Inner Residence arc ー Chapter 6 (Part 3): Dream of Mandarin Ducks and Butterflies
Xie Zhaoying looked towards Beauty Elder Sister and asked, “Who knows about you coming out this time?”
Beauty Elder Sister said, “When I said that I was going to pray at the temple, no one actually prevented me. Don’t worry, I have Yanyu and Zhengxun helping so they won’t know that I have met you.”
Xie Zhaoying nodded. “Then that’s good. I’m very worried about you.”
Beauty Elder Sister said affectionately, “You don’t have to be worried about me. Take care of yourself and I will be very well.”
The two of them clasped each other’s hands tightly. I figured that if I weren’t there, they probably would have already embraced each other and be all intimate.
Three light knocks suddenly sounded from the door. That pair of small birds in love was brought back to the present. Beauty Elder Sister said, “It’s time I go back.”
My Second Elder Brother was couldn’t bear to part and asked, “When can I see you again?”
“How long will you stay this time?”
“I haven’t met him yet.”
Beauty Elder Sister bit her lips and knitted her eyebrows. “I will help you think of an idea. You should wait patiently first. Never ever enter rashly. You must know how precarious the situation is right now. I heard that anybody else except for that person weren’t able to meet him.”
“It has already gotten to this?”
“That’s right. Moreover, his health has yet to take a turn for the better.”
Xie Zhaoying held her hand and said, “I know, I will wait patiently.”
Han Wangsun popped his head in and said, “Feihua, time’s up.”
Xie Zhaoying suddenly extended his arms and wrapped Feihua in his embrace.
Everyone else and me consciously turned our heads away.
After a short while did the two people then part reluctantly. Feihua wiped her tears and said with a tear-stained face, “I’m going now. Take care.”
Xie Zhaoying was still grabbing her hand tightly with a face filled with deep love. Beauty Feihua steeled her heart to struggle free of his hands, put on her face veil and left hurriedly.
When I saw this scene, I was filled with sympathy. One look at Feihua and you can tell that she was from a noble background and her appearance was not at all inferior to Xie Zhaoke. She was even childhood sweethears with Xie Zhaoying but for some reason she can’t be united in wedlock with him. I felt very regretful that a pair of lovers cannot get married in the end.
After Feihua left, Han Wangsun and the others also took their leave. I accompanied the dejected Xie Zhaoying and walked home slowly.
Xie Zhaoying didn’t speak for the whole journey. His face was enshrouded with a layer of dark clouds and his eyes shone resolutely. There was lightning accompanied by peals of thunder and he was like a stranger I should stay away from.
I plucked up my courage and asked, “Second Elder Brother, who exactly is Elder Sister Feihua?”
Xie Zhaoying’s expression eased up a little. “She’s Qin Feihua(Qín Fěihuá), the sole daughter of the Minister of Works. She’s one of Dong Qi’s Beauty Duo. The other one is your Elder Sister Xie Zhaoke.”
No wonder, no wonder.
Xie Zhaoke was cold and aloof while Qin Feihua was gentle and sweet. Both were peerless beauties.
I asked again, “The parents on both sides don’t approve of your relationship?”
Xie Zhaoying laughed grimly and said, “The Qin Family has intentions of sending Feihua into the palace.”
That was such a coincidence. The Xie Family also had such a plan.
“No wonder everyone wants to be an emperor?”
“Emperor?” Xie Zhaoying ridiculed. “That sickly old Emperor who doesn’t hold any power? It’s not him! After the Crown Prince passed away, there is still Second Prince, Xiao Li(Xiāo Lì) who was brought up by the Empress. Feihua is now a court lady in the Empress’ palace. The intentions of both the Qin Family and Zhao Family are very obvious.”
I said, “This means that our family and the Zhao Family wants to curry favor with the Zhao Family?”
As Xie Zhaoying had just parted with his sweetheart, he was not in a good mood and very cynical about the world. As soon as he opened his mouth, he said, “If the Xiao Clan continues to not pull themselves together, this world is going to eventually changed to the surname Zhao.”
His voice was a little loud. I was frightened until my whole body broke out in cold sweat. While there were still few people in this district, I hurriedly dragged him back home.
When we reached the house entrance, the servants guarding outside the door shouted, “Second Young Master and Fourth Miss have returned!” After that, an enormous mass of people swarmed out noisly. The ones at the lead were Grand Tutor Xie and Madam Xie.
Old Father Xie snorted. “You actually still know how to come back?”
This sentence was targeted against me.
Madam Xie advised him, “Isn’t it alright now that they have returned. The good thing is that you followed along.”
This was said to Xie Zhaoying.
Eldest Brother laughed. “We were all worried about Xiaohua getting lost. As long as you’re back, all’s well. We’re going to eat. Come in, the both of you.”
Xie Zhaoke was elated probably because of the elderly monk’s prophecy that I will take over her position. She hardly let go of her arms that were linked with mine in a reserved manner. I have just come back and didn’t have much appetite, yet she enthusiastically picked dishes for me and filled my bowl with rice.
As expected, I was summoned by the Xie couple to the study after the meal was over.
The study was heavily guarded with candles hung up high. When Grand Tutor Xie’s old scholarly face was illuminated by those lights, the wrinkles appeared and for a while it felt like I had transmigrated again.
Grand Tutor Xie bellowed, “Kneel down!”
“Plop!” I kneeled in front of him and disregarded those nonsense about what gold under the daughter’s knees.
T/n: This phrase doesn’t really exist, but rather, it is adapted from the phrase “there is gold under the son’s knees”, which means that a man cannot easily kneel in front of someone. The MC is a feminist so she changed the “son” with “daughter”.
Madam Xie reminded me kindly, “Not kneel to your father, but kneel to the ancestors.”
Only now did I see a portrait hung on the wall behind Grand Tutor Xie and there was incense lighted in front. It’s just that I have just kneeled in the day and now that I kneel again, the ancestors will also probably find it annoying right.
Grand Tutor Xie spoke earnestly, “You still remember what Great Master Hui Kong said in the day right?”
I rolled my eyes. It wasn’t easy to forget.
Grand Tutor Xie said, “Our Xie Family have already taken up posts as government officials for a hundred years. Within those years, all the generations have been loyal. We had one prime minister, three generals as well as two noble consorts and three imperial concubines. However, we certainly never had……”
“An empress?” I continued.
Grand Tutor Xie ruthlessly gouged out my eyes, “Never had a uncivilized person like you who has no sense of propriety!”
I sulked. “You can’t blame me Father. I have been an idiot for fifteen years when suddenly someones comes tell me that I can be a motherly model for the nation next time. Even anyone else would be shocked until they have arrhythmia.”
Madam Xie actually stood on my side and nodded. “That’s right, Master. Xiaohua is still thoughtless. You should treat her as a two-year-old child.”
Grand Tutor let loose a little steam and he had regained some of the face he lost when I offended him in the day. That elderly put on a stern face and said, “Although you have been sick for a very long time but you are also not young anymore. Since you have already recovered and something like that happened today, it’s better if I let you know a little regarding the Xie Family’s matters.”
Oh? What? The survivors of an evil organization of the previous dynasty? Secret agents of the Martial Arts World? Or Grand Tutor Xie, are you also working for the National Security Bureau?
Grand Tutor Xie said, “In every generations of the Xie Family, there will be a female who will have a marriage alliance with a member of the royalty. Now that it has fallen to my generation, I originally planned to send your Third Elder Sister into the palace.”
So it was this matter.
“Grand Master Hui Kong has never spoken any false words. What he said today, we will see it come true in the future.”
What joke is he cracking! I quickly said, “Father, there is no certainty for anything. Look at this appearance of mine. No one would think that it’s me who will become the empress. If even I can become the empress, then what kind of emperor would this even be!”
Grand Tutor Xie was probably a completely loyal royalist. As soon as he heard what I said, his blood pressure surged up again. “It’s your fortune that you have received from several lifetimes that you are able to enter the palace and serve the emperor. You better not utter nonsense and get the Xie Family into trouble!”
I was actually a nun for eight lifetimes and fully devoted to Buddha, but Buddha tossed me into such an awful mess instead. An empress? Wait until my original body is repaired, I will pat my bottom and leave. Who cares about who wants to enter that palace.
Madam Xie exhorted me repeatedly, “This concerns the hundreds of people in the Xie Family. You can’t tell anyone about what happened in the family hall today. Additionally, from tomorrow onwards, I will tell Teacher Song to provide you one-to-one lessons. You will learn vocal music and needlework in the afternoon……”
A bolt of lightning from a clear sky struck my head all of a sudden. Xie Zhaoke’s misfortune has all fallen onto me? I felt that I was just like a pig who was madly fed with feed to be awaiting its slaughter. After the torturous intake, the fate to die would inevitable ensue.
I creased all my facial features and moved over on my knees to hug Madam Xie’s leg. I cried tragically, “Mother, can I not learn?”
Madam Xie said, “No!”
I said, “I am literate, can also compose a few poems, understand Western languages, somewhat skilled in Maths, Physics and Chemistry and also profi…understand a little Chinese Medicine. I already don’t need to learn anything else!”
Madam Xie asked, “Do you know how to embroider, cook, singing, dancing, play the zither and chess?”
I was disdained with those. “Every woman can. What point is there for me to learn too?”
Madam Xie was very philosophical instead, “All men pursue something novel in a while but they will get tired of it when time passes. Being a traditional and kind wife is still more dependable.”
Grand Tutor coughed uncomfortably. I secretly found it funny.
After that, I was again advised a few words before I was released. Yun Xiang was waiting for me outside the courtyard. I walked back to my own courtyard while ranting to her on the other hand.
Yun Xiang suddenly tugged my sleeve. I closed my mouth and looked towards the direction of her hand.
At the top of the courtyard wall, was a lonely figure. The dismal moonlight stretched the shadow of his back extremely long. He was just like a great eagle who had experienced many vicissitudes of life and was facing this desolate frostiness in his life resolutely.
I used both my hands and legs and exerted a tremendous effort before I finally managed to climb up too and sat beside him.
Outside the wall was a small alley. There would be some merchants who have no license setting up their stalls to buy some melons, fruits, shoes, stockings and stuff. The perimeter wall was also not high. It was the Xie Family’s good fortune that no one stole from them. It was already very late and extremely quiet all around, highlighting the loneliness and pitifulness of the person beside me even more intensely.
I broke the silence. “Second Elder Brother, are you thinking about Elder Sister Feihua?”
Xie Zhaoying had a solemn expression but did not seemed to be gloomy and in grief at all. Instead, there was a kind of urgency that he couldn’t wait to unsheath his sword like a wolf preparing to pounce on its prey. At this moment, he completely did not possess the frivolous and carefree attitude he had in former days. The dispirited image he had displayed suddenly became lofty.
I felt that a man who a girl like Qin Feihua fell in love with shouldn’t be any hedonistic son. Xie Zhaoying abruptly transformed from a second-rate supporting male to an iron-willed male lead with deep-seated resentment who had swallowed much humiliation for the greater good. Fate really likes to play with people.
As I was being rueful, Xie Zhaoying suddenly tapped my shoulder. I thought that he was going to announce some vehement declarations of love but he only pointed with a face full of excitement to a mass of figures in the shadows far away at the corner of the wall. “Look, there is a pair of young affectionate couple having an affair!”
I was speechless with my saliva congealed.
The last part of this chapter! I’m going to start releasing chapters of Bringing Calamity to the Nation around tomorrow so keep updated thanks. 🙂
Update: The other translator and I have decided to collaborate on this project! Hopefully this will mean an increase in not just speed but also quality 🙂 However, updates may cease for a few days for an admin break but rest assured that it’ll be made up by faster releases after the few days. In the meantime, do stay tuned!