The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 4

Translated by: Oinkoink

Chapter 4 – Huaiyang

After settling the score with Ye Huaiying the other day, an imperial edict from the Queen Mother arrived at Ye manor the next day summoning Ye Huaiyang to be presented at the palace for an audience. Yue’ya was about to dress her up, but instead she picked the most unremarkable short jacket skirt then simply pushed two begonia beads next to her ears and went out the door.

“Miss, aren’t you a little too plain?” Yue’ya who was following closely behind asked.

“The plainer the better.” Ye Huaiyang responded as she boarded the carriage. She leaned against the carriage’s wall closing her eyes for a catnap while doing the planning in her mind without divulging a single word.

The two from the Eastern Palace probably shouldn’t have any spare time to concern themselves with other matters since Chu Jinglan had just returned to the royal court but unexpectedly she was summoned to the palace, thus it was most likely they were aware of the matter at the flower feasting banquet. She would perhaps not be able to avoid getting reprimanded and if she was to dress up gorgeously, wouldn’t she be adding oil to the fire?

She kneaded her gabella when she thought of it as her delicate face exuded a little frostiness..

Ye Huaiying was a little foolish yet there wasn’t any scheming after all, instead she could be considered blunt as she would just throw herself directly to the person which she fancied but what was the matter with this King Lu? He shouldn’t have used such strong words even if he felt disgusted which not only drove Ye Huaiying to ruin but even his own prestige would no way be good too? This was thoroughly odious!

Anyway, she would bear this debt in mind and slowly settled it with him when she had the chance.

No matter how intense the fire was burning in her heart, she had to restrain herself when entering the palace door and must act like nothing had happened to conceal this disgraceful affair, also not allowing others to look down on Ye family even a tiny bit as this was her responsibility being the head of the family.

The autumn wind was soughing across the sparsely droopy willow trees when the inner city of the Imperial Palace was right in front after crossing the crystal-clear city moat. The breathtaking golden bricks and green tiles roof was bedazzled, however Ye Huaiyang was not the least distracted by this astounding sight as she walked towards Han Zhang Palace. The eunuch guarding the door immediately bowed and gave way when he saw her then he raised his right hand to push the heavy palace door open. 

“You are here, Miss Ye. This way please.”

A peal of melodious voices and soft laughters was heard inside the palace as the vermillion red door was opened, Ye Huaiyang leaned aside to ask as she sluggishly walked in, “Are those niang-niang[1] here paying respects to the Queen Mother?”

The wrinkled eunuch responded with a distant smile, “No, those are the three young misses from the Wang, Xie and Bai who come to listen to the teachings of the Queen Mother.”

Ye Huaiyang gazed fixedly without saying a word as she immediately lifted her foot and walked in with a sneer in her mind.

What teachings were there to listen to, the Queen Mother was simply trying to seize on this incident as a warning that included them as well as all the other prominent families in Wangdu to have them keep in mind not to secretly roping in influences! It seemed like she would have to rack her mind to get through this if she wished to leave here soundly today. With this in mind, she stood behind the peony screen taking a deep breath before treading her way to the centre of the palace.

“This subject pays her respect to the Queen Mother. Wishing the Queen Mother happiness and peacefulness”

The laughter in the palace ceased abruptly because of her as several gazes shot over. She instantly became the focal point perhaps due to her excessively plain clothing. A sneer could then be heard from the seat of honor and everyone knew the only one who dared to be so presumptuous in front of the Queen Mother was none other than Wang Wanting.

The Queen Mother who was sitting on the main seat gently moved her gaze away as she held up a teacup then whisked it before taking a sip with an unparalleled gracefulness and only spoke to Ye Huaiyang after her chagrin had dispersed, “Rise. Take a seat.”

Ye Huaiyang made an obeisance with gratitude and immediately took a seat on the lower right armchair which was next to Xie family’s eldest daughter, Xie Yun.

“I remember that mei-mei[2] loves strong colors. What’s with such plain dressing today? From afar I’ve thought which insensible palace maid had forced her way in.”

Wang Wanting covered her soft laugh as her golden buyao[3] on her head quivered along which made her even more like an arrogant peacock. She had relied on her status as the niece of the Queen Mother to brazenly make trouble for Ye Huaiyang just to subdue her usual haughtiness.

Ye Huaiyang was calm without a waver as she raised her cherry lips and casually said, “I’m not as collected as jie-jie[4]. I always follow my own preferences without any scruples when I would like the new and hate the old, this is giving jie-jie a good laugh.”

“Is it? I must have a bad memory as mei-mei naturally does have a candid personality.” Wang Wanting tilted her lips as she lightly snorted with a contempt look.

As the war of words was undertaken, someone outside the palace arrived to pay a visit but those inside knew nothing about it.

The eunuch narrowed his eyes looking into the distance when his body instantly stretched taut  and his previous flaunting his seniority composure which he imposed on Ye Huaiyang, immediately vanished. He got down on his knees for the salutation when the visitor drew closer, ‘Nucai[5] is calling on Wangye.”

Chu Jinglan didn’t look at him or let him rise. Standing upright with eyes staring ahead as a low and deep voice escaped from his throat, “This King comes to pay the Queen Mother a formal visit.”

The eunuch awkwardly stated, “The Queen Mother is admonishing a few noble ladies now. Would Wangye…..”

“It’s no bother. This King can wait.”

His enunciation was distinct and decisive that no one seemed able to refute him after those few brief words were spoken. The eunuch had originally wanted to invite him to take a seat in the side hall for the time being but his eloquent mouth was somehow seemingly stuffed full with mud and no word was able to come out after that forceful voice, so he just gave him the free rein to stand in front of the door and dared not approach him rashly.

The dialogue in the palace was still going on at this moment and every word was heard by Chu Jinglan.

“Mei-mei does maintain your morality but it’s a pity you are holding the responsibilities of the family so when the clan concubine-born sisters’ conduct were somewhat improper, shouldn’t they be disciplined as to avoid any implication on yourself and practically ruin your reputation.”

Ye Huaiyang raised her eyes to shoot a glance at Wang Wanting then lowered the butterfly’s wing-like eyelashes once again which casted a layer of dense shadow to conceal the disgust in her phoenix eyes.

“Jie-jie is really worthy to have attended the imperial college which has also benefited me greatly from your spoken words.”

“You should stop pretending!” Wang Wanting could hear the sarcasm in her words as she clenched her fist and slowly stood up, “Who doesn’t know the daughter of Ye family openly seducing brother King Lu at the flower feasting banquet? Though a prominent family but the daughters are taught differently as some are naturally in the habit of ingratiating themselves to seek connection. Paternal aunt, like I say, these people should be severely punished otherwise how would they learn the lesson?”

The Queen Mother subtly moved her eyebrows yet her expression appeared even more unfathomable. The old and sharp eyes merely turned over Wang Wanting’s temple which caused her whole body to freeze and she dared not say another word again.

Those were the words that Ye Huaiyang had wanted to hear so she arched her pink lips and made use of this opportunity for her own gain, “Jie-jie is right. I also feel that punishment should be imposed after all, not everyone is like us who could constantly listen to the Queen Mother’s teachings. What would be the use if they revert to their own former ways again a few later later after the one punishment? That’s why I think prevention is better than cure.”

Wang Wanting was entirely unaware that she had already fallen into her trap that she didn’t even notice her wet nurse’s wink when she swiftly blurted out, “What prevention methods are you talking about?”

Ye Huaiyang raised her face then swept her sleeves as she stood up and gracefully walked to face the Queen Mother before she stated, “This subject has heard from my elder brother that the Emperor has always have the idea of setting up a women’s school, but the natural disaster had been unceasing these past years hence the national treasury is constrained to aid in poverty alleviation and unable to cope with this idea. Even though this subject is just a boudoir girl, she has always admired the wise-reign of the Emperor. As the concubine-born sister had recently committed a grave mistake thus this official daughter truly thinks she should contribute to regulate the women’s moral conduct. Therefore would earnestly request the Queen Mother to graciously grant Ye Shi to tribute ten thousand silver liang for the Emperor to build the women’s school.”

The Queen Mother looked at Ye Huaiyang with a knife-like glance as if she was streaking every inch of her slender body but Ye Huaiyang appeared not affected at all, with her eyes down and her body bent with a proper etiquette of approaching the ground posture that disallowing anyone to nitpick a single fault.

Heaven knows that the Emperor had absolutely never mentioned a word about this before.

None of the noble girls or the sl*ves in this palace knew about this matter except Ye Huaiyang and the Queen Mother. If the construction of the women’s school was to rely on taxation, those gleaming silvers would have taken ages to collect. The Emperor however was already placed on the pedestal thus he would have no choice but to honor it. After all, women joining the royal court had now ‘spring up like mushrooms’ where a large number of female officials had emerged, hence if the women’s school were to be regulated then it would truly be a blessing to the country.

Ten thousand liang to redeem a lost cause of moral conduct, she was offering a deal with the Queen Mother.

How could the cunning and crafty Queen Mother fail to understand Ye Huaiyang’s intention? Although she was extremely angry, she was unable to rebut her in the presence of everyone here, after all the Emperor had already been dragged by her into this with no room for reversal and could only take advantage of this ploy.

“You’re truly considerate.”

Ye Huaiyang made another curtsy, “Thanks the Queen Mother for the praise. This subject doesn’t deserve your praise. It should be this subject’s fortune to be able to make this small contribution to the country however, Ye family’s ability is limited and it could be difficult for this matter to succeed hence this subject hopes that all the large prominent families will also give your valuable assistance.”

Just one sentence she had overturned the ‘add insult to injury’ ploy and dragged all those who remained indifference into her goal.

The Queen Mother immediately narrowed her eyes and swept across each one of the several people who were present. As she was deliberating, there was a shadow moving in from the lower right direction. Xie Yun raised her lake-blue skirt as she slowly stepped forward then knelt beside Ye Huaiyang.

‘This untalented subject is willing to follow the example of Ye family’s mei-mei to tribute ten thousand liang to lessen the Emperor’s concern.”

The inner palace fell in complete silence at the end of the words.

Bai Shi didn’t utter a word as she might not have money or one who couldn’t make decisions for the Bai family and was now caught in the middle of an awkward situation. Wang Wanting didn’t say a word as she probably had already fathomed that she incidentally had helped Ye Huaiyang achieves a truly ingenious motive and also entrapped her paternal aunt as well as everyone present. At this moment, she felt truly regretful that her intestines had turned green and daren’t speak a word anymore.

The Queen Mother unexpectedly revealed a smile in this extremely awkward moment.

“It’s not workable with having only the silvers as the essence of learning lies with the teachers. The Wang’s and Bai’s have produced many famous scholars, hence this task will be given to both of you.”

Both people quiverly and pensively knelt down for salutation, “This subject will obey.”

Chu Jinglan who was silently listening outside, gradually raised his serene eyes looking into the palace as if he could pierce through the door like the thread of satin swaying against the wind sliding across the marble steps and landed silently.

The girl who spoke in the restaurant yesterday was inside the palace and was still as sharp-tongued. It was truly destined by Heaven for him to meet two members of the Ye family in one day.

As if to confirm his thought, the palace was finally quiet and the door panels simultaneously opened wide right before his eyes as several noble girls successively walked out. They were slightly startled when they saw him then one after another, they forced their way through and fled as if they had bumped into the snake plague. Chu Jinglan turned a blind eye and coldly clasped his hands behind his back then walked into the palace but who would have thought he would run into a slender willowy shadow at the corner.

She gracefully made a bow just when a rush of cool breeze passed through the hall blowing up her sleeves and fluttering up her hair.

“Ye Huaiyang pays respect to Wangye.”

With the wind soughing, the words were still precisely piercing into the ears of Chu Jinglan like the water striking the stone that he couldn’t help but to gaze at the girl in front of him. Barefaced and dressed in a plain skirt with both hands overlapped in front of her while her sleeves fluttered in the wind. She steadfastly stood her ground and quietly looked up at him except those eyes…..seemingly somewhat revealed bare, naked.

This was simply abandoning all restraint.

Chu Jinglan drastically looked away and walked towards the inner of the palace. The silver-gray robe swung out in the air creating an arc and soon varnished into the slowly closed door then disappearing without a trace as the door firmly closed.

Ye Huaiyang stood at the same place in a daze when a moment later, she immediately smiled at herself harboring an astringent look.

He didn’t remember her anymore….


[1] Niángniáng(娘娘) – emperor’s consorts/empress

[2] Mèi-mei (妹妹) – younger sister

[3] Bù yáo (步搖) – dangling hair ornament worn by women

[4] Jiě-jiě (姐姐) – elder sister

[5]Núcái (奴才) – your humble sl*ve

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