T/N: Since no one said anything about the glossary of terms, I won’t be posting one.
Enjoy the chapter! <3

“You here…” Chen Wang lowered his head, getting increasingly closer to JiuZhu’s face.

 

What is His Highness doing? Although Ming guniang is his fiancée, this is the gate of the Palace! His Highness’ behavior is somewhat not solemn.

 

“So it’s actually a carp huadian1 drawn here.” Chen Wang stood up straight: “Why did you draw such a chubby carp huadian?”

 

“My mother said that all the women of the palace are fond of huadian.
Today is niangniang’s birthday, so I specially drew a carp.
It has a good symbolic meaning.” JiuZhu brought her forehead closer to Chen Wang so that he could see it more clearly: “I adorned its tail with gold powder so it’s a carp tail with a touch of gold, which represents prosperity and unending happiness and longevity.
Is it pretty?”

 

“Did you draw it yourself?” Chen Wang looked at her fair and clear countenance.
She was petite and delicate herself, why did she like to paint such a fat carp?

 

“En.” JiuZhu was very confident in her painting skills.

 

“It’s… fairly nice.” Seeing the girl still looking at him, Chen Wang added another line: “You dressed up pretty well today.”

 

JiuZhu beamed with happiness: “Since Your Highness said its nice, niangniang will surely be satisfied.”

 

When he heard this, Chen Wang felt something wrong.
Whose fiancée was she exactly?

 

After listening to the conversation between the two, XiangJuan retracted the foot she had just put forward.

 

Blame her for thinking too much of His Highness’ actions.
There was nothing solemn or grave about this, only two ‘ten years old’ children chatting.

 

“Follow me, I’m also going to see Mother Consort.
Let’s go now.” Chen Wang tossed the whip to the attendant following him and walked ahead in large strides.

 

After walking for a while, he looked back at JiuZhu, who was behind him.
Seeing that she was separated by a distance, he halted, waiting for JiuZhu to reach him, “What’s wrong with you?”

 

Before, she was able to break off a thick branch of cornelian cherry with bare hands.
Why was she walking so slowly today?

 

Did she not want to walk with him?

 

While dragging her skirt, JiuZhu felt a little embarrassed hearing the other person’s question.
She mumbled, “The skirt is a bit long.”

 

He noticed her slightly red cheeks.
Chen Wang walked up to her and lowered his voice: “No wonder women in the Palace walk so exasperatingly slow.
It turns out their skirt is the reason.”

 

JiuZhu suddenly realized that she wasn’t the only one who was having trouble walking in this wide-sleeved and long-swing palace dress.

 

“A consort in the Palace wore a two zhang2 long skirt at the annual banquet.
On the way back to her Palace, a strong wind blew and the skirt wrapped her whole body, presenting a lively scene to the people around.”

 

“Two zhang…” This was the first time that JiuZhu had heard of such a long skirt: “How much fabric did it need?”

 

Chen Wang assessed JiuZhu’s stature visually and affirmed: “Enough to make two dresses for you.”

 

JiuZhu sighed.
As expected, the niangniangs in the Palace were different; they could manage to wear such long clothes!

 

XiangJuan looked away, pretending not to hear the whispers of the two.
As long as she couldn’t hear their words, she would be the most disciplined XiangJuan gugu of the MingYue Palace.

 

“There’s a flight of steps ahead.” Chen Wang suddenly stopped and extended his arm to JiuZhu.

 

“Ah?” JiuZhu was stunned.
After a while, she hesitantly stretched out her hand to support Chen Wang.

 

Chen Wang: “……”

 

“You are wearing a long skirt, so let me assist you.” He sighed, “Not the other way around.”

 

He was a big man; he didn’t need support from a little guniang to climb a flight of stairs.

 

“Oh.” JiuZhu reacted, and put her hand on Chen Wang’s arm, thanking him with a smile: “Thank you, Your Highness.”

 

Walking down the steps, Chen Wang announced, “I’ll let you continue holding my arm so that you don’t fall and cry.”

 

“I don’t like to cry.” JiuZhu explained seriously: “Really.”

 

Chen Wang: “……”

 

XiangJuan lowered her head and slowed down her pace, taking a few steps away from the two.

 

If she was too close, she was afraid that she would end up laughing loudly as she could easily hear His Highness and Miss Ming’s words.

 

But as the top female official of the MingYue Palace, she needed to maintain face.

 

“Niangniang, Your Highness and Ming guniang are here.”

 

“Welcome them in quickly.”

 

“Mother Consort, there’s no need to welcome me.
I’ll come in by myself.” Chen Wang walked into the room: “Bring me something to eat.
I was so occupied with entering the Palace that I didn’t even have time to eat breakfast today.”

 

“Greetings, niangniang.” JiuZhu bowed to pay her respects to Su Guifei.

 

“Get up quickly.” Su Guifei personally helped JiuZhu up and exclaimed in admiration: “JiuZhu is really beautiful today.
Especially this huadian, it’s extremely fascinating.”

 

“This huadian was drawn by chennu herself.” JiuZhu was delighted to hear Su Guifei praise herself.

 

“You’re just in time.
I didn’t know which huadian to choose at all.” Su Guifei took JiuZhu’s hand: “Can you draw one for me? Draw it just like yours.”

 

“Yes.” JiuZhu rolled up her wide sleeves: “Chennu is the best at painting.”

 

Chen Wang still didn’t realize.
How did speaking a few words lead her to draw a huadian?

 

After drawing such a fat fish, she could also say that she was good at it?

 

Seeing that the two were already together, discussing whether to use gold leaf or gold powder for the fishtail, Chen Wang clicked his tongue.
One dared to offer and the other really dared to draw; he didn’t know who was more courageous.

 

“Niangniang has the appearance of a fairy.
Any Guardian will look beautiful on you.” JiuZhu gently curved the fishtail with the brush and exclaimed in admiration: “People say that huadian brings out a person’s beauty but in niangniang’s case, it’s the opposite. Niangniang brings out its beauty.”

 

Her words made Su Guifei laugh: “Your words are so sweet.
Did you smear honey on your mouth before leaving home this morning?”

 

“Chennu didn’t smear honey; she loves to tell the truth.” When the gold powder was put on, the fishtail with a touch of gold was completed.
JiuZhu put down the brush and half-kneeled in front of Su Guifei: “When she saw niangniang for the first time, chennu really thought that niangniang was a fairy who descended from heaven.”

 

“If Ben Gong is a fairy, JiuZhu is the most charming little fairy by the side of the Jade Lake’s Queen Mother of the West.” Su Guifei turned her head to look at her son who was eating breakfast: “DuQing, you say.
Isn’t that right?”

 

“Whatever you say is right as long as you’re happy.”

 

On the contrary, he was the one who was wrong.
He really shouldn’t be sitting here.

 

There was no Empress in the Palace.
So Su Guifei, the highest-ranking Imperial concubine in the Palace, came to the FeiFeng Palace’s Hall every year on her birthday to receive wishes from the women of the third grade or above.

 

Shen-shi reached the FeiFeng Palace’s Hall not too early or too late.
After greeting the other mingfu3 present, she took her seat quietly, a posture that asserted her desire to not speak anymore.

 

After everyone discovered that the Shen-shi did not bring her daughter into the  Palace, they were shocked inwardly.
To what extent was the Ming family dissatisfied with this betrothal that she did not bring her daughter to congratulate Su Guifei on her birthday?

 

The women exchanged glances, but no one dared to approach Shen-shi.

 

Su Guifei was not a kind and considerate person.
The scene might turn unpleasant since the Ming family didn’t give her some face.

 

Sun CaiYao sat behind her mother, looking at the calm Madam Ming with mixed feelings.

 

The world was full of people seeking profits and advantages for themselves.
Each one of the women present in the hall was afraid of offending Su Guifei, so they did not even dare to approach Shen-shi…

 

A loud sound rang outside the hall, followed by the similarly loud announcement of an internal supervisor.

 

“Guifei niangniang has arrived.”

 

Sun CaiYao got up quickly, bowing towards the door.

 

Following the Imperial concubines, the mingfu bowed and greeted: “Congratulations on your birthday, niangniang.
Wishing you a happy and long life, good health, and eternal youth.”

 

“Bow, kowtow, greet.”

 

“Bow again.”

 

“Rise.”

 

Sun CaiYao stood at the back, listening to the ceremonial etiquette officer reciting the congratulatory birthday message written for Su Guifei by the Emperor himself.
She recalled many things related to her.

 

Initially, some court officials had condemned Su Guifei as being unworthy of her position and the mingfu kowtowing to her.
But in a fit of anger, the Emperor personally held a birthday banquet for Su Guifei.
Since then, he would write birthday wishes for her every year and open the main entrance of the FeiFeng Hall, so that the mingfu could pay their respects to her.

 

Among the concubines in the palace, only Su Guifei has this preference.
For this reason, some people accused Su Guifei of being a demoness consort who beguiled others.
However, no one dared to complain in front of her.

 

“Everyone had worked hard to congratulate Ben Gong on her birthday, please take your seats.” Su Guifei sat on the top, looking over at the others: “Ben Gong didn’t want things to be so grand since it’s just a birthday.
However, His Majesty said that Ben Gong is the master of the MingYue Palace and should hold a banquet to entertain the wives of the lords who are our Da Cheng’s backbones; to thank the madams who take care of their backyards so that the lords can work for Da Cheng wholeheartedly without any worries.”

 

The women denied it, saying that they didn’t dare to take the credit.

 

“It is a blessing for my husband to be able to offer his meager contribution to the country.”

 

“Niangniang empathizes with chenfu4 so much.
We are extremely touched.”

 

Ning Fei sneered in her heart. Who didn’t know that His Majesty just wanted that Su Guifei to receive their salutations and gain honor? He hates that he’s not able to celebrate Su-shi’s birthday with the standard of an Empress’!

 

But no matter how much honor she gained, the Ming family didn’t even want to bring their daughter into the Palace.

 

Ning Fei looked at Su Guifei with mockery.
Unexpectedly, she noticed a fifteen or sixteen years old girl standing behind her.
The girl had a beautiful face.
She was wearing a beautiful palace dress and the huadian on her forehead was similar to Su-shi’s.

 

Who is this person?

 

“JiuZhu.” Su Guifei beckoned to JiuZhu, asking her to walk over to her side.
Then, she held JiuZhu’s hand lightly and looked at everyone: “This child is still young but she is virtuous, innocent, and lovely.
I request the madams to look after her in the future.”

 

Before this, the mingfu who didn’t know JiuZhu were wondering who this little guniang was.
How could Su Guifei personally back her up?

 

Ming JiuZhu?!

 

Looking at Ming JiuZhu’s hand being gripped by Su Guifei, Sun CaiYao almost couldn’t stand firm.

 

How could she be by the Guifei’s side?

 

Why was she so close to her?!

 

Sun CaiYao’s mind was in turmoil.
By the time she managed to react, the mingfu were already all over Ming JiuZhu, praising her.
So much so that they even praised the weird huadian between her brows with words like ‘spiritually radiant’, ‘full of good luck’, and so on.

 

Almost with the speed of lightning, she turned to look at Ming JiuZhu’s mother, Shen-shi.

 

Shen-shi still had that same calm expression, not happy because Ming JiuZhu was being backed by Su Guifei, nor dissatisfied because she was close to her.

 

Ning Fei, who was sitting on the first seat on the left, looked at the Miss Ming family’s Young Miss who was holding a teacup for Su-shi, with a cold smile.

 

Those things raised outside were not comparable to a noble family’s carefully cultivated real Young Miss.
With such short-sightedness and flattery, she was not afraid of tarnishing her family’s reputation?

 

After the mingfu finished their salutations, they were led by the MingYue Palace’s maids to watch a play and sip tea.
Su Guifei remained sitting above, waiting for the princes and princesses to come in and greet her.

 

JiuZhu wanted to leave with her mother, but was kept back by Su Guifei.

 

“JiuZhu need not go.” Su Guifei smiled at JiuZhu: “In the future, you will spend more time with them, so it would be better for them to get to know you earlier.”

 

This sounded as if she was warning them to behave and not offend JiuZhu.

 

JiuZhu nodded blankly and walked back to Su Guifei: “Oh.”

 

Niangniang is worthy of being called a fairy.
She speaks so imposingly.

 

Soon after, the princes and princesses entered the hall.
JiuZhu noticed Chen Wang at a glance.
Presently, he had changed into a four twirling dragon-patterned robe.
She lifted the hem of her skirt and walked down the steps, bowing to the princes and princesses.

 

Qi Wang nodded to her slightly.
As usual, he was graceful.

 

Chen Wang glanced at the steps and raised his eyebrows at JiuZhu.
Why did she walk so fast when she came down the steps? If she slipped, she would lose face.
Moreover, she would be hurt.

 

JiuZhu assumed that he was greeting her, so she smiled, her beautiful eyes bending.

 

Chen Wang: “……”

 

Ai.

T/N: Our poor ML understood his status was pushed back after JiuZhu showed up.
The MIL favors her dear DIL more! What would be the Emperor’s reaction if his position is also pushed back further? Hahahaha, I’d like to see that  (≧▽≦)

1

Huadian [花钿] – It is the flower pattern drawn on the women’s forehead, becoming a special accessory for women’s makeup.
Typically painted with red color, it has many variations and a plethora of designs.
This type of makeup attained its peak popularity in the Tang dynasty period.
If you’re interested to read further, please click here: newhanfu.com

2

Zhang [丈] – A traditional Chinese unit of length equal to 3.3 m.

3

Mingfu [命妇] – It lit.
means ‘noblewoman’ or ‘court lady’ and was a collective term for the wives of officials, non-imperial aristocrats and collateral clanswomen who were granted titles.

4

Chenfu [臣妇] – A form of self-address used by the wives of the officials when speaking to the members of the Imperial family.

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