The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband - Chapter 64
The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 64
Translated by: Oinkoink
Proofread by: SilkScreen
Chapter 64 – Palace Banquet
This novel is only hosted on Foxaholic, copies found elsewhere are either stolen or plagiarized.
New Year’s Eve is approaching. While Wangdu is brimming with a festive atmosphere, there is also good news from the Imperial Palace at the same time — the Empress is pregnant.
Since Bai Zhixuan had been dead for several months, there were some newcomers in the Imperial Harem during this period but none were particularly to the liking of Chu Sanghuai. Thus, the moment this news came out, everybody suddenly realized the Empress was actually back in favor.
It was rather strange to say even while Chu Sanghuai was still a Wangye, male offsprings were rarely conceived. With great difficulty a side consort finally gave birth to a little prince yet he fell into the water and died before reaching the age of three. Chu Sanghuai was so enraged at that time that all the servants involved were hanged and their family were imprisoned at the same time. Such a tyrannical action even alarmed the people in the Imperial Palace. As the late Emperor empathized the pain of him losing a son, he did not condemn him but merely muttered some words of disapproval.
After he was enthroned, the Imperial Harem were teeming with more and more women of good looks and talents, where he would linger and indulge amongst these flowering flocks. Except going a little more diligently to Bai Zhixuan, he basically changes his companions every night.. Under such circumstances, only a few side consorts bore his children yet they were not valued due to the lowly birth of their mothers.
Now there is a happy event in the palace and the status of the first Di child is needless to dwell on. If it’s a boy, there will be a candidate for a crown prince and also solves the worries of having no heir for Chu Sanghuai. Hence, this should naturally be celebrated without restraint. So, a big feast was held on the 28th of the lunar month where many imperial kinsmen and important officials were invited to participate.
In the evening, a carriage drove out of King Lan mansion.
Originally, Chu Jinglan did not want to bring Ye Huaiyang along as her cough has yet to recover and the cold night might worsen her condition again. She, however, insisted on coming along as she pitched in all kinds of tricks and turns that he momentarily was unable to resist and was forced to let her follow him like a little tail.
On the boundless long street, the motley light and shadow of the small hanging orange lights were like ice butterflies fluttering amongst the trickling snow.
The two persons in the carriage are still enjoying a brief cozy moment.
“ … next time I’ll make your posterior blossom if you snivel and vent out falsely.”
Amidst the dim light, Ye Huaiyang’s face blushed indistinctly yet the pair of phoenix eyes were bright and translucent like the stars in the sky. Soon, she extended her hands and wrapped around Chu Jinglan’s neck then spoke with a delicately soft voice, “I know I’m wrong. Please spare my life, Husband.”
Before they left earlier, she employed the same stunt she used on Ye Huaili on him. He knew perfectly well she was play-acting, yet he could not bear to see her frowning and pursing her lips, so he just gave her what she wanted. Who knew as soon as she got into the carriage, she started grinning cheekily, hence he deliberately chastised her with a serious face. He was just merely saying that, after all, how could he be willing to beat her and did she truly admit herself wrong?
Knowing this in his heart, Chu Jinglan did not expose her but allowed her to nestle and act coquettishly in the crooks of his arms. He merely took her slender hands off his neck then grasped them in his palms that moments later, they became nice and warm.
“Oh, by the way.” Ye Huaiyang seemed to remember something as she moved back a little and asked, “There are still two days before New Year’s Eve. Is it alright if I invite Huaixin and Huailing to celebrate New Year together?”
Fondling her jade-like slender fingers, Chu Jinglan paused at her rounded fingertips seemingly very fond of them before he uttered a few words warmly, “Not going back to the clan home?”
“No, I’m afraid Elder Brother will foam at the mouth and glare with rage at me again.” Ye Huaiyang chuckled lightly, as pleasant and moving like the silver bells. “Can I also invite Yuanshu too? It’s livelier with more people and also to save that girl, Huailing from racking her brains to dash out.”
“Do as you wish.”
The usual doting tone that practically spoke without hesitation made her smile happily with her eyes curved.
Amidst their conversation, the gate of Yongding came in sight. The number of luxuriously decorated carriages parked at the door increased while many officials together with their families walked in one after another, appearing peerlessly affluent with fox-fur robes and mink hats and golden pearl hairpin adornments. Lifting the heavy curtain for a glimpse outside, Ye Huaiyang sighed before climbing down from Chu Jinglan’s legs. The previous beautifully charming smile instantly became rather somber.
Watching her putting on the act, Chu Jinglan could not help but tease, “The theatrical troupe is starting a performance again?”
“Who am I doing this for?” Ye Huaiyang raised her eyebrows then forcefully pounced over to bite his lip yet he just allusively gave her a peck and subsequently warded her off.
“More kisses will mess up your makeup.”
Ye Huaiyang looked at him unhappily. Her bright dewy eyes were filled with grievances, “You must exponentially make it up to me once we are home.”
Chu Jinglan consented with a light smile.
They then got off the carriage one after another and simultaneously walked at a distance not too far nor too close from each other into the palace gate. Along the way, the countless brightly shone colored-glazed palace lanterns illuminated the courtyard as bright as day and also lighted up the cold faces of the two. When those members of other families passing-by caught sight of them, they could not help but whisper that it is indeed true King Lan and his wife are not on good terms.
Once they were outside the Hall of Supreme Harmony, fireworks of dazzling colors were set off and reverberated across the sky. The magnificent display of fireworks pistils added beauty over the golden jade-green pavilion.
Seemingly fascinated, Ye Huaiyang stopped and quietly looked up. Under the feet were tiles of cloud-like white while multicolored flowers bloomed the sky. Dressed in a pale grey-pink skirt, she was not eye-catching at all. But when the wind blew, the snow-colored ribbons fluttered like light clouds over misty peaks that enveloped her graceful figure so beautifully that she almost seemed to drift off with the wind, not knowing how many young gentlemen were enthralled by the sight of her.
She, however, was unaware and ready to walk into the hall when unexpectedly met the profound gaze of Chu Jinglan, only to realize he had turned back to gaze at her. Instantly she felt a little embarrassed and somewhat anxious, too.
The entrance of this hall is full of people coming and going while his stare was too fervent that what’s to be done if people were to see it?
Not thinking too much about it, she was ready to hurry in when unexpectedly a sudden light chuckle resounded from behind, “Oh, is this not the Younger Sister of Ye family?”
Turning her head around, Ye Huaiyang caught sight of two familiar figures and narrowed her eyes immediately.
She has heard the betrothal of Wang Wanting to King Lu while in Jingzhou but did not expect to run into them today. Though it’s a union of a handsome man and a beautiful lady, they are just too bothersome and annoying to look at, let’s not to mention the cynical tone that sounded precisely of someone picking fault. Turning around, her cold eyes stared aloofly at the approaching duo.
“Wangfei Lu, based on seniority, you should address me as sister-in-law and don’t need to waste your breath on these brief terms of elder or younger sister.”
Wang Wanting did not expect her to be so blunt the moment she opened her mouth and immediately flared up yet Chu Luze just smiled profoundly and took over the thread of discourse, “What sister-in-law said is right, we must abide by the rules of the Imperial Palace.”
Feeling uncomfortable looking at his face and disinclined to talk more with him, Ye Huaiyang turned around and about to enter the hall but who would have thought, Wang Wanting would speak equivocally, “Now you know how to use proper etiquette to oppress people but I don’t know who connived the Shu sister into the palace to seduce my husband!”
Hearing this, Ye Huaiyang stopped immediately and even the expression of Chu Jinglan, who was behind her, turned frosty. Seemingly sensing it, she turned her head and gave him a reassuring look then smiled faintly at Wang Wanting and said, “Who doesn’t have a few blind sisters in their clan?”
After saying that, she left with Chu Jinglan without looking back. Wang Wanting was stunned and only realized she was being disparaged after a long while. Looking to her side, Chu Luze’s face had already turned as dark as black coal who then snorted heavily, flung his sleeves and walked in without even bothering to pull her along. She was so angry that she stomped her feet and followed after.
Outside the hall, the cold night is frosty yet it’s warm like springtime inside. Dozens of rosewood tables with recessed-leg were placed around the jade-white clear pool while barefooted female dancers filed in along with the melodious tune as they spun, swirled and swayed their white-silk sleeves gracefully.
The Empress was dressed exceptionally glamorous today. Not knowing if she shed off her usual demureness or is recently favored greatly by the Emperor, as her whole face is radiant. A person in their thirties seemed to have suddenly returned to the state of a young girl that even the occasional sipping of the fruit wine or whispering with Chu Sanghuai would make her blush rosily.
That’s right, how can she not be happy to have conceived her first child in her thirties?
This condition and scene inexplicably stirred Ye Huaiyang’s heartstrings up. Silently, she emptied the cup of wine and lowered her eyes in trance.
She has imagined countless times what her child with Chu Jinglan would look like. She also thought if it’s a boy, he would be taught political laws, horsemanship and archery as well as governing of the country and if it’s a girl, she will let her do whatever she likes then choose a dauntless husband for her in the future, who without doubt must be capable and would spoil her just like how Chu Jinglan spoils herself.
This, however, were just thoughts that so far she deliberately avoided discussing with Chu Jinglan because she knows they themselves are now in the midst of danger. Not only can’t they protect their children but all their previous efforts will be in vain. Hence, she must not increase his burden as he already has more than enough on his shoulder.
At the same time, Chu Sanghuai was in an exultant mood. Taking turns to propose toasts, Wang Ying and Wang Jian expressed words of congratulatory which made him wild with joy that soon he was heard bursting into hearty laughter.
“Having two capable ministers in the royal court to share Our worries while the Empress in the imperial harem bears Our heir, how could We not be delighted!”
The two men promptly bowed and said, “Thank you Your Majesty, this minister does not deserve such praise.”
“There is no need to be overly modest. We have kept tabs of your contributions. Someone come and present the things!”
Once Chu Sanghuai called out, a eunuch with his head bowed immediately stepped out from the rear of the imperial throne and arrived before them with a yellow-orange scroll. Wang Ying and Wang Jian both glanced at each other since they do not know what Chu Sanghuai has up his sleeves yet they still consciously lifted the hem of their robes and knelt down.
“Why are you both kneeling down for? This decree is not for you.”
Immediately, they both looked embarrassed but seeing the pleased smile of Chu Sanghuai, they did not dare reveal a fraction of discontentment. Soon, the clear loud voice of the eunuch resonated, “Henceforth, the levy rights of the central salt and iron will be reinstated while Wang Feng, the inspector of the Board of Revenue will be appointed as the Governor of Jiangnan to supervise the tax collection of Jiangnan’s salt and iron, as hereby quoted!”
Once the words were out, all those present were startled.
Imposing the taxation rights of salt and iron is a harsh and undesirable governance, which had just been abolished during the reign of the late emperor. And now, this land of abundance, Jiangnan has just thrived and prospered after great difficulties but with this sudden decree, the common people will probably complain incessantly. The senior officials here all understood this yet their expressions were not quite alike. Some were extremely worried and concerned for the common people and some beamed with delight as this lucrative post had fallen into the hands of the Wang family, while others were so angry that their faces turned green, such as Xie Yuan.
That’s right, he has long known through Yue Ting that Chu Sanghuai is going to promulgate this decree as the national treasury was already emptied out. Thus he has been busy all this time precisely to rope this position into the hands of the Xie family but he did not expect he would merely miss a move due to the unexpected pregnancy of the Empress which truly incensed him till he pukes blood! Just before he could figure how to stop this, Chu Jinglan had already spoken up.
“Your Majesty, since ancient times, the levy of world’s salt has occupied half of the profits while profits by salt traffickers are even greater. With this sudden levy on both salt and iron, the price will certainly rise and the common people will definitely suffer from it, so please rethink it carefully!”
The smiling expression on Chu Sanghuai’s face was stifled suddenly as he stared gloomily at him and spoke, “What Younger Brother meant is that We do not understand and empathize with the hardships of the common people?”
Chu Jinglan’s face turned harshly stern while the unwavering deep eyes of his did not reveal any emotion and it took a long while before he gradually spoke, “This minister dares not, except this measure involves many, such as construction of government offices, huge recruitment of soldiers, improving service flow, etc. which is time consuming and will incur immeasurable cost, so…”
He intentionally left half of the sentence incomplete as everyone present is clear that the current Board of Revenue simply could not afford these expenses; hence, this immediately attracted the second mentioning of other ministers.
“Reporting to His Majesty, Jiangnan sustained damage through a natural disaster three years ago and is just barely rebounding. Thus, it’s indeed unsuitable to bear such heavy taxation!”
Wang Ying turned around and retorted, “You knew also that it had been three years ago. Now there are many frontier traders from the Hu merchants in Jiangnan which affluence is the highest in Chu Country, therefore, these taxation rights should be reinstated”
“That’s right,” Wang Jian also spoke out in support. “As the saying goes, what is taken from the people is used for the people which is a virtuous circle. How could the common people in Jiangnan be so well-off if the central pivot comes to a standstill?”
“What Lord Wang said is wrong…”
Xie Yuan was interrupted by the angry roar of Chu Sanghuai as soon as he spoke. Although he was extremely furious, he dared not make a sound, lest the wrath of thunder befalls on him while other ministers also silently restrained themselves.
“We invited you to come here for a feast, not to participate in the discussion of governing! This matter is settled and further objections from anyone will be dealt with as disorderly conducts!”
The hall fell in silence as no one spoke again.
Chu Jinglan noticed the gloomy gaze of Chu Sanghuai sweep over his direction. Raising the corner of his eyes slightly, his sight blandly passed through the fragmented shadows of the palace lanterns, across the long stairs to the imperial table before it intersected with Chu Sanhuai’s from afar like two sharp swords that violently clashed in mid-air that the sharp edge impelled each other’s profound strengths.
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