T/N: Thank you patrons for sponsoring this chapter part.
Title: ChongFei Manual
Chapter: 141.2 out of 171
Zhao Liuli was wearing a red jacket embroidered with numerous butterflies in Su style, a dark green pleated skirt embodied with scenes of the jade girl carrying gifts, and a moon white cloak. She looked slightly embarrassed. When Wei Luo got closer, she whispered, “Before you came, second and third paternal aunt were openly discussing about my marriage. I didn’t have a better idea, so I hid behind here.”
(T/N: Below is a picture of that type of jacket and a pleated skirt.)
Wei Luo turned her head to look. She didn’t expect that the two elder princesses would be so warm-hearted. She turned her head back and asked Liuli, “Did you say anything to Empress Chen? Did Yang Zhen send you any letters?”
Zhao Liuli shook her head. Her two slender eyes brows were twisted. She turned around, placed her elbow on the railing for support, and rested her chin in her hand. “I decided to wait until older brother Yang Zhen comes back. He probably won’t be able to write a letter while he’s in the army. Even if he writes a letter, he won’t have a way to deliver the letter into the palace. Right now, I don’t know how he’s been.”
Wei Luo thought for a moment before saying, “I’ll talk with your older brother later to see if he has a way to make contact with Yang Zhen. If he receives any news about Yang Zhen, I’ll enter the palace to tell you.”
Delighted, Zhao Liuli hurriedly hugged Wei Luo and said with a smile, “Older imperial sister-in-law treats me the best.”
Although Zhao Liuli was one year older than Wei Luo, she easily and smoothly called her “older imperial sister-in-law.”
After they finished talking about this, Zhao Liuli looked around. Seeing that there was no one around, she whispered into Wei Luo’s ear, “Ah Luo, do you know what happened to Li Xiang?”
Wei Luo blinked, “What could have happened to her?”
Wei Luo had spent the entire month in Tian Chan Mountain, so she didn’t know what had recently happened in the capital. Now that Zhao Liuli was asking her this, she really didn’t have any ideas.
Zhao Liuli added, “I heard that when Li Xiang went to Temple Ci to burn incense a month ago, she met with a mishap for some unknown reason. She was robbed by bandits and stayed in the mountain woods overnight…” She paused before saying in absolutely horrified tone, “A wild animal gnawed off half of her leg.”
Wei Luo’s eyes were opened so wide that they were like circles, “Really?”
Zhao Liuli seriously nodded. She shuddered as soon as she imagined that scene. “Imperial mother told me this. It was so terrifying to hear. Imperial father ordered people to send over tonics to express his condolences. Elder Princess Gao Yang didn’t make a public appearance. She said she was staying at home to keep Li Xiang company. Li Xiang tried to kill herself for a month before she finally calmed down a few days ago.”
Zhao Liuli sympathetically thought. Even if tonics were sent over, what use would they have? Li Xiang would forever be a cripple.
Wei Luo didn’t have much of a reaction after hearing this. She didn’t feel sympathetic. After all, there was a deeply ingrained long-standing resentment between her and Li Xiang. She wasn’t a noble person that could requite evil with good. She was only curious. From Zhao Liuli’s words, it seemed as if someone had deliberately wanted to harm Li Xiang. Who hated her that much?
As she was wondering this, the emperor and empress arrived.
Emperor Chong Zhen and Empress Chen were walking side to side and Noble Consort Ning was following behind them. Empress Chen was wearing a red robe with wide sleeves. The robe was embroidered with auspicious clouds and symbols. There was a dragon and phoenix crown on her head. She looked dignified and elegant and her beauty was majestic. Compared to Empress Chen, Noble Consort Ning’s red jacket that was embroidered with the four seasons seemed too lowborn.
(T/N: Below is a picture of the dragon and phoenix crown.)
Everyone kneeled down to salute. Emperor Chong Zhen and Empress Chen sat down at the head of the long, red sandalwood table. He waved his hand and said, “You can all rise. Since it’s a family banquet, just act normal. There’s no need say or do anything unnecessarily elaborate.”
Everyone sat down in order. Wei Luo sat down next to Zhao Jie. The third prince and the third princess consort were siting next to them.
The family banquet smoothly started. First, Emperor Chong Zhen asked the young princes what they had achieved from their studies this year. Then, he asked Zhao Jie what he had seen and heard in Tong Zhou. Zhao Jie’s answer was watertight. She could see that Emperor Chong Zhen was very pleased.
When the banquet had progressed to halfway, it was time for the mood of the banquet to be at it’s best. But, Noble Consort Ning’s silence was completely incompatible with the noisy surroundings.
Emperor Chong Zhen glanced at her and asked, “Noble Consort Ning, why are you frowning? What’s there to be unhappy about?”
Noble Consort Ning put down her wine cup, respectfully half rose up from her chair, and said, “This consort has acted disrespectful by disturbing His Majesty’s refined and elegant state of mind.”
Her eyes were red. She was a well-maintained woman in her thirties that looked as if she was in her twenties. “This consort is just feeling heartache when I see this lively occasion and think about how Zhang-er can only stay at home without anyone to accompany him.”
Emperor Chong Zhen lowered his eyes. The smile on his face didn’t change. He only though-provokingly asked, “Noble Consort Ning, you’re thinking about old five?”
Seeing that he wasn’t angry, Noble Consort mustered up her courage to plead, “Your Majesty had said that Zhang-er would be confined at his home for three months. Two months had already passed. Could you pardon him in advance? That way he could also have a peaceful and steady New Year.”
Emperor Chong Zhen didn’t immediately speak. Perhaps, he was considering her request.
At the side, Empress Chen stood up with a calm expression and said, “This consort isn’t feeling well and won’t be able to accompany His Majesty in seeing the New Year. Your Majesty, enjoy yourself. This consort will be leaving first.”