This chapter has been brought to you by me, Adnana, and Vivie.
府 fu: compound or estate; wang fu: prince's estate/compound
郡主 junzhu: titled daughter of a qinwang (first-rank prince)
姐 jie or 姐姐 jiejie: elder sister
王 wang: short for qinwang or first-rank prince; also called wang ye, i.e. "His [Your] Royal Highness"
王妃 wang fei: princess consort; the official wife of a wang or prince
妹妹 meimei: younger sister
太监 taijian: court or palace eunuch
公公 gonggong: how to refer to a taijian
郡马 junma: the husband of a junzhu
Chapter Forty-Six: Change in Opinion
When Hua Xi Wan returned to the wang fu, she recalled the children in Lin Ping Junzhu Fu and felt slightly uncomfortable. She did not like Lin Ping Junzhu, but she had different opinions about the children.
"Bai Xia, prepare some plentiful gifts and send them to the junzhu fu." Hua Xi Wan felt as though her heart was suffocating. "Children are innocent."
"Yes." Bai Xia detected that her mistress' expression was not right and did not ask many questions. She turned and prepared to find gifts for children.
"Bai Xia Jie." Hong Ying met Bai Xia as she came down the corridor with tea and refreshments. Seeing the other have a serious expression, she asked worriedly, "What happened?"
"Nothing." Bai Xia smiled faintly and shook her head. She then said in a low voice, "Mistress might not be in a good mood; serve her carefully." She did not understand what was going on, but it definitely had something to do with Lin Ping Junzhu Fu.
"Don't worry, Wang Ye returned to the fu just now. I heard Chief Steward Mu say that his expression is well." Hong Ying whispered next to Bai Xia's ear, "Maybe he will come shortly."
Bai Xia glared at her. "Do not speak nonsense." Seeing Hong Ying's expression become moderate, she said, "Did you forget the example of Lu Zhu?"
"I don't have the kind of thoughts that she did," Hong Ying muttered, but her expression became serious. As a servant, no matter how much face they had, it was given to them by their master. If their master did not have face, what benefit would they get?
Just as the two finished speaking, they saw Wang Ye walking in this direction. They hurriedly moved to the side, bowed their heads and curtsied.
Yan Jin Qiu strode past them into the room. When he entered, he saw that Hua Xi Wan's expression was dim. He walked next to her and asked in a light voice, "What is it?"
"I do not feel good thinking about Lin Ping Junzhu's two children." Hua Xi Wan forced a smile. With their present relationship, if she and Yan Jin Qiu had children in the future, she didn't know how much hardship her children would experience. If she could not give the children a good environment, it was better not to have them.
"So that is what it is. Those two have nursemaids and servants to take care of them. In their education, they will have teachers or etiquette mistresses. Who would dare to neglect them?" Yan Jin Qiu was not concerned because he had grown up in this way. "If you are worried, you can just prepare some things that children use and send them over."
Hearing this, Hua Xi Wan nodded. She saw that there were faint shadows under his eyes and pressed her fingers to the corner of his eye. "Did you now rest well last night?" Last night, Yan Jin Qiu had rested in the study, so Hua Xi Wan did not know when he went to sleep. However, seeing Yan Jin Qiu not react at all and allowing her to touch the corner of his eye, Hua Xi Wan had complicated feelings. Normal people would unconsciously put a hand up when other people came near their eyes. Yan Jin Qiu's response meant that either he really thought of her as someone close, or that he was able to act at such a high level.
Yan Jin Qiu gripped her hand and pressed it to the side of his face. He laughed soundlessly and said, "Nothing, there were some matters last night, so I slept later." Finishing, he looked pleadingly at Hua Xi Wan. "It is not comfortable sleeping in the study."
Seeing this, Hua Xi Wan reached out with her other hand to pat his head. "Then I will have the servants put down a softer mattress."
Seeing her act dumb, Yan Jin Qiu gathered her up in his arms. "No, even the softest mattress is not as comfortable as where you sleep."
Hua Xi Wan poked his face. "Do not pout."
Yan Jin Qiu's head nuzzled Hua Xi Wan's shoulder. Hua Xi Wan could only helplessly pat his back.
The common saying was that a great man could submit or stand tall as needed. This was probably how the man in her arms was acting.
The servants in the room lowered their heads and closed their eyes. They chose to not look at Wang Ye pouting at Wang Fei. In reality, they could not bear to even look at this. What happened to the wang ye who was warm, elegant and poised?
As expected, in front of beauty, even a man as hard as steel would be wrapped around the fingers of the beauty.
Hong Ying saw the servants in the room come out. She looked at the tea and refreshments in her hand and then left with a smile.
"Hong Ying Jie."
When she had walked half of the way, she was called by a servant in green robes. She looked closely at the other and recognized that she was someone who had duties at the second gate. "Is there a matter?"
The green-robed servant girl looked around and made sure that there was no one around before she lowered her voice and said, "Xiao Yu in my room has not been right recently. Last night, I heard her talk in her sleep and mentioning Wang Fei. Meimei doesn't dare to speculate what is going on and has come to report to Jiejie."
She lived in the same room as Xiao Yu. If Xiao Yu really did something outrageous, and the matter was exposed, she would be punished by association. It was better to report it early. Even if she was not rewarded for this, she could save herself. She had parents and siblings, so she did not dare risk it.
Hong Ying saw that this servant girl's expression did not seem fake and nodded. She said, "I know. Go back and make sure that she does not find out that you said this to me. If something else happens, you have to tell us." She thought and then added, "You can also tell Chief Steward Mu."
"Yes." The green-robed servant girl bobbed at Hong Ying. Seeing that no one was around, she hurriedly left.
Hong Ying gave the tray to a servant girl who passed by and went to find Mu Tong who was lecturing people. She looked at the junior taijian who was shrunken down and didn't dare to breathe out of fright of Mu Tong. She smiled and said, "Chief Steward Mu, you are busy?"
"It is Miss Hong Ying—please sit, please sit." A smile instantly hung on Mu Tong's face. He indicated for Hong Ying to sit next to the stone table and ordered someone to get tea.
"Mu gonggong, there is no need to go such trouble. I will say a few words and then leave." Hong Ying looked at the people in the surroundings. "Let's have these people attend to their own duties."
Mu Tong was a smart person and naturally understood that what Hong Ying was going to say was not something for other people's ears. He said, "Didn't you hear Miss Hong Ying's words—what are you standing around for?"
After those people left, Mu Tong said with a smile, "What good matter has made Miss Hong Ying come personally?"
"Mu gonggong is too polite; it is not a major matter. However, you are the chief steward and I have to speak of this matter to you." Hong Ying explained the matter and then said, "Wang Fei still needs me to be there, so I will leave first."
"Miss Hong Ying, walk slowly." Mu Tong walked a few steps with her out of curiosity. After Hong Ying's figure disappeared, the smile on his face faded. Wang Fei's servant girls were not simple. This matter appeared simple, but in reality, it was very troublesome. It was just talking in one's sleep and could not be said to be accurate. But if they did not do anything, there was the fear that something could happen. So they gave the matter to him and ended their own connection. However, he could not say no. In the eyes of other people, Wang Fei's people remembering to report matters to him was a sign that they respected him.
Mu Tong thought and then decided to imprison the servant girl called Xiao Yu. No matter what was going on with her, he would first keep her locked up for a few days to see if there was anything suspicious or if she had any other accomplices.
In the main rooms, Yan Jin Qiu and Hua Xi Wan were sitting cross-legged without any posture on the chaise. There was a pile of precious stones and jade pendants in front of them.
"This jade pendant is pretty." Hua Xi Wan took the jade pendant and tested it on Yan Jin Qiu's waist. Then she said, "But the color is too plain."
Yan Jin Qiu smiled and said, "Isn't your attire plain as well?"
Hua Xi Wan put down the jade pendant and took out from the pile a hairpin that was meant for a male. The mutton-fat while jade was carved in the form of a lucky cloud. It was a very simple carving, but the craftsmanship was very good. "Lin Ping Junma is not close to us, but he was our brother-in-law. If our attire is too bright, wouldn't that break etiquette?"
Yan Jin Qiu sighed and then looked at Hua Xi Wan who was picking through the different precious stones. He somehow said what he actually thought inside. "This person is a little man who was skilled in currying favor, but she wanted to marry him even under the threat of death. That year, not long after she married, Father-Wang passed away. The Emperor used this chance to demote the wang fu when I inherited it. But even so, the outside had rumors that said the sons and daughters of the Xian Wang branch were unfilial and overly romantic. It would have been fine if that was just it. But after she married to Jiang City, she never communicated back. In her eyes, we are probably the large stick that tried and failed to separate the two lovebirds."
Hua Xi Wan's movements stilled. She watched Yan Jin Qiu and did not speak.
"These years, Luo Zhong Zheng has constantly put up memorandums to the Emperor for him to suppress the side branches of the Imperial House. This suits the Emperor's appetite." Yan Jin Qiu laughed coldly. "And this good sister of mine actually wrote a letter for me to cooperate with Luo Zhong Zheng's suggestion. It is so humorous. Without our wang fu, what is her junzhu position? But she is so naïve that she betrays her relatives for this, and as long as that man is good to her, it is worth it to sacrifice anything."
Hua Xi Wan heard a thread of exhaustion and indifference from Yan Jin Qiu's words. She couldn't help but think, if she was Yan Jin Qiu, she probably would not feel much for this sister. It would be amazing if she did not feel hate.
"Is it because of this that Junzhu has distanced herself from our fu?" Hua Xi Wan put her hands onto his hands and smiled comfortingly at him.
"There is no relationship where she can always demand things and not repay." Yan Jin Qiu's tone was extremely indifferent. "I did not agree to what she wanted, so she naturally feels hate."
Hua Xi Wan's brow imperceptibly creased. This Lin Ping Junzhu was slightly selfish and stupid.
"If that is the case, then we shall just do as our hearts tell us." Hua Xi Wan gripped Yan Jin Qiu's hands. "Right now, you and she both have your own families—who can take care of the other for an entire lifetime?"
Yan Jin Qiu laughed lowly. He gripped her hands back and said warmly, "I just knew that you would understand my thoughts. Only Xi Wan knows me in this world."
Hua Xi Wan's eyes swirled with light and she smiled. "Jin Qiu's chest is as deep as the mountain is tall—how can you be sure that I understand your thoughts?" It probably was that the mood right now was too good, or maybe it was the death of Lin Ping Junma that caused Hua Xi Wan to feel that there was nothing that people did not dare to say or do in this world. A lifetime was hard and short; she had to live more freely.
Yan Jin Qiu looked at her with both eyes, his index finger lightly drawing across her brow. He suddenly laughed.
"I had thought that you would not ask this…"
Translator Ramblings: I was re-reading To Be A Virtuous Wife and I've realized how much more chatty Yan Jin Qiu is in comparison to He Heng. Qu Qing Ju and He Heng just flirt a lot while everything else remains unspoken and hidden in double speak. Hua Xi Wan and Yan Jin Qiu are positively chatterboxes in comparison. Or maybe this is my bias of having forgotten most of TBVW speaking.