Chapter 49: What Can You do?
Back to the manor, Jun Huang immediately replaced many of the servants. She did it so openly, it was difficult to not notice. The housekeeper soon came to her for answers.
"What is the gentleman doing?" he asked.
Jun Huang stared down the old housekeeper. "Do you really think I don't know who those servants are?" she said slowly. "I heard that you have been working here for many years, and yet you have used your position for personal gains. Your relatives were paid good money, but they haven't been doing their jobs. Do you have a good explanation for this? Do you think it is wrong for me to replace them?"
The housekeeper shuddered. How did Jun Huang find out about this? She had proven herself to be competent, and Qi Chen valued her greatly. The housekeeper didn't dare to offend her, or he would be the next one out of the manor.
He twisted his mouth into a smile. "The gentleman is right. Those useless fools should be replaced. If the crown prince asks about it, this servant will explain to him."
Jun Huang nodded approvingly. After the housekeeper took his leave, her smile grew wider. She knew how these people thought.
Not everyone could be convinced so easily, of course. A servant in charge of managing the firewood refused to go. He made a big fuss and the other servants couldn't talk him down. They turned to Jun Huang for help.
When Jun Huang arrived, the man was grappling with a couple of other men. She looked on with her arms crossed as if she was watching a good show.
The firewood keeper ended up being pinned down to the ground. When he noticed that Jun Huang was here, he cursed, "Feng Baiyu, you shameless bastard! I really don't know why the crown prince keeps you around. Did you please him with that pretty little face of yours? Do you really think you are the master of this manor?"
Jun Huang walked up to him, her face as calm as ever. Letting out a scoff, she squatted down and forced the man to look up at her with the tip of her fan. "Everyone in the manor has to listen to my orders now. What can you do about it?"
She said it so boldly everyone but the man was stunned by her confidence. The man was still struggling, however. "Ha! Who knows if you truly are the real deal? Maybe you served him the way only a woman would in order to gain this privilege."
Jun Huang's eyes went icy and she kicked the man in the head. "Beat him up until he can't say a word," she said to the other servants around them. After taking a few steps, she paused and added. "I want him alive."
She left without even a stain on her clothes. Pained screams rang through the manor, but she didn't appear to be affected at all.
This man had smiles that could captivate a city, but eyes that could freeze the ocean. Wei Qian felt her muscles tense up. The murderous intent on Jun Huang's face had intimidated the servants. They wouldn't dare to stir up troubles again.
"Why was the gentleman so angry with a lowly servant?" Wei Qian couldn't help but ask.
Jun Huang stopped and turned to face her with a polite smile. "I wasn't angry. I just felt sorry for the crown prince. A lowly servant dared to say something like that? Do you really think there's a place in the manor for him?"
Wei Qian opened her mouth and then closed it. She was going to say if the gentleman was willing to keep him, there would be a place for him. But then she thought about what the man had said. Was there really a reason to keep someone like that? In the end, she chose not to say anything.
"Has Lady Wei heard that Feng Baiyu has been replacing the servants in the manor?" Wei Lanying's personal maid asked carefully.
Wei Lanying sat before a bronze mirror combing her hair. Her only reaction was a quiet laugh. "The prince has given him the permission. Let him do what he wants to do. If he makes a mistake, we'll have a chance to kick him out. The one we should focus on now, however, is Nan Guyue. If she enters the manor, there will be no place for us."
The maid nodded. "Lady Wei is right. What should we do then?"
Wei Lanying smiled at her own reflection. "Do you think I'm beautiful?"
The maid nodded again. "You're the most beautiful woman in the manor. No one can rival you."
The praise pleased Wei Lanying. Her smile grew wider as she stood up. "We have to make sure the prince stay more nights here. If I can get pregnant with his child these couple of days, I'll have nothing to fear even after Nan Guyue and Qi Chen get married."
"Lady Wei is indeed clever."
Wei Lanying was too busy competing for Qi Chen's attention to care about what Jun Huang was doing. As for Qi Chen's servants, they had talked about this matter after seeing Jun Huang's action, but they assumed that Jun Huang must have replaced the servants under Qi Chen's order. Besides, Jun Huang was Qi Chen's confidante. They couldn't possibly go against her. It was quite the opposite. They should stay on her good side. So they turned a blind eye to what she was doing.
Jun Huang knew how the Ministry of Rites held a wedding. In the early morning, she left the manor without Wei Qian. Only some of the servants she bought were with her. They went to purchase the things they'd need.
Jun Huang had done her research. Moreover, she was a woman herself; naturally she would know what kind of wedding Nan Guyue would want. She went straight to the store she'd set her eyes on.
She was in so much of a hurry that she didn't notice her foldable fan had dropped to the ground.
Nan Xun was with his personal pageboy. He picked up the fan and saw Jun Huang at the distance with a group of servants. A smile bloomed on his face.
Nan Xun caught up with her and affected a look of surprise. "I didn't expect the gentleman and I to be so intertwined by fate. This imperial city isn't large, but it isn't small, either. And I've heard that the gentleman doesn't leave the manor much. Yet we happened to cross paths today. Isn't it a serendipity?" He arched an eyebrow at her.
She gave him an eye roll and took a step back, cupping her hands in greeting. "It is. I haven't gone out of the manor for a good while. And I just happened to run into the prince today? Such coincidence happens only once every blue moon."
Nan Xun choked. He didn't know Jun Huang had such a sharp tongue and that she wasn't willing to back down at all. Amusement bubbled up inside him.
There were many pedestrians on the street. Nan Xun frowned at the bustling crowd and pulled Jun Huang to the side of the road. "Why are you here today?"
"Your Highness must have heard about the crown prince's wedding. This gentleman is here to make purchase. I have set my mind on giving him and and the princess a wedding they'll both be satisfied with."
Nan Xun nodded. "I've heard that the gentleman isn't from around here. You probably don't know which stores sell good products in the imperial city. What do you say we go together? I happen to be free."
Jun Huang was about to say no, but Nan Xun gave her a look that clearly said he wanted to talk. Besides, it had been a while since the last time she saw Nan Xun. She had missed him. "Thank you then, Your Highness, for taking the time to keep me company."
They ignored the servants following behind them and headed to their destination. On their way, Nan Xun listened to Jun Huang talk about what had happened the past two days. When she talked about the assassins they ran into, his expression hardened.
He took Jun Huang's hands and checked if there were any wounds, paying no mind to the fact that they were in public. "Are you hurt?" he asked. "I've heard that the crown prince and the princess were almost killed, but I didn't know you were there as well. Why didn't you tell me?"
Jun Huang frowned at Nan Xun's nervous expression, puzzled. She was going to laugh at Nan Xun for overreacting, but she couldn't when she heard what he said next.
"I'm glad you're not hurt. If anything happens to you, I'll never forgive myself." He let out a sigh of relief when he saw there was no injury on her. "Listen, if something like this happens again, send me a message immediately."
Jun Huang nodded hesitantly. Nan Xun's eyes were filled with emotions, but she didn't understand what they were. At that moment, it seemed like they were the only two people left in this world, and the air had come to a halt.
Jun Huang quickly recovered and pulled away from Nan Xun. She turned away with a blush, unwilling to look at him. Nan Xun belatedly realized that he had overreacted. He felt his cheeks flare up in embarrassment.
The pageboy tried and failed to cover his smile, which earned him a smack on the forehead by Nan Xun. He looked up at Nan Xun with wide eyes and pouty mouth. He didn't do anything to deserve that!
Jun Huang cleared her throat. "Thank you for your concerns, Your Highness. I'm quite alright."
"That's good." He didn't know what else to say. Fortunately, they'd reached the store they wanted to go. "We're here."
Jun Huang looked over at the store and nodded. "I'll go inside to make the necessary purchase." she said to the servants. "You can find a place to rest. I only need you to come pick up what I bought after I'm finished."
Nan Xun turned to the pageboy. "You take them to a tea house. Come back after the time for an incense stick to burn." He pulled Jun Huang into the store before the pageboy could argue.
The were an impressively wide range of wedding products. Jun Huang turned to Nan Xun with a teasing smile. "Your Highness seems very familiar with this place. Do you come here often? Do you have an army of concubines at your manor?"
Nan Xun frowned. "What are you talking about? I haven't married anyone."
I'm just joking! Jun Huang pouted and didn't say another word. She looked over the products that the clerk had recommended.
Nan Xun realized that he'd been too serious. He scratched his head and took a deep breath, following after Jun Huang. For a moment none of them talked. It was like they'd suddenly lose the ability to have a normal conversation.
Jun Huang clearly was enjoying this. Nan Xun could see her eyes light up every time something caught her attention. He couldn't help but ask, "How will you like your wedding to be?"
Nan Xun was right behind her. When Jun Huang turned around, they came face to face, looking at each other at too close a distance. Jun Huang could hear Nan Xun's breathing and heartbeats. And Nan Xun too could hear hers.