T/N: Thank you patrons for sponsoring this chapter part.
Title: ChongFei Manual
Chapter: 123.1 out of 171 - Wedding Day (1)
Wei Luo didn't sleep well last night. She felt as if someone had come by as she was sleeping. There had been a faint scent of cool plum blossoms at the bedside. It was the same scent as the sachet she had given Zhao Jie. Later, someone had pinched her nose so that she couldn't breath. A soft thing had also creeped onto her tongue. She had thought she was dreaming at the time. But, the sensations had felt too real to be a dream.
Even when Wei Luo woke up the next morning, she still couldn't tell if someone had come by or not last night.
However, she didn't have time to keeping thinking about this. Right after she opened her eyes, she saw Jin Lu and Bai Lan bringing inside a copper basin.
Jin Lu dampened a towel and used it wipe Wei Luo's hands, then she asked, "Miss, why did you wake up so early? Old Madam and the other madams won't be here until later. You can still sleep for another hour."
Wei Luo shook her head and said, "I can't fall back asleep. What time is it?"
Jin Lu said, "To respond to Miss, it's 6 AM.
Wei Luo looked at the color of the sky to confirm the time of day. The first glimmer of dawn was barely showing. The outside courtyard was still covered by indigo. The sun was barely up and only a little bit of its radiance was shown. It would be impossible for her to fall asleep again, so she wrapped a light-colored outer robe with a flowering stem pattern around herself, sat up, and ordered Jin Lu and Bai Lan to help her get ready.
Jin Lu took out a small, colorful porcelain bottle, poured brightening pearl powder into the basin, and used her hand to mix in the powder. "Miss, you can wash your face now."
Wei Luo had blended this brightening pearl powder herself. It could whiten her skin and make her complexion glossier. It was even easier to use than the original brightening pearl powder that Han-shi made. Han-shi had praised Wei Luo by saying the student had surpassed the teacher.
(T/N: This powder is made by mixing various herbs. In modern day, it’s added into soap to make it more convenient to use. Supposedly, it was originally created for Empress Cixi. )
After Wei Luo finished washing her face, used salt to brush her teeth, and held a piece of mint leaf in her mouth for a bit, she sat down on the couch facing the southern window and comfortably applied begonia honey to her face. She had also personally made this begonia honey mixture. It was made by combining mashed red begonia flowers into a large container of white honey. Then the mixture would be dried by sunlight for ten days. She would apply this mixture every morning to make her face look more radiant. It was also especially useful for preventing the skin from drying out because of chilly winter winds.
Right after Wei Luo finished applying the begonia flower honey mixture and rinsed off the excess amount, Fourth Madam Qin-shi and First Madam Li-shi came over.
Two older female servants wearing thin red silk bi jia tops embroidered with fern patterns were behind them. They were probably here to thread Wei Luo's face to remove facial hair.
(T/N: The light blue top in the image below is a bi jia top.)
First Madam said with a smile, "Ah Luo's complexion is so good. Did you sleep well last night? Look at this little face. It looks good enough that it doesn’t need any makeup. It looks as moist and smooth as tofu."
First Madam was just joking. Regardless of how good her face was, she still needed to wear makeup on her wedding. However, Wei Luo's complexion really looked very good. After she had applied the begonia flower honey mixture, it concealed that she didn't sleep well last night.
Qin-shi helped Wei Luo sit down in front of a mirror that was engraved with a pair of phoenixes and a flowering grape vine. She was also smiling as she said, "Our Ah Luo is naturally good-looking to begin with. She’s definitely the most beautiful bride in the capital today."
Hearing herself being called "bride" for the first time, Wei Luo suddenly became vividly aware that she really was getting married today. For a moment, she blankly sat on the stool without saying a word.
The two older female servants stepped forward to look at her. If they had previously felt that Qin-shi's words were an exaggeration, they now couldn't help nodding their head in agreement. These two older female servants had seen many brides, even ones that were as beautiful as Wei Luo. But, those brides didn't have Wei Luo's aura of nobility and allure. A glance would show that she was a girl from an aristocratic family. She had an indescribable implicit charm that made people want to firmly hold onto her and also made them feel worried that they weren't worthy of her.
One of the older female servants said, "The bride looks truly charming and elegant. Her future husband is very blessed..."
Hearing these words, Qin-shi was naturally quite happy. She regarded Wei Luo as one of her children. Today, Wei Luo was getting married. Looking at the bright red lanterns and paper cutouts that were inside and outside the room, she actually felt a strong sense of being reluctant to part with her. However, right now wasn't the time to weep, so Qin-shi resisted the urge and said, "Start the threading for the bride."
The two older female servants walked to Wei Luo's side with one person on each side. They twisted the threads against Wei Luo's face. Before Wei Luo had time to react, she felt pain on her cheeks and she quietly yelped.
The older female servant comforted her, "Miss, endure it for a bit. There's only a little bit of hair on your face. This will be over soon." Then, she rapidly twisted the threads to remove more hair. She even laughed as she said, "When I was threading a bride from another family a few days ago, she had a lot of hair and I had to thread for an entire hour. Later, the bride felt that her face hurt as soon as she saw me."
Wei Luo wasn't the only one that was amused into laughing. Even First Madam and Fourth Madam couldn't resist laughing. The mood in the room finally became livelier.
After the threading, it was time to apply makeup and brush her hair.
Wei Luo properly sat in front of the bronze mirror and let the two older female servants torment her. Jin Lu and Bai Lan were nearby to help with minor tasks. Two hours later, Wei Luo's waist and back hurt from sitting still for so long, but everything was done. She carefully looked at the person in the mirror. She almost didn't recognize herself. Previously, Wei Luo could be described as an effortless freehand painting of flowing water. Now, she was a colorful and detailed landscape painting. Blue-green eye shadow, red lips, and a four-petal flower mark between her eyebrows. It was truly as glamorous and lush as gems and had a beautifully, alluring appeal.
Jin Lu and Bai Lan supported Wei Luo to change clothes behind the divider. When Wei Luo came out from behind the divider, Old Madam was leading Second Madam and Wei Ya into the inner room.
Old Madam stepped forward and eyed Wei Luo from top to bottom. She smiled in satisfaction and said, "Our Ah Luo looks even more beautiful while wearing a wedding dress."
With a blushing face, Wei Luo greeted her, "Paternal grandmother."
Wei Luo's was naturally petite and delicate. Compared to girls of the same age, she could barely be considered to have an average height. This wedding dress was custom-made for her with very exquisite stitching. Instead of looking like a child that had stole an adult's clothing, Wei Luo looked very suited to wearing this extravagant dress. Despite her delicate appearance, this dress only increased her dignified temperament.
There were also three other madams behind Old Madam. They were Duke Ding's wife, Marquis Ping Yuan's wife, and even Elder Princess Ping Yang, Zhao Xin. This princess always kept a very low profile and rarely attended her family’s events, including palace banquets. Rumor said that her character and upbringing was outstanding and that her standards were extremely high, so that most girls were below her notice. Wei Luo had only seen her one time at a palace banquet and wouldn't have expected for her to appear today. Based on the current circumstances, she was probably here to be her good luck woman. Although Wei Luo was surprised, she still greeted her.
Elder Princess Ping Yang looked at her. She didn't seem as unkind as rumors describe her. She patted Wei Luo's hand and said, "You're truly very beautiful and a perfect heaven-made match for Chang Sheng.”
Elder Princess Ping Yang appeared today because Zhao Jie had privately requested her. She normally wouldn't have come, but since this was the first time her paternal nephew had asked her for a favor, she didn't have a reason to say no. In addition, she was also curious about what kind of girl would interest Zhao Jie. Zhao Jie had standards above average since he was a child.
If he wasn't interested in something, he would still refuse no matter how many times you pressured him into accepting it. It was rare for him to set his heart on something. She had heard that he had renovate Prince Jing's residence, especially the room that would be the bridal chamber for the future Princess Consort Jing. He had also changed all of the servants in that courtyard. It really showed how much he cared about this young girl.
(T/N: Since there were so many mentions of traditional makeup and skincare in the previous chapter and this one, here’s a youtube video with English subtitles showing how to create makeup from simple and natural ingredients.)