This Grandaunt Will Scare You to Death
The position of Chen Yu’s shoulder blocked her line of sight and prevented her from seeing the movement of the maid’s lips, so she was unable to determine what was being said. But when she turned back around, she just happened to meet Xuan Tian Ye’s gaze. His usual angry expression stopped at her face for a moment then turned to the gourd at her hip.
Feng Yu Heng tugged one corner of her lips into a smirk and patted the gourd. She then raised the cup of tea in her hand and toasted him.
Xuan Tian Ye did not avoid it. Raising his cup, he downed its contents.
At this time, the singing and dancing performances had begun. Beautiful dancers went to the perform on both sides of the hall. Their movements were graceful, and their clothes were beautiful. From time to time, people would exchange cups. This was nothing more than a banquet, and it did not have anything that was fresh.
Xuan Fei Yu was the young star of this birthday banquet, so he naturally could not leave the main stage. He was presently playing around with his many uncles.
Feng Yu Heng looked around the hall before finally returning her gaze to the area before her.
To her left, the young misses, who had lost face earlier, had already left. On her right, Fen Dai moved a little closer and sat next to Xiang Rong; however, she was unable to control herself and continued to look towards Chen Yu.
Chen Yu said a few words to the young misses next to her before everyone went their own way, with Chen Yu moving closer.
Fen Dai did not want to be too close to her and wanted to move further, but she was not willing to look away from the crystal ornaments.
For some inexplicable reason, under Fen Dai’s burning gaze, Chen Yu raised her hand and removed her white crystal earrings.
“Elder sister saw that fourth sister likes this item. If younger sister does not mind, you can take it.”
This action not only caused Fen Dai to freeze with shock. Even Feng Yu Heng furrowed her brow.
What sort of situation was this?
Some of the nearby young misses heard what Chen Yu said and could not help but blurt: “You are going to give away such a valuable thing?”
Chen Yu smiled at the person who spoke up and calmly said: “This is my family’s fourth sister. I am the elder sister. Even if I have great things, so long as my younger sister likes them, I will need to give them to my younger sister. But this set of head ornaments was gifted by a very noble person, so it would not be good to give it away entirely, otherwise” She looked at Fen Dai, “Even if elder sister gave the entire set of ornaments to younger sister, I would be willing.”
The young miss teared up from what she heard and lamented: “Being able to have an elder sister like you is truly great.” She then stood up and went to gossip with the young misses from other families.
Feng Yu Heng sneered mentally. Perhaps there would be rumors related to how kind the Feng family’s eldest young miss was after this banquet concluded.
But she did not believe this was the only reason Feng Chen Yu was willing to part with that pair of earrings. It had to be known that the reason this set of head ornaments caused people to be shocked was because it was a full set. If it was missing a pair of earrings, the effect would lessen drastically. Feng Yu Heng felt it was impossible for Chen Yu to have the intelligence to give up on them for that reason alone.
As for the reason that item could find its way into Fen Dai’s hands…
She squinted her eyes once more and watched Chen Yu put the earrings on for Fen Dai. While putting them on for Fen Dai, she said: “Last time, the earrings elder sister gave you were quite pretty, but they can not be compared to these.” After changing the earrings, Chen Yu looked at Fen Dai and was unable to hold back her praise: “Fourth sister really is becoming more and more pretty. In a few years when you are a little older, I fear that elder sister will be repressed by you.”
Feng Fen Dai had originally found Chen Yu so irritating that she did not even want to look at her, but now it was different. She had received the earrings that she desired at her deepest level, and they were on her ears. This caused the child to nearly hug Chen Yu and kiss her a couple times.
Feng Yu Heng had no time to pay any attention to the beautiful affection between sisters. Instead, she looked past the graceful dancing of the dancers and turned her gaze towards where the princes sat.
There were not many princes that had come today; however, the fifth prince, who did not usually appear at banquets, was invited by the second prince. At this time, the fifth prince had already turned his gaze from Chen Yu to Fen Dai. His eyes were fixed on the earrings, as he leaned forward. It seemed though his eyes were practically falling out of their sockets.
Was this the disaster of the East?1 She understood this reasoning, but how did Chen Yu think of it?
When they had met at the Refined Deity Building, the three princes spoke of how the fifth prince had taken in a multitude of concubines. They also spoke of how each of the concubines had very similar facial appearances, so she developed an understanding.
Over the past few days, under the guise of reflecting on her mistakes, she had met up with Xuan Tian Ming a few times. She had also inquired quite thoroughly about the fifth prince.
It turned out that a few years prior, he had become interested in one of the imperial concubines of the imperial harem. After this was discovered by the Emperor, the Emperor sent that concubine to a water-filled prison to be drowned. He also sent the fifth prince to Huang Zhou to suffer hardships for many years.
After the fifth prince returned to the capital, his nature had completely changed. One after another, he brought concubines into his palace, and all of them were born looking like the concubine that had drowned.
Of course, just this alone was not enough to convince the eldest prince to give Feng Chen Yu the set of crystal head ornaments. The only reason there was this set of crystal head ornaments was because Xuan Tian Hua had mentioned how that concubine was apparently wearing white crystal earrings at the time she drowned. As for the other accessories, she did not have any, as the white crystal earrings were part of the dowry given by her maternal family when she married into the imperial palace.
Feng Yu Heng kept note of it in her heart and discussed idea with Xuan Tian Ming. First was to make use of the gift, allowing the eldest prince to express his positive stance on having heard that Chen Yu was the aspect of the phoenix. Second, since the fifth prince was able to take in so many concubines that looked the same, she did not believe that a full set of white crystal head ornaments would fail to attract his attention. If the fifth prince continued to take notice, things would have become even more lively.
But… how did Feng Chen Yu manage to accurately choose to hand the earrings to Fen Dai?
She recalled the servant that had whispered into Chen Yu’s ear and could not help but feel a sudden shock. Subconsciously she turned to look towards the third prince, Xuan Tian Ye. There, she saw him looking back at her with a slight smile. Raising his cup, he downed its contents once more.
Feng Yu Heng felt a stirring in her heart, as she began to regret advising Xuan Tian Ming and Xuan Tian Hua not to come. This left her without anyone to discuss this situation with.
Huang Quan stayed at Feng Yu Heng’s side and felt that something was wrong with her mood. She could not help but lean close and ask: “Young miss, what happened?”
Feng Yu Heng pondered anxiously for a while and did not respond. Watching Chen Yu and Fen Dai act like good sisters, she felt that something had gone wrong.
She placed her hand on the large gourd. She originally thought that she had the upper hand in this matter, but now she feared that her hands would be tied.
“This banquet hall is too stuffy. Come out for a walk with me.” Feng Yu Heng stood up and pulled Huang Quan out. As she moved, she saw a prince also get up and walk out. In an instant, he left even faster than she did.
The two strolled over to the Yuan Palace’s garden. Despite the frigid cold of the twelfth month, there were still Winter plums. With the snow on red safflowers, it caused people to exclaim in wonder.
But she was not in the mood to enjoy the flowers. Even if the flowers here were much more beautiful than those in the Feng manor’s flower-viewing garden, she was not in the mood.
Huang Quan saw that she was feeling irritated and could not help but say: “If young miss does not like this place, how about we return to the manor first.”
Feng Yu Heng shook her head, “If we return now, wouldn’t third brother be left waiting for me?” She said this while increasing her pace, heading towards the center of the garden.
Sure enough, in the pavilion at the center of the garden, the third prince, Xuan Tian Ye, stood waiting with his hands clasped behind his back.
Huang Quan was startled. Out of habit, she moved in front of Feng Yu Heng to protect her, but she was pulled back, “It’s fine. Wait for me to the side. I will go speak for a while with third brother.”
Huang Quan wanted to remind her to be careful, but before she could say anything, Feng Yu Heng had already walked over.
Xuan Tian Ye looked towards her and could not help but clap, “County princess is bold.”
Feng Yu Heng smiled, “You are his Highness Prince Yu’s third brother. A-Heng also calls you third brother. We are all family, so what is there to fear?”
“Spoken well.” Xuan Tian Ye nodded, “How come county princess is not enjoying the song and dance inside, instead coming to wander about in the garden?” He decided to sit on the stone chair, looking at Feng Yu Heng with a calm demeanor.
“There is nothing more normal than a girl strolling around in a garden. Why is third brother making a fuss out of nothing.” She walked to the pavilion and removed the gourd from her hip, “I came in a rush. May I know if third brother brought wine?”
Xuan Tian Ye also pulled out a small pot of wine from his waist and placed it on the table, “There is not much, but it is enough for the two of us to enjoy a bit.”
“A-Heng is a doctor and is very skilled at making wine with medicine. I just happened to receive a good snake today. I heard that soaking snake venom in wine is very restorative for the body. Third brother, are you interested in trying it?”
She raised an eyebrow at him. How could her appearance go with “Are you interested in trying it?” It was clearly “Do you have the courage to try it?”
While speaking, she brought the gourd up from her hip and opened it up. Flipping the gourd, she poured the green bamboo snake out.
Xuan Tian Ye was slightly shocked by her move. The green snake was placed between the two on the stone table. It did not move as though it were asleep, but it was not dead.
He naturally understood how venomous this thing was, but he saw Feng Yu Heng pick it up in her hands and begin to caress it. She made it seem as though it was not a snake, instead being something like a kitten or a puppy. Just watching caused him to stare blankly.
“This snake is a green bamboo snake, and it is very venomous. If a person is bitten by it, forget about seeking medical help. I fear that there will not even be enough time to scream for help before one’s life is lost.” She held the snake in her lap as though she were telling a story, but the look in her eyes was filled with venom, which could cause people to feel a chill. “The the more venomous the snake, the better the wine. I have always wanted a green bamboo snake, but I have never had time to look for one. I don’t know who, but today, someone kindly sent this gift and placed it in my carriage. I did not even get a chance to say a word of thanks to that person.”
Smiling, she stood up. With her left hand, she held the snake, and with her right hand, she reached into her sleeve and pulled out a wooden dowel and a dagger. Looking around, she picked out a large tree in the garden. Picking up a random rock, she actually placed the wooden dowel on the snakes head then raised the rock and nailed the snake to the tree in a few hits.
Xuan Tian Ye did not know what exactly she was wanting to do, so Feng Yu Heng had truly given him a fright. He felt that this girl’s viciousness truly caused people to feel chills. Even though he was a man, he could not help but frown upon seeing this scene.
But Feng Yu Heng did not stop moving. After nailing the snake to the tree, she picked up the dagger in her hand and made an incision in the snake’s head. After sticking the dagger in, she did not pull it out, instead she cut downward towards the tail. Her cut was straight and of a uniform depth. In the blink of an eye, an entire snake skin had been removed.
“Find a craftsman who deals in hides, and this can be made into a very beautiful purse.” She smiled and tossed the snake skin to Xuan Tian Ye, as easily as one would throw a piece of cloth.
The nerves of the now-skinless snake still trembled. Removing the snake from the tree, she placed the mouth of the snake above the pot of wine and squeezed, causing a few drops of venom to be squeezed out.
She then placed the snake’s body back in the gourd and sealed it up, no longer using it.
“Does third brother want to try this wine?” She shook the pot of wine, “It’s very good for the body.”
Xuan Tian Ye’s eyebrows were furrowed together, as he felt that the girl before him was some sort of ghoul. The things that she did, what sort of normal person was capable of doing?
Having been thought of and planned against by this sort of person, he truly did not know if he should feel fear or honor.
“Third brother doesn’t dare drink it?” Feng Yu Heng asked in a clear laughing voice, “That is true. I am inviting you to drink wine, so I should take the first sip.” Saying this, she threw her head back and poured some wine into her mouth. Then, as Xuan Tian Ye was watching on with a panicked gaze, she nimbly swallowed the snake wine.
1: This is a historical reference to how England and France attempted to use Nazi Germany to suppress the Soviet Union.
TN: Snake wine is indeed a thing.