Chapter 67: Consort Xian’s Secret Feelings
“This consort, Yu Funing, greets Prince.” The sweet-sounding voice was as pleasing to the ear as the singing of a yellow oriole. Upon hearing this greeting, Ye Junqing looked up and found that a woman dressed in a ornate outfit was standing in front of him with a clever-looking palace maid behind her.
This woman’s features were exquisite, with brows that arched like perfect brushstrokes, eyelashes that were soft as silk, a delicate and gracefully curved figure, and a natural grace that was not overly exaggerated. Her features were lovely and charming. There were not a lot of ornaments in her hair, but every single one that was there was a treasure. For one, that night pearl at her waist was very rare.
Yu Funing was the eldest daughter of Yu Qing, the Director of Board of Rites. Her appearance was dignified and she had a very cautious personality. Her red phoenix eyes seemed to understand everything and from time to time emitted bright light. Due to the fact that Yu Qing was learned and virtuous, and hence accumulated wealth through lawful means, Yu Funing was the wealthiest consort in the Inner Palace. As the proverbs say, money will make the Devil turn millstones. There was not a single event in the Inner Palace that could escape Yu Funing’s eye. She had no less informants than An Bingshan.
“Consort Xian niang niang is being too polite. Please rise.” According to the palace rules, with the exception of the Empress, all the other consorts and concubines in the Inner Palace must give a formal greeting upon seeing a prince. All the consorts and concubines apart from Yao Mowan were still pretty respectful – this was what Ye Junqing was thinking.
“Funing was only aware that Prince’s hands were used to holding swords and blades. Today’s the first that Funing learned Prince also liked cats this much.” Yu Funing calmly swept a glance over Fluffy who was in Ye Junqing’s arms.
“People change. In reality, a person might not like the things they are used to holding. Playing with a cat from time to time is not bad.” If the previous remarks had come from anyone else, Ye Junqing would have taken them to be mocking words. However, he could hear heartache and sincere pity in Yu Funing’s tone so he knew that she had good intentions.
“That is true. It’s rare to have complete freedom in life, so it’s fine as long as Prince likes it. However, does Prince truly like it? Though the days are easy, they aren’t comfortable, are they?” Ripples appeared in her clear eyes as she looked up towards Ye Junqing. Beneath the sunlight, Ye Junqing who was dressed in azure garments seemed like a wind spirit. However, his soul had left with that woman. Was it worth it? Yu Funing really wanted to ask.
“Opinions differ. Junqing still has to bring Fluffy back and so will leave now.” Ye Junqing was surprised to see the sorrow and pity in Yu Funing’s eyes. He had only encountered Consort Xian a handful of times before so no such deep friendship existed between them.
“This consort respectfully sees off Prince!” said Yu Funing as she folded her hands together at the waist and curtsied.
Qian Xi, who was behind Yu Funing, only walked up to help her master up after Ye Junqing had gotten far away.
“Niang niang, why did you say those hurtful things? The Esteemed Prince has probably been angered,” said Qian Xi as she gently smoothed out Yu Funing’s wrinkled skirt.
“This consort couldn’t bear seeing him so decadent…” Fu Yuning gazed after Ye Junqing’s leaving figure, her eyes slightly misty with emotion.
“Niang niang… why hurt yourself this way? You know your current status. Even if…”
“If he had been willing to show half a trace of interest, I’m willing to abandon all of this and leave with him. I’ll never forget that brief encounter on Changan Street. At that moment I knew, even if ten thousand years passed, there’d never be another person in my heart. However, though the falling flowers yearn for love, the river water flows on heartlessly. His heart had already been stolen by Yao Moxin. However, what I can’t accept is that Yao Moxin has already died, yet she still won’t return his heart to him!” Yu Funing’s eyes were glistening and her voice trembled a little.
“Shh! Niang niang, you can’t make irresponsible remarks! The walls have ears!” Qian Xi immediately grabbed Fu Yuning and glanced around worriedly.
“What I’m even more angry about is the fact that right after Yao Moxin left, a Yao Mowan showed up!” It was very rare for Yu Funing to be this stirred up. She clenched her delicate hands into fists so hard that her palms hurt.
“What need is there for niang niang to bicker with a fool? How could Yao Mowan be mentioned on equal terms with Yao Moxin?” Qian Xi only relaxed upon seeing that there was no one around.
“A fool? You also believe that Yao Mowan is a fool? Don’t forget, as of now, that fool is the only one that stands above us in this Inner Palace!” Yu Funing retrieved the deep emotions in her eyes and those emotions were gradually replaced by a cold glimmer.
“But everyone knows that Yao Moxin has a dumb younger sister. How could this news be false?” Qian Xi knitted her brows and looked towards Yu Funing in confusion.
“Humph! The fact that Yao Moxin died from a difficult childbirth is also something that everyone knows! But…” Before she could finish speaking, Qian Xi stopped her.
“Niang niang!” Qian Xi once again looked around worriedly.
“Things that everyone knows aren’t necessarily true. I’m certain that not only is Yao Mowan not a fool, she’s an extremely shrewd person. She’s currently acting as a swine in order to eat the tiger, and she has been successful thus far. She has His Majesty firmly within her grasp and wasn’t even affected when Yao Suluan lost favor. This fool isn’t simple!” Yu Funing couldn’t help but hold a grudge against Yao Mowan due to the fact that Yao Mowan had the opportunity to see Ye Junqing every day.
“Niang niang, you couldn’t be planning to become enemies with her, right? There’s no need for us to do so!” said Qian Xi worriedly when she sensed the chill Yu Funing emitted.
“Indeed, it’s not worth it for me to spend time on Yao Mowan, but I can’t bear to watch Ye Junqing ruin himself like this for Yao Moxin. She’s not worth that!” After declaring that, Yu Funing started stroding towards Nine Winding Song Corridors without any further words. Qian Xi followed. Qian Xi knew the only thing that her master couldn’t remain calm about was matters involving the Esteemed Prince. That was her Achilles heel.
Yao Mowan only walked out once Yu Funing’s figure had disappeared from sight. The color of her deep pupils could compare to the night.
“Niang niang, why does it seem like there were other meanings within Consort Xian’s words? It seems… It seems like Eldest Miss’s true cause of death was different?” Ting Yue knitted her brows as she looked towards Yao Mowan.
“Let’s go back. I’m worried about Fluffy.” Yao Mowan’s expression didn’t change but when she turned around, she took a moment to glance in the direction Yu Funing had left in. Ye Hongyi had already killed everyone that knew about that incident and even set fire to the Cold Palace, so how did Yu Funing find out about it?
However, this wasn’t important. Yao Mowan had never thought about trying to clear her name because there was no meaning in doing so. What she wanted was compensation in blood!
As for the feelings Yu Funing had for Ye Junqing, perhaps this was a good opportunity. Yu Residence, along with the three large families of the surnames Wang, Xie, and Huan, were known as the four great pillars of the dynasty for good reason. Yu Qing, as the Director of Board of Rites, would often manage special ceremonies, offer of sacrifices, state banquets, imperial examinations, and other activities with foreign nations. During those times, he would often gain some additional funds by carefully managing the budget. Due to this, Yu Qing held the key to the state treasury. The consequences of becoming enemies with Yu Qing was hard to imagine.
When Ting Yue saw that her master had no intention of minding what Yu Funing said earlier, she immediately stopped herself from thinking about it any further.
When Yao Mowan got back to Guan Osprey Palace, it was right in time to see Ye Junqing carefully putting Fluffy on the chaise lounge.
“What is Prince doing?” Ye Junqing started and abruptly turned around upon hearing this clear voice to find that Yao Mowan was looking at him with a puzzled expression.
“Oh… Fluffy’s asleep so quiet down a little.” Ye Junqing hesitated a little before deciding not to tell Yao Mowan about what he saw today. Based on Yao Mowan’s an-eye-for-an-eye personality, she might do something outrageous if she found out what Yao Suluan had tried to do to Fluffy.
“When did Prince start to treat Fluffy so well? Could it be that you did something you feel guilty about?” Yao Mowan lifted her brows at Ye Junqing as she walked towards the chaise lounge and glanced over Fluffy lightly.
“Nonsense! How could this prince feel guilty towards a cat!? This prince is tired and will be leaving!” When Ye Junqing saw that Yao Mowan was walking over, he immediately left with large strides like a gust of wind.
“Niang niang, the Esteemed Prince seems to be really scared of you!” remarked Ting Yue.
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira
8.19.18 I’m recruiting translators for this series with plans to make it my next main project around Winter Break. However, to do that while not failing my college classes, I need at least 2 translator helpers. Please check out this [[recruitment page link]] for more details and let me know if you’re interested!
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