Sunday, March 19, 2017

何为贤妻 (Being a Virtuous Wife) : Chapter 3.2 Prince of Duan


Side Consort Jiang  commented, "Your Highness, you have really humiliated Side Consort Feng. If His Highness know and blamed you than..."

"There's no need for you to worry," Qu Qing Ju interrupted laughingly with her gaze in the direction of the study, "His Highness is no ordinary person." Inwardly she added, "A man of his caliber would not bother himself over trivial matters."

As long as she was his Consort and did not do anything to damage the reputation and interest of the Prince of Duan, he would still give her respect that is due to a primary wife. Even if her paternal family did not care for her, her maternal uncle (brother of her mother) held the rank of a marquis and was also the Supreme Justice. His wife's father was the Minster of Defense. They did not have any daughters, only 2 sons. So they were very attentive towards their niece and her well-being. It was thanks to them that the original's mother's dowry was protected and conferred to her safely, else it would have long gone been squandered away.

Although the Prince of Duan might not need to depend on his Consort to accomplish great things, a person of his standing would never favor a concubine over the main wife. Every son of the emperor at this point of time was restless, and Prince of Duan was not an unambitious person.

That said, Qu Qing Ju was not the sort of person to live in discomfort. If life were to to be hard and unpleasant for the rest of her life, she would rather just jump into the pond and drown. How she would be treated if the Prince of Duan gained the throne was too much of a hassle for her brain to think. Who know what would happen in the future? Even if she was a generous and virtuous wife,

She wasn’t the type of person live in discomfort. If she really had to live in hardship and unpleasantness for her entire life, it would be better for her to just jump into a pond right now. As to how Duan Wang would treat her if he gained the throne? She was too lazy to think that much. Who knows what would happen in the future. Even if she was really virtuous and generous, it didn’t appear that this Duan Wang likes her very much.

Despite not understanding what the Prince Consort had said, Jin Zhan did not dare ask. She along with Mu Jin and the rest, walked Her Highness back to the Main Palace. When they arrived, the steward of the kitchen was already there waiting for them. 

The moment the kitchen steward saw the Prince Consort's entourage, he immediately approached with a formal bow, and blabbered a rushed list of explanations and requests for mercy.

How unlucky for them. Previously they had also sent the same food items to Her Highness, so there was no warning that Her Highness would erupt into a violent temper today of all days. If she had flared up earlier, it would not have been so bad. But now, even the eunuch serving His Highness, Ming He, came to berate them.

As a result of this episode, the original kitchen steward was discharged and he the current steward had been the assistant who saw an opportunity to be promoted. Wanting to start on the right foot, the new steward had arrived early to make amends and pave a smooth path for himself.

Qu Qing Ju glanced at the new steward: he seemed like a simple man who did not talk much and looked honest.  From his posture, he seemed obedient and docile, but to have become a steward in such a complicated Prince's residence, he was by no means simple. She was weary of his apologies and dismissed him, "I do not care what the kitchen is like, but if you are not attentive in the future, you need not bother to kneel here."

Upon hearing her decree, the steward nodded his head frantically and handed over a menu, which he emphasized was for her to select the dishes for today and the next day.

Not taking the menu, Qu Qing Ju simply smiled at the steward and said, "In the past, every was done according to protocol, so it would not be appropriate to order." 

In response, the steward immediately replied, "Reply Your Highness, while it is true that your food is mandated by protocols, it is still possible to order dishes. The messenger who delivered such a message must have said it wrongly." Inside his heart he was already cursing and swearing at the messenger for being an idiot and causing such a misunderstanding. 

Not wanting to hearing anymore nonsense from the steward, Qu Qing Ju consented and said, "Fine, I get it. I know you will be attentive. Yin Liu, hand me the menu."

With the menu in her hand, displayed before her was all the methods of cooking for every kind of dish. Qu Qing Ju picked a few dishes that she preferred and ordered, "In the morning, I do not like having greasy or heavy food. Other than that, the kitchen can prepare the meals as usual. If it meets my expectations, of course there will be rewards."

Feeling the weight of her words, the steward inwardly wondered, other than Her Highness herself who else would now what would suit her palate? While outside he repeatedly thanked and declared  that she was generous and compassionate. 

With the kitchen steward being sent off his way, Yin Liu massaged Qu Qing J's shoulder and expressed disgruntlement, "What a bunch of useless spineless cowards!" 

The pressure that Yin Liu applied was perfect. Qu Qing Ju leaned back leisurely on the recliner and replied smilingly, "There are many such people in this world. So it is not worth to get angry over an insignificant steward."

At this moment, Mu Jin entered the room with a goblet containing date and honey tea. She heard what the Prince Consort had said and agreed, "Your Highness is correct, this servant thinks that from now on there will no longer be any more  disrespectful and disobedient servants." 

Qu Qing Ju opened her eyes and sighed at the comment, "In the past, I thought the best of others but it is today that I have opened my eyes and decided to return goodness where it is due and evil for those who have done me injustice. That is the mantra of living in the Imperial family."

Placing the teacup on the redwood table Mu Jin smiled and pulled a thin blanket over Qu Qing Ju, "If Your Highness thinks in such a way it is a good thing." Amongst the first ranking maid servants, Mu Jin was the oldest. From the beginning, when the Madam had bought her and taken her into the residence, the little mistress was only a year old. Now this same little mistress had become a Prince Consort and she was over two decades old. She had always been adamant about not marrying, her only wish was to stay beside this little mistress and guard her. With this change, it was for the best.

Looking at Mu Jin, Qu Qing Ju recalled the meaning of her name. Mu Jin, it meant resolve. Such a name was appropriate for such a character. It was one of the good things the original was blessed with, this maid servant was one who always wanted what was best for her.  

Qu Qing Ju closed her eyes and assured, "Mu Jin's wish, I understand."

Mu Jin's eyes reddened with emotion but she smiled and blushed, "Your Highness words are embarrassing your maid servant." Once she finished, she covered her face and left. 

Meanwhile in the study, He Heng had closed a missive and was waiting for it to dissolve in a bowl of water. While waiting, he told Ming He, "Do not bother with what is happening in the south. Big brother and third younger brother are fighting fiercely. It would be better to watch from the sidelines." 

Ming He nodded in agreement. He saw the pieces of missive continuing to be dissolved in water before changing the topic," Your Highness, the kitchen servants have been reprimanded. The new steward seems to be quite smart. He already went to the main palace to ask for mercy."

Not paying much attention, He Heng nodded and concurred, "Madam Qu is this prince's wife. What she is due, she will be given." Recalling back to Qu Qing Ju's lively new appearance which was a contrast to her previous dull soft-spoken self, his brow slightly arched, "As to how she would perform in the future, we will have to wait and see."  

Ming He silently nodded. This matter was between the main masters of the residence. He was only a servant, hence he had no opinion. However, he sense that the Prince Consort of today was different from before and it was no just a change in wardrobe, but her personality. Being the main steward of the residence, he had seen the Prince Consort a few times before, but the feeling he had after he saw her today was... it gave him the impression that a little harmless gray bunny had transformed into a cunning female fox? 

Realizing that he was speculating about his masters, Ming He buried his head between his shoulders. Dear god ah... he should be punished.

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