Chapter Sixteen: All Is Possible
After Qilong Emperor’s birthday, rumors about Hua Xi Wan spread in Jing.
Supposedly, Xian Junwang Fei never saw guests before her marriage truly because of her health and no other reason. In reality, this Xian Junwang Fei was actually devastatingly beautiful and stunned many people when she appeared at the Holy One’s birthday banquet.
When the rumors came from the mouth of the nobility, many people expressed that they had felt long ago that Xian Junwang Fei wasn’t really a female without beauty. Otherwise, why wasn’t Yi’an Marquis Fu in a hurry to disguise it?
Those people who had relatives serving in Yi’an Marquis Fu felt they could hold their heads up. In the past, they had said that the miss of Hua Fu had great beauty, but no one believed them, saying that they were flattering the marquis fu. Now that the nobility were saying that Xian Junwang Fei was a great beauty, the people who spread the rumors disappeared, and many people who “already knew” appeared.
The prestigious families that had once planned to ask for marriage from Yi’an Marquis Fu but then hesitated because of the rumors felt great regret. The Hua Family had been marquises for generations. Hua Xi Wan’s two elder brothers were good, and if they’d had such a family for in-laws, it would have been very good. But they had wasted such a good chance and allowed Xian Junwang to pick up this great bargain.
At this time, there were ones who were complaining and were jealous, there were even people who tried to set Lu shi against her two sisters-in-law from her paternal family. They implied that Lu shi didn’t care about her sisters-in-law, and said that the two sisters-in-law allowed such a niece to marry into the Imperial Family etc etc.
The people of the Lu Family were honest and direct, but that did not mean they did not have brains. If the Lu Clan did not have brains, how could their ancestor command armies and conquer the world with the First Emperor? Those skilled in tactics naturally had smart brains and long-term views. Would they ruin their relations with their relatives due to machinations like this?
The two females of the Lu Family were honest and protective. After hearing people making implications, they expressed with dark faces that it was a match in heaven for a niece of the Lu Family to marry Xian Junwang.
They did not say anything but gradually distanced themselves from these people.
Xian Junwang Fu.
After Hua Xi Wan read the letter that Lu shi had sent her, she folded up the letter and had Bai Xia put it away. She walked next to the window and looked at the blinding sun outside. She said with a creased brow, “The days are getting hotter.”
姐姐 jiejie: elder sister, big sister; can be added to names to show respect or a close relationship
Zi Shan had been putting incense balls in the Gold Beast Stove to repel pests. Hearing this, she said, “If Junwang Fei feels hot, let Hong Ying Jiejie make a fruit sorbet for you. She’s best at doing this.”
Hua Xi Wan sat down bonelessly on the soft chaise next to the window. She felt her sitting position was still not comfortable, so she lay down on the chaise, her face against the cool brocade. She finally felt slightly better. “That’s nice.”
Hearing this, Hong Yin stopped what she was doing, smiled, bobbed towards Hua Xi Wan, and prepared to go to the ice cellar to get ice.
“Make a few bowls—you should all have a taste,” Hua Xi Wan lazily added
and then took the soft pillow that Bai Xia handed over. She put it under her body and then lay on her side with her left hand propping up her chin, her right index finger tapping slowly against her leg. “Lu Zhu, have you finished the accounts of the shops that are in my dowry?”
“I have checked them. There is a lot of profit this month.” Lu Zhu took out a few stacks of accounts from a wooden chest. Seeing that Hua Xi Wan did not intend to read the accounts, she narrated the general situation to Hua Xi Wan.
“These shops are good ones next to the street; it is normal for them to be profitable.” Hua Xi Wan flipped randomly through the jewelry shop accounts. “Make sure to support these old craftsmen. Remember to tell the stewards that those who have done work over fifteen years and are over fifty years old in my shop, have not made mistakes and have worked hard, can get an extra half string of cash other than their wage. If they later do not want to work and retire to go home, each season they can receive half a string of cash at the store as aid. But if someone tells other people about the affairs of the shop, then do not blame the owners for being merciless.”
Right now, medicine was limited and the average lifespan was not high. Those who were fifty were considered healthy and long-lived. Hua Xi Wan was not afraid she could not stay true to her word.
Hearing this, Lu Zhu stilled. She then understood that Junwang Fei wanted to keep these craftsmen with skills. She said, “This servant will get the stewards to pay attention to this matter.” This looked simple, but there was a lot of room for something to go wrong in the process. Fortunately, with Junwang Fei’s identity, those workers would believe the promise the shops made.
How many workers could get half a string of cash every season after they were fifty based on their seniority of work in their former stores?
Throwing the ledger to one side, Hua Xi Wan lay back on the chaise. “I’m napping. Wake me up later.”
Seeing this, Bai Xia sat down on a footstool next to the chaise and started to gently move a round fan. Lu Zhu and Zi Shan put away what was in their hands and tiptoed out of the inner rooms. They had the lower-ranked servant girls who were serving in the outer rooms lightly leave before they left the bedroom.
“After Junwang Fei’s management, the shops have been more profitable these two months.” Having followed Hua Xi Wan for many years, Lu Zhu still felt that she could not get the measure of Junwang Fei’s personality. She was clearly an intelligent person, but she was always lazy. She clearly was the di daughter of a marquis fu and a noble female who should not have done any work, but she could always find the marks of the stewards through looking at the accounts and was knowledgeable about financial matters.
Thinking about this, she recalled how lazy yet clear Junwang Fei had been when she said that women should never not have any money in their hands. “If Junwang Fei was willing to attend those poetry meetings, polo matches, the title of first noble female in Jing…”
Feeling that she had said too much, Lu Zhu hurriedly closed her mouth. She looked around and saw that no one was in the corridor before she released a breath.
Seeing her act like this, Zi Shan lectured with a smile, “Do not speak nonsense. Junwang Fei is a person with ideas. We only need to follow and do what Junwang Fei tells us. You do not need to speak of useless things.”
“You are right, I’m thinking too much.” Lu Zhu curtsied towards Zi Shan and thanked her for the warning. She glanced at the yard covered in painting and carvings. She smiled slightly. “I forgot myself and forgot where this is.”
Zi Shan allowed her to complete the curtsey before she returned half of a curtsey. “It is fortunate that you are clear. Otherwise, it is useless even if I remind you.” Junwang Fei was lazy and of good personality, but when she was angry, no one could stop her or get her to have mercy.
When Yan Jin Qiu entered the main yard, he saw Hua Xi Wan deep in sleep. Only Bai Xia who was fanning Hua Xi Wan was left in the room. The other servant girls were outside. He put down his feet silently as he walked, and even left the two taijian in the outer room.
Bai Xia saw him come in and curtseyed towards him soundlessly.
Yan Jin Qiu nodded and took off the soft silk outer robe he wore. He took the fan from her hand and sat down next to the chaise to fan Hua Xi Wan. He lowered his voice and said, “The days are becoming hotter, so you have to pay attention when you serve.”
“Junwang Ye, please rest. Us servants will serve well.” Bai Xia looked towards the chaise and made sure that their conversation would not disturb Hua Xi Wan’s rest before she continued to speak. “Junwang Fei has a difficult time in the heat. It is not good to always have ice in the room, so before marriage, Junwang Fei liked to stay in the shadows where the wind blew.”
Yan Jin Qiu looked at Hua Xi Wan’s thin arms and smiled. Such a thin person had a hard time in heat.
Bai Xia looked at the two of them and soundlessly left. Seeing Hong Ying come in with a bowl, she raised an arm to stop Hong Ying and took the other out of the room.
“Junwang Fei is resting.” Bai Xia smiled and pointed at the bowl of ice in her hand. “Let us sisters divide this up.”
Hong Ying looked in bewilderment at Bai Xia. Bai Xia seemed to be in a good mood? She turned and looked suspiciously at the bedroom. Even Bai Xia had come out of the inner room. Had Junwang Ye returned? Thinking about this, she shoved the bowl of ice into Bai Xia’s hand. “Bai Xia Jiejie has worked hard; you should have such a good thing.”
“Haha.” Bai Xia laughed lightly as she held the bowl of ice. Just as she was going to speak, she saw Mu Tong hurriedly walk over. Seeing the two servant girls at the door, Mu Tong guessed that Junwang Fei was resting. He was in great urgency, but worried about disturbing Junwang Ye and Junwang Fei’s rest. He walked back and forth in front of Bai Xia and Hong Ying.
“Chief Steward Mu, what are you doing?” Hong Ying smiled as she looked at Mu Tong acting like this. “Is there something important?”
Mu Tong looked at the two servant girls close to Junwang Fei. He sighed and said, “Girls, the servant came to report just now that Ling Ping Junzhu has entered Jing. If you two girls have time, please help deliver the message for me.”
“Mu gonggong is too polite. Please wait.” Hong Ying stilled and then reacted. Wasn’t Ling Ping Junzhu Junwang Ye’s di elder sister? She was preparing to turn and enter the room to report when she turned her head and saw Junwang Ye walk out with an expressionless face.
“What is with this panic?” Hearing Mu Tong mention his elder sister, there was no joy on Yan Jin Qiu’s face. He said indifferently, “Junwang Fei is resting in the room. Do not disturb her.”
Hearing this, the panic on Mu Tong’s face instantly disappeared. He knelt down in front of Yan Jin Qiu. “This one has lost composure. Please, Junwang Ye, give punishment.”
“Stand up and respond.” Yan Jin Qiu’s brow creased as he said, “Ling Ping Junzhu has been in Jiang City these past years. Why did she suddenly return to Jing?”
郡马 junma: the husband of a junzhu
“This small one heard that the Emperor sent a secret decree for the junma to return to Jing for a position. So Junzhu returned with Junma to Jing.” Mu Tong stood. His body was bowed as he said, “When this small one heard the news, Junzhu and Junma had already entered Jing.”
Yan Jin Qiu expressionlessly listened to Mu Tong talk and his eyes swept down. “Since that is the case, then let her do so.”
Bai Xia and Hong Ying had bowed their heads and retreated into the corner already. Hearing this conversation, the two felt puzzled. Two months ago when Junwang Ye and Junwang Fei married, Ling Ping Junzhu had not come back. Now, she had come back without a word of notice to Junwang Fu. It seemed that brother and sister were not very close.
The two exchanged a look and suppressed what they were thinking inside. They pretended they were transparent people who could not think.
Even father and son would try to kill each other in the Imperial Family, much less sister and brother.
The world was large, but only the Imperial House would have all kinds of wonders.