Two figures in brilliant yellow slowly approached, followed by an entourage of palace maidservants. At this sight, the various court officials and imperial concubines quickly left their seats and knelt down to pay respects. Along with Huangfu Wu Shuang, Hua Zhu Yu also knelt down on the red carpet. From the corner of her eye, she noticed that Xiao Yin and Dou Qian Jin didn’t kneel, merely slightly lowering their figures to pay respects. However, at the present moment when everyone was kneeling, Xiao Yin’s gaze presumptuously landed on her.
Hua Zhu Yu found it strange. What was pretty about her back? Fortunately, her identity was merely that of an eunuch, so others wouldn’t put it to heart. If she was a palace maidservant, people would definitely presume that Xiao Yin was interested in her. But at the present situation, people will be under the impression that he was watching Huangfu Wu Shuang, after all, they were the heirs apparent to the thrones of their respective kingdoms, if they paid a bit of attention to one another, no one would be suspicious.
“Everyone may rise!” The emperor’s imposing voice transmitted over.
Along with Huangfu Wu Shuang, Hua Zhu Yu stood up and indifferently took a quick glance. When she saw that Xiao Yin’s eyes were on the Emperor, the heavy pressure of having someone stare at you finally disappeared and she could at last relax as she let out a breath.
But just as she was about to relax when the gaze on her back disappeared, she felt another burning gaze on her. Angered, Hua Zhu Yu turned around to shoot a glare at Xiao Yin. Why don’t you know how to be discreet?
But her glare was met with a pair of deep, bottomless eyes, not of deep purple, but rather a pair of clear water-like eyes, extremely beautiful, like two clear deep bodies of water during late autumn. Though the distance between them were quite far, Hua Zhu Yu felt like she could see herself reflected from those two deep bodies of water.
Hua Zhu Yu was infuriated.
At the moment, Xiao Yin and Dou Qian Jin were exchanging conventional greetings with the Emperor and the person who was watching her was Ji Feng Li.
How could she forget that Ji Feng Li accompanied Xiao Yin, it’s just that she didn’t expect this fellow Ji Feng Li to also dare take a peak at her!
But she did not regret shooting him a glare. Her jade-like face turned solemn as her phoenix eyes narrowed, coldly gazing at him disdainfully out of the corner of her eye. Between her and Ji Feng Li, she didn’t have to keep up a pretense, for the grudge between them has long been set.
Ji Feng Li gave a start.
He didn’t expect that his careless glance at ‘his’ direction would be caught by ‘him’. Furthermore, ‘he’ even shot him a glare like ‘he’ wanted to skin him alive. Thinking back to that night when ‘he’ had already seen his stark body, he felt he no longer had to keep up a formality. Then again, aren’t they both male. Or does ‘he’ think ‘he’s’ a woman and won’t allow any man to look at ‘him’?! But there must be some demon at work, why else would he go look at a broken-sleeved little eunuch.
Seeing Ji Feng Li’s gaze elsewhere, Hua Zhu Yu’s attention shifted towards the Emperor and Empress. She had met this Long Yan Emperor once and he was still as solemn as before, just when he was speaking with Xiao Yin and Dou Qian Jin, there was a faint smile on his lips.
On the other hand, this was Hua Zhu Yu’s first time seeing Empress Nie. Ever since she entered the palace she had not seen this Empress even once. According to Huangfu Wu Shuang, his Imperial Mother is always at the Palace Buddhist Temple and has exempted him from coming to pay respects every day. She hardly ever attended any banquets so her appearance at the banquet today was quite odd.
Empress Nie was very beautiful. She should be reaching almost 40 years old yet she still looks like she’s in her early thirties which goes to show she takes care of herself well. Hua Zhu Yu always thought that the empress, the mother of all the land under heaven, ought to be an outstanding beauty, dignified as a peony. However, Empress Nie was not. Her whole being exuded indifference; her face was cold, like a water color painting, very beautiful and elegant yet also very apathetic. Only when she was looking at her young daughter, Huangfu Yan, would the corners of her lips lift in a pampering smile.
The third princess Huangfu Yan was sitting next to Empress Nie. Today she was dressed up extravagantly in a light yellow embroidered dress that trailed on the ground like the wisps of smoke and fog, enhancing her beauty and accentuating her slender waist. Her dark hair was combed into a Fei Yue bun, adorned with a golden dangling hairpin that was gorgeous and refined.
Huangfu Wu Shuang also looked at them, his eyes congealed as he clenched the wine cup and drained it in one gulp. Deep in the depths of his eyes was a hint of desolation.
It seems Huangfu Wu Shuang’s temperament wasn’t the result of being a spoiled child but rather the outcome of other’s neglect. Truly a pitiful child, even more pitiful than her. Her mother passed away when she was quite young, but fortunately she still had her father’s and grandmother’s love, though at times her father was quite strict.
Hua Zhu Yu faintly sighed.
The banquet commenced.
The sounds of knocking wine cups constantly rang out.
With the wine drunk, the singing and dancing performances began.
Dressed in white muslin long- sleeved attires, the numerous palace female dancers smiled all the while lithely dancing. The singing voices resonated within Bai Hua Yuan with the melodic tunes of the instruments. Accompanied with fine wine and beauties, it was an extremely lavish sight, exceedingly romantic.
This splendid performance was originally intended for Xiao Yin and Dou Qian Jin. The Southern Emperor and court officials have seen such performances many times already.
But it seems Xiao Yin did not have much interest in such a performance, he tiredly leaned back against his chair, crossed his legs, exuding an unrestrained manner that was hard to describe. One hand tightly grasped a white jade porcelain wine cup while the other hand rested on his chin. Half of his long dark mane was scattered behind his back while those pair of purple eyes that were rarely seen in Southern Kingdom were half opened, like a tired ferocious lion.
As for Dou Qian Jin, on the surface he appeared to be quite captivated but in the depths of those pair of peach blossom eyes was an evident trace of impatience.
When the various court officials saw Xiao Yin’s and Dou Qian Jin’s expression, they all slightly knitted their brows.
Once the singing and dancing performance came to an end, the Emperor smiling asked, “Crown Prince Xiao, what did you think of the performance?”
Xiao Yin slightly shifted in his seat and with a smile, said, “Not bad. That’s right Your Majesty, this crown prince remembers your Southern Kingdom has a number one talented female named Wen Wan. Before, Imperial Uncle Xian Wang came to bring her back for the marriage alliance but don’t know why it changed to Miss Hua. Don’t know if Miss Wen has married yet?”
In the end he still wants to make trouble ah!
Though this matter has already passed, the woman one chose was exchanged to someone else, how can one be without judgement.
Hearing this, the Emperor couldn’t help but become angry while Imperial Tutor Wen’s complexion turned dark. Sitting with the other females, Wen Wan deliberately dressed very plainly today and constantly had her head lowered during the banquet but she did not expect to still be mentioned by Xiao Yin. Her complexion turned pale as snow.
With a solemn expression, the Emperor said, “ Miss Wen Wan original has a weak constitution, when Crown Prince Xiao chose her, she was severely ill and couldn’t go through with the marriage. Zhen allowed Miss Hua to marry in her place, unfortunately, the heavens envy a beautiful woman and Miss Hua was harmed by bandits. The marriage was not followed through, if Crown Prince Xiao still fancies her, Zhen will definitely permit her to marry to the Northern Kingdom.”
If it weren’t for the fact that this was a banquet, Hua Zhu Yu really wanted to laugh out loud.
What ‘she was seriously ill so she could not marry.’ So even the Emperor knew how to lie. ‘Heavens envy a beautiful woman,’ ‘harmed by bandits’, so it appears in this world there are people who would even call themselves bandits. Clearly it was him who ordered people to harm her to set the stage for war with Northern Kingdom, yet the words he spoke could be so gentle, never mentioning of Northern Kingdom harming the princess that was married off, but turned it into being harmed by bandits.
That war was enough for Southern Kingdom to understand Northern Kingdom’s strength, no longer daring to underestimate Northern Kingdom. Now this old Emperor wants a marriage alliance with Northern Kingdom. Don’t know which family’s young miss is out of luck ah!?
Xiao Yin slapped his left knee and said, “Many thanks for Your Majesty’s good intentions. This Crown Prince merely wants to take a look at Miss Wen. Heard that the left Chancellor disregarded his first wife for her, even His Highness Huangfu has feelings for her. Don’t know what kind of heavenly beauty she is?”
Xiao Yin casually swept his gaze across Huangfu Wu Shuang’s and Ji Feng Li’s face before naturally smiling. He heard quite a few things and conveniently mentioned them at this crowded place.
Ji Feng Li’s complexion slightly darkened, but on his lips was still that faint smile as before. Only his eyes were slightly callous, unimaginably deep. His voice was light as the spring breeze as he bluntly said, “Didn’t think Crown Prince Xiao was so well informed of Southern Kingdoms’ affairs.”
“This crown prince merely heard of the rumors, if I’ve offended you, hope Chancellor Ji is generous to pardon the offence,” Xiao Yin said with a smile.
“If Crown Prince Xiao wants to see Miss Wen, that’s easy. His Majesty instructs Miss Wen to play a piece for Crown Prince Xiao!” Chang gong gong raised his voice and announced.
There was nothing Wen Wan could do but stand and approach the guqin. Her ten jade-like fingers floated across the strings and began to play.
She wore a plain thin silk dress, embroidered with a large peony, enhancing her beauty and nobility. The hands upon the strings were clear as moonlight, tender and delicate.
The sound of the qin rose ambiguously, sometimes present, other times indistinct like a gust of wind scattering the petals in the air. But it was extremely pleasant to hear, a unique tune that left listeners intoxicated.
Wen Wan was worthy of her number one talented female title, whether it was painting, playing qin, singing or dancing, she could do everything well.
The song came to an end and Wen Wan slowly lifted up her face to display her pair of clear eyes and vermilion lips, a beautiful sight indeed. She gently smiled softly, evoking pity from others with just a glance.
Those pair of deep purple eyes of Xiao Yin’s carried a coldness as they swept across Wen Wan’s face. His expression was still as before, unreadable. It was as though even the number one talented female wasn’t able to even attract his slightest interest.
The Emperor knitted his brows as he felt ill at ease.
In regards to Wen Wan’s guqin’s skills, it was not necessarily better than Huangfu Yan, merely at the present situation, the Emperor did not have the heart to push his treasured princess to the forefront. The Emperor feared she would catch Xiao Yin’s fancy who would then request an immediate marriage which would be huge trouble. No matter what, Wen Wan was a xiu nu( refined female) , even if Xiao Yin chooses her again, there were still grounds to refuse.
Wen Wan paid her respects to the Emperor and Empress, after which she faintly glanced at Xiao Yin before slowly stepping down. On the other hand, Huangfu Wu Shuang placed his wine cup down and raised his voice to exclaim, “Good.”
One after the other, appauses rang out.
Huangfu Wu Shuang slowly stood, facing the Emperor he said, “Imperial Father, in Er Chen’s Eastern Palace there is a little eunuch that is particularly good at sword dance. Perhaps Imperial Father can allow him perform once for entertainment.”
The Emperor’s eyes were full of mirth as his gaze swept across his court officials, Xiao Yin and Dou Qian Jin, and said, “Sword dance is also a type of dance of my Southern Kingdom, the military commanders perform such dance very well but their movements are too burly, can only let a little eunuch try to imitate the dance which unexpectedly was very suitable. Hope it will provide some entertainment for Crown Prince Xiao!”
Hua Zhu Yu lowered her head and listened, feeling everything was quite laughable. Alright, let the face of Southern Kingdom all rest on the little eunuch that is her. But the sword dance that she worked hard to create has become a practice that every Southern Kingdom person knows, not only that, it was her that has imitating them!
It turns out as long as one was able to keep his face, one could spout all types of nonsense!
Hua Zhu Yu was led by another eunuch to go change into a moon white gown that was looser than her usual eunuch attire, making it more suitable to perform the dance in. Her dark hair was fixed into a high bun with a hairband of the same color. Her whole being appeared peerlessly elegant.
“Ji aiqing, zhen heard your flute skills aren’t bad, how about playing an accompanying piece for the dance?” the Emperor sipped his win and slowly said.
Hey everyone! Sorry for the less frequent updates this month, I’ve just been super busy and tired from work. My workplace made me train at a different position which is so much more tedious than my old one. I could always get off work early at my old position but not at this one unfortunately, anyways I really want to release more frequently since it’s finally picking up after a few filler chapters but I’ve just been tired and my translation pace is pretty slow and the chapters have gotten quite longer. I’m curious though, do you guys prefer the full translation or would an abridged one be fine?