At first, Feng Yu Heng did not know what could cause Princess Wen Xuan to become like this, but the earlier conversation allowed her to understand. Princess Wen Xuan had not come today for the sake of the banquet. Starting from the day that Yao shi had asked for the invitation, Princess Wen Xuan had already decided that she would keep an eye on Fu Ya during this banquet. But Fu Ya had not come for a long time. Could it be that said person had finally arrived?
She thought about it and looked toward Princess Wen Xuan; however, the maidservant at her side had already left Heavenly Hall. She then looked back at her and slightly nodded to try and make her feel relieved.
Feng Yu Heng relaxed. With Princess Wen Xuan taking action, she trusted that Fu Ya, even if she did come, would not be able to cause any disturbances.
In the square outside of Heavenly Hall, there were two people happily conversing. Or it could be said that one of the two was pulling along the other while chatting with a joyous expression. The person that was doing the pulling was Imperial Concubine Yuan Shu, who had escaped from the group of imperial concubines. If the one being pulled along was not Fu Ya, who could it be?
“With your appearance being the way it is, it must be a grace from the heavens.” Imperial Concubine Yuan Shu stared at Fu Ya and practically became dazed. Were there really people that looked so similar in this world? She even suspected that this girl named Fu Ya was a daughter that Feng Jin Yuan had left behind. It also created a thought. Later on, she would definitely send people to properly investigate. Did the Feng family truly leave a daughter on the outside?
Fu Ya listened to Imperial Concubine Yuan Shu warmly speak with her for a while, and she gradually warmed up from her initial unfamiliarity. She would even be able to smile from time to time. At the same time, she understood why a dignified princess would actually come and speak with her. It was all because of her face. Fu Ya now understood that as long as she desired, she could accomplish many things with this face that closely resembled Feng Yu Heng. Even Imperial Concubine Yuan Shu thought more than once about inviting her into the palace to chat. There was also what the girl from earlier had said. As long as she was willing, she would be another Feng Yu Heng. At the very least, in the eyes of many, that would be the case.
It turned out that coming into the palace would allow her to have this sort of return. Fu Ya wondered, did Yao shi expect this sort of outcome? Or was this all within Yao shi’s control? She knew what she would be able to get, how many noble people she would meet and that a feeling of wanting to replace Feng Yu Heng would arise inside her. But what exactly was Yao shi planning? She was deliberately plotting against her own daughter by propping up her as a replacement. What sort of benefit would this be to Yao shi?
Fu Ya became confused for a while. At this time, a maidservant quickly headed in their direction. Arriving before the two, she quickly saluted Imperial Concubine Yuan Shu then said: “Would Imperial Concubine please forgive me. Our master has invited Miss Fu Ya into the hall.”
Imperial Concubine Yuan was frozen and asked: “Your master? What master?” A bit of anger appeared between her brow. Looking again at the maidservant’s clothes, they appeared to be a bit familiar, but they were clearly not the clothes worn by palace servants, thus she became arrogant once more: “This is the imperial palace. It’s not the small courtyard that you’re from. Your master is nothing after coming into the imperial palace. Why should someone at this One’s side be called in?”
Imperial Concubine Yuan’s current fierce bearing was completely different from before. Fu Ya was a bit flustered but also came to understand that the people of the imperial palace had many faces. If she wanted to change, she could immediately change without any progression at all. As for herself, she did not have this ability. She might not even be on the same level as a cricket. They would not even take a second look at her. Thinking like this, she decided that she would cherish her face even more. The enmity of her parents would need to be avenged using this face.
The maidservant that had been scolded by Imperial Concubine Yuan Shu did not get mad. If she could not even endure this, she would have spent her time working in a palace for nothing. She just smiled to Imperial Concubine Yuan and bowed, saying: “Our master’s status naturally cannot be compared to Your Highness. Your Highness is the birth mother of the eighth prince, while our master.. is just the head wife of the Wen Xuan Palace and Palace Princess Wu Yang’s birth mother.”
Imperial Concubine Yuan Shu froze and immediately felt very embarrassed. The mouth that she had opened to say a bit more was rendered speechless by the maidservant reporting the identity of her master. She felt troubled. It was no wonder she felt that this maidservant looked familiar. Of course, she worked to take care of Princess Wen Xuan! It was also a fact that she spent her days in the inner palace and very rarely interacted with Princess Wen Xuan, which led to her making this sort of mistake.
But in the end, she was a dignified imperial concubine and would not need to apologize to a servant; however, she did not maintain a strong front. She just turned and said to Fu Ya: “Girl, in the future, you must come to the palace more often. This One has time, I will send someone to invite you. What this One just said, think a little more about it.” She then patted the back of Fu Ya’s hand, “Go on, Princess Wen Xuan is waiting.” These words were already the same as admitting her mistake.
In this instant, Fu Ya had many thoughts going through her head. While marveling at Princess Wen Xuan’s status within the palace, she also knew that if she wanted to have any ideas, she could not miss out on a pillar of support like Imperial Concubine Yuan Shu. Thus she immediately put on a smile and happily nodded: “Your Highness, do not worry. This humble girl will definitely come to visit often.” After saying this, she followed the maidservant and left.
Imperial Concubine Yuan stood in place and did not leave. She just looked at Fu Ya’s parting figure and muttered: “Just a bit thinner than that girl. If you don’t look carefully, it’s hard to tell. She’s also a bit taller, but that’s fine. I really never thought that such a person would be hidden in the capital. They look so similar. If Fu Ya was let out… and Mo’er came to find out about this matter, he should have some plans!”
Imperial Concubine Yuan began to think to herself, while the maidservant had already brought Fu Ya into Heavenly Hall. The music and dancing were at their peak, and there were not as many people entering and exiting as before. There was nobody that would look in this direction. Fu Ya could also keep her head lowered, which allowed this trip to be very peaceful. Only when she reached Princess Wen Xuan’s side did she immediately hear Princess Wen Xuan say: “If a person wishes to live happily, they must learn to take a realistic view of the situation. They should also remember clearly what their own status is. Do not think that relying on just appearance will be enough to obtain anything.”
Fu Ya could notice the cold tone in Princess Wen Xuan’s voice, and she was very shocked. She could only keep her head down without saying a single word.
Feng Yu Heng watched all of this and snorted coldly internally. She just thought to herself, sure enough, this person will change. But she did not regret bringing Fu Ya back to the capital. It was as Xuan Tian Ming had said on that day. This sort of person should be put under close watch. If she was kept on the outside, that would be the one to truly cause her to have a poor outcome!
In truth, the banquets held each year did not have any true scheduled events. It was nothing more than just a gathering for all of the people to eat and drink. The madams would chat with madams, the men would chat with men. The Emperor and the Empress sat in their lofty positions to simply publicize their position. This was their way of expressing their sincerity toward this banquet. But when it came to any important resolutions, this banquet did not have any.
As for today, the princess of Gu Shu had also arrived. During this banquet, there would be an extra presentation of a gift. Fan Tian Man had come from far away, which naturally meant that she had prepared a gift. During a pause in the music and dancing, she stepped forward and saluted the Emperor and the Empress. She then pulled out a small glazed bottle out of her sleeve. The glaze was very colorful, and it drew everyone’s attention. It was a bottle roughly the same size as half a hand; however, it aroused a surprised cry from the women that were present.
Although the smaller countries near the border did not have nearly as many abundant resources as Da Shun, they were proficient in making these small things. For example, this glazed bottle. It looked beautiful, but if you asked what sort of use it had, it really did not have much. It was just there to look pretty.
But this glazed bottle had a bit of space inside. Feng Yu Heng could tell that there was fluid inside the bottle. It was light-colored, but it was quite pretty. Immediately following this, the princess of Gu Shu removed the bottle’s lid for an instant before covering it up once more. But in that instant, a fragrance filled the hall. It spread throughout, and even the men became intoxicated by it.
Feng Yu Heng, however, frowned slightly. She had trained her nose by growing up surrounded by medical herbs. She could immediately tell that the fragrance was filled with musk, and the amount was quite high. But because there was too much fragrance, it was hard to notice.
The lid had been placed back on the bottle long ago, but the people were still immersed in that smell and could not recover. Even the Emperor was amazed. The Empress and the imperial concubines could not be more surprised. The Empress asked: “Is this the famed unique perfume of Gu Shu?” After thinking a bit, “It does not seem like it. Gu Shu sends that unique perfume up to Da Shun each year; however, it does not seem to smell like this.”
These words caused the princess of Gu Shu to rejoice. Holding the bottle in her hand, she happily said: “Of course the fragrance is different. That unique perfume was made using one hundred different types of fragrances. As for the one that I am holding, it is something that Gu Shu spent ten years working on and is the thousand-fragrance perfume. 1000 types of fragrances were used. It’s naturally something that unique perfume cannot compare to. Over ten years, only one bottle could be produced.”
Everyone inhaled sharply, 1000 fragrances? They had heard that it was very hard to produce Gu Shu’s unique perfume. Although they would send it each year, it would just be a lowly few bottles. The rarity of it was on the same level as a national treasure. But recently, the unique perfume was able to cause Da Shun’s inner palace to become a bloody battlefield. Now that this thousand-fragrance perfume had appeared, was Gu Shu trying to overturn the heavens?
Of course, while there were some that were extremely shocked, there were others that had clearer minds. For example, Xuan Tian Ge, who leaned close to Feng Yu Heng and said: “All of those imperial concubines are staring greedily, but what’s the point? No matter how beautifully they dress, they are people that have entered the palace over 20 years ago. They had become old. Moreover, Uncle Emperor does not go into the inner palace at all. So what if they smell better? Women doll themselves up for the one they love, but who are they doing it for?”
Feng Yu Heng smiled bitterly, “Can they not use mirrors to admire their own beauty?”
“Then they really are at ease.” Xuan Tian Ge did not have much of a good impression of these imperial concubines, as she spoke very coldly; however, she added: “But if there’s only one bottle, that would definitely be given to Imperial Concubine Yun. A-Heng, go and get some from Imperial Concubine Yun later. Let’s add some water and use it too.”
Feng Yu Heng facepalmed. Were you really that poor? You’re a palace princess!
At this time, the people that had been enjoying the thousand-fragrance perfume finally recovered. Someone began to state their questions: “This thousand-fragrance perfume is indeed good, but if the smell is like this with just opening the lid, how can it be used?”
Those that had an understanding of the unique perfume said: “Naturally, you add water.”
Another person asked: “Could it be that this small bottle of thousand-fragrance perfume will be mixed with a large amount of water for the imperial concubines to share? Then what’s the difference with the unique perfume?”
“But even the unique perfume is not something that everyone has!”
These words touched everyone. The unique perfume was already very rare, and even if water was added to the thousand-fragrance perfume, it would still be a very good item.
But it was at this time that the seventh princess of Gu Shu suddenly said: “Huh? Who said that this thousand-fragrance perfume would be given to Da Shun? I only brought it out to give you a glimpse. Where do you get off saying that it would be watered down and shared by the imperial concubines?”