This chapter has been provided to you by me, ororomunroe90 and leecherleechleech.
I always get the perception that He Heng is such an awkward person with his feelings. Of course, it’s not his fault since this is his “first love” but he is so vague. It’s like “you know what I feel so I won’t say it but take my implicit promise and trust in what I haven’t actually said.” It might go against his entire personality, though, if he really did go out and proclaim it to the heavens.
Chapter Sixty Six Intentions?
Qu Qing Ju didn’t go to sleep when she entered the inner room. Instead she just picked up a book to read as she sat next to the window. When He Heng came in, she didn’t pay any attention to him, flipping the pages of the book in her hand.
Step by step, He Heng slowly made his way behind her. Looking at her book, he spoke: “This “Qian San Wanderings” isn’t as novel as “E Nuo [i] Biography”, you could change your reading choice.”
“What E Nou, E Nou? The saying is the “many graces of beautiful woman,” wang ye, what does this phrase mean?” Qu Qing Ju glanced at him, placing the book to one side, “I suppose wang ye prefers works like “Thousand Red Biography” and “Harmonious Spring Hall”.” Those two books were about men who had managed to receive the affections of several beautiful women.
“That’s totally untrue. With a beautiful wife, I don’t need those,” He Heng smiled as he semi-crouched in front of her, his slightly slanted eyes seemed especially focused, “Doesn’t Qing Ju already know what I think?”
Qu Qing Ju looked at this man crouched in front of her, her expression gradually calming. She moved her gaze slightly: “Doesn’t wang ye know how hard it is to guess the hearts of others? In this world, there is no one who can completely know the heart of another person.”
He Heng smiled and moved to grab a round stool to sit on. He wrapped Qu Qing Ju’s hand with his palm, “I don’t need a person to completely understand me, but I know you understand my intentions, understand what I want, and understand what kind of person I am. That’s enough.”
Qu Qing Ju felt, for the very first time, that this man in front of her was a teensy tiny bit pleasing to look at. She stared into his eyes for a beat before saying: “Wang ye, I am just a normal person. It’s not important what others say, what is important is what they do.”
“I understand,” He Heng stood, kissing the corner of her eye, “Those of the Imperial House think more than others from birth, but other than that, they aren’t that different from normal people.”
Qu Qing Ju looked deeply at him and smiled suddenly. She didn’t say whether she believed him or not. Instead, she stood up to walk to the bed and took out a pouch to give to He Heng. She pointed at his waist: “The one I sewed before is old now. Change it for this one.”
He Heng smiled as he took the pouch. Carefully switching the pouches, he grasped the old pouch in his hand. He stood and said: “Later, I have to go to si di’s fu. I’ll try to come back early tonight.”
Qu Qing Ju nodded. Gazing as he hurriedly walked out of the inner room, the expression on her face slowly disappeared. She stood and walked to the window. She saw that as He Heng walked into the yard, he put the old pouch into his chest pocket. She furrowed her brow, her eyes murky.
“Wang fei, wang ye treats you so well. When he left just now, he specifically ordered nubi to serve you well,” Yin Liu walked in from the outer room. She saw Qu Qing Ju standing in front of the window and asked: “The kitchen steward has just delivered the list, do you want to order?”
Qu Qing Ju turned to look at her. As she walked towards the bed, she took the menu from Yin Liu’s hand and randomly picked a few dishes based on the pleasing nature of their names, “Just these, let them pick the other fruits and refreshments.”
“Yes,” Yin Liu put the list away. Seeing wang fei’s expression was a bit strange, she asked, “Wang fei, what is it?”
Qu Qing Ju waved her hand: “Nothing, just a surprising little discovery.”
Yin Liu didn’t understand but couldn’t ask further, submissively retreating.
Qu Qing Ju sighed. The truth of the matter was that He Heng’s acting was already the epitome of perfection.
In Cheng Wang Fu, He Heng and He Ming faced each other. He Ming raised a wine cup: “Er ge, didi toasts you.”
He Heng raised the cup, tilting his head back to drink to the bottom. After putting down the wine cup, he asked: “I heard you sent away the two tongfang on the fu?”
Hearing this, He Ming smiled: “Even er ge knows.” Two days ago, he had sent away the tong fang in the fu. The outside was saying that even before he married his wang fei, he was already afraid of his wife. He hadn’t thought that this matter would pass into the ears of er ge, “I just wanted to live a calm life with a wang fei, treating her sincerely. By keeping those tongfang, except making wang fei uncomfortable, what other use is there?”
“Si di is attentive,” He thought back to the wedding night when Qu Qing Ju had married him. At that time, he felt the Qu Family was too bothersome, and that Qu Qing Ju was too weak and cowardly. His heart hadn’t felt at ease with her. The two had barely managed to live through the three days after the wedding. After she had returned to her paternal home, they hadn’t been together. Even though he had specially ordered the servants not to slight her, he also hadn’t had that much affection for her.
In his first impression, Qu Qing Ju, if her head wasn’t down, would have a wooden face and she didn’t talk. She wouldn’t say an extra word, wouldn’t wear an extra hair ornament. At the time, he sympathized with her for being beaten into that state by Chang De Gong Fu and felt that the days the two spent together were dull.
He didn’t know exactly when Qu Qing Ju became colourful and lively in his eyes. He gradually didn’t like going to the side rooms. Now that he’d heard He Ming’s words, he couldn’t help but nod: “If the two have good days, then these ce fei and concubines are just gilding the lily. Having or not doesn’t make that much of a difference.”
“Yu di knew er ge would definitely understand,” He Ming smiled, “It was because I saw your love for er sao, that didi made the decision to take this step.”
He Heng slightly stilled. Swirling the wine cup, he smiled and advised: “One’s wang fei, one naturally should love.” He raised the wine up, “Come, drink a cup.”
The slightly cold wine as it flowed into his stomach became a scorching hotness.
The night was as cold as water. He Heng quietly made his way to zhengyuan. He waved away the greeting bow of the yahuan standing guard and headed straight into the inner room. He saw Qu Qing Ju was wrapped up in her blankets, sleeping peacefully. After some thinking, he went out of the inner room, washed his hands and face before soaking his feet outside, and silently walked back in to undress before lying on the bed.
Qu Qing Ju, muddled, felt someone lying next to her and twisted her body. Her eyes didn’t even open: “Wang ye has just returned now?”
He Heng saw her dazed state and didn’t speak. Reaching out to pat her back: “Sleep.” As expected, the person beside him fell asleep again within a minute.
Qian Chang Xin and the others had retreated after serving wang ye. He walked with Ming He as they left zhengyuan before commenting in a small voice: “It’s so late yet wang ye is still thinking of wang fei. It can be seen just how much importance he places on wang fei.”
Ming He knew the hidden meaning in his words. He quietly replied: “In the fu now, the other ce shi basically can’t even enter wang ye’s eyes. Us brothers only have to serve wang ye and wang fei well.”
“Who knows what the future is like, walk a step and look a step. Regardless, we serve wang ye,” Qian Chang Xin put his hands behind his back, “We will respect whoever wang ye wants us to respect? We aren’t in control of anything else.”
Ming He smiled: “Gege is right.”
“What special occasion is it today, that it’s so lively?” Qu Qing Ju found that the streets were very busy, many people standing in the tea and restaurant towers. She was on her way home after visiting Jin An Princess. Who knew that she would encounter such a situation so she indicated for the sedan carriers to stop moving.
“Wang fei, today is the day for the top ranked advanced scholars[ii] to ride and parade on the street,” Huang Yang answered from outside the sedan, “Right now, they are walking towards here so it’s busier.”
Qu Qing Ju instantly understood. The top thesis author, the eyes positioned beside, and the flower snatcher[iii] were parading on the street. The culture of Da Long Dynasty was relatively liberal so there were many young women throwing handkerchiefs, pouches and flowers among other things towards the three males. Qu Qing Ju couldn’t see the people, but could see the objects flying in the air.
This road headed straight towards the Imperial Palace. After these three finished parading on the streets, they would have to participate in the Qiong Lin Banquet in the palace. He Heng would be appearing at the Jasper Forest Banquet [iv] as well.
After fifteen minutes, the crowds gradually thinned and Qu Qing Ju’s sedan continued forward. Sitting in the sedan, she heard a passer-by remarking about how the “flower snatcher” was so handsome and how scholarly the top thesis holder was. She couldn’t help but smile. It was lucky this era wasn’t ridiculous to the point where women couldn’t leave the house. Otherwise, it would have been terrible.
The culture of Da Long Dynasty was similar to the Tang and Song Dynasties of history. There were even some similarities in cultural habits. But the structure of government was a mishmash of different dynasties. It was slightly complicated but it meant that she wasn’t exactly in the dark. Qu Qing Ju’s knowledge gave her the motivation to keep on living.
The people on the side of the street found an eight-person sedan with qing luan ornaments, and pearl-encrusted dark yellow cloth and red heading their way. They all simultaneously moved out of the way. Other than the Imperial House, who else dared to sit in such a sedan?
“Mistress, there is an honoured person passing by, we have to move out of the way.” Qu Yue Su heard the words as she sat in the sedan. She asked, “Which fu?” As she spoke, she raised the curtain to look outside and saw an eight-person large sedan heading her way. She frowned, “Quick, move back.”
Feeling the sedan she was sitting on sway as it retreated a length, Qu Yue Su’s heart was bitter. Unless she could sit on the position of Empress or Dowager Empress in this lifetime, she would never be able to use red cloth.
After the procession of the eight-person sedan passed them by a certain distance, Qu Yue Su’s sedan was raised again. The taijian guarding the sedan outside said: “Mistress, this one saw that the person sitting in that sedan was most likely Duan Wang Fei.”
Duan Wang Fei? Qu Yue Su stilled, wasn’t that Qu Qing Ju?
Thinking about the other’s honors and her present situation, she gave a cold smile, “Alright, I know.”
The taijian who spoke heard the tone wasn’t right and jerked his mouth to one side as he lowered his head.
At Jasper Forest Banquet, the advanced scholars that qualified were all in a good mood. All those years of hard studying, wasn’t it just for this day?
Qing De Emperor only sat a while before leaving. The rest were being handled by the Ministry of Rites. Some advanced scholars were composing poems or getting to know each other, making the Jasper Forest Banquet very busy.
But there were many who were steady, who didn’t not casually speak nor show off. They didn’t excessively drink wine to prevent loss of composure after getting drunk.
He Heng sat on the first spot at the left side. Looking at the variety of people under him, there were so many students, but the ones who would be used would only be a select few.
That was the cruelty of politics.
[i]婀娜 (e nou) means a graceful bearing of a woman
[ii]进士: the highest degree achievable by scholars in Ancient China.
[iii]状元, 榜眼, 探花: top three performers in the Imperial Exam. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imperial_examination#Degree_types
[iv]琼林宴: A banquet hosted specifically for all new advanced scholars by the Royal Court