Chapter 317 - Qingming Festival
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Ji Muqing’s maidservant Cailan witnessed the whole scene. Ji Wanxin and Prince Rong? When were they ever acquainted? Cailan returned to Ji Muqing’s yard smugly.
Ji Muqing was seated before her mirror, patting her face continuously with blush, her face turning as red as a monkey’s bottom in no time. She then picked up her comb and began to brush through her locks excitedly. Ever since she was chased out of the palace, Ji Muqing had never left her courtyard, much less met anyone else aside from her maidservant Cailan. The hives on her body had long disappeared - she was as normal as anyone could be! She remained in her room pretending to be sick, waiting for Concubine Xiao to fulfill her promise.
Cailan scooted over, recounting what she saw. Ji Muqing stopped brushing her hair, flinging her comb onto her table with a bang huffily, “Who knew that she had such grandiose ambitions? How dare she try to seduce Prince Rong?”
“Young Miss, the Second Miss is trying to punch beyond her weight!”
“With her capabilities? What a fool - it’s her honour to be married into the Shen family, how dare she aims to become Prince Rong’s consort?” Ji Muqing scoffed.
Cailan was similarly nonchalant, “This servant felt that Prince Rong did not really like the Second Miss and tried to keep his distance, but Second Miss kept flirting.”
Hmph! Ji Muqing wasn’t sure why she felt so irritated, but if Ji Wanxin or Ji Yunshu were to marry a beggar - that’d be best!
At this point, Ji Muqing would have hunted down Ji Wanxin and thoroughly shamed her, but the Ji Muqing now had no energy to spend on such things. Now that the Crown Prince was dead, she would be able to marry Jing Yi and become Princess Yi. Since Jing Yi would eventually become the Crown Prince, she was still the Crown Princess!
Ji Muqing brightened up at this thought and turned to Cailan, “If anyone from the Yi Estate arrives, make sure to let me know immediately.”
“Understood,” Cailan replied.
“As for Ji Wanxin and Ji Yunshu, this Miss would have plenty of time to deal with them when I become the Crown Princess!”
Cailan was baffled and blurted, “Young Miss, but this Crown Prince is already dead - how would you become the Crown Princess?”
Ji Muqing gave her an icy stare, “Say that again?”
“This servant was… was just …”
Smack! Ji Muqing struck Cailan across the face before she could finish what she wanted to say. Cailan fell to her knees straight away, pleading, “This servant knows her mistake, please forgive this foolish one.”
Hmph! Ji Muqing glared at her as she tilted her chin haughtily, “Even if the Crown Prince were dead, His Majesty would crown another - this Miss is still the Crown Princess; no one can snatch my position away from me. Listen up carefully, there is only one Crown Princess, and that’s me.”
“Yes, yes, yes, this servant understands.” Ji Muqing waved her away annoyedly, then sat down and continued her grooming routine as if nothing had happened. No matter how she looked, she was pleased with her own appearance in the mirror. A woman’s heart sure was fickle and unpredictable!
Jing Rong beelined for Bamboo Creek Garden upon leaving the General’s Estate.
Ji Yunshu had been inside all day examining her bone paintings; if not for her servants’ reminder that it was getting late, she would not have even looked outside. White papers were scattered all over her study, each one was full of her drawings, which nobody but her could decipher. She cricked her neck and put down her paintings, washed her hands and had some dinner. As soon as she walked out into the yard, she saw Jing Rong approach her with a smile plastered on his face.
“Have you eaten?” Jing Rong asked.
“What did you have?”
“Abalone and shark’s fin.”
“What did you have to drink?”
“Just plain water.”
Their back-and-forth resembled a conversation between two friendly neighbors; all that was missing was a simple ‘hey, what’s up’.
Ji Yunshu walked over to a tree in the yard and tiptoed, trying to hang the white fabric strips in her hand onto an overhanging branch. Jing Rong could not make heads or tails of her actions and asked as he stood behind her, “What are you doing?”
“It’s a time to pay respects to our loved ones,” Ji Yunshu replied without looking back. Ji Yunshu could not comprehend herself - Qingming Festival did not exist in the Great Lin; there was only an annual rites festival on New Year’s Day. As such, Ji Yunshu took it upon herself to hang white fabric on her own tree in place of paying her respects at her ancestors’ tombs.
Jing Rong gently took the strips out of her hand, tying them onto a branch effortlessly, “Qingming Festival? How has this Prince never heard of such a thing? Is there such a festival in our Great Lin?”
“It exists in my hometown - we would return to our hometowns every year on this day to sweep our ancestors’ tombs and pay our respects, hang some white mourning papers and offer some incense.”
“The annual rites?”
“Nope, but they’re similar enough.”
As he secured the cloth, Jing Rong patted his hands and asked her, “Then, are you praying for your Third Brother, or your grandmother?”
“My mother.” Ji Yunshu watched the fluttering white fabric longingly.
Jing Rong questioned, “Have you ever met your mother?”
She shook her head, “Never; my mother died during childbirth when I was born. My father said that she held me tightly as she passed away. I’ve only ever seen her in photos, err… portrait.” She was referring to her own mother in present times, not here.
Jing Rong held her hands tightly in his, intertwining his fingers with hers. He faced those white drapes seriously as he declared, “Madame Ji, I promise that I will remain by Yunshu’s side forever in this lifetime, protecting her and looking after her, never causing her any harm and bringing only happiness into her life. If you are looking down from heaven, please protect us and watch over us, so that we can overcome any obstacle that may come our way.”
Ji Yunshu took in his words silently, touched. A faint smile crept up her lips as she pulled herself into his embrace.
Jing Rong rested his chin lightly on her head, calling out her name gently, “Yunshu.”
Jing Rong stopped and eventually shook his head, “It’s nothing, I just want to hold you in my arms.” He pulled her tighter into his arms.
That night, Jing Rong did not return to Rong Estate but stayed, claiming rights to Ji Yunshu’s bed, “This is comfortable!”
Ji Yunshu narrowed her eyes at him, “Go rest, it’s late.”
“Mm.” Jing Rong pulled her blankets around himself snugly in Ji Yunshu’s bed.
Please, I meant for you to return to your own room!
Grenn's Rants Corner
What's interesting here is the difference between the modern world and the current time period Ji Yunshu has been sent to. This is a parallel world since there's a mumble jumble of things from different periods of Ancient China mixed into the current timeline.
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