Chapter 1 Entering the Fan Manor
The Fan Manor is located East within the Capital city. Tian-he Road is even further; therefore the Imperial Palace cannot be seen for a distance. Only Nobles live there, for there was no room for common people to reside*. Therefore the area was relatively quiet.
On a deserted street, ten feet away stood the gate to the Government Offices^. Outside each office sitting guard, was a majestic stone lion. Dozens of these lions stared ahead in boredom until their eyes came to rest on the leisurely paced carriage travelling down the street.
(^ It could also mean manors/estates 座府門 )
The black horse drawn carriage passes through the street slowly, on both sides of the road there are no curious gazes. With some difficulty the carriage turns into a side valley, stopping at the Manors corner gate beneath the shade of a tree.
Fan Xian lifts the carriage curtain. Teng Zi Jing gives his hand to help him out of the carriage. Fan Xian’s face remains emotionless as he perceives the environment with an imperceptible nod.
The wooden gate began to groan loudly as the Manors servants came out to welcome Fan Xian. They stared at him with inquisitive gazes, unsure of how to address him as they bow in greeting.
Fan Xian only smiled, but remained silent as has walked towards the gate with Teng Zi Jing. The servants finally relaxed as they began to transport his luggage out of the carriage.
Waiting by the gate bowed in reception was a young male servant. Silently the two proceeded forth. Deep in the courtyard a rockery could be seen with planes of grass, and blooming flowers surrounding* shallow water. The view was truly elegant. Along the road came and went some old woman, with a subdued voice; the sound slightly disturbed the peaceful area before it was gone.
(* it could also be within the shallow water like lotus’s etc)
As he walks deeper through the courtyard he has still yet to arrive in the inner courtyard. Unexpectedly, Fan Xian sighed in admiration at the Manors grandeur in the Capital. In comparison to Port Danzhou’s Manor this was by far ten times larger. For his father to have such a large mansion in the Capital, his power and influence cannot be ordinary.
If an ordinary man were to enter a wealthy manor it would only be natural when they become flustered and cautious. In Dream of the Red Chamber*, when Sister Lin initially enters the Rongguo Estate, she does not dare to talk too much, for fear that she would make a mistake and lose all face in the Estate.
(*Lin Daiyu enters the Rongguo estate after her mother’s death and is prone to jealousy-she died heartbroken. The family also falls out of grace with the Emperor…)
But Fan Xian is actually not an average man, he who had barely escaped death, allowed him a few carefree feelings. Furthermore he is already used to having the status of an illegitimate child; according to his previous state of mind he feels no humiliation from his status. Contrary to what you might expect, he felt it right that if anybody- then his own father should feel ashamed. Therefore he was not worried about his face* in the Fan Estate.
(* face-how he is regarded by others eg. Lose face, become humiliated or lose respect gained. etc.)
Therefore as he walks, he does so carelessly with a shy smile on his face. Although he seemed to be shy that of course was to hide his true colours. As he looks at the Estates scenery he clicks his tongue in astonishment as he caresses the weeping willow that they soon pass, and over an arch bridge. Below which is a shallow moving lake where one is unconsciously drawn upon golden scales of the numerous fish.
Along the journey many eyes* from the Manor curiously gazed at his demeanour, which was neither good nor bad. Over the years they had heard rumours about the young master, yet they could not explain how this youth could be so unaware.
(*the manors’ servants)
Standing before the inner courtyard, Teng Zi Jing reminded in a lowered voice, “Young master, I cannot enter further. Young master must enter alone…” He could not help but quietly caution, “Young master when you speak…”
Fan Xian hid his appreciation of this one sentence from Teng Zi Jing, but he was indifferent to personal gains and losses. During this journey he had already expected that the Fan manor in the Capital would be rolling in secrets. He warned himself not to be rash and to only express himself in an ignorant manner.
Fan Xian is aware of what he is thinking and is silently moved. He smiles whilst cupping his hands in salute, “Teng Zi Jing may feel at ease. “ He then continues to urge him to put his luggage in good order and that he may call for him.
Presently, how can he remain so calm and composed while knowing what is to come. Teng Zi Jing smiles in relief after hearing the words of the beautiful young master as he knows that he is already far more mature then his contemporaries *. He then leaves the courtyard to rest.
The young male servant who showed the way then exchanged places with a beautiful young maidservant. Fan Xian hurriedly followed after the girl into the inner courtyard.
A middle aged woman carrying a brass pot approached and bowed in ceremony. Then she served him by washing his face with the water from the pot which was neither too hot nor too cold but just right.
Fan Xian in silence, leisurely wipes his hand. When handing over the towel he thanks her.
The middle aged woman is surprised to hear those words, becoming slightly flustered she withdrew in haste.
Fan Xian smiled, he must remember the capital is not like Port Danzhou. These sister maids appear somewhat superfluous and behind the times*.
Even after entering the inner courtyard, he did not stand in a reception hall but was rather led by the young maidservant through a side door. The corridors were painted in a beautiful pure white, however above the doorway a black rain eave* stood out with more prominence.
(*the part of a roof that meets or overhangs the walls of a building.)
He stood waiting for a long time with nobody paying him any attention. He was unaware whether or not the manor residence provided for him would be a demonstration of power based on his being an illegitimate child. In Fan Xian’s mind gradually grows a trace of impatience, soon after he deeply inhales for he understands that he must keep his expressions under control. He soon raises his head to look at the black eave only to discover that this old building was truly a reflection of good taste
Actually Fan Xian had wrongly accused them. These maid servants who stood to one side were not treating him coldly but were rather aware of the youth’s status. They dared not to step forward, as they did not know how they ought to formally address him. This fault could be blamed on the Lords wife* (legal wife), for her power was only second to the Manors Lord, therefore they dare not act rash. Early this morning someone had naturally gone to inform the Manors Lord.
(*She is the second wife, I haven’t read to here, only glanced through but I think the first wife died and the second wife was made the legal wife because she bore a son)
While Fan Xian waited, he gave himself a self-deprecating smile and beckoned a young maidservant forward.
The young maid servants’ facial features were delicate and pretty, her cheeks were incomparably soft. She feebly asked, “Young…young….do you have any instructions?” She originally wanted to say young master, but she suddenly recalled the issue at hand. Therefore she could not address him so and chocked on her words as her face became a shade of red.
Fan Xian laughs at the small girl’s appearance and replied, “Move me to a chair.”
The young maidservant moved a wooden chair from the hall. The chair is slightly heavy, and she soon becomes short of breath.
Fan Xian steps forward and places the chair on the ground with a faint smile. Then with the presence of a general, took a seat* . He then raised his head to survey overhead by the rain eave and becomes emerged in the view.
(*I thought they it was a sentence about a sword – this was in the raw 便大刀金馬, ( golden horse/knight) so I had it as -He sat up the convenient broadsword Jin Ma* then took a seat, Thankfully the wonderful mutee, cuteloong andanonpuffs helped clarify it for me,- basically having a strong presence/proud the image they gave was “Basically, if you imagine a great hero sitting on a big warhorse, brandishing a shining sword…”)
The old maidservant unexpectedly sees the youth take a seat and feels no small shock. The older generation has yet to arrive. The younger generation ought to know to keep their hands tied in formality*. How could one be so arrogant?
(*should know their place, be humble…)
Very fine footsteps could be heard coming from one of the ambulatory*. A gentle wave of a very deep yet light aroma drifts through; it was an aroma that could raise ones spirits. Fan Xian tilts his head to get a better view. When he saw a lady walking towards him, a positive smile came over his face. As a woman of high station her face was beautiful, with eyes like lacquer**, her garment swayed, like the sound of gold she brought a small amount of chaos***.However she was the kind of beautiful woman that should not be annoyed. You may think freely but never express what is thought.
(*A covered walkway
** like it was painted on
***because she is so beautiful/alluring ~think Helen of Troy)
Fan Xian softly inhales as he unhurriedly stands up.
Her umber eyebrows were raised high, but nevertheless smiled and said, “Xian son, the journey must have been exhausting, do have a seat.”
Fan Xian sweetly smiles, “Maternal mother is benevolent.”