Edited by TnyhyChapter 76: Returning Banquet (Part 3)
The Imperial Palace was majestic and imposing. The glazed roof tiles and vermilion columns were like the golden dragon entrenching itself and the phoenix dancing in a whirl. It was golden bright, shining and dazzling but also cold, lonely and sorrowful.
Brightness was always the appearance and just like the fertile soil under the flower bushes, there were countless number of bones that were buried deeply in the Palace. There were numerous young beauties but at the end, they all became bones. This Palace looked so beautiful but it was also very dangerous.
In the garden, a palace maid and an eunuch were watering plants. All these boring and tedious tasks were most likely handled by the eunuchs and palace maids that newly entered. Both of them looked sixteen to seventeen and were rather tender looking.
The young palace maid said, “There are a lot of people who came over to the front hall. If I did not make that mistake and was demoted because of it, I would have been waiting those noble people in the front hall. One would know that during the yearly returning banquet, just the money that will be rewarded can be used for the entire year.”
“The returning banquet…” The little eunuch had an expression of looking forward to it, “Would there be many rewards that are awesome?”
“Look at your lack of exposure.” The palace maid’s mouth twitched up, “Truly ignorant and ill-informed. His Majesty is holding the returning banquet for the Formidable Great General and purposely arranged a dinner banquet for the officials. Those who were invited are all high ranking officials and female guests and of course it is extravagant. If you wait for a few more years, with good luck, maybe there will be a chance for you to know. Those noble people's monetary rewards are all in ingots.”
“Ingots?” The young eunuch exclaimed and enviously said, “That Formidable Great General have such a great face that His Majesty were to specially hold a dinner banquet for him. One presume there would be unlimited limelight.”
“What is the point of having limelight?” That palace maid had a tone of disdain, “To have such an idiotic daughter, it is already good that one’s face was not all lost, what kind of limelight was still wanted.”
“An idiotic daughter?” The young eunuch asked, “The daughter of the formidable Great General?”
“You do not know about this.” The palace maid mysteriously said, “That General Shen is a brilliant god of war, his Shen Furen is also considered a warrior heroine and the young Deputy General Shen is also brave and good at fighting. But the Formidable Great General’s daughter is an out and out idiot. Not to say she had no knowledge of the four scholarly arts, she also like wearing gold and silver which is so tacky. In every returning banquet, she always make a fool of herself when the General Shen bring her. In last year’s returning banquet, I was serving and she does not even know the basic etiquette and rolled down the stairs when she stepped on her dress. Those young ladies and Furens love to mock and laugh at her. Even with the Shen family’s protection, everyone all looked down on that Shen Young Lady.”
“So since it is so…” The young eunuch sighed sadly, “It does not live up to the reputation of the Shen family.”
“Is not it so?” That palace maid continued speaking, “She is regarded as the faulty stroke in the painting of the Shen family. Unexpectedly her two TangJies are much more outstanding that her. General Shen's reputation was totally thrown away by her. Previously this Young Lady Shen was so crazy in love with His Highness Prince Ding that this was spread out like wildfire and became common knowledge to all.”
“Really a vulgar female.” That young eunuch also had an expression of disgust on his face.
That palace maid often stayed in the Palace, unlike those official’s Furens or young ladies that could leave the Palace, so she only knew matters that happened in the Palace. As for the incident of Shen Miao purging her infamous reputation during the academy examinations, she did not know anything at all.
Just as they were talking, they saw the approaching people and both of them quickly looked down and worked hard at their jobs, not daring to speak. But they heard the approaching person walking towards them and said with a pointed voice, “New here?”
“Replying Gao GongGong, it is exactly so.” Someone at the side answered.
The young eunuch courageously raised his head and took a glance. He only saw three people standing in front, one had the uniform of a head eunuch and the rest had the uniforms of a second rank eunuch. The one who was called Gao Gonggong was the one who was dressed in the head eunuch uniform.
Gao GongGong swept a glance at both of them and his eyes fell onto the young eunuch, asking, “What is the name?”
“This servant is Xiao Li-zi.” The young eunuch was quick witted as he respectfully replied.
“Him then.” Gao Gonggong said to the person beside him, “There is a shortage for one to hold the jug in the front hall. Seeing that he has clever looks, most likely he would be able to enter the noble people’s eyes. Put him into it.”
Xiao Li-zi was also excited. As such, according to what the palace maid had said, he was able to get a lot of monetary rewards and if he was favourable in any master’s eyes, he may also have some good fortune in the future.
In this Imperial Palace, everyone were racking their brains to climb up. Even the lowest level of servants would also dream of flying up to the higher branches overnight.
There were already many Furens and young ladies that have arrived at the front of the hall. Other than those who had some relationships with the concubines in the palaces and were invited to speak with the various Ladyships at the back, most of the female guests were sitting outside to chat.
“Why has Shen Furen and General Shen not yet arrive?” A Furen with high cheekbones laughed, “The main roles today are them, was it that they deliberately come late?”
“Shen Furen wants to tuck her daughter and not let others see thus deliberately hide in her pocket.” Another round faced Furen also laughed but her words and tone of voice were filled with ridicule.
Shen Xin as a Formidable Great General who had accumulated numerous meritorious services, did not have concubines and was capable. He also treated Luo Xue Yan well and was faithful. As compared to all the noble Furens present, which families did not have a bunch of concubines and the numerous amount of issues that one need to worry about, they were naturally filled with jealousy of Luo Xue Yan, as she had such a good life of having a husband’s love and a capable son.
The most favourite thing that females liked to do was comparisons. The more Luo Xue Yan was fortunate, the more the other Furens would looked as they turned red, infuriated in jealousy, and could not wait for Luo Xue Yan to also meet with some unfortunate things. Thus Shen Miao’s appearance became the only thing that could be used to strike at Luo Xue Yan. Shen Miao was stupid, had no talent, did not look good and also made a fool of herself in the Palace. Every year at this time, it was the happiest time for these Furens. They were able to see Shen Xin and wife humiliated because of this daughter which was as if they had gain benefits from it.
“Do not know what kind of clothes Fifth Young Lady Shen would wear this year.” Yi Pei Lan had a ridicule smile on her face, “Last year her clothes that had golden leaves pasted on was extremely good, and matched with her golden jewellery which was considered as very ‘noble’. Could it be silver leaves this year?”
Those words set off echoing words from the young ladies around, and words of mockery could be heard incessantly.
Just at this time, out of thin air there was a crisp female voice, “Everyone must not say such words. Now the Fifth Young Lady Shen is considered as gaining General Shen’s teachings. One have to know that during the academy examinations how her archery technique was, that even the Young Master of the Cai family had no way of defeating it. If she is not happy, what if she were to deliberately shoot at you all?”
Once those words were spoken, the crowd suddenly grew silent. There were many Furens and young ladies that were present in the academy examinations and they had witnessed Shen Miao’s fierceness. Those words made them involuntarily shudder in their heart. Shen Miao did not even take Cai Lin to heart, if one were to anger her, what were they to do if she shoot an arrow over?
The person who said those words was Feng An Ning. When she just finished speaking, she was glared at by Feng Furen. It is not fun to offend so many Furens. Feng An Ning wrinkled her nose unhappily as she was not use to seeing these people speaking bad behind Shen Xin’s back, but dare not even fart in front of him at all and even quickly go forward to give their greetings. What was so just and honourable in talking bad about one’s daughter behind their back.
Before the awkward atmosphere dissipated, one could hear an eunuch shouting outside, “The Formidable Great General has arrived—”
Everyone’s eyes looked towards the door.
The ones who were at the front were Shen Xin and Shen Qiu. Shen Xin had a dragon’s gait and firm tiger’s steps, with his vigour and prestige that unknowingly overflowed out and with the normal military valour, it made even the entire hall of married women frightened. Shen Qiu’s posture was upright and straight and with a warm smile, two shallow dimples appeared that made him look very cordial, thus all the young females could not help but blush.
Both of them did not stay long at the front of the hall and turned towards the main hall where the shocked males were at. Everyone’s line of sight fell naturally behind them.
Luo Xue Yan wore a royal blue tinged waist robe with her hair up in a neat knife bun. Differently from the other Furen’s dressing, her overall look was extremely simple and relaxed but because of the fabric’s doing, she did not seem rough at all. With a change her beauty had some heroism which was very much different from any ordinary Furen’s beauty.
Followed behind was a purple slim figure who leisurely approached.