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Title: ChongFei Manual
Chapter: 108.1 out of 171
The palace banquet hadn't started yet. The women from noble families were gathered in Rong Hua Hall's side chamber.
Only Wu Rong's emperor and prince had come to the banquet. Since there weren’t any women from Wu Rong in the side chamber, the atmosphere was fairly cordial and harmonious here.
Wei Luo had heard that Empress Chen and Noble Consort Ning would both be attending the palace banquet. This was the first time that Wei Luo saw Noble Consort Ning. Although Wei Luo frequently came to the palace, she only talked with Zhao Liuli and Empress Chen. Other than seeing Zhao Lin Lang a few times, she never came into any contact with people on Noble Consort Ning's side.
In the center of the side chamber, next to the red sandalwood couch, there was a woman wearing a short-sleeve moon white top and a colorful silk skirt with golden embroidery. Her hair was arranged in a ling yun hairstyle with a white jade fan-shaped accessory that was connected to rubies and sapphires. In all details, she was richly and gorgeously adorned. She was probably fifth prince Zhao Zhang and Princess Lin Lang’s mother, Noble Consort Ning.
(T/N: Below is a picture of ling yun hairstyle and the fan-shaped accessory.)
In contrast, although Empress Chen's style of dress wasn't as showy as Noble Consort Ning's, she had a different type of beauty that was dignified and magnanimous. Empress Chen was wearing a deep blue-green robe embroidered with phoenixes and peony flowers. Her hair was arranged in a qing hairstyle with crystal and jasper hairpins. She was only wearing a small amount of makeup.
(T/N: Below is a picture of qing hairstyle.)
Empress Chen was currently lazily leaning against a large pillow embroidered with flowers. Her simplistic elegance was delightful. Empress Chen was naturally attractive. In terms of natural appearance, she was even more excellent than Noble Consort Ning. However, she didn't like to mess with cosmetics and gauzy silk fabrics. This was the only reason why her appearance wasn't as brightly vivid as Noble Consort Ning.
However, this was the difference between a legal wife and a concubine. The legal wife was in charge of the general situation. A concubine needed to dress herself up gorgeously to curry favor. Wei Luo couldn't help thinking that if she were Emperor Chong Zhen, she would definitely prefer Empress Chen. Empress Chen could go to battlefields and formal occasions. She was superior to a concubine that only knew how to make herself pretty.
Wei Luo walked to Empress Chen, saluted, and said with a smiling face, "This subject greets Her Majesty." Then, she paused, looked at Noble Consort Ning, and said, "Greetings Noble Consort Ning."
Empress Chen was very happy to see her. She called her to come closer, "Ah Luo, come here. Let this empress look at you. How come your face looks thinner? Have you not been eating well?"
Now that Empress Chen thought about it, this was the first time she saw Wei Luo after she got engaged to Zhao Jie.
Empress Chen had finally arranged her son's lifetime event. She felt very grateful towards Wei Luo for resolving this matter that had greatly burdened her heart. Her attitude was also much more intimate than before. The rest of the young ladies were also standing nearby, but right after seeing Wei Luo, Empress Chen only called Wei Luo forward to chat with her.
Empress Chen carefully looked over Wei Luo's small face and asked in concern, "Are you too tired from preparing for the wedding or your dowry? If there's anything you’re missing, don't hesitate to ask this empress. This empress will have Chang Sheng prepare...." She paused, suddenly laughed, and said, "I'm being silly. How could Chang Sheng need this empress to remind him? He's already started preparing everything himself."
Wei Luo hadn't expected that Empress Chen would say these words in public. The smile on her face froze and she became embarrassed. Faced with Noble Consort Ning and Zhao Liuli's ambiguous gazes, she flatly denied, "No... Your Majesty, thank you for your concern..."
Where did she look thinner? How could the empress tell? Wei Luo was very puzzled.
Unfortunately, Empress Chen was very happy with talking about Wei Luo and Zhao Jie's wedding and didn't pay attention to Wei Luo's words. Like an unstoppable stream, Empress continued, "You don't know, but Prince Jing's residence's upkeep hasn't been maintained and its appearance wasn’t very good. There were even some courtyards with weeds that were grown to the height of half of a person. Those courtyards were finally being straightened out and repaired. This empress heard that he's renovated the receiving room, the main courtyard, and the inner courtyards. The interior of those rooms have been also been redecorated. The residence looks presentable now."
Wei Luo felt slightly uncomfortable. She didn't know what to say, so she lowered her head and seriously drank her tea while pretending that she didn't hear anything.
At this moment, there was suddenly the sound of porcelain dropping onto the ground.
One after another, everyone looked in that direction. They saw Gao Dan Yang's pale face. She was sitting at a black square table that was inlayed with gold and had spiral carvings. She politely half rose out of her chair to salute Empress Chen and in a grievance tone, she explained, "It's my fault. My hand accidentally slipped and showed maternal aunt this laughable scene..."
Empress Chen furrowed her eyebrows. Of course, she knew what Gao Dan Yang was feeling. How was it a slippery hand? She had clearly been upset after hearing their conversation. To be honest, Empress Chen felt a twinge of guilt towards her. After all, she had delayed her marriage for so many years and she didn't give her anything in the end. But, she also felt slightly angry about Gao Dan Yang's persistence. She had already clearly explained everything. As long as Gao Dan Yang was willing, she could arrange a good marriage partner for her. But, she insisted on being stubborn and wouldn't give up on Zhao Jie until she personally saw him getting married.
What would change if she sees Zhao Jie getting married? Would she disgrace herself like today? Empress Chen's mood was complicated. She didn't blame her and only said, "Go change your clothes. Seeing that your complexion doesn't look good, you should go and have a good rest. It's important to pay attention to your health."
This was a tactful way of telling her to go home. The implication was that she didn't have to come back.
With great difficultly, Gao Dan Yang stopped herself from crying. She stood up, said "yes", turned around, and slowly left the side chamber.
As she was leaving, she felt that everyone was looking at her with sympathetic eyes that pitied her. She couldn't stand the expression in their eyes. Holding in her tears, she started walking faster and faster.
After the banquet started, one after another, men entered the main hall.
The men and women were seated in separate rooms. Emperor Chong Zhen was entertaining the officials in the main room in Rong Hua Hall. Empress Chen was entertaining the ladies in the side chamber.
Emperor Chong Zhen was wearing a formal, golden imperial robe with the twelve symbols. There was a guan crown on his head. Although he was over forty years old, his heroic appearance hadn't deteriorated at all. He was as magnificent as the setting sun.
(T/N: Below is a picture of the imperial robe and the guan crown he's wearing. The twelve symbols are the sun, the moon, the stars, the mountains, dragons, flowers and insects, ancestral sacrifice through wine, aquatic plants, fire, rice, embroidery, and ranking. Only the emperor and senior officials would wear clothes with this set of twelve symbols.)
From the front row to the last row, one after another, the court officials saluted and loudly called out, "May the emperor live thousands and thousands of years."
Emperor Chong Zhen waved his hand and ordered everyone to sit down. His line of sight turned and landed on Wu Rong's emperor. "Brother Wan, sit down too."
Wu Rong's emperor, Wan Qi Yu, was wearing a dark reddish purple formal robe. He was slightly older than Emperor Chong Zhen. The lower half of his face was covered in a beard. Even so, his handsome face couldn't be hidden. He had a high nose and deep eyes. No wonder people described Wu Rong's emperor as "the old emperor". How could they not think he was old with such a long beard? In reality, he was only older than Emperor Chong Zhen by two years.
Wan Qi Yu placed his left hand on his chest as a ceremonial gesture to express his gratitude towards Emperor Chong Zhen. Soon after, he sat down behind a table with slanted upward edges. Wan Qi Zhen, who was next to him, was wearing an official red and green robe with narrow sleeves. He was Wu Rong's fourth prince. He was seven feet tall and strongly built. His handsome face had a high nose and deep facial features.
Because he had lived in the wild grasslands for many years and experienced being blown by the wind and shined by the sun every day, his skin was very dark. But, he didn't look ugly. Instead, it increased his masculine appearance. When he sat down behind the same table as Wu Rong's emperor, it made the table seem smaller.
Emperor Chong Zhen was very easygoing. He indicated that everyone could pick up their chopsticks to start eating.