The Imperial Army guard beside him shot him an icy glare, silencing the rest of the citizens behind him as well.
When the horse carriage procession finally entered the capital, it was dead silent. The order was well maintained, with no one daring to speak casually.
Inside the carriage itself, Su Xi-er had moved to the innermost corner so that nobody could see her.
The troop of guards knelt down on one knee and hollered out loud in unison, "Prince Hao, welcome back!"
Their voices reverberated through the wide streets. The commoners then hurriedly knelt down and echoed the guards, "Prince Hao, welcome back!"
A man’s arm came out of the window of the carriage, signalling for everyone to rise before retreating back in.
Upon seeing the gesture, the guards and commoners stood up and respectfully moved to the side as they watched the horse carriage drive away.
Seeing that the horse carriage was about to disappear from their sight, some people couldn't help but try to sneak a final glance; they wanted to see if there was a woman in the carriage!
Everyone had been standing around since morning, but they didn’t get to see Prince Hao or the supposed mysterious woman that he had brought back with him. They couldn’t help but sigh in disappointment.
When the horse carriage completely vanished from sight, and the imperial guards had withdrawn into the palace, a rout of discussion erupted. They were either sighs or speculations.
"So did Prince Hao bring her back?"
"Of course he did, or why would the Beauty Palace be dissolved?"
"That's true, but we didn't even get to see her. The wind even lifted the curtains up; at least let us have a glimpse of her side profile!"
"Everyone should just return home. How would Prince Hao let a woman that he favours so much appear in public? He must be keeping her hidden!"
Despite their rampant curiosity, the crowd agreed that this speculation made the most sense, though they were even more curious about the woman. After another round of discussion, they slowly dispersed and returned home.
A woman, clad in a plain dress stood in the crowd. Beside her, was her maidservant with a furious expression. The maidservant tugged at the sleeves of the woman. "Young Miss, Prince Hao had actually dismissed the Beauty Palace for a woman. Will you still stand a chance?"
The woman in plain clothes looked at her maidservant with a smile. "It feels pretty good to not be in the Beauty Palace. I get to live the way I want to."
"Young Miss, what work can we do? What if some hooligan catches sight of your beauty?" The maidservant was very anxious and concerned about their future.
"Beimin has stringent laws, to the point where other countries can’t even compare. Not to mention, the capital is secure enough that there aren’t many criminals that dare to show their faces here. Instead of worrying about that, we should both go to an embroidery house since we can both embroider." The woman made a few swift remarks before walking away.
Before the woman could take a few steps, her maidservant stopped her. "Young Miss, Patriarch knows that the Beauty Palace has been dismissed, and will surely come looking for you. After we return to the Tan Residence, we can think of another way to get close to Prince Hao."
The woman in plain robes was Tan Ge. Her brows furrowed as she heard the words ‘Prince Hao’. The Tan Family had still been an influential family in Beimin when she was a child, but was struck by tragedy after her tenth birthday. From then on, she had become the Tan Residence’s ray of hope.
She was beautiful, and able to sing and dance. After that, she even studied verses, ditties, odes and songs ー the four forms of poetry. Embroidery was also part of her education. When she was twelve, a new item was added to the list ー Pei Qianhao. She had to learn his likes and dislikes, principles, temperament, his choice of clothing, and preferences with food. Her father would even describe Prince Hao's expressions to her from when the latter stood in front of the court officials.
From then on, Tan Ge slowly began to feel that her own life was not hers. Her life revolved around Prince Hao, knowing more about him then she did about herself. And yet, the most ridiculous thing was that Pei Qianhao didn’t even know about her existence.
The days passed by, until Prince Hao finally arrived at the Tan Residence and she got to see how he really looked like. After that, she was admitted into Beauty Palace to the joy of everyone in the Tan family.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Cosy: I am blushing as I translate this chapter. Pei Qianhao, don't talk in such manner please xD. And also… poor Tan Ge, having to lose herself for her family.
Rakumon: *sigh* Another woman who is a tool of her family :(