“Is there nothing you want to say or ask?” Chen Wang took a deep breath.
This was his future wife, not someone else.
He must be patient with her.

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“Ask what?” A copper wind chime was hanging from the eave.
Hearing its ring, JiuZhu smiled: “It’s cold in the late autumn.
Your Highness, please take care of your body and eat your meals on time.”

 

“All right.” Chen Wang raised his hand to summon the shopkeeper: “Pack all these and deliver them to Assistant Minister Ming’s residence.”

 

“Your Highness…”

 

Chen Wang placed his hand behind JiuZhu: “Qi Wang sent hairpins for his fiancée.
If you don’t accept Ben Wang’s gift, others will only say that Ben Wang is stingy.”

 

“But this is too much.” JiuZhu whispered in apprehension: “I really won’t be able to wear all of it.”

 

“That’s not an issue.” Totally unconcerned, Chen Wang stretched out his hand and flicked the golden butterfly dangling from the hairpin: “My Chen Wang’s residence doesn’t lack money.”

 

Saying this, he took the opportunity to poke JiuZhu’s cheek and strode away with a smile.

 

Covering the place where she was just poked, JiuZhu turned her head and looked at ChunFen.

 

ChunFen comforted: “Don’t worry, Young Miss.
Chen Wang is really rich.”

 

JiuZhu lifted the cloak carefully and sighed.

 

“Young Miss, Chen Wang has always acted arbitrarily.
If you don’t like the jewelry, we will send them back to Chen Wang’s mansion…”

 

“How can he act arbitrarily?” JiuZhu denied: “His Highness is generous and treats others kindly.”

 

“Sister ChunFen.” She took ChunFen’s arm and shook it gently: “Don’t say that about His Highness Chen Wang in the future, okay?”

 

Who could possibly resist this adorable little image?

 

ChunFen nodded silently: “Young Miss is right, His Highness Chen Wang treats people kindly, is a bright and cheerful person, and a uniquely capable handsome individual.”

 

Wasn’t it just saying a few words against her will?

 

As long as she could bring joy to her Young Miss, ChunFen didn’t count it as a difficulty.

 

“Young Miss, I didn’t expect that a reserved person like His Highness Qi Wang would especially go to choose and send these women’s hairpins and bracelets for you.” A maid opened the jewelry box and exclaimed in admiration: “The workmanship is exquisite.
The materials are also tastefully chosen.
His Highness truly treats you well.”

 

Sun CaiYao’s cheeks turned red as closed all the jewelry boxes with a contented smile: “All of you are clearly making fun of me.”

 

“Young Miss is going to get married soon.
Us maids have only told the truth, how could we make fun of you?” The maids laughed loudly, “Us maids haven’t seen such beautiful jewelry to our heart’s content yet.
Why did you close it?”

 

“This maid thinks that this golden phoenix hairpin is just right for the Young Miss.”

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Golden phoenix hairpin…

 

Sun CaiYao’s smile stiffened a bit.
She closed the lid of the jewelry box abruptly as if one more look would make her uncomfortable.

 

Noticing her abnormal expression, the maids gradually retrained their smiles.

 

“All of you, go out.” She softly touched the box containing the golden phoenix hairpin with trembling fingers as her tone became increasingly serene: “I want to be alone for a while.”

 

“Phoenix…”

 

She opened the box.
Facing the copper mirror, she picked up the golden phoenix hairpin and inserted it in her hair.

 

She smiled as she scrutinized the face reflected in the mirror carefully: “Who doesn’t want to be a phoenix that soars to the Ninth Heaven?”

 

After finishing her makeup, she got up and walked outside: “Prepare a sedan, I want to go out.” 

 

Not long after she left through the gate, Sun CaiYao noticed more than ten women dressed in the uniform of a jewelry shop’s subordinates, holding jewelry boxes and walking in the same direction in a neat line.

 

“Are they from MiaoJin Building?” She blurted out without thinking.

 

“That’s right, Young Miss.
Reportedly, Chen Wang bought dozens of pieces of jewelry and had them all delivered to the Ming family’s residence.”

 

The servant girl whispered: “The Ming family is an educated and well-balanced family.
I’m afraid they wouldn’t like Chen Wang’s way of doing things.”

 

Gifting women a few pieces of jewelry could be deemed gentle and considerate but gifting more than tens of jewelry items in one breathe pointedly imply that he disliked Ming family’s guniang for being unpresentable and made him feel like he lost face.

 

Scholars had perpetually valued moral integrity the most.
The Ming family was not a poor and humble family who had never seen good things.
Chen Wang’s move not only failed to impress his father-in-law and mother-in-law, but it also made the Ming family even more dissatisfied. 

 

Poor Miss Ming.
Since childhood, she had not had the opportunity to be raised by her parents and didn’t have much mutual affection with her parents.
If Chen Wang continued to act like this, she might be spurned by the Ming family after her marriage.

 

Touching the golden phoenix hairpin in her hair, Sun CaiYao lowered the sedan’s curtain and closed her eyes gently.

 

After returning from the Ministry of Rites, Ming JingZhou discovered that the entire main courtyard was crammed with jewelry boxes of every description.
He gazed carefully at Shen-shi, who was sitting on a chair presently: “Is Wife in a good mood today?”

 

If she wasn’t in a good mood, why would she spend so much silver on jewelry? However, going by her expression, she didn’t seem to be happy.

 

“All of these are from MiaoJin Building.” Shen-shi waved to the maid: “Go and ask the Young Miss to come over.”

 

“So it’s all bought for JiuZhu.” Ming JingZhou suddenly understood.
No wonder his wife was willing to buy so much jewelry from MiaoJin Building.

 

“All of these were indeed bought for JiuZhu.” Shen-shi’s expression was strange: “Just, the person who paid the money was not me.”

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“That’s not possible.” Ming JingZhou casually opened a box nearest to him.
Immediately, he was faced with a golden necklace etched with an auspicious pattern of dragon and phoenix.
Even the pendant was made from the highest quality mutton-fat jade: “Our family doesn’t have such an extravagant relative.”

 

“Who said we don’t have?” Shen-shi raised an eyebrow: “Think carefully, maybe we have one.”

 

“Can this kind of a good thing simply because one wished for it?” By this time, Ming JingZhou had already concluded that his wife was in a bad mood.
He hurriedly stepped forth and went behind her, massaging her shoulders diligently, “Wife, tell me quickly.”

 

“What good would it do by telling you? Would you dare to return them?”

 

“Why not?” Ming JingZhou raised his head and straightened his posture, “Unless it isn’t bestowed by the Imperial Palace, I, Old Ming, dare to return anything that anybody sends.”

 

“Father, Mother.” JiuZhu entered the room and saw it packed with jewelry boxes: “These were delivered so soon?”

 

“Daughter, do you know who sent these?” Seeing his daughter’s expression, Ming JingZhou surmised that she knew who sent all these gifts.

 

“I know.” JiuZhu smiled a little embarrassedly: “It’s His Highness Chen Wang.”

 

“Who?!” Ming JingZhou suddenly suspected his ears.

 

“His Highness Chen Wang.” JiuZhu blinked, looking at Ming JingZhou with sparkling eyes.

 

“Heh.” Shen-shi tittered: “Husband still wants to return these things?”

 

Ming JingZhou: “……”

 

Indeed, he did not dare to return them now.

 

“Why do you want to return them?” JiuZhu looked at her parents in confusion: “Is there anything wrong with these things?”

 

“No, no.” Seeing his daughter’s bright eyes dim gradually, Ming JingZhou promptly explained: “Father was just a bit curious about the sender.
We’ll keep it if our ZhuZhu likes it.”

 

“En!” JiuZhu nodded heavily.
She walked to Shen-shi’s side, hugged her arm, and sat beside her: “Originally, daughter didn’t want His Highness to send these things.
But His Highness said that since Qi Wang sent gifts for Miss Sun, he will be called stingy if he couldn’t do that too.”

 

Ming JingZhou looked at the jewelry boxes in the room.
Sending so much only meant that he had more money than there were occasions to spend ah.

 

What was the matter with Su Guifei and her son? When JiuZhu entered the Palace some days ago, Su Guifei granted a pile of gold and silver jewelry upon her.
When JiuZhu went shopping, Chen Wang granted another pile of gold and silver jewelry!

 

Was it because they were doubtful that the Ming family was reluctant to buy jewelry for their daughter?

 

Ming JingZhou looked at Shen-shi in confusion.  The latter shook her head slightly, asking the servants to move all the jewelry to the courtyard where JiuZhu lived.

 

Barely had the jewelry boxes from the main courtyard been packed and moved, and the family of three received an invitation card from the residence of Marquis PingYuan.

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“It is an invitation for the birthday banquet of the Old Madam of Marquis PingYuan’s family.” Shen-shi handed the invitation to Ming JingZhou: “The relationship between the Zheng family and our Ming family is mediocre.
Them sending an invitation so early and using such sincere and enthusiastic words make me feel a bit uneasy.”

 

Ming JingZhou glanced at his adorable daughter and remained silent.

 

A good while later, he put the invitation aside: “The Ministry of Rites is particularly busy these days since we need to make preparations for Su Guifei’s birthday banquet.
It is inconvenient for me to go to Marquis PingYuan’s residence so I can only ask Wife to do the hard work.”

 

“I understand Husband’s intentions.”

 

JiuZhu looked at her father and then at her mother.
Her little head was full of questions.

 

What did Father say? And what did Mother understand?

 

In the Palace, Emperor LongFeng seemingly unintentionally summoned Qi Wang while flipping through the memorials before him: “Lao si1, Zhen suddenly remembered that today is your maternal grandmother’s birthday.
Did you go to visit her?”

 

“Erchen2 plans to go there soon.”

 

“It’s nearly the hour of wushi3.
Although you are a prince, you must not neglect the birthday of the elders of your maternal family.” Emperor LongFeng asked the palace maids to take out some gift boxes: “Bring these congratulatory gifts to Marquis PingYuan’s residence in Zhen’s place.”

 

“Erchen thanks Father Emperor for his grace on behalf of grandmother.” Qi Wang held his hands before him and bowed.

 

“There’s no need to be such courtesy between us father and son.” Emperor LongFeng raised his hand: “Go ah.”

 

“Thank you, Father Emperor.” Qi Wang glanced at the Emperor who had already focused his attention back on the memorials and withdrew silently.

 

“Which of the officials went to attend Marquis PingYuan’s family’s Old Madam’s birthday banquet?” Emperor LongFeng put down the memorial and asked his trusted eunuch.

 

The eunuch read out a string of names loudly.

 

“The Ming family didn’t go?”

 

“Your Majesty, two of the lords from the Ming family are currently not in the capital while Assistant Minister Ming has no time to attend since he is at the Ministry of Rites, making preparations for Guifei niangniang’s birthday banquet.” The eunuch thought about something and continued: “Second Lord Ming’s son rarely goes out because of his studies.
Only Assistant Minister Ming’s wife and beloved daughter went to the banquet.”

 

Emperor LongFeng smiled when he heard the words: “Ming JingZhou, this person likes to be obstinate in everything he does.
It’s not like he cannot take a rest and attend the banquet while making preparations for the Guifei’s birthday.”

 

The eunuch laughed with him: “This slave thinks that the three lords of the Ming family all have this temperament.”

 

“If Zhen remembers correctly, Ming JingZhou’s son is stationed outside the capital, right?” Emperor LongFeng thought for a while: “The marriage between Ming family guniang and my son is near at hand, how can his brother-in-law not be in the capital? Ask the people from the Ministry of Appointments to see if there is any suitable vacancy in the capital and assign it to my son’s elder brother-in-law.” 

 

While mentioning ‘elder brother-in-law’, Emperor LongFeng’s tone carried a hint of undisguised intimacy.

 

When Qi Wang arrived at Marquis PingYuan’s residence, a performer was singing ‘birthday wishes from the immortals’ on the stage that was set up in the residence.
As soon as he appeared, everyone came over to greet him, not caring to pay attention to the performance.

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The Zheng family welcomed Qi Wang to the seat of honor.
He repeatedly declined but finally had to sit there and as soon as he was seated, his eyes swept over the officials who came to flatter him.
He smiled, holding up his teacup with both hands.

 

Swallowing the mild tea, he noticed Sun CaiYao and Ming family’s Young Miss sitting among the female guests.

 

“Your Highness.” Zheng WangNan whispered in his ear: “Miss Sun came over very early today.
She got along very well with Grandmother.”

 

Qi Wang noticed the golden butterfly hairpin in Ming JiuZhu’s hair.
It was the one Chen Wang insisted on inserting into her hair that day in MiaoJin Building.

 

“Miss Ming.” Sun CaiYao who was sipping the tea, suddenly looked up at Ming JiuZhu, “I heard that you grew up in LingZhou.
Would you like to tell me about the local customs of LingZhou?”

 

Ming JiuZhu looked at Sun CaiYao doubtfully.
The food was about to be served but she wanted her to talk about the local customs on an empty stomach?

 

Rubbing her somewhat hungry stomach, JiuZhu blinked and shook her head.

 

Although she appeared petite, she could eat very well ah.
Moreover, she was still hungry.

 

Talking about local customs at this time would only affect the speed at which she stretched her chopsticks.

 

“Sun jiejie is gentle and kindhearted.
You won’t mind if I refuse, right?” JiuZhu felt that even if she rejected the other person, she had to make sure that that person didn’t feel offended.

 

She was kindhearted; she was the most reluctant to make girls angry ah.

 

“Not at all! How can I?” Sun CaiYao smiled: “Meimei is so straightforward and adorable, how can I get angry with you?”

 

“Jiejie is really nice.” JiuZhu peeled off a tangerine and handed it to her: “Jiejie, do you want to eat it?”

 

“No, thank you.” Sun CaiYao continued to smile.

 

Tangerine can cause internal heat4 so, she! won’t! eat!

 

“Alright.” JiuZhu threw a tangerine segment into her mouth.

 

Mmm~

 

This tangerine was a little sour but the more she ate it, the more she got hungry.

1

Lao si [老四] – Means “old (老) fourth (四)”.
A ‘lao‘ (generally meaning old) or a ‘xiao‘ (meaning little) can be added before a numeral to indicate the order of birth of the children in a family.
This means that Qi Wang is the fourth son of the Emperor.

2

Erchen [儿臣] – It was the form of self-address used by the sons of the Emperor when speaking to the latter because they were both his child/son (儿) and his official/subject (臣) at the same time.

3

Wushi [午时]– In the system of two-hour subdivisions used in former times, it refers to the time between 11 am – 1 pm.

4

Internal Heat [上火] – A kind of wordplay here since this refers to suffering from excessive internal heat (in TCM) and is also a roundabout way of saying that she indeed is angry.

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