Chapter 430: Everyone admires, envies, and hates Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
If the Duke of Qin’s estate is poor, that means the Duke of Qin himself is poor, too!
Was it really alright to say that to the man’s face?
Just how much silver had His Highness Duke of Qin donated for the relief efforts? How many gold cards without spending limits did he possess? How many mountain villas and parks? His Highness Duke of Qin never even had a government-issued salary or used the imperial treasury, yet how many men were under his command?
Who else could claim that the Duke of Qin was poor besides that wretched Han Yunxi?!
Long Feiye’s mouth twitched, but he ignored Han Yunxi’s words. Meanwhile, everyone else was in a silent uproar over the words. Empress Dowager Li was among them. All of them were staring at the jade crystal bracelet on Han Yunxi’s wrist. Amazement wasn’t enough to describe the expressions on their faces. Earthshattering was more like it!
The jade crystal bracelet was bright and limpid like moonlit water without a hint of impurity. A faint violent-white light shimmered from its depths, as beautiful as an illusory dream. All of the women with the right to sit in the empress dowager’s palace had scintillating tastes. They could tell the quality of Han Yunxi’s bracelet with just one glance.
That is jade crystal! Cloud Realm Continent’s rarest stone! More precious than gold, jade, and luminous-night pearls! Moreover, the violet-white strain in Han Yunxi’s bracelet is the exceptionally rare type, easily worth the value of several cities!
Even now, the largest jade crystal stone currently found was only the size of a thumb which currently resided in the ring of Northern Li’s emperor. The discovery of the raw, uncut stone had led to a hubbub across the continent. But one could well imagine the original size the stone used had to have been to make Han Yunxi’s jade crystal bracelet.
A bracelet! Compared to other forms of jewelry, it needed the most raw materials. Naturally, a jade crystal bracelet had to be made from a chunk of jade crystal that was larger than the finished bracelet itself. Moreover, the material had to be flawless without blemish like the finished product. When they imagined the sheer size of the jade crystal used to make this bracelet, they lost track of just how valuable the jewelry was!
And yet, something so unfathomable was resting on Han Yunxi’s wrist, its shimmering light unmistakable proof of its quality. Nothing could counterfeit that particular type of sparkle.
So, in that case…how in the world is the Duke of Qin’s estate poor? How is it poor? HOW IS IT POOR?!!
Han Yunxi was simply flaunting her wealth!
Chu Qingge was almost ready to burst into tears right then and there. You can’t bully someone like that! How was she supposed to reply to Han Yunxi’s remarks?! While wearing a bracelet worth the value of several cities, she’d given her a hairpin worth two or three silver taels. Why did she have to expose her jade crystal bracelet in the first place?!
Just then, everyone had seen her give Han Yunxi her so-called artisan purple-gold bracelet, but Han Yunxi’s current actions were clearly telling everyone else that she didn’t think much of the gift! Nor would she ever wear it! The unceasingly proud and arrogant Chu Qingge had to admit for the first time that she’d been thoroughly trounced. Furthermore, everything that hateful woman owned had been given to her by the very man tying up her hair! Chu Qingge would have no more chances beyond vying for favor in the deep recesses of the imperial palace after this debacle.
Chu Qingge stared at Long Feiye, who was standing behind Han Yunxi. Despite the fact that they were in the same room and less than ten steps apart, she would never be able to approach him in this lifetime. As she lost herself in thought, the corners of her eyes began to grow wet…
Noble Consort Xue originally wanted to use the difference between Chu Qingge’s purple-gold bracelet and Han Yunxi’s white jade hairpin to sneer at the latter and cause the Duke of Qin’s estate seem shabby in order to relieve some of her temper. As things stood now, she silently rejoiced over the fact that she’d kept quiet. Otherwise, she’d be slapping herself in the face instead.
Mu Liuyue was the most shaken one of all those present. She was the one who’d been looking down on Han Yunxi the entire time, yet everything here proved that she was both ignorant and shallow! Actually, when it came to being poor, Mu Liuyue was the poorest one of them all. The crown prince was honest and upright and he had helped to relieve the disaster victims, leaving the finances of the Eastern Palace in a critical state. As a crown prince’s consort, she even had a monthly budget for expenses. If admiration, envy, and hate had physical form, then they would be filling the hall to overflowing by now!
Even Empress Dowager Li was feeling jealous. Han Yunxi was a woman of common birth, but she was wearing such rare and priceless jewelry. She too, wanted a jade crystal bracelet of her own. Of course, Empress Dowager Li was thinking of more beyond just that. Today, Han Yunxi might have shown off her wealth as a display of strength against the harem members, but those riches and power still belonged to His Highness Duke of Qin. The Duke of Qin had a knack for making money and held various industries under his command. This was an open secret of the imperial court. Moreover, his donations for the disaster victims further exposed the extent of his wealth.
However, the sudden appearance of this jade crystal bracelet wasn’t a simple question of money anymore. It was the symbol of a power strong enough to rival the imperial clan and its court—a fortune great enough to equate that of an entire country! The more Empress Dowager Li thought on the matter, the more worried she grew. The Duke of Qin’s power far exceeded her and Emperor Tianhui’s expectations.
When Han Yunxi saw that Chu Qingge didn’t reply, she simply shrugged and said, “Esteemed Empress Dowager, may chenqie leave now?”
She might have been the one speaking, but it was also a question posed for Long Feiye’s benefit. With him standing behind her, what other tricks could the empress dowager pull? In truth, Empress Dowager Li would rather a venerable deity like him get out of her sight as soon as possible. She put on a false smile and said, “Since your body isn’t well, go on back and rest up.”
Long Feiye and Han Yunxi paid their respects before withdrawing. In front of the eyes of everyone present, he took her by the hand and led her out of the palace, the movement practiced enough to resemble habit. In the silent hall, the women left behind watched the retreating pair. How many of them entertained flights of fancy towards the young Duke of Qin! Unfortunately, Emperor Tianhui was already too busy to bother with most of them.
Currently, the emperor was busy slamming the table over the news of plagues at Northern Li’s horse farm. The first time he was actively looking forward to war breaking out had utterly failed. Now he had no viable excuses to call back the Baili Navy from Fishery Island! If he had known this was going to happen, he wouldn’t have paid any attention to the overtures from the Three-Way Battlefield. Instead, he would’ve punished Baili Yuanlong for moving his troops without authorization and claimed the navy for himself!
In the end, Emperor Tianhui hadn’t seized a single advantage since the famine disaster relief efforts. Blunder after blunder caused him to lose one golden opportunity after another. How could he be anything but infuriated? Most likely, the news of Han Yunxi’s jade crystal bracelet would reach his ears very soon as well. Then he wouldn’t just be burning with rage, but with anxiety as well!
The Duke of Qin’s power was enough to overwhelm the imperial court, and now his wealth was on par with an entire country too? Just how long would he be able to hold onto his throne?
After Han Yunxi and Long Feiye left, the Heaven and Earth Palace devolved into a series of hushed whispers. But even Empress Dowager Li and Chu Qingge were too preoccupied to stop them. Empress Dowager Li’s plan had been to leave Han Yunxi and Chu Qingge both for a dinner feast, but there was no need for that now. After a few false shows of affection, the dowager dismissed everyone in the hall.
As soon as Chu Qingge left the Heaven and Earth Palace, she was approached by Mu Liuyue.
“Noble Consort Chu, please wait a moment.”
Chu Qingge didn’t stop, but significantly slowed her steps until Mu Liuyue was walking by her side. In a low voice, Mu Liuyue said, “Noble Consort Chu, may I speak to you for a bit?”
Chu Qingge remained silent for a long while before she replied, “Alright!”
Behind them both. Empress Dowager Li and Noble Consort Xue stood leaning on the railing to stare at their retreating forms.
“Imperial Mother is truly wise and brilliant. It’s just as you predicted,” Noble Consort Xue flattered Empress Dowager Li.
After her meeting with Mu Liuyue failed to secure an alliance, she went back to report the news to Empress Dowager Li. But instead of raging over Mu Liuyue’s stupidity, the dowager was very happy.
“Heheh, as long as Chu Qingge doesn’t reject that Liuyue girl, we’ll have a chance!” Empress Dowager Li’s eyes were sinister and ruthless. Both Chu Qingge and Mu Liuyue bore grudges against Han Yunxi. As long as Mu Liuyue could gain Chu Qingge’s trust and become her ally, then she and Noble Consort Xue would save themselves a lot of trouble. When the time came, they could use Mu Liuyue to force Chu Qingge to stumble!
Compared to fighting their rival outright, using an idiotic girl like Mu Liuyue was much better.
“Imperial Mother, suppose Chu Qingge has the same idea…?” Noble Consort Xue trailed off. After all, a grudge with Han Yunxi and vying for the empress’s seat were two completely separate matters. If Chu Qingge ended up using Mu Liuyue to deal with them, then the situation would slip out of their control.
Empress Dowager Li laughed coldly. “Judging from that Chu Qingge girl’s heart, hehe, she won’t be interested in the throne for a year and a half at least.” She had lived in the imperial harem for half her life now, so she was fully qualified to see through any and every young court lady and concubine.
Chu Qingge’s personality and her previous behavior both showed that her short-term goals were to face off against Han Yunxi, not fight for the empress position. Of course, in order to make the girl loathe Han Yunxi completely, she’d have to do some work on Mu Liuyue as well.
“Imperial Mother is wise and brilliant!” Noble Consort Xue rejoiced.
Empress Dowager Li looked at her but didn’t say a word. In the end, she was still thinking about the empress. If the empress were here, she wouldn’t need to expend so much effort now. After Noble Consort Xue departed, Empress Dowager Li found one of her trusted subordinates and asked, “Any news from Medical City?”
Although no less than ten famous doctors diagnosed the empress’s insanity as incurable, neither Empress Dowager Li nor the crown prince had ever given up looking for a cure. They had been in touch with Medical City constantly, hoping to invite out the head elder or even the head of the Cloud Realm Medical Academy.
“They’re still pushing. It’s possible that….” the subordinate sounded a little helpless.
Empress Dowager Li knit her brows in thought. A long time later, she murmured, “Keep pushing, then. And don’t let Noble Consort Xue know of this, no matter what!”
Relationships between the members of the imperial harem were vast and complex. Even Empress Dowager Li and Noble Consort Xue had their own differences. The latter stood on the same side as Chu Qingge when it came to the ailing empress. If that woman returned, Noble Consort Xue would have even fewer chances of gaining favor!
In truth, Empress Dowager Li should trust Mu Liuyue the most. As the crown prince’s consort, this granddaughter-in-law of hers was also the empress’s daughter-in-law. Unfortunately, Mu Liuyue wasn’t strong enough to hold down the fort.
By now, Long Feiye had already brought Han Yunxi out of the palace. She had no idea that news of him tearing his sleeve to tie her hair had already spread throughout the palace. Soon enough, it would spread across the entire Tianning capital and create a sensation. Long strips of white brocade ribbons would then become a sold-out product!
Moreover, the term ‘tearing one’s sleeve to coil up the hair’1 became an expression for a love confession, and a new way for men to propose to their prospective wives. Countless males vied to imitate the Duke of Qin’s actions.
But before all that, the main couple headed home. Sitting inside the carriage, Han Yunxi stole a peek at Long Feiye’s torn up sleeve…
- tearing one’s sleeve to coil up the hair (撕袖绾发) – sixiu wanfa, long story short, HYX and LFY’s anecdote became so famous that it turned into an idiom in the Chinese language. At least in this universe. xD ↩