5 : Overestimated Oneself
From the distant, Chen Daiyu saw a stream of maid servants and guards followed a few steps behind two women. From their swaying movements, she could tell that they are attractive. Unfortunately the distance made her unable to say for sure who the wandering beauties were.
"Ju Hua, who are those people?" Chen Daiyu's face held curiosity, staring at the flock of people. Not many women could walk so carefreely inside the imperial garden. So they must be one of the consorts in the inner palace, she concluded.
Ju Hua squinted her slanted eyes, gouging out the identity of the two women.
"Empress, it appears to be the procession of the two Huang-GuiFei." The maid frowned, why did her luck so bad today, encountered not one but three consorts in one day.
[A/N: Huang-GuiFei: Imperial noble consort. One rank below the empress.]
Chen Daiyu furrowed her brows, hearing her maid mention Huang-GuiFei. She recalled the pair of feipin, one with weak personality and the other was proud as the peacock. They were from a duke's household, typical spoiled rotten noble children with the world handing over to them. Fortunately, they were not as insensitive as that Lin Mo Yao.
[A/N: Feipin: general term referring to all consorts with the exception of the empress.]
Wei Jing Er and Sima Yu Nian were busied condemning consort Lin who was reduced to a mere fei not long ago. They both expressed their utter disgust at the daring woman who did not know how high the Mount Tai was.
"I say, this Lin shi is especially ignorant. What thing is she to dare competed against her ladyship. Truly, she soiled the honorable name of us feipin."
Wei Ting Er waved her colorful fan in a circular motion, emphasizing her point. In her opinion, the trick that Lin Mo Yao used was out of date. If it was her, she would have planned it carefully and taken in all the possible outcomes. Moreover, with such a hot head temper how could that Lin Mo Yao compare to Empress-niangniang. This whole thing is simply ridiculous.
"You are correct, sister Ting Er. This younger sister also shared the same thought as you." Sima Yu Nian was not as sharp as Wei Ting Er. However, the fact that she had bores a son for the Emperor had her stood on the same ground as her senior consort.
Wei Ting Er was about to reply, but paused with wide eyes staring at the woman in the complicated red luan dress. Immediately, she tucks her junior consort forward to pay respect.
"Nu greets her ladyship the Empress, may the Empress live for thousand years." The words were echoed by the servants and guards. Majority of them glanced left and right, wondering why the Emperor did not accompany the Empress today.
"So it seems to be the two sisters." She excused them from kneeling with a gentle wave of her hand. The imperial garden seems quite popular today, so many coincidental encounter in one day.
"Thanking her ladyship." Wei Ting Er took an initiative to said with a face full of smile. Her heart beats unusually fast, every second she spend next to the woman with extraordinary aura.
Chen Daiyu examined the two beauties in front of her. The woman with noble air of the scholarly family is Wei Ting Er. The oldest and most influent feipin inside the harem for she was the first to served the emperor and even birthed a princess. Only thirty, a bit old but still blooming like a flower. However, what the Renxia Empress likes about her the most was her crafty yet tolerance personality.
"Why don't we take a seat inside that pavilion? Ben gong had terribly missed the two consorts and wished to catch up."
Who were they to refuse?
Thus, they complied and followed like a pair of ducks after the mistress of the harem. Wei Ting Er's expression was an epitome of calm. However Sima Yu Nian was not half as good at hiding her expression and thought. She was very nervous, her fragile heart couldn't take such an intimidation.
The entire time, the two imperial noble consorts hung their head low, only replied when they were asked, very obedience. How could they not? After all the dread and humiliation that was carved directly into their bone for the past three years. It was more than enough to make them stepped down from their high horse.
Wei Ting Er remembered how dissolute she was when the king was still a prince and she entered the prince's resident. She was arrogant, just because she was the first to served the king before other women which include the Empress as well. She blatantly act out of line, abusing her authority due to her seniority as a consort.
Although she did got away with her crimes for a couple of times but in the end she had suffered the dire consequences of her unruly actions. Wei Ting Er was pulled out of her thought by the exceptional silky tone of the Empress.
"Now that ben gong think about it. I haven't seen the eldest princess for a while now. How is she?" The easy going voice was without any hint of anger nor dissatisfaction, and yet when it entered others people ears, their entire body stiffen, glancing at Wei Ting Er in horror.
Hearing the empress mentioned of her daughter. Wei Ting Er's smile froze. She immediately got on all four and begged.
"May Empress has mercy! Nu had no knowledge that the eldest princess did not visit your highness."
Wei Ting Er was frightened by the fact that her daughter broke the protocol, and neglected to pay her respect toward the Empress. What was the princess thinking? She exclaimed inside her mind.
Seeing the fear in the woman's eyes, Chen Daiyu allowed her smile to become even more friendly. "Elder sister need not blame oneself for ben gong is not looking for trouble."
Not saying anything about the imperial household, even the duke family like the Lin, Wei and Sima will always have their concubine born children and their concubine mother to come and pay their respects to the legitimate wife everyday.
However, the Empress was benevolent- allowing the consorts and their children, to only come and pay respect twice a week instead of every single morning. As such, any excuses that the eldest princess might came up with will not be enough to clear her unfilial name.