But not to know whether she was mentally stressed or had been long exceeded her usual sleeping time, Yun Qian Meng tossed and turned but still couldn't sleep, a pair of big bright eyes was staring onto the ceiling high up above, somehow uncomfortable as she knitted up her brows.
“What’s wrong?” Sensing the strange behavior of the person beside him, Chu Fei Yang stretched out his hands as he pulled her closer to his arms, gently kissed her fragrant hair, then he asked in a low voice.
“It’s nothing. It’s just that it’s already way past my sleeping time, but now I’m not sleepy anymore! You sleep now, because you’ll have to wake up early in the morning!” Tomorrow Chu Fei Yang together with Chen Wang and Hai Jun Wang will send Hai Tian out of the city on behalf of Emperor Yu Qian. Both sides had already agreed on the venue in which the exchange of hostages will take place. Even if Yun Qian Meng had something in her mind right now, she could not talk about it at this time, so as to avoid Chu Fei Yang to feel distracted, committing mistakes on the event tomorrow.
How could Chu Fei Yang not be aware of Yun Qian Meng’s good intentions. He did not ask further, embracing her as he slowly drifted off to sleep, pondering over tomorrow's events.
Chu Fei Yang got out of bed in the early hours of the morning in the next day. In her capacity as his wife, Yun Qian Meng also needed to line up very early by the doorway of the palace to send off Hai Tian. Seeing that Chu Fei Yang had already got up, she had also sat upright, putting on her clothes that were hanging in a corner.
“It’s still early, you can lie down again for a while! I still need to discuss something with His Majesty, that’s why I am up early. Now that it is freezing outside, don’t let yourself catch a cold!” Seeing Yun Qian Meng being haggard because of not being able to sleep the whole night, Chu Fei Yang’s hand slightly paused while tightening up his belt, then immediately pressed her down holding her shoulders intended to let her sleep a little longer.
But Yun Qian Meng just shook her head, if she was to sleep again this time, she was afraid she might wake in a wrong time, and it will definitely start off some rumors about it!
Seeing Chu Fei Yang’s collar was not properly fixed, Yun Qian Meng gently laughed. She stretched out her both hands gently assisted him to fix it, then he ordered him to stand firm, then personally arranged his belt, then carefully observed every detail from top to bottom, then finally she nodded her head “It’s done!”
Seeing Yun Qian Meng’s thoughtfulness, the resentment suddenly raised up from Chu Fei Yang’s heart. It was clearly the first day of the new year, yet it happened that he still needed to get busy about the business concerning some unrelated person. Although he had a beautiful wife to accompany him in the house, yet he could only think about it in his mind.
Particularly during this time when Yun Qian Meng pursed up a shallow smile in the corner of her lips, it had stirred up Chu Fei Yang’s heart even more. His long arms quickly stretched out, when Yun Qian Meng came to her senses, her body had already been embraced in Chu Fei Yang’s arms, her own slightly cold pair of lips were tightly sealed by two gentle yet domineering lips. Being somewhat reluctant to part with them, Chu Fei Yang seemed as if not having enough kiss as he appeared like he was intending to devour her and swallow her inside his stomach. After a long while he parted distance from her, then he guaranteed in a low voice “After handling this matter, I have a couple of days to rest, during that time I shall spend time with you at home!”
Yun Qian Meng hid herself in his arms as she nodded her head. Her eyes looked at the sky outside as it already turned brighter, then she stretched her hand and pushed Chu Fei Yang, in a soft voice she said “Quickly go now! Don’t delay the time!”
While speaking, Yun Qian Meng took the big cloak in the corner which was already prepared earlier, then personally put it on Chu Fei Yang, as she watched him leave.
“You had came home very late last night, certainly you didn’t sleep well. Why don’t you sleep for a little longer, xiaojie? Your face looked a bit haggard!” Seeing Chu Fei Yang had left, Mu Chun and the others who were waiting in the outer room then brought all the things needed for the wash when they stepped inside, seeing Yun Qian Meng had already put on her coat, they immediately laid down the things in their hands, as they took out her royal dress then assisted Yun Qian Meng to put it on.
“Silly girl, with the event today, how many persons will be able to sleep well?” Last night she had taken a short nap for a while, perhaps Hai Tian, who was staying inside the palace, wasn't able to sleep the whole night.
Being forced to leave one’s hometown was easier said than done! Besides, Hai Tian was the only person alone to enter the imperial palace of Northern Qi through marriage. In the future she will rely on on her strength alone to face the entire imperial palace of Bei Qi, no to mention Qi Jing Yuan being its ruthless master, perhaps her life in the future, will not be as bright and beautiful as any outsiders could see!
After packing up, a quarter of an hour had already passed. Thinking that entering the palace was still needed a great distance, Mu Chun allowed Ying Xia to prepare some morning meals in the food boxes. A few servant girls followed behind Yun Qian Meng as they sat inside the horse carriage which had already been prepared earlier, proceeding towards the direction of the imperial palace.
Due to celebration of the new year, there was not a even a single person in the streets. Perhaps citizens had been celebrating the new year with their families at home, even no one was there to clean up the snow last night. The wheels of the carriage rolled over the thick layer of snow which had been gathered up, producing beat by beat of rolling sound. Yun Qian Meng lifted open the carriage curtains with her hand. A cool wind suddenly blew towards her face, although the coldness was bone chilling yet it lifted up Yun Qian Meng’s spirit, on the contrary she wasn’t as sleepy anymore as she had been earlier.
“My lady, have some breakfast now! After a few moments you will be standing for quite a long time later on.” Mu Chun thoughtfully draped a waistcoat on Yun Qian Meng’s chest, so as to avoid messing up the royal dress with the food that will accidentally fall down on it, after which she handed a bowl of porridge to Yun Qian Meng.
“No, eating porridge will make me feel bloated, I’ll have some pastries instead!” Looking at that soupy rice porridge, Yun Qian Meng returned it back to Mu Chun, without saying anything further she used the chopsticks to pick up the steaming hot xiao long bao inside the food box, dipped it in the vinegar and started to eat.
Upon hearing Yun Qian Meng’s words, Mu Chun felt it was quite reasonable. Then she set aside the porridge, putting a lot of side dishes on the small plate in front of Yun Qian Meng.
After eating the breakfast, Yun Qian Meng gargled her mouth once again, to remove the flavors in her mouth. She checked her own make-up again, then she reclined on the soft cushion behind her as she shut her eyes to nap.
“Furen, we have arrived at the imperial palace!” Who knew how much time had already passed, Xi Lin who was driving the carriage outside reminded her in a low voice. Yun Qian Meng slowly opened her both eyes. She seemed to hear a lot of people discussing matters in whispers. Then she lifted up the carriage curtains, yet she saw a lot of women had already arrived inside the inner palace. Everyone was standing in the midst of cold wind, waiting for Hai Tian’s arrival in their pale faces. But apparently they seemed to be impatient, from time to time they would whisper something to the person standing beside them, as if they were complaining about something.
“You just wait inside the carriage.” Walking down from the horse carriage in an elegant posture, Yun Qian Meng instructed Mu Chun and the others, then she herself walked towards the direction of the crowd.
After greeting the furens one by one, Yun Qian Meng proceeded to the foremost location of the queue, but, with her very young appearance standing in front of a big crowd of middle aged women, it had caused a lot of people to look and talk about her.
“She is truly lucky for marrying Chu Xiang, today she really stood out of the limelight!” The lady of a third-rank official spoke in an extremely low voice, looking at Yun Qian Meng with eyes filled with envy.
Thinking that her own husband was twenty years older than Chu Fei Yang, yet now she was just a fourth-rank in charge of offering the wine, and during this life it will be hopeless for her to enter the inner group, how could it not make her feel angry!
“Hehe, why will you envy her, furen? You could only blame your own husband for the disappointment, think about what kind of person Chu Xiang is. During his teens he had fought in the battlefield, such kind of capability, how could an ordinary man be able to achieve it?” This time, Su Qi’s first wife approached, watching Yun Qian Meng’s back as she sneered. If it wasn’t for Chu Fei Yang’s schemes, their Su family wouldn't fall to this point. Now that they lacked their elder brother's help, her husband undertook his tasks as the ambassador of water transportation very carefully, for the fear that people would find fault with him. During this time their family revenue had decreased a great deal, for once their food and clothing costs had become scarce, causing those yiniang to talk behind her back to her husband, that was truly infuriating!
Seeing that she was member of Su family, the surrounding ladies immediately shut their mouths. After all, a few days had already passed since the matter concerning Su Yuan, how could they dare to have any contact with such person, or else when they returned home their husband wouldn’t see them the same way anymore, and they will increasingly dote on those young flirtatious women.
Yun Qian Meng walked until she approached behind Ji Shu Yu. The two of them smiled to each other, then they stood straight based on their orders, waiting for the royal family to come out.
And during this time, a beautiful middle aged women standing in the foremost location had attracted Yun Qian Meng’s attention. Her back was straight, with an elegant posture, although her front side could be seen, but with merely just her back view, her noble status could be easily determined. A woman with an extremely good upbringing, particularly when she was wearing the royal dress as a Zheng Fei, people seemed to admire the significance of her position.
“Aunt, she is?” Gently pulling Ji Shu Yu’s sleeves, Yun Qian Meng asked Ji Shu Yu in a lowered voice.
Following Yun Qian Meng’s eyes, Ji Shu Yu looked, suddenly she laughed, then explained “That is Duan Wang’s principal consort! She is Duan Wang’s second principal consort, truly a powerful character! Meng’er why did you suddenly ask about her?”
Yun Qian Meng just replied with a simple smile “I just feel she is somehow different! But during the feasts in the past, I rarely saw this Duan Wang Fei!”
Ji Shu Yu turned her head around to look at Yun Qian Meng’s eyes flickering with curiosity. She felt happy for her, although this silly girl is already married, but she still has a childish mindset, seeing strangers she would feel curious, then she patiently explained “This Duan Wang Fei actually came from a famous family. She was the previous Crown Prince Shao Bao’s daughter from the first wife. But, during that time she fell for Duan Wang who already had a family, due to Shao Bao’s love for his own daughter, he had no choice but to marry off his daughter to Duan Wang Fu as Ce Fei, until later on the original Duan Wang Fei had passed away, she was then being promoted to principal consort.”
Yun Qian Meng carefully listened to Ji Shu Yu’s explanation, it couldn't help but reminded him of Han Shao Mian, last night based on the interaction between Han Shao Mian and Duan Wang, Duan Wang had really cared for this nephew “Aunt, how was the relationship between Duan Wang Ye and the former Principal Consort Han? And how was his relationship with Han Fu?”
Yesterday it was really late, in addition to the curtains and the snowfalls inside the imperial garden, also having the female dancers around at the center, Yun Qian Meng wasn’t able to see the full features of Duan Wang’s face, then she just observed on the side.
“They were deeply in love! Or else, Duan Wang wouldn't wait until three years after the principal consort had passed away to promote this Duan Wang Fei! And as for his relationship with Han Fu it had also became closer during these recent years. Previously there was a rumor circling around Duan Wang Fu saying that Han Wang Fei and Duan Wang’s relationship had broken up, don’t whether if it's real or not. You silly kid, why did you inquire about these things today? Having the time to think of these, it would be better to think about having children with Chu Xiang, as it will make us feel happy!” Seeing Yun Qian Meng’s eyes plainly looking at Duan Wang Fei’s back, Ji Shu Yu knocked on her head as she spoke while smiling.
And Yun Qian Meng only smiled, afterwards she shifted the topic as she said “Regardless of how it is I would still prefer to wait until my both cousins get married! Not to know whether my maternal grandmother as well as uncle and aunt already had any candidates for my both cousins?”
Mentioning about this matter, Ji Shu Yu slowly sighed, sadness appeared in between her gentle brows, needless to say, Yun Qian Meng already knew what her heart worried about, hearing the beating sound of the drums echoed from behind, she immediately spoke “It’s about to start!”
Earlier the queue seemed to be messed up, because of Emperor Yu Qian’s appearance, everyone stood properly as they waited on their spots.
Hai Tian was wearing red as she was being assisted by the two palace Mama’s as they walked out. She was wearing the grand crimson wedding dress embroidered with a phoenix that looked lifelike using the golden threads, this made the majority of the women expose the envious yet regretful expressions on their faces.
Too bad she wasn't able to see them because of the head covering on top of her head, or else Hai Tian will be very likely to turn red due to anger.
This time Hai Wang Fei was walking together with the Empress Dowager as they both approached behind Emperor Yu Qian Di. Today she was unlike her usual dignified look, this time her face was pale, her both eyes were swollen red also filled with tears. Probably she had cried the whole night last night, this time her figure was slightly swaying as she walked towards the queue, probably separation with her own flesh and blood had really made her feel heartbroken.
Emperor Yu Qian and the others only sent Hai Tian to the doorway of the palace, afterwards they saw Hai Tian was being assisted inside the phoenix chariot which had already been prepared in advance. The wheel of the phoenix chariot had started to turn, the sound of the musical instruments started to play, all the assigned women closely followed behind the palace maids, eunuchs and the dowries as all the them slowly walked ahead……
“Tian’er……” A painful screaming sound echoed from behind, but this time the musical instruments were too loud, drowning out the grieving sound of scream in the midst of the splendid sound of glory.
The queue had arrived at the entrance of the palace, the royal court officials were already waiting outside, and Chu Fei Yang, Jiang Mu Chen and Hai Chen Xi were already riding on the horsebacks. Seeing Hai Tian’s phoenix chariot had already exited the gates of the palace, the three of them clamped their feet on the horse bellies, leading the queue as they proceeded towards the direction of the city gates.
With the grand escort of a few thousand people, passing through the half part of the capital, yet they still have yet to complete the journey, with the ten miles of red decorations it seemed to be especially eye-catching, but the cold surroundings also reminded Hai Tian of the path that she ought to take in the future.
Hearing Hai Wang Fei’s last scream of ‘Tian’er’, Hai Tian who was sitting inside the phoenix chariot couldn't restrain herself as tears fell down from her eyes.
“Princess, during this grand celebration day, tears will not be allowed!” Seeing a drop of tear fell down to her hand, the Mama accompanying beside her spoke to remind her.
Unknowingly, that charming face hidden underneath the red head covering was already firmly biting on both lips, if it wasn't like this, perhaps she might cry out loud.
Walking for almost two hours, the queue had finally reached the city gates, the women who originally complained that the weather was too cold outside were now gasping for breath again and again, their bodies were wet being beaded with sweat all over.
Chu Fei Yang tightened the ropes to turn the horse around, making a hand gesture towards Yu Gong Gong who was following closely, those palace maids and eunuchs immediately led all the women as they retreated back around ten feet, then the three of them still continued to lead the phoenix chariot and those palace maids and eunuchs who were to continue serving her after the wedding as they continued to walk outside.
And Qi Jing Yuan and the others had already returned to posthouse to fix things after the palace feast had ended. Early in the morning he was already waiting outside of the city, this time seeing the city gates being opened, Chu Fei Yang, Chen Wang and Hai Chen Xi simultaneously came out riding on the horsebacks, Qi Jing Yuan and Qi Jing Xuan, Qi Jing Han stepped forth at the same time. Both sides exchanged their written edict in their hands, afterwhich Qi Jing Yuan instructed his men to take over Hain Tian’s phoenix chariot, guarded by the three persons and the guards and city defense troops, they walked towards the direction of the border of Northern Qi and Western Chu.
“Chu Xiang, you are newly married, allowing you to personally send me off, I truly felt sorry for you!” Similar to Chu Fei Yang and the others, this time Qi Jing Yuan was also riding on the horseback, he cold eyes took a glimpse at Hai Tian’s phoenix chariot, Qi Jing Yuan’s heart was filled with irony.
“You're being too courteous, Crown Prince! Being able to do things for the common people and for the royal court, it is already an honor for me!” Chu Fei Yang’s both lips slightly raised up, exposing an absolutely charming smile in the midst of the cold wind, suddenly weakened the coldness in the surrounding area, as it seemed to be as warm as the spring breeze.
“But not to know where all my powerful generals had gone during this time!” Watching the increasingly desolated land, Qi Jing Yuan spoke plainly, his mind was scheming on the thoughts of Chu Fei Yang and his men.
“Crown Prince, you need not worry about it, as long as our Duan Wang Ye remains safe and sound, then your nation’s powerful generals will also certainly remain safe and sound!” Seeing Qi Jing Yuan went so quiet until he wasn't able to know his current expression of his mood, Chu Fei Yang spoke with a simple smile, but his look was similar to Jiang Mu Chen and Hai Chen Xi, along with distance the city became farther and farther away, and they became even more cautious and alert to one another.