Saturday, April 15, 2017

何为贤妻 (Being a Virtuous Wife) : Chapter 4.1 Embarassment

A new morning, another day has begun. The concubines had all come to the main courtyard to pay their morning respects to the Prince Consort. But instead of getting to see Her Highness's face, they had been waiting for almost an hour in vain.

Out of the concubines who were stiffly seating in their wait, Side Consort Feng's face was already showing hints of impatience. Despite the long wait, none of them dared to leave before the arrival of the Prince Consort. In an effort to quell her impatience, Side Consort Feng took a sip of tea and asked the maidservant behind her, "Chun Yu, what is the time?"

Chun Yu, the maidservant, took a look outside and saw that the sun had already risen, thus she deduced, "Mistress, it is already past nine in the morning."

From the side, Side Consort Jiang observed the interaction between the two with a snot. Lowering her gaze towards her lotus-shade dress, she ignored them with indifference and wait for the Prince Consort to arrive. 

It was after another 15 minutes of waiting that they finally saw the Prince Consort's first-ranked maidservant, Mu Jin, slowly walking towards them with an apologetic face. As she approached the concubines, she bowed as if in apology and said, "Dear Mistresses, please return. Her Highness has said that paying respects to her on a daily basis is a torture. Paying your respects every 3 days would be sufficient."

Having waited for almost the whole morning, they had received a cold welcome and were even rejected! But yet all they could say was, "We thank Her Highness for her considerateness." 

Their emotions were complicated as they said this all the while with an honored face on the outside. Being one of the Side Consorts and the most senior in rank amongst the concubines, Side Consort Jiang agreed while smiling: "In that case, we shall not disturb Her Highness any further."

"Her Highness is busy everyday. If there was a notice earlier, there would not be such a disturbance today. Apologies for our rashness," continued Side Consort Feng. "I am but a coarse person who is not very disciplined, so my perception is lacking. I hope Her Highness forgives me."

Hearing Side Consort's words, Mu Jin's smile did not weave in the least as she bowed with a glint in her eyes and said, "Side Consort Feng does not need to worry. Her Highness has always been a lenient and forgiving person. She is not one to get upset or angry over such trivial matters."

Side Consort Feng's smile became colder and faded as she left with her maidservants, Chun Yu and Xia Yun; leaving behind the rest of the concubines. 

The remaining concubines were more well mannered and left the main courtyard with fake smiles plastered on their faces. As they came out, they heaved a sigh of relief. Madam Luo could not help but comment, "The main courtyard's atmosphere has become frightening."

Side Consort Jiang smiled wryly and mumbled to herself, "The one who lives there is the Prince Consort, the mistress of this residence. No matter whether I am favored or not, I cannot afford to offend her."

Madam Han was the oldest amongst the concubines in age and had been a maidservant who was critical in teaching His Highness about adult matters; having been assigned by the Department of Household Affair. Although she did not like what Side Consort Jiang had said, she could not help but to agree on the inside. Initially she had assumed that Her Highness would make her serve her at breakfast again. Never would she have guessed that Her Highness would made them leave instead, without showing up at all.

Looking back at the main courtyard, she grimaced, "It's fine if there's His Highness favor, but if there is no favor... will there be any good days in the future?"

The remaining consorts were silent. None of them had any children at this point yet, so nobody could be certain of the future. If the Prince Consort wanted to make their days difficult or even torture them, it would be as easy as 123.

Within the main courtyard, Qu Qing Ju had just finished her bath and was sitting in front of the copper mirror fiddling with a jade scepter. Seeing Mu Jin come in, she casually raised, holding Yin Liu's hand as she moved to sit down at the table in the outer room, asking, "Was there any who was unsatisfied?"

"The others were alright, only Side Consort Feng voiced out a few words", Mu Jin answered as she approached to the front to serve her breakfast, and continued, "This maidservant was not too courteous with her, so Side Consort Feng left in a huff."

Motioning Mu Jin to pause, Qu Qing Ju rinsed her mouth before she commented, "That was well handled. As the saying goes, even the gatekeeper of the Prime Minister is akin to a seventh-ranked official, what more you are my first ranking maidservant. Every action you take represents the main courtyard. Being courteous does not imply being weak. Previously when I took a step back, there was none of them who respected me."

Hearing Her Highness words, Mu Jin understood the responsibility and authority that was being placed upon her, making her excited. "Your maidservant remembers Your Highness's words."

Qu Jing Ju nodded at Mu Jin's response and started her breakfast. After she was done, it was rinsing and washing again.  When everything had been cleared and put in its place, it was the beginning of a new day.

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