Lu Ping’s Thoughts
In regards to Feng Yu Heng slowing down and getting close to her, Lu Ping did not seem to be surprised. She even took the initiative to greet them: “Palace Princess Wu Yang, Imperial Daughter Ji An, greetings. This girl’s name is Lu Ping.” Because everyone was walking, the greeting was only verbal and did not have any actions behind it.
Xuan Tian Ge did not think much of it and just waved her sleeve, saying: “No need to be too courteous.” She then crinkled her nose and said: “Why did the fragrance suddenly become so thick?”
Feng Yu Heng understood but did not expose it, only saying to Xuan Tian Ge: “Bring Xiang Rong to the front for now. Don’t leave Aunty Lan to take care of Her Highness on her own. While you’re at it, this will give our Xiang Rong a bit of glory.”
Although Xuan Tian Ge did not understand why Feng Yu Heng had fallen to the back, she was quite a sharp girl. Now that Feng Yu Heng was speaking with Lu Ping while chasing her and Xiang Rong away, how could she not understand that she wished to speak with the Lu family’s young miss alone. After thinking about her relationship with the Lu family, she was even more assured of her idea. She immediately pulled Xiang Rong and headed forward.
Feng Yu Heng did not continue to express herself. It was Lu Ping that said: “Many thanks Imperial Daughter for your understanding.”
She did not say what she understood, and Feng Yu Heng did not ask. She did not bring up what Xuan Tian Ge had said about the fragrance getting thicker; however, she did not forget to notice that the number of people that were able to remain close to her because of this fragrance was quite few.
“I heard that the Lu family’s eldest young miss has always remained low key and very rarely came to these sorts of functions. Why did you think of coming into the palace today?” She spoke up and asked and was not courteous in the slightest, pointing directly at the Lu family’s goal.
Lu Ping did not hide it. Who knew if she was simple or what it was, as she told Feng Yu Heng without holding anything back: “It was all arranged by the family. Father was set on having me come into the palace, and there was nothing that I could do.”
“Oh?” Feng Yu Heng continued to ask, “Eldest Young Miss Lu did not want to come?”
“Un.” Lu Ping nodded, “I really did not want to come.” After she finished speaking, she looked at her personal servant, Jian’er, and sighed: “Jian’er, there’s no need to be so nervous. Imperial Daughter Ji An is clever. Rather than hiding it, it would be better to speak truthfully.”
These words were directed at the servant, but they were really for Feng Yu Heng to hear, and Feng Yu Heng did not express herself after hearing this. She just thought of it as a master interacting with her servant. It was unrelated to her.
Lu Ping smiled bitterly to herself. Everyone said that Imperial Daughter Ji An was not easy to deal with. Sure enough, although she had slowed down to get close to her, in truth, after a short exchange, she had taken the initiative away. She looked all around. There were many people at the banquet today. Although everyone was fighting to get to the front, there were still people that fell behind. There were not actually many chances to speak with Feng Yu Heng. For example, in the middle of the yard, she had wanted to go forward a few times, but there were always people at Feng Yu Heng’s side. There were also people from the Yao family present. She just could not find a chance to speak to her.
Now, however, she was finally able to get to the heart of the issue. She calmed her heart and asked: “Imperial Daughter, could you have also smelled the unusual fragrance from my body? Although it does not smell bad, with the hundred flowers covering it, it is so thick that even people who are far away can smell that something is off?”
Feng Yu Heng nodded, “Correct, it smells excessively strong.”
Lu Ping smiled bitterly, “This is a unique perfume brought from the South. It was something that my father asked the people from the South to bring for me.”
“Oh?” In regards to this unique perfume, Feng Yu Heng had heard a bit about it in the past. Apparently, it was a special product that came from the desert of the South. It was exceptionally expensive, and the southern country only sent a bit into the imperial palace of Da Shun each year. Even the imperial concubines of the palace don’t have enough to share. Even if they could obtain it, it would just be a small bottle. Everyone used it sparingly. If it was added to water, it was still very rare.
But as Feng Yu Heng saw it, it was not particularly rare. It was nothing more than a basic perfume. The smell was strong, and she did not like it very much. Now that she heard Lu Ping bring it up, she nodded, “Thinking about it, Prime Minister Lu has put in a good deal of effort. Based on the strength of the smell coming from eldest Young Miss Lu’s body, I fear that the clothes were soaked in the perfume, right? Even if it was mixed with water, the original materials would not be lacking. To be so strong, Prime Minister Lu’s relationship with the South really is not ordinary.”
Once these words came out, anyone that was interested would know that she had caused trouble for her family. How could this sort of thing be casually told to some outsider. But Lu Ping did not think much of it. She just nodded, expressing that Feng Yu Heng’s speculation was completely correct.
Feng Yu Heng also felt that this eldest young miss from the Lu family was very entertaining, but before the two could chat any longer, a girl came from the front of the crowd. Her looks were very good, and she slightly resembled Lu Ping: “That is the Lu family’s third young miss, Lu Yan.”
After she said this, the person had drawn closer. She first saluted Feng Yu Heng then said to Lu Ping: “Eldest sister, why are you walking so slowly? But it did allow you to chat with Imperial Daughter for a long time!” After she finished speaking, she did not wait for Lu Ping to reply before saying to Feng Yu Heng: “Ever since Imperial Daughter came back from the North, Lu Yan has been wanting to make friends with Imperial Daughter. Unfortunately, the manor’s second young miss is lacking and ended up offending Imperial Daughter countless times. She lost a great deal of our Lu family’s face. I also did not have the face to chat too much with Imperial Daughter Ji An. I hope that Imperial Daughter will understand.”
Feng Yu Heng smiled and said: “It’s fine. Haven’t we gotten to know each other now.”
“That’s right, that’s right!” Lu Yan continued: “Speaking of, we are also relatives now. It’s just a pity that Lu Yao does not understand. On the day of the big wedding, she caused such a stir in the Yao family.”
Feng Yu Heng shook her head, “If we’re talking about being unreasonable, it would be the manor’s eldest young master, Lu Cuo.”
“Imperial Daughter is right.” Lu Yan saw that Feng Yu Heng did not continue with the conversation. Although her attitude was not cold, it was very clearly stopping her from getting any closer, as she said a few superficial pleasantries. Her interest waned, but she continued to force herself forward, simply changing the topic, “I heard that the imperial palace’s imperial concubines will all be coming to the hundred-flower banquet. We will even be asked to perform a skill! I wonder if Imperial Daughter has any preparations?”
Feng Yu Heng smiled bitterly, “For someone like me that is engaged, what would I perform for! I will leave the opportunities to you guys.” These words had caught the interest of these girls. It was mostly just a performance for the imperial concubines, especially the ones with princes as sons. Those with good fortunes could be married into the imperial family. Even if the position of official princess was not available, being a secondary wife was acceptable. After all, these were princes.
Lu Yan did not feel awkward and continued to speak. Seeing that Lu Ping did not speak the entire time and Feng Yu Heng only continued to reply, a bit of awkwardness appeared. In the end, she found a reason and returned to the front of the crowd.
This group of three getting together did not arouse much attention. After all, there were too many people that wished to get close to Feng Yu Heng. The Yao and Lu families were also connected. For the young misses to chat was exceedingly normal. It was just that the only one that did not go over to speak, Lu Yao, continued to look back with a face filled with worry. Helpless, she was walking together with Xu shi, and Xu shi was holding her tightly. She wanted to go over but could not.
Lu Yan left, and Lu Ping began speaking once more. What she said was: “What performance. It’s just a disguised chance to find a marriage partner. But to Lu Yan, it might also be an opportunity.” After she finished speaking, she muttered: “That Imperial Concubine Yuan Shu should be coming, right?”
Feng Yu Heng sighed and laughed to herself. This Lu Ping, every word that she feigned saying accidentally actually revealed the Lu family’s secret. What exactly was this for?
At this time, she heard Lu Ping suddenly snort lightly and say: “Imperial Daughter, there is no need to think too much. I am just a chess piece to the Lu family. Although I am the eldest daughter, I am born of a concubine. I have the same fate as all other daughters born of a concubine. Not to hide it from Imperial Daughter, but the reason that I live in seclusion is also the reason I wear this veil. It’s because my appearance has been out of the ordinary since birth. The one in the red dress that Imperial Daughter brought is indeed a national beauty, but Lu Ping’s appearance is not below her’s. But I do not wish to allow the Lu family to act as it wishes. If I am able to help Imperial Daughter today, I would ask Imperial Daughter to help me at a later date.”
After Feng Yu Heng heard this, she did not think too much and very frankly nodded, “Alright.”
Lu Ping, however, was startled, “Imperial Daughter will not ask about what I can help you with, nor what I will ask you to help me with?”
Feng Yu Heng smiled and replied: “Since eldest Young Miss Lu has already spoken, naming today in particular, that means that there are definitely some plans for this banquet. If you take the initiative to collaborate, why would I refuse? As for what you wish to have help with, precisely how much today’s bargaining chip is worth…” She smiled once more, “It’s nothing more than having an illness examined. That’s not much.”
Lu Ping was startled once more then smiled bitterly, “Sure enough, nothing can be hidden from Imperial Daughter.”
Very quickly, the group admiring the flowers stopped. Feng Yu Heng did not continue to linger at the back, as she brought Huang Quan to the front. There, the Empress was indeed planting some uncommon flowers and trees, and she could not remember a name for the majority of them. The flowers competing for attention were indeed very beautiful.
Feng Yu Heng also admired the flowers very seriously for a while. She then heard the people chat around the Empress for a while. Finally, the Empress spoke up and began the walk back. The banquet would begin in earnest.
Thus, the people that had managed to walk over began to turn around and walk back. It was only when they returned to the empty yard from earlier did they find that all of the imperial concubines were waiting there. Everyone immediately kneeled once more before everyone was finally seated. The Empress then announced the beginning of the music and dancing.
Feng Yu Heng and Xuan Tian Ge were seated at the top because of their noble statuses. They were just across from the imperial concubines. In regards to these imperial concubines, Feng Yu Heng was not unfamiliar with them, especially the imperial concubine mothers of the princes. She remembered them even sooner. But there had never been any interaction with the eighth prince and sixth prince, thus she could not figure it out.
After a few songs and dances, an hour had passed, and the people had begun to relax. Those that wanted to chat would chat. Those that wanted to eat would eat. Even Xiang Rong became livelier under Feng Zhao Lian’s guidance. Feng Yu Heng paid attention to the seventh princess of Gu Shu and saw that she was at Imperial Concubine Yuan Shu’s side the entire time. The two were chatting warmly. Looking to where Lu Yan was seated, she was glaring up with eyes that could shoot fire.
She could not help but remember what Lu Ping had said. It seemed that the Lu family had indeed been wanting to place this daughter at the eighth prince’s side.
Just as she was thinking about this, she raised her hand once more and swiped at the back of her neck. Xuan Tian Ge was puzzled and quietly asked: “What is it? I’ve seen you swiping at your neck four times.”