Uggh, I am so done with my internet. I’ve been trying to post this chapter for. The. Past. Two. Days. Every time I get home from work and sit down to post this, I find my internet isn’t working. The connection in my area has always been a bit spotty, but never this bad. I low-key suspect the construction down the street is causing this. I don’t know how, but ever since they started construction, my internet has been even more glitchy than usual. In light of that, I’m going to change my updating schedule a little. Instead of saying “I’m going to post this chapter on this day,” it’ll be more like “I’m going to post these four chapters by the end of this week.” So the total number of updates will still be the same. I’m just giving myself more flexibility for when I post the updates to accommodate my spotty connection.
Chapter 75 – Laba
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng loved the way that Jia Bao was acting coquettish with him. “It’s good as long as my darling is happy. You’re already doing very well, baby…”
“All right, let’s have lunch first. Then, let’s take a nap together…” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng put his arms around Lin Jia Bao and said, “I’m going to use the Laba Festival to have you meet people tonight. But you don’t have to think too much about it, understand?”
“En.” Lin Jia Bao leaned against Xuan Yuan Han Cheng obediently and together they went to have lunch.
Song-shi accepted the Laba congee and gave thanks for the imperial family’s grace.
[T/N: Reminder, Song-shi is Song Yi Yun, one of XYHC’s concubines and the mother of Kang’er.]
When she learned that the congee was sent from Ping Le Courtyard, her heart was a mixture of five flavors*. The eunuch who delivered the Laba congee informed her that there would be a family banquet in Chang Le Palace Hall that night. After listening to his words, she told the maid beside her to give him a reward and answered, “I got it. Go back and deliver my reply.”
[*T/N: The five flavors of life that the Chinese refer to are sweet, sour, bitter, spicy, and salty. It’s a metaphor that means life is made up of many different experiences: good, bad, and everything in between. But regardless of what you’re experiencing, life keeps going on.]
It seemed that His Royal Highness’s attitude towards this Lin xiaoshi really was different. Song-shi thought about how she’s older than the crown prince by two years. How was she supposed to compete with that young and beautiful person for favor? Alas…
Yu-shi was absolutely furious when she found out that the Laba congee was distributed from Ping Le Courtyard. It looked like this ger was not as stupid as he seemed. He was able to make His Royal Highness hand him the reins to the Laba Festival… it had to be said, in the previous years it was the crown princess who presided over the Laba Festival!
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When Yu-shi heard that there would be a family banquet in Chang Le Palace Hall at night, she immediately had the palace maids dress her up, all the while thinking that she must push down Lin Jia Bao that night!
In the evening, when Xuan Yuan Han Cheng brought Lin Jia Bao to Chang Le Palace Hall, Yu-shi and Song-shi had already arrived with their daughters.
When they saw His Royal Highness they paid their respects one after another, “Your Royal Highness…”
“You may dispense with curtseying…” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng led Lin Jia Bao to the seat of honor. “Today, it’s a family banquet for the East Palace, so you don’t need to stand on ceremony.”
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng introduced everyone to Lin Jia Bao. There was Song-shi and the eldest daughter, Kang’er, as well as Yu-shi and the second daughter, An’er.
Kang’er lived up to her former liveliness and glanced at Lin Jia Bao timidly, her heart full of fear.
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng first asked Song-shi and Yu-shi about the health of his two daughters, and then he announced the start of the banquet.
The palace maids ferried in exquisite plates of meat, vegetable, and fish one after another. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng held Lin Jia Bao’s hand under the table. His baby looked a little nervous.
Lin Jia Bao could feel Xuan Yuan Han Cheng’s silent encouragement and slowly relaxed. Lin Jia Bao was studious in his dining etiquette lessons. Nowadays, the image that he presented when he was eating was very pleasing to the eye.
Lin Jia Bao had selected the dishes for tonight’s menu, so naturally he chose all of his and Xuan Yuan Han Cheng’s favorite dishes. Lin Jia Bao was not a picky eater. He had a good appetite and ate with relish. When Xuan Yuan Han Cheng saw his darling eating like this, his appetite also increased greatly…
Yu-shi looked at Lin xiaoshi and secretly despised him in her heart. She thought he really was not cosmopolitan. Yu-shi ate a few mouthfuls and then her chopsticks stopped moving.
The steamed Reeves shad today was very fresh and delicious. It delighted Lin Jia Bao when he ate it. Xuan Yuan Han Cheng motioned for Shu Ya to serve his baby seconds. Shu Ya responded and brought another piece of fish meat to Lin-xiaozhu. She carefully deboned the fish before giving it to Lin-xiaozhu to enjoy.
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The fish meat was succulent and exquisite. Lin Jia Bao carefully savored the taste in his mouth.
Seeing Lin Jia Bao’s actions, Yu-shi covered her mouth and chuckled. “Looks like Lin-xiaozhu haven’t eaten much Reeves shad before. Ha ha…”
“Yeah…” Lin Jia Bao nodded truthfully.
Xu Province was a landlocked area, so fish was relatively expensive. The non-vegetarian dishes that he normally got to eat consisted of chicken, duck, and pork. As for things like fish, shrimp, and crab, he rarely got to eat those. It was only after he had entered the palace and became the crown prince’s xiaoshi that he was able to eat delicacies that he has never even heard of before.
When Yu-shi heard his response, she laughed incessantly. She was about to say something else when she saw the crown prince looking at her coldly. She instantly shut up.
Song-shi was like an invisible person from beginning to end. She watched as the crown prince safeguarded Lin xiaoshi and Yu-shi provoking him while not knowing the immensity of heaven and earth.
[*T/N: “not knowing the immensity of heaven and earth” describes a foolish and/or arrogant person who doesn’t know the limits of his or her abilities]
After the meal, Yu-shi still did her utmost to act coquettish and show off her beauty to the crown prince, “Your Royal Highness, you haven’t come to my place for a long time. Qin Qin misses Your Royal Highness very much…”
[T/N: Yu-shi’s name is Yu Qin. She’s calling herself Qin Qin to be cute.]
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng was indifferent to Yu-shi’s performance. “Let’s stop here for today… Everybody disperse…”
Xuan Yuan Han Cheng and Lin Jia Bao returned to Ping Le Courtyard. After the two washed their faces, rinsed their mouths, and then went to lie on the bed, Xuan Yuan Han Cheng said, “All right, you’ve met the people that you wanted to meet. My baby must be tired today…” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng hugged his darling close to his chest.
Translations by Vanilla Muse.
“I’m not tired…” Lin Jia Bao said softly to Xuan Yuan Han Cheng, “Can I not see them too often in the future?” He really did not like that Yu-shi. He didn’t like the way that Yu-shi looked at Xuan Yuan Han Cheng.
“Of course, darling. There won’t be many opportunities for you to see them in the future.” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng knew that it must have been hard for Lin Jia Bao to have to face them.
“Am I really bad? I also don’t want my husband to meet them…” Lin Jia Bao said gloomily.
“Oh, my darling baby… I like it when you’re bad…” Xuan Yuan Han Cheng kissed Lin Jia Bao with joy. His baby was finally feeling possessive of him…