The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 16
Translated by: Oinkoink
Chapter 16 – Attending the Banquet (2)
This novel is only hosted on Foxaholic, copies found elsewhere are either stolen or plagiarised.
Due to the short distance, the Emperor’s question was clearly heard by Ye Huaiyang. She looked obtusely at the whereabouts of Chu Jinglan. Even with the shadowy obstruction of several heavy gauzes and the outlines of the contours were blurred, she still stubbornly looked over until she heard Chu Jinglan’s reply.
“It’s nothing. I just thought the decorative setting is ingenious.”
“It turned out to be so.” The Emperor smiled faintly yet it seemed to be hidden behind an indistinguishable dense fog, “Wethink so too. After all, Younger Brother is unmarried, thus would not have looked over there and be concerned about any family womenfolk.”
“Imperial Elder Brother is jesting.” The corners of Chu Jinglan’s mouth raised slightly as he lowered his head to drink some wine and stopped talking.
Ye Huaiyang retracted her gaze just when a palace maid came serving the dishes. Chinawares of all sizes filled up the table. There was whitebait thick soup, Longjing bamboo fungi, braised deer tendon and all sorts of rare delicacies which could be said was a feast for the eyes. Ye Huaiyang however merely drank several sips of soup and left the other dishes untouched, seemingly having no appetite.
“It seems the dishes in the palace are not to Miss Ye’s taste.”
A soft voice was heard from the left. Ye Huaiyang turned to look. Bai Zhixuan was staring at her quietly, her eyes were like an abyssal pool of water.
It was finally here.
She sneered inwardly. How could there be such a coincidence. The imperial harem was divided into rankings. On the top were the Queen Mother and the Empress, next would be the four imperial concubines then followed by ladies of honorary titles that were conferred by imperial mandate and noble ladies. There were so many people yet by chance, she was seated next to Bai Zhixuan with a two-foot high steps separation in between. Others would be utterly envious, saying she had a noble status to get such special honor but no one knew the sinister motives behind it.
“Isn’t Imperial Concubine the same too?”
“Bengong is excessively fond of drinking.” Bai Zhixuan smiled. A wine cup was held between the scarlet-red painted fingers, raised up as an invitation to her from a distance. “Miss Ye might as well give it a try. This is the sweet dew of Qinhuai which has been preserved for many years by the Imperial Chef.”
This action of hers aroused a lot of the womenfolk’s attention that successively pried with probing and curious eyes. Under these conditions, Ye Huaiyang naturally would not be able to decline. She responded softly a moment later, “Thank you, Niang-niang.”
She raised the wine cup and slowly finished the wine.
Another gentle and soft voice suddenly came from the seat of honor which appeared with a remote sense of distance.
“Seeing that younger sister had not touched the dishes, Bengong thought younger sister was feeling unwell. Who would have thought younger sister is actually drinking together with Miss Ye. Both of you do be mindful of getting drunk as this is a decade-old wine.”
A ray of light flashed passed Bai Zhixuan’s eyes before she immediately turned towards the Empress and said, “Miss Ye’s contribution to the women school cannot go unnoticed. Chenqie is full of admiration and could only honor it with wine. This wine is strong but compared with the things that Miss Ye’s put up, a cup of wine is just slightly too little. Am I right, Elder sister?”
The Empress smiled after hearing what was said, hence raising her sleeves, she invited everyone for a drink, “If that’s the case, let’s all drink a cup too.”
The womenfolk responded together. At this moment, only the sound of liquor fluid slowly flowing out from the wine flask was heard. Ye Huaiyang looked profoundly at Bai zhixuan and again she emptied the wine in the cup.
As expected, once the Empress and the Imperial Concubine started, others would successively follow suit, hoping to take this opportunity to be on friendly terms with Ye family. Ye Huaiyang couldn’t refuse and drank several more cups of this yellow wine. Beads of sweat gradually covered her forehead. After going through this stage with difficulty, the cold voice of Bai Zhixuan once again drifted to her ears.
“How’s the flavor of the wine? Did Miss Ye manage to savour it?”
Ye Huaiyang turned her head to face her and sluggishly smiled a moment later.
“I’m afraid this little wine is insufficient to bleed me out as Niang-niang desired. Do remember to let them shoot the arrow deeper next time.”
Bai Zhixuan’s expression changed abruptly, she didn’t expect her having such audacity to speak so bluntly in the presence of others! Fortunately it was drowned by the sound of music and wasn’t heard by the person besides her, otherwise it would certainly be difficult to explain. Pondering this, her countenance completely sunk and exuded an intimidating frigidness.
“Ye Huaiyang, you are really bold for daring to actually talk to Bengong this way!”
“What, does Niang-niang want to dispose of me on the spot? Let me remind you, there are countless people waiting to catch your missteps. You have to think clearly if you want to do it.” While saying this, Ye Huaiyang intentionally or otherwise cast a sidelong glance towards the seat of honor that Bai Zhixuan immediately clenched her handkerchief tightly.
What Ye Huaiyang said was precisely her misgivings. It was indeed too conspicuous to do it in the Imperial Palace. The two from the Eastern Palace were not to be trifled with as they would definitely seize this opportunity to eradicate her in one fell swoop. When the time comes, the Bai family would also be subjected to disasters caused by implication and the consequences would be unimaginable. She, Bai Zhixuan was not so foolish to do such a thing.
“There is no need for Bengong to personally take care of you as this time was just a lesson to you. Let Bengong give you a piece of advice, do you think you can shake the position of the Bai family in the Emperor’s heart with just your unpresentable little tricks? It’s simply a fool’s dream!”
“I naturally can’t compare to Niang-niang.” A touch of smile perked up on Ye Huaiyang’s cheek but the right hand in her sleeve was clenched tightly, “At eighteen, Niang-niang decisively abandoned the fiance who was at the brink of death and shared your bed with the new ascended Emperor. I really can’t learn such skills.”
Bai Zhixuan’s complexion turned ghastly pale and the eyes that stared at Ye Huaiyang seemed quenched with poison that cut into the flesh and seemingly wanted to tear her apart. Ye Huaiyang looked at her undauntedly but there was an indescribable satisfaction besides contemptuous at the bottom of her heart.
How could such a woman deserve the person she admired?
The burning sensation in her abdomen intensified while her mind became more and more befuddled. It must be the effect from half flask of the wine. Ye Huaiyang turned around and took sips of tea from a cup while ignoring Bai Zhixuan. She knew for sure that Bai Zhixuan could do nothing about her. Upon seeing that, Bai Zhixuan gripped the table edge tightly as dark clouds in her eyes gathered and dispersed before finally returned to tranquility, but the killing intent in her heart nevertheless grew much stronger.
This banquet was spent in animosity.
At the end of chenshi, Ye Huaiyang walked out from Liuguang Hall. The night wind was chilling to the bones but she felt like she was on fire. The straight bluestones pavement in front of her was twisted into curves and bends that every step was an incessantly dizziness. She had to slow down and the short distance took her an hour. When she reached the inner city gate, there was practically nobody on the road.
Yue’ya had been waiting at the entrance for a long time. Looking at the other noble ladies leaving one after the other, she became all the more anxious yet she couldn’t go in to look for her. She could only walk around restlessly like a headless fly. Just when she almost trampled through the slabstone, she finally saw Ye Huaiyang. She immediately heaved a sigh of relief and carried a cloak to meet her.
“Young Miss, what took you so long to come out? Nubi is worrying sick!”
Ye Huaiyang whispered to reassure her without taking the cloak in her hand as she walked directly to her carriage. On the way, another carriage passed by where the person sitting in front looked absolutely familiar that even Yue’ya halted in surprise to look. Ye Huaiyang however didn’t seem to see that, as she lifted her skirt up and boarded the carriage, but who would have thought she would unexpectedly tumble to the ground while halfway up the carriage!
Yue’ya fluttered over in fright but due to the distance, she couldn’t even touch the hem of Ye Huaiyang’s clothes. Seeing that she was about to land on the ground, a shadow suddenly flashed past her like a rolling hurricane to the side of the carriage to catch the falling Ye Huaiyang.
There was no screaming sound as imagined.
Chu Jinglan looked down. The person in his arms had both eyes closed without consciousness and a boiling hot body. He could feel the high temperature coming from his fingertips through the layers of clothes which evident that she had been running a fever for quite some time.
At this moment, Yue’ya had already rushed closer and squatted down calling Ye Huaiyang several times but without getting any response from Ye Huaiyang. She was out of her wits with anxiousness. In the next second, Chu Jinglan directly carried Ye Huaiyang princess-styled and ascended his carriage. Yue’ya would just have to summon her courage and get into the carriage too.
The carriage trundled all the way where lamplights intervally entered between slits illuminated Ye Huaiyang’s face. The lip rouge unknowingly had been rubbed off revealing a pallid sickly face.
“What’s going on?”
Yue’ya was abruptly frightened by Chu Jinglan’s questioning as she was staring at Ye Huaiyang without blinking her eyes. She was in a daze and didn’t reply for a long while until Tang Qingfeng nudged her arm.
“Wangye is asking you, why is your Young Miss so sick?”
All of the sudden the sequence of events rushed into her heart. Yue’ya looked at the man in front when suddenly in the fit of a pique she said, “Half a month ago when Young Miss sent Elder Young Master off, she was attacked by assassins on the way home.”
And this was all because of your master!
She had wanted to say this sentence but considering that Ye Huaiyang was still caught within Chu Jianlan’s embrace, she quietly swallowed the words back after weighing the pros and cons. However the previous sentence had already shocked Tang Qingfeng.
“Assassins? Was it sent by the Bai family again?”
Yue’ya put forth a scowling face as tacit implication.
Tang Qingfeng didn’t utter a word for a long time. He felt rather upset looking at the once lively Ye Huaiyang in such a feeble state. She was after all a little girl and had to attend the feast in the palace before she even recuperated from her injury. How could her body keep up with such back and forth torments? No wonder she ignored them just now, perhaps at that moment she was already in a daze.
There was silence in the carriage for a while before Chu Jinglan suddenly ordered the shadow guard, “Go faster.”
The shadow guard outside responded with a low voice and continuously whipping the horses that indeed increased the speed. Tang Qingfeng looked at Chu Jinglan with some uncertainties. His eyes suddenly widened the instant a ray of light streaked across – Chu Jinglan’s hand that supported Ye Huaiyang’s shoulder was completely covered in blood!
Chu Jinglan didn’t say a word as he took off his cloak and covered Ye Huaiyang’s body. He then readjusted her position where a big patch of dampened area was revealed on the lapel of her jacket which was completely soaked with her sweat, unknown if it was due to the fever or pain.
“Young Miss? Young Miss?” Yue’ya repeatedly called out. She felt solemnly worried and anxious, “The wound on her shoulder must have split open. Wangye, please send us to the medical hall!”
Chu Jinglan turned a deaf ear.
The street outside the curtain was getting more and more familiar. They apparently were on their way back to King Lan mansion. Yue’ya keenly saw a lighted medical hall yet the carriage didn’t have the slightest sign of stopping. In a moment of anxiousness, she unwittingly blurted out, “Wangye, my family Young Miss went to provoke the Bai family for the sake of avenging you. You cannot standby and watch others dying!”
Once the words were out, she felt an unprovoked coldness all over her body as though she was encased with lots of snow and ice that she even had difficulty breathing. Just as this oppressive sensation about to reach the top, someone unexpectedly hit the back of her neck where she immediately lost consciousness.
Tang Qingfeng retracted his palm then supported Yue’ya against the carriage wall and looked over again at Chu Jinglan’s expression before he decided to remain silent.
 We/Our (朕 – Zhèn) – used by a royal person in proclamations instead of I
 臣妾 (Chén qiè) – I, your servant (self-appellation of a lower-rank female)
 Chénshí (辰时) – 7am-9am (My guess as it was winter, the night might be longer than daytime and the royal banquet probably lasted the whole night…)