Published at 6th of June 2017 12:08:16 AM

Chapter 3
Chapter 3 Ripple in the Middle of the Lake (unedited)

Imperial Palace, Qingxiang Palace Hall.

Qing means “to celebrate”, Xiang means “auspicious”.

The feast in the palace tonight was a victory feast to celebrate the triumphant return of sixth imperial son, Ye Wuyan. Once the night fell, Qingxiang Palace Hall was decorated anew, on the top of each and every twelve white marble pillars that stood in the palace hall were inlaid with fist size big night luminous pearls, illuminating the whole palace hall to be as bright as daytime.

There was a seat placed on the left side of the palace hall, it was the seat prepared for the Emperor. On the right side, two red sandalwood seats were arranged for the noble consorts, they were the Empress Dowager’s and the Empress’ seat, respectively. Both of them were arranged with a set of red sandalwood table and chair, beautiful round sitting cushion and various back cushions were placed on their seats. A small cup was arranged on the table and there was a small box of carved lacquer-ware, which contained every of their favourite assorted sweets.

When Sese arrived at the Palace Hall, a few officials and their family had been seated, she went along with several of the officials’ esteemed daughters and they sat down on each of their seat.

Whenever there was a banquet in the Palace, every imperial concubines of the palace dressed as splendid as possible. Because usually they rarely saw the Emperor, so it’s only natural that they wanted to took this opportunity to please the Emperor’s countenance. Thus, the womenfolk on this side looked brilliant with colourful embroidered brocade, a riotous profusion of beauty and bright colour.

On this special occasion, Sese still dressed up in a simple way. Her black hair was pulled up, combed together into a moon hairbun. A crescent white jade hairpin was stuck in her hair, a thin string of star tassel dangled from the hairpin, glimmering magnificently under the light. She wore a pale blue palace dress, without a single inlaid ornament, merely embroideries of small bamboo leaves in light green colour between the corners of her skirt. She appeared pure, cold, noble, and yet elegant.

moon hairbun

Soon after she had taken a seat, Sese sensed the surrounding atmosphere became somewhat peculiar, everyone was holding their breath while staring toward the palace hall’s entrance, the expression on their faces were with a trace of anticipation and curiosity. Sese was also —following everyone’s line of sight— staring at the palace hall’s entrance.

At the palace hall’s entrance, a palace eunuch announced: “Empress Dowager arrives, sixth imperial son arrives.”

Under the magnificent glittering light of the night luminous pearls, they appeared. The sixth imperial son, Ye Wuyan, was holding Empress Dowager’s hand, and walked into the palace hall.

Ye Wuyan had taken off his silver helmet and silver armour, currently he was wearing a light purple palace outfit embroidered with cloud pattern. His black satin long hair was held together with only a green jade hairpin. On his handsome face, the eyebrows were as if painted on with ink, the pupil of eyes shone like lacquer, the nose was high and refined, the corner of his mouth was raised into a faint pleasant smile. Only, his pair of phoenix eyes that seemed to be in laughter, they contained sharpness and edge within, causing one to not dare to look straightly at them.

The officials who were present, most of them had seen Ye Wuyan four years ago. Now that they saw him again, all of them were unable to stifle their gasps.

Four years of desert life really toughened a person ah, the current Ye Wuyan was no longer that frail boy from four years ago.

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He stood tall and graceful, extraordinary handsome, his face was lack of smiling expression, every movement of his body was overflowing with elegance, appeared refined and graceful. However, through those icy stares from the pair of his eyes, no one could overlook those hint of self-confidence and the indifferent dominance of his.

This kind of concealed dominance and royal aura was even more terrifying than a fierce and showy display of one’s abilities. Concealed within the scabbard of the double-edged sword, no one knew what kind of fierce and sharp strike would come forth.

Ye Wuyan was supporting the honourable and dignified Empress Dowager and slowly entered the palace hall. There was also a silhouette followed along behind them, it was actually belonged to the one that had ridden alongside Ye Wuyan on the street of the imperial capital, who was also the princess of Northern Lu Country.

Many people in the banquet had not yet met this princess of Northern Lu Country, but had mostly heard about her to some extent. Now to see her arrived together with sixth imperial son, it seems that the rumours were certainly true; the sixth imperial son, Ye Wuyan, was extremely fond of this woman, in this occasion, he were also inseparable from her.

Seeing this woman once again, Sese’s heart couldn’t help but to slightly sink. When she and Ye Wuyan had gone down the street side by side, they had merely been seen by the common people of the imperial capital. But at this moment, they were under the watchful eyes of the whole officials of the royal court and the imperial concubines of the palace.

When it came to an imperial son, originally, to take one or two concubines, it wasn’t an uncommon matter. However, to be inseparable like this, it was really rare. It seemed like, Ye Wuyan must have taken her along to escort Empress Dowager from the Cining Palace.

Cining Palace: lit.The Palace of Compassion and Tranquility was a palace where empress dowagers and imperial dowager consorts worshiped the Buddha, entertained themselves, and rested. Further info:

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From afar, Sese saw her father’s face abruptly sank. On the side, every imperial concubines as well as the officials’ esteemed daughters, half unconsciously, were sweeping their gazes toward her.

Although she didn’t care, but to be under the everyone’s sympathetic gaze, she indeed still felt a little embarrassed.

Ye Wuyan led the Empress Dowager by hand to sit on the red sandalwood seat of the noble consorts, then he slightly smiled toward the princess of the Northern Lu Country, and finally he sat on his assigned seat.

The princess of the Northern Lu Country was led by the maid of the imperial palace to sit on the side of the womenfolk.

Tonight, the princess of the Northern Lu Country didn’t wear those multi coloured dress that she had wore on the street. Tonight, following the local custom, she put on the palace dress of Southern Yue. with a gracefully loose skirt of grayish muslin. At a glance, the dress was precisely the work of the famous clothes workshop of the Imperial Capital, “Yunyan Luo”, covering her like clouds or mists. The raven black hair was gently pulled into a lovely looking crescent hairbun with a pearl crown on the top of her head. There was also a cinnabar in plum blossom pattern on the middle of her forehead.

Yunyan Luo: literally means “gathering clouds/mists”

The elegant and polished pearls exuded a gentle light, all the more magnificently in contrast with her skin, almost surreal, as if the White Beauty had descended from the moon.

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As soon as she had taken a seat, several of the meddlesome esteemed Young Ladies gathered over and asked:” Princess is really beautiful, this dress is surely from the famous clothes workshop of the capital!”

The princess lightly nodded, bashfully and timidly laughed, and said: “It seems to be. I don’t have any palace attire of your distinguished country, once arrived at the capital, Yan assigned people to invite the master of the famous clothes workshop to come and take measurements. As a matter of fact, this one just arrived and only now can properly be used.”

This kind of palace attire with meticulous workmanship, probably occupied several honourable Masters of the famous clothes workshop together, spending their entire afternoon to manufacture it until done.

Sese heard the princess of Northern Lu County to straightly call Ye Wuyan with the word “Yan”, a faint sourness swelled within her heart. She thought that she didn’t care, but… She look at that man who was bright as a snow lotus, was he really not her husband?

What about his engagement with her?

If it were still stand, henceforth must she then served him as husband together with this woman?

Sese hanged down her clear eyes, that for the first time were like the billowing ripples in the middle of the lake.

Her heart was in a mess.