Chapter 429: He dotes on a woman so well Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
His Highness Duke of Qin arrives?
Chu Qingge was the first to whip her head towards the door, her tightly pursed lips betraying her inner turmoil and agitation. Mu Liuyue was next, her eyes clearly showing the anticipation in her heart. She hadn’t seen Imperial Qin Uncle ever since offering him tea on her wedding day. Very soon, the rest of the hall followed suit in disbelief.
His Highness Duke of Qin is here? How is that even possible?
One count count on her fingers the number of times the Duke of Qin entered the palace per year. Unless he was explicitly summoned, he never showed his face, much less visiting the empress dowager’s palace. Today was the official meeting between Noble Consort Chu and the other members of the imperial harem, so it was even less likely that he’d come. Nor was he supposed to!
Why is he coming here?
Han Yunxi was surprised as well. She, like most of the people present, was sure that she’d heard the wrong thing. But reality soon proved her wrong as another round of announcements came closer and closer to the hall. Each time, the words were louder and clearer than the last. Everyone was convinced now, it wasn’t a mistake! Long Feiye was really coming!
Han Yunxi was still looking towards Su Xiaoyu when a crafty smile grew on her face. She knew she was alright now! Even if she was in a dragon’s pool or a tiger’s den, even if there were nets above, snares below, a mountain of swords and a sea of flames, nothing would ever happen to her as long as that man was here! It was only after the last eunuch announced the arrival that Han Yunxi turned around.
She managed to catch his proud and tall form just as he appeared at the door, framed in sunlight. His perfect figured seemed wreathed in gold, making him as venerable as a deity. Han Yunxi’s smile widened as her eyes sparkled with laughter!
The utter silence around her was a pleasant thing. She bent forwards and said, “Chenqie pays her greetings to Your Highness. May Your Highness prosper for thousands and thousands of years!”
Her words finally woke everyone else up from their stupor. All of the gathered concubines rose to their feet, even Noble Consort Xue and Noble Consort Ning. They bent forwards and chorused, “Ten thousand blessings to Your Highness Duke of Qin.”
“Rise,” Long Feiye said simply.
The concubines straightened and returned to their seats. Next to line to pay her respects was Mu Liuyue, who had the lowest status in the room as the crown prince’s consort. She had no choice but to bow and say, “Ten thousands blessings to Imperial Qin Uncle.”
Long Feiye didn’t even spare her a glance, but simply waved a hand. When Mu Liuyue straightened up again, her blazing heart felt like shattering into pieces. Next came Long Feiye’s greetings to the empress dowager. As for Chu Qingge, she was a new concubine to the palace. Before she was introduced, she could only wait in silence on the sidelines.
Empress Dowager Li’s eyes were cold. She was determined to make Han Yunxi let down her hair in front of everyone today. Even though Long Feiye had arrived, Han Yunxi still had to give Chu Qingge a gift. Smiling like a tigress, she said, “Someone quick, go see what kind of breeze is blowing today to bring the Duke of Qin into my palace.”
Empress Dowager Li’s mama wasn’t stupid enough to actually go and check the wind, but chuckled and replied, “Esteemed Empress Dowager, today is Noble Consort Chu’s first gathering. It’s likely that His Highness wouldn’t have come unless he had important business.”
Tsk, tsk! Han Yunxi sighed with feeling in her heart. No wonder she’s Empress Dowager Li’s mama, she really knows what to say.
“True enough. Does the Duke of Qin have any business with me today?” Empress Dowager Li grew serious.
“Indeed, it’s serious business,” Long Feiye replied. Everyone grew puzzled at his words. There’s no doubt that the Duke of Qin came for Han Yunxi, so what other business could he have? As a prince of the first rank, it’s really inappropriate for him to show up at Noble Consort Chu’s introduction gathering.
Empress Dowager Li was bewildered as well. Has he found some sort of handle to use against me? Because she’d done too many vile deeds, she couldn’t help but grow nervous. After a long time, she finally managed to ask, “What business?”
But Long Feiye only replied coldly, “Qin Wangfei hasn’t been feeling well lately, so your lordship’s come to take her home and rest.”
Everyone was floored by his statement. Are we dreaming? Is this really the cold and unfeeling Duke of Qin? When did he learn to worry after a woman’s health?
Empress Dowager Li suddenly felt like she’d been played. How is that any ‘serious business?!’
“Heheh, Duke of Qin, so that’s what you found me for?” Empress Dowager Li gave a frosty laugh.
“Empress Dowager has misunderstood. Your lordship is looking for wangfei,” Long Feiye’s voice was like ice. Han Yunxi might have reservations when facing off against Empress Dowager Li, but Long Feiye had none! Empress Dowager Li abruptly clenched her fists, dearly wishing to lose her temper. However, she was still rational enough to keep it in check. There would be no winning in a clash against the Duke of Qin.
Suppressing her rage, she managed another smile. “Duke of Qin, when did you learn to dote on a woman?”
Long Feiye ignored her in favor of Han Yunxi. “Aren’t you going to bid the empress dowager farewell?”
The brilliant and queenly Han Yunxi of yore had suddenly turned docile and meek. She adopted a respectful tone and said, “Yes, Your Highness.” Those who didn’t know better might even think she was acting obedient, but she was simply playing along with her husband’s act!
Empress Dowager Li didn’t give Han Yunxi the chance. She laughed and said, “Duke of Qin, I’m afraid that Qin Wangfei can’t leave just yet.”
“Why not?” Long Feiye asked coldly.
Empress Dowager Li was all serenity as she finally introduced Chu Qingge, who had been given the cold shoulder all this time. “Duke of Qin, this is the new Noble Consort that His Majesty took in yesterday, Noble Consort Chu. She’s from the Chu Clan in Western Zhou.”
Chu Qingge had been standing there waiting and staring at Long Feiye for ages. Her proud and haughty eyes were filled with an unspoken sorrow. Long Feiye, ah, Long Feiye, my heart still hasn’t died for you. But who knew that our next meeting would have us as brother and sister-in-law instead!
She assumed that Long Feiye would look her way. Her pride and self-respect made her hide all the feelings lingering in her gaze as she prepared for his gaze in return. However, Long Feiye didn’t even turn his head. Like this, Chu Qingge’s heart plummeted in her chest.
“Noble Consort Chu, this is His Highness Duke of Qin. You should have seen him before at my birthday banquet,” Empress Dowager Li introduced him.
Chu Qingge only felt unsatisfied and aggrieved, but bowed and said, “Greetings and ten-thousand blessings to Your Highness Duke of Qin.”
“Rise.” Long Feiye’s tone was turning impatient. “Empress Dowager, why can’t Qin Wangfei leave?”
Empress Dowager Li finally explained the jewelry exchange between the two women in detail. Han Yunxi didn’t even dare to look at Long Feiye while this was going on. He must be looking down on me for failing over something like this. Unbeknownst to her, Long Feiye’s deep and icy stare was on her the entire time!
“Duke of Qin, your wangfei shouldn’t be a stingy sort, I hope?” the empress dowager said with a smile.
Even if there were ten Empress Dowager Lis, they still wouldn’t be able to match up to a single Long Feiye’s IQ. He took one glance at the solitary hair hairpin in her hair and immediately understood everything. Too lazy to waste words with the old woman, he grabbed his own sleeve and ripped off a long, thin strip of white fabric.
What’s he doing? The crowd stared at him in confusion. Han Yunxi was lost as well. But the next time she knew, Long Feiye walked behind her and held up the fabric next to her temples.
“How do you tie it?” he asked.
In a flash, everyone sucked in a breath. They never expected His Highness Duke of Qin to tear his own sleeve as a hair tie for Han Yunxi! Moreover, he was going to tie up her hair in public here for all to see. This is the high and mighty Duke of Qin! His hands can move the clouds and make the rain, and he makes plans from his tent to command the lands without even shifting a muscle! Even in their dreams, the crowd had never expected him to do such things for a woman with his own hands—especially in front of their eyes!
Mu Liuyue pursed her lips as she fought to keep from crying, while Chu Qingge felt her heart ache as she was rendered mute. Neither of them had ever believed that this man really loved Han Yunxi. Even if he favored her, there had to be limits to his treatment.
But today, they witnessed with their own eyes that Tianning’s icy Duke of Qin knew how to dote on a woman very well.
Empress Dowager Li looked at the scene coldly without saying a word. She didn’t harbor any lovesick thoughts like Mu Liuyue or Chu Qingge. She was simply furious and discontent! The chance she’d created after so much effort, the plot that seemed impossible for even Long Feiye to break, had been shattered with that kind of stunt.
Originally, Han Yunxi only had two options. One was to take down her hair and give the hairpin to Chu Qingge, then find another way to tie it up again. The other was to figure out a way to re-tie her hair first, then give the hairpin to Chu Qingge. Either way would have resulted in shame for her and her family. Though the latter prevented her from letting down her hair in public, getting a hair tie from her servant girl or tearing her sleeve to make a temporary tie were both embarrassing things that would make her the laughingstock of everyone gathered.
However, it was different if the Duke of Qin was doing her hair in her place. When news of this spread, it wouldn’t be a joke, but a lovely romantic anecdote! His Highness Duke of Qin dotes on Qin Wangfei so well that he’ll even tear his sleeve to tie up her hair.
What woman wouldn’t admire and envy such a tale?
The entire room of females had grown restless, but Long Feiye regarded them all as air. He held his strip of fabric against Han Yunxi’s hair, making comparisons here and there with a stern expression. In the end, his eyebrows furrowed in thought.
Dammnit, I can do anything, but even I’m stuck when it comes to hair.
He really didn’t know how to tie it up. Meanwhile, Han Yunxi was still so far lost in her own happiness to remember to help him. She knew that Long Feiye would get her out of here, but she never thought he’d do something like this to accomplish that goal. Her eyes lingered on Long Feiye’s torn sleeve as she felt an inexplicable urge to laugh.
Finally, Long Feiye grew unhappy and muttered again, “How do you tie it?”
Han Yunxi recovered her senses. She took off the jade hairpin in her hair, straightened out her bun, and rearranged her hair into a ponytail before she said, “Your Highness, just tie it around this.”
Everyone else was still watching. She could have secured the ponytail herself, but she didn’t. He could have given her the hair tie himself, but he didn’t. Long Feiye’s hands were skilled and practiced with his sword, but it took him massive effort to tie up Han Yunxi’s ponytail. Although the end results weren’t very neat, it was tight and secure enough not to fall apart.
The jade hairpin was successfully recovered without a hitch.
“Noble Consort Chu, I give this white jade hairpin to you,” Han Yunxi said as she offered the item. Chu Qingge accepted it dejectedly. Here was a common hairpin one could buy off the streets. Even ten of them wouldn’t be able to compare to the price of her purple gold bracelet.
The women present all had sharp eyes. They could tell the value of an item at a glance. Nobody had ever offered up a present like this before. If news of it spread, people would only say that the Duke of Qin’s estate was a poor and shabby household. Noble Consort Xue didn’t miss the detail at all, and was about to speak up when Han Yunxi casually revealed her left wrist.
She gently stroked the jade crystal bracelet resting against her arm and said in a helpless tone, “Aye, the Duke of Qin’s estate is poor, so I’m afraid this wangfei has nothing worthy of value. I ask that Noble Consort Chu not to mind this white jade hairpin. After all, it’s the thought that counts.”