Play the Zither for the Servants
At this time, the song and dance resumed, but the people’s eyes could were no longer on those extremely beautiful dancers. They were all guessing what exactly Prince Chun, Xuan Tian Hua, was saying to the Feng family’s second young miss. The relaxed nature of their conversation made everyone envious.
In reality, Xuan Tian Hua was actually asking Feng Yu Heng: “Why does your table not even have a cup of tea?”
Feng Yu Heng replied in a matter of fact manner: “We are disliked I guess.” Thinking about it, this was only the second time she had met Xuan Tian Hua, yet they had naturally become quite close. Xuan Tian Hua with his innate sense of distance did not cause any disturbance between them. She called him seventh brother in a very justified and natural way.
Xuan Tian Hua pushed the cup of tea that a servant brought to Feng Yu Heng then poured another cup for Feng Xiang Rong.
Xiang Rong did not think Xuan Tian Hua would take note of her and became panicked for a moment. When she received the cup of tea, her hands were trembling.
Feng Yu Heng helplessly held her forehead, “Xiang Rong, show some fighting spirit for me.”
Xiang Rong sadly bowed her head. She also wanted to show some fighting spirit, but in the face of Xuan Tian Hua, she could not find any.
Xuan Tian Hua, however, did not feel anything about it. His face still held a warm smile, making Xiang Rong feel her cheeks grow more and more red.
Feng Yu Heng felt that she, herself, should say something to break this awkward atmosphere, thus she asked Xuan Tian Hua: “Celebrating Princess Ding An’s birthday, is that something the princes take turns doing? This year, it just happened to be your turn?”
Xuan Tian Hua shook his head, his voice becoming lighter, “It isn’t based on turns. It’s that nobody wants to come, but somebody needs to act as a representative, so I came.” Finishing his explanation, he continued: “Ming’er wanted me to tell you that this Princess Ding An’s banquet is not very interesting. If you want to see excitement, the mid-Autumn palace banquet will be better.”
“I heard about it from Tian Ge.” She sipped some tea and looked sideways. Feng Chen Yu had already arrived.
“Your Highness.” Chen Yu had walked over in a bit of a hurry. When she stopped walking, she was still slightly panting. Without taking account of the atmosphere, she greeted Xuan Tian Hua.
Xuan Tian Hua nodded his head, his smile seemed to remain the same, “Eldest young miss Feng.”
“Your Highness has no need to be so courteous. Just call me Chen Yu.” Having a servant girl bring her a chair, Chen Yu sat down and specially shifted towards Xuan Tian Hua.
But Xuan Tian Hua clearly did not have any intention of talking to her, thus he continued his conversation with Feng Yu Heng, “From a young age, Tian Ge was just like Ming’er. They are both spirits who bring about disaster. Us elder brothers have cleaned up many of her messes.”
Feng Yu Heng laughed, “Older brothers doting on younger sisters is something that should be done. Oh right, I saw seventh brother at Refined Deity Building the other day. It was the day I went to eat with Tian Ge, Fu Rong and company.”
Xuan Tian Hua nodded, “I also saw you. Being able to support the family, you really are a good person.” He was speaking about how she had sorted out Qing Le.
Not waiting for Feng Yu Heng to respond, Chen Yu interjected without a single feeling of being an outsider: “Second sister calls your Highness seventh brother! Then I will also naturally call you seventh brother. Seventh brother will not mind, right?”
Xuan Tian Hua was surprised and looked towards Feng Chen Yu, a puzzled expression leaked from his gaze “A-Heng calls me seventh brother because of her relation with Ming’er. Beneath this prince, there are only two younger brothers. Eldest young miss Feng means… You and my eighth brother…”
“No, no, I haven’t!” Feng Chen Yu immediately refuted this anxiously. Of course, she did not become flustered because she recalled Feng Jin Yuan had advised her to absolutely not express any attitude towards any men before the Feng family made its position clear. She had only wondered how the man she admired could divert her to someone else. She quickly expressed her feelings to Xuan Tian Hua: “Chen Yu has never even met his Highness eighth prince. Seventh brother absolutely must trust Chen Yu.”
Xuan Tian Hua, however, was still puzzled, “You want this prince to trust you, but why do you call me seventh brother? This prince has already said that A-Heng does it because she is this prince’s sister. If you do not have this kind of relation, then it is seeking power through relations with the Imperial family. This prince will ask for instructions from father Emperor after returning to the palace.”
Feng Chen Yu’s face became red with frustration. She felt that his Highness Prince Chun only appeared to have a good expression and gentle heart; however, his words seemed to leave no room for mistakes. Even if she set her mind to making use of all her time and effort, she definitely could not find any cracks in his armor.
Chen Yu felt extremely embarrassed. Standing up, she bowed towards Xuan Tian Hua then turned around and left.
Who knew that after taking only a couple steps, she would be stopped by Xuan Tian Hua. Bending at the waist, he picked up a small bag that had fallen to the ground and handed it to Chen Yu: “Eldest young miss Feng dropped something.”
Chen Yu’s face was red to the point where she was almost bleeding. Not reaching out to receive it, she only very quietly said: “It’s a gift for your Highness.” She then lifted her skirt slightly and headed towards the crowd.
Xuan Tian Hua helplessly shook his head, handing the small bag to Feng Yu Heng: “When you return, give this back to her. Or give it to your father and say this prince is not thinking of her. If there is another time, this prince invites Lord Prime Minister Feng to come speak with me personally.”
Feng Yu Heng nodded and received it. Taking it in her hand, she looked it over and could not help but smirk, “The Feng family placed such high hopes in her, so why do they not find someone to teach her needlework.” As she said this, she showed Xiang Rong: “Look at this stitch. It’s so big that you can see the things inside.” As she said this, she really pulled at the stitch, trying to look inside.
Xuan Tian Hua laughed, “You really are nosy.”
Xiang Rong, however, resolved her doubts: “Needlework is something that is learned from childhood. Eldest sister was only a concubine’s daughter when she was little. Even if she was a little more beautiful than the other children, the family did not place any hopes in her, much less develop her skills.”
Feng Yu Heng pondered a little, “That is true. At that time, there were all kinds of teachers that came and surrounded me. Unfortunately, I was not interested in those things.”
Xuan Tian Hua was a little knowledgeable about these things, “I fear that all of your interests were on your maternal grandfather’s side. If divine doctor Yao remained in the capital for a few more years, perhaps you would have profited even more.”
He had heard of how Xuan Tian Ming had met Feng Yu Heng in the mountains. He was also very surprised by this young girl’s superb medical abilities. However, he never took her words of having met a Persian eccentric to heart, simply taking her medical abilities to have been derived from some secret ancestral teaching.
As the two spoke, the music and dance had also changed. The ten dancers who were on stage were clearly not the same ones as before. Whether it was in terms of dress or temperament, they were all a little bit better. If they weren’t presently standing on stage performing, randomly choosing one and placing them in the crowd, they would not be less ladylike.
Feng Yu Heng saw these dancers stand on the stage for a long time without moving. Raising an eyebrow, her intuition told her that a good play was about to arise.
Xuan Tian Hua had no intention of remaining in the garden with the women. Waving to Feng Yu Heng, he quietly left.
As for Princess Ding An, her gaze never once left Xuan Tian Hua. Seeing that he did not say anything to her before leaving, she felt a little sadder. Looking at Feng Yu Heng, she felt that the children that came from the Feng family were more and more of an eyesore.
She sipped some tea then looked down again. Seeing many guests feel the sudden stoppage in the dance was odd, only then did she allow a weird smile on to her face. She said: “What do you think of the ten dancers?”
Hearing her ask this question, someone immediately flatteringly replied: “These ten were raised by the Ding An palace, right? Naturally, they are not tasteless.”
Someone to the side agreed: “But of course! Look at their small faces. They really are beautiful.”
Princess Ding An was very satisfied with this sort of praise. Happily nodding, she said: “These dancers were raised in this palace from the age of three. Normally, they do not need to do anything. They only focus on learning dance. Although they are said to be dancers, there is not much difference from raising a young miss.”
The people below also nodded. A palace raising some dancers, this was not abnormal.
At this time, two maidservants worked together and carried out a seven-stringed zither and placed it to the side of the stage.
Princess Ding An continued: “But in the end, servants are just servants. Even if they are pampered while being raised, they can not be raised to have the versatility of a young miss. Do not look at how good they are at dancing. If we are speaking of playing the zither, then they are no good, so this following dance…” She looked around the party, finally setting her eyes on Feng Yu Heng, “Would Feng family’s second young miss play a song for the dancers, is this ok?”
The audience burst in to an uproar.
Having a prime minister’s second young miss play the zither for the servants? Although that second young miss was a concubine’s daughter, your palace’s servants can not be compared to the daughter of a concubine from the prime minister’s manor!
Feng Yu Heng did not have much of a reaction. She only quietly said “oh.” So she was waiting for her here.
She continued to sit and drink tea. She looked towards Princess Ding An but did not say anything.
Princess Ding An waited for a while. Seeing that Feng Yu Heng did not have much of a reaction, she could not help but frown and unhappily ask: “Second young miss Feng, being able to do something for my Ding An palace’s dancers is your good fortune. You had better know how to tell good from bad.”
Feng Yu Heng continued to ignore her, instead noticing that Qing Le and Feng Chen Yu had made eye contact and nodded to each other. She knew that it was possible this stupid idea was thought up by those two women.
She stood up but did not step forward. She simply asked Princess Ding An: “Princess is meaning to say that being able to play a song is a great honor bestowed by the heavens?”
Princess Ding An nodded, “Naturally.”
Feng Yu Heng suddenly realized: “So it was like that. Although I did not feel that playing the zither for a group of servants is some great heavenly honor, since princess has said it this way, I guess I should accept this honor!” She then looked towards Feng Chen Yu: “Eldest sister, you should go play!”
“Hm?” Feng Chen Yu was startled, not understanding her meaning.
Feng Yu Heng gave her an explanation and also gave an explanation to all present: “Since I returned to the capital, father often advised me, saying I am the family’s concubine daughter. No matter if I am at home or outside, I must not compete with eldest sister. Everything good must be given to eldest sister. Face must be given to eldest sister; therefore, a great honor will naturally be given to eldest sister to enjoy. Since princess is certain that this is a great honor, eldest sister need not be modest. This is father’s decree.” After she said this, she did not forget to ask Princess Ding An: “Princess shouldn’t be trying to make things difficult for my father, right?”
Princess Ding An was backed in to a corner and did not know how to resolve it. If she had to have Feng Yu Heng play, then it was her trying to make things difficult for Feng Jin Yuan. Although she was a princess, Lord Ding An had no money, no power and was disliked by the Emperor. On the other hand, Prime Minister Feng had the power in his hand as the prime minister!
Thinking of this, she could not help but glance at imperial daughter Qing Le.
Qing Le did not care for that. Standing up, she said to Feng Yu Heng: “Allowing you to play is giving you face. Feng Yu Heng, do not refuse to accept face when given it!”
These words she said were very ugly. Even Xiang Rong could not bear to continue listening. Wanting to speak up for Feng Yu Heng, she opened her mouth; however, she was stopped. Feng Yu Heng then said: “I already said it earlier, my father has already told me, whether it be at home or outside, face must always be given to the Feng family’s daughter to the first wife, which is also my eldest sister. Since imperial daughter Qing Le is insisting that playing the zither is giving face, then I can rest easy. Leaving it for eldest sister really is the correct decision.” She glared at Qing Le with contempt, “The imperial daughter of Ding An did not seem to reject the prime minister’s right to a suggestion. Princess, what do you say?”
TN: The seven-stringed zither is really just a guqin. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guqin