Title: ChongFei Manual
Chapter: 163.2 out of 171
Wei Luo didn’t care that much about Gao Wan’s change. Ninth prince and his princess consort were sitting to her left. The ninth princess consort, Sun Rong Yu, was a high official’s daughter. She was a lively, charming, and lovable girl. As soon as she had sat down, she politely called Wei Luo, “Second imperial sister-in-law.” When she greeted Zhao Jie, she was also natural and unrestrained in her conduct and speech. Wei Luo returned her greeting with a smile.
Zhao Jie and Zhao Chen would occasionally say a few words to each other. Wei Luo didn’t have anything she needed to do. When the singers and dancers had dispersed and the banquet began, she lowered her head to eat the sweet and sour shrimp in front of her.
Wei Luo had only eaten two shrimps before she felt it was too bothersome to continue peeling the shrimp. And so, she wiped her hand and stopped eating the shrimp.
She took this time to look at the emperor and empress, who were sitting in the highest seats. Empress Chen was sitting by Emperor Chong Zhen’s side. She was faintly smiling and her bearing was completely dignified.
Emperor Chong Zhen was intent on improving the relationship between them. He ordered a servant to pour wine into the ceramic glaze cup in front of Empress Chen.
Empress Chen gracefully declined, “Your Majesty, thank you, but this consort can’t drink wine.”
Surprised, the emperor incredulously asked, “This emperor remembers that you used to... be able to drink wine.” When they had been in the army camps, Wan Wan hadn’t cared about formality. She would occasionally sit with the soldiers and drink wine to celebrate. It wasn’t like what she had just said. She didn’t have any problems with drinking wine.
Empress Chen lowered her eyes. A long time later, she finally said, “This consort’s stomach isn’t well. Ten years ago, the imperial doctors have recommended that this consort drink less wine.”
Emperor Chong was even more surprised. If her words were true, then did this mean that she had been enduring pain every time she accompanied him with drining wine during social interactions with the court officials all these years during banquets? But, she had never mentioned this to him. Then, had she silently endured the pain by herself after going back to Zhao Yang Hall?
Emperor Chong Zhen grabbed Empress Chen’s hand. He didn’t care that they were under the eyes of the public. His heart felt as if it had been tied into a hundred knots. He softly said, “Wan Wan, this emperor has let you down during the past years. Could you forgive this emperor? This emperor promises to make up to you for all past mistakes…”
Empress Chen’s expression didn’t change as she took her hand out of his. She looked at the officials that were sitting below them and said, “The birthday banquet hasn’t ended yet. Your Majesty, please don’t act discourteously.”
Emperor Chong Zhen felt as he was trying to fight against cotton. No matter what he said, it was futile. He felt deeply powerless.
His Wan Wan would probably never forgive him. The emperor’s heart felt desolate and empty. It felt as if someone had a carved out a piece of his heart. The heart wasn’t logical, even drinking couldn’t alleviate his heart's pain
When Wei Luo stopped looking at the emperor and empress, she saw that there were several peeled shrimps in her white porcelain plate that had a pattern of brightly colored peony flowers. She turned her head and saw that Zhao Jie was methodically peeling the shrimps for her. After he finished peeling another one, he placed it on her plate. With the corners of his lips curved and his eyes still focused on the shrimps, he asked her, “What are you looking at?”
Feeling touched, she asked, “How did you know I want to eat shrimp?”
Zhao Jie slanted his head to glance at her. His phoenix eyes were smiling. “Is there anything about you that I don’t know?”
Wei Luo opened and closed her mouth. She couldn’t find any words to say.
A while later, after Zhao Jie had finished peeling half a plate of sweet and sour shrimp and used a towel to wipe his hands, he pushed her plate closer to her and said, “Here, you should eat it.” She previously had an obvious look of wanting to eat the shrimp, but she had stopped after finding it bothersome to peel the shrimp. However, her eyes kept sweeping down to look at the shrimp with an undoubtedly longing gaze.
On the side, the ninth princess consort saw this sight and showed an envious expression. When she looked at ninth prince Zhao Chen, her eyes clearly expressed, “Look at what he’s doing. Look at yourself.”
The ninth prince helplessly touched his nose. He used his chopsticks to pick up a piece of braised meat and placed it on Sun Rong Yu’s plate. He said, “Here, I know you like to eat this.”
Sun Rong Yu cast an annoyed look at him. She knew it wouldn’t be good to express her temper towards Zhao Chen at this type of occasion, so she only flattened her lips and didn’t willfully cause trouble. She obediently ate the braised meat.
Wei Luo would still occasionally feel nauseous. She had been sitting in Lin De Hall for such a long time and the surrounding voices were also too noisy, so she felt as if she was going to throw up soon. She had Jin Lu go over to Empress Chen to excuse her from the banquet. Then, she left Lin De Hall with her eyebrows furrowed.
Outside the hall, Wei Luo held a lacquered pillar that was decorated with dragons for support. She kept retching even after she threw up everything she had recently eaten. Her stomach felt very empty and uncomfortable.
Wei Luo eyes were red by the time she finally recovered from throwing up. Zhao Jie took out a handkerchief and wiped the corners of her mouth. “If you’re not feeling well, we can go home right now.”
Wei Luo took the teacup that Jin Lu had brought over and rinsed her mouth. She snuggled up in Zhao Jie’s arms. A few moments later, she lightly nodded.
Zhao Jie ordered Zhu Geng to go and prepare their carriage and he returned to the hall to bid Emperor Chong Zhen and Empress Chen goodbye while Wei Luo stood outside the hall to wait. As she was waiting outside, she suddenly saw someone coming over here from the verandah across from here. There were octagonal lanterns hanging in the verandah, but the lighting was dim. Wei Luo saw that the person was wearing a lavender jacket with a pattern of eight treasures in Su style embroidery. Her skirt that was embroidered with golden butterflies was fluttering as she walked. It was Gao Qing Yang.
There was a brief moment before Gao Qing Yang changed her expression when she reached Wei Luo’s side. She saluted Wei Luo, “Greetings Your Highness.”
Although Gao Qing Yang’s expression now looked very natural, Wei Luo had still seen her previously sullen eyes. Wei Luo smiled in response and asked, “Miss Gao, why did you come out here too?”
Gao Qing Yang pursed her lips and was barely able to force herself to smile. “It was too stuffy inside the hall, so I wanted to come out to walk around for a bit. I’m going to go back inside now.”
Wei Luo didn’t ask any further questions. She only politely said a few more words before letting her go back inside the hall.
Shortly after Gao Qing Yang left, Wei Chang Hong came by the verandah. He was wearing an indigo robe embroidered with a branching persimmon plant pattern. Seeing that Wei Luo was standing here alone, he couldn’t resist furrowing his eyebrows and asking, “Ah Luo, why are you here by yourself?”