The White-Haired Imperial Concubine - Chapter 43.2 - The Princess’ Grand Wedding (1) Cont’d[Updated at: 2021-01-11 22:05:34]
Chapter 43.2 The Princess’ Grand Wedding (1) Cont’d
Because the two of them had sat in the horse carriage, they had arrived a little earlier than the predicted time. At this time, the auspicious hour to commence the bowing ritual had not yet arrived.
The servants brought forth the large red knot, and Man Yao reached a hand out to grab it but was blocked by Fu Chou. He grabbed her hand and directly walked inside, greeting the guests along the way.
The guests snapped back to reality and rushed to offer their congratulations. The happiest people were Yang daren of the Ministry of Rites. He spent a lot of effort on this marriage alliance, and despite the waves and the change of person in the middle, it was still successfully completed. He happily congratulated them, “Congratulations to General Fu on your wedding!”
Fu Chou smiled, “We’re all happy.”
Another official offered similar congratulatory words, and Fu Chou responded politely. Yu daren also stepped forwards, his usual congratulatory words slipping out, “Congratulations to General Fu for bringing back a beauty!”
With these words, the surrounding people froze, each of their gazes shooting towards Yu daren. Rumors said that Princess Rong Le was extremely ugly, but he just had to congratulate the groom on marrying a beauty. Anyone listening to it would think it’s an insult.
There was not a single sound in the room. The guests all held their breaths, waiting for the general’s reaction, and the offsprings of the noble families idled around, their expressions saying that they were waiting for a good play to unfold, as they reveled in the misfortune of others. Even though none of them wanted to marry this princess, but seeing the dowry full of pearls and treasures being carried in trunk after trunk, they couldn’t help but feel slightly bitter. They secretly thought: All of this could have been ours, damn…!
A court official bumped his elbow against Yu daren who was still in a daze, pointing his mouth at the bride, reminding him that he spoke too carelessly.
Yu daren started, finally understanding and the smile that was on his face stiffened as he hurried to explain, “General Fu, this official…this official didn’t mean it that way…”
Fu Chou’s expression never changed, his smile still as gentle as ever even as his gaze became darker by a few degrees, causing people unable to guess what he was thinking. He turned around to look at the woman underneath the veil and continued smiling, “Many thanks for Yu daren‘s blessings!”
Yu daren was stunned, when a voice suddenly sounded out from outside, “The Crown Prince has arrived!” Wearing the yellow robes of a crown prince, Zongzheng Xiaoren strode over with a woman beside him. The woman had an outstanding figure with a beautiful face, her appearance brightening her surroundings, captivating the gazes of everyone present.
Fu Chou hadn’t yet greeted him when some boot-licking people already went to give greetings with flattering smiles, “This person must be the new meiren(1) Your Highness just got, Xiang furen(2) right? As expected, such an outstanding beauty capable of causing the downfall of a country, Crown Prince has a good eye!” Before his words were finished, the crowd spoke in agreement. It was true that the woman was beautiful and this flattery was made in truth as well.
Zongzheng Xiaoren was overjoyed and in front of everyone, he wrapped an arm around the waist of the beauty beside him, smiling, “An outstanding beauty…Xiang’er is not worthy.” As for ‘capable of causing a downfall’…a peerlessly beautiful face from the prison suddenly appeared in his mind. Unfortunately, Old Seventh stole that one away!
The woman being referred to as Xiang furen was Hen Xiang that was taken away two days ago by the Crown Prince back to his residence. She leaned into the Crown Prince’s embrace, a shallow smile on her pretty face, and any male who saw it was instantly bewitched. Her eyes roamed and when her gazed landed on the handsome man in wedding robes, her pupils shrank, as a fleeting look of pain flashed through her eyes.
Fu Chou finally stepped forward to give his greetings, smiling, “With a beauty by your side, Crown Prince is indeed different from before.”
Zongzheng Xiaoren felt a little smug and loudly laughed, “Thanks to General’s, I must thank General for this matter.”
Fu Chou: “No need, no need.” He never spared the woman beside the Crown Prince a single glance.
Man Yao always disliked this type of setting but she was unable escape so she could only quietly stand there, her eyes focused on the light gray bricks underneath under feet. Suddenly, an extra pair of boots appeared and yellow robes followed after, it was clearly the Crown Prince. She frowned as she extremely disliked this person.
Zongzheng Xiaoren walked until he was in front of Man Yao and tilted his head downwards to look at her. He couldn’t tell at all what her figure was like as she was covered up by the loose and wide wedding robes. Feeling pity for Fu Chou who sacrificed himself to secure peace for the two countries and had to marry this ugly princess, he patted Fu Chou’s shoulder. Assuming the tone of a ruler, he spoke sincerely, “General has always been loyal to my nation and is a role model for everyone. If Seventh Imperial Brother was half as open-minded and far-sighted as you are, Imperial Father would not have had so many restless nights.”
What Zongzheng Xiaoren meant was, whoever married her was open-minded and far-sighted, sacrificing for the country? The people in this era were so shallow, marrying people based off of their looks. Man Yao hooked her lips up into a sneer only to hear Fu Chou laugh, “Crown Prince is overpraising, it is my honor to be able to take Princess Rong Le in as my wife.”
They spoke a few more polite words to each other when Steward Liang came to report, “General Fu, the auspicious hour has arrived.”
The firecrackers began to explode, their sounds ringing out and dissipating the gloomy air brought by the rain. The entire General’s residence was filled with a joyous air. The wedding music began to play, a happy melody sounding out. The rites official sang, “One bow to heaven and earth—”
They turned around to face outside before bowing to the heaven and earth. Man Yao had an indifferent smile on, it was so easy to bow down to the heavens and the earth, it was just bending the waist.
“Second bow to gaotang(3)—”
No one knew who Fu Chou’s parents were, were still alive or did they already pass away? There was no one sitting in the seats reserved for the gaotang, and they bowed anyways to the two empty chairs. On the raised table, even the incense did not seem to have ever been lit.(4)
“Husband and wife exchange bows—”
This bow, in this era where divorce was not allowed, would cement her future. Whether it was good or bad was no longer up to her to choose. Fu Chou had already bowed down but she stood still. After a beat, she bent her waist, a feeling of numbness spreading throughout her heart at that moment. Just like that, she became the General furen.
“The rites have finished, send to the bedchambers—”
Man Yao lightly exhaled, finally she could leave this group of people! She hated these people with their superficial expressions and words. Someone came over to assist her, guiding her towards the bedchamber when someone else blocked her, “General Fu, it won’t be too late to send her to the bedchamber after we take a look at your beautiful bride with the countenance of a flower and a face like the moon!”
Countenance of a flower and a face like the moon? It was a direct insult, not even beating around the bush. Man Yao coldly smiled, if they really thought she was so beautiful, then why did each of them lower their heads in the banquet hall, afraid that they would get chosen?
Another person chimed in, “That’s right, Princess Rong Le has arrived in my dynasty for two months already, there hasn’t been anyone yet who has seen the princess’ real face! Last time in the palace, the princess once said that Qiyun customs dictate an unmarried woman cannot show her face to outsiders. Now that the wedding rites have been performed, we’re allowed to take a look at what she really looks like now, right?”
“General Fu, don’t be so petty, we just want to take a glance at Qiyun Princess’ glory…”
All of these were the royal offspring that treated her like a joke at the banquet. She coldly sneered, they gave out such flowery reasons just to see her make a fool of herself. No matter what motives they had in mind, wasn’t their goal just to see how ugly this princess who once held their fates in the palm of their hands was?
The wind picked up, bringing with it the rain and the onlookers frantically rushed to the two sides to take shelter. The wind was extremely fierce, lifting up a corner of her veil, revealing an earlobe and a swatch of snow-white skin before dropping back down.
None of the people in the hall dared to speak, their gazes all focused on the Lord Protector General, watching to see how he would handle this matter. With the splendid and radiant Xiang furen present, even a normal beauty would be suppressed, not to mention an ugly woman! If he were to really take off the bride’s veil, he would be seeking humiliation. At this time, everyone in the hall was thinking the same thing.
Fu Chou’s elegant smile never left his face, was he not affected? It was difficult to not be displeased, and after pondering for a moment, he spoke, “Even though Princess has already become my wife, but Princess’s identity…It was still quite special and it also touched upon Qiyun’s customs, so it would depend on the Princess’ will. I don’t know if Princess…is willing?” With just the mention of “special status”, he reminded them that she was not only a princess but also the symbol of peace between the two countries.
Those royal offsprings were naturally not dumb people, hearing the hidden meaning behind Fu Chou’s words, they understood. Even though they were unwilling, they could only temporarily retreat. Zongzheng Xiaoren took the opportunity to voice out, “Alright, today is General Fu’s wedding day, no one is allowed to mess around. If you guys want to see the princess’ glory, you’ll have plenty of opportunities in the future. Hurry and send them into the bedchambers.”
It was supposed to be a perfect conclusion. Not only did it help Fu Chou escape from this situation, it also displayed his incomparable identity and status, laying down his prestige in front of these court officials. Unfortunately, the heavens never followed the wishes of mortals. Who knew if it was just bad luck or some other reason but just as he finished, a cold voice suddenly rang out from outside the hall, “Hold it!!”
Hearing this voice, Man Yao jerked and suddenly stiffened.
In the end…he…still came!
(1) meiren means “beauty” or (in this case) is the name of a concubine rank.
(2) furen refers to a woman that is already married.
(3) gaotang can refer to ancestors or parents (in the case of wedding rites)
(4) For those unaware, you usually light incense in memorandum for deceased family.