Finally get a title for this chapter.
This chapter has been provided to you by me, orormunroe90, leecherleechleech and vivie.
Chapter Seventy Four Jealousy
On the day of He Ming's marriage, Qu Qing Ju and Jin An Princess received the womenfolk who'd arrived for the celebration as the mistresses of the house. Now that Ning Wang Fei was under house arrest in Bright Moon Tower, Qu Qing Ju held seniority among the wang fei. For this wedding of He Ming, her little brother-in-law, even if she wanted to be lazy, she couldn't avoid it.
The womenfolk were fine. Order a few cheerful plays, put out some fruit and refreshments and chit chat. It wasn't very difficult. But it was more complicated on the men's side. It didn't just touch on the personal interests of some, they had to pay attention to people who were drunk and would cause an unfortunate disturbance. Additionally, He Yuan wasn't willing to demean himself by receiving guests so He Heng and some of the officials of the Ministry of Rites had to organize the guests.
Even if it seemed busy, most of those who came were smart. They wouldn't cause a disturbance at this kind of setting, and wouldn't try to find trouble. Most of them respectfully sat down and waited for the wedding to begin.
Jin An Princess paid attention to the time. Not long after, a taijian ran over and reported that the wedding sedan was almost at its destination. A crowd of women stood to walk to the front hall and waited for the couple to bow to the Heaven and Earth.
Qu Qing Ju and Jin An Princess stood together. She swept a gaze across the hall. The men and women stood at their own sides, the men on the left and woman on the right, clearly divided. In a short while, the music sounded. She tilted her head to look and saw He Ming wearing the bright red wedding clothes, his hand holding one end of a red silk cord as he walked in from the outside. On the other side of the red silk cord was Luo Wen Yao, who was wearing a phoenix crown and cape.
While Qing De Emperor and the Empress didn't personally attend, their gifts had been sent down very early beforehand. Qu Qing Ju watched as the couple bowed to the empty seats above them and once again looked down on the Imperial House. The father wasn't present when the son got married. Was there even any meaning left when the Imperial father and son were like this?
When the three brothers in front of He Ming had married, Qing De Emperor had personally written out a celebratory speech to be read at each of the ceremonies, expressing the regret of his absence and wished to make up for such a deficiency. Why wasn't there one when it was He Ming's turn?
After the ceremony, Qu Qing Ju and the others followed the newly wedded pair to their bridal rooms and waited for He Ming to lift the bride's veil.
The bridal rooms were very busy. Qu Qing Ju even saw Jin An Princess' two children. She watched as He Ming slowly lifted the bride's veil. Underneath it, Luo Wen Yao's face was full of bashfulness, like a flower just before blooming.
Some said that a woman was most beautiful on the day of her marriage. Qu Qing Ju smiled at the bashful Luo Wen Yao and had to admit it was true. She and Jin An Princess smiled as they came forward to say some lucky words. After the children received their red packets, they ushered everyone out and left a silent space for the newlyweds.
Coming out of the bridal room, Jin An Princess looked at the darkening sky. She smiled as she reminisced: "That year I was married, the didi were still all children. Now, all of them are married."
Qu Qing Ju guessed that Jin An Princess was thinking of her failed marriage, comforting: "Time is like flowing water, jiejie doesn't have to be sad."
Listening to the noise from the banquet in front of them, Jin An Princess smiled as she glanced at Qu Qing Ju: "You are assuming that I am sad over what happened with the Count of Bei Lu?" She laughed, "Right now, I am the Princess Royal, I have a son and daughter, and they have their titles. What do I need to be sad about?"
Qu Qing Ju hadn't thought Jin An Princess would say such unaffected words and stilled before conceding: "It's me that was mistaken."
Jin An Princess shook her head: "When the Count of Bei Lu betrayed me in the beginning, he should have thought of the conclusion. I am the daughter of the Emperor, he underestimated the people of the Imperial Family." Maybe it came about because of the Imperial Family were too courteous to him when they used to return to Jing, and that made him forget what they were truly like.
Qu Qing Ju felt that Jin An Princess was extremely domineering right now. As they walked closer to the wedding banquet, she looked ahead and hesitated before speaking: "A few days ago, a subordinate of my wang ye came back from Jing Zhou. I heard him say that ninth-grade official's daughter died from sickness, the Count of Bei Lu hasn't stepped out of his home and even sent up a request to transfer the title to his didi."
"Fuhuang will not agree," Jin An Princess smiled as she explained, "This title, until the Count of Bei Lu dies, will always be on his head. But after he dies, it isn't certain that this title will still be the Cao Family's."
Qu Qing Ju looked at the smile on Jin An Princess' face, instantly feeling reverence. This was what a true woman should be like.
At the wedding banquet, He Heng occasionally drank a cup with the guest but most of the time, he only had to sit to one side and wait for others to come to him. Looking at the noisy play on stage, he gave a yawn of disinterest.
"Er ge is tired?" Sitting by his side, He Yuan played with the wine cup, looking lazy, "Now that lao si has married, he will get busy in the future."
He Heng didn't seem to hear the implication in his words. He raised the wine cup and swirled the contents: "With a wang fei to care for him, si di will have more relaxing days."
"Ha," He Yuan snorted, "When did er ge become so simple? Didi finds it very unexpected." He Heng was pretending not to understand his words, still acting in front of him.
He Heng gave a warm smile as he responded: "Er ge is always like this. It was san di who didn't know before today."
The corner of He Yuan's lips jerked. He turned his head to avoid looking at He Heng's expression and saw his eldest sister and Duan Wang Fei emerge from the back and walk to the female side. He frowned as his gaze landed on Qin Bai Lu who had been seated the whole time. The hand which held the wine cup tightened. They were both wang fei, but why was the difference in conduct so large?
The noise eventually had to quiet down. When Qu Qing Ju and He Heng came out of Cheng Wang Fu, it was already the deep of the night. She inhaled, watching as the guards surrounded Jin An Princess as she left, before she said: "We can finally return and rest."
He Heng helped tie her cloak: "Let's go back."
"Er ge and er sao, take care."
Qu Qing Ju turned her head and saw He Yuan and Qin Bai Lu walking together with a stride length between them. Qin Bai Lu's expression didn't seem right.
"San shu, san dimei," Qu Qing Ju smiled, "It's late, you two should return and rest too."
"Thanks for the concern, er sao. Of course we know to rest," Qin Bai Lu calmly said, "Today, er sao was very busy, don't exhaust yourself."
It was easy to detect the queerness in her tone. He Heng's brows furrowed slightly, his eyes instantly becoming cold. Even the smile on his lips disappeared without a trace. It was only the fact that the other was his dimei that he didn't speak.
"Shut up," He Yuan snapped, "If you're tired, then go to the carriage and rest."
Qin Bai Lu's expression changed as she coldly answered: "If that's the case, qie will leave first. Wang ye can do as he pleases." She really did abandon He Yuan to leave first, and didn't even care that He Heng was present.
Qu Qing Ju felt that Qin Bai Lu painted a gigantic black dot on the reputation of the Qin Family as an educated and noble family. And this stain couldn't be washed out, and couldn't be brushed off.
He Yuan's face was so dark, ink could be squeezed out of it. He managed to raise his hands to the two and state: "Er ge, er sao, you go first." He said to Qu Qing Ju, "Er sao, forgive me for the wife's ill manners, and for letting you see such a joke.
This wasn't the first time I've seen your embarrassments. Qu Qing Ju smiled calmly as she replied: "It might be that dimei isn't feeling well. San shu should go take a look. We don't live very far from here and can get back to the fu very quickly. You go first."
He Yuan nodded: "Goodbye."
Qu Qing Ju reached out to hug He Heng's arm, whispering in his ear: "Our san dimei's temper isn't soft at all."
He Heng smiled coldly, wrapping an arm around her waist to enter the carriage before declaring: "The Qin Family raised a good daughter!"
Qu Qing Ju listened to the tone of his voice and had the impression of it expressing "wait and see". She smiled, "Who cares whose daughter she is? It has nothing to do with us."
He Heng embraced the other in his arms, gently patting her back. A long time later, he stated: "Don't worry. In the future, no one would dare to be disrespectful to you."
The person in his embrace didn't speak. A beat later, he lowered his head to look but only saw the other's sleeping visage. He smiled helplessly. It seemed that today had exhausted her.
"Clang!" A blue-ink porcelain teapot smashed onto the floor. He Yuan angrily pointed at Qin Bai Lu, "Look at what you've done. How does it look like anything a proper lady would do? Even an uneducated shrew would be better. Ben wang gets angry just looking at you."
"Who do you not get angry looking at? Lu He in the Dong Yuan, Qing Liu or that whore in Xi Yuan?! The women of the Qu Family are all fox spirits but you men stop moving after taking a look … …"
He Yuan dealt a blow to Qin Bai Lu's face, making her stagger. He expressionlessly looked at Qin Bai Lu who was covering her face, "Before saying this, think of your position. If you feel that you can't stay in my Rui Wang Fu any longer, then get out and stay in your paternal home for the rest of your life. Don't come here to be an eyesore."
Qin Bai Lu covered her face. That slap had been extremely heavy. She still felt her ears ringing. She raised her head to look at He Yuan. From the other's handsome face, other than dislike for her, she couldn't see anything else. She looked dazedly at the man, her tears streaming.
"The Qin Family is an educated and noble family. Don't stain the Qin Family's reputation. My Da Long Dynasty has had wang ye in the past who'd divorced their wives. If you don't accept, you could try." He Yuan took out a handkerchief to wipe his hands in disgust. He turned and left the room, not looking once at Qin Bai Lu.
It didn't matter how noble the xiaojie of the Qin Family were. He was an imperial son, a wang ye. If she married him, she had to obey his rules. If she couldn't obey, then get out.
"Wang fei," Seeing that wang ye had left, the yahuan who served Qin Bai Lu hurriedly supported her to a seat. She got others to bring a towel and medicine, the zheng yuan quickly descended into chaos..
Qin Bai Lu was crying and laughing: "I can't even scold that Qu Family whore. Just a qieshi, but wang ye treats me like so for her. That whore has good tricks."
"Wang fei, why do this?" Ru Hua, one of the yahuan who was part of Qin Bai Lu's dowry, had reddened eyes as she helped put on medicine for Qin Bai Lu, "No matter how Qu shi is, she's just a qie. Why be hostile against wang ye for her?"
Qin Bai Lu woodenly looked at the darkness outside the door, "Come say, which part of Qu Qing Ju is stronger than me? Do men really place such importance on a woman's face?"
Ru Hua asked in confusion: "Wang fei, why are you mentioning Duan Wang Fei?"
"Why is it that I can't receive what she can get?" Qin Bai Lu still remembered the rumors before the marriage decree. At that time, there were people saying that the Emperor wanted to marry Qu Qing Ju to wang ye and her to Duan Wang. However, the decision had been changed at the last minute for some reason.
She had rejoiced that she was engaged to Rui Wang because Rui Wang was more favoured by the Emperor than Duan Wang. And two years ago, she'd seen Rui Wang in the palace once, she had silently given her heart away.
Ru Hua didn't understand why her wang fei would have that kind of idea. After she applied the medicine, she carefully said: "How Duan Wang Fei lives, only she knows. What we usually see might only be intentional. Wang fei, you have no need to compete with Duan Wang Fei. You have to know that, other than a face, she is less than you in every other aspect."
Qin Bai Lu listened to her words and suddenly laughed, "Yes, I want to see just how long she can be proud."
She wasn't living well and so she couldn't bear to see people who were lesser than her have better lives.