Mid-Autumn Festival’s Banquet
Ever since Lu Yao married into the family, Feng Yu Heng did not go over the Yao family’s side very often. If there was a matter, she would have Yao Xian come out on his own to discuss it. Put plainly, no matter how good the Yao family was, her only connection to them was seeing them a few times. There was no true support of being related. With Lu Yao’s matter added on top, it left both sides feeling awkward when meeting, thus it was better to not meet.
But today, Xu shi stood there and waved to her. To act as though she did not see would be a little hard to do. Feng Yu Heng could only take a few steps in the direction of the Yao manor. Just as she began to move, Xu shi quickly rushed over toward her. There was a servant behind her, carrying a pile of things in her hands.
Feng Yu Heng invited Xu shi into the manor and went straight to the main hall. After being seated and having tea brought up, Xu shi finally said: “I wanted to come over first thing in the morning, but I heard the guards say that palace princess Wu Yang and her friends were currently in the manor as guests, thus I thought that it would not be good to interrupt and went back to wait for a bit.” She continued to look at Feng Yu Heng with affection. In addition to the former warmth and intimacy in her gaze, there was a bit of shame.
Feng Yu Heng saw her like this and sighed, taking the initiative to comfort her: “If aunty is like this because of the matter with eldest cousin’s wedding, there is no need. I never took it to heart. I can’t allow for our familiarity as family to disappear because of Lu Yao alone.”
“Hah! Heng is right.” Xu shi turned away and wiped away a tear. Only then did she sigh: “Speaking of, ever since Lu Yao married into the manor, you have never come to visit, and I am feeling saddened by it. Your other two aunts are always advising me to come and visit more often, but I keep feeling that I owe you. No matter what, I could not put aside my pride. Heng, if aunty knew that Lu family’s person would deliberately cause trouble, this wedding would have been canceled, even if I had to fall out with Shu’er.”
What she was talking about was the Lu family’s people framing Feng Yu Heng for murder; however, Feng Yu Heng did not wish to bring this up any further, only saying: “Regardless of the case, Heng is of the younger generation. Neglecting to come and visit is my mistake. How could I trouble aunty with coming to see me. The matter of that day has already passed. Let’s not bring it up again. As long as eldest cousin is able to live happily, and that matter is not twisted.” She paused for a moment then asked something that she had been worrying about: “That Lu Yao, has she caused any trouble in the manor?”
Xu shi thought for a bit then said: “Nothing major, she can be considered quite obedient. She is able to pay respects on time every day. When your grandfather is in, she will go to his side first to ask how he is before coming to see me. If your grandfather is not in, she will occasionally come and eat breakfast with me. Just a few days ago, I heard about her being unable to find a jade bracelet. She caused a fuss, saying that it was taken by a servant, and she beat the servants in the courtyard; however, it was found in one of her own boxes. She said that she misremembered, but it’s a pity for those servants in her courtyard. They were all beaten until they could not stand up. Heng, you don’t know this, but the Yao family does not have a custom of beating its servants as punishment. Even if there are bad servants, they would just be chased out of the manor. Over the past few years, father has been saying that everyone is equal. Even if someone committed a crime, they would be handled by the government, rather than be punished by their so-called masters. I never thought that Lu Yao would act so viciously despite looking so young and frail.”
Feng Yu Heng noticed the helpless dissatisfaction that Xu shi had toward Lu Yao, and she could not help but smile bitterly, “From one family to another family, adapting is not something that can be done in a short period of time. In this world, there is no family that teaches its children in the same way that the Yao family does. Aunty should not treat it too seriously. Give her a bit more time. Perhaps in half a year, she will be able to get used to the Yao family.”
Xu shi was a bit shocked, “Heng, are you speaking up for Lu Yao? You… don’t hate her?” Previously, there had been all manner of bad feelings between Lu Yao and Feng Yu Heng; however, she never thought that she would hear these words today.
Feng Yu Heng smiled bitterly, “Aunty, that would depend on what angle I’m responding from. If it’s separated from the Yao family, I definitely do not like Lu Yao as a person. But if the Yao family is added into the mix, Heng can only say that she is the one that eldest cousin likes. Whether she’s good or bad, it’s not something a cousin with a different surname can decide. What sort of life they can live will be up to their own fortune.”
Xu shi understood, “I understand what Heng is saying, but in my heart, I can’t get over this matter. I keep feeling that this daughter-in-law is not leading Shu’er down a good path. I have also thought that perhaps I have concerned myself too little with my sons, such that I don’t even know when Shu’er came to know Lu Yao. If I could have found out sooner, perhaps things would not have developed as it did. Heng, you don’t know this, but there is a matter… I…” Xu shi was a bit troubled and paused for a bit, but she still gritted her teeth and said: “On the day of the wedding, the granny from the palace came to inspect Lu Yao’s body. The result was that she was pure, and I let out a sigh of relief. But Heng, you must know that when they came to pay respects on the second morning, the blood on the sheets carried over by the servants was not blood from Lu Yao’s virginity.”
Feng Yu Heng was not surprised by this, only asking Xu shi: “How did aunty tell?”
“Hah.” Xu shi sighed and said: “For me to be able to marry into the Yao family, there is a bit of an origin. My childhood family’s father was also an imperial physician and worked under your grandfather. Your uncle and I were also acquainted, thus we were arranged to marry. My father is someone that knows medicine. Although I did not inherit the mantle, I know a bit of medicine. That blood… was clearly not right.”
Only then did Feng Yu Heng understand. She could not help but grieve for Lu Yao. To marry into this sort of scientific family. It’s also a pity that she worked so hard to put on such a play; however, her act had already been seen through.
“It’s fortunate that aunty is kind and honest, not exposing her openly.” Feng Yu Heng faintly said, “In truth, after all is said and done, since eldest cousin is able to accept this matter, it’s not something that we have much say in.”
Xu shi nodded, “That’s the reasoning. I am not arguing with her to give face to Shu’er, but just thinking about it makes me feel flustered. I’m troubled that a good child like Shu’er must suffer this grievance for nothing.” She sighed once more and reached up to wipe away some tears. Waving her hand, she did not continue with this topic. Instead, she had the servant carrying the pile of things hand it over to Feng Yu Heng: “After another two days, it will be the Mid-Autumn Festival. Aunty knows that you will be participating in the banquet, thus I hurried to make a set of clothes for you. I also prepared a set of accessories. I know that this material will definitely be worse than what you have in your manor. Take a look. If you like it, just wear it. If you don’t like it, just leave it. It’s fine. Aunty just… just wanted to use this to come and speak to you.”
Xu shi’s eyes were red, which made Feng Yu Heng unable to continue acting aloof and indifferent. She quickly stood up and personally went to receive the clothes and accessories. Handing them to Huang Quan, she then went forward to grab Xu shi’s hand and say: “Aunty, you must not say such things. You all know that Heng and the Feng family are not close in the slightest. I am even hoping to think of the Yao family as my family. If aunty says this sort of thing, aunty and Heng really will become estranged. I will also need to get married next year. I must not be left without a home to visit after getting married.”
With her saying this, Xu shi completely felt at ease. She quickly patted the back of her hand and repeatedly agreed. At the same time, she remembered the matter of Feng Yu Heng becoming of age and getting married. She quickly prepared to leave: “You were born in the fourth month. No matter how you slice it, there is less than a year of time. If you think about it, it is quite soon. The family has not prepared in the slightest. I need to quickly go back and begin preparing. Next year, our Heng’s becoming of age will also be accompanied by a wedding. The Yao family will definitely need to make grand preparations. You can just relax. There’s nothing to worry about. With your aunts and uncles, you can be at ease!”
Finally sending off Xu shi in a good mood, Feng Yu Heng let out a sigh and began to ponder. She then returned to her courtyard and said to Huang Quan: “Have someone go and investigate just how Yao Shu and Lu Yao got to know each other. Was this something that was planned by a certain person or not.”
Huang Quan nodded and asked: “Does young miss suspect that the Lu family did this deliberately?”
“Hmph!” She angrily said: “If that really is the case, Lu family, I refuse to live in the same world as you!”
The days flew past, and the Mid-Autumn Festival on the 15th of the eighth month finally arrived.
This palace banquet was different from the ones in previous years. It was decided to begin welcoming guests into the palace at high noon. Because there were many guests, the male and female guests were seated separately at first. The male guests went with the Emperor to discuss the matters of the country, while the female guests were with the Empress in the imperial garden to enjoy a banquet.
Feng Yu Heng only ate a few pastries for lunch before getting changed and sitting in the imperial carriage with Huang Quan. The clothes and accessories that she wore were sent by Xu shi. It was a light green, and there were flower petals adorning the collar. It was not gaudy and looked quite beautiful.
She did not have too many requests for the clothes and accessories. The reason that she wore these was for the Yao family to see. After all, she still felt good toward the Yao family, and it supported Xu shi’s feelings of being a loving mother.
She did not depart early and deliberately paused in front of the Yao manor’s entrance. She asked the gatekeeper if the Yao family’s members had already left, and the gatekeeper told her that they had already left an hour earlier. They said that there would be many people today, and they would need to line up outside for a long time. Thus she did not ask anything else and hurried the driver to head toward the Feng residence. She had to pick up Xiang Rong and the one surnamed Feng, who had sent someone in the morning saying that she had to bring him along.
Huang Quan said to Feng Yu Heng: “We don’t need to rush. Young miss is currently an imperial daughter. There’s no need to line up with those other people. Just like palace princess Wu Yang. Just bring along your identification plate, and we can leave at any time.”
Feng Yu Heng nodded, “That’s right, but I am not truly an imperial daughter from the imperial family. The way Tian Ge acts is how she should act. Nobody will feel that she should not, but if I act as she does, I fear that it will lead to people denouncing it.”
The master and servant did not continue to speak. The imperial carriage hurried toward the Feng residence. Today, the streets were very lively, and there were carriages heading toward the imperial palace everywhere. The streets were very crowded, and it was very slow. Fortunately, the imperial carriage was quite imposing. To outsiders, it was a carriage belonging to the imperial family, thus everyone gave way. Thus they were not delayed by much.
After arriving in front of the Feng residence, Xiang Rong was already waiting outside, but Fen Dai could not be found. Seeing that Feng Yu Heng’s carriage was coming over, Xiang Rong’s face finally revealed a smile, as she took a few steps over.
But just as the imperial carriage came to a stop, and before Huang Quan could help her inside, another imperial carriage was coming over in a hurry. At the same time, the attendant on the carriage was shouting: “Please wait! Third young miss, please wait a moment!”