Part of a Memories of a Graceful Reflection translation project at fruitydeer.com.
Do not download, copy, or redistribute without permission.
Source: 猶記驚鴻照影 by Feng Ning Xue Wu // Translated By: Xin (fruitydeer)
Another strike for Nan Cheng Yao today. Honestly, just expect that as the norm for the first dozen+ chapters. On a happier note, our favorite little brother makes a return.
For anyone interested in the write-up I previously mentioned about the significance behind Murong Qing’s Gui Mo Pavilion and how it pertains to the story’s development, it’s now live and can be read here.
Chapter 006: The Sixth Time
Three days later, it was time to visit the natal home.1
Shu Ying stood behind soundlessly, helping me draw up my hair. But the face that should have been delighted showed no signs of joy.
I naturally knew the reason behind her low spirits, but I didn’t want her to worry about me, so I just coaxed her whilst smiling: “Haven’t you been missing An Xiang? Once you return to the xiang fu,2 you’ll be able to inquire after her news. How come you look so anxious and downcast?”
Shu Ying bit her lower lip: “If Young Miss goes back like this, who knows how much Master and Madam’s hearts will ache.”
I was hoping to console her, but before I could say anything, we were interrupted by a gentle knock at the doors. Xun Yun’s voice sounded from outside: “The auspicious time is nearing, is Wang fei ready yet?”
I motioned for Shu Ying to open the door, then followed Xun Yun to towards the main gate of the fu.
Outside the gates of the wang fu, an eight-carrier palanquin adorned with a luan and phoenix3 of golden silk had been waiting since early on. But because of Nan Cheng Yao’s absence, naturally, the young horse that was supposed to lead the procession was not prepared today.
Qin An bowed reverently: “His Highness ordered this old slave to escort Wang fei back for the visit to the natal home. Once His Majesty’s dragon’s body is at peace, His Highness will personally accompany Wang fei back to the xiang fu to send apologies and offer greetings.”
I smiled faintly: “Chief Steward Qin speaks too severely. Of all virtues, filial piety takes precedence. The Third Highness staying at in the palace to serve His Majesty is right and proper. Mother and Father will not only understand, but be comforted.”
I saw Qin An look up slightly, glance at me without a single word or movement, then return to his usual composure. He ordered the palanquin carriers to get ready, then personally lifted the curtain for me.
I had Shu Ying slowly help me up the palanquin. My deportment remained composed as I carried a slight smile.
With the lowering of the palanquin’s curtain, ceremonial music began. Though the palanquin quickly rose, it did not move forward.
I heard an indistinct noise up front, but I could not clearly discern what was being said. I could only inquire in a low voice to Qin An, who was following next to the palanquin, as to what had happened.
Qin An seemed to hesitate for a moment before telling me: “Young Master Murong has come.”
In my bewilderment, I couldn’t be bothered with anything else. I lifted up the side curtain of the palanquin and saw a figure wearing clothes of beautiful, snow white, riding on a horse and grinning at me from afar: “Second Sister, I’ve come to pick you up.”
I lowered my voice: “What are you doing messing around?”
He raised his eyebrows and smiled without a care: “I miss you, ya.4 I couldn’t wait to see you at back home.”
I looked at Murong Lian and his innocuous smile. Just as I opened my mouth to speak, Qin An walked forward to greet him. “Young Master Murong’s familial affection is very touching, but this does not conform with propriety. Young Master, please return to the fu first, this old servant will follow and escort Wang fei accordingly.”
Lian’s eyebrows quirked upwards and he said coldly: “Leaving behind his new bride on the night of the grand wedding, not showing his face for the first three days of marriage, and even having his wife visit the natal home by herself. These are considered proper then?”
“The Sacred One’s dragon’s body is unwell, His Highness had no choice…”
“Say less about having no choice,” Lian interrupted Qin An with a sneer. “Acting as if I don’t know that even the Crown Prince already returned to his own fu two days ago. Even if the emperor has yet to fully recover, he no longer has any major issues. Nan Cheng Yao ignoring his new wife so heedlessly, what is he still doing in the palace?”
Qin An’s expression remained the same. He spoke with only mildness while bearing proper etiquette: “The sacred decree is difficult to disobey, I hope that Wang fei and Young Master Murong will forgive this.”
Though he was bowing and speaking to Lian, he brought me up in his speech. I naturally understood his meaning, so I smiled gently: “Chief Steward Qin need not speak more. Murong Qing understands.”
Turning my eyes over to look at Lian, the corners of his lips had once again hooked upwards into a carefree arc: “Since even my jie-jie can offer forgiveness, what is there that I cannot forgive? Similarly, since Nan Cheng Yao insists on being a filial son, what excuse do I have for not taking the opportunity to be a virtuous younger brother?”
I smiled bitterly in my heart. I knew that once he was truly angry and his temper had risen, he would not listen to any sort of persuasion. With his unruly temperament, even tearing down the entire Third Wang fu was not beyond the realm of possibility.
As I contemplated, he slowly suppressed his smile and looked at Qin An while on horseback. Each word and every sentence was said coldly: “I won’t burden Chief Steward Qin with the procession. Naturally, I will escort my jie-jie home.”
For a moment, Qin An said nothing. From this angle, his face remained just as composed.
According to custom, on the day of visiting the natal home, the husband should be riding horseback in front of the sedan chair to lead the way. Thus, Lian lightly patted the horse’s stomach and slowly rode over to my palanquin, smiling: “Let’s go.”
I looked at him with a bit of helplessness: “You’re already so old now, yet you continue to mess around. Hurry and head home.”
His brows raised and he turned his head slightly to look at me. An almost impish smile hung from his lips, but it was still exceptionally good-looking.
He said with a grin: “Yes, I just so happen to be on my way home. With so many roads, who said I couldn’t take this one?”
Translator’s Note: Since this is another short chapter, I’ll supplement with an extra release on Monday 🙂
- 歸寧期 // Gui Ning Qi: The first, and one of the rare opportunities for a bride to return home and see her family after marriage.
- 相府 // Xiang Fu: Official residence of the prime minister (丞相 // cheng xiang).
- 鸞鳳 // Luan Feng: Luan is a mythical bird related to the phoenix (feng). Together, luan and feng symbolizes husband and wife as well as virtue.
- 呀 // Ya: Interjection that denotes closeness.