Among the streets of the capital, Tianhe Avenue was the cleanest and the most peaceful and beautiful. Various government buildings lined both sides. Today was the first day of the month, so the various officials got a rarely earned break of ten days. But they dared to not relax completely. Today was the day Fan Xian—the eldest son of Fan manor—got married. No matter the rank or post, all the officials were going.
This great wedding was a major sensation in the capital. The Fan clan was famous enough already. Due to Count Sinan’s relationship with the royal family, in recent years they experienced a long period of prosperity, and the current functionary was sick in bed. In about a couple years’ time, Fan Xian would take that position.
As for the groom Fan Xian, he had only recently become an even more sensational character. Not mentioning the Niulan Street incident half a year ago, it was only last month that he went into a drunken poetic frenzy in the palace. That incident made him the topic of every single household. Ever since that day, Fan Xian hid himself in his home, making the people wonder exactly what the newly appointed scholar looked like.
The bride was equally impressive. While she was only adopted into the Lin family at the beginning of the year, she was still the daughter of the prime minister. As the head of all civil officials who governed the nation, his daughter being married was a major event. Despite certain events in the imperial court that made the prime minister’s position less than stable, there was no political danger with this wedding, and so various officials were happy to attend.
Both the bride and groom were illegitimate children, but everyone in the capital seemed to have forgotten about it now.
As for the high-ranking officials who knew this couple’s real backgrounds, they secretly raised the standards for the wedding gifts. They took their seats early in Fan manor, curious as to what sort of developments would there be today.
Five old nannies were dressing Fan Xian up as if he were a wooden dummy, making him vow that if he had to go through this torture again in the future, he would turn down all weddings, or even swear to never get married again. Rather than being chained down by weddings, he’s rather settle for hook-ups.
Normally, according to Qing traditions, weddings were held at dusk. But Fan Xian got dragged out of bed before the sun even came out. Bathing and brushing his teeth were simple matters, but immediately afterwards, one of the nannies began to dissolve some rouge in warm water. Greatly frightened, Fan Xian asked the nannie what she was doing. Only now did he realize that, as the groom, he needed to wear make-up!
Obviously, such things were more than what Fan Xian could endure, so he adamantly refused. Not even Fan Jian was able to persuade him after over half an hour. Although he was victorious, Fan Xian did lose much time, which was the reason why five nannies were helping him dress.
The clothing he had gotten used to long ago became unbearable today. Under the straight red robe were three layers of garments. On the outside, the robe was decorated by various jewelry, ribbons, and tassels; it was so colorful it made the eyes water.
After putting on the headdress, Fan Xian tied up the jade tablet. His silver shoes chaffed his feet, while his gold collar dug into his neck. Like an idiot, he was pushed to the front hall by the nannies.
Both Fan Ruoruo and Fan Sizhe were also dressed festively, Ruoruo especially so. Her pink top contrasted spiritedly against her calm face. The siblings tried to hide their laughter when they saw their elder brother. Fan Sizhe mocked, "Where did this flower dumpling come from?"
Fan Xian took two steps forward angrily, however, all the decorations he wore chimed out. Laughing at himself, he said, "Flower dumpling? I’m a wind chime spewing out colors."
For this living, walking wind chime, having to walk the streets was the most painful thing to do. Fortunately, Fan Xian would be riding in a sedan chair rather than on a horse. Otherwise, he’d dash back to Danzhou out of shame. Finally, the wedding parade arrived at Fan Manor. Lin Wan’er moved back to Lin household ten days ago. A wedding parade outside the palace wouldn’t be appropriate for the entire capital to see.
Sitting in the sedan chair, the sound of firecrackers made him blank out slightly. As he smelled the smoke, the scent somehow reminded him of something from far past. He shook his head and pulled himself back together. He forced a very stiff smile and set off.
By rule, Fan Xian cannot enter the bride’s room, while the prime minister cannot enter Fan manor. Among the ruckus of firecrackers and instruments, the gates of Lin manor slowly opened. The one who came out to greet them was Yuan Hongdao. A red flower adorned his hat, giving him quite the look.
"Young Master Fan." Yuan Hongdao greeted with a smile.
Fan Xian smiled uneasily, feeling a worrisome twinge in his stomach, but he forced himself to keep a bright expression. He greeted back "Mister Yuan." The two had seen each other in the prime minister’s building. Knowing who each other were, the two of them weren’t exactly strangers.
Of the specialist veterans in the capital, about half of them were accepted by Fan Xian. As soon as the front door to Lin manor was open, those old ladies opened their mouths and began to spew out good wishes. The sheer amount of words stunned Yuan Hongdao. Soon the crowd gathered at the entrance.
Then, they witnessed a truly strong stopping power.
So, where did the other half go? Taken by Lin manor, of course. Soon spit began to fly through the air as the chatter went on. While celebratory on the surface, they were full of hidden disdain. They didn’t sound like they were celebrating the marriage between the prime minister’s daughter and Count Sinan’s son, instead they sounded like they were putting up with a pair of rich commoners from the countryside.
Fan Xian couldn’t help but smile bitterly; he understood this was merely a custom. Before marriage, the bride’s side must start a quarrel. Supposedly, this would use up all the quarrel the newly-wed would face in the future.
Fan Xian was forced to stood there listening. As time passed, he was getting nauseous. Finally, he noticed the noise died down a bit. Overjoyed, he opened his eyes and shouted, "Done?"
An awkward silence later, someone quietly told him, "Young Master Fan, it’s still too early."
Someone from Lin manor added with a chuckle, "Looks like the groom is getting impatient. Well, can’t blame him, since our Lady…" He then proceeded to throw out a ton of compliments regarding Lin Wan’er.
More time passed, Yuan Hongdao noticed Fan Xian was turning pale. He lowered his voice and said, "Please endure it a bit longer. The capital isn’t like Danzhou. There really are a lot more customs here."
Fan Xian forced a happy expression, "I’m not impatient at all." Inside, he said to himself, "I waited thirty years already, this is nothing." After a short while, this evil ceremony finally ended. After some cheering, the gates to Lin manor opened a second time. The daughter of Lin Household finally walked out, led by two nannies.
Fan Xian’s eyes brightened. Lin’er was dressed in an all-red robe with wide sleeves. Alongside her beauty was the atmosphere of peerless festivity. However, the red veil covered the decorated headdress and her unforgettable face.
The crowd gathered to spectate, starting an uproar before Fan Xian could do anything. The crowd shouted for Fan Xian to lift the veil to let them see if the bride was pretty.
Had they carried out such unruliness on a regular day, they’d be fortunate to receive a crippling beatdown at the hands of Wan’er’s family; they’d even be imprisoned for life by the Overwatch Council.
But today was a day of grand celebration, and all were to be joyful. So neither households wished to disrupt this atmosphere. Fan Xian was still displeased and gave those people a look. The subordinates understood what Fan Xian meant. A few yelps came out of the crowd, it sounded like the rowdiest ones in there got kicked.
After another series of ceremonies, Lin Wan’er, dressed in all red, got onto the wedding sedan chair.
During the entire procedure, Fan Xian wasn’t able to talk to her once, or make eye contact, or even get a fingertip on her.
Back at Fan manor, all the guests were there. The music made everything exceptionally lively.
The bride was invited to the room first, while the groom welcomed the guests in the front hall. As he greeted acquaintances and strangers alike with a smile, Fan Xian quietly asked someone next to him, "When do I get to exchange vows?"
"It’s still too early for that, Young Master. You must first sit together, eat together with the same utensils, and…"
Fan Xian didn’t hear the rest. Forcing down his urge to curse out, he consoled himself to be patient. As he said earlier, he waited thirty years already, why be impatient now?