The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 39
Translated by: Oinkoink
Proofread by: Silkscreen
Chapter 39 – Newlyweds Visit
This novel is only hosted on Foxaholic, copies found elsewhere are either stolen or plagiarized.
In the blink of an eye, it was the day for the newlyweds’ visit to Ye Huaiyang’s maiden home. The weather, unfortunately, was not cooperative as it started raining heavily at midnight. When Chu Jinglan and Ye Huaiyang left in the morning, the water level in the square was up to their ankles. The water was so turbid that Ye Huaiyang accidentally stumbled and her whole person almost fell into the puddle when Chu Jinglan caught her just in time.
Both pushed through the torrential rain and arrived at the clan home. When they got off the carriage, Ye Xun already led the whole family in front of the gate and waited patiently to pay their respects once the couple reached the porch.
“Ye Xun leads the entire Ye family to welcome Wangye and Wangfei.”
“Forgo the formality.”
Chu Jinglan waved his hand, all distant and cold between his eyebrows seemingly unconcerned with this display of extremely respectful spectacle. Before the big crowd, he turned to Ye Huaiyang and said, “Go change your clothes.”
Ye Huaiyang got wet on the way there. Furthermore, the weather is humid. The silk skirt was glued to her body since it was drenched with layers of water and sweat, one could imagine how uncomfortable she is. Hearing Chu Jinglan say this, her heart immediately felt warm and she softly responded with a positive word before leaving for her previous bedchamber with the female relatives.
Standing behind the crowd, Ye Huaixin watched this scene silently without any undulating emotion on his face. He then followed Ye Xun who was leading Chu Jinglan to the main hall.
There were two rows of Guanghan-wood armchairs in the hall. Refreshments have been arranged on the square table between the main seats at the end. Ye Xun respectively invited Chu Jinglan to take the seat of honor before he sat on the right. Others were also allowed to take their seats in order. From a glance, all but Ye Hong were junior members of the Ye family. As far as the direct line of descent is concerned, the number of people is indeed a little sparse.
As the person of the highest seniority in the family, Ye Xun’s actions carried accumulated years of wisdom and courage. He did not show the least bit of discrimination since the couple entered the door, unlike other prominent families who shuns Chu Jinglan like vipers. He also didn’t deliberately get close to him because of their relation by marriage. His attitude is neither haughty nor humble, which is just right.
“Wangye, this is the newly picked Lapsang Souchong (black tea) of the year. Its flavor is good. Do try it.”
He raised his cup towards Chu Jinglan across the square table and Chu Jinglan raised his in return, then took a small sip. After moistening his lips, he paused and faintly said, “It’s really good.”
“No one in the family loves drinking this tea more than this lowly official’s second brother. It’s a pity that he lives in seclusion and has not returned home for a long time. It’s also precisely why this lowly official is meeting Wangye on his behalf today. Hope Wangye will excuse any violation of the etiquette.”
“There’s no harm.”
“Then this lowly official will thank Wangye for him.” Ye Xun smiled and then chatted with Chu Jinglan about domestic trivialities. “Speaking of living away for a long time, Wangye is the same too. Not knowing if Wangye felt any changes in Wangdu since this return?”
Chu Jinglan gently whisked the teacup and said, “There are only high buildings and more carriages. In this King’s view, there is not much difference.”
Ye Xun was about to answer when Ye Huaixin interjected abruptly, “Behind the red doors, meat and wine go to waste, while the street outside lie the frozen bones of the poor*. Wangye presumably have not been to the surrounding counties and prefectures. Most of those men are forced to conscript and to construct these moon palace pavilions* regardless of the time of the day. Hundreds have died of exhaustion just for that glorious Youlong water veranda alone. Boldly ask for Wangye’s opinion?”
[T/N: 朱门酒肉臭，路有冻死骨 (Zhūmén jiǔròu chòu, lù yǒu dòng sǐ gǔ) -is from the poet Du Fu of the Tang Dynasty’s “Five Hundred Words from Beijing to Fengxian”. The meaning of this poem is: the smell of wine and meat wafted out of the rich and distinguished people’s house, but the poor died of freezing and starvation in the streets. Describing the social phenomenon of disparity between the rich and the poor.]
[T/N: 琼台玉阁 (Qióng tái yù gé) – moon palace pavilions / magnificent buildings]
Ye Xuan reprimanded, but Ye Huaixin did not respond. He looked directly at Chu Jinglan with no intention of taking back his words. Chu Jinglan also looked at him, with clarity and darkness mingled in his eyes; like thick fog shrouded at the foothills before dawn. It was somewhat cold and clear, yet the actual situation was indiscernible and his emotions indistinguishable. Just when everyone was suspended with anxiety, he gradually opened his mouth.
“Since this is a matter under the Ministry of Works*, they should be accountable for the loss of human lives.”
[T/N: Ministry of Works (工部 Gōng bù) – Those in charge of farming, water conservancy, civil engineering, engineering, transportation, and government-run industries throughout the country]
A stern light flashed across Ye Huaixin’s eyes when he contended loudly, “I’m afraid it’s useless even if all the officials in the Ministry of Works are dragged out for accountability. Wangye should be very clear.”
The Emperor’s extravagance and dissipation these several years, with the overhauling of many provisional palaces and the canal for the dragon boats which conscripted millions of able-bodied men, have caused countless deaths in servitude. This was actually a common fact that everyone knew. Ye Huaixin deliberately said this just to see how Chu Jinglan would react when probed. If he can’t even handle this, how can he protect his sister in the future?
Ye Xun, however, has heard a great deal of disrespect in his words and if this was to spread out it would definitely provoke fatal disaster. Fortunately, there were no outsider present today, so it was temporarily safe but he still sternly rebuked, “Xin’er, don’t talk nonsense in front of Wangye!”
“It doesn’t matter.” Chu Jinglan curled his lips. There was a slight helplessness on his face, yet those keen gaze were like suppressed passing force that caused a sudden profuse sweating. “This King has disregarded political affairs for many years. It felt novel listening to what you have said. Why don’t you first draw out the Minister of Works to hold him accountable and see if it will be useful.”
Xie Yuan is precisely the Minister of Works, who also holds a concurrent post as deputy of Shangshu Province. He is a powerful and influential figure in the royal court, and also the main backbone of the Xie family.
Ye Huaixin was stifled to death with Chu Jinglan’s words.
It’s common knowledge that a summon needs to go through a lot of approval before promulgated by the central government and sent to the local authority. The numerous frictions between both the Zhongshu Province, responsible for decision-making, and Shangshu Province, which oversees the implementation, are too hard to explain in just a few words. Coupled with the conflicts of the prominent families and the poor factions, both Provinces have long been acting in full force like fire and water.
[T/N: Zhōng Shū Shěng (中书省) – Zhongshu Province is one of the three provinces in the central government system. It is mainly responsible for discussing the drafting of bills with the emperor]
[T/N: Shàngshū shěng (尚书省) – Shangsu Province is an agency officially established in the three provinces and six ministries system, and is responsible for implementing important national government orders]
It’s no secret that Xie Yuan rampantly grasped wealth from the construction of fortifications. Zhongshu Province has long wanted to make an example out of him but the Xie family was so powerful that there was no chance to touch him. Zhongshu Province had to suppress their resentment. Chu Jinglan’s words were a direct stab on Ye Huaixin’s achille heels, so how can he not feel stifled?
However, there was a moment when he suddenly felt Chu Jinglan didn’t seem to unwittingly clash with him. He fixed his gaze over, there was a distinct cold-front floating across his pitch-dark eyes, which were deep and piercing that disappeared without a trace. He then looked at Ye Xun and the others. They didn’t know the twists and turns within, they thought Chu Jinglan only said those to evade him, thus his expression remained normal.
It’s definitely not that simple.
Chu Jinglan certainly had a good grasp of the situation in the royal court, if he even knew about this. Hence, such indifference about world affairs is it just for appearance sake?
Ye Huaixin suddenly felt he had been dragged into a game of chess by Chu Jinglan and only both of them were playing this game where he was beaten after only one move.
Seeing that both had stopped talking, Ye Xun laughed and mediated the situation, “Today is the family banquet for the newlyweds’ return, so don’t talk about politics anymore. The rain has just stopped. Wangye, why don’t this lowly official bring you for a stroll around the manor?”
‘There’s no need.” Chu Jinglan put aside the tea cup and stood up, casting a slender shadow on the snow-white stone bricks, “This King will go see Yang’er.”
Ye Xun was somewhat surprised by the turn of events but was also pleased. Let’s not talk about what kind of person Chu Jinglan is. Since Ye Huaiyang has married him, it’s eventually good for husband and wife to always be intimate. Hence, he immediately got someone to send Chu Jinglan over to Ye Huaiyang’s courtyard, but who would have thought Ye Huaixin would volunteer on his own accord.
“Uncle, don’t bother. I will send Wangye over.”
“This…” Ye Xun hesitated a little, but Chu Jinglan readily agreed.
“Alright, go then.”
Both successively stepped out of the door to the backyard. The rain had stopped, the air was fresh and humid. When they crossed the trestle bridge, they encountered a large, dense ginkgo forest where the mist has yet to dissipate. Walking in was like being in the mountains covered with clouds and mists, that within moments, the cuffs of their robes became damp.
Ye Huaixin said coldly along the sound of water dripping off the leaves, “Wangye is skilled in bringing my sister out as a shield.”
“Then you must thank her properly.” Chu Jinglan’s voice was faint, like vast expanse of mist, trembling coldness in the depth, “Without this shield, how could you speak so much nonsense here?”
Ye Huaixin was stifled once again and when Chu Jinglan glanced at him inconsequentially, a burst of chill surged within his entire body. Even though he never looked down on this defeated Wangye before, he now knew how unfathomable Chu Jinglan truly is. No wonder up till now the Emperor and the Queen Mother are still wary against him who is defenseless. It’s also not surprising that his sister is quite obsessed with him…
Thinking of this, he boldly asked, “Since Wangye said so, do you have any thoughts about my sister?”
Chu Jinglan raised his eyes slightly to look at him and said, “You better not probe others like this in Zhongshu Province.”
Ye Huaixin stiffened and fell completely silent.
When they reached the bed chamber, the maidservants who were guarding outside the room came to greet them one after the other. The smart older one took the initiative to speak without waiting to be asked, “Wangye, Eighth Young Master, Wangfei is done changing her clothes. Yue’ya is just combing her hair, you see…”
Chu Jinglan raised his hand and walked straight in. Maidservants on both sides immediately bowed and opened the door. He lifted his robe and entered. Barely stepping over the threshold, clear melodious laughter like skylark sprung into his ears.
“Seventh Sister, I’ve only seen brother-in-law from a distance before, but today I find him so handsome after a closer look. I can’t even take my eyes off of him! What should I do? I want to marry an elegant and handsome husband like him in the future too!”
Another light but slightly haughty voice was heard again, “It’s too late, there’s only this one family in Chu Country and no more branches. You can go look among the Yi tribe and if you are lucky, you may find someone equally matched.”
“Seventh Sister is hateful!”
Overhearing such conversation as soon as he walked in, the corners of Ye Huaixin’s mouth inevitably twitched. He then looked over at Chu Jinglan whose facial expression was also very stiff. The earlier overbearing aura that compelled him into a corner with just a few words was gone. As his thought turned, he curled his lips and slowly exited the room. It didn’t take long before he saw Ye Huailing running out with a blushing face.
“Eighth Brother, why didn’t you call out when you came through the door with brother-in-law. This is so embarrassing!”
Ye Huaixin raised his eyebrows unexpectedly, “What? You dare to say something behind other’s back but not in his presence? Aren’t you fearless? After studying a few days in Yong school with that blockhead Pei Yuanshu, your guts became as small as his!”
“Why are you talking about him for no reason! In any case he is still your senior and you are not allowed to speak ill of him!”
Ye Huailing’s face was thoroughly red like a peach dipped in water, fresh and lovely which invoked Ye Huaixin’s desire to tease her more. He leaned over with a mischievous smile, “Protecting an outsider now, en?”
“You…” Stammering, Ye Huailing raised her fair fist to hit him. Ye Huaixin quickly dodged behind the arched-doorway which compelled her to chase after him then both ran away with playful laughter.
In the room, Chu Jinglan and Ye Huaiyang stood facing each other.
As it has been a long time since Ye Huaiyang moved and stayed in Ye manor, there were only some old clothes left in the clan home. After nitpicking, Yue’ya chose a pink satin skirt with tiny butterflies embroidered with silver thread and a vague ingrained flower pattern mingled among them; this made Ye Huaiyang appear lovely and cute, seemingly a year or two younger than Ye Huailing.
Under Chu Jinglan’s gaze, she felt somewhat shy and spoke in a very small voice, “These are the clothes I wore two years ago, I’ve made you laugh…”
She usually appears mature and competent. This is the first time she showed her girlish side, which caught him somewhat off guard and he momentarily lost his voice. When she didn’t hear any response for a long time, she couldn’t help but raise her eyes to look. Her clear eyes met those pair of abysmal black pupils. Without timidity but emitting dazzling radiance. In the next instant, she stepped forward and gently hugged his waist.
“Would it be alright if we leave after lunch? My family is very nice and I’d like you to get more familiar with them.”
A cold snort escaped his nose, “They are nice. Your twin brother has pursued and attacked me from the main hall all the way to the bedchamber.”
“Really?” Laughing in spite of herself all of a sudden that her shoulders shook. When the laughter quelled, she solemnly said, “He is too worried about me. Please don’t take offence. He will also defend you like defending me in front of outsiders from now on.”
Although this was nonsensical as he, the formidable King Lan, doesn’t need to rely on a naive child to defend him, Chu Jinglan however was inexplicably touched, merely because it was filled with warmth of a family. He lowered his eyes to look at Ye Huaiyang in his arms and saw a faint smile on her delicate face, as warm and genial as the sunlight. At this moment, he doesn’t seem to be only her husband, but also her family.
This feeling…he has truly been missing for a long time.