gifts that were displayed in front of the courtyard, the sizes were varies. One red silk brocade box that was as tall as a half person, one was a big cabinet that needed four people to move it, and the last one was a square mahogany box that was held in one’s hand.
Murong Shu Qing did not get up, and was still sitting next to He Xiang Jun, she ignored everyone’s curious gazes, and ate the cakes and drink the fragrant tea.
The person who was walking to the front courtyard was Lu Yi, she came to the red silk brocade box, and lightly opened it. A sharp and clear sound echoed along with a faint sweet scent that was floating out of the small box, she unhurriedly said: “The Murong’s family offers this first gift for Master Qi ____ snow ginseng. Wishing that Master Qi and Madam Qi have a long life until they reach 100 years.”
Inside the small brocade box, there were two ginseng that were almost two feet in length, they were glowing in pink luster, the ginseng were full of moist as if they could discharge some water.
The snow ginseng grew all year around on the summit of Xue mountain, due to the ground was extremely cold there, the snow ginseng’s growth was at an extremely slow speed, so even for a hundred years snow ginseng, it could only grow about two fingers size in thickness. These thick and solid as a wrist’s snow ginseng, could be said to be priceless, so much so that the wealthy might not be able to buy them.
They were only two ginseng roots, Chu Qing was unconcerned, there was no shortage in the Imperial household’s storeroom, they were really a group of country bumpkins who had never seen the world.
Comparing to Chu Qing’s own opinionated belief, Xuan Tian Xing was slightly startled and sighing, Chu Qing did not know that snow ginseng was different than the ordinary ginseng, but he actually understood it. The Imperial mother’s body has been unwell these past several years, even if he rummaged through the entire Imperial palace, he would only find five roots of snow ginseng that were three fingers size in thickness. Murong Shu Qing could actually find two of the best quality of these snow ginseng, it made him to respect this modest and elegant woman even more now.
Not waiting for everyone’s startling and sighing sounds to stop, Lu Yi already came to the front of the tall cabinet, after the servants opened it with their hands, one could only see a huge red silk that covered an object, it looked like a screen from the size and appearance.
Lu Yi raised her hand to pull out the silk, it was really a screen that entered everyone’s reflection.
It was as if a fresh ink painting, or a thick or a light sketch of uneven-matched forest, the screen looked somewhat chaotic, but it also passed through a casual and comfortable feeling. The sunset did not appear to penetrate the screen from the reflection of the sunshine, it was floating with a faint luster of ray.
“Shu Qing, this ~~” Qi Zhong Lin really took fancy on this screen, but he was also curious about the material of this screen, it was not silk, but it was also silk, and it could still passes through a thin luster of ray like this.
“Stone screen.” Murong Shu Qing calmly answered.
Stone screen? Her answered made everybody’s startling and sighing voices to gradually echo in the small courtyard. Even when the screen was very close, they did not dare to believe it so they went up to gently caress it one after another. A big screen like this could actually use a stone to make it, it looked like an ink painting, and was actually from natural stone grains. It could form this unimaginable, delicate and outstanding picture. If it was only this type of stone, then it should be showed the spiritual influence from the heaven and earth, and gathered together the essence of sun and moon to give birth to the rare and elegant Yu Hua stone (rain flower stone). However, the Yu Hua stone was barely a fist in dimension, so they had never heard of this really huge Yu Hua stone, nobody even saw it. One could not say that he ingeniously cut it into thin section, even more to make it into a screen.
Lu Yi did not open the third gift, and she actually put it into Murong Shu Qing’s hand.
The two gifts that were in front of them, one was rarer than the other, so everyone was curious what was inside that square box that was held by Murong Shu Qing. Qi Yu’s interest came out, so he impatiently said: “Shu Qing, what is the third gift, quickly take it out.”
Murong Shu Qing faintly smiled but did not say anything, she lightly raised her hand, the wooden small box was immediately opened______
I tried to google what the stone screen might look like, and I could only find this reference from Wikipedia: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Screen_painting
Wikipedia for Yu Hua stone: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yuhua_Stone