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Chapter 96 part 2: Lying Down but Still Got Hit by a Spear

    The crowd knelt down before the Emperor once more and kowtowed. "Long Live Our Majesty!"

    Emperor Yu Qian and the Empress stepped down from the ceremonial platform. At the foot of it, Rong gui fei had already been assisted by a palace maid and retreated to the side.

    Only until this moment did the people take a deep breath. Fortunately, no unexpected incidents happened during this ceremony, or else they would have been scared to death.

    The Emperor, the Empress, the Empress Dowager, Yuan de taifei, and the rest gradually left the ceremonial platform, and went towards the direction of the Palace. The remaining people did not behave like before. Only the sons of the noble families boldly glanced at the young ladies across from them. While those young ladies were so shy that they used their handkerchiefs to cover their faces, but also delicately observed the looks of those young men.

    "Sister Yue, so far Chen wang and Chu xiang are the two most remarkable persons here. Although Hai junwang isn't bad, he has a bad temperament, so he is quite scary. The Crown Prince and the other princes from Northern Qi are reported to be equally excellent." Xing Jin Die slowly shifted behind Su Qian Yue as she commented.

    And Su Qian Yue's eyes were already focused at Jiang Mu Chen. In his deep purple prince clothes, he had quite a noble and imposing air. He appeared to be a crane in a flock of chickens as he stood in the crowd of men. He quickly overshadowed the few other princes and junwang, as they appeared to turn pale.

    "Cousin, are you experiencing your first awakening of love? Based on Ruo Xue's observation, Chen wang is indeed a great choice for a husband. You have to strive hard, cousin!" Yun Ruo Xue remarked. She had also quietly approached and was smiling all the while.

    Upon hearing her words, Su Qian Yue's facial color somehow improved. She looked back at Yun Ruo Xue with a smiling expression, her face automatically blushed, somehow feeling shy as she said, "What a silly girl you are Xue'er, daring to say anything that comes into your mind. You have to be careful or I might tear up your mouth like the old lady from that popular story."

    Su Qian Yue being overcome by shyness across her whole face told Yun Ruo Xue that she had said the right thing and her heart was delighted. It confirmed that the man Su Qian Yue liked was not Chu Fei Yang whom she herself fancied, so she did not hesitate to commend Chen wang, "With your status, older sister could marry into the Chen wangfu and become the main wife, and still have enough to spare. Judging by sister's appearance and physique, you and Chen wangye are a perfect match. Don't be shy sister, since ancient times, men and women marry when they grow up, this is an unalterable fact. Xue'er will be happy for you, sister."

    Su Qian Yue blushed even more. She stretched out her hands as if she intended to hit Yun Ruo Xue, yet it was evaded with a laugh.

    But at Yun Ruo Xue's words, the nearby Qu Jing Qing's expression was quite the opposite. Her eyes looked at the shameless face of Su Qian Yue as she coldly snorted, "Su xiaojie, do you already think of yourself as the wife of Chen wang now? You can't even manage to discipline your own yatou, how can you be able to manage the grand Chen wangfu? Besides, regarding that incident was it really your yatou? Maybe that silly girl was just a scapegoat who took the rap for someone else."

    Although Qu Jing Qing's voice was not too loud, the young ladies beside them were able to hear clearly enough. They only pursed up their lips and laughed, remembering the incident that had happened during Gu laotaijun's birthday feast. Qu Jing Qing said aloud the suspicions that had been hidden inside their hearts for a very long time, so naturally, the others were waiting for Su Qian Yue's response.

    "What now? Does Qu xiaojie also fancy Chen wang? From what I know, Qu daren is the commoner son of Fu Guo Gong Fu. Is Qu xiaojie planning to enter the Chen wangfu to become a concubine or just an all-around servant girl?" it was not wise to provoke someone like Su Qian Yue, in just a few words, she hit the old scar in Qu Jing Qing's heart.

    The young ladies beside them who were observing the argument were quite happy to see their dogfight. Not only did nobody try to stop them, some of them even rejoiced to see them argue on and cause disharmony.

    "The both of you, please do not argue anymore. Have you forgotten already? Yuan de taifei is already considering Hai Tian junzhu. With her looks and background, we simply can't compare to her." A young lady indifferently reasoned out, afterwhich she laughed at their foolishness.

    The two shifted their gaze towards Hai Tian who was ahead of them, only to see the fine and delicate body which attracted not only men, but any women who saw her would be mesmerized. In addition to Hai wangfu's prominent position in Western Chu and Yuan de taifei's approaching Hai Tian, if she was to marry into the Chen wangfu, then she would certainly be the Imperial Consort. When the time comes, where could the other women position themselves within Chen wangfu?

    Despondently, the palace mamas reminded all the madams and ladies to get onto their respective carriages that were stationed outside earlier so they could be brought to the Imperial Palace.

    "Old sister, why didn't we see Meng'er today?" Chen laotaijun had not seen Yun Qian Meng since the incident last time. This morning, she had been busy combing her granddaughter's hair. Now that she finally had some free time, her perspicacious eyes swept through her surroundings, yet she still could not see Yun Qian Meng and was immediately curious.

    "Ai, that girl caught a cold last night so today she didn't come out." Gu laotaijun felt sorry for this child whose mother was already long gone.

    "Mother, after the banquet ends, I will go over to visit Meng'er, please don't be too worried." Ji Shu Yu took a look at Qu Fei Qing who seemed to be depressed with her head lowered as she spoke.

    Gu laotaijun also noticed the peculiarity of her granddaughter, and secretly collected her thoughts, then nodded at Ji Shu Yu. Asking leave from the old women around her, she led Ji Shu Yu and the others into the carriages which were assigned to the houfu.

    On the other side, having heard Gu laotaijun's words, Chen wang exposed an expression showing that he had failed to understand what was going on as he walked.

    "Where are you going, wangye?" Chu Fei Yang followed behind Chen wang as they walked away from the ceremonial platform.

    Chen wang paused momentarily, his eyes were coldly staring at Chu Fei Yang. At the gentle smile on the man's face, his heart felt increasingly cold as he said coldly, "Chu xiang, since when have you started to care about my affairs? Don't tell me you want to become the housekeeper of Chen wangfu?"

    Chu Fei Yang smiled more sincerely and his tone became increasingly more insulting, "Are you moving out, wangye? If I were to be the housekeeper, isn't the Chen wangfu too small for me?"

    The palace eunuch leading the way heard the conversation of the two men full many mysteries. Sweat had drenched his back, and without knowing why, whether it was Chen wang who was behaving coldly, or Chu xiang who was full of smiles across his face, anyone nearby who could hear them would have the urge to break into a run. The two of them just standing there chatting already made him feel uncomfortable. If they were to fight here at the location of the ceremonial rites, his fate would end here today. Afterwhich, he would just serve the members of the Imperial Family in the underworld to have the abundance of good fortune for rebirth.

    Chen wang's face was already cold with frost, just as cold as unmelting thousand years old ice. Chu Fei Yang only smiled more brilliantly, his deep dark eyes emitted specks of starlight under the reflection of the sun.

    The two of them stood there, cold and warm, quickly attracting everyone's attention. Then, Chen wang coldly snorted, afterwhich he flapped his sleeves and turned to leave.

    "Xiangye, you were quite eloquent." Hai Chen Xi said with a smile on his face as he approached Chu Fei Yang.

    And Chu Fei Yang just innocently looked at Hai Chen Xi, then asked rhetorically, "I didn't say anything."

    Chu Fei Yang was playing dumb, and instead of exposing him, Hai Chen Xi only lowered his voice and said, "I accompanied the group of emissaries from Northern Qi as we entered the capital. Chu xiang, do you know to whom they were most interested in?"

    "I actually feel that Hai Tian junzhu is currently the most popular one." Chu Fei Yang left immediately after this statement.

    Chu Fei Yang's figure left without hesitation. Slowly shifting his gaze, Hai Chen Xi turned to look at Hai Tian. Her eyes were focused on Chu Fei Yang's back and a faint smile appeared on the corners of her mouth.

    It was already past noon when everyone returned to the Palace. Because of the feast that night, all the madams and ladies did not even touch their chopsticks to maintain their figures. At most, they only ate few pieces of cake to have something in their stomachs. They then laid down to rest in an inner area that had been prepared in advance for a nap to preserve their energy for the banquet in the evening.

    --

    And this time, Yun Qian Meng was in a good mood as she ate a bowl of rice and tasted all the dishes in front of her. Finally, she drank a small bowl of chrysanthemum soup which Mu Chun had prepared for her to conclude her noon time meal.

    "Xiaojie, you have a really good appetite today." Mu Chun remarked with a smiling face as she handed over a wet towel for Yun Qian Meng to wipe her hands with.

    And Yun Qian Meng just smiled without a word. Being able to evade from such banquet full of hidden disputes naturally brightened her mood.

    Immediately, she took the book that she had read halfway yesterday, then quietly started to read it.

    --

    Inside the Imperial Palace, the madams and ladies rested for an hour before they were led towards the Imperial Garden where the banquet would be held.

    It was already late afternoon, the clouds were red as frost leaves in the horizon, that in addition to the beautiful scenery of the Imperial Garden, everyone stared in awe for a moment. They realized that they had forgotten their manners when the palace maids called their attention, and they were then led to their respective seats.

    During this time, the crowd did not engage in too much conversation. They seemed to hold back a little and silently sat down drinking the tea while waiting for the arrival of the members of the harem.

    Around the third quarter of the hour of the monkey (3-5pm), Emperor Yu Qian slowly led the people of the harem inside. The ministers and the women got up and made their salutations, and were then granted their seats by Emperor Yu Qian.

    The Empress naturally sat together with the Emperor, the Empress Dowager to his right, and Rong Rong, who had been conferred the title of Imperial Consort today, was seated to the left of the Empress. Dressed up in formal attire, Rong guifei looked extremely gorgeous at this moment, and because of her indifferent expression, she looked somehow more awe-inspiring.

    Everyone saw clearly Rong guifei's appearance and felt that the Rong Family had been really good at hiding her away from the public eye. They had never shown such exceptional beauty in public for so many years that outsiders only knew that Rong Family had an elder daughter, yet they did not expect her to be so devastatingly beautiful. Even Hai Tian, who bore a beautiful face, could not help but admire Rong guifei's excessively dazzling beauty.

    Hai Tian's heart could not help but rejoice that luckily, this young lady of the Rong Family had already been selected as a guifei, or else her presence would become a big threat to her.

    Even Rong xian taifei who rarely went out brought Rong Yun He along with her, sitting inside the Imperial Garden.

    But the two of them had similarly cold expressions, as if they were experiencing something unpleasant.

    Everyone took their seats as the Palace's Chief Eunuch came inside and reported to the Emperor, "Your Majesty, Hai wangye has arrived."

    Everyone was astonished. Why would Hai wang, who rarely left his home, come here?"

    Emperor Yu Qian was also surprised and his face showed a rare smile. He said with a clear voice, "Why don't you invite Hai wang in?"

    The eunuch complied and left. After a short moment, people could hear the sound of the wheels running on the pebblestone road, followed by Hai wang on a wheelchair who was being pushed inside by a palace eunuch.

    The people knew that Hai wang had sustained some serious injury. After his previous banquet, news of it had spread, but only today did they witness it themselves. It stirred up emotions within the people's hearts, regarding it as something like nature running its course, the mighty and powerful Hai wang was now someone who required to be on a wheelchair.

    "Your humble servant is here to see Your Majesty and the Empress Dowager." Contrary to the rumors, Hai wang was quite refined and courteous, he was not a large and rough man who only knew how to play with knives and spears.

    Emperor Yu Qian immediately empathized, "Wangye, your body is still not in good condition, why have you come today? Could someone push wangye to the spot below my seat? Today, I shall get thoroughly drunk with wangye!"

    Hai wang immediately exposed a grateful face and repeatedly nodded his head as his tone changed, "This is a great blessing to your humble servant. I heard that the Crown Prince of the Northern Qi had arrived, and I wanted to meet him, who is supposedly an expert in the art of war."

    Hai wang's eyes swept through the crowd, seeing the family members of high ranking officials, he did not see Yun Qian Meng. He laughed and asked the Empress Dowager, "Empress Dowager, why is Yun xiaojie not around?"

    Gu laotaijun, Yun Xuan Zhi, and a few others were bewildered at hearing Yun Qian Meng's name being mentioned for no reason.

    The Empress Dowager just laughed and replied, "Meng'er has accidentally caught a cold, so she had not gone out today. Why did you suddenly ask about Meng'er?"

    Hai wang just courteously smiled, his eyes gazed up in the sky as he slowly said, "The last time we had a feast at Hai wangfu, Yun xiaojie's pipa and zither skills were superbly artistic, it had reminded me of my former days. I thought that Yun xiaojie would be here and wished to hear the music one more time, yet I didn't expect that she was unwell, what a pity."

    The people did not doubt Hai wang's praise so it roused their curiosity towards Yun Qian Meng's musical skills. Who would win if she were to be compared to Hai Tian junzhu?

    Chu Fei Yang glanced at Hai Tian who was somewhat relaxed. His thin lips concealed by a wine cup was sneering. And sensing people's curiosity towards Yun Qian Meng, unhappy thoughts flit across his mind.

    Although Rong Yun He was sitting upright with an expressionless face, when Hai wang mentioned Yun Qian Meng, his brows disgustedly wrinkled a fraction.

    "Thank for your praise wangye. My daughter usually plays it at her leisure. How can she be compared to junzhu who has incomparable zither skills? She simply couldn't accept such great praise from you, wangye." Although Yun Xuan Zhi was unclear about the matters in his household, he still possessed an extraordinary level of proficiency in matters of the court.

    Hai wang had directly mentioned Yun Qian Meng. Fearing the consequences of these words, he immediately interrupted Hai wang, so as to avoid any negative backlash on Yun xiangfu.

    "Xiangye, you are too modest. During that time, many men and women were present, and all of them admired Yun xiaojie's zither skills. Everyone has seen it, I am not exaggerating." Hai wang smiled and interrupted Yun Xuan Zhi's words as well. His eyes consulted the ladies in the Imperial Garden who had attended the feast that day.

    Yun Xuan Zhi was at a loss for words for a while. After all, he had not been present then. As far as Yun Qian Meng's zither skills were concerned, he really had no idea about the actual level of her skills.

    "Your Majesty, contrary to one might expect, I think junzhu's zither skills far exceed Yun xiaojie's. Junzhu's <> was truly extraordinary work. Yun xiaojie only played according to the season so it was merely opportune." Qu Fei Qing had stood up and commented as the corners of her mouth went up in a smile.

    When she heard those words, Hai Tian's eyes went cold and her heart coldly snorted as she observed Qu Fei Qing.

    Normally, the elder daughter of Fu Guo Gong Fu was neither fond nor good at exchanging words. Apparently, it had all been pretence. In the few words that were spoken, the mention of the tune she played that day, told everyone of her passion of wishing to get married soon. She was afraid that she would be mocked for it.

    When Qu Fei Qing sat down, she felt a lascivious gaze shoot towards her. Relying on her intuition, she looked around and saw an overdressed young man frivolously looking at her as he drank. He had a great resemblance with the Empress, which Qu Fei Qing easily became aware of. She suddenly coldly shifted her gaze, and without consulting anyone, she stared at the Empress Dowager who was seated above.

    "I heard that houye was seriously injured, is he better now?" Hai wang did not push the previous topic further and turned his gaze to Gu laotaijun as he politely asked.

    Gu laotaijun gave him a faint smile, and appropriately responded, "Many thanks for wangye's concern. He has greatly recovered now. And wangye? A few days ago, were you not ill? Coming out today might hinder your health."

    Gu laotaijun could hold a grudge. Being fully aware that the Fu Guo Gong Fu would come and visit, Hai wang had unexpectedly announced that he would not meet any visitors for an entire month.

    Today was still within that one month's time, so how could he be out now?

    Gu laotaijun's words had a deeper meaning. Hai wang had not kept his word, so had he always been fooling people? He might eventually even deceive everyone present some day.

    Hai wang pretended not to hear the deeper meaning of Gu laotaijun's words, as he was still plainly smiling and politely replied, "Thanks for your concern, laotaijun. The imperial physician had advised me to walk around more. I spent the first half of the month lying in bed, so that the other could be spent doing trivial activities. I had not expected laotaijun to remember so clearly, this shows that you are indeed a very careful person."

    Gu laotaijun smiled but did not speak.

    Qu gonggong, who had been waiting outside of Imperial Garden, quickly entered and reported, "Your Majesty, Empress Dowager, the Crown Prince of Northern Qi and his men have arrived."

    "Let them in!" Emperor Yu Qian immediately regained a weak smile. His expression suddenly became solemn as he awaited the arrival of Qi Jing Yuan and his people.

    --

    "A-choo!" a cool breeze had rushed inside the room and Yun Qian Meng unintentionally sneezed.

    "I've told you before, xiaojie, you will catch a cold one day." Mu Chun closed the carved wooden window and draped a cloak over Yun Qian Meng's shoulders.

    And Yun Qian Meng was not in the mood to read anymore as her mind was suddenly pensive, she thought, 'Would I still get hit by a spear even if I'm lying down?'
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