Chapter Seventeen: Say and Do
“Lin Ping Junzhu?” Hua Xi Wan played with a box of fine pearls. After she finished listening to Hong Ying’s words, she slowly threw the pearls in her hand into the box. “Didn’t she marry and go to Jiang City four years ago?” She had heard that this junzhu had not married into a prestigious family but to a scholar with some significant family property who had come to Jing for the examination. After the court exam, this scholar had gotten the rank of tenth in the second class. While—in the eyes of normal people—this brought glory to their ancestors, in Jing where there were so many prestigious families, these people would appear every four years. There really wasn’t anything special. The only people these prestigious families would look at were the top few in first class.
No matter how much the results of this scholar from Jiang City were lacking in extraordinariness, this person had attracted the attention of Lin Ping Junzhu from Xian Wang Fu based on his good appearance and some good poems. The other wanted to marry him to the point of death. This was good luck that other people did not have.
Outsiders did not know the twists and turns of the matter, but Hua Xi Wan remembered clearly that this matter had been popular for a while in Jing at the time. It was only a few months after Lin Ping Junzhu had married to Jiang City that the matter was not mentioned anymore. However, now that Lin Ping Junzhu had come back to Jing with her junma and children, the matter of the past would most likely be picked up again by the gossipers. Hua Xi Wan lowered her head to look at the beautiful pearls in the box. She said unconcernedly, “Since Junwang Ye says not to attend to this matter, you do not have to keep an ear out.”
Four years ago when the old Xian Wang had been sick, Lin Ping Junzhu had still managed to persist in marrying and moving to Jiang City that was not close to Jing. It was possible to see how much importance she placed on her junma. It was likely that her brother Xian Junwang’s importance could not compare to her husband’s.
“This servant will do so.” Hong Ying put away the pearl box and put a cup of hot tea in front of Hua Xi Wan. “This servant is just worried that Lin Ping Junzhu will try to make things difficult for you now that she has returned.” Women who married were most worried about meeting difficult mother-in-law and sisters-in-law. If a woman met one of the two, then it was a very troublesome matter.
“What can she make difficult for me?” Hua Xi Wan held up the teacup and blew the steam rising off the surface. She took a sip before saying, “In terms of paternal families, I have deep feelings with my family—they will love me and protect me. In terms of status, Xian Junwang Fu is much higher than that family from Jiang City. Tell me, what am I afraid of?”
Yan Jin Qiu and Lin Ping Junzhu did not have good feelings. Even if they were very close, if the other tried to make things difficult, she would not tolerate and step back. Her parents had raised her for more than a decade, but it was not to live bad days in Xian Junwang Fu. Even if she could endure it, she could not accept it. If she allowed others to feel that the daughters of the Hua Family were easy to bully, that would be her crime.
Hong Ying saw her mistress was confident, and she put down her worries. She then felt that she was not calm enough to not have thought of this.
“I know you are all worried for me.” Hua Xi Wan put down her teacup and smiled at Hong Ying and the other girls. “With all of you beside me, I feel much safer.”
Hong Ying and the others didn’t dare to accept these words but relaxed. At least, Junwang Fei did not feel they were bothersome and remembered their loyalty.
“Junwang Fei, Junwang Ye has returned to the fu. He is coming to the main yard.” Zi Shan walked in from outside. She saw that Bai Xia and Hong Ying’s expressions were not right, so she lowered her eyes and curtsied. Junwang Fei, this servant heard that Junwang Ye’s expression when he returned was not well.”
Hearing this, Hua Xi Wan’s brow rose slightly. “Even if he is in a bad mood, he will not take his temper out on us. There is nothing to worry about. Just serve as usual.”
Zi Shan opened her mouth but could not speak. Junwang Fei’s words were clearly correct, but she felt that something wasn’t right.
When Yan Jin Qiu came in through the doors to the main yard, he found that there were many servant girls surrounding his junwang fei who was dressed in a loose robe. Her hair was only secured by a jade hairpin. She stood with a grave expression in the center of the yard as though she was mustering some energy up.
Thinking this way, he saw Hua Xi Wan’s hand come up. Her right leg made an elegant curve and stepped out. The movement was slow but flowed smoothly.
Yan Jin Qiu stood and watched as Hua Xi Wan finished her routine before he went forward. “What martial arts routine is Xi Wan doing?”
Hua Xi Wan was using a towel to wipe the fine sweat on her forehead. Seeing Yan Jin Qiu walk over, she brushed aside the bangs on her forehead. “A routine to strengthen the body. How come you have returned so early today?” Even though Yan Jin Qiu acted as though he was not interested in matters of governance, he had a role in the court and would attend the minor and major court sessions.
“There is nothing major happening in the court.” Yan Jin Qiu saw a lock of hair next to Hua Xi Wan’s face and pushed it behind her ear. “Your body has not been well these years, and you have never gone out. Why don’t we find a good day soon to go out and play?”
Hua Xi Wan thought of the increasing temperature and her interest in going out disappeared completely. She said, “The weather is heating up. Is it appropriate to go out?”
“Since that’s the case, I will take you out after the summer for a good trip.” Yan Jin Qiu saw that Hua Xi Wan did not plan on going back into the rooms and sat down on a nearby chair. “I’m worried that you will feel depressed alone in the wang fu.”
“The wang fu is pretty good. I won’t be bored.” Hua Xi Wan smiled. A lazy person like her wanted to live this kind of boring days—sleep until naturally waking up, only having to move her mouth to get to eat whatever she wanted, and dress how she wanted. If she was bored, she had a pile of novels to read. This kind of idle days was great.
Seeing Hua Xi Wan start her routine again, Yan Jin Qiu sat silently on the chair and admired her valiant movements. Even the slightly vicious movements carried an unusual beauty when Hua Xi Wan did them.
When he saw Hua Xi Wan kick the sandbag used in martial training up into the air, Yan Jin Qiu’s upright posture became even straighter.
“Jin Qiu, let’s go into the rooms.” Hua Xi Wan took the handkerchief that Bai Xia held out and wiped her hand as she walked in front of Yan Jin Qiu. Her breathing hadn’t sped up at all. “Right, I heard that Lin Ping Junzhu returned to Jing yesterday. Why don’t we invite them to return to the fu for a few days?”
Mu Tong and the other servants who had served for a long time felt coldness creep up their feet. Junwang Fei could really pick the worst topic—wasn’t this pouring oil on top of the fire?
Yan Jin Qiu’s gaze swept around Hua Xi Wan’s pale neck, and he said with a slight smile, “There’s no need. She has been married out for so many years, she has her own family. She most likely does not have the time to come to our junwang fu. In the future, you do not need to spend so much energy on her. Do not tire yourself.”
Everyone present instantly understood. Junwang Fei had said “return to the fu,” but Junwang Ye had said “come to our juwang fu.” It seemed that in Junwang Ye’s heart, Lin Ping Junzhu was an outsider.
Since the other had said it so explicitly, Hua Xi Wan was too lazy to pretend. She nodded and said, “So that’s how it is.” Finishing, she changed the topic. “Today, I had the Food Room make two kinds of cooling soup. You should drink a bowl later. Summer is quickly arriving, and having inner heat is not good for the body.”
He probably had not expected Hua Xi Wan to accept it so easily without even saying any comforting or mediating words. So Yan Jin Qiu stilled before he nodded. “All right, I will definitely drink a bowl in the afternoon.”
Mu Tong saw the smile on Junwang Ye’s face and buried his head deeper.
The two walked together into the room. Hua Xi Wan went inside to change her clothing and put up her hair before she sat down with a fan on the chaise. Seeing Yan Jin Qiu sit beside the table, she said, “The wind passes through here. It is cooler than beside the table.”
Hearing this, Yan Jin Qiu instantly stood and crowded next to her. “It really is cooler. No wonder you like to read here.”
Hua Xi Wan fanned herself as she smiled. “Most importantly, I like this chaise very much.”
The servants saw this and all left after pouring tea and putting refreshments out. Bai Xia and Zi Shan who were the last ones out even closed the door.
After the servants had all left, Hua Xi Wan said, “Today, Princess Rui He sent an invitation to our fu. She said she had bought a manor in the suburbs of Jing and is inviting us to go play in three days.”
Hearing this, Yan Jin Qiu’s eyes changed slightly. “Since it is Imperial Sister’s invitation, go look,” he said with an indifferent expression. “Three days from now, I will accompany you.”
Hua Xi Wan stopped fanning herself. She looked at the woman-on-horseback picture on her fan and smiled slightly.
Smart women never needed to do too much.
And smart men never needed their women to say too much.
Translator Ramblings: I’m sorry this is late, I have come down with a cough and sniffles in the last few days and this just slipped from my mind.
There is so much subtext in this chapter and I’m not sure I translated it well enough but I don’t have the focus. Anyone want to take a stab and extrapolate?