Chapter 29 – Red Candle
The fifth day of August was an important day for Lin Jia Bao.
The momos woke Lin Jia Bao up bright and early to wash up and make him presentable. He took three perfumed hot baths, and fragrance was applied to every inch of his skin. Lin Jia Bao smelled good from head to toe. Then they dressed him and made him up.
After being fussed with for the better part of the day, Lin Jia Bao finally found himself sitting on a bed in the crown prince’s chambers within the Ping Le Courtyard of East Palace.
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The bright red decorations of the bedroom were very festive. On the window, the character for “double happiness” was pasted. On the table there was a pair of red dragon and phoenix candles burning luminously. Lin Jia Bao was somewhat in a trance. It did not seem like he was becoming the crown prince’s xiao shi, but was marrying into some family as the wife, and was waiting for the husband’s arrival.
[T/N: 囍 xi – “double happiness” is a symbol of good luck, especially marriage]
The room was quiet. Lin Jia Bao could only hear his heartbeat in his ear.
From outside the chambers came the voices of people saluting His Royal Highness. The sound of the crown prince’s footsteps moved from far to near.
Seeing the crown prince appear in front of him, Lin Jia Bao’s nervous heart wanted to jump out of his chest.
“Your Royal Highness…” Lin Jia Bao stood up to salute.
“Rise*.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng helped him up and sat him back down on the bed.
[*T/N: 免礼 mian li – a formal and formulaic way of saying “you may dispense with curtseying.” It sounds like the superior is telling the subordinate not to salute, but it’s more along the lines of “you have saluted and you may stop now,” because without the superior’s permission, the subordinate is supposed to remain kneeling.]
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng took out a bridal veil decorated with auspicious symbols of the dragon and the phoenix, and asked him, “Do you like it?”
“Like…” Lin Jia Bao stared blankly at this red veil embroidered with dragon and phoenix patterns in golden silk thread.
Translations by Vanilla Muse.
“It’s good if you like it.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng said and put the bridal veil over Lin Jia Bao’s head.
After that, he picked up the prepared xi gan* and gently lifted the bridal veil.
[*T/N: 喜杆 xi gan – not sure how to translate this, maybe “bridal stick” or “wedding stick” or “happiness stick,” but it’s basically just a stick used to lift the bridal veil. It’s a part of the wedding ceremony. When the veil is lifted, the wedding is considered complete in a sense.]
The moment when the bridal veil was lifted up, Lin Jia Bao saw the eyes of the crown prince. They were so dark and deep, as if wanting to suck him in.
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng tugged his little treasure forward and brought him into his arms. He felt the stiffness of the person in his arms. “You are afraid of me…”
“I… I’m not afraid.” Lin Jia Bao said nervously. His voice trembled slightly.
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng looked at him and laughed lightly. He approached Lin Jia Bao slowly and placed a light kiss on his forehead.
Lin Jia Bao was frightened and immediately held his breath. At this time, he could only hear the rumbling sound from his stomach…
“You must be hungry.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng kissed his baby on the cheek.
“En.” Lin Jia Bao lowered his head in embarrassment and responded. He didn’t get to eat much the entire day. The momos only gave him some kind of nectar to drink. Although it was sweet and fragrant and very delicious, it didn’t fill his stomach…
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng stood up, walked outside the door, and gave a command to the palace maid keeping watch by the door.
Soon after, a maid came in with a small bowl of chicken noodle soup. The rich fragrant of the chicken noodle soup made the sound of Lin Jia Bao’s stomach grow louder.
“Quickly come and eat.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng beckoned to Lin Jia Bao.
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Lin Jia Bao came to the table and sat down. He picked up the chopsticks and ate at the speed of lightning. The chicken soup was fresh and delicious, and the noodles have been simmered until very soft. Watching his baby eat, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng was very satisfied.
Lin Jia Bao polished off the small bowl of chicken noodle soup.
“Was it good?” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng asked.
“Very delicious,” Lin Jia Bao replied. Then a thought occurred to him. “Your Royal Highness, aren’t you hungry?”
“I’m already full.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng answered him. “You can’t eat too much food at night, I’m afraid it will accumulate in your stomach due to indigestion. If you like it, then next time we can have the small kitchen make it again.”
“Shall we chat? What was your name before entering the palace?” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng said to him tenderly.
“I was originally called Lin Jia Bao.” Lin Jia Bao replied.
“Then I will call you Jia Bao in the future, how about it?” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng held his hand.
“Okay.” Lin Jia Bao nodded obediently.