The White-Haired Imperial Concubine - Chapter 1 - Rejected Outside the Door[Updated at: 2021-01-11 22:05:19]
Chapter 1 Rejected Outside the Door
From ancient times ’til now, she must be the only princess who has been rejected after coming to marriage!
The sun’s rays of March were gentle and warm like the spring breeze, scattering through the window to illuminate the woman wearing the red bridal dress within the luxurious carriage. As the warm yellow light settled around her, there was an unexplainable feeling of beauty. This woman was the one who came to marry but was unexpectedly rejected, Qiyun’s Princess Rong Le—Man Yao.
Knock, knock, knock…
“Is there anyone there? Please notify Wangye (1) that Princess Rong Le has arrived!” A guard carrying a sword on his waist repeatedly knocked against the solemn-looking large door. On the door hung a plaque with the words “Li Wang Fu” written in bold and powerful strokes of gold. This must be the residence of Prince Li, Zongzheng Wuyou.
Prince Li lived a worry-free life, and was the only one who was ranked as a prince other than the crown prince. He also happened to be the party that Princess Rong Le was going to marry. Right now, the door to Prince Li’s residence was shut tightly, with no gaps to be seen. Even small dust particles from the air couldn’t hope to squeeze in.
“Yang daren(2), look at this…it’s already been an hour, and the skies are almost dark, yet no one has opened the door, what should we do?” The guard worriedly asked the middle-aged man behind him. This was the newly appointed Ministry of Rites official Yang Wei of Lintian, and he was the one responsible for organizing this marriage. Originally, the plan was for Prince Li to personally welcome the princess into the city; however, Prince Li shut his doors and never came out, so he could only helplessly bring people to welcome the princess. Who knew that even after welcoming the princess in, the doors to Prince Li’s residence were still tightly shut. No matter how they announced, the people inside didn’t seem to care at all.
A lower-ranking official worriedly spoke, “Yang daren, Princess Rong Le has always been doted on by the ruler of Qiyun. I heard that in regards to this marriage, he was very reluctant and personally sent her off. If he were to know that Wangye treated the princess this way, I’m afraid that it will not be good!”
Yang Wei furrowed his eyebrows and sighed. How could he not know what the other was saying? But if Prince Li doesn’t open the door, what could he even do?
Seeing Yang Wei’s worried look, a rat-faced man brought up a suggestion, “How about we find a couple of people to knock down the door…”
“Shut your mouth!” Not even waiting for him to finish speaking, Yang Wei stared at him as if he saw a ghost. Infuriated, he yelled, “You bastard, if you want to die go do it yourself, don’t drag the rest of us down with you!” This is Prince Li’s gate, even if he had ten thousand bouts of courage, he still wouldn’t dare to barge through.
“Exactly! Don’t drag us down with you!,” The other officials were also angry.
Even if it was just said in passing, if Prince Li were to hear of these words, these people would not be let off so easily.
This was the rat-faced man’s first time in the capital; other than sucking up, he didn’t know anything else. How could he have known that the owner of this residence was one that could move mountains just by shifting his feet? Seeing the extreme reactions of the daren around him, he was scared into being a mute.
As the time kept passing, under the beginning of spring’s chilly air, sweat was trickling down their faces. Yang Wei lifted his head to see the dark skies, and after pondering for a bit, went to the carriage Man Yao was in.
“Princess has gone through such a journey and must be exhausted. Why don’t we rest in a guesthouse for now, and then when I enter the palace to report to His Majesty, we will welcome the princess into the residence?”
Opening the door of the carriage, a servant girl stuck her head out. Her face full of anger, she coldly said, “I’ve always heard the people of Lintian look highly upon etiquette, but I guess it’s just rumors! Forget about welcoming, to dare shut the doors and not let our princess into the residence, what type of etiquette is this? Clearly they don’t put our Qiyun into their eyes, I’m starting to suspect your sincerity towards this marriage alliance!”
Yang Wei’s heart jumped. Who knew that even a servant would be able to argue back so bitingly. He hurriedly lowered his head and greeted Man Yao, “It must be a misunderstanding, Princess. Prince Li…must have left the residence for some urgent matters, hence delaying welcoming Princess. I hope Princess doesn’t think too deeply. This subject can guarantee that we are sincere towards this marriage alliance with your country to ensure peace between both countries for centuries. I hope Princess will not be offended!”
The servant argued, “What is more important than welcoming our princess? Even if Wangye is not in the residence, there must be servants in there. Why hasn’t anyone opened the door after so long, clearly they’re trying to humiliate us! Once our princess enters the residence, in the future, who knows how they’ll bully our princess!”
“This…”, Yang Wei was speechless. His clothes were drenched in sweat, and he was unable to answer. At this time, a melodic voice sounded out from within the carriage.
“Ling’er, don’t be rude!”, Man Yao said as she sat up. Even though she was reprimanding her, one could not hear any anger from her tone as she sounded so dignified. The servant called Ling’er turned around and pouted, lowering her head.
Actually, before Man Yao arrived in Lintian, she had already heard about Prince Li. Rumors said that he was kind, and although he didn’t conduct matters the usual way, he was quite sophisticated and was a great strategist. Just the month before, he was able to resolve the dangers surrounding Lintian’s borders, and under the cooperation of countless soldiers, he won countless victories against the barbarians in the north, killing more than three hundred thousand of them. His fame was greater than even the crown prince’s. Even more shockingly was that he never attended court of his own accord. Even if the Emperor ordered him to the palace, he only decided to obey if it suited his personal mood. There were only few people capable of being so reckless. Once, when a favored consort of the Emperor’s once said, “Prince Li is rebellious”, she was immediately banished to the cold palace. After this incident, no one dared to say anything against him. There were also rumors that said Zongzheng Wuyou had two taboos: one, he doesn’t touch alcohol, and two, he doesn’t touch women. No one knows the reason why, only that anyone who broke these two taboos did not have good endings.
Man Yao felt very conflicted. Since Zongzheng Wuyou had such taboos, why did he want to marry her?
Lifting her hand, she raised the window curtain a little. Contrasting against the yellow curtains, her pale and slim fingers seemed to be whiter than jade. The extravagant coronet on her hair had ten strands of pearls hanging down from it, covering her face. Through the pearls, she saw Yang Wei’s embarrassed look, and gently smiled, “Ling’er spoke too bluntly and was rude, I hope Yang daren will not bear a grudge. We’ll do as Yang daren suggested!”
Such a dignified and warm voice startled Yang Wei as he thought: Everyone says that Princess Rong Le is picky and stubborn, how could she be so accommodating?
“To work on behalf of Princess is my duty”, Yang Wei said as his face showed his suspicions. Just as he was about to order the procession to set off, he heard a bright and clear voice yell out, “Yang daren!”
Man Yao’s hands that were setting down the curtain paused. Walking out from the surrounding crowd was a male around eighteen or nineteen years old, wearing formal clothing, with a jade crown in his hair. He had a handsome face and was tall and slender. His light and quick footsteps gave him an air of nobility. Within his hands was a folded jade fan that he tapped against the palm of his hand. Each and every one of his accessories was of high quality, with just a look, one could tell that he wasn’t an ordinary person.
Upon seeing that person, Yang Wei hurried greeted, “Ninth Prince!”
So it was the Ninth Prince that was the closest with Prince Li! Man Yao smiled, watching him carelessly return the greeting and reply “please rise,” before he turned to her.
“I believe this is Princess Rong Le?,” Ninth Prince smiled as he observed her.
“Greetings to Your Highness, Ninth Prince,” Man Yao greeted.
A flash of suspicion went through Ninth Prince’s eyes, as his gaze rested on her hands that were holding on to the window curtain. Smiling, he said, “I heard that Princess’ looks were quite ugly, who knew that these pair of hands are quite nice. As it looks, it doesn’t seem like you’re all bad.”
Hearing these words, Ling’er became unhappy and glared as her heart filled with anger. Forgetting about her status, she stuck her head out and mocked, “As a prince, you even believe in those rumors?”
“Ling’er, be quiet! You cannot be this rude in front of Ninth Prince!,” Man Yao quietly scolded. Seeing Ninth Prince’s smile get even wider, it was clear that he was here to make things difficult in order to test her. As a result, she calmly said, “Ninth Prince has praised too much, only this pair of hands are somewhat decent.”
Ninth Prince was startled. Usually when women were insulted like this, they would definitely get angry, but this princess seemed to not care. He observed her once again. Even though the strands of pearls were covering her face, he could still make out that skin that was a pale as snow and clear eyes. He’s always loved beautiful people, and for a woman like this to be ugly was truly a loss!
Ninth Prince smiled as he said, “Rumors say that Princess is arrogant and lacks manners. From what I see…it doesn’t seem to be very true. At least, Princess knows the basic manners and has a little bit of knowledge.”
Man Yao raised her lips and smiled without speaking.
Using such a roundabout way to insult her, even though this Ninth Prince had a wide smile on his face, his words were sharp and poisonous, not polite at all. Listening to it, Yang Wei sweated profusely, thinking that this Ninth Prince has followed Prince Li for so long that the way he speaks and acts has become more reckless, not even considering the people and location. The other party is a princess, thankfully her temperament and upbringing were good, unlike what the rumors say about her being arrogant. Otherwise there would’ve been a big scene, possibly even a fight. Thinking up to here, Yang Wei tried to change the topic and interrupted, “Ninth Prince came at the right time. Would you be able to help us pass along a message to Prince Li, saying that this subject had the fortune to receive the royal decree and has welcomed the Princess’ procession, and we hope that Prince Li can open the door to receive her, so that this subject can fulfill His Majesty’s orders.”
Ninth Prince’s eyebrows jumped, and staring at him, he emotionlessly replied, “Is Yang daren confused? Seventh Brother never agreed to this marriage in the first place. It was your lot of court officials that schemed together, and promised this in front of Your Majesty. What, now that you can’t enter, you’re worried? I will not help you! I advise you guys to hurry and leave, you guys also know Seventh Brother’s temper. If you guys anger him, the consequences…I’m afraid Yang daren will not be able to handle it! Also…,” Ninth Prince suddenly stopped talking, and drew near Yang Wei, “I just came back from the palace, and I heard that Father is in a bad mood today. Daren, you shouldn’t add oil onto the fire, otherwise…you may not leave in one piece. When that time comes, don’t blame me for not warning you!”
Hearing Ninth Prince’s words, Yang Wei became frightened. As court officials, they were also thinking of the country when they proposed the marriage alliance. Who would’ve have predicted that it would result in such an event today? They can’t afford to provoke Prince Li, and they can’t offend Princess Rong Le. Yet past experience has also taught him that when the Emperor is in a bad mood, it’s best to be as far away as possible. However, this matter concerns the peace between both countries. If he is able to temporarily resolve this matter, tomorrow when he goes to court he’ll have some people to back him up. It’s just that, even though it’s just one night, whether it’ll blow up into a big matter will depend on Princess Rong Le’s attitude. Yang Wei stole a look at Man Yao, his face full of grievances.
Man Yao was always a transparent person. Seeing Yang Wei’s expression, she understood, and smiled, “Daren doesn’t need to fret. I am tired from today, and I would like to rest in the guesthouse. As for His Majesty, I’m sure that he will understand the hardships I faced on this journey?”
Yang Wei felt a burst of happiness, and gratefully replied, “Many thanks to Princess! If in the future, Princess needs this official, please do not hesitate to ask. As long as it’s within my power, I will definitely do it.”
Man Yao didn’t reject and smiled, “Then I will thank daren! I will be taking my leave, Ninth Prince.”
When the carriage door closed, Yang Wei bowed towards Ninth Prince, and led the grand procession towards the guesthouse in the East city, leaving the Ninth Prince the only one left behind. He couldn’t have imagined that with just his casual words, he fulfilled this woman’s wish, allowing her to push the boat along the current, and get this court official on her side. This was not a simple woman!
“Princess, I’ll see you tomorrow in court,” Waving his fan towards the direction the carriage went, Ninth Prince thought in his heart: This time, even if Seventh Brother wants to attend court, he won’t be able to! I wonder what Seventh Brother’s reaction will be?
It seems that something interesting will happen! He secretly laughed, looking forward to it.
(1) Wangye: A way of addressing male imperial relatives that have the rank of a Prince.
(2) Daren: Also known as ‘Lord’, a way of addressing court officials or members of nobility.