Turned out to be an issue with my caching. For some reason it’s not working even if I flush the browser cache, but that’s where the problem is. If you visit pcptranslations.com/?noncachedversion you get to the updated website. For now I’ll just manually add the latest chapter to Novelupdates.
I do read and appreciate everyone’s comments. Yours especially, purpleberrydoc 🙂
However I’ve been asking spam filter to delete “the most egregious of spam” automatically and now I’m afraid it might still be deleting occasional reader comments. I’ll turn it off an manually wade through the junk just in case.
The lateral courtyard the Yun Prince and his consort stayed in was the Yun City Governor Qian Cheng Qi’s private property.
The Yun Prince Estate hadn’t finished construction prior to the Yun Prince’s arrival. They naturally needed a temporary residence. As governor of the Yun Province’s capital, Qian Cheng Qi was one of the most important officials within the Yun Province. He had naturally ordered his people to clean up his lateral courtyard properly in preparations for the Yun Prince’s stay.
The Yun Province was located in the north and the style of its buildings was different from the south’s style of gardens with small bridges and flowing waters. Qian Cheng Qi was a rather elegant person so his courtyard was renovated in a southern style with unique rocks, small bridges, flowing water and winding corridors. Despite being covered in snow, it was hard to cover the graceful style of the waterways.
The largest and most unique pavilion within was the “Chunyu1 Building”. This was where Luo Huai Yuan and Yan Yan were staying. As for the palace maids, eunuchs and guards who had come along with him, they were scattered throughout the courtyard. Luckily it was big enough to accommodate so many people.
To be able to host the Yun Prince was a great honor for the Yun Province’s official. Qian Cheng Qi gave the orders to ensure everything was perfect and everything was to the Yun Prince highness’s liking.
Luo Huai Yuan and Yan Yan also weren’t unreasonable and remained guests instead of acting like the host. They didn’t use any of the servants in the courtyard and only used their own from the capital. Even the cook they brought over would be in charge of the cooking. The cook Qian Cheng Qi prepared did show off some of the Yun Province’s specialty dishes. Whether the food suited their taste wasn’t known for now. Regardless, the Yun Prince and his wife mostly used their own cooks.
Towards this, Qian Cheng Qi was rather dejected. Afterwards, he figured that it was hard to get accustomed to new foods after eating the same flavors for many years. Therefore, it shouldn’t be that he didn’t prepare well, but rather it was due to their habits.
Actually Qian Cheng Qi shouldn’t be blamed for kissing up to them so much. In theory, he was also extremely unfortunate.
The local officials had three-year terms. Those with good results for their entire term usually got promoted by a rank or half a rank, or got relocated as official to a wealthier location. The Yun Province capital’s governor was a major fourth-rank official. Any higher would mean relocation to the Grand Xi’s capital. Qian Cheng Qi had been an official for a decade and all he wished was to be located in the nation’s seat of power. He had dreams of becoming a first-rank official.
Unexpectedly, a year from when he was to be relocated, his city became designated as a vassal prince’s vassal state.
To be designated as a vassal state?
There was nothing worse than that!
Everyone knew the vassal state was the prince’s own territory. The officials there could be appointed by him or the Minstry of Appointments. However, the court’s system was different from that of the vassal prince’s system. The officials in the vassal state happened to be in the most awkward position. They were controlled both by the court and by the vassal prince. If the official wanted to be promoted out of the vassal state, it would require the vassal prince’s or the adjutant’s office’s approval.
Therefore, this was why Qian Cheng Qi kissed up to the Yun Prince so much. He wanted to avoid being unable to relocate and thus put in more effort to get into his good books. It was also to get close to him so the Yun Prince could help give him a push when the time came.
Every time Qian Cheng Qi left his office, he would rush back to the courtyard waiting for the Yun Prince’s summons.
However, he had yet to receive anything after waiting several times. Could the Yun Prince have forgotten his host?
Luo Huai Yuan had truly forgotten the host Qian Cheng Qi. To be more specific, he had never kept him in mind. The day he arrived at Yun City, there were too many officials who had come to welcome him. He did remember there was a thin little official who was the head, but he didn’t know his name. He knew that the place they lived in was the governor’s private residence, but he didn’t know who the Yun City’s governor was.
Espcially since he had brought quite a lot of people over from the capital. When Yan Yan found out they were staying here until the Yun Prince Estate was constructed, she immediately ordered all the servants, cooks and guards to be switched out for their own. This was for their safety, and also Yan Yan’s personal habit.
They had been too content and seemed to feel it was their own place. How could they recall who the host was?
The saying “the turtledove occupying the magpie’s nest” referred to precisely this.
Of course, wanting to occupy someone’s nest depended on one’s backing. In the capital, in the palace, amongst his other brothers, the Yun Prince was on the bottom. However, after coming to his own vassal state, the heavens came first but he was second! Wait, no, the heavens came first, his wife was second and then came him, who looked down on everyone else!
At first, Qian Cheng Qi didn’t understand this relationship, but afterwards he figured it out. Since he didn’t seem to be getting anywhere, he thought of his own wife.
The Yun Prince had a proper consort already. It was said he regarded her rather highly. The Yun Consort was a woman and his own wife was one too. There was naturally a lot to discuss between women.
If they could get close to the Yun Consort, would they remain distant from the Yun Prince?
Therefore, Qian Cheng Qi hurredly returned to his own estate and had his wife pack up and move to the lateral courtyard. Their excuse was that he himself was busy with work so he had his wife come entertain the guests and keep the Yun Consort company.
Since he was the host, the guards didn’t make things difficult for him. After hearing about it, Yan Yan didn’t think too much and agreed. After all, this was someone else’s home. They were being polite and considerate so it wasn’t good to refuse them.
Madam Qian couldn’t help but smile smugly after figuring out her husband’s thoughts, and put on a lot of airs for several days.
She thought: no matter how you pamper those little vixens, you still need this madam to step up at the key moment.
For the sake of coaxing his wife, Qian Cheng Qi spent several days in the main residence before managing to convince Madam Qian to go to the lateral courtyard.
Yan Yan was a tactful person. Hearing that Madam Qian had arrived, she summoned her for a meeting the next day.
Madam Qian was around forty with an oblong face, pehonix eyes and a small black mole by her lips. She was all smiles.
Yan Yan felt this Madam Qian was a rather lively person. She naturally didn’t know that Madam Qian’s current appearance was only for her. If it were anyone else, she wouldn’t be this way.
Women chatted about superficial things when they got together. Usually it was about clothing or jewelry or what not. Yan Yan hated these things the most and naturally didn’t have much to dicuss with Madam Qian. Madam Qian merely felt that the Yun Consort didn’t seem to like her much, but didn’t know why.
After a few times, Yan Yan no longer called Madam Qian to chat. Madam Qian had found a few excuses to see Yan Yan but was mostly told the consort was busy. Yan Yan actually wasn’t busy, but Luo Huai Yuan had noticed she didn’t like socializing and helped her avoid it.
Madam Qian was inevitably a little resentful. She felt that the Yun Consort was too young to be putting on such airs. However, there was nothing she could do. Her status as the emperor’s daughter-in-law truly gave her the capital to look down on all the other noblewomen under the heavens.
On the other side, Qian Cheng Qi had asked his wife about her progress.
They had been married for almost twenty years. The two of them were married as teenagers and got along rather well. They had also gone through tough times together. But as Qian Cheng Qi rose through the ranks, the women in his rear court gradually increased. Qian Cheng Qi was a kind and hardworking person. His only issue was his weakness for women. Of course, it wasn’t really an issue. Which man didn’t have several wives and concubines nowadays?
Men liked having a woman in each arm and the joys of having multiple partners. For women, the more pleased a man was, the less pleased the women would be. However, due to the Confucian moral injunctions for women, and the various scriptures and disciplines to suppress them, Madam Qian could only endure her jealousy and turn her mind towards the flowers in the rear court instead.
She normally struggled incessantly with those concubines, but she was no longer got jealous so easily. Madam Qian had finally found something to struggle for in life.
Because Qian Cheng Qi had to ask his wife for help, he coaxed and flattered her quite a bit. Men only had a few ways to do so. He chose some jewelry and clothing that women liked, and also stayed with her at night for several days to raise her reputation. Qian Cheng Qi was using the tricks he used on his little concubines on his own wife? But weirdly enough, it was quite effective.
There was nothing that made those little concubines more jealous than this, and it made Madam Qian feel very pleased.
Knowing what her husband was after, Madam Qian had put in a lot of effort. However, if the Yun Consort wasn’t playing along, what should she do?
Seeing Qian Cheng Qi’s expression slowly beginning to change, Madam Qian tried a new approach.
On this day, Madam Qian asked to see Yan Yan again. Her excuse this time was that she had brought her daughter to pay respects to the Yun Consort.
When the matter was reported, Yan Yan and Luo Huai Yuan were curled up on the large kiln chatting idly.
Hearing this, Luo Huai Yuan revealed an impatient expression but Yan Yan had Mei Xiang order them to be brought inside. They were the hosts after all so they couldn’t keep refusing them every time.
Although Luo Huai Yuan was the vassal prince, he still needed to pay attention to the relationship between local officials. Although Qian Cheng Qi wasn’t a really high-ranked official, they were still living in his courtyard. Yan Yan understood that some face still needed to be given at times.
She got off the kiln and changed into clothing more suitable for receiving guests before heading out of the warm room.
Before long, a palace maid led Madam Qian and her daughter over.
Following etiquette, the two kowtowed in respect.
Yan Yan’s eyes flashed with astonishment as she said: “No need for such etiquette.” She had the palace maid bring the two a seat.
Yan Yan’s astonishment was because she had assumed when she heard Madam Qian mention her daughter that she should be quite young. Unexpectedly, she was a young lady in the prime of her youth.
The girl seemed to be around fifteen or sixteen, looking slim, delicate and cute. Her fair skin was like the highest quality white jade and her half-knit brows made one inevitably feel pity for her.
“Consort, this is your subject’s young daughter.Her name is Ying Ying and she’s fifteen. Consort has a majestic yet approachable presence so this subject wanted my daughter to learn from consort. Hopefully this petty daughter of mine can acquire some of consort’s mannerisms.”
“Mom….” Qian Ying Ying’s face turned red as she said in embarssment.
“What? Did mom say something wrong? It’s good for women to be quiet, but they need to be more magnanimous.” Madam Qian was all smiles and seemed to be educating her daughter. However, her words were merely flattering Yan Yan.
Yan Yan pursed her lips in a smile, brilliant like spring flowers: “Madam Qian is mistaken in her praise. This consort feels Miss Qian is pretty good this way. Back at the capital, my mom always felt I wasn’t ladylike.”
Madam Qian’s mole trembled as she laughed, “That must be consort’s mother having too high standards. In the eyes of this subject, consort is like a fairy from the highest of heavens. If my Ying Ying could have half of consort’s splendor, as her mom I wouldn’t have to worry about her being unable to get married.”
Qian Ying Ying’s face was blood-red from embarrassment. She hid in Madam Qian’s arms and didn’t dare raise her head.
After some idle converstion, Yi Yun brought over a black painted platter with a brocaded pouch.
“This is a small greeting gift from this consort to Miss Qian. Hopefully Madam Qian and Miss Qian won’t dislike it.”
“Of course not, of course not. Hurry and thank the consort for her bestowal.” Madam Qian nudged Ying Ying and said to Yan Yan: “Look at this subject’s daughter. She’s so dense.”
Qian Ying Ying stepped up and saluted, taking the pouch with both hands. She didn’t dare look at Yan Yan and kept her head lowered.
Seeing the Yun Consort lifting her tea, Madam Qian tactfully stood and said her farewells before leaving with her daughter.
Only after leaving the Chunyu Building did Madam Qian say quietly: “Did you see? That’s the demeanor of the royal family’s daughter-in-law. Your mom’s been married to your dad for so many years but he merely managed to reach a fourth-rank official’s position. That’s why mom’s been telling you that a woman’s happiness depends on her man. Your mom is also in her forties now, but still has to kowtow to someone not even half her age.”
Qian Ying Ying lowered her head and didn’t make a sound.
Madam Qian spoke again: “Mom has looked into it. That Yun Prince highness is said to be merely twenty. He’s a young talent, both outstanding and carefree. He just got married to the Yun Consort not long ago, and both his senior concubine spots are still open. A vassal prince’s senior concubine isn’t ordinary. She would be recognized as the royal family’s daughter-in-law, and be given a ranking.”
Qian Ying Ying still remained silent. Madam Qian anxiously gave her a pinch.
“You should say something!”
Qian Ying Ying groaned in pain, her eyes suddenly turning red. She was about to speak when Madam Qian gave her a tug. Only then did she realize someone dressed as a palace maid was walking over.
That palace maid saw the two of them and slightly bent her knee. Only when the two went by did she straighten up.