Senior Concubine Qiao walked in and first gave the Jing Consort her greetings. She then greeted Qi-Shi, as well as Qian-Shi and Mao-Shi, before finally sitting on the side. These days Qi-Shi and the rest came daily, and Senior Concubine Qiao had accompanied them a few times. Everyone was naturally familiar with each other.
“There’s nothing to do in the winter. I heard aunt was over at the consort’s place and wanted to join the liveliness.”
“Senior concubine is too polite.”
The Jing Consort took a sip of her tea smiled at Senior Concubine Qiao in tacit understanding.
They both knew what the other was thinking. Unfortunately the Jing Consort no longer had the confidence to grimace at Senior Concubine Qiao anymore. Having been confined for over a year, the Jing Consort finally realized that she was nothing if she angered him…
“Cousin Miao Lian is already quite old. Does she have a marriage arranged yet?” Immediately after, Senior Concubine Qiao faked a slap on her mouth as she said, “This mouth of mine has no filter. Cousin Miao Lian shouldn’t take offense.”
Qi-Shi’s expression turned rigid for a moment before saying with a dark expression: “Not yet. It’s our household’s fault for dragging her down. She isn’t young anymore, but still doesn’t have a marriage lined up.”
“Mother, what are your saying!?” Li Miao Lian was both shy and lovable.
“Hehe, cousin Miao Lian is shy. This isn’t a big deal. Marriage is something unavoidable when a girl comes of age. Cousin Miao Lian has such a flowerlike appearance, she must find her prince charming in the future.”
Senior Concubine Qiao was eloquent, and her quips and banter pleased the room full of women.
Qi-Shi sighed, “About this matter, I can’t help but ask consort and senior concubine to give us a hand. This is my oldest daughter. Having spoiled and pampered her from birth, I can’t drag her down any longer.”
As she spoke, Qi-Shi started wiping away tears. Concubine He consoled on the side: “Madam you can’t cry. Having come to the Jing Prince Estate, his highness naturally wouldn’t let his own cousin’s marriage be a problem.”
This act made the Jing Consort smile behind the handkerchief she used to cover her mouth. This Li family’s madam was quite the capable person, able to climb up whatever tree she sees. Although she thought this, she still said: “Cousin Miao Lian is such an attractive person, how can the matter of her marriage be difficult!?”
Qi-Shi showed a joyful expression and hurriedly expressed her gratitude: “Then we’ll have to inconvenience consort in the future.”
The Jing Consort clearly showed a troubled expression, and looked towards Senior Concubine Qiao. The two of them seemed to communicate without words.
What’s wrong? This shouldn’t be hard, right?
“This—-” The Jing Consort hesitated.
Senior Concubine Qiao sighed on the side: “Aunt may not be aware, but our prince’s estate is quite strict with the rules. Us women spend our days wandering about the rear court. We aren’t able to help much with things on the outside.”
“It shouldn’t be hard to find out about young nobles of the appropriate age when women interact, right?” Qi-Shi thought these two were giving an excuse because they weren’t willing to help her daughter.
When she mentioned this, Senior Concubine Qiao and the Jing Consort’s expressions turned even worse. Our highness is apathetic and the rules of the estate were strict. If it were any other household, the women would often hold banquets as social gatherings, or girls from subordinate families would often come visit.
Only the Jing Prince Estate never had such things happen ever since it was first constructed.
“Our highness’s rules are strict. The rules here are based on the imperial palace, and there aren’t many banquets.”
Qi-Shi’s disappointment didn’t need to be expressed with words. She had two reasons for often coming to the Changchun Pavilion. One was to become more intimate. Another was to find a suitable marriage for her daughter. But what was she to do now? Did she have to let her daughter become an old maid?
Qi-Shi still believed the Jing Consort and Senior Concubine Qiao’s words in the end. When their family first entered the Jing Prince Estate, they could tell how strict it was based on the guards at the door.
“Could it be that we have to ask his highness for help regarding this matter?”
How could such a thing be convenient to discuss with a man?
All of a sudden, the room became very quiet.
Senior Concubine Qiao placed the teacup in her hand down and smiled at the Jing Consort: “How about consort spends some time on this. Since aunt has already brought this up, we can’t delay cousin Miao Lian’s affairs any longer. Better sooner rather than later. Let’s hold a banquet at the Changchun Pavilion tonight and invite lord uncle’s family for a meal. Anything can be discussed at such an occasion, we’re all family after all!”
The Jing Consort looked at Qi-Shi. Qi-Shi was naturally happy with this idea. Her husband had also been lamenting how there hadn’t been any opportunities to get close to his nephew. This worked out nicely for everyone.
“That’s naturally wonderful. We’re really grateful to consort and senior concubine.”
The Jing Consort summoned a palace maid and instructed: “Send a message to his highness. Lord uncle’s family will be attending a banquet at the Changchun Pavilion tonight. Have his highness find some free time to attend.” She turned her head back and smiled at Qi-Shi: “His highness is busy with official business, but no matter how busy he is, he can’t go without eating, right? His highness is just used to being antisocial. He’s actually quite respectful of aunt and uncle.”
These words were soon relayed to the Jing Prince. The original invitation as well as the following words were all reported in their entirety. It seems like the Jing Consort also knew these palace maids were arranged by Eunuch Fu. Since she had already spoken to such an extent, the Jing Prince had no choice but to go.
Although he had to go, the Jing Prince felt quite disgusted, as though he had swallowed a fly.
Eunuch Fu rubbed his nose on the side and didn’t say anything either.
That night the Jing Prince arrived at the scheduled time. The banquet was held in the Changchun Pavilion’s main hall and reception. There were a total of three tables. The men were at one table, the women at another, and the third was for the younger generation. The Li family’s concubines didn’t have the right to sit at the table, and served their own masters and mistresses on the side.
Although the Jing Prince spoke little, the Li family chatted while the Jing Consort and Senior Concubine Qiao accommodated them. The host and the guests still had a good time.
Qi-Shi had opened her mouth wanting to say something several times, but had been pulled back by Li Miao Lian. She wasn’t able to say anything the entire banquet.
After the banquet, the Li family left. Only the Jing Prince, the Jing Consort, Senior Concubine Qiao, Eunuch Fu and a few others remained in the hall.
“This concubine will take her leave first.”
The Jing Consort was very satisfied with Senior Concubine Qiao’s tactfulness, and nodded amicably.
“Eunuch Fu, you may leave as well. This consort would like to speak with his highness.”
Eunuch Fu glanced at the Jing Prince, and only left after seeing him nod.
The Jing Consort took a breath before moving her gaze from Eunuch Fu to the Jing Prince.
“This consort has yet to thank highness for your leniency. During this long period of time, this consort has also realized her wrongs. This consort will definitely conduct herself virtuously in the future, and won’t do anything impulsive.”
Xiao-Shi realized her wrongs? This made the Jing Prince very surprised. He tilted his head and gave her a glance.
“Actually the reason this consort did what she did was because she cared about highness too much….” As she spoke, the Jing Consort’s tears started flowing, and let out a sob, “It’s just that this consort was spoiled from a young age at home, so my personality is a little willful, which ended up causing highness’s disgust. This will definitely change in the future….”
These words weren’t unfamiliar to the Jing Prince. In his past life, the Jing Consort had said similar words to him before, and he had chosen to believe her, completely forgetting how much she had looked down on him in the beginning. Encountering the same situation now, he actually felt nothing. After all, he didn’t want to bother with what she did anymore, no matter if it was good or bad. Might as well do it this way.
According to reason, he should say a couple of words and show his attitude. However, the Jing Prince didn’t know what he should say. A married couple of two lifetimes ended up at such a stage. He didn’t want to look into who was in the wrong.
Especially since the Jing Consort was a topic that him and Xiao Hua’er were never willing to bring up. This made the Jing Prince feel a little avoidant when facing the Jing Consort.
Faced with the Jing Consort’s lowering of herself, he chose to stand up and walk out, not listening or looking.
Only after leaving the hall and meeting up with Eunuch Fu did the Jing Prince let out a light breath.
The Jing Consort’s tearstained face suddenly turned rigid. After a long, long time, her eyes started moving once again, releasing a hint of sorrow.
The Jing Prince and Eunuch Fu had just walked out of the Changchun Pavilion when they ran into a cloaked Senior Concubine Qiao and her personal palace maid.
Senior Concubine Qiao leaned forward and grabbed the Jing Prince’s arm, “Highness hasn’t visited this concubine in a long time. Want to come sit at the Rongxi Pavilion for a bit?”
Her actions and words frightened the Jing Prince and Eunuch Fu quite a bit.
Seeing her subtle hints not produce any results, Senior Concubine Qiao decided to be more direct?
Eunuch Fu really wanted to wipe his brows with his sleeves. Does he need to save his highness?
Just as Eunuch Fu was thinking this, he realized that the Jing Prince had already struggled free of her hand at some point. He didn’t say anything, and walked away very quickly. He gave the impression that he was fleeing.
Tonight’s events had been outside of both the Jing Prince and Eunuch Fu’s expectations. After entering the western pavilion gates, both of them couldn’t help but let out breaths of relief.
“Don’t tell her.”
The Jing Prince left these words before going into the main residence. Eunuch Fu turned and went to the western wing.
Seeing the Jing Prince return, Xiao Hua hurriedly ordered for someone to brush off the snow on his cloak, and change his clothes and shoes.
Seeing Xiao Hua dressed in casual clothing under the lamplight, the discomfort in his heart from back then immediately vanished.
“Why not sleep yet?”
“Waiting for highness.”
The Jing Prince nodded and pulled Xiao Hua to the bedroom while having someone prepare water.
The two finished washing up before lying in bed.
They chatted idly about the two little fellows before each falling asleep.
Neither of them brought up the Jing Prince going to the Changchun Pavilion. Most people would be curious about what happened there and what people’s reactions were like. But Xiao Hua really had no curiosity about the Jing Consort.
The Li family returned to their own pavilion and everyone returned to their rooms.
Li Xue Bing had drank some alcohol today. His face was still flushed and his spirits were high. Qi-Shi wasn’t in the mood to deal with him and called her two sons to go chat with their father. She herself went to Li Miao Lian’s room in one of the auxiliary houses.
“Your mom wanted to discuss your marriage with his highness today. Why did you keep stopping me?”
Li Miao Lian’s face turned rigid, and sat in front of the makeup counter without speaking.
“I’m asking you a question?! What on earth are you thinking?”
Li Miao Lian was stifled for a long while before finally forcing out a sentence, “You daughter temporarily doesn’t want to get married.”
“What do you want to do if you don’t want to get married? Mom knows your marital affairs have been hindered by our family, but this wasn’t intentional on your mom and dad’s part. The world is hard to predict. Am I not trying to find a good match for you the moment things settled down?”
“I just don’t want to marry. Mom, don’t bring it up anymore…..”
“Oh, you. Mom really spoiled you too much. Is this something you can avoid just because you don’t want to? Who taught you to speak like this…”
Li Miao Lian was was both ashamed and humiliated. She sprawled on the bed and started crying loudly.
“I say, madam, you really don’t understand second young mistress’s thoughts.” Concubine He had arrived at the door at some point, and spoke.
“Who allowed you to come in? How rude.”
Concubine He fanned herself with her hand and said coldly: “Madam, third young mistress’s room is next door. Since you are scolding second young mistress so loudly, this concubine naturally ran over to see what was worth you getting so worked up about.”
“Also, what did you mean by her “thoughts”?”
Concubine He’s gaze flickered towards Qi-Shi, “Madam, can you really not tell? Can’t you tell why second young mistress isn’t willing to marry? Our second young mistress is quite greedy. Marrying outside of this large estate would be a waste. Nothing can be compared to the wealth and status here.”
Li Miao Lian’s crying had stopped at some point.
“You really had such thoughts?” Qi-Shi’s expression was quite complicated and she said sternly, “Your cousin already has a harem. If you married over you’d be a concubine! Have you gone insane?”
No matter what, Qi-Shi wouldn’t be willing to see her pampered daughter become someone’s concubine.
“What’s wrong with being a concubine? A concubine in this case would be a royal concubine!”
“Concubine He, stop trying to instigate things!”
“Fine, fine, fine. I’ve got a cheap mouth. Since madam doesn’t care about the family, why should this concubine waste her efforts in doing so? I really don’t know what the lord was thinking, not interacting with his nephew for several decades. If it were anyone else who had a royal nephew, they would treat him properly. Only the Li family would do the opposite instead. Such a large family came over to seek asylum. Putting it nicely, others would feel it’s proper since we’re relatives. Putting it harshly, do we all have the face to remain in this estate for our entire lives?”
“Today the lord had hinted several times at obtaining a job posting somewhere, but did you see his highness give any response? To put it plainly, he isn’t close to us. So what if it’s his uncle? Having done nothing all this time and only hugging onto his feet at the last moment, do you think they are all fools? It’s written in all the stories: a monarch puts his subjects first and family second. If he treats you as his uncle, then you’re his uncle. If he doesn’t, then you’d have to kneel every time you see him!”
“What a waste of words. If third young mistress wasn’t too young, I wouldn’t mind having a royal son-in-law. Would you suffer any grievances if you married your own cousin?”
Concubine He continued to mutter as she opened the door and left, but ended up running into Li Xue Bing and his sons outside.
It turns out that they were drawn over by the commotion in the auxiliary house, and ended up overhearing Concubine He’s words.
“Concubine He’s words are well spoken.” Li Hong Chang approved.
Li Xue Bing had a pondering expression. He walked into the room and asked his daughter, “Lian’er, do you really have such thoughts?”
Li Miao Lian only covered her face without speaking.
Li Xue Bing stroked his beard and said: “That’s wonderful, wonderful.”
Really want to write about Repressed Jing being chased around by his love-struck cousin. However, this author knows you guys definitely won’t want to see this, and so it won’t happen.
Everyone has the right to have their flights of fancy, so you shouldn’t blame them. Just because you won’t give someone something doesn’t stop them from thinking about it, right?