The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 30
Translated by: Oinkoink
Chapter 30 – Scheme (3)
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In less than ten days, the rumors were everywhere and the content of the rumors were getting more exaggerated. The Empress had also sent someone over several times but was deliberately turned down by Ye Huaiyang with the stance of rather die than be associated with Chu Jinglan. Taking all these in, the Empress was certain of her loyalty, hence she began roping Ye Huaiyang in to be her informer, alternating with the play of carrot-and-stick approach. Shouldering such a huge pressure, it seemed Ye Huaiyang was unable to hold it anymore but in actuality and reality, it was an act for others to see as all these moves were within her heart’s desire.
However the only disinclination was Chu Jinglan’s attitude.
Since the incident till date, he had never entered the Imperial Palace again or expressed any opinions. Allowing the utter confusion outside while he stayed home acting like he never heard any words and was an outsider instead.
Ye Huaiyang knew she had truly angered him this time.
Everything she did had always been within her grasp, even if it deviated from its original plot, she was still able to pull it back on time which she was extremely proud of. However, she was completely out of control when it came to Chu Jinglan. Whenever she attempted to figure out his mood, it had always been like scooping the moon out of the water, as if grasping a palmful of blended reality and fictitious mirage that slipped through her fingers in a blink of an eye and was difficult to catch again.
Looking at her sulky appearance, Yue’ya thought she must have been affected by those rumors thus she wanted to enlighten her, instead she turned over and went to sleep when she told Yue’ya to wake her at weishi (1pm-3pm).
“Young Miss, are you going out this afternoon?”
She briefly stated, “Going to the palace.”
Previously, she had thought the Queen Mother would be bound not to let her marry Chu Jinglan so easily but she didn’t expect the attached condition was to have her monitor him. It must be the Empress who came up with this idea, otherwise she wouldn’t have repeatedly sent people over to persuade her. It ought to be time after such a long pestering. If she dragged on, it might probably turned counterproductive hence she decided to agree today.
Once the imperial edict was out, she would be his Wangfei.
She had concealed this expectant in her heart. She arrived at the Eastern Palace on time as usual, but would never have expected to catch sight of the bright yellow figure when she entered the palace entrance. Gloominess enshrouded her eyes while a thin layer of sweat covered her palms instantly.
The Emperor was here today!
She realized something was amiss thus she was more prudent with her words and deeds. With a faint touch of rouge, there was practically no emotion except for deferential on her face which could be described as watertight.
“This subject pays respect to the Emperor and the Empress.”
Due to the constant contacts recently, the Empress kept smiling at her yet her expression was unnatural at this moment. Although this was her palace, she couldn’t go beyond the rules without the Emperor’s words, so she could only watch Ye Huaiyang kneeling there. Fortunately, there were ice-blocks cooling the palace to disperse the summer heat. Ye Huaiyang’s sweat gradually dispelled while she felt calmer.
“So, you are Ye Huaiyang?”
The Emperor’s deep cold voice reverberated in the palace which carried a distant and susceptible pressure. Ye Huaiyang lowered her head and softly replied, “Responding to the Emperor, it is this subject.”
Saying that, the Emperor slowly turned to look at the Empress with an intriguing smile. Inwardly, the Empress was tensed yet her expression was gentle and submissive as always.
“Your Majesty is somewhat unaware. The Queen Mother has been feeling unwell these past few days, thus handing the matters of Noble Lady Bai for Chenqie to handle. Before making any judgment, Chenqie must understand all the details and has summoned Miss Ye several times.”
“Since that is the case, We are just in time to hear what was the sequence of the event. Ye Huaiyang, you might as well narrate the incident from beginning to end.”
The Emperor raised his legs high as he conveniently picked and whisked the teacup slowly as if he would dawdle with them here. The Empress’ expression was stiffened for a moment while the slender hands within her sleeves tightened again and again.
It had already been so many days. Someone would have long reported in full details the cause and course to the Emperor, yet he wanted to hear Ye Huaiyang’s personal statement now. He most certainly wanted to pick out the thorns to exonerate Bai Zhixuan. That despicable woman must have said something in front of the Emperor again. Truly a lingering haunt!
Ye Huaiyang had calmly observed for a moment while the Empress was inwardly condemning. Her intuition told her the Emperor didn’t come solely for Bai Zhixuan thus she must summon her utmost energy to deal against him, lest he discerned any inklings.
Thinking of this, she glanced at the Empress timidly and said weakly, “Report to the Emperor, this is what happened. About two weeks ago, Noble Lady invited this subject to the Imperial Palace for a chat and this subject arrived as promised. Following that, Noble Lady said she wanted to enjoy viewing the flowers and took this subject along to Pian Yuan. Who would have thought the moment we entered the hall, Miss Xing’er shut the door and also….also forced this subject to drink a cup of tea, but this subject was unwilling and knocked the teacup to the ground. Miss Xing’er became furious when she suddenly pulled out a dagger and propped it against this subject’s neck before forcibly fed this subject another dose of pill, then… then….”
It seemed hard for Ye Huaiyang to continue. Eyes brimming with sparkling tears while her frail body faintly trembled, she acted out the complete grievances and shamefulness of a young boudoir girl who had encountered such undesirable matters. Even the Empress felt somewhat unbearable seeing her but the Emperor was not the least moved.
“Then what happened?”
Ye Huaiyang bit her lips with blushing cheeks and couldn’t help but glanced at the Empress for help.
The Empress was feeling perturbed as she feared Ye Huaiyang would be forced by the Emperor and temporarily changed her pretext while also afraid the Emperor might do something if he got angry. Regardless of whatever outcomes which would be conducive to the acquittal of Bai Zhixuan, she couldn’t allow this to happen. With this in mind, the Empress tactfully said, “Your Majesty, Miss Ye was delirious at that time and probably can’t recount what happened afterwards. Chenqie was also at the scene and had seen clearly. Miss Ye forced open the door and rushed out when she almost fell down the stairs but it was Younger Brother who saved her.”
“Saved? This word reminded Us of a past event.” The Emperor braced himself and got up. He strolled towards Ye Huaiyang then clamped on her chin before uttered word by word, “During the upheaval of the White Lotus Society ten years ago, Younger Brother seemed to have saved you too?”
He actually knew about this!
A flip of the terrifying storm unexpectedly surged up in Ye Huaiyang’s heart which was stifling. At this moment, she realized how terrifying the man in front of her was, but within these few seconds, she had already calmed her mindset and responded.
“Ten years ago…. White Lotus Society?”
Looking at her muddled face, the Emperor remarked with a faint smile, “You were young then, so it was normal if you don’t remember.”
Ye Huaiyang knew the Emperor was testing her out. The alarm in her mind sounded and she thought, if she was to go along with his words, it would definitely rouse his suspicion, so it would be better to do the opposite.
“No, Your Majesty. This subject did remember that someone saved myself back then, but if that person was Wangye….” Her tears were streaming down yet her eyes were exceedingly staunch, “This subject would rather be ungrateful than to marry him!”
Seeing that her efforts of many days were about to be destroyed in a moment, the Empress interrupted and urged without concern of the etiquette, “Women’s reputation and moral integrity have been utmost important since ancient times, what foolish talk are you saying .…”
Before she could finish her sentence, she felt the piercing of the frosty cold eyes and instantly kept her mouth shut. Soon, the Emperor said, “Oh? Why is it?”
“Because this subject’s elder brother said he has wicked intentions!” Ye Huaiyang clenched her teeth and cried out this sentence with her eyes shut before she knelt prone on the ground. There was an indistinct tremble on her back with sweat dripping from her cheeks as if she was frightened.
The Emperor’s reaction was somewhat intriguing as he neither reprimanded nor continued to interrogate her. His voice was instead light and gentle, “Ye Huaiyang, do you know vilifying Wangye in private is a felony of confiscation and extermination of the entire family?”
“This subject knows.” She raised her head and straightened her neck under the gaze from two pairs of eyes with a face filled with stern righteousness, “But my Elder Brother had taught this subject that Ye family must be faithful unto death.”
The Emperor was silent. There was a sharp light in his eyes which seemingly crushed heavily on every inch of her heartstrings.
There was needless to dwell on Ye Huaili’s loyalty as he had diligently stationed in Guanzhong for many years. The sentence he voiced at the welcome banquet ‘This official believes that Your Highness King Lan is not suitable to participate in the royal court and partaking in the governing of the political affairs’ had won over the Emperor. When Ye Huaiyang mentioned his teachings which were so convincing as if it was an oracle, it imperceptibly quelled a little of the Emperor’s suspicions.
At this tense moment, the Empress unexpectedly walked forward and knelt down before saying, “Your Majesty, Chenqie has something to say.”
The Emperor looked at her nonchalantly, “Say.”
“Chenqie had checked the daily note a few days ago and discovered there was a trace of tampering with the date of Noble Lady Bai’s shiqin. Originally, Chenqie thought to report to you after the person has been seized, but…. “ Before she could finish her words, the Emperor turned his face abruptly. His sinister and ruthless look automatically silenced her.
[T/N: Daily note (居注 Jū zhù) – book that specifically records the words and deeds of the emperor]
[T/N: Shìqǐn (侍寝) – to visit the Emperor in his chambers for his sexual pleasure]
A trace of sneer spread on the lips of Ye Huaiyang who was kneeling prostrate on the ground which varnished in a flash.
The Empress was truly shrewd to make her move specifically when the Emperor was in dubiousness. Not only did she avoid his thundering wrath, but she also yielded a favor for Ye Huaiyang. It was truly killing two birds with one stone. Having said that, this daily note must have been falsified by the Empress with the aim of creating suspicion for the Emperor towards Bai Zhixuan’s infidelity. The flesh in her belly would soon be the urging death talisman.
Light footsteps resounding to the ears. It was actually a court lady carrying over the daily note. As she approached the Emperor, he suddenly raised his hand and flipped it away. Frighteningly, the court lady knelt prone on the ground and shivered with fear. The Empress also knelt down to apologize.
“Please calm down, Your Majesty. Chenqie….”
“Shut up!” Flaring up with anger, the Emperor was exuding a terrifying hostility, “Empress, you are truly Our good Empress!”
Saying that, he flicked his sleeves heavily and left. The reverberated sound from the flicking sleeves was like rolling thunder which shockingly numbed the hearts of everyone in the palace that took a long time before resuming to normalcy.
The Empress stood up with the support from Qian’er. Sitting at the main seat, her complexion was still somewhat pale. Slowly she exhaled a deep breath before saying, “Ye Huaiyang, Bengong has displeased the Emperor for you.”
Ye Huaiyang had yet to recover from the fright and merely kowtowed without saying a word.
“Get up. Don’t only know to kowtow. Do let Bengong discern the loyalty and courage of the Ye family.”
Haltingly, Ye Huaiyang asked, “What Niang-niang means….”
With a displeased look, the Empress askanced her, “It’s a fact that the Bai family sought refuge and engaged in conspiratorial activities with King Lan. You should contribute to the Emperor and the royal court. Moreover, you should also think for yourself. Today Bengong could protect you but there will be uncertainties for tomorrow.”
Two streaks of tears trickled down her cheeks while there was an extreme unwillingness in her heart yet she forcibly hissed out four words, “This subject… will comply.”
“That’s the right thing to do.” The Empress faintly perked up her lips and smiled. Waving her hand, she commanded her to retreat, “Well, go back and wait for the imperial edict.”
After curtsying, she silently left the palace without any expression along the way. She only heaved a sigh as if relieving a heavy burden once she was out the Imperial Palace door and boarded the carriage.
Meanwhile, the mansion of Duke Xie —
Bai Xizhi had already waited for two hours in the front hall before he finally saw the long delayed Xie Yuan. It was reasonable to say, this was giving him a cold-shoulder but he wasn’t concerned as he hurriedly stepped forward and spoke the moment all the servants retreated.
“Duke Xie, listen to me. Ye family has already joined forces with King Lan. This time it’s against my Bai family but next, it will be the collapse of your Xie family. It’s necessary to be on your guard!”
Twirling the gold and silver pearl in his hand, Xie Yuan stated indifferently, “Duke Bai, you said the same words when you were here last time, but till date, you still have no proof. Contrarily, the indictment charges against your daughter were piling up. Let me speak bluntly, I am truly unable to be convinced by you….”
Bai Xizhi’s complexion turned pale then flushed. Embarrassment, disgraced and indignant all surged within his heart that almost passed him out. However, the Bai family had finally reached the stage of struggling for survival or extinction thus he had to brace himself and obtain the assistance from Xie family, otherwise there would be no more hope for his Bai family.
How cunning was Xie Yuan? Not only was he not convinced by Bai Xizhi’s words, even if he believed, he would probably just sit back while others fought. In his opinion, the Ye family could only contend with the Bai family and still unmatched to touch his Xie family.
“Duke Xie, do believe me. I am truly….”
Hearing a ‘ka’ sound and some abnormal movements from the window, Xie Yuan immediately raised his vigilance as he walked over before pushing the window open. Cool breeze blew in gently while the green willows were as inviting as usual. There was no one passing by. Carefully, he checked over for a long time before shutting the window again.
Xie Yun, who was crouching tightly at a corner of the stone veranda, felt somewhat relaxed before she swiftly slipped out of the courtyard.
 Wángfēi (王妃) – wife of a Wangye or a prince.
 We (朕 – Zhèn) – illeism for the Emperor which is equivalent to the royal “We” used by the Emperor in proclamation of I.
 Shì (氏) – clan/maiden name.