The chariot was galloping rapidly, Zhuo Qing was pondering all along secretly on why the Empress Dowager looked for her after all, was it another trick from Yan Hong Tian?! Or was it because of Lou Xi Yan? When her train of thought was still in confusion, the chariot stopped inside the palace, then Zhuo Qing followed the momo to walk east and west. Finally it stopped in front of the palace, Zhuo Qing raised her eyes, the gate of the courtyard had a written ‘Xi Xia Palace’, was it not just the West Empress Dowager’s palace, right, this was not very creative at all…..
Secretly cursing, Zhuo Qing remained at the outside of the courtyard, that momo came back once again soon and spoke towards her: “Miss Qing, this way please.”
Following her to go to the inside of the palace hall, Zhuo Qing was a little shocked, she originally thought that this Empress Dowager wanted to meet with her alone, she did not expect that there were also many women inside of the palace hall. Each and every woman was absolutely beautiful, she received a touch of surprise and bewilder eyes, Zhuo Qing raised her eyes, unexpectedly, Qing Feng was also there.
Moving forwards once more, Zhuo Qing finally saw the Empress, after the Empress saw her face clearly, she flashed through a trace of complicated mood that came out discriminatingly for a moment.
“Are you Qing Ling?” A gentle voice of a woman faintly echoed, Zhuo Qing looked towards the furthest seat of the master, one slightly plump madam was looking her up and down. (The wording that the author used could be translated either fat or plump, 胖-pang so I used the word plump instead). She was wearing a dark reddish purple cheong sam, simple head ornament, it seemed to be very plain and simple, her smile was also cordial.
“Yes.” Zhuo Qing generously answered.
“Come here next to Aijia.” (Aijia, a similar third party calling for self for the empress, the same as Zhen for the emperor).
Zhuo Qing did not hesitate at all, walked to her side magnanimously, this Empress Dowager started to size her up, down, left and right. She almost got goose bumps, she grasped her hand suddenly and smilingly said: “Prime Minister Lou’s foresight is indeed pretty good, you are really a vivid girl, this acquired name was also good, the person is as her name, what do you all say ah?”
“What the Empress Dowager has said is correct, Miss Qing…. not right ah, we should call Madam Lou, this person not only looks beautiful but also seems like a fairy, clever and quick witted also, really makes people to admire her.”
“Yes ah, we hear at an earlier time that every one of the three Qing family’s women is overflowing with emotion, they are very beautiful, we see the two of them today, as expected, their names are not in vain.”
Even though they were disfigured, they could still be called beautiful as fairies………
Meeting for the first time, they already knew that she was overflowing with emotion, also clever and quick witted…… Zhuo Qing’s head was filled with sinister lines immediately. If these women continued on saying this again, she was afraid that she could not endure not to vomit. Seamlessly retaking her hand, Zhuo Qing immediately asked: “The Empress Dowager, what matter do you have to look for me, there is no harm to speak, right?”
“There is really nothing either, I hear that Prime Minister Lou is preparing to get married, Aijia wishes to take a look which kind of woman can get Prime Minister Lou’s favor.”
It could not be this boring, right…….. This Empress Dowager should be the West Empress Dowager, who was exactly Yan Ru Xuan’s mother. Zhuo Qing thought that she called her to come to bully her, who knew that this person was so affable, she was not sure how to response!
“Ling-er just sit next to Aijia’s side, ok, the people are all present, pass on the meal, ok.” While speaking, she really arranged for her to sit on her left side, not too far away from the Empress.
Soon, the dishes were also served on the table, one group of women were saying and smiling, Zhuo Qing thought so powerless throughly. Looking at Qing Feng one glance, her face also had a look of impatience, Zhuo Qing lowly smiled, they seemed to really have connection at this point.
The culinary delicacies were exquisite, but Zhuo Qing’s interest to eat came to an end, she did not know which person asked her this sentence at this moment: “Miss Qing, what do you do for your recreation during the day ah?”
Recreation? “Doing autopsy.”
Zhuo Qing did not think too much when she answered the question without thinking it through, she was an workaholic in the past, a lot of her friends often ridiculed and said that her hobby was doing autopsy. She was also accustomed to self mockery, unfortunately, these group of women who were in front of her did not appreciate or understand her humor.
The inside of the main hall was in deathly stillness for a moment, almost all of the people took the same action by pushing the nearby meats farther away, especially the Empress who had experienced that disturbance during the palace feast. Her complexion was white and she felt really nauseous.
No need this much exaggeration, ok…..
In comparison, the Empress Dowager was clearly calmer, the hand that carried the dish only paused slightly, her face was smiling amiably like before and she asked: “Ling-er really stands out from the masses, no wonder that Prime Minister Lou favors you so much, who is Ling-er’s master ah?”
“I do not know, I have amnesia.” Zhuo Qing answered without thinking, this excuse was really good.”
“Poor child, Aijia will let the Imperial physician to diagnose and treat you properly for another day.”
Zhuo Qing answered smilingly: “Thank you, the Empress Dowager.” Her heart was somewhat jittery, how long would this boring party to continue on!
“Imperial concubine Qing has not seen your older sister for quite a while, you surely miss her, right, what if Ling-er stay at the palace for a few days, both of the sisters can speak nicely.” Just right after Zhuo Qing shouted boring, the Empress Dowager’s one line sentence that appeared to be a consideration for her, let Zhuo Qing had goose bumps all over.
Zhuo Qing had still not opened her mouth to decline the offer, but Qing Feng was already quicker than her by a step, she answered: “Thank you for the Empress Dowager’s favor, the wedding ceremony is imminent, I am sure that elder sister still has so many matters to prepare. Moreover, it is always not good for the important minister’s wife to enter or exit the gate to the palace casually.”
“Hand over that many matters to the man to do will be alright, but what the Imperial concubine Qing has said is also reasonable. This way, ok, since Ling-er wants to marry Prime Minister Lou as a wife, she still needs to learn the court’s etiquette. Aijia will request the Imperial edict from the Emperor on your behalf to enter the Imperial palace to study the etiquette honorably. This way, you and your elder sister can be together nicely.”
“The Empress Dowager….”
“Alright, it is decided.” Qing Feng was still thinking on what to say, the Empress Dowager waved her hand and not allowed her to talk again.
Qing Feng apparently still wanted to talk, Zhuo Qing sent a meaningful glance towards her to prevent her to say anything again. Qing Feng would have to live for a long time in the palace after all, she would give herself a bigger trouble if she offended the Empress Dowager.
Why did the Empress Dowager want to make her to enter the Imperial palace at all costs? Zhuo Qing was thinking deeply on how she should break away from this kind of dangerous circumstances. At the same time, the sharp and high pitch of a palace eunuch arrived from a far and near: “The East Empress Dowager has arrived.”
Why was there another person who came?!
The palace eunuch’s voice was just off, the grand clothing and ornaments, a married woman who was covered by a dark red clothing near the palace eunuch, she was escorted by many palace maids to enter the palace hall. Her face was taken good care of properly, tall figure, made her look younger than the West Empress Dowager, no more than 40 years old, magnificent golden hairpin, extravagant air that compelled people, in comparison, the West Empress Dowager seemed plain and simple, as well as amiable and approachable by a lot.
Her sudden arrival made a group of Imperial concubines were panicky, they paid respect hurriedly and said: “Pay respect to the Empress Dowager, we wish the Empress Dowager a long good fortune and peaceful.”
“Stand up, ok.” Not looking at the women who were kneeling, Lou Su Xin walked towards Yan Ru Xuan’s side.
The West Empress Dowager got up to welcome her, said smilingly: “Please sit down quickly, elder sister, how do you have time to come to my place?”
Touching Yan Ru Xuan’s hand, Lou Su Xin answered: “Xuan-er was sick for a long time and she did not seem to get better, Aijia just wanted to take a look at her, who knew that she was not at Qing Xuan palace hall. Aijia heard that younger sister arranged a banquet at the palace, Aijia also came over to join in the fun.”
Yan Ru Xuan hurriedly answered: “Many thanks to Empress Dowager, Xuan-er is already a lot better.” The low voice like a mosquito, people could see that she was also in fear towards this East Empress Dowager.
“That is good.” Letting go of her hand, Lou Su Xin swept one glance at everybody, she seemed to ask consciously: “Continue whatever words that you were saying just now.”
It was a pity that everybody lowered their heads, nobody dared to reply, Zhuo Qing was somewhat curious, everybody seemed to be afraid of her. Zhuo Qing was still observing secretly, her hand was gripped suddenly, she recovered and just saw the West Empress Dowager was patting her hand lightly and she said smilingly: “Xi Yan will get married quickly, but he really conceals his new wife so good. I especially request the person to enter the Imperial palace to take a look today, she is sure enough a fragrant orchid and good hearted young lady. Looking at her make people like her, we were discussing to make the Emperor announce an Imperial decree for Ling-er to enter the palace to learn the royal family’s etiquette a moment ago. She also can accompany Imperial concubine Qing, both of them have left their home for a long time, they surely have a lot of things to discuss.”
The gaze merely were drifting away faintly, Zhuo Qing suspected that Lou Su Xin simply did not look at her appearance clearly. Carrying a somewhat arrogant personality, Lou Su Xin said with a clear voice: “Yes, this matter ah, Xi Yan only spoke with Aijia about this matter only several days earlier. His health is always not good since young, he will fall ill every spring and summer, Ling-er will use the needle to stop the inflammation to give him treatment when he falls ill. He has begged Aijia to let Wu momo to come out of the palace to give Ling-er the etiquette’s instructions, Aijia can not refuse him and can only agree with him.”
The West Empress Dowager very clearly knew about the situation and changed the subject, she said smilingly: “So actually it is like this, since it relates to Xi Yan’s health, then there is nothing more to this matter, right. Older sister rarely comes over so let us dine together, ok.”
“Fine.” Both of the Empress Dowagers sat down the atmosphere could originally be regarded as joyous but it became oppressive immediately, but Zhuo Qing’s mood was pretty good. This was also good, finally there was nobody who looked for any trouble for her, every woman in that group was somewhat thinking and looking, Zhuo Qing finished eating the cuisine comfortably.
She was brought out of Xi Xia palace by the East Empress Dowager, she thought that this East Empress Dowager would say something to her, who knew once they were out of Xi Xia palace, she only looked at her eyes one glance and said one sentence: “Xi Yan is waiting for you outside the palace”, she meandered and left right away…..
She was Lou Xi Yan’s paternal aunt, right…. The mind of the Lou’s family was still not easy to guess!
Zhuo Qing followed the old momo to go out of the palace gate, as expected, she saw Lou Xi Yan’s low profile chariot. He unexpectedly did not sit to wait for her, rather he was standing at the outside of the chariot. Under the moonlight, his white cheongsam (long gown) looked like an elegant deity, it was perfect and made any person who was standing next to him feel ashamed of one own’s inferiority.
Looking that Zhuo Qing had come out, Lou Xi Yan came up to greet her.
“Did you wait for a long time?” He still had that unhurried and contended manner, from his expression, one could not see if he had been waiting for ten minutes or ten hours.
Lou Xi Yan smiled mildly and answered: “Only for a moment.”
Ok, he said only for a moment so it should be only for a moment. She could only see Lou Xi Yan and Mo Bai beside the chariot so Zhuo Qing surprisingly said: “Where is Qing Mo?” How come she did not see Gu Yun’s shadow?
“She came to inform me that The Empress Dowager took you away and then she left afterwards.” When she came, she was somewhat hasty and irritable, he thought that she would follow to come over. He did not expect that she would leave serenely after she finished speaking, she was really a strange woman.
On the contrary, Zhuo Qing was accustomed to Gu Yun’s personality as she knew that he would be calm and she believed that he would be able to save her so she just left afterwards.
Stretching her waist, Zhuo Qing said: “It is late, let us go back, ok.” It was a very busy day today so she was so exhausted.
Zhuo Qing prepared to get on the chariot, her wrist was suddenly grabbed by Lou Xi Yan, Zhuo Qing turned around because she did not understand and looked towards him. She could see that Lou Xi Yan was watching at her attentively and conscientiously, he asked: “Do you not want to ask me anything?”
Zhuo Qing pondered for a moment and answered: “What should I ask you?”
“You can be angry since I do not enter the palace to look for you and harm you by letting you stay at the palace this long.”
Holding her hand tightly, Lou Xi Yan’s serene eyes were watching at her attentively and deeply.
So, actually, as it turned out, he was talking about this, Lou Xi Yan’s slightly nervous look pleased Zhuo Qing, she admitted that this vanity that she got was satisfying. But it was just that she did not have any desire to use this opportunity to take away the shameless lovable and extensive sympathy, slightly smiled, Zhuo Qing candidly spoke out with her own attitude: “The Empress Dowager only summoned me to enter the palace, what could she want to do to me, you were a state official so did not need to inconvenient yourselves to enter the harem. On the contrary, if you really wanted to come and get me, you would fall from the common people’s perception. You still asked the East Empress Dowager to help me out of this trouble, this was already enough. I do not think that I will need to get angry for any reason, the most important thing is that I am not that weak. Even though one group of women who are like wolves and tigers and they harbor malicious intentions, unfortunately, I am not a small rabbit either, you can be at ease.” (I think there’s a rule that any official can not enter the harem where those evil women usually are so that’s why LXY can’t enter the harem and can only ask his paternal aunt to rescue ZQ).
Smiling eyes with high spirits, the faint smile on his water chestnut lip was pursing up, her face did not have any trace of cowardliness under the moonlight. That kind of self confidence was even so dazzling, maybe his anxiousness was unnecessary. Lightly holding up her scattered long hair on her back with his fingertips, Lou Xi Yan lowly smiled and said: “Yes, my Ling-er is a small fox.”
My Ling-er? There was that faint pampering and spoiling tone again that made people to become intoxicated with that soft whisper, her jet black hair was twisted on his hand. Zhuo Qing felt that deep ambiguous feeling between the two people again, her heart could not be contained and palpitated violently. After that lack of soft kissing event last night, her heart seemed to change. But what did Lou Xi Yan think about this?
She wanted to continue with this kind of worry about personal gains and losses and let herself to be in this kind of passive circumstance all along? The answer was ‘no’.
“I hear that you are preparing for a wedding?” She must make him confess first!
It seemed as if the satin hair felt the same as a good imagination, Lou Xi Yan continued to fiddle with her hair and answered absentmindedly: “Yes.”
Softly pulling her hair back, Zhuo Qing did not allow him to be distracted and continued to ask: “With who?”
Lou Xi Yan wished to continue saying something, the kind of cool and silky smooth touch that let people to linger on. Facing Zhuo Qing who was arguably pressing on her line of sight, Lou Xi Yan answered generously: “You.”
With both hands on her chest, Zhuo Qing laughed: “Why is it that I, the person who is involved in this does not know it?”
His innocent face frowned, Lou Xi Yan answered: “You do not deny that you are my madam at the main hall, is this not a proof that you have promised to be my wife?”
He unexpectedly gave her this innocent look!! Zhuo Qing was happy and also angry, she lowly roared: “That was obviously just a plan of convenience!” The time when he said that she was his madam, she did not give her consent, ok!!
“The civil and military officials can not think like this, I can not think like this either.”
Was he acting shamelessly like this?!! This could actually be called a marriage proposal? Zhuo Qing would simply not allow to force a smile!!
Zhuo Qing disapproval’s face was hardly concealed, Lou Xi Yan’s expression was gloomy, asked in a low voice: “Are you going to suffer if you marry me?”
Zhuo Qing shook her head and answered candidly: “No, your perfection makes people feel ashamed of their inferiority.”
This was a strong point? His serene eyes were locking up tightly at her eyes, Lou Xi Yan asked: “But, you do not wish to marry me?”
Did I wish to marry him? Recalling the women guests at the banquets today, they were enchantingly beautiful, everyone of them possessed charm but they were all trapped inside the palace wall and they all belonged to one man. She did not know how they would think but she would absolutely not let this to happen to her. Facing to look at his eyes, Zhuo Qing answered: “How do I say this, my husband should respect me, both of us will protect and support each other, take care of each other, trust in each other. I will not allow another third party to appear, of course, the fourth, fifth and sixth parties will not allow to appear even more! Do you think that you can achieve this on your own?”
“The matter that you care about is that I will take a concubine in the future, right?”
Zhuo Qing nodded candidly, this was the problem that could not be avoided in this era, she did not have any interest to share him with other people, even though his perfection made every woman emotionally affected.
Lou Xi Yan gently smiled, there was no need to be perplexed with regard to this problem, he calmly answered: “I, Lou Xi Yan will only have one woman in this one life, that is my wife.”
Zhuo Qing’s surprising mouth was slightly opened and she forgot to close it, according to his identify and status, he would absolutely not required to try to please her and lie to her. Zhuo Qing had already guessed in the past that this kind of elegant and gentle man would stand out from the masses. But she had never thought that he was so unique, he would only have one woman throughout his life, not to mention this kind of commitment from one powerful Prime Minister from the imperial court and ordinary people in this ancient time, the man in the modern time would not dare to promise it easily like this, right? How could she not amaze by this!!
Zhuo Qing’s foolish appearance caused Lou Xi Yan to smile, he continued to fiddle with her hair one more time, Lou Xi Yan distorted his facial expression deliberately and said smilingly: “My small fox, do you really need to be this happy?”
Coughing lightly, Zhuo Qing finally closed her mouth, embarrassingly smiled and said: “I am sorry, I was just surrounded by a group of women who were very frightening and irritating just now, their facial expressions were somewhat dysfunctional, please understand this__ shocking expression, thank you.”
“This was not the exact answer that you wanted.”
“Yes, it was.” The answer was not the one that she would disdain on her own pretentious~.
“Then, what problem do you still have?”
“What other problem?” Zhuo Qing was somewhat at a loss…
“What problem do you still have to be my wife.” Lou Xi Yan asked very naturally, but Zhuo Qing wanted to curse at people. How could she answer to this person?! ‘I do not have any problem, please marry me, ok?!’ Let her be dead, ok, she could not say anything!
Zhuo Qing sighed: “I am under the impression that you are a very romantic person, it seems that I am somewhat mistaken now.” Even though she had never received any marriage proposal before but there was somebody who proposed marriage like this……
“Romantic?” Lou Xi Yan raised his eyebrows lightly, his eyes flashed through a trace of doubt, Zhuo Qing cursed herself for being an idiot secretly, perhaps, he simply did not know what the meaning of being romantic was.
Just when Zhuo Qing was doing her own self criticism, her waist was tightened suddenly, Lou Xi Yan’s low voice was echoing in her ear: “I understand.”
What did he understand?! Zhuo Qing raised her head startlingly, she was only able to see one bright dazzling man who was approaching towards her. Zhuo Qing retreated unconsciously but the hands that were holding her waist would not let her to run away, instead he tightened up both of his arms, Zhuo Qing only felt her lips were heating up….
“En…” All of her crying out in surprise was transformed into the other person’s warm breath. Zhuo Qing opened her round eyes, her brain was blank momentarily…. He…. kissed her….. He appeared to not let her continue to stare blankly, the warm breath had his smell, his kiss was gentle as before, but his arms were still holding onto her waist tightly and rubbing her back. Lou Xi Yan only released her lips until she thought that she could not breathe, his head was pressing against her forehead, his dull voice sounded even more fascinating: “Can you marry me like this?”
Zhuo Qing’s brain was still a little stupid for a short period of time, he should not be as gentle as jade, he should be polite, modest and courteous, and he should be tender hearted….. Who could tell her what was going on after all, this was the gate of the palace ah!
! How many Imperial bodyguards were still behind them, he unexpectedly kissed her like this?!!
Both people were still breathing and entangling with each other, his perfect and long single eyelids raised slightly, there was still actually a kind of strange sex appeal and charm. She was insane, she seemed unable to resist this kind of Lou Xi Yan. She had no choice but to say that her feeling was good with that warm kiss just now~~~