This chapter has been brought to you by me, and Adnana.
- 堂姐 tang jie: father’s brother’s (older) daughter
- 府 fu: compound or estate; junwang fu: prince’s estate/compound
- 郡王 junwang: second-rank prince; also referred to as junwang ye, i.e. “His [Your] Royal Highness”
- 通房 tongfang: the lowest rank of concubine
- 郡王妃 junwang fei: the official wife of a junwang
- 太监 taijian: court or palace eunuch
Chapter Twenty-Seven: The Difference
As though she had detected that something was wrong with Hua Yi Liu’s mood, Hua Chu Yu said, “Tang Jie, your cloud hairpins are very unique—which craftsman made them?”
“Really, I feel the color is a bit plain.” Hua Yi Liu forced a smile and touched the silver hairpins in her hair. “Are they really good-looking?”
“En, they are very suited to your skin color.” Hua Chu Yu nodded and then looked at Hua Xi Wan. “Xi Wan, don’t you think so?” She did not know that Hua Xi Wan already knew about the matter of Master Zhou, so she gave a special look.
“Second Tang Jie is right,” Hua Xi Wan said with admiration in her voice. “Even I want to copy you and order a set, but I’m just worried I will not look as good as you with them.”
“Xi Wan, you are naturally beautiful; you do not need these outside objects to increase your light.” Hua Yi Liu’s expression became much better and her voice became more energetic. “Before I came to the marquis fu today, Mother told me to thank you. Because of my maternal uncle’s case, it caused Xian Junwang to be suspected. Mother feels great guilt and asks Xi Wan for forgiveness.”
“No need.” Hua Xi Wan smiled as she had the servants replace two plates of pastries for her cousins. “We are one family—there is no need to say courtesies.”
When Hua Chu Yu heard Hua Yi Liu’s words, she finally learned that Second Aunt had pulled Xian Junwang Fu into the matter for the Zhang Family. No wonder Mother had been full of schadenfreude the past days, saying that Second Uncle and Second Aunt were fighting. It was probably because of this. As a junior, she should not judge what Second Aunt did, but when she thought about how Hua Xi Wan had been pulled in, she couldn’t help but say, “It is fortunate that Xian Junwang is generous. It would not be good if he was angry with Xi Wan because of this.”
Hearing the intention to blame in Hua Chu Yu’s voice, the smile on Hua Yi Liu’s face instantly froze. “Only you know to worry about Xi Wan. Then in the past, who caused Xi Wan to become ill and have to stay in bed for a few months?”
When Hua Chu Yu heard this, she wanted to argue that if it wasn’t Hua Yi Liu who had bumped into her, how would she have fallen into the pond and caused Xi Wan to go into the water to save her? But thinking how rare it was for Xi Wan to make a visit, she did not want to make the atmosphere tense, so she suppressed the anger inside.
“Elder Tang Jie really has a good memory. You still remember what happened so many years ago.” Hua Xi Wan put down the teacup in her hand and said sardonically, “I almost do not remember how that happened. Was it because you bumped into Second Tang Jie? Or did Second Tang Jie slip?”
Hua Yi Liu’s lips trembled. A moment later, she laughed dryly. “I do not remember it clearly.”
Hua Chu Yu laughed lightly and did not say anything. But the personal servant girls of the misses all knew what this light laugh meant. The two servant girls who served Hua Yi Liu unconsciously bowed their heads.
Hua Yi Liu’s expression did not change, but she felt a burst of hatred. She was sitting here to be the laughingstock for Hua Xi Wan and Hua Chu Yu. She wanted to leave, but because she had to consider Hua Xi Wan’s identity, she had to smile.
“I remember you always have a difficult time in the summer. How has your sleep and appetite been recently?” Hua Chu Yu was too lazy to argue with Hua Yi Liu and decided to ignore her. She put all of her attention on Hua Xi Wan. “Are the servants in Junwang Fu serving you well?”
“The servants are good, and Junwang Fu has strict etiquette. They do not dare to slack off.” Hua Xi Wan clapped her hands. “Speaking of that, I discover I have forgotten something. A few days ago, I found some rare copies of poem collections in the fu. I thought you would like them, so I had people copy them for you. Later, I will have Bai Xia give them to your servant girls.”
“Really?” Hua Chu Yu’s expression became joyful, and then she immediately said, “I cannot wait. Why doesn’t good Bai Xia give them to me now?”
“Second Miss, please wait for a moment.” Bai Xia curtsied towards Hua Chu Yu. “Even if you call this servant Bad Bai Xia, this servant will give them to you.”
“Such a good servant girl, I don’t bear to say the word bad.” Hua Chu Yu covered her mouth and laughed lightly. “Quick, give me the poem collection. I will give you more praise.”
“This room is slightly suffocating. I am going out for a walk.” At the side, Hua Yi Liu suddenly stood, threw down the words, and then left with her two servant girls.
“Do not pay attention to her; her personality has become even stranger recently.” Hua Chu Yu was worried that Hua Xi Wan’s mood would be affected and hurriedly comforted. “She has been like this to me the last few days. It seems as though all of the Hua Family owes her something.”
Hua Xi Wan raised her eyebrow. “It’s nothing.”
Seeing that she really did not care, Hua Chu Yu sighed and said, “I do understand that she is not in a good mood because of Master Zhou’s tongfang, but there is no reason in this world for everyone to tolerate her so because she is slightly unlucky. Even if we tolerate her, what is the use? After she marries into the Zhou Family, it will only be useful if her husband can tolerate her, if her mother and father-in-law will tolerate her.”
Hua Xi Wan knew that Hua Yi Liu was not an easy-going person and that she liked to overthink. If she married into the Zhou Family, she would have to suffer a few blows before she would learn. “Not everyone in the world is like her parents and would tolerate her.”
Hua Chu Yu wanted to say that even her parents could not tolerate her in everything, but when she thought of her mother’s usual conduct, she sighed. She did not have the face to say this.
“Right, where is Lu Zhu?” Hua Chu Yu only saw Bai Xia, Zi Shan, and Hong Ying. She found it strange. “Did she not return with you?”
“There needs to be someone keeping an eye out in the junwang fu, so I had her stay.” Hua Xi Wan took a sip of the digestive tea, yawned and said, “Tonight, don’t leave. Stay and talk to me. Now that I have married into the junwang fu, I cannot frequently meet you like in the past.”
“Even if you throw me out today, I will not leave.” Hua Chu Yu stood and sat down on the chair nearest to Hua Xi Wan. She grimaced and said, “These days, my mother is picking potential husbands for me, and likes comparing me to you.” Speaking of this, she felt slightly helpless. “Children should not criticize their mothers. In the future, if she offends you in speech, I am going to apologize to you now. Please have some more tolerance. Truthfully, she does not have bad intentions.”
Hua Xi Wan saw the embarrassment on Hua Chu Yu’s face. She nodded and said, “I understand Third Aunt’s conduct.”
Hua Chu Yu still had a grimace. She was grateful yet felt that she was being unjust to Hua Xi Wan. If it wasn’t for her mother spreading rumors outside, then would there be any rumors that Hua Xi Wan had no beauty? She just hadn’t expected that some nonsense that her mother said outside would spread to the point where all of Jing knew it. That was completely unexpected.
In the junwang fu, Mu Tong stood outside the study. Looking at the burning sun in the sky, he couldn’t help but take out a handkerchief to wipe the sweat on his forehead. Just as he put away the handkerchief, he saw a woman in a green robe come over. His brow creased and he stopped the other person. “Isn’t this Miss Lu Zhu—do you have a matter?”
Lu Zhu properly bowed to Mu Tong. “It is hot today, so I made a sour plum shaved ice to relieve the heat for Junwang Ye. Please, Chief Steward Mu, take this in.” She pushed the tray towards Mu Tong and did not show any intentions of entering the study.
Mu Tong looked at the tray and smiled insincerely. “There is probably something that Miss Lu Zhu does not know. Junwang Ye does not like to use anything sour. Miss Lu Zhu, you can enjoy this sour plum shaved ice yourself. This study is an important place and you should not casually come close. In the future, if you are punished because of this, do not blame me for not reminding Miss.”
She had never been treated so impolitely by Mu Tong before. Lu Zhu was stunned and refocused after a moment. Looking at Mu Tong’s insincere smile, she avoided his eyes and said in a soft voice, “Since that is the case, then I will not disturb you further.”
Mu Tong watched coldly as Lu Zhu left with the tray. When the other was seven steps away from him, he called out to her, “Miss Lu Zhu.”
Lu Zhu stilled in her steps. She had a faint smile on her face when she turned back. “Is there something else, Chief Steward Mu?”
“Nothing.” Mu Tong smiled. “Please take care.”
Puzzlement flashed through Lu Zhu’s eyes. When she came out of the yard, she still didn’t understand what Mu Tong had meant with those words.
Seeing Lu Zhu’s figure disappear into the corridors, Mu Tong snorted. In the past, he thought that this was a smart servant girl, but recently, she had not been attending to her duties. She dared to make food for Junwang Ye of her own accord. She should think about what her status was.
Junwang Fei appeared to be one that was hands-off but in reality was someone difficult to fool. Lu Zhu was putting herself onto the road to death. He turned and looked at the other servants who were guarding the study and said disdainfully, “What is most important in being a servant is not how skilled you are, it is loyalty. If one has thoughts they should not…” He narrowed his eyes. “Just watch this Miss Lu Zhu’s ending.”
He also wanted to see what this junwang fei’s actual ability was.
Hua Xi Wan rested for a night at Yi’an Marquis Fu. Just as she dressed and before she could have the morning meal, she heard the servant report that Junwang Ye had come to take her back to the fu.
Arranging the hairpins in Hua Xi Wan’s hair, Hua Chu Yu took a step back and looked carefully before saying with a smile, “Very beautiful.”
Hua Xi Wan smiled and walked together with Hua Chu Yu outside the yard. Breathing in the fresh air of the morning, she turned to look at Hua Chu Yu, saying, “I remember you like to collect the morning dew to make tea.”
“It is a pity that the good tea I made mostly went into a lazy person like you.” Hua Chu Yu sighed and shook her head. “But you are not a person who understands.”
“There is good in being common, and in being refined. This is called the great common and the great refined.” Hua Xi Wan shook her head carelessly. “If the entire room is full of refined people, what is the interest?”
Hua Chu Yu wanted to laugh and say she was making excuses. When she raised her head, she saw a man dressed in brocade at the end of the corridor with some taijian and servant girls who was heading towards them. She stopped walking and said with a faint smile, “Someone has come for you.”
Hua Xi Wan smiled at her and said a few more words before she walked towards Yan Jin Qiu.
Hua Chu Yu silently stood where she was. She waited for Xian Junwang to finish smiling at Hua Xi Wan as he spoke to her, arrange Xi Wan’s hairpins for her before they disappeared together in the corridor. She then slowly started walking with her servant girls.
Translator Ramblings: Most people in this story aren’t blind … … they just decide to be selectively blind.