Had it been any other normal day, everyone could’ve quietly taken their leave when the Emperor and his Consort were arguing to give them some privacy. But today, they were all stuck on this carriage and could only sit there uncomfortably during the whole exchange.
Unaware of their inner strife, Yuzhi went over to Xuan Ji’s side and gingerly said, “Sister-in-law, don’t be angry, aren’t you just missing a servant to wait on you? Consider this, once we get to our rest area, we can’t keep using ‘Your Majesty’ and ‘Your Highness’ to address Ninth Brother and you. You should be addressed as Young Master and Young Madam, so how about I be your servant instead, how about that?”
Though Xuan Ji was still mad, listening to Yuzhi’s sweet little voice, she couldn’t help but reach out her hand to pinch Yuzhi’s cheeks.
Xia Sang took a glance at the Emperor before agreeing with a smile, “Yes, what the Princess said is reasonable. On this trip, how should we go about addressing one another? Your Majesty, please give us your decision.”
Long Zijin chimed in and said, “Let’s go with Yuzhi’s idea. Ninth Brother shall be the eldest Young Master, Consort Nian shall be his wife, this prince shall be the second Young Master, Xia Sang the family servant(jia pu), Qing Feng the guard, and Yuzhi shall be demoted to a little servant girl(yatou) assigned to wait on the Madam.”
Xia Sang put on an aggrieved smile and said, “This slave(nu cai) shall obey. It seems Xia Sang will always be a slave no matter where I go.”
With a laugh, Yuzhi said, “Slave and servant girl, Little Sang’zi, Yuzhi will be a pair with you.”
Xia Sang looked at her but remained silent.
Yuzhi felt her chest tightening in that moment but she brushed it aside as she scratched her nose silently.
Qing Feng glanced at Long Zijin and said, “Second Young Master, I think you’d better be a family servant instead. If it’s just Xia Sang serving two masters by himself, wouldn’t our family look too poor?”
Long Zijin smilingly rebuked, “Aren’t there two servants out there leading the carriage?”
For a man of few words like Qing Feng who was always cold and aloof to also say something, Xuan Ji couldn’t help but burst out laughing.
Seeing Xuan Ji relax a bit, Yuzhi winked at Xia Sang and smiled.
Xia Sang gazed at her deeply and he couldn’t help but lightly smile back in return.
Xuan Ji shot Long Fei Li a resentful glare just as he turned towards her. As their eyes met, Long Fei Li calmly said, “Let’s just do that then.”
“I object!” Xuan Ji exclaimed.
Everyone had tried their best to lighten the mood and calm the Emperor down, what exactly was this great aunt(gu nai nai) trying to do now!?
Taken aback by Xuan Ji’s sudden outburst, everyone stared at her. Furrowing his brows, Xia Sang shot Xuan Ji a quick succession of winks to get the hint but she merely gave him an assured look before proceeding to say, “I won’t be a Madam, I’ll also be a servant girl.”
Everyone exchanged glances with one another when Xuan Ji continued to explain, “We’re all staying at an inn, right? If we were to go along with Yuzhi’s idea, it would not work out with the room arrangements. But if I become a servant girl too, it would solve the problem. The Eldest Young Master and Second Young Master will share a room, the family servant and guard will share one room, and the two servant girls will be in one room.”
In the end, what she really wanted was to not share a room with the Emperor.
So after Xuan Ji finished giving a ‘reasonable’ explanation with the room allocations, no one dared to meet the Emperor’s gaze. Yuzhi scooted away from Xuan Ji and went back to sit silently by Xia Sang’s side.
“Since there’s no objections, it’s decided then,” Xuan Ji said.
After a long silence, the Emperor’s light voice sounded. “Since Consort Nian wants to be a servant girl, I will allow it. As for the allocations of the rooms, I think Second Young Master and the guard shall share a room, the family servant and the willingly demoted servant girl shall share a room, and those remaining shall share a room. Well, are there any objections?”
“Your Majesty is wise.”
“Ninth Brother is wise.”
Speechless by what had just happened, Xuan Ji’s face was an expression of darkness.
The town of Taoyuan was a fairly large town in Taoyuan Prefecture. Lining the streets were a great number of restaurants and pavilions, bustling with people. At the hour of the monkey(3-5pm) while the sun was still shining faintly, a carriage entered the town through the main road.
Passing through Taoyuan, it would still be a long way before they reach the next town. Moreover, they would have to travel across the long mountain roads amidst the dense mountain forests. Though it was still fairly early now, if they were to keep traveling, they would have to stop for the night in the middle of woods to rest. So it was better to find a place to stay for the night in this town.
Before setting off on this journey, Long Fei Li had already discussed the details of the trip with Xia Sang and made an itinerary, including which town they would stop at and which inn they would rest in.
Their carriage which had been traveling steadily along the road suddenly came to stop. The noise outside drew Yuzhi’s curiosity and she lifted the carriage curtain to peer outside. Along the streets, a great number of people were rushing forward as if in a rush to see something exciting.
Xia Sang said, “Young Masters, Madam, this servant shall go take a look outside.”
With the huge crowd of people along the streets, the carriage could not pass through and could only stop in its tracks. Seeing the excitement in Yuzhi’s eyes, Xuan Ji grew curious and took a look outside.
Very quickly, Xia Sang had returned and enthusiastically reported, “In this town, the wealthy Lord(laoye) Yu’s ninth daughter is currently about to toss an embroidered ball to choose a husband. Any unmarried man between the ages of 20 to 40 years old can attend; his family background is of no regards. Everyone in town is going to see the exciting event. ” Xia Sang then furrowed his brows and added, “But there’s something strange.”
“What?” Yuzhi asked curiously.
“Within 2 months, this Lord Yu has chosen nine son-in-laws.”
“Ninth daughter? That’s to say he has nine daughters?” Xuan Ji asked puzzledly, “Did he marry off his eight daughters in the same way?”
Apart from Long Fei Li’s usual stoic expression, both Long Zijin and Qing Feng’s face were piqued with interest. Long Zijin also questioned in wonder, “He married off his other eight daughters with this method?”
Xia Sang nodded, “Supposedly, it’s a local custom from his hometown. Lord Yu has only just arrived at Taoyuan two or three months ago.”
With a frown, Qing Feng said, “That’s even more odd. Even if it’s a local custom, to have married off eight daughters in just two months, it seems a bit too rushed.”
“Maybe his daughters are all ugly?” Long Zijin laughingly said.
Xuan Ji had been gripped by the fascinating story when Long Fei Li’s calm voice faintly sounded behind her.
Everyone turned to look at him.
Yuzhi couldn’t help but asked, “Ninth brother, how do you know?”
Long Fei Li lifted his brow slightly and said, “If they’re all ugly, he wouldn’t have been able to marry them all off in such a short time. Moreover, this is the ninth time but there are still crowds of people flocking the streets to go watch.”
Xia Sang nodded and said, “It’s as Young Master said. The first time the embroidered ball was thrown to choose a husband, it’s said that the eldest daughter stood on the balcony, took off her veil and left the crowd speechless by her beauty. This slave had asked a few people and they said her beauty paralleled that of an immortal. The eldest daughter at that time had even said her younger sisters were even more beautiful than she was, that the younger they were, the more beautiful they were.”
“But later on when the rest of the ladies chose their husbands, they all wore a veil. But judging from their figures, complexion, and eyes, everyone felt they indeed looked more beautiful than the eldest daughter. But no one knew for sure what they looked like. These young ladies had all remained in the closed quarters of their homes before they married off,” Xia Sang said.
Long Zijin frowned slightly. “That’s really strange. Besides the eldest daughter, the other seven daughters have also been married off yet no one in Taoyuan has seen what they look like other than Lord Yu?”
Xia Sang’s expression coagulated, “This slave also feels it’s quite suspicious. When the seven ladies got married, they left with their husbands that very night. They said that they were in a hurry to take their new husband back to their hometown but it seems quite rushed.”
The more Xuan Ji listened, the more she felt that it was strange and said in a low voice, “Hearing you say that, the marriage doesn’t sound like a happy occasion. Instead it sounds like Lord Yu is sending his daughters off somewhere, as if to avoid some disaster.”
Qing Feng glanced at Xuan Ji and said, “Xia Sang, go on.”
At this time, Long Fei Li questioned, “Why have only seven brought their husbands back to their hometown? What about the other one?”
Smiling, Xia Sang said, “Young Master is wise. The eighth young lady has just chosen her husband a few days ago and he’s still at the residence. The ninth young lady was about to get married soon so the eighth young lady wanted to wait for the ninth young lady so that they can return to their hometown together.”
Long Fei Li’s eyes flickered with light as a ghost of a smile appeared on his lips.
“Interesting, they left their hometown to settle down at Taoyuan yet in the span of 2 months, 8 daughters had been married off. And right after the marriage, they all anxiously returned to their hometown to see their family. This Yu family is quite interesting indeed.”
Listening to Long Fei Li, everyone was suddenly clear what was so strange. The main issue wasn’t the appearance of the rest of the young ladies but that they were all rushing back to their hometowns just as Xuan Ji had said…..as if trying to avoid something.
Yuzhi excitedly clapped her hands and said, “Let’s go and have a look.”
“No,” Long Fei Li blatantly refuted.
Dismayed, Yuzhi turned towards Long Zijin for help but saw him with his gaze lowered as he shot a look towards Xuan Ji. Yuzhi suddenly came to an understanding and also glanced towards Xuan Ji.
At this point, Xuan Ji was annoyed and stared back at Yuzhi as if asking ‘what are you looking at me for?’
The corners of Xia Sang’s lips raised as he said, “Young Master, I’ll go out and wait for your instructions.”
“This small servant girl shall go too,” Yuzhi quickly chimed in.
In the twinkling of an eye, the Second Young Master, guard, family servant and servant girl had all gotten off the carriage, leaving only Xuan Ji and Long Fei Li behind. Xuan Ji was left speechless by their actions and silently cursed them. They clearly all wanted to go watch, so why must she be the one to speak up? Moreover, it was Long Fei Li’s fault in the first place that Cui Ya was left behind in the palace.
But Xuan Ji really wanted to go so she silently glanced at the Emperor’s stoic face. His eyes were slightly shut as if he was resting.
“Long Fei Li,” she called as she used her foot to kick his boots.
Long Fei Li slowly opened his dark, phoenix eyes.
Xuan Ji glared at him for a long time before finally spouting out the four words, “Can we go see?”
“No.” Long Fei Li answered, his tone resolute and unyielding.
As she stared at the Emperor’s dark eyes, Xuan Ji was suddenly taken aback when she realized she had pulled at his sleeve. Very quickly her face flushed red and she moved to withdraw her hand but Long Fei Li was a step faster and had grabbed her hand.
In an instant, her delicate hand was neatly wrapped in the palm of his.
She bit her lip, feeling at a loss. After a while, she said anxiously, “What exactly do you want for you to agree?”
Long Fei Li glanced at her calmly and said, “You seem to have an issue with the way I’ve allocated the rooms.”
How could Xuan Ji not understood what he meant. Gritting her teeth, she said, “The room…. those remaining shall share a room.”
Returning to the carriage, everyone was in high spirits. Xuan Ji and Yuzhi had changed into menswear for convenience.
Long Fei Li slanted his eyes and gave a signal which the two purple guards immediately understood. They quickly blended in with the crowd and went to inform the rest of the purple guards in Taoyuan to be vigilant and make sure to secure everyone’s safety.
Not far ahead was the pavilion where the event was to take place. They had arrived right on time as it hadn’t begun yet. The streets were filled with people, some of the shops along the way had already closed down, the owners too heading towards the pavilion to attend the event.
Looking around at this familiar trope of a scene, Xuan Ji couldn’t help but be reminded of that time when she watched ‘My Fair Princess’. It was just like this! Xuan Ji found it funny yet exciting at the same time. Wanting to make trouble for Long Fei Li, she pulled at Yuzhi and whispered a few words in her ear.
As someone who was unafraid of causing trouble, Yuzhi’s eyes immediately brightened.
Together, they held hands and quickly made a run for it.
A few men quickly followed behind them.
As they reached the pavilion, Xuan Ji and Yuzhi laughed merrily in delight. Not long after, a loud voice shouted from the crowd.
“The ninth young lady is here!”
Happy Sunday everyone! I know it’s been a while since I’ve uploaded a chapter, last month I was just super busy with classes and I had gotten two part-time jobs as well so I honestly didn’t have much spare time. Also we’re currently at a part of the story where I’m not super interested in translating so it’s taking me a while to get through it. But the interesting parts are coming up soon so that’s what I keep thinking of to keep pushing through. Thank you to all that are still sticking with me even though I’m such a slowpoke >.<