Concealed by Brocaded Clouds, Frost on the Roads: Volume 01 Chapter 01

2:44 PM Oyen 0 Comments

Okay, this is my first times translated ancient themes novel, so I don't really know if my translation is good or not, I hope it's good enough to be read >_<

Chapter 1 of this novel actually has been translated by OtomeRuri, you can read it here, but to improve my understanding of this kind of novel, I translate it again from chapter 1.

Chapter 1: Once Entering The Palace Gate, As Deep As The Sea
translator & editor: Oyen

Sheng Jia, autumn, Year 20.

Today was the fiftieth birthday of Emperor Jing Ren’s consort, Empress Ruan. Three months ago, the imperial court issued an edict, exempting taxes from all parts of the country for a year, pardoned some people's crimes, and even those who committed capital crimes and those who were beheaded after autumn were given a lighter punishment such as exile. All over the world were given amnesty and celebrated. For a time, everyone was grateful and praised the Emperor and Empress for a long life.

In the imperial Prime Minister’s home, Ruan Wushuang was fiddled with by her wet nurse, her personal maid Mo Zhu and the other servant girls into wearing layers of gauze skirts and make up. She was allowed to attend the Empress's birthday party tonight with her mother. This special favour was not something that ordinary official’s household young ladies could enjoy. Even if it was the Empress's birthday, apart from the Royal family, only the first-grade high rank official’s wife could attend. Even the people who had the title of second-grade officials could not attend, let alone an ordinary unmarried young lady.

But she was not an ordinary person, so naturally she couldn’t be compared to them. Since the founding of the Dynasty, the Ruan family followed Emperor Tai Zu in the wars and made great merits in battle. After Tai Zu ascended the throne, her ancestor was bestowed the title Marquis of Wu Xuan as a reward of their meritorious service. In Emperor Gao Zong’s generation, they still had these imperial favours. Thirty-five years ago, her aunt, who was only fifteen years old at the time, was married to the sixth prince, who was now Emperor Jing Ren. Twenty years later, Emperor Jing Ren succeeded the throne, and her aunt naturally became the ‘mother of the world’, the Empress.

After more than a decade, the Ruan family had become one of the best families in the Dynasty. Throughout the court from the top to bottom, no one could stand above them. Since childhood, she grew up in such an extravagant lifestyle, and because she was Prime Minister Ruan’s daughter when he was a middle-aged man, she was spoiled even more. She had only two elder brothers, but they were also very extraordinary honourable, as they became prince consort in Sheng Jia Year 5 and Year 11 respectively.

As the Emperor and Empress walked through the palace court backyard, the sound of gongs and drums were sounded all over the main hall. At the beginning of the ceremony, the music was played. There was smoke floating around from the sandalwood pine branches burning incense in copper turtles, copper cranes, and copper ancient pattern furnaces displayed at the top of the palace stairs. Her aunt, the Empress wore an honour and glorious royal court attire, with a happiness plastered across her whole face, sitting together in the dragon chair with the Emperor. The prince’s clansmen, civil and military officials were knelt in the palace courtyard according to their rank. Alongside the music, they kowtowed and shouted three times: Long Live the Emperor, Long Live the Empress.

But Ruan Wushuang knew that her aunt was not as happy as the world thought. In her thirty five year with Emperor Jing Ren, Empress Ruan hadn’t been able to give birth to an imperial son, only had two imperial daughters. In the imperial harem, even though she was beautiful and had the most favour, there was no guarantee in her position without an imperial son. Fortunately, the Emperor and Empress had a very good relationship, they had mutual respect in marriage, as well as sincere love. In the harem, there were many beautiful imperial concubines who could give birth to the Emperor's son, so the Emperor didn’t mind. At least, that was all the civil and military officials as well as common people thought.

When Emperor Jing Ren was still the crown prince, his concubine Ou and Liu gave birth to sons respectively. Later, both concubines passed away due to illness one after another. So at that time, crown prince’s imperial concubine Ruan took pity on both children, she brought them up and took care of them as her own. Now that both of them had grown up, they had deep feelings with Empress Ruan, and treated her like their own mother.

That night, a banquet at the imperial garden.

Within the garden, was decorated with the multicolored silk, various palace lanterns, displaying fireworks and lanterns, it was so magnificent, luxurious and dignified. At the easter side imperial concubine Meng led the court’s womenfolk, while imperial sonss and daughters were led by eldest prince, Baili Haoting. At western side were the ministers led by her father, Prime Minister Ruan, standing with their families according to their clothes colours representing their rank. And because of her special circumstances, under the Empress’s order, she could stand in the last row with the imperial daughters. Although she was given the last row, it had attracted the envy of many imperial officials and their families.

Stepping on the beautiful and pleasant music, the female singer presented ‘Star Twinkled Around The Moon Dance’, the dance movement graceful and gentle, elegant beyond the earth. During the dinner, seeing that the Emperor was in high spirits, making a toast one after another and drinking without restraint.

She made an excuse to sneak out of the table, sent away the maid assigned by her aunt, and walked all the way along the winding corridor until she reached Taiye Lake.

Covered by clouds, a bright moon walked through the deep sea of clouds. The moonlight was faint, hidden and hazy. It gently casted its dim light on the halls of different distances. The overlapping glazed tile roofs like mountains reflect the quiet halo. The sound of traditional string instruments was faintly heard from the banquet in the distance, elegant and beautiful. But it also made this place quieter.

She bent down and gently scooped up a handful of water, which was cool and refreshing. She had been dressed up for a whole day, and she also felt tired. In front of people, she always responded smoothly, magnanimous and had a sense of propriety. After all, she was also the magnificent prime minister's daughter, and she must never lose the dignity of Ruan's family. But in private, she was extremely tired of wearing such dignified and complicated clothes. If only she were in her own residence, she could loosen her bun and enjoy flowers under the moon without scruple.

Since both her elder brothers had become prince consort, the emperor granted them another mansion. Therefore, the whole backyard of the prime minister's house was monopolized by her, and only a wet nurse, servant girls and maids could enter. Even the guard could only inspect at a fixed time every day. Therefore, she always liked to hang around the backyard garden with books, playing with water barefoot and whispering to the flowers.

Her mother and the other adults always nagged her, saying if she was getting married in the future, how could she be alright. But, her father always let her be, as long as she was happy. She naturally knew that her parents loved her so much that they couldn't even see her being wronged even a little bit. For a long time, what she wanted to do, as long as it was reasonable and not too ridiculous, they always nodded in agreement. Just like her studying literacy, her mother always opposed it at first, thinking that a woman’s virtue was to have no talent. But she refused and insisted on learning literacy, her father just touched his beard and nodded with a smile.

It was probably because her father asked her to dress up as a man from an early age to learn from the master with her young elder brothers, so that as long as she was disobedient, her mother would talk about her father and say that she was spoiled by him, but her father just smiled back. “This one baby girl, born to be pampered by us.” Her mother always gave her father a glance, but despite that glance, her mother very much agreed.

It was precisely because her parents could not see her suffer the slightest grievance, so they were repeatedly picking and choosing from those who came to ask for marriage, so that she was now over seventeen and had not yet been married, it was not because of her appearance. At the beginning, her aunt, the current Empress Ruan, was betrothed by Emperor Gao Zong to the sixth prince at the time because of her beauty was first in the Dynasty. Naturally, she would not be far behind, just as her appearance today had already amazed everyone. Although she didn’t look up often, she didn't ignore everyone's gaze.

“Miss Ruan, Empress has requested to see you!” An attendant’s respectful voice sounded from behind her. 

“Lead the way.” She fixed her clothes, gracefully turned around and followed the attendant.

The paths inside the palace were winding and complicated. Although it was not her first time coming to this place, she still felt unfamiliar, especially in this cold remote and cold corner. It could be assumed that he must have been searching for her for a long time.

Following the attendant passed through the zigzag pathway and several pavilions, at last she finally arrived inside the attic. Staring at her surroundings, she realized it was not the Zhaoyang Hall where her aunt lived.

“The Empress orders this slave to bring you here, Miss Ruan, please wait a moment!” As expected for the attendant who worked by her aunt’s side. Although his face was quite young, he understood her body language. The way she frowned slightly had already been seen by him, so that was the reason for this explanation.

Having said that, the attendant bowed and then went out. Because it was night, the light inside the pavilion was already illuminated, shining brightly. Looking forward, there was no decoration in this building, below the western wall on the entrance door, there was a long red sandalwood table, with a porcelain vase on top of it, in which some chinese begonia flowers were vaguely seen inside it.

There was also a red sandalwood warm couch and a red sandalwood round table. On the roundtable, there was a yellow colour wood chess board and a ceramic glaze incense burner. It seemed to be the place where imperial concubines usually rest.

She frowned slightly, wondering what her aunt meant by bringing her here. While thinking about it, she smelled a faint fragrance.

Upon closer inspection, she was speechless.Iit turned out that there was a long and thin wisp of smoke floating in the glass incense burner, which was vaguely smelling of snowdrop bush (T/N: usually used in traditional chinese medicine). But after slowly smelling it, she thought it was different. Snowdrop bush was also provided in her house on weekdays, most of which were rewarded by the palace. This smells good but it was very different. Gradually, her whole person became light and had an airy feeling…

Mo Zhu found that the young lady had been a little different since she returned from the palace that day. But she couldn’t tell what was different. Usually, the young lady was also very quiet, occasionally she liked to read books in the depth of the garden or soaked her feet in the small lake.

Although wet nurse Sun was anxious to see it, and said it was not an appearance of an unmarried lady from a noble family. But in her opinion, the young lady had nothing more scary except for this. But now, she always looked at the window in a daze, and her mind even wandered around while holding a book. After coming back from the palace, she was not allowed to serve her even in bathing and dressing.

It had been several days since she came back from the palace, but Ruan Wushuang was still in a state of shock. She actually passed out that day, then suddenly woke up, only to find that she was lying lazily on the warm couch, half undress, and her clothes were extremely messy. She just held the couch and stood up slowly, with an inexplicable ache coming from between her legs. Even if she was unmarried and didn’t quite understand about the things between men and women, she knew what had happened to her.

How could this happen? She was pale and shaky. She didn't know how to tell her mother, so she kept silent. She was all naughty and playful, and slipped into the corner by herself. Otherwise, it would never happen. Moreover, things in the palace had always been intricate and complicated, and if one was not careful, it might involve countless bloodshed. Even if she told her parents and let her aunt know, there was no way to thoroughly investigate it. After all, it involved the innocence of the prime minister's daughter. If it was spread out, she was afraid it would be the biggest joke in the world, her father's innocence would be destroyed, and the entire Ruan family would be laughed at for a lifetime! Thinking of this, she fought a cold war!

“Miss, master and madam invite you to the study!” Mo Zhu knocked the door from the outside. 

She returned to her senses and replied. “I’ll go now.” She looked at lotus flower shaped bronze mirror, her complexion was haggard and pale, and didn't know where the high spirit young lady went. She sighed, put some rouge on her face, put on lipstick on her mouth, which made her look better.

Her parents looked as usual. Seeing Ruan Wushuang come in, they ordered Mo Zhu to close the door. Madam Ruan came over, led her daughter inside by hand, and looked carefully at her for a while. “Today, you have dressed up and your complexion looks better. Seeing your complexion was so bad a few days ago, I wanted to ask the doctor to come and see you, but you don't agree, I was worried. Now I'm relieved that you're better.”

Ruan Wushuang felt sour in her heart, and a thousand words were stuck in her throat. She only called ‘Mother’ in a low voice, and her heart really wished to reveal all that happened that day and told her in a systematic way. But as she turned to look at her father, whose hair was half gray, she held back abruptly.

Madam Ruan pulled her daughter aside and smiled faintly. “Today, we asked you to come over because we have something to discuss with you.” After saying that, she turned to look at Master Ruan, Ruan Wushuang then looked at her mother in bewilderment.

Madam Ruan lowered her voice. “Your aunt sent a message from the palace saying that the second prince fell in love with you at first sight at the birthday banquet that day, and asked the emperor to betrothed you to him.”

The second prince, Baili Haozhe was the son of Liu's family in the crown prince's mansion in those days, who was a maid and was regarded as a lowest rank concubine after giving birth. However, concubine Liu’s happiness was so short that she died of illness when her son was still in his infancy. Baili Haozhe was later brought up by Empress Ruan.

There were many people at the birthday banquet that day, and as an unmarried lady from a noble house, she just bower her head, and didn’t pay attention, so although she thought about it, she really had no impression. On the contrary, she still vaguely remembered the elegant and handsome eldest prince, Baili Haoting.

In fact, as early as she reached a marriageable age, Emperor Jingren intended to betroth her to his imperial son. But, her parents couldn’t bear to put her in the imperial family’s cage. As everyone knew, although Emperor Jing Ren was still healthy, he was already more than 50 years old. The princes had already formed a faction in private. In the struggle for the throne, the winner was always king, but the loser might have no corpse intact!

Ruan's family was already the first prestigious family in Dynasty, and there was only one precious daughter, so prime minister Ruan and his wife refused to let their daughter marry into the royal family. What might be a dream for others, Ruan's family avoided it instead.

Her mother’s words came slowly. “Your aunt means it is difficult this time. Because the second prince asked for it in front of the full imperial court, the emperor basically granted it. If you have a sweetheart and want to refuse, your father is willing to go to the palace and beg the emperor to take back his order!” Asking the Emperor to take back his order, it was easier to say than done it, because it was not a joke. Once the Emperor opened his golden mouth, it couldn’t be changed.

Originally, in her 16 years, she naturally hoped to meet a loved one, and then they got married, loving each other and living harmoniously. However, after the incident in the palace, she could no longer be happy. It was just that her parents had raised her for so many years, which time she didn’t make them worry. Even if her father went to ask the Emperor, she was afraid it would be difficult to get what he wanted. Her father was already old, how could she still have the heart to let him kneel in the hall for a day and a half, just for his own unfilial daughter?

She made her mind, replied softly. “Mother, this daughter has no one. Please ask someone to go tell aunt that I agree to this marriage.” Madam Ruan was slightly surprised. She knew her dear daughter had always hated if other people brought out marriage matters, and made uproar that she wanted to accompany the two elders. It was unexpected that she would agree readily today.

Suddenly she remembered half a year ago when she visited the Great Buddhist Temple on the outskirts of the capital city. At that time, she encountered the Daoist who just finished meditation in Shangxiang. The Daoist saw Wushuang’s face and congratulated Madan Ruan, saying that Miss Ruan had a distinguished face, and was rarely seen. Thus, he asked Wushuang to draw inscribed bamboo sticks, and finally she drew one. After that, the Daoist explained Wushuang’s inscribed bamboo stick, he said within half a year there would be a happy occasion of red phoenix, she would meet her husband, and then enjoyed the honour and glory endlessly.

Three days later, Emperor Jingren's imperial edict had been issued. Prime Minister Ruan set up a incense burner table in the hall of his residence. The whole family knelt down to listen to the imperial edict. “In honor of heaven, the Emperor ordered that Ruan Wushuang, the daughter of prime minister Ruan Chongji, who was well educated, good looking and intelligent, will now be betrothed to the second prince, Baili Haozhe, as his wife, this Emperor——”

Prime Minister Ruan knelt three times and kowtowed nine times for courtesy, giving thanks for receiving the imperial edict. Eunuch Chai repeatedly congratulated Prime Minister Ruan. “Lord Prime Minister, congratulations, congratulations! Became imperial-in-law for three people in the family, it’s rare since ancient times!”

Then, he turned to Madam Ruan and Wushuang to congratulate. “Madam Prime Minister rejoice! Miss Ruan, no, no, second imperial consort rejoice!” 

Quan Fu, the head servant next to Prime Minister Ruan who accustomed to see this scene, at this time he hurriedly distributed the silver rewards一一 for the people from the palace one by one.

“The Emperor’s benevolence is vast and mighty!” Prime Minister Ruan smiled. “Asking Eunuch Chai to come in to have tea and refreshment! Please!” 

With Mo Zhu’s help, Ruang Wushuang stood up. The sun was shining outside the hall, she raised her head and gazed into the distance that was endless and couldn’t be seen. She finally entered the royal family!

Madam Ruan led the people in the family to prepare for the dowry. Although she had married her two sons, it was the first time for her to marry her daughter, which was very complicated. Although she was busy, Madam Ruan could not hide the joy that her daughter would be married. Even if she was busy, she didn’t forget to nag with a smile. “The Emperor decreed the marriage will proceed next month, and there is no time to prepare.If only there were three months!”

In fact, even if Madan Ruan was given a year’s preparation, she would still feel it was too short. After all, Wushuang was her favourite, and she still preferred her to stay for one more day. Although she didn't live in the palace and was given a mansion after she got married. However, she would be married off after all, and could no longer cater to make them happy as usual.

The wedding day was set one month later, on October 8th, which was an auspicious day and suitable for marriage.

The wedding was personally managed by the Emperor and Empress. Every road in the palace was paved with red carpet. Red lanterns were hung at the palace gate and palace hall gate. The bright red word ‘Happiness’ was attached to the palace gate. The second prince, Baili Haozhe, dressed in a crimson robe embroidered in gold and riding a high horse, led 20 royal families, 40 guards and guard of honor to escort the bride. At 11am-1pm, Ruan Wushuang would be welcomed into the palace, and she first went to the palace hall to complete the ritual at an ancient shrine, and the ritual would be finished after sharing the nuptial cups.

There were so many rules in the palace that even before she got married, her aunt, the Empress sent someone to teach her, but she was absent-minded, so she didn't study hard. Layer after layer of her crimson dress embroidered with gold flowers. Although the thick and delicate headdress had exquisite workmanship, it made her breathless. After a long time, her neck began to stiff.

Guided by an imperial maid, she was moved back and forth to give salutation one after another. Her head was covered with a crimson silk veil, she could only see Baili Haozhe next to her vaguely. In fact, she couldn’t see anything. The only thing she could see clearly was his pair of black boots, embroidered with a golden python with four claws, which was lifelike. With his footsteps, it seemed to be cruising in the clouds.

After the marriage, she also recalled his appearance again and again, only because she only glanced at him in the palace that day, and because of the large number of people, she did not pay much attention to it, so she didn’t remember anything. At this time, he was standing beside her, so close that she could smell him.

She had always been mild-tempered and indifferent to the so-called splendor and wealth. Perhaps she was born in wealth and glory since she was a child, and she was used to seeing it, and it didn’t matter. It was just that the consumption of food and clothing was better than that of ordinary people, and she still had three meals and a roof for the night. In her capacity, even if she married an ordinary person, she would be stable and prosperous for the rest of her life. So she never thought of marrying into the royal family, because she was born rich and had heard too many imperial palace stories and too many imperial secrets since she was a child. As soon as she entered the palace gate, it was as deep as the sea.

But no matter how calm and indifferent, she was still a little uneasy at the moment. Leaving the familiar home, leaving the parents who had loved her for more than ten years, sitting in an unfamiliar room filled with red ‘happiness’ characters, she still flustered, and what would happen next was unpredictable . In addition, the night in the palace always troubled her, like a malignant tumor on her body, which could not be removed.

The room was extremely quiet. The vermillion-color muslin lantern in the corner and the dragon and phoenix red candle on the round table in the middle of the outer room made the room look like daytime. She twisted her bridal veil with both of her hands and shouted softly. “Wet nurse!”

Wet nurse Sun was standing in the inner room, she responded and waved her hands at the row of standing maids, “All of you can withdraw! Mo Ran, Mo Zhu, both of you can withdraw and guard the door.” Mo Ran, Mo Zhu, and several maids answered, walked out in a light step, and closed the door.

Wet nurse Sun looked around cautiously, then leaned down, whispering at Ruan Wushuang’s ear. “Miss, everything is ready.”

Ruan Wushuang lifted her crimson silk veil, and the apricot yellow tassel on the corner of the veil trembled slightly. She raised her head and nodded to the wet nurse, slowly stating, “The second prince can't know about this!”

Wet nurse Sun knelt down with a ‘thump’, and nervously replied. “Don't worry, Miss. Even if someone holds a knife around my neck, I will never reveal a word!”

If this matter was revealed, the first one to lose her head was wet nurse Sun herself. How could she make fun of her own life?

Last night, the young lady ordered her to come into the room to help her take a bath. Originally, these things were the maids’ job, but when the young lady gave the order, how could she disobey? She served the young lady and took off her clothes one by one, her beautifully pale body made her in pity, she thought after the marriage, if the second prince saw this, would he be happy?

Wet nurse Sun sprinkled the bright yellow sweet-scented osmanthus petals into the steaming wooden bucket, which made the room moist and fragrant. Young lady’s arm rests on the bucket, as white as jade, without any flaws. Suddenly, the sweet scented osmanthus on her hands drifted down like raindrops, and fell on the thick carpet, so she couldn't close her mouth in surprise. Where was the ‘Shougong’ (T/N: like a birthmark or mole to verify a woman’s chastity in ancient times)? How come there was no ‘Shougong’?

Ruan Wushuang didn't look back, she just kept pouring water on her shoulder and whispered. “Wet nurse, you should know now what I asked you to come in for?” 

She was the first one who lost her virginity before marriage. Even if she didn't want to admit it, the ‘Shougong’ on her arm couldn’t be deceived. But there was still a way to cover up this kind of thing.

Wet nurse Sun woke up and replied in a trembling voice, “Miss——”

Ruan Wushuang sighed. “I think there must be a way for me to hide it on my wedding night with the second prince." 

The wet nurse turned pale and replied. “Miss, if you are found, it will be a great crime to deceive the monarch... master and madam…”

Ruan Wushuang was silent for a long time before replying. “I naturally know. So now I have to try whatever I can. Wet nurse, no one can help me in this mansion except you now!”

The room was very quiet. Only occasional candles and small crackling sounds sounded in this quiet room, but it was very clear. Wet nurse Sun looked around carefully, and then handed over a very small porcelain bottle, and replied in a very lowly voice. “This is fresh chicken blood, as long as it is done... you should put it in a hidden place next to your pillow.”

Ruan Wushuang took it in a daze. The surface of the porcelain was cool and cold, without a trace of temperature. But she held it like hot iron, as if it would be burned at any time.

A sound of footsteps came from the garden not long after. The nurse leaned over Ruan Wushuang's ear and whispered. “It should be the second prince!”

Before she finished her words, she just heard a salute from the girl outside. “Second Prince!” Then there was the sound of the door being pushed open, the sound of footsteps getting closer, she squeezed the bridal veil. The wet nurse's voice also could be heard. “Second Prince!”

Then, a low voice gave an order. “Withdraw!”

The air became quieter and she felt that she could even hear her own breathing. Suddenly, her sight became bright, the crimson silk veil, which had been covering her all the time, was lifted, and a slightly drunken face suddenly appeared in front of her. Star eyes with bright eyebrows, but he had an imposing appearance. Undeniably, his appearance was extremely handsome. It was different from the gentleness and elegance of the eldest prince Baili Haoting, but it had another kind of lofty manner.

She only took a quick glance, and then quickly lowered her head, letting her long eyelashes cast a faint shadow on her snow-white skin. Only a chuckle was heard from him, he took her wrist, slowly through a few heavy muslin in the room, to the outer room. Red candle, red tablecloth, red curtain, red carpet, everything in sight was red, which made the room full of happiness.

There were neat cups of wine for wedding ritual, and some festive things on the round table. He led her to sit down, then picked up the jug, poured two cups of wine, picked up one, and handed the other over to her.

The wine was a good tribute wine, winding down the throat like a thin line. She was not good at drinking and with only one drink, and her face immediately flushed. In his eyes, it was like a hibiscus flower in full bloom.

Under the transparent soft screen muslin, her exquisite and snow-white body was rolling around on the crimson satin embroidered dragon and phoenix brocade quilt, which was just like the delicate white epiphyllum in full bloom under the crimson background. After a long time, Ruan Wushuang slowly moved his weak body and deliberately touched him. He was also liked in the dream, relaxing his eyebrows, as if he had a kind of laziness after having enough to eat.

By the time she woke up, the clear light of dawn had shone into the room, passing through layers of muslin and shining scattered all over the ground. She moved lightly and felt sore all over. She seemed to feel something strange, and she turned to see him still on the bed, looking at her lazily, hisblack eyes shining brightly. Her face flushed quickly, despite her indifference, her embarrassment of the newlyweds still surged uncontrollably.

Baili Haozhe looked at her pink and delicate body curled up because of shyness, and a wonderful and familiar heat had swept in. He stretched out his hand and hugged her in his arms. Unspeakably smooth to touch, he could not help it and leaned down. His hot breath came up as if to heat her cold skin.

She pushed him gently and whispered, “My prince, it's already dawn…” But it was quickly engulfed in his actions...

Wet nurse Sun and all the servant girls stood in the corridor at a distance, it was autumn, and it was very comfortable. Several late-blooming flowers in the garden were stretching on the branches, and the petals were trembling slightly, so the damp air had a sweet taste. She looked up at the sky and vaguely heard some noises in the room, but his majesty didn't call, so they didn't dare to enter, because they were holding things in their hearts, they were always a little uneasy.
After a long time, the door opened with a squeak, and the second prince, Baili Haozhe, came out in neat clothes, looking refreshed. Wet nurse Sun’s heart, which was hanging, finally felt relieved. She let out a sigh, and then hurriedly saluted according to the rules.

Pushing the door in, passing through the layers of hanging screen muslins, only to see the young lady still lying with her quilt. She stepped lightly and was about to withdraw when Ruan Wushuang turned around and called. “Wet nurse, help me up!”

Lifting Ruan Wushuang, the soft crimson satin embroidered dragon and phoenix quilt slid from her body to her waist with her movements. Her skin was white and delicate, but now, it had many marks of pink like petals. Mo Zhu had brought a crimson silk tapestry dress, a light and soft gauze outer, with long and wide sleeves passing by like waves on both sides.

On the dragon and phoenix bed behind her, there’s a red mark on the refined white satin, like a crabapple after the rain. At this time, the sun has been shining through the hollowed-out pattern on the window in a mottled way, once deep once shallow, once thick once light, with different light and shade.

Three days later, she visited her parental home. Baili Haozhe himself lifted the sedan curtain and helped her out of the sedan chair. As soon as he entered the mansion, after tea, he was dragged into the study by her father and two brothers. Madam Ruan held her daughter's hand and looked left and right but refused to let go. Ruan Wushuang in a purple-red embroidered gold dress with a soft gauze of the same color, and her jet black hair bun was decorated with a gold hairpin with a tassel, and the pearl hairpin tassel swayed with her movements.

Madam Ruan sighed. “I haven't seen you for only three days, how come you’ve grown up. Now that you are married, you must be sensible, and you must not fool around as if you were around your parents!” This order had been said no less than dozens of times, but Ruan Wushuang still obeyed.

In the past, relying on the favours of parents in the mansion, she could let out her temper at will. But in the days to come, no matter how hard it was, She had to go on by herself. Since ancient times, it had been difficult to be a daughter-in-law, especially as an imperial daughter-in-law. Fortunately, the biggest difficulty had passed. Judging from her husband's performance in the past three days, the incident should not be found out.

Before leaving, her father asked her to go into the study. She pushed the door in, and her father was standing at the window, looking out in a trance. Although she did not see the expression, she still felt an inexplicable sadness. She walked in softly and called, “Father!”

Prime Minister Ruan turned around, because he was already in his middle-age, and now his hair was gray and white. He touched his daughter's hair and sighed. “Shuang'er, this father never thought you would marry the royal family. But at this time we have been trapped in it, and also have no way out. I also rejected the inquiry that the oldest prince privately asked for marriage, but I didn't think it was still… is it a blessing or a curse? It’s only a disaster.” She knew in her heart that she didn’t need to answer and listened to her father's next words.

You grew up in a deep boudoir, and you never asked about the palace or the court. But now as a father, I have to talk to you roughly so that you can understand your husband and your situation.”

“Since last summer, the Emperor’s health has been poor. There have been several times that he wants to name the successor, but it is a major issue related to the long-term stability and the peaceful life in the Dynasty. The court officials have always had different opinions, they have not been finalized.”

“Since ancient times, the successor is chosen from the son of the first wife, but your aunt did not give birth to an imperial son, so it can be ignored. No matter how, in choosing the successor, it should be the oldest prince. But, the second prince had a superior military strategy, and the fourth prince’s mother is the Emperor’s favourite imperial concubine, whose status in the harem is second only to the Empress. Therefore, the affairs of the successor have been hanging up like this for a long time.”

“Originally, our Ruan family could stay out of the affair. Although the eldest prince and the second prince were raised by your aunt—— the current Empress, they are not her flesh and blood, but both of them were valued equally. The successor matter has always been involved in the rise and fall of the whole family! Don't get involved easily! Our Ruan family has been deeply favoured by the emperor for decades and has reached the peak of wealth. My father has always understood this, so he has been waiting and not intervening.”

“But now, our Ruan family is already riding a tiger, it's impossible not to intervene. I chatted with the second prince a little bit today. Although I didn't make it clear, his ambition would never be willing to be such a little prince. His ambition was the land under Heaven! Daughter, oh daughter, I wonder if this is your luck or your misfortune?”

Because of her marriage, their Ruan family had formed a faction with the second prince. Even if they really didn't get involved, the outsider wouldn’t believe it. The so-called ‘Together in glory and loss’ was the truth, which would never change!
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I also opened a goal in Ko-fi for extra chapter for this novel. I will post an extra chapter after the goal is achieved, thank you~
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