Chapter 98 Part 2: Two Nations United by Matrimony, Asking for Leave to Marry

    "This is Western Chu, how can a small Northern Qi servant offend the upper class and the nobility of the entire Western Chu?" a voice filled with apparent anger said. The maid bore the pain in her knees and stood up, retreating to her position behind Qi Ling'er with an expressionless face.

    Qi Ling'er looked at the newly-arrived Chen wang who had yet to greet the Emperor but had directly come to Yun Qian Meng's rescue. She smiled and said, "Wangye has misunderstood. I had been teased by Yun Qian Meng, so my maid was a little petty, but Northern Qi is not small."

    Evidently Jiang Mu Chen's words had angered Qi Ling'er. Referring to her servant as small was like one arrow shooting two eagles. It called attention the servant's lower status and the fact that Northern Qi's territory was not as large as Western Chu's. How could it not provoke Qi Ling'er's ire?

    This incident caused everybody's attention to shift and many eyes were now looking at Yun Qian Meng, Chen wang, and Qi Ling'er.

    When Qi Jing Han saw Jiang Mu Chen staring at his younger sister with such coldness and severity, he angrily said, "Chen wang, gentlemen and ladies should not be so close. Do you not even know to keep your distance?"

    As he spoke, his face did not redden and his heart did not race. It made the coldness in Yun Qian Meng's eyes burst. Who was it that trespassed into her carriage back then? Who was it that had hid in her room? So that was the kind of prince he was. This Qi Jing Han did as he pleased but other people could not.

    "You don't understand the situation, so how can you be angry? Chen wang usually keeps himself out of trouble, how could he do something so unsightly in front of so many people?" Chu Fei Yang had spoken in a cold voice after having been quiet for a long time.

    From the moment Yun Qian Meng had stepped into the Imperial Garden, Chu Fei Yang's eyes had never left her. Even though her eyes were hidden beneath the veil, Chu Fei Yang could still feel her clever eyes hiding in a place where people could not see them emit a far-sighted and wise glow.

    He had not expected that Qi Ling'er would be so daring as to try to remove Yun Qian Meng's veil in front of so many people.

    Hearing the hollow reasonings, Chu Fei Yang's eyes flashed with killing intent, and his cold eyes shot towards Qi Ling'er's back, causing her to feel the chill in the air.

    "Tenth Prince has been flying into a rage out of humiliation. Could it be that everything that just occurred was Tenth Prince's doing? I did not think that Tenth Prince's suspicions was unexpectedly this strong, how can your honorable self expect Western Chu to believe your sincerity? If you ruin the peace talks, could you bear the responsibility?" Yun Qian Meng's expression was calm and cold, her voice not as weak as before. It carried strength and coldness, harshly crushing Qi Jing Han.

    "You-you... Yun Qiang Meng, you..." Qi Jing Han did not expect Yun Qian Meng to throw the issue back at him with so few words. His face turned red and he was rendered speechless.

    When the ministers from the Northern Qi's envoy party saw their Tenth Prince rendered speechless by a young girl, they turned their eyes towards Yun Qian Meng and with a condescending look, they shouted, "Yun Qian Meng, you rely on your father's position to be considered a xiaojie. But a xiaojie is not comparable to a princess or a prince. The difference between you is way too vast."

    "Humph! The difference is too vast?" Chu Fei Yang scoffed at these words. His penetrating gaze looked towards the group of ministers from the Northern Qi, before he turned towards Yun Qian Meng. He suddenly had a look of determination as he rose and walked towards the center.

    Chu Fei Yang had turned to look at Yun Qian Meng suddenly. Something behind his meaningful gaze disconcerted her. Before she could do anything about it, Chu Fei Yang was already kneeling in front of the Emperor and said in a clear voice, "Emperor, weichen asks for an Imperial Marriage Decree."

    Once these words had left his lips, a commotion broke out in the Imperial Garden. No one had expected that the normally reticent Chu Fei Yang would ask for a decree of marriage with so many people present. Everybody was inwardly guessing; they could not understand what could have provoked Chu Fei Yang so much to make him mention marriage.

    The group of xiaojie rolled up their sleeves for battle. They stretched out their necks, each wanting Chu Fei Yang call out their own name

    Hai Tian's eyes remained unwaveringly on Chu Fei Yang. Her face was pale and her palms were damp with cold sweat. She wished that Chu Fei Yang would say her name, and was afraid that the name would be someone else's. It was difficult to put her current state of mind into words. Her own hand gripped her neck, closing her windpipe and making her unable to breathe.

    Jiang Mu Chen's face became even more unsightly. At first it was just cold and calm, but when he heard Chu Fei Yang's words, it became darker. His eyes stared at the man kneeling in the middle of floor. Eyes filled with jealousy burned through Chu Fei Yang, wishing he would vanish like smoke in thin air.

    Emperor Yu Qian did not stop the commotion. When he heard Chu Fei Yang's proposal he smiled and asked, "You were always an idle cloud, a wild crane. Why did you suddenly wish for me to grant you a marriage today? Have you properly made up your mind? Once I give the decree, it cannot be revoked."

    Emperor Yu Qian glanced at Chen wang when he said these words. When he had seen Chen wang's face pale, he deliberately added the last few words.

    "This humble servant is very certain, absolutely would not regret it." Chu Fei Yang's powerful and resonating voice filled the Imperial Garden for a moment. It made people feel that once this man, who had been through the battlefield, made a pledge, he would never break it during his lifetime.

    When the various daughters heard the resounding words of his pledge, each of them felt very moved, as if Chu Fei Yang was speaking the words to they themselves. The atmosphere on their side had turned heavy as the solidarity between the girls was destroyed. Each girl stuck out their hidden needles, waiting for the enemy and ready to fight hand to hand.

    Qi Jing Yuan's eyes suddenly narrowed and his eyes lit with a scheming look. He watched Chu Fei Yang whose eyes held a rare killing intent.

    Qi Jing Xuan who was on the side, was now smirking and not as gloomy as before. He now seemed to be somewhat relaxed. At this time, when everybody was holding their breath, he was casually drinking wine and admiring the moon.

    "Since it is like this, which daughter do you wish to wed?" Emperor Yu Qian took in everybody's expressions. He kept a small smile all throughout, giving Chu Fei Yang this particular courtesy.

    "May the Emperor grant a marriage between me and Yun Xuan Zhi's daughter, Yun Qian Meng." Chu Fei Yang replied without any hesitation. Great changes went through the faces of everybody and immediately they turned to Yun Qian Meng, whose face was still hidden behind her veil.

    Some of the ministers shook their heads at Chu Fei Yang. They could not figure out why he would want to wed a sickly sapling, even more, one who had already had her previous engagement with Chen wang withdrawn.

    With Chu wangfu's influence and Chu Fei Yang's own capabilities, how could he not have any girl he wanted? Why did he insist on having this girl who tried to commit suicide because somebody did not want her?

    He had unexpectedly sought for the Emperor's decree of marriage while the Northern Qi's Royal Family was here. Could it be that Chu xiang had caught Yun Qian Meng's illness?

    When Yun Qian Meng heard her own name being called, her heart madly raced. The hand supporting her gripped the table tightly and both her eyes were wide open. Through the gauze, she watched Chu Fei Yang with his earnest expression and a feeling that she could not understand spread in her heart.

    In contrast, Rong Yun He's eyes contained a hint of joy as he looked at the determined expression on Chu Fei Yang's face. His heart felt both happiness and heartache, but no matter what, Chu Fei Yang's strength was not to be doubted, he could give her the greatest protection.

    Hai Tian's face was drained of color, the pale complexion on her little face could move people, but this gorgeous appearance of hers did not attract any of Chu Fei Yang's attention. Unconsciously, the handkerchief in her hand had been scrunched into ruin as extreme hatred emanated from Hai Tian's body, intimidating everyone nearby.

    Yuan De taifei had just returned to the Imperial Garden and sat beside the Empress Dowager as she breathed a sigh of relief, but at the same time she could not help worrying. If Yun Qian Meng was really to be married to Chu Fei Yang, then the Empress Dowager would be like a tiger that grew wings.

    When she had probed the Hai mother and daughter pair, she had only gotten ambiguous answers. She looked at the Northern Qi's Crown Prince sitting in the middle of the garden and then gave Chen wang a meaningful glance, wishing he would make a move to strike first in order to gain the upper hand.

    Jiang Mu Chen's eyes were rigidly glaring at Chu Fei Yang, the hands on both sides of his body had long balled into tight fists. Those blanching fingers were attempting to suppress the anger that he was on the verge of losing control of. After a while, with a voice only the two of them could hear, he said to Yun Qian Meng, "Yun xiaojie really does things that shock people."

    But right, now all of Yun Qian Meng's attention was on Chu Fei Yang. She acted as if she did not hear Chen wang's mocking words, and this only provoked Chen wang's anger. In an instant, his eyes were erupting in flames as they turned towards Chu Fei Yang. His calm expression as he requested for this decree of marriage was like a slap on the face to Chen wang.

    "Oh? Chu xiang is unexpectedly interested in Yun xiang's daughter." Emperor Yu Qian did not immediately grant his request, but leisurely started a conversation.

    "Chu xiang, this is a matter that will affect a life, you can't be negligent. Shouldn't you inform Chu wangye first?" the Empress Dowager also spoke as if she was concerned about Chu Fei Yang, but her words made laotaijun and the others frown.

    "What good news does this old man have to be informed about?" unexpectedly, the Empress Dowager had just finished speaking when the voice of Chu wang could be heard throughout the Imperial Garden.

    Everybody rose from their seats when they heard the voice. Chu Nan Shan had just entered the Imperial Garden and was being announced by the eunuch when they they greeted, "Greetings to wangye."

    "No need, no need!" Chu wang's big strides made him enter fast like a shooting star. He greeted the Emperor and the Empress Dowager and then smiled, "Benwang wishes to hear everybody's congratulations. Emperor, you know how cold and somber my Chu wangfu is. Fei Yang, this child, it has been so hard to get him to come around, so may the Emperor please grant the decree."

    After saying this, Chu Nan Shan did not look at the Empress Dowager, those bright eyes full of expression like a tiger were locked on to Emperor Yu Qian, waiting for his reply.

    "Chu wang, in this matter, both sides have to agree. If I were to give this decree, I must ask for Yun xiang and Yun xiaojie's input first. Only with the father and mother's command, and the matchmaker's word, can Chu xiang and Yun xiaojie have their happiness." Emperor Yu Qian completely rejected granting the decree, then turned to Yun Xuan Zhi, "Yun xiang, what do you think about this?"

    When Yun Xuan Zhi heard his name being called, he immediately walked towards Chu Fei Yang's side and said in a clear voice, "This humble servant listens to the Emperor's command in all things."

    Yun Xuan Zhi had not spoken up all this time because he was observing everyone's expressions. When he heard the Empress Dowager's words earlier, he was afraid that she did not agree with the match. And since the Emperor dodged granting the decree, then he must also be thinking the same as the Empress Dowager. So as not to offend any of them, he decided give the right to decide back to the Emperor.

    But it was completely clear to Yun Xuan Zhi that Chu Fei Yang and Chu wang would not start something they could not finish. Since this issue was raised, then sooner or later, Meng'er would become one of Chu wangfu's people.

    When it came to that eventuality, he would not have offended the Empress Dowager, so there was no need to be afraid.

    Yun Qian Meng looked at Yun Xuan Zhi's craftiness and inwardly, she smiled coldly. Since he wanted her to marry into Chu wangfu but did not wish to offend the other party, Yun Xuan Zhi's scheme was the best. But Emperor Yu Qian probably would not let him escape so easily.

    "What is Yun xiang saying? Jurisprudence is nothing more than a human decision. Yun xiaojie is your daughter, in this matter of marriage, you are naturally the judge." As expected, Emperor Yu Qian was still unwilling to take over, so he magnanimously allowed Yun Xuan Zhi to handle this instead of himself.

    "Emperor, your servant thinks it is inappropriate." Chen wang walked towards Chu Fei Yang's side with big steps. In front of everyone's surprised looks he spoke in a clear voice, "Chu xiang is asking for a decree of marriage today, it is nothing more than helping Yun xiaojie out of an embarrassment. Supposing that someday they do live together, Chu xiang might end up regretting it later on."

    Regardless of Yuan de taifei's already ashen and angry expression, Chen wang still voiced out his reasons.

    When Chu Fei Yang heard this, his lips curled into a smile. All other men present paled in comparison to his handsome face. The bubbling light in his eyes made people feel intoxicated, nevertheless, he smiled and retorted at Chen wang, "Benxiang brought this up after careful deliberation. It is something my heart is delighted to do. Wangye should not impose his own experience on other people."

    With that one sentence, he made Jiang Mu Chen stop speaking. Chu Fei Yang then turned to Yun Xuan Zhi and smiled, "Yun xiang is Yun xiaojie's birth father, do you not want your daughter to be happy?"

    Being looked upon by Chu Fei Yang with a cold glint in his eyes as he smiled made Yun Xuan Zhi feel a chill run down his back. The looks of reproach from all around him made Yun Xuan Zhi force himself to answer, "Emperor, your servant gives consent."

    When everybody heard this, their faces had looks of disappointment, hate, and jealousy. Even Emperor Yu Qian's smiling expression vanished little by little, and the coldness in the Empress Dowager's increased by many degrees.

    "Since it is like this, Yun xiaojie, step forward to hear the decree." Not expecting that Yun xiang would agree so fast, Emperor Yu Qian ground out each word as if they were as heavy as nine tripods but he naturally could not go back on it. All he could do now was to call Yun Qiang Meng forward to receive the decree.

    Chu Fei Yang rose. Step by step, he made his way to the sick Yun Qian Meng. He walked towards her in front of everybody, the coldness in his eyes had long vanished, his calm expression made it difficult to read his mood.

    Yun Qian Meng raised her head and saw that his face was like it usually was, while her own heart felt as if it had dropped from somewhere high into the abyss. From beneath her veil she softly asked, "Has xiangye thought about this clearly? If it becomes troublesome in the future, there will be no turning back."

    Chu Fei Yang smiled cheerfully. His smile was like a spring breeze as it streaked across his eyes, showing that he was not faking it. But then, he said some words that angered Yun Qian Meng, "Aren't I in the middle of getting rid of trouble? Unless, you want to be part of the Unification Marriage?"

    During yesterday's private discussions with the Northern Qi, the topic of a Unification Marriage was brought up. Otherwise, Emperor Yu Qian would not have had all the officials of third rank and higher to bring their womenfolk to this kind of important banquet.

    Only a very select set of high officials were present in yesterday's discussion, the other ministers naturally did not know about this matter.

    Qu Fei Qing lightly pushed Yun Qian Meng, whispering in her ear, "Go!"

    Chu Fei Yang was definitely being serious because otherwise, with his status, Emperor Yu Qian would not be against it even if he wanted the Northern Qi's Princess.

    Those who had looked to be openly and secretly planning to obstruct the proceedings before were all blocked off by Chu Fei Yang. His intention was clear to all of heaven and earth. It made Qu Fei Qing happy for Yun Qian Meng.

    Yun Qian Meng did not expect Chu Fei Yang to say those words. Even though she had long suspected it, she had not expected that she would be involved in it. Apparently, her marriage to Chu Fei Yang seemed to be quite necessary now.

    Knitting her elegant eyebrows, her teeth lightly bit into her red lip, but Yun Qian Meng eventually took one step forward, then followed Chu Fei Yang and knelt in front of the Emperor in front of everybody present.

    Emperor Yu Qian leisurely spoke, "Yun Clan's Yun xiaojie is dignified in behavior and appearance, and she is moral in conduct. Today she is betrothed to Chu xiang to be an upright wife, so the Emperor decrees."

    These simple words sealed Yun Qian Meng's life.

    Emperor Yu Qian had just finished speaking when everybody all around spoke their congratulations.

    "Congratulation to Chu xiang and Yun xiaojie, it is a match made in heaven."

    "Congratulations to wangye, for your pretty granddaughter-in-law."

    Nobody could see Yun Qian Meng's appearance so they all lied through their teeth, it was truly a funny sight.

    Yun Qian Meng was assisted back to her seat by a palace maid. After she sat down, she noticed that compared to before, her cheeks felt hotter while her whole body felt weaker.

    All the other xiaojie's hateful and jealous looks turned to today's lucky winner. Each person gritted their teeth, they could not understand, how did somebody, who only appeared only at the end and whose body was sick, obtain the first prize and become Chu Fei Yang's wife?

    A group of people looked at Hai Tian with pity. Hai Tian could not even look at Yun Qian Meng, the anger in her heart did not dissipate. The coldness in her eyes made people cower in fear yet she endured it all and remained in her seat, in order to maintain the disposition befitting a junzhu.

    "Emperor, since it is like this, then one good thing became two. May the Emperor grant this prince's long-cherished wish." Qi Jing Xuan said when he stood.

    Emperor Yu Qian smiled to Qi Jing Xuan and said, "Let Eldest Prince speak his request. If it is within my power, then naturally I will agree to the Eldest Prince's wish."

    At Emperor Yu Qian's frankness, Qi Jing Xuan said, "This prince has fallen in love with Hai Tian junzhu. May the Emperor to allow Hai Tian junzhu to marry into the Northern Qi."

    His words were even more shocking than Chu Fei Yang's asking for a decree of marriage.

    Chu Fei Yang was Western Chu's Minister of the Right, Yun Qian Meng being married to him was of great benefit to her.

    Qi Jing Xuan was Northern Qi's eldest prince. If Hai Tian were to go, the path of a Unification Marriage would be a road of no return.

    Hai Tian could not help swaying. Gripping her seat firmly, she gave an imploring look to Hai wang.

    A look of malice appeared in Hai wang's eyes as an aura of death emanated faintly from his scholarly face yet his eyes still contained a look of understanding. He did not speak, and only waited for Emperor Yu Qian's reaction.

    Emperor Yu Qian hesitated for a moment, then said with some chagrin, "Hai Tian junzhu is Hai wang's beloved daughter. Junzhu has lived a life of luxury, I am afraid she would not be able to endure the hardships of the long trip."

    With these words, he turned it down gracefully.

    But Qi Jing Xuan smiled coldly. He was about to speak when he discovered Qi Jing Yuan beside him suddenly stand up to speak as well. "Since it is like this, then the status of Crown Princess will be given to junzhu."

    These words caused another uproar. If Hai Tian were to marry Qi Jing Xuan, at most she would only be a wangfei.

    But if she were to become Qi Jing Yuan's Crown Princess, in the future she could even become Empress of the whole nation. With this kind of lure, how could anybody resist?

    Waiting at the sidelines, Hai wang's eyes could not help but to faintly glow brighter.

    Qi Jing Xuan looked at this Cheng Yaojin* who suddenly popped up along the way. He glared at Qi Jing Yuan angrily, but Qi Jing Yuan remained looking peacefully at Emperor Yu Qian, so he could not display his anger outright in front of all the ministers and nobility of Western Chu so as not to lose propriety.

    "What does Hai wang think?" Emperor Yu Qian did not directly give an answer and instead turned to Hai wang with a tone of consultation.

    "My old boy Hai, I heard about Rui wang. It was your own clan's fellow that caused problems, since that is the case, this is making up for his error." Chu wang reminded everybody.

    Hai wang gave Hai Tian a profound look and in the end reluctantly spoke, "Emperor, your servant naturally gives consent."

    When she heard this, Hai Tian finally let out the breath she has been holding. Her whole body sat paralyzed, but the palace maids would not let her be and led her to the middle to receive the decree.

    "Hai Tian is a lady of filial piety and great virtue, she is talented and good-looking. Today, she is given the title of Princess He Shun , betrothed to Northern Qi's Crown Prince to become his Crown Princess, so the Emperor decrees."

    "Thank you... Emperor." Hai Tian's face was as white as paper and her voice trembled, but she had no choice except to lower her head and show gratitude.

    Hai wangfei had long welled up with tears. She looked at the daughter she had raised with her own hands become a sacrificial victim to a Unification Marriage,  Hai wangfei could only feel heartache and was unable to bear it.

    Yun Qian Meng watched Emperor Yu Qian's actions with cold eyes. She felt that everything had been planned today, a pit was dug to make everybody jump in.

    The heat in her body would not dissipate, so Yun Qian Meng felt unbalanced and, could not help swaying a bti. Qu Fei Qing immediately yet carefully went to support her.

    The Empress Dowager saw this and sent Lan gugu to go to Yun Qian Meng's side and bring her to Fen Xiang Palace to temporarily rest.

    "I'm troubling gugu." Yun Qian Meng forced herself to be clear-headed as she walked towards Feng Xiang Palace's side chamber and thanked Lan gugu once she had sat down.

    "No trouble. Let nubi help xiaojie to the bed and rest for a while." As she said this she had been about to remove Yun Qian Meng's veil but was stopped. "Thank you gugu, Qian Meng will do it herself. Gugu should return to Empress Dowager."

    At Yun Qian Meng resistance, Lan gugu did not force her anymore. She left the chamber and gave the palace maids some orders, before returned quickly to the Imperial Garden.

    Yun Qian Meng sat upright beside the table still with her veil, then she slowly lifted it to take a breath.

    "What an unusual face." A joking voice said from beside her.

    Cheng Yaojin - a Chinese general, read more about him here. The entire phrase "Cheng Yaojin shows up suddenly along the way" is used when somebody comes along and wrecks all you plans.
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