Long Time No See
Ru Jia’s words had attracted everyone’s attention. The group also got up from their seats and walked to the entrance. When they went out, Ru Jia had already crossed the street.
Across the street was a wonton stall, and they saw Ru Jia walk over to a man that was in the middle of eating wontons. Slapping his shoulder, she loudly said: “Do you not feel like this is disgraceful? Have you never eaten wontons or something? Running out to eat wontons on the side of the road during new year’s celebrations. You really are a country bumpkin.”
Feng Yu Heng looked over and saw that the prince of Zong Sui, Li Kun, was holding a bowl of wonton soup and eating. Ru Jia slapping his shoulder gave him a fright, nearly causing him to throw the bowl.
Kang Yi helplessly heaved a sigh and walked over while saying: “Ru Jia, you must not be so impolite.” She then personally apologized to Li Kun: “This child is unreasonable. Your Highness, please do not lower yourself to her level.”
Li Kun did not think much of it, as he put down the bowl and stood up to salute Kang Yi: “It’s fine.” He then looked at Ru Jia and asked in confusion: “This prince eating wontons, how is it disgraceful?”
Ru Jia rolled her eyes, “Does Zong Sui not have wontons? In any case, you are a prince. Even if it is a vassal state, you must have some dignity. Don’t go losing all of Zong Sui’s face for nothing.”
Li Kun’s expression became a little ugly, as Kang Yi helplessly said once more: “Your Highness, you absolutely must not argue with a young child.” With this being said, he became even angrier. Ru Jia was already of marriageable age, so how could she still be considered a child?
But she had her mother at her side, forcefully insisting that she was still a young child that did not understand anything. Could it be that he really could not argue with her. Li Kun was silently angry, so he decided to just ignore the mother and daughter pair, only saying to Feng Yu Heng: “I never thought that this lowly prince would run into county princess while eating wontons. Thinking about it, there really is fate. This lowly prince pays respects.”
Feng Yu Heng smiled and returned the salute, saying: “The wonton stall in front of Hundred Herb Hall does indeed make delicious food. His Highness Prince Yu and I come here to eat quite often. Imperial daughter Tian Ge has also come to eat a few times.” Just a few words made it clear that the prince and imperial daughter of Da Shun have also come here, so how was eating wontons undignified?
Ru Jia could hear that she intended to help Li Kun, so she could not help but feel a little stifled. Glaring fiercely at Feng Yu Heng, she quietly muttered: “… secretly helping others.”1
This was heard by Li Kun, who could not help but freeze and ask: “What secret help? We are both special envoys from vassal states. How come county princess is closer to you, while more distant from this prince?”
Feng Yu Heng took the initiative to dispel his doubts: “Because the two princesses have begun living at the Feng manor, it might be that the princess believes herself to be a member of the Feng family.”
“Oh!” Li Kun nodded, ‘So it was like that.”
Kang Yi and Ru Jia were left speechless. If they denied that they were members of the Feng family, then this matter would become a subject of ridicule, and people would constantly joke about it. If they admitted it, what would they become?
Either way, Kang Yi was a little embarrassed, and she could only scold Ru Jia once more, saying that she did not understand anything.
At this time, however, Li Kun said to Feng Yu Heng: “This lowly prince went to Pu Du Temple yesterday and requested a jade turtle from the venerated temple. With the head monk personally blessing it, it will protect the unity of family and give safety with each day. I was originally thinking of personally visiting county princess’ manor at a different day; however, since we have met today, I will send this new year’s gift today.” Saying this, he informed his attendant: “Quickly return to the posthouse and have a servant bring the jade turtle to the county princess’ manor.”
The attendant complied and left, as Feng Yu Heng quickly gave thanks and said: “Your Highness has put in a great deal of effort. Since that is the case, A-Heng will not offer any excuses. Recently, there have been many things happening at home that are causing a stir. I just happened to need something that will ensure the peace at home.” After saying this, she looked at Feng Jin Yuan and said: “Daughter wishes to place the jade turtled gifted by his Highness in the front hall to wish for the peace of the family. Father will not mind, right?”
Feng Jin Yuan subconsciously glanced at Kang Yi, and she asked in confusion: “Father, daughter is asking about our family’s matters, so why are you looking at eldest princess? Eldest princess is just a guest at home. Sooner or later, she will need to return to Qian Zhou.”
“Hmph hmph!” Feng Jin Yuan awkwardly cleared his throat a couple times, “Since it is a gift for you, it would be best if you placed it in the county princess’ manor.”
“Father!” She blinked a few times, “Did you not hear what his Highness said about bringing peace at home? Daughter has not yet married, so the only family residence I have is the Feng manor. Of course, it must be placed in the Feng manor’s front hall.” After saying this, her expression suddenly sank “Could it be that father thinks that the Feng family is not daughter’s family? That’s fine. When we return, daughter will order a servant to fill up the gate in Liu courtyard. In the future, the people of the Feng family going to Tong Sheng pavilion will need to go through the county princess’ manor’s front gates. If father wishes to enter, please send someone with your seal.”
“You…” Feng Jin Yuan had completely lost his face. After holding it in and not knowing what to say, he suddenly recalled what Kang Yi had said, thus he quickly learned from her and said “Young children will be unreasonable, and their mouths are without filters. Eldest princess, please do not take what she said to heart.”
Kang Yi cooperated very well with him: “The children of all families are like this. Ru Jia was also naughty like this.”
Feng Yu Heng watched the two work in harmony, as she felt this was really quite entertaining, as she asked once more: “Then does father want the jade turtle to be placed to bless the home, or does father want daughter to fill that wall?”
Feng Jin Yuan said: “You are the daughter of the Feng family. If you wish to give blessings, they would be given to the Feng manor. After it has been gifted, place it in the front hall.”
Feng Yu Heng smiled and said: “Many thanks, father. Daughter will remember to go and light incense for the jade turtle on the 15th of each month. I will pray to the jade turtle to maintain the family’s peace.”
Li Kun watched this scene, and he continuously praised Feng Yu Heng internally, as he thought to himself that this county princess Ji An was not just brave, she was also very intelligent. He then looked at Kang Yi, and he could not help but begin to quietly ponder. Why would the eldest princess of Qian Zhou did not live in the posthouse, instead running to live in the manor of one of Da Shun’s officials? Perhaps there was some sort of scheme in play here.
Li Kun was straightforward, but he was not stupid in the slightest. No prince that could survive in the world was stupid. Moreover, he was even able to be sent by the Emperor of Zong Sui to Da Shun to offer tribute. This alone showed that his standing in Zong Sui was not normal.
He thought a little, and in the blink of an eye, he cupped his hands to Feng Jin Yuan and said: “Since the eldest princess of Qian Zhou has already been to visit the Feng manor, this lowly prince naturally cannot fall behind. I wonder if Lord Feng has time tomorrow for this lowly prince to come and pay a visit?”
Feng Jin Yuan did not have a great impression of Li Kun. First was because of the iron essence that Da Shun had been hoping to receive for 100 years. Second, he had lost face because of Feng Yu Heng, but at the root of it all was Li Kun suddenly saying that he would give her a jade turtle to bring peace to the home. Feng Jin Yuan’s mind was still quite resourceful. Upon hearing that Kang YI and Ru Jia were living in the Feng manor, Li Kun immediately said that he would give something blessed to bring peace to the home. What did this mean? Who was this said for?
He suppressed an anger in his belly then looked at Kang Yi. Although she still had a graceful expression, he could see a trace of grief appear on that unexpressive face.
Feng Jin Yuan was upset over Kang Yi, and he could not help but become even more irritated by Li Kun, so he frankly said: “The manor is busy today. I fear that I would not be able to act as an adequate host. If the one that comes from Zong Sui to offer tribute next year is still your Highness, this prime minister will invite your Highness to come sit in our Manor.”
Not giving him any face, Feng Jin Yuan refused Li Kun. Feng Yu Heng laughed internally. Previously, she had heard that a prime minister would be able to even stomach holding up a boat; however, not to mention a boat, her father could not even stomach holding up a paddle.2
Seeing that Li Kun’s expression became a little ugly, and that he could not find a way out, she quickly picked up the conversation: “Your Highness, do not mind. With the two princesses from Qian Zhou now living in the manor, the family is indeed quite busy. How about this, A-Heng will invite your Highness on his Highness Prince Yu’s behalf to sit in the Yu Palace for a while. How is that?”
Hearing this, Li Kun was like a ball that had suddenly been filled with air, as he happily stood up and said: “Is county princess serious? His Highness Prince Yu… will he agree?”
Feng Yu Heng’s invitation was very strange to Li Kun. He thought that he was unable to go to the Feng manor simply because the princesses from Qian Zhou had gone. He felt that, as a special envoy, he could not be a step behind anyone else, but Feng Jin Yuan did not hesitate to refuse, causing him to feel awkward. But he never thought that when he was unable to visit the Feng family, he would instead be invited by county princess Ji An using the Yu Palace’s name.
He knew about the relationship between Feng Yu Heng and Xuan Tian Ming. He had a bit of understanding of what sort of existence the ninth prince, Xuan Tian Ming, was. Right before he had come, he had thought about forming relations with the princes of Da Shun; however, since Da Shun’s princes all had their own factions, regardless of who he formed relations with, they would not be able to avoid the battles between factions. But the ninth prince was different. Although word on the street was that the ninth prince’s legs were worthless and his body crippled, he felt that things were not so simple.
Moreover, there was also Feng Yu Heng! This county princess Ji An controlled the mysterious method for producing steel. Breaking apart the iron essence weapons so valiantly, she had already left a different impression on Li Kun.
Feng Yu Heng observed the changes in Li Kun’s eyes and managed to make a decent guess about his thoughts. She nodded to Li Kun, “This county princess personally invited you, so his Highness Prince Yu will naturally agree.”
“Good!” Li Kun’s eyes lit up, and he began laughing loudly, “Then I will ask county princess to set a date. This lowly prince will bring a gift.”
Feng Yu Heng smiled, “I have never delayed when doing this. Since we have decided on this matter, then let us do it tomorrow!”
“This lowly prince thanks county princess for the support!” Li Kun cupped his hands, his words truly sincere.
As for Feng Jin Yuan, who had spoken first, now began to feel some regret. Li Kun was still the prince of another country. Since he could come to Da Shun, it meant that he represented Zong Sui. Earlier, he had taken the initiative to ask about visiting, but he had refused. In the blink of an eye, this had pushed him into the Yu Palace. The chance to improve diplomacy had been given to someone else. What had his brain been smoking earlier?
It was not just Feng Jin Yuan, as even Kang Yi was very concerned about Li Kun meeting with Prince Yu and Feng Yu Heng. Zong Sui’s iron essence may have lost to Da Shun’s steel; however, for small countries that still used raw iron, it was still a large improvement. Why would he be able to feel at peace just because of the newly introduced steel?
With the two thinking their own thoughts, they quickly looked at each other.
Feng Jin Yuan was able to see her intentions in her gaze, and he quickly said to Li Kun: “Just now, this prime minister was not thorough with my considerations. Even if there are many things happening at home, we should invite your Highness to come and sit. Your Highness, please do not blame us. Could we carry on as before?”
This time, Li Kun shook his head, saying: “This lowly prince is nothing more than the prince of a vassal state. How could I dare to trouble Da Shun’s prime minister. If this lowly prince is still the one to come to Da Shun and offer tribute on behalf of my Zong Sui, I will come and visit!” After saying this, he did not pay any attention to Feng Jin Yuan, as he said to Feng YU Heng: “This lowly prince has finished my wontons and will be returning to make some preparations. County princess, farewell!”
Who knew that just as he finished speaking, and before he could leave, the sound of a horse’s hooves could be heard. They started far and began to grow near. It sounded as though it was headed straight for this wonton stall, and it did not sound like it was slowing down.
Kang Yi let out an “ah” sound, as she was frightened by the charging horse. Feng Jin Yuan did not show weakness, as he held one in each hand, pulling Ru Jia and Kang Yi into his body. Retreating many steps, he tried to avoid the wild horse.
Li Kun subconsciously wanted to reach out and grab Feng Yu Heng, but when he turned his head to look, he saw her stare straight at the charging horse. With her chin slightly raised, she stood her ground with no intention of running away. As for the wild horse, under the control of the person riding it, it stopped half a step in front of Feng Yu Heng.
The person on the horse looked at Feng Yu Heng then coldly said: “County princess Ji An, long time no see.”
1: The full idiom is to receive help but secretly help others.
2: The idiom is about being generous.