Chapter 26 A thunder striking out of the blue really scares people
As Chu Qing-Yan accepted the imperial edict, Eunuch Cao gave her a meaningful look. Then, under the urging of the Chu Family for him to stay, he slowly left.
Chu Qing-Yan, who was in a state of shock, simply hadn't returned to her senses. Therefore, she missed Eunuch Cao's deep meaningful gaze.
Inside the great hall, everybody was hypocritically giving their congratulations. The Chu Family also felt awkward about this, thus, they threw this 'hot potato' matter of the bestowed marriage to Chu Qing-Yan. Now, she was being pushed to do something beyond her abilities, to force her to move to Prince Ying's Manor. At that time, if anything were to happen, it would have no relation to the Chu family. This was something to be secretly delighted with. However, some people's hearts were filled with unease. Even though Prince Ying was not doted on by the Western Xuan's Emperor, and the news and comments about him were very bad, nevertheless, for good or bad, he was still a prince. So, seeing how Chu Qing-Yan just climbed up the social ladder in one move, like a sparrow flying to the top branch and becoming a phoenix (1), left a bad taste in their mouths.
How could Chu Qing-Yan know the calculative and tricky thoughts these people harbored? Her head was still in a blank state, she didn't even know how she finally returned to her room, with the imperial edict clasped in her hands.
As she stepped inside the room, Mother Chu came up to welcome her. Her face was filled with sorrow and helplessness, "Cai Cai, just now, mother had already heard the servants talk. Does His Majesty really want you to move into Prince Ying's Manor, the Prince Ying who has a terrible reputation? What would be the best thing for us to do?"
After hearing such genuine concern, Chu Qing-Yan's scattered thoughts finally gathered together. She turned towards Mother Chu, whose face was full of worry, and a burst of warmth spread through her heart. With a smile, she said, "Mother, don't say it so pessimistically. Isn't it just moving homes? In the future, won't I still have to marry over? Moving earlier or later, there really isn't that much difference. Besides, if I move over now, I could get used to my future lifestyle sooner. It's still a good thing."
Chu Qing-Yan's heart wasn’t fully prepared for this impromptu idea of Western Xuan Emperor's. Although she was saying it to comfort Mother Chu, her heart also calmed down a bit as she kept on talking. Her tone had become more firm by the end of her talk.
"Only, from now on, daughter will not be nearby, so daughter may not be able to wait on Father and Mother frequently. Father and Mother must take good care of yourselves in the future!"
Chu Qing-Yan's gaze swept past Mother Chu's shoulder and landed on Daddy Chu, who was quietly lying on the bed, sleeping peacefully. Her gaze became soft. Fortunately, she was able to establish her authority within the Chu Family. So, for a short period of time, the Chu Family still wouldn't dare to treat her parents unfairly. This made her heart feel slightly more at ease.
Mother Chu wiped away the tears that gathered at the corner of her eyes, her heart somewhat soothed, "Cai Cai, mother discovered that ever since that time you were injured, your whole person changed."
Chu Qing Yan inwardly cried out 'not good'. Did her mother detect something was not right with her?
Just as cold sweat started to form on Chu Qing-Yan's forehead, Mother Chu placed a hand on top of her head and lightly sighed, "You've become much more sensible and you handle matters much more appropriately than us, your parents. If not for this bestowed marriage, Cai Cai would've had a more blessed and dependable future."
It turns out that she had thought too much. Chu Qing-Yan gave a breath of relief and lifted her hands to embrace her mom, burying her head and rubbing it against her mother's chest. In a spoiled tone, she said, "Mother, this daughter is still a child. Don't always bring up the matter of marriage or this daughter will be bashful!"
Mother Chu chuckled and couldn't help but say, "Really such a quick and crafty spirit——"
The room which was filled with the emotional pain of separation was enlivened just like this, leaving only a faint feeling of warmth and comfort behind.
Seeing this scene, Fire Spirit, who was sitting on the rooftop, turned to ask the subordinate who had just returned from reporting at the prince's manor, "Does His Highness know about this matter?"
The subordinate nodded and replied seriously, "Master is very angry with this decision by His Majesty."
Fire Spirit nodded, "His Majesty pushing them beyond their abilities is really bullying intolerably!"
The subordinate suspiciously looked at his supervisor. If it was the usual him, his supervisor would have already flown into a rage. Why was it that today, his face had a crafty smile? "Honorable sir, you don't seem the least bit angry?"
Fire Spirit never thought that he would be seen through by this subordinate, and gave a cough, "I already have a heart attack from rage!"
The subordinate doubtfully nodded.
Fire Spirit rubbed his lower jaw. If it was the him from before, he would've been utterly discomfited after learning of His Majesty's decisions. But after having observed Chu Qing-Yan for the last several days, he realized that having this little girl by the prince's side may not necessarily be a bad thing. Just recalling her heroic appearance when she was about to jump into the lake today, maybe in the future, she'd create turmoil in Prince Ying's manor. That would be really amusing!
Nobody knew that this imperial decree would later change the lives of many people. It was only known that when the imperial decree was issued, the entire capital seethed with excitement.
"What, what? His Majesty actually let Chu Family's ten-year-old little Miss to move into Prince Ying's Manor? Isn't this being too impatient?!" Passerby A cried out in surprise.
"Maybe the one who's impatient is not His Majesty, but Prince Ying ah. After all, the prince is almost a full twenty years old, and every time he was bestowed a wife, they'd all innocently die tragically. Prince Ying's heart must be very impatient ah!" Passerby B, in a mysterious manner, leaned close to say.
"Rumors said that Prince Ying jinxes his wives to death. It's a pity for this little doll-like girl from the Chu Family. Don't know if she will be able to live till the day of the marriage!" Passerby C, who was an old man, said, running his hands through his beard, shaking his head and heaving a sigh.
"A ten-year-old consort, how pitiful, how sad and how ridiculous——"
The people in the market didn’t think highly of Chu Qing-Yan, this little consort, at all. However, no one dared to probe this wantonly. After all, this was the royal family's matter. One reckless word could attract the misfortune of being beheaded.
Whatever rumors that were being spread outside, Chu Qing-Yan didn't know, but this didn't mean Xiao Xu was similarly ignorant.
After hearing the subordinate's report, Xiao Xu's face remained impassive. His mood was difficult to discern.
"Highness, since His Majesty has issued such a decree, tomorrow will be Elder Chu's 70th birthday, should we prepare a precious congratulatory gift?" The housekeeper of the prince's manor entered, bowing his head to inquire.
Originally, this matter of repaying politeness with politeness was delegated by His Highness to them to handle, but this time was rather special. This was because the Chu Family's Elder happened to be the great-uncle of Prince Ying's future wife! Therefore, it was better to carefully report this banquet matter to His Highness.
Having just remembered this event, Xiao Xu raised his eyebrows and recalled that the little doll-like girl had planned to take advantage of this day to escape the Chu Family. Unfortunately, she could no longer escape, now that this imperial decree had been sent down .
"Prepare a lavish gift. Tomorrow, this king will bring it over!"
Recalling that young and immature, but adult-like manner of speaking, Xiao Xu couldn't help but to say.
Inside the room, everyone raised their heads in astonishment, one after another. They looked at His Highness in the center of the room with disbelief. They should not be blamed for making a fuss over nothing, it was because, even after following His Highness for so many years, they had never seen him personally bring a gift to attend such a banquet. That was why they were so surprised. No matter if it was the royal uncle with high position and weight, or the imperial court ministers below, none had ever received his preferential treatment. How was it that such an insignificant small birthday feast, nowadays, got His Highness to go in person? It was completely inconsistent with his usual practice ah!
Xiao Xu saw the dull, blank expressions on everyone's face, and then composed himself. He leaked out that overbearing aura and everybody immediately withdrew their shocked expressions. Their eyes and nose sensed danger, and they immediately straightened up their hearts. They started to hypnotize themselves by saying: this was normal, not the least bit abnormal!
When Xiao Xu recalled this decision in the future, he was also somewhat puzzled at why he made such a decision. However, this thought merely crossed his mind briefly before he voiced his decision.
1) like a sparrow flying to the top branch and becoming a phoenix: achieving a high position through one's own efforts. Similar to Cinderella, a commoner marrying into nobility, this kind of meaning.