The White-Haired Imperial Concubine - Chapter 27 - The Princess Chooses a Husband[Updated at: 2021-01-11 22:05:28]
Chapter 27 The Princess Chooses a Husband
A red silk robe embroidered with phoenixes along with the crown of pearl beaded curtains entered the hall. Even though it was not as eye-catching as the wedding robes she wore when she first entered the great hall, it wasn’t different by much. The slender waist swayed as light footsteps sounded throughout. That woman’s figure was very similar to hers! She…wasn’t Ling’er! Man Yao’s heart jumped and took another look at Xiao Sha who was walking behind the woman. He glanced at Man Yao, his gaze full of anxiety and helplessness.
When the red-robed woman sat down, all the gazes of the royal family landed on her as they started to gossip amongst themselves.
A man whose face was full of despise spoke with contempt, “Why is she still wearing a pearl curtain, it must be because she’s far too ugly and can’t bear to see people!”
Another man shook his head while sighing, “Her figure seems to be quite nice, what a shame!”
Another man had an exaggerated expression on his face, “Who do you guys think she’ll pick? I hope she doesn’t pick me, otherwise I’d have to blindfold myself when it comes time for the wedding night…”
“Hahaha….” The Emperor of Lintian had not arrived, yet they were already so brazen and rude enough to mock Princess Rong Le who was rumored to be ugly beyond comparison. The red-robed woman looked at Man Yao who was sitting from the corner of her eyes, and Man Yao gave a cold stare back, causing her to be startled and hurriedly lowered her head back down.
From the moment that red-robed woman stepped into the hall, Man Yao’s heart sank. She knew what was going to happen next, but she was powerless to stop it. She slowly turned her head to look at Zongzheng Wuyou’s perfect profile. He was wearing his usual cold and indifferent expression, as if there was nothing on earth that would affect him. She blinked and pretended to be indifferent as she asked, “Why did you reject marrying Princess Rong Le? Is it because the rumors said that she was ugly?” Her voice was very low to where she thought that he might not be able to hear her.
From the very beginning Zongzheng Wuyou never spared that red-robed woman a single glance. He lightly sipped on his tea, turning to look at her as he slowly spat out three words, “I don’t like.”
He said ‘I don’t like’! Man Yao raised her lips into a mocking smile. What didn’t he like? Didn’t like that his future was being controlled by someone else; didn’t like that his own marriage was being used as a political tool; didn’t like that he had to spend the rest of his life with someone he didn’t love…
He didn’t like, and she didn’t either! But the different was, he still had the right to refuse if he didn’t like her, but she had no choice! Was it not enough that she was manipulated to fall into someone else’s trap and eventually died in her past life? Coming to this unfamiliar world, she was still unable to escape the fate of being someone else’s chesspiece! Her eyes darkened and her heart was full of pain. “Wuyou, if…I’m saying if, if I was Princess Rong Le, you…” She stopped speaking and stared at him with her lips curved into a smile, pretending she was just making a joke.
Zongzheng Wuyou laughed, “If you were Princess Rong Le, I would really admire your scheming and methods.”
Man Yao’s heart lurched. She actually forgot that she once asked for six months from him in the great hall and confidently said that she would make him marry her of his own will. If she were to be Rong Le in front of him, then that means that she schemed to purposely get close to him in order to successfully marry into the prince’s residence. For someone as proud as him, how could he possibly let such a thing happen! She suddenly raised her lips into a silent laugh, her smile so wide and bright and her eyes were like the sun in spring, pushing down all of the insults and sadness to hide behind her smile into the deepest corners of her heart.
This was the first time he had ever seen such a bright smile on her and it was especially beautiful. However, he felt that this smile seemed to be too forced, as if it was done to cover something up and was not truly from the heart. He furrowed his brows slightly but his voice was extremely gentle, “Ah Man, don’t smile like this. I don’t like it!”
Man Yao stopped smiling and returned back into an indifferent expression, her soft voice carrying hints of sadness, “As you continue to live your life, not everything will be to your liking. Some things, no matter how much you dislike them, you will have to try to accept it. Wuyou, there is still…a long life ahead!” Life will not always go the way you want it to go. His fuhuang will eventually leave him one day. If he were to comply with his mother’s promise and not fight for the throne, then after the Crown Prince ascends, would he still be able to live so freely?
Zongzheng Wuyou started. She was usually calm and introverted, but at this moment, he clearly felt the pain behind her words, even if her face seemed to be indifferent. There was still a long life ahead of him, even if he didn’t like something he still had to try to accept it, how could he not know this!
“His Majesty has arrived—”
Following the soldier’s announcement, everyone bowed down with the exception fo Zongzheng Wuyou who continued to sit quietly. After the Emperor of Lintian entered the hall, his gaze never left Zongzheng Wuyou, although his eyes did not have any hints of blame. “Subjects may rise! Tonight, everyone is happy for the same reason, no need for so many formalities. Everyone may sit.”
Everyone thanked his grace and sat down. Fu Chou sat across from Man Yao. Whenever she raised her head, she would always find him smiling towards her. After a long introductory speech, the Emperor of Lintian spoke, “The barbarians of Beiyi have disturbed our borders for many years, causing our citizens to live in suffering. Zhen once said if anyone can eliminate this thorn of mine, zhen, will definitelly heavily reward. As expected, my subjects did not let zhen down! The army expedition this time has given Beiyi a heavy defeat. Beloved subject Fu has contributed extraordinary effort and Seventh Son also has contributions. Zhen has already promoted beloved subject Fu to ‘Lord Protector General’ and raised him to dukedom. Now I will bestow Seventh Son a thousand li of land, solely under his control, and no matter if its large or small matters, it doesn’t not need to be reported to court, and he can deal with it as he see fits. Wuyou, you may still live in the capital.”
Bestowing him a thousand li and allowing him to be the sole ruler there, isn’t that basically just giving him his own little dynasty? Everyone was in an uproar, the Crown Prince’s face drastically changed, and shot the justice department official a look, “Your Majesty, although Prince Li has contributed to the defeat of our enemies, there has never been a precedent of bestowing a thousand li, I’m afraid…”
The Emperor of Lintian’s face darkened as his gaze sharpened, “Precedents need someone to establish them in order for there to be one. Zhen is rewarding based on efforts today. If I do not bestow a thousand li, zhen really does not know what other reward would be suitable. Beloved subject Fu has already been promoted to Lord Protector General, rising more than three ranks, yet above Seventh Son, other than zhen‘s position, the only other position is of the Crown Prince…Crown Prince has already been established for many years, even though he has not had any merits, he has never committed any crimes. Beloved subjects wouldn’t want for zhen to abolish Crown Prince in order to reward Seventh Son, right? Unless…beloved subjects know that Crown Prince has recently committed a heinous deed and believes that he is no longer worthy of being a ruler?”
After these words were spoken, all of the court officials that were originally trying to persuade him immediately became quiet. Yu daren was badly frightened and frantically kneeled down, bowing his head, “This subject did not mean this, this was definitely not my intention! Crown Prince has always been filial and lawful, there is no other person worthy of being our ruler, may Your Majesty bear witness!”
The Emperor of Lintian had an unpredictable look in his eyes as he swept his gaze over to the Crown Prince whose head was lowered, “Since that’s the case, then this matter is settled. Beloved subjects, please return back to your seats.” The Crown Prince finally let out a sigh of relief, his forehead was full of sweat and the fists under the table were still trembling.
Zongzheng Wuyou didn’t bother to thank him, only carrying a smile that didn’t seem to be a smile on his face as a flash of hatred flickered through his eyes. Giving him a thousand li, giving him fame and power; would that give that high and lofty emperor a sense of peace?
The Emperor of Lintian met Zhongzheng Wuyou’s gaze and his eyes darkened, immediately suppressing his emotions as he turned towards the red-robed woman, “Why did Princess wear a pearl curtain to the banquet?”
The red-robed woman, hearing her name, stood up and bowed in greeting, “Replying to Your Majesty, this is a custom of Qiyun. When a woman is betrothed but has not yet completed the marriage ceremony, she cannot let outsiders see her face.”
Her voice was clear and elegant like the sound of nature. Man Yao started, even her voice was similar to hers. If it weren’t that she were the princess herself, she would really believe that this person was the real Princess Rong Le! Imperial Brother really knew how to pick people!
The Emperor of Lintian nodded his head in understanding, “Two months ago, zhen granted you six months, but today morning, zhen received a letter from Qiyun. The Emperor of Qiyun also wishes that the marriage matters can be quickly resolved, so today zhen especially decreed for everyone to enter the palace so that Princess can use the opportunity to select fuma(1) so that the wishes of a hundred years of peace of us two emperors can be fulfilled.”
The red-robed woman replied, “Your Majesty is correct, it is Rong Le’s fault for not considering the bigger picture.”
The Emperor of Lintian smiled, “Princess is open and understanding, you are the role model of women.” Finished, he raised his hand to indicate that she could start. The red-robed woman bent her knees in greeting and turned around, slowly walking around the hall. Wherever she went, those imperial princes would lower their heads, afraid that they would be chosen. Only Fu Chou continued to indifferently sip at his tea, his movements natural and carefree, as if he was not the one being picked but rather that he was the one doing the picking instead.
The red-robed woman stopped in front of the table Fu Chou was sitting at. She bent down, her hands taking a hold of the finely crafted tea pot and refilled his empty tea cup. Her slender and jade-like fingers lifted the tea cup and with a lowered head and a light smile, she handed it over to him. Everyone knew what this meant.
Indeed it was him! Man Yao gave a silent mocking laugh. Giving up the most doted Prince Li in favor of the Great General that held command of the army, this was the expected choice. But Imperial Brother should not have used such underhanded methods to force her into a situation where she did not have a choice! No wonder why she had no knowledge of this beforehand, because Imperial Brother didn’t want her to know at all. The Imperial Brother that everyone said doted on her the most, treated her as a political chesspiece in the end anyways! The same figure, the same voice, it was a one out of ten thousand choice, one that could hardly be found in the same dynasty. Imperial Brother, ah, Imperial Brother, is this the method that he used to wish her happiness?
Those royal princes all let out a sigh of relief, finally raising their heads and sitting up straight, laughing as they looked forward to seeing how this youth picked picked by the ugly princess would react. A Great General who held the military seal and was a duke, if he were to be very happy to be married to an extremely ugly foreign princess, it meant that he was trying to use this opportunity to obtain more power and harbored great ambitions. But this was the husband that the Princess was ordered to pick by His Majesty, if he were to be unhappy at being picked, then it would mean that he was unhappy with His Majesty.
Fu Chou’s handsome face still had his gentle expression, seemingly not happy nor unhappy. No matter if it was his eyes or his facial expression, there didn’t seem to be any other emotions. He slowly raised his eyes to gaze past the red-robed woman and land on Man Yao only to see her sitting calmly, a mocking expression on her beautiful face. Her gaze landed over here too, her clear eyes hiding sadness and anger.
The red-robed woman’s hand was frozen in mid-air, she could raise it nor could she set it down. Fu Chou continued to sit without moving. The atmosphere in the hall became more anxious and awkward. Everyone’s eyes were focused on Fu Chou, silently wondering if he was going to follow in Prince Li’s footsteps and also reject the marriage? Although he had military merits, disobeying an imperial order was a crime whose punishment was beheading! In this world, the only person that could disobey a royal command yet not be punished, other than Prince Li, there was definitely no second person!
The Emperor of Lintian already lost his patience and his face darkened as he lightly coughed, his eyes carrying a warning. Fu Chou seemed to snap out of his daze as he blinked, his gentle and elegant smile surfacing. He stood up and bowed towards the red-robed woman in apology and then received the cup as he politely smiled, “Many thanks to Princess for personally pouring this general a cup of tea. This general was surprised by the sudden favor and fell into a daze, may Princess please be magnanimous!”
The red-robed woman’s voice was tinged with shyness, “General is being too harsh, please!”
Fu Chou raised the cup towards his mouth, his movements very slow as he glanced towards Zongzheng Wuyou and continued onwards to Man Yao across from him, his face still carrying an extremely gentle smile as he slowly drank the tea that signified he had accepted Princess Rong Le’s choice.
Man Yao’s lips were tightly pressed together. Just now, Fu Chou’s ink-black eyes swirled with gentleness, absorbing her gaze, not allowing her to look away at all. Yet this simple action of his sealed away her fate. This man who had become her husband in name, who had an extremely handsome face, who had an elegant and noble disposition, who had an oustanding status, who was gentle, and who had also saved her twice from danger, all of this seemed to be so perfect. If Imperial Brother was not the one who set this all up, if she did not stay at Prince Li’s residence these past few days and interact with him, perhaps he would be a very good choice as a husband. Suddenly, her heart jumped as she furiously blinked in astonishment, why did she suddenly think of Zongzheng Wuyou? She didn’t dare to think more about that reason she wasn’t willing to face, especially since the situation unfolding in front of her eyes did not allow her mind to wander. Man Yao slowly raised her eyes again as she looked at Fu Chou across from her, as anger welled up in her heart. She hated the feeling of being controlled by others, she really hated it!
Zongzheng Wuyou saw Fu Chou give such a tender gaze to the woman sitting next to him, yet Man Yao’s gaze towards Fu Chou could not conceal her anger and despair, Zongzheng Wuyou couldn’t help but furrow his eyebrows as he narrowed his phoenix eyes. His heart suddenly felt stifled and suddenly her hand that was sitting on her knee, gripping it tightly. It seems like he had to move faster!
As she registered the pain from her hands, Man Yao scrunched her eyebrows and turned her head to see Zongzheng Wuyou’s usually cold and indifferent eyes carry an obvious look of anger. She was a little frightened and forcefully pulled her hand away. Zongzheng Wuyou felt her movements and his heart jumped, he actually felt such a crazy feeling!
In the great hall, the red-robed woman had a faint smile as she gave a bow towards the Emperor of Lintian, seemingly embarrassed as she lowered her head to return back to her seat.
Seeing that the marriage was set, the Emperor of Lintian’s mood became joyous and he laughed, “Good, Chen gonggong, pass my decree.”
“Lord Protector General, receive the decree! By the will of the heavens, the Emperor has decreed, Great General Fu Chou…”
Man Yao silently gazed at this play that she was the main lead in yet was directed by others with a smile full of mocking. In the end, was she really unable to escape from this fate? When Chen gonggong finished reading the last sentence of the decree and announced the wedding would be held three days from today, her smile became colder and colder. The wedding was in three days! She only had three days left…