Chen shi let out a loud “ow’ scream, and roared without caring what sort of identity the matriarch had: “Why did you hit me?”
The matriarch trembled with anger, “I want you to shut your mouth!”
Lady Zhou just shook her head and called out: “It seems that Master Feng is very good at figuring out the Emperor’s ideas, yet it’s not clear if he has misunderstood something.”
Feng Jin Yuan felt like his head was about to explode. His internal annoyance towards Chen shi reached its maximum.
“Lady.” Feng Yu Heng spoke up: “A-Heng trusts father. He most definitely would not misunderstand the Emperor’s ideas. Actually, these matters should count as the Feng manor’s private matters. A-Heng’s current mother provided much needed support to the Feng family many years ago, and my father is a very just and loving person. Thinking of these things… it might be all related to my father’s problematic personality.”
Feng Jin Yuan’s clenched his fists. Why was it that he really hated hearing Feng Yu Heng refer to him as “just and loving?” Wasn’t saying this effectively saying that he did replace his wife with his concubine?
“A-Heng cease this nonsense.” He reminded her.
Feng Yu Heng was surprised and quickly bowed, “It was A-Heng that misunderstood father. Then… father really misunderstood…”
“When did father have a misunderstanding?” Feng Jin Yuan did not understand various things. How could it be that he understood none of the words being said today?
“Ok.” Lady Zhou interrupted the Feng family’s conversation, “This old servant only came to deliver the betrothal gifts to the Feng manor. In regards to the personal betrothal gifts, they will be handled by the second young miss of the Feng family. This was specially instructed by his Highness Prince Yu, if the head wife wishes to speak of rules, then please speak directly to his Highness Prince Yu.” She smiled, “But thinking about it, from childhood to now, since when has his Highness Prince Yu followed rules?”
Lady Zhou straightened out her body and continued speaking in a clear voice: “The year his Highness was three years old, he climbed on to the throne and played with the jade seal for an entire afternoon, and in the end he broke a foot falling. The year he was nine, with a single kick, he killed a foreigner’s tribute hunting horse. When he was twelve, when Concubine Yun was pushed aside by Concubine Chong, he whipped her to death with a single lash, yet the Emperor only asked if he was hurt by the whip. At his fifteenth birthday, the Emperor held a feast with many officials, Prince Yu sat as the host leaving even the Emperor content with sitting on the side. Even more recently, three years ago, in Ding An, the daughter of the first wife to the Wang family fell in love with his Highness. Ding An’s king personally requested the Emperor for the marriage, but his Highness was not pleased. He directly set fire to the Ding An imperial palace. Yes, just yesterday, his Highness returned to the capital, there was a commander of the imperial guards who stared at his injured legs. His Highness raised his whip and killed thirty one people. Does this head wife still wish to speak to his Highness Prince Yu about rules?”
Chen shi’s face turned white as she listened. Feng Jin Yuan recalled the morning court session and hearing people talk about yesterday’s bloody case. Apparently the Emperor did not blame Prince Yu.
The people in Feng family felt cold sweat flow down their bodies. It was not that this ninth prince, his Highness Prince Yu did not follow the rules. He was simply ridiculous, much too ridiculous.
Inside Fen Dai’s mind, she immediately envisioned Feng Yu Heng living a miserable life after marrying. She could not help but feel slightly more at peace.
As for Feng Yu Heng felt that this story was interesting, as she smoothed out the small smile on her face.
Lady Zhou saw her appearance and was very happy. Long before she came, she had listened to Bai Ze talk about how he had met the Feng family’s second young miss deep in the mountains to the north west. At the outset, she did not fully believe that such a young Feng Yu Heng could receive such high praise from the ever-arrogant Bai Ze. Now, it could be seen that she was neither overbearing nor servile, she did not mourn nor celebrate, and she was able to see and think clearly. Most importantly, having heard her speak a few times, she had made clear the dividing line between her and the Feng manor. Indeed, she nodded to herself internally. Only this type of girl could match up to the ninth prince’s many gifts.
Lady Zhou’s words made Chen shi very scared. She was greedy but not at the expense of her life. How could she forget that his Highness Prince Yu was the ninth prince! He, of the current Majesty’s princes, was the most willful. He was also the one least likely to act according to common sense, but he was also the one most beloved by the Emperor. Who was it that told her the ninth prince fell out of favor after breaking his legs? Why was it that she assumed the Emperor no longer favored him after not bringing up the matter of declaring him crown prince?
At the same time, Feng Jin Yuan happened to have the same view as Chen shi, except he had thought further than Chen shi had. That year, who was it that told him the Emperor had demoted the Yao family, so he must demote Yao shi?
On one side, the couple continued to ponder, while on the other, Feng Yu Heng felt that this play had not yet reached its climax. She would need to add more fuel to the fire.
Lowering her head to look at the box in her hands, a difficult to describe look appeared on her face. She walked a few steps toward lady Zhou and cautiously said: “Lady Zhou, these silver bank notes have been given to A-Heng, then can A-Heng use them freely?”
Feng Yu Heng let out a breath, “That’s great. Then A-Heng can use this to make some better clothes for the relatives in the manor. I can also get some better ingredients for the main kitchen.”
Everyone that saw Feng Yu Heng determinedly request new clothes this morning in Shu Ya courtyard now face palmed.
Lady Zhou did not understand: ” Why do you want to make clothes?” Noting that the clothes on Feng Yu Heng’s body did not fit, lady Zhou’s facial expression became ugly again.
Feng Yu Heng continued: “The truth cannot be hidden. Although father is the prime minister of the current dynasty, and although our Feng manor appears very stylish, but the reality is we are quite poor. Yesterday, concubine mother Yao brought A-Heng and my little brother back to the manor. Father said to follow concubine mother’s instructions to help us settle in, but of the clothes that were delivered to us, one bled dye, one’s material was rough like a knife’s blade and one with a collar that was prickly. These were absolutely impossible to wear. This morning, A-Heng saw one of mother’s first-rate maidservants also wearing clothes that bled dye. Yes, also, and the lady might laugh, our Willow courtyard has already eaten scraps from the main kitchen for two days. I realized the financial state of the manor is particularly dire. Otherwise, they wouldn’t treat us this way. A-Heng, as a daughter of Feng manor, now has some money. Naturally it should be used to help the manor.”
With this statement, Chen shi’s face was struck with a slapping sound!
The father had clearly said to follow the concubine mother’s instructions to help settle in, yet you, as the head wife, actually force them to wear that type of clothing? And you even force them to eat scraps?
Everyone in the Feng manor lowered their heads. It did not matter who Feng Yu Heng was talking about. They all felt they had lost face.
Chen shi did not feel embarrassed in the slightest. She only felt slightly worried that even Feng Jin Yuan and the matriarch would be too afraid of lady Zhou to offend her. If everyone in Prince Yu’s contingent were like him, would she not suffer huge losses?
However, this time she had truly overthought. Lady Zhou was not that type of person to cause a ruckus. She had already pointed out Feng Jin Yuan, if he was smart enough, he would not continue to trouble Feng Yu Heng, Yao shi and Feng Zi Rui. She just continued to talk according to what Feng Yu Heng said, “The second young miss of Feng family truly has the heart of Guanyin. Do not worry, the capital’s most famous textiles merchant is one of Prince Yu’s associates. Thus, if the second young miss has any requests, then I will send for people to come to Feng manor tomorrow to take measurements. Everyone will receive one set of clothes.”
When she finished speaking, she turned to the eunuch and waved her hand once more.
The people in Feng manor seeing this, all began to tremble. At this time, the thing they feared the most was any communication between lady Zhou and the eunuch because each time they did, people collapsed from shock!
As expected, the eunuch did not let everyone down. This time, he simply yelled: “Carry it in!”
Immediately, people were seen carrying in two more chests.
Chen shi grit her teeth, as some sound escaped from between her teeth, “What is this now?”
Chen Yu, who stood to the side, secretly sighed. She replied in a small voice: “Let’s wait and see. It probably won’t be worse than what came before.”
She guessed right. The last two chests that were brought in also brought along the fiercest of slaps to the face. Lady Zhou spoke in a stern tone: “Since the Feng manor is poor, then we, the representatives of Prince Yu, will personally prepare clothes for the future princess.”
The eunuch quickly followed up: “His Highness Prince Yu gifts to the second young miss of the Feng family, four bolts of moon palace silk, four bolts of commoner’s brocade, four bolts of heavenly gauze, and four bolts of forged condensation. Also another ten bolts of smokey silk gauze will be given to the second young miss for curtains!”
This time, even there were none that remained stoic. Even the ever-stoic An shi could not remain calm.
In each of the four directions, there was a country bordering with Da Shun. Although the four countries were small, they each had their own national treasures. These four national treasures were: moon palace silk, commoner’s brocade, heavenly gauze, and forged condensation.
It was said taht when the four small countries came to Da Shun to offer their national treasures, the imperial concubines fought to the point where blood flowed, but when the fighting ended, they only managed to acquire a single bolt. This only occurred because it was hard to come across these four national treasures. Over the course of three years, each small country would only be able to make one bolt. Some countries would save up for ten years, but could barely offer four bolts to Da Shun.
As for the smokey silk gauze, it was something produced within Da Shun and only one bolt could be produced every ten years. When his Highness Prince Yu acted, it was actually ten bolts, furthermore, instructed Feng Yu Heng to make curtains out of them.
Feng Chen Yu felt like she was about to vomit blood. If it were only the ornaments and jewelry from earlier, then she could bear with itl however, when these five treasures made their appearance, she could no longer bear with it!
She was so jealous she wanted die! Screw the Lesson for Women, screw the Three Obediences and Four Virtues1. If she could trade for any one of those treasures, she really wanted to give up her title of daughter to the first wife to Feng Yu Heng.
None knew the girl better than her mother. Standing directly beside her, Chen shi could sense that her daughter was shaking violently. She pretty much instantly guessed what Feng Chen Yu was thinking.
Everyone loved beautiful clothing materials, even more so when it was one of the five treasures fought over by imperial concubines.
Chen shi tightly clasped Feng Chen Yu’s hand and shuffled to her side and quietly whispered: “Chen Yu, think about your future. There will come a day where you will be the model for all women. At that time, won’t everything belong to you?”
Finally, that phrase ‘be the model for all women.’ simple-mindedly brought Feng Chen Yu back, as a frenzied look flashed past. In an instant she returned to being tranquil, as though nothing had ever happened.
Only then did Chen shi relax.
All along, becoming the model for all women was Feng Chen Yu’s conviction. From the time Yao shi and her children left the manor, people in the Feng manor from the matriarch to Feng Jin Yuan then to Chen shi, had taught her many things, but those words always present. She knew that she was born very beautiful. This beauty far eclipsed the beauty of all women in the capital, thus Feng Chen Yu had faith that her conviction would not amount to nothing. Becoming the model for all women for her was just a matter of time.
1: Set of basic moral principle for women. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_Obediences_and_Four_Virtues