All the Imperial concubines in the harem had already been tossed to the point of death by the scriptures before the decree left TaiYang Palace.
“Five days, Su-shi made Ben Gong copy the scriptures for five whole days!” Ning Fei looked at the scriptures on the table with bloodshot eyes.
At present, all she wanted was to tear all these scriptures to shreds.
But, thinking of Su-shi’s methods of tormenting people, she forcibly restrained herself.
“Niangniang.” The palace maid who witnessed the scene shrank her neck and stammered, “MingYue Palace’s Su Guifei sent someone to inform… to inform…”
“To inform what” Ning Fei was seething with rage.
She clasped her hands tightly over the table: “Speak!”
“Su Guifei said that in order to show appreciation for the compassionate hearts of all the niangniangs, she will let you all continue… continue copying the scriptures tomorrow.”
“Su MeiDai!” Ning Fei finally couldn’t bear it anymore.
She raised her hands and swept all the scriptures to the ground: “The slut is really bullying too much!”
“Please quell your anger, niangniang.” A female official stooped and picked up the scriptures strewn on the floor: “Su-shi is deeply favored by His Majesty, so you have to endure.
Since ancient times, which wicked concubine didn’t enjoy immense glory before finally coming to a miserable end You still have His Highness Qi Wang.
His Highness is handsome and has a good temperament; no court official doesn’t praise him.
So long as niangniang stays calm, everything will get better.”
“The LingZhou delegation that time… “
“Niangniang!” The female official put the scriptures on the table: “You forgot that when you were sick eight years ago, His Highness stayed in the Palace to serve you out of filial piety.
You and His Highness did not accompany the others for the journey.”
“You are right.” Ning Fei gently smoothed out the wrinkled corners of the scriptures, her voice soft: “My son is thoughtful and filial.
How can he even be compared to that good-for-nothing Chen Wang”
In the MingYue Palace, Su Guifei flipped through the data sent by the Dali Temple.
She snorted lightly, not expressing her opinion: “An Imperial concubine, who was not favored by the late Emperor, went to such great lengths to bribe a palace maid of MingYue Palace and incite disharmony between Ben Gong and JiuZhu with an embroidered picture.
What did she seek by doing this”
If she had such great ability, she would have won the late Emperor’s favor long ago.
Why would she still be just a low-level Baolin1 when he died
“Ben Gong doesn’t care who is the mastermind behind this incident.
Until Ben Gong is satisfied, they will continue to copy the scriptures.” Throwing the documents on the table, Su Guifei closed her beautiful eyes lazily: “Once the evil intentions in their hearts are transformed by the scriptures, they will not have much energy to play these small tricks in the dark.”
“The people harboring dreadful motives wanted to drive a wedge between niangniang and Ming guniang, but they didn’t expect Ming guniang to be so smart and discerning.
Not only did her actions expose their conspiracy, but they also made the other side lose a lot of spies.” XiangJuan smiled: “Even this slave did not expect that Ming guniang would pretend to agree to the other side, and then discreetly inform this slave.”
“It shows that in her heart, she regards Ben Gong as a trustworthy person.” Su Guifei knew very well that if any other young lady from those noble families encountered this matter, most of them would choose to tactfully decline, or perhaps remind her vaguely in a way that was the safest for them.
In this way, they could protect themselves to the maximum extent and avoid being involved in the schemes of the Imperial harem.
In fact, that was indeed the most appropriate and perfect solution.
But sometimes, the most heart-touching thing was precisely this sort of unreserved imperfections.
“Ai.” Su Guifei suddenly sighed: “XiangJuan, if the Ming family has complaints regarding this marriage, and JiuZhu is caught between my son and her family, wouldn’t she find things difficult”
XiangJuan was speechless.
Niangniang, Ming guniang and His Highness are yet to marry.
You’re thinking a long way ahead.
“Oh, that’s right. Niangniang, a small incident concerning Ming guniang happened the day before yesterday.” XiangJuan said: “The Old Madam of Marquis PingYuan’s residence was returning with the women of their family when she encountered Ming guniang’s carriage.
Without even saying a word of greeting, she just waited for Ming guniang’s carriage to give way for hers.
Only when Qi Wang happened to appear there too, the Old Madam greeted Ming guniang and let her leave first.”
“Does that group of pretentious women from Marquis PingYuan’s mansion think that they deserve Ben Gong’s daughter-in-law’s concession!” Su Guifei opened her eyes, “Does Ben Gong need to give them face”
XiangJuan reminded in a low voice, “Niangniang, Ming guniang is not yet married to His Highness.”
“So what if she hasn’t married yet Were Ben Gong’s actions not clear enough that day” Su Guifei sneered: “Summon Marchioness PingYuan.
There are rumors that their family is extravagant and doesn’t discipline the servants for their wild talks. Ben Gong wants to know how PingYuan residence is managed.”
Since they dare to embarrass her future daughter-in-law in the middle of the street, they shouldn’t blame her for hitting them in the face.
When it came to taking advantage of one’s position to bully others, she was still quite competent.
Shen-shi walked into her daughter’s courtyard and saw the latter sitting under a tree, bending over to paint something.
“Mother.” JiuZhu had sharp ears and keen eyes.
As soon as Shen-shi passed the gate of the courtyard, she heard the sound of her footsteps.
She put down her painting brush and looked at the gate: “Do you want to say something to daughter”
Usually, her mother would never come to bother her when she was painting.
“The Ministry of Rites sent someone to notify that a decree will be coming in a while.
You should go and change your clothes so as not to appear negligent.” Shen-shi walked over to her daughter’s side, peeked at the painting of a damaged lotus with withered leaves, and moved her gaze away calmly: “I also have no idea what the decree is about.”
Nevertheless, it didn’t seem to be a trivial matter.
Could it… have something to do with the wedding date of her daughter and His Highness
“Daughter will go right away.” JiuZhu asked Shen-shi: “Mother, what do you think of this painting ‘Koi Playing by Lotus’ done by daughter Is it good”
This question made Shen-shi recall the memories from about twenty years ago.
Soon after she met her husband, he acted like this too.
He would hold such an unfathomable painting and ask her confidently whether the painting he specially made for her was to her liking or not.
If it weren’t for his good looks and his pleasant voice, she would have really liked to ask him a question, “What kind of thing did you draw”
However, she could only blame his incredibly affectionate eyes that made her lie against her will.
So many years later, she still couldn’t escape the fate of lying when facing a pair of affectionate eyes although her husband had long come to terms with the reality of his painting ability.
“The artistic conception is extraordinary.
The brushstrokes are also fascinating.
It is very good.”
When a mother praised her daughter, how could it be considered lying Those were just words spoken out of love.
“Daughter feels relieved to hear Mother say so.” JiuZhu hung the painting: “When the painting is completed, I will send it to His Highness Chen Wang.”
Although it was said that His Highness Chen Wang wasn’t fond of literature and paintings, he should still have the ability to appreciate normal paintings.
If this painting was sent to Chen Wang’s residence, would he think that her daughter was deliberately humiliating him
“I can’t” Noting her mother’s silence, JiuZhu’s eyes gradually dimmed.
“Of course you can.” Shen-shi said, “It’s just that daughter’s artworks are very precious.
You can’t easily show it to others.”
“Please don’t worry, Mother.” JiuZhu beamed with happiness: “Besides our own people, daughter will not show it to anyone.”
Shen-shi tried hard to pull the corners of her mouth into a smile.
She really hoped that Chen Wang can coax JiuZhu to be happy like she coaxed her husband back then.
In the third quarter of the hour of weishi2, Li En, the Minister of Rites, stepped into Assistant Minister Ming’s residence with the Imperial edict.
Accompanying him were the Guards of Honor wearing golden armors.
“Brother Ming.” Li En looked at the splendidly dressed Ming JingZhou and his whole family, who were standing at the entrance.
He smiled: “With His Majesty’s permission, I have come here to announce the Imperial decree today.
Assistant Minister Ming, pay heed.”
“Long live His Majesty!” Baffled, Ming JingZhou looked at the golden armored guards behind Li En.
Why did His Majesty also send the Guards of Honor
“…faithful to the monarch and loves his country, with heartfelt care for the common people…”
“Zhen feels that Official Ming is loyal and dependable, so he will be bestowed the position of a count and the title of NingKang.”
Ming JingZhou knelt on the ground in a daze, unable to believe his ears.
His Majesty actually gave him a title
Which distinguished official and general did not yearn for a title so that he could be honored at the ancestral shrine even after death Yet, the past emperors of Da Cheng never conferred a title upon the officials easily, making each such title particularly rare.
Even if the Ming family has two zhuangyuans and one tanhua, they didn’t dare to dream about being conferred a title.
But now, they effortlessly received it
JiuZhu peeked at Ming JingZhou while kneeling on the ground.
Her father had always been graceful, knew when to advance and retreat, and never revealed his actual feelings on his face.
But now that he had an expression of alarm mixed with delight, she was a little curious as to how incredible this title was.
“Congratulations, Count NingKang.” Li En handed the Imperial edict to Ming JingZhou, with distress and concern in his eyes.
The two of them were both friends and coworkers.
He naturally understood the reason behind His Majesty bestowing this title upon Ming JingZhou.
“His Highness Chen Wang and your honored daughter’s wedding date has been set.” Li En supported the still-kneeling Ming JingZhou up from the ground: “The second day of the second lunar month of next year after the beginning of spring.”
The second day of the second lunar month…
Ming JingZhou suddenly turned his head and looked at his daughter kneeling on the ground and muttered, “The second day of the second lunar month…”
“Father.” JiuZhu helped Shen-shi get up, and blinked at Ming JingZhou, discreetly reminding him that he hadn’t thanked the Emperor yet.
“Weichen thanks Your Majesty for your profound affection.” Ming JingZhou knelt in the direction of the Palace with the Imperial edict clasped in his hands: “As your subject, this official will offer his life to repay Your Majesty’s kindness.”
Tightly clasping the decree more valuable than even a thousand jin of gold, he knocked his head on the ground.
“Father.” JiuZhu assisted Ming JingZhou up, her young and tender hand that aided him was soft but powerful.
Glancing at his daughter’s still naive face, Ming JingZhou got up and sent Li En and the guards off.
Then, he sat in front of JiuZhu: “JiuZhu, do you like Chen Wang”
His Highness Chen Wang was kindhearted, and Su Guifei niangniang was considerate.
She liked them very much.
“Father understands.” Ming JingZhou was silent for a long time: “You are the precious pearl of our Ming family.
Your Mother and I will never let you feel wronged.”
“Daughter knows.” JiuZhu hugged Shen-shi by her arm: “You are the best daddy and mommy3 in the world.”
She was lost for so long and such a great distance away.
But they remembered her and looked for her.
They never gave up or forgot her.
It was already winter.
On a foggy morning, Chen Wang sat in the carriage with an apathetic face, leaning against the soft cushions.
The sound of the horses’ hooves could not surpass his inner exhaustion.
Even he himself didn’t want to believe that he woke up this early in the morning just to go to the Ministry of Rites and learn how to handle matters.
“Your Highness.” The carriage stopped as his chief attendant reported from outside in a low voice: “Someone is blocking the carriage’s path ahead.”
Chen Wang lifted the curtain and looked at the figure in the haze.
“Your Highness.” JiuZhu turned around and hopped twice in the same place, waving to Chen Wang, who was sitting inside the carriage.
Why was this silly guniang here Without even using the foot stool, Chen Wang jumped out of the carriage and walked towards JiuZhu in large strides: “What are you doing here It’s so foggy outside.”
“I was waiting for Your Highness ah.” JiuZhu took out the painting roll hidden behind her body: “On the day of niangniang’s birthday banquet, I noted that Your Highness liked the carp tail huadian very much.
So I specially painted a koi as a gift for Your Highness.”
Taking the painting roll that still had the warmth of JiuZhu’s palm, Chen Wang sighed: “The fog is thick in the morning.
You could’ve given it anytime else during the day, why would you wait here so early”
“Work-related matters are of the most importance.
Your Highness is usually fretting over the affairs of the Ministry of Rites.
How can I disturb you” A flowery smile bloomed on JiuZhu’s face: “Since the painting has been delivered, chennu is going to return home ah.”
Chen Wang looked at JiuZhu’s damp hair and the tip of her nose that had reddened due to the cold wind: “Wait.”
“What’s wrong, Your Highness” JiuZhu looked up at him.
Fishing out a handkerchief, Chen Wang wiped her hair stiffly.
After doing it a few times, he put the handkerchief in JiuZhu’s palm, turned her head and said in a hoarse voice, “Your hair is damp, wipe it yourself.”
After he was done speaking, he went back to the carriage to get the tiny hand warmer and stuffed it into JiuZhu’s hand: “Go back first.
There are some things in the Ministry of Rites that can’t be done without Ben Wang.”
Baolin [寶林] – This rank was introduced probably during the reign of Emperor Yuan of the Han dynasty as the lowest grade and later in the reign of Emperor Yang of the Sui dynasty as a sixth-grade concubine.
Weishi [未時] – It’s the time between 1 to 3 pm.
T/N: Here, she says ‘爹爹’ and ‘孃親’ which are comparatively more informal terms than what she usually calls them (‘父親’ and ‘母親’) so I substituted them with daddy and mommy.