The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 12
Translated by: Oinkoink
Chapter 12 – Xie’s Daughter
The launching of the women school was extremely successful and it had become the hottest matter in Wangdu in less than half a month. The illustrious virtue of the Emperor was highly praised by the speeches of the royal ministers. When the Queen Mother learnt of this, she once again summoned the noble girls to enter the Imperial Palace and rewarded them with a great deal of things as commendation.
As both sides were just acting for appearance sake, there was no point to stay over for too long. Ye Huaiyang was already on her way out in less than two hours and just when she intended to return home, she unexpectedly was stopped by Xie Yun.
“Younger sister, please stay.”
Ye Huaiyang turned around and saw her walking unhurriedly out from the veranda. Her gait was relaxed and her temperament was graceful. She was wearing a light mauve satin palace attire with a simple plain little vest and looked absolutely pleasing to the eyes.
She arrived in front of her in a blink of an eye. It might be assumed that she came from the flower garden as the light flow of air brought along the sweet scent of the Phoenix Chrysanthemum, hence no wonder they both would only have this chance encounter at the entrance of Hanzhang Palace.
“Elder Sister Yun, what’s the matter?”
“There’s a small matter that I would like to ask you.” Xie Yun perked up a thin smile as she made an inviting gesture towards outside the door. “How about we discuss along the way?”
Ye Huaiyang silently nodded and walked out of Hanzhang Palace alongside her.
The weather was gradually getting colder as the frigid winter was approaching soon. There were now not many eunuchs and palace maids shuttling back and forth along this long alley which was surrounded by the vermillion red perimeter walls on both sides.The four masters and servants strolled through where there were some naked branches protruded diagonally from the top of the walls. The original spacious alley became somewhat narrow that one would need to turn sideways just to pass through some part of the alley but this however didn’t hindered their talks.
“Not to hide from younger sister, my family received a raccoon last month. When I saw how intelligent it is, I asked to keep it from my paternal uncle’s wife. However, I don’t know why it has been losing weight with each passing day and doesn’t even want to eat these past few days. I have sought many medical treatments without success, then I suddenly remember that you are raising a giant panda at home. In this respect, you are certainly very experienced thus I will just be brazen to ask you.”
Ye Huaiyang faintly smiled, “Cannot be mentioned as experience. I am merely more patient and meticulous than others.”
“From your opinion, what’s wrong with my raccoon?”
After pondering for a while, Ye Huaiyang asked instead of answering, “What food do you usually feed it?”
Xie Yun answered truthfully, “The person who sent it over said it likes meat, so I sent someone to purchase the freshest fishes and meats from the marketplace which are fed to it after cutting into small pieces. Every bucket of the water which was retrieved from the mountain stream would go through the process of boiling and cooled down before given to it.”
“Perhaps the problem lies here.” Ye Huaiyang was clear-minded about the problem and explained in a soft voice, “I have heard that even though raccoons are carnivorous, they are more inclined to omnivorous that prefer fruits and nuts, such as acorns, almonds and such during the autumn and winter season. Feeding it with only meat will instead make it lose its appetite.”
Suddenly realizing what might have happened, the knitted brows on Xie Yun subsequently smoothen out just like the glimpse of sunlight on the mountains in spring after the ceasing of rain, “So, that’s the reason. I should be blamed for having insufficient understanding beforehand and almost harm the little thing. Fortunately, I have you and it seems I have found the right person today.”
Hearing that, the pink lips of Ye Huaiyang curved up and her expression was as calm as always, “Elder Sister, it’s nothing as I merely have a little superficial knowledge. Have a try with some fruits once you are back and if it is not effective, I will help you think of other ways.”
“That’s good. I will have to bother you more in the future then.” Xie Yun expressed her thanks in a soft voice as she performed a little curtsy.
As they were talking, they walked out of the palace alley when suddenly their eyes were enlightened with the dozens of dragon carved limestone pillars standing in the middle of the wide open space. There was a clear little pond among them where several koi were chasing after the inverted reflections of the blooming trees and the sound of water struck by their wagging tails could be heard from afar.
In the front was a forked road where several stone paths extended to different directions. Since Ye Huaiyang and Xie Yun didn’t enter the Imperial Palace through the same door, they parted ways here.
The surrounding area immediately became lively and the atmosphere was also not as solemn as before once they departed from the Imperial City. After pondering for a while, Yue’ya finally opened her mouth and asked, “Young Miss, Xie family has not really been friendly with us usually, yet it’s somewhat odd that Xie Yun would unexpectedly find you to talk about the matter of raising a pet.”
Ye Huaiyang pursed her lips without speaking.
As a matter of fact, she had long noticed that Xie Yun was an extremely demure and reserved person who was worth to be called the paragon daughter of an illustrious family. Raising a lively raccoon didn’t match with her temperament, moreover there were many veterinarians in the city that could easily solve such a minor ailment. So, why would she make such a big circle seeking for her, Ye Huaiyang’s advice?
Seeing that she was not speaking, Yue’ya cautiously guessed, “Do you think Xie’s family wants to collaborate with us? After all, they have been contended with the Wang family for so many years and have all along been suppressed by the Wang’s while the Bai family takes this opportunity to climb higher. If they don’t repress, the consequences will probably be unpredictable therefore they come up with the idea of forming an alliance……”
“It’s impossible.” Ye Huaiyang flatly denied, “It is already not one or two years that the current political situation has been at a stalemate. Ye family has all along been neutral and the Xie family would have already rope us earlier if they wanted to, so why wait till now?”
Yue’ya couldn’t understand, “What exactly does she want to do?”
Ye Huaiyang glanced at her with her usual unperturbed expression, “What’s the need to speculate? She will reveal her true motive sooner or later. We will just wait and see.”
“Aren’t you afraid she is secretly playing tricks?”
“I’m afraid it will not be Xie Yun who will be playing tricks.”
There were many people in the Xie family and the internal power struggles were extremely intense. After Xie Yun’s father died of illness six years ago, her paternal younger uncle took over the duty as head of the family. Since then, she and her elder brother, Xie Miao had been in an awkward predicament. They were entitled to participate in the family major matters but had no right to attend the affairs of the state. Apart from that, what’s most surprising was Xie Yun was twenty six and still unmarried!
It would be no problem if she served and held an official position in the royal court. For a daughter of a prominent family who seldom leaves the home front door or walks out of the inner boudoir to be unmarried at this age, attracting public’s criticism would be unavoidable yet it was fortunate that this matter wasn’t noticeable with her usual composed and courteous as well as subdued demeanour.
As a matter of fact, the one entering the Imperial Palace listening to the teachings of the Queen Mother every month wasn’t her but her paternal younger uncle’s daughter, Xie Qian who was unwilling to come and shoved it to her. She was one with the least words in front of the Queen Mother, who made no mistakes and also never actively chatted with anyone. Therefore, Ye Huaiyang was very surprised this time but she was certain that it wasn’t for the sake of Xie family that Xie Yun looked for her based on the mentioned facts.
Perhaps it was for personal purposes?
Ye Huaiyang’s state of mind was fully set on dealing with the Bai family thus she was too lazy to speculate much about Xie Yun’s purposes. Once she boarded the carriage, she just casted it to the back of her mind.
At this moment, there was a shadow flashed past behind the palace door and swiftly catching up with the slow moving double-shaft carriage.
The sound of boot steps resounded inside the long hall and finally stopped in front of the door. After some prattling, Liu’er half pushed open the palace door as she gently entered before turning around to carefully shut it back. She then walked to the chaise couch.
The person leaning on the chaise lounge slowly turned her body without opening her eyes. The fair arm obliquely stretched out on the edge of the chaise and tugged on the suspended curtains which instantly revealed a narrow slit. Liu’er involuntarily looked up and almost cried out when she abruptly saw the semi circular bluish-black on her neck.
How could she forget that the Emperor came again in the middle of the night yesterday before leaving at four in the morning.
Bai Zhixuan had transferred her to the outer courtyard ever since she misspoken that day and during this period of time, it was Xing’er who constantly served her. The Emperor only stayed for a short while last night and as there wasn’t any loud movement detected, she believed there was no trouble and peaceful but now she realized when one’s throat was choked, one couldn’t cry out even if one was in pain!
She was instantly dragged back to reality with the low and hoarse voice coming from above, “Have you seen enough?”
Liu’er trembled, so she immediately lowered her head and dared not make a sound. Unexpectedly, the curtain’s crevice was dragged wider and a white-jade like body gradually drawn closer. The satin silk quilt slipped below the couch from the thighs and set off a waft of carnal smell as it fluttered in front of Liu’er.
Xing’er who just came in caught sight of this scene. She quickly stepped forward draping some clothes on Bai Zhixuan before she turned to reprimand Liu’er, “Why are you so muddled-headed? Didn’t you see that Niang-niang is feeling unwell? Report the matter quickly!”
Liu’er swallowed her saliva as she tried to maintain the steadiness in her voice, “Niang-niang, imperial guard Hu asked me to report that they had already caught up with the person and nothing unusual is detected at the moment.”
“Bengong gets it.”
Bai Zhixuan waved her hand tiredly and went back to lean on the couch. Xing’er simultaneously arranged the soft pillow for her and spoke to Liu’er, “Just go out as there’s nothing concerning you.”
As if receiving the amnesty, Liu’er went out.
Bai Zhixuan suddenly laughed out when she looked at her leaving in panic without a hint of warmth in her eyes, instead there seemed a little desolation, “This is the conduct of the maidservant that I have trained myself for many years, so what confidence do I have to blame the people under my father for being useless?”
Xing’er secretly sighed. She then pulled the gold buckle of a drawer on the lower part of the couch and took out a crystal bottle. She proficiently gouged out some clear salve and applied it on Bai Zhixuan’s neck. The bruise had obviously turned purplish yet she didn’t seem to feel any pain, neither did she even make a sound of groan and just bear with the fiddling by Xing’er.
“Niang-niang, there will inevitably be unfavorable moments. You need to be stronger and if you fall now, the fights all these years will be in vain. Wouldn’t this ultimately be advantageous for the Eastern Palace?”
“I originally didn’t need to fight.” Bai Zhixuan’s line of vision suddenly blurred as an old drama weaved out through the fluctuating light and shadow. “What has made me reach this stage….. Was it father’s decision to seek refuge with Chu Sanghuai that morning or was it Bai’s family turning in full force to assassinate Chu Jinglan that rainy night…?”
“Niang-niang!” Xing’er alarmingly straighened her body and reached her hand out to cover Bai Zhixuan’s mouth. Just as she extended her hand halfway, she saw strings of glistening crystals streaking down the side of her cheeks. After stiffening for a while, she silently drew back and continued applying the salve.
“Don’t need to apply the salve anymore. It’s not a bad idea to leave the marks to avoid others saying I have enticed the monarch with beauty. How would they know that it is not easy to entice the monarch with beauty…”
Xing’er sighed again yet she didn’t cease her hand movement but consoled her in a low voice, “Niang-niang, why bother venting out your anger with these words as the present plan is to get out of this difficult situation. You mustn’t be soft-hearted or give up since it has already reached this point!”
Bai Zhixuan seemingly had been given a severe warning that her blood gradually condensed by the boiling excitement which instantly made her clear-headed.
Yes, she could no longer go back anymore. Weeping and reminiscing about the past were as good as digging her own grave where the entire Bai family would be buried with her.
She couldn’t fall.
Bai Zhixuan waved Xing’er’s hand away. She turned and draped some clothes before getting down from the couch. With bare foot, she walked to the front of the table, took the brush and dipped in ink then instantly finished three lines of sentences, “Xing’er, make a trip to Aunt Hong’s place. Bengong has some matters to let her handle.”
Xing’er wiped her hands clean. Just when she was about to seal the letter with the sealing wax, she accidentally gazed at its content and was immediately startled, “Niang-niang, you want to meet King Lan?”
Bai Zhixuan sneered before regaining the usual fierce appearance.
“The lead for Ye manor had already been buried and King Lan also needed to loosen the soil, else how to find out who set the trap on the day of the frontline tide?”
 Loosen the soil (松松土 – sōng sōng tǔ) – seduced / set traps /shake things up
 Niang-niang (娘娘 – Niáng niáng) – a kind of respect for women in Chinese. It is generally used to call queens, concubines , princesses and other royal and aristocratic women.