“Peerless”. *snort* No picture today. I have a very limited supply of those.
I love reading all of your thoughts and speculations about what’s happening. We have almost finished one sixth of the book. Yay!
Chapter 20 Peerless
For the first time, Qu Qing Ju focused on this yahuan called Ban Xia. Other than her dishevelled state, her appearance was rather pretty. Large eyes, curved brow. When she spoke, there were hints of two dimples on her cheek. She looked innocent and adorable. If it wasn`t that she personally had heard the brutality she exhibited when she had just spoke, Qu Qing Ju wouldn`t have believed that she would say those things.
“This garden has other people, what sort of conduct is yelling and screaming?” Mu Jin look coldly over the kneeling servants and then looked at Ban Xia, “Ban Xia guniang is very brazen, when was it that you could discuss the actions of wang ye and wang fei?”
When Ban Xia saw Qu Qing Ju, she had felt slightly afraid. But seeing Mu Jin’s proud posture and remembering when they had both been yahuan, Mu Jin had been proud because she had been most favoured by wang fei, she couldn’t bear it any more. She was just one yahuan of wang fei’s entourage, how dare she lecture others?
“It’s not meimei who is brazen, but Mu Jin jiejie who has become more bold,” Ban Xia pushed aside the tangle of hair by her face, “No wonder these lowly servants are rushing to fawn over you, it is really ‘one person achieves immortality, dogs and chickens fly to Heaven.’”
Hearing this, Qu Qing Ju raised an eyebrow. She held Jin Zhan’s hand to sit down at a nearby stone table. She didn’t want to start arguing with a tong fang.
“Ban Xia guniang’s mouth has become sharper, but this conduct is even more shameful,” Mu Jin wasn’t angry and smiled thinly, “Tong fang Ban Xia disregarded the rules of the fu, disobeyed her superiors, thirty slaps.”
When Mu Jin finished, one of the mamas that had been kneeling on the ground hurriedly stood and gushed: “Mu Jin guniang, please move back a few steps. Don’t let something dirty spill onto you.” Finishing, she turned and gave Ban Xia a slap on the face.
“Wang fei, you are evil, I … …”
Another yahuan quickly climbed up from the ground and stuffed a handkerchief into her mouth. She grabbed the tangle of hair to reveal Ban Xia’s entire face to ease the way for the mama’s blows.
Qu Qing Ju started at the patterns of the stone table with half-lidded eyes. She listened to the sound of flesh being hit and used a handkerchief to wipe her hands. She drawled: “You are just a tong fang but you are so arrogant. Where did you get the courage?” She raised her head and pierced Ban Xia with her gaze, “Or is it that my past leniency made you forget your bounds, to dismiss protocol to the point of carelessly discussing your superiors? You might not have been born to a rich family, but you were born to a clean one. To be this disrespectful, you shame your parents!”
Ban Xia’s mouth was stuffed but hearing Qu Qing Ju mention her family, she gave a muffled protest before quieting down.
“That’s enough. We don’t want to ruin a pretty face,” Qu Qing Ju took away her gaze. The slaps stopped, “Tong fang Ban Xia disobeyed her superiors. Her punishment is to work in the laundry rooms.” Stopping there, she looked at Ban Xia, “You don’t have to try to find wang ye, I will personally tell him about this.”
Mu Jin glanced at wang fei before turning to speak to the yahuan and mamsa: “Go help Ban Xia guniang pack her luggage and deliver her to the laundry room worker residence. Make sure not to burden Ban Xia guniang.”
“Don’t worry, Mu Jin guniang, we will take good care of Ban Xia gunaign,” The mama who had delivered the slaps said. After bowing to Qu Qing Ju with the rest, she dragged the still silenced Ban Xia away.
After the surroundings were clear, Jin Zhan worried started: “Wang fei, Ban Xia is a despicable person, she should be thrown out of the fu, why leave her untouched?”
Qu Qing Ju used her as support to stand: “What kind of place is the laundry room? Beautiful women require delicate care. In that kind of place, any beauty will be worn into plainness. Will wang ye have any desire for her when he sees her again? A woman who attracts a man at first glance has to become more and more beautiful, not uglier with time.” That was why the world had so many men who disliked their wife and favoured their concubines. Women needed to raise children and manage the household. They had to support the elders above them, handle the concubines in the middle and below them, they had to raise their own or other people’s children. When they were old and haggard in the end, the men will scorn them for not being desirable.
She couldn’t become that type of virtuous wife. Rather than satisfy a man that way, it was much better to satisfy herself instead.
“That’s so true. In the future when wang ye sees that hussy, he will only shun her and won’t remember the past,” Yin Liu ranted in a low voice, “For a traitor, this is letting her off easy!”
Mu Jin looked at the surroundings to confirm no one else had heard Yin Liu’s words before suggesting: “Wang fei, sitting in the shade for too long isn’t healthy. Why don’t we walk somewhere else?”
Qu Qing Ju nodded, “Jin Zhan, go ask if wang ye is busy right now. If not, I will go visit wang ye.”
Jin Zhan nodded and raced forward.
In another part of the garden, Jiang Yong Yu looked on in distain at Ban Xia who was being forcefully dragged out of the garden by the others. After they were long gone, she quietly spat: “Fool.”
The yahuan beside her crowed: “Zhuzi was right, this Ban Xia didn’t have many days left to swagger.”
Jiang Yong Yu looked at her: “From the moment she betrayed her mistress, this day was going to come. It isn’t that there aren’t servants in other fu like her, but none as impatient. It hasn’t been a month since wang fei married but she was already rushing to climb onto the bed. Receiving this outcome, it is only due to wang fei’s kindness. Ai Lu, you have to remember. In the future if you meet this kind of person, you have to stay far away. Those that betray their masters, they almost never have good endings.”
Ai Lu lowered her face and respectfully confirmed: “Zhuzi, don’t worry. Nubi will remember.”
Jiang Yong Yu saw her state and nodded in satisfaction. She smiled as she watched wang fei walk in the direction of wang ye’s study.
Wang fei Qu shi Qing Ju was an intelligent and rational woman. In her life, she never wanted to be on the bad side of this kind of woman. Since ce fei was already the highest she could ever achieve in this lifetime, it was better to follow this kind of person. At least her future days wouldn’t be as miserable as the arrogant Feng shi.
“Jiang Nan’s salt governance is getting even more complicated,” He Heng closed the report in his hands and ordered his subordinate standing by the desk, “Get somebody to keep a watch first. Both laoda and laosan’s men are in there. Let the two of them brawl it out. Ben wang doesn’t want to be the villain to disturb their enthusiasm.”
The person standing was one of He Heng’s retainers. His name was Wang Chang Ming. His appearance was unremarkable but he was very good at gathering information, his brain very agile so he was a frequent visitor in front of He Heng.
“Wang ye, this subordinate has also heard from Jiang Nan that Rui Wang’s people are putting out loans,” Wang Chang Ming furrowed his eyebrows as he reported, “But it is all under other people’s names so there isn’t any evidence that has been found right now.”
“Laosan always uses and eats the best. It’s natural for him to spend silver,” He Heng’s forefinger taped the desktop and he stated, “This matter, we won’t get involved in. His daily spending, the Emperor sees as well. The Emperor hasn’t spoken, so as his elder brother, ben wang can’t lecture him. Sometime in the future, find an opportunity to pass this into the ears of Ning Wang. It is said that the eldest brother is another father. For laoda to pick up this matter, it is the most appropriate.”
“Yes, wang ye is wise,” Wang Chang Ming agreed, “His Highness Ning Wang is of high authority and will teach His Highness Rui Wang well.”
The corners of He Heng’s lips curled in response. He raised his head to see Ming He come in with a tray. The mirth on his face became hidden: “What is it?”
“Wang ye, wang fei is outside. She said if you are not busy, she has a matter to discuss with you,” Ming He looked at Wang Chang Me standing to the side and lifted the tray in his hands higher, “Wang fei also said, if you are busy, you should drink some pigeon soup before working.”
He Heng’s expression softened slightly and motioned for Ming He to put down the tray. He ordered to Wang Chang Ming: “Retire for now.”
Wang Chang Ming bowed and left. Coming out the door, he buried his head even deeper. A close distance from the door, he saw a dress embroidered with clouds and a hint of the pearl-embroidered Yun brocade shoes peeking out. He smelt the floral scent emanating from the other, pushed his head deeper and sketched a bow before racing away.
Not looking at the black-clad man leaving, Qu Qing Ju saw Ming He come out to greet her and held Mu Jin’s hands to enter the study. Seeing He Heng sitting at the desk partaking in the soup, she smiled and went forward: “It is said that this soup is good for the brain. Wang ye is so busy everyday with government affairs, it’s beneficial to have some.
A few large mouthfuls were enough to finish the soup. He Heng took the handkerchief that Ming He presented to wipe his mouth. He stood to walk over to Qu Qing Ju and raised a hand to caress the hairpin in her hair: “If I eat this and that daily, after a few years, ben wang will be fat.”
Qu Qing Ju moved her body back and looked up and down his body: “It would be very hard for wang ye to get fat, but it would be great if you did get fat,” Her glance was tantalizing, “When wang ye becomes fat, there would be less beautiful women wanting to throw themselves at you. Has wang ye never heard about this, that if you like a person, you should use delicious food to fatten him up so nobody else will come to take him away.”
“So my Qing Ju actually has such nefarious thoughts,” He Heng laughed quietly and buried his face in Qu Qing Ju’s neck to take a breath, “But I do like hearing this. At least Qing Ju is thinking of me in her heart.”
Qu Qing Ju pulled on the jade belt at He Heng’s waist with one hand and buried her head at his neck. She laughed quietly and taunted: “But does wang ye’s heart have qie?”
Gradually enveloping the person in his grasp, He Heng turned to sit at the nearby chair and eased Qu Qing Ju to sit on his leg. His palm glided across the back before resting at the waist. He smiled and kissed the smooth cheek: “My heart, Qing Ju still can’t see?”
Qu Qing Ju blinked her eyes and drew circles with a hand on He Heng’s chest: “Qie’s eyes aren’t that wondrous, to be able to see wang ye’s heart through flesh and blood. How about wang ye let qie hear it.” Her head started to make its way to He Heng’s chest. She laughed inside. He wanted to play the romance card, was she a naïve teenager?
Ming He and Mu Jin saw the intimacy between the master and mistress and quietly retreated with the others. After the door was such, it was still possible to hear words and laughter from behind.
The two exchanged a glance and mutually retreated further.
The pair of Qu and He in the room wasn’t doing what the servants were thinking in terms of harmonious acts. After playing for a while, they supressed the fire that had rose.
He Heng wrapped an arm around Qu Qing Ju’s waist to let her sit more comfortably on his leg: “You say that the gift to fuhuang should be increased by two-tenths this year. This is appropriate, especially since I married this year. It didn’t matter what I had given in the past but in the future, I’m afraid I will have to trouble you.”
“It’s just an idea. If wang ye has no objections, I’ll let them prepare. The end of the year is approaching, it’s best to prepare early,” Qu Qing Ju smiled and leaned into He Heng’s embrace, “Wang ye trusting qie like this, it is qie’s good fortune.”
“Husband and wife are one, why does Qing Ju say that,” He Heng gently gathered the person he held closer, “Letting you take care of hou yuan, I have full faith in you.”
Qu Qing Ju smiled, “That’s great. If qie punishes somebody, wang ye can’t get angry.”
“Those people are just qieshi, they can’t be seen in public. Punish away, there won’t be any pity,” He Heng didn’t care and turned to say, “Qing Ju’s name, did it come from “Luo Shen Fu”, where ‘she wore shoes embroidered with delicate designs, what trailed behind was a garment as light as the mist?’”
Qu Qjing Ju laughed: “Qie had thought that the fact the Duke of Chang De using “Luo Shen Fu” to name his children had already spread through the city.” This wasn’t something to be proud of. A man using the content of a love letter to a woman to name children, that was romantic in novels, but among the nobility, that was a joke.
He Heng understood the meaning in her words and warmly comforted: “Qing Ju shouldn’t think so much. In my eyes, your name is peerless, and naturally you are too.”
Upon hearing this Qu Qing Ju couldn’t resist raising her head to gaze at He Heng, a smile blooming on her face.
Of course it’s peerless. In the aristocracy of the entire Da Long Dynasty, who would choose such a crass name? That’s what she thought inside.