Marriage of the Di Daughter
Chapter 1.1: Fang Fei
Southern Sea pearls (南海珠)
In the fifth month of the lunar calendar, spring was barely over, but the hot weather was already eager to arrive. Please read this at bloomingtranslation blog, any other site is stealing our work and reposting without permission.
The sun’s hot rays shone in the capital city of Yanjing.
All the street peddlers rested under the shade of trees to avoid the heat.
In this kind of blistering hot weather, both the young misses and young masters of rich households loathed to go out and suffer the harshness of the sun’s rays.
Roaming on the streets where only the laborers, who carried things over their shoulders.
At the well in the city center, they would immerse rice wine to make it ice-cold.
They spared no effort in going back and forth to each and every gambling den and tea house, hoping for a thirsty and weary person to spare five copper coins to buy a bowl.
With these coppers they would be able to buy a bag of rice.
And this bag of rice, when boiled, would give them two pots of porridge, which was equal to three days of hard labor.
At a turn in the corner of the east city wall, there was a brand-new residence.
A board was hung high in the middle of the door with four characters written on it: “Imperial Examination Top Scorer”.
Bright and dazzling, the residence together with the board were bestowed by the Emperor to represent the utmost honor and glory of being the top scorer in the imperial examinations.
For a scholar to be able to achieve this much, made the whole family cry in tears and thank the ancestors for their blessings.
A brand-new residence, a board bestowed by the emperor.
In the middle of a courtyard, people moved back and forth hurriedly.
Despite the scorching heat outside, the interior of the residence was comfortably cool thanks to the ice cubes that were placed inside to relieve the heat.
However, if one went beyond the courtyard towards the end of the garden, one would feel a chill at once.
Leaning against the wall, there was a room tucked at the foremost end.
At that moment, three people were sitting outside the door: two young servant girls wearing pink, thin skirts, together with a plump middle-aged woman. The three people were facing a small stool where a pile of red-skinned melon seeds and a pot of pickled plum soup were placed.
One hand eating while gossiping at the same time.
Unexpectedly free and unrestrained in the presence of their master.
The servant girl on the left turned around to glance at the window and said: “Today, the smell of medicine still drifts off without fail; suffering yet not dying, really don’t know when this will end.”
“You little hussy1, talking behind madam’s back” the middle-aged woman admonished her, “Be careful not to have your skin peeled by the madam.”
The servant girl objected: “How is that possible The master hasn’t set foot inside madam’s courtyard for three months already.” She continued while lowering her voice, “that affair caused such a ruckus outside.
Our master can be considered kind-hearted, had it been anyone else…” She curled her lips, “I say, it would be better to kill herself straight away.
In any case, her reputation is already completely ruined, leading this kind of life, isn’t it just to burden other people.”
The middle-aged woman hadn’t replied yet when the other servant girl said: “Actually, madam is also pitiful, to be born so beautiful and talented with a sweet temper. Who would have imagined, she would face this kind of matter…”
Although they spoke in low voice, the afternoon was extremely quiet.
With the partition not being too far away, each word and each sentence was transmitted clearly into the ear of the person inside the room.
On top of the bed, Xue Fang Fei was lying on her back.
Clear, dried stains of tears could be seen at the outer corner of her eyes.
Her thinning face was wan and sallow, drained of all color.
Despite her sickly look, her quiet courage shook one to the core and made her look increasingly lovely.
In the past, she had a beautiful complexion, otherwise, she wouldn’t have obtained the reputation of being the number one beauty of Yanjing. When she got married, a bored young master ordered a beggar to crash into her bridal sedan chair.
Her veil slipped and revealed a delicate and beautiful face, which caused the people on both sides of the street to be unable to look away.
Her father, Xue Huaiyuan, was the county deputy of Tongxiang, in Xiangyang province.
At that time, he was deeply worried before sending her off to marry to the capital city of Yanjing, and said: “Ah2 Lî, with your good looks, I’m afraid Shen Yurong won’t be able to protect you all the time.”
Shen Yurong was her husband.
Before Shen Yurong became the top scorer in the imperial examinations, he merely was a poor scholar.
His family lived in Yanjing.
However, his maternal grandmother Old Madam Cao lived in Xiangyang.
Before the end of the New Year, Madam Cao passed away due to illness.
He became acquainted with Xue Fang Fei when Shen Yurong returned to Xiangyang to attend the funeral.
Tongxiang was a small county in Xiangyang province.
Xue Huaiyuan was just a minor government official and Xue Fang Fei’s mother passed away after giving birth to her younger brother, Xue Zhao.
After her mother’s death, Xue Huaiyuan did not remarry. Their family was very simple with only the brother and sister together with their father, and they all depended on each other.
When Xue Fang Fei reached the marriageable age, her appearance was extremely beautiful, making many noble and rich families’ young masters come from near and far to propose marriage.
Even Xue Huaiyuan’s superior wanted Xue Fang Fei to be his second wife.
Naturally, Xue Huaiyuan was not willing.
Since his wife had passed away when Xue Fang Fei was still small, he especially doted on this daughter.
In addition, Xue Fang Fei was an intelligent and lovable child, and he had never shorted her of any food or drink.
Since Xue Huaiyuan treasured her like a pearl in his palm3, he was extremely worried about Xue Fang Fei’s wedding.
Entering the door of a rich family would provide a life of luxury, but regretfully, Xue Fang Fei took a fancy to Shen Yurong.
Shen Yurong looked bright and with good moral conduct, and he was brimming over with talent.
Taking a single look showed a talented person with attractive looks, and it was a matter of time for him to stand out among his peers.
But if this happened, then Xue Fang Fei would have no choice but to follow Shen Yurong to Yanjing when she got married.
Furthermore, Xue Fang Fei’s looks were just too beautiful.
There was Xue Huaiyuan to protect her in Tongxiang.
However, one just couldn’t count how many nobles lived in Yanjing.
In the event that there was any evil intention from them, Shen Yurong might not be able to protect her.
In the end, Xue Huaiyuan still let Xue Fang Fei marry Shen Yurong because she was in love with him.
Although Xue Fang Fei’s mother-in-law was harsh and she suffered many grievances after marrying Shen Yurong and moving to Yanjing, Shen Yurong was considerate to her in every possible way.
Therefore, those hardships vanished into thin air right away.
At the beginning of spring last year, Shen Yurong passed brilliantly the imperial examinations and became the top scorer.
The Emperor gifted an official residence and personally bestowed a name board.
Not long after, Shen Yurong was appointed as an official in the Ministry of Rites.
In the ninth month of the lunar year, Xue Fang Fei also got pregnant, which coincided with Old Madam Shen’s birthday.
The Jia family invited guests from Yanjing’s nobility to celebrate the two simultaneous happy events.
That day became Xue Fang Fei’s worst nightmare.
In truth, Xue Fang Fei also did not know what and how it happened.
She only drank a little bit of plum wine during the banquet, but soon after she felt sleepy.
In her dazed state, she was assisted by a servant girl to return to her room to rest.
A moment later, she was woken up by a shriek. She opened her eyes and saw an unfamiliar man in her room, and her clothes were in disarray.
Her mother-in-law and all the female guests were all standing in the doorway.
Everyone looked at her with different expressions, some mocking, some disgusted, while others looked like they were rejoicing in another’s misfortune.
Originally, she was really ashamed and unable to show her face. Being caught in such a predicament, no matter what, there wasn’t any way that she could explain herself.
In the presence of a room full of guests, the first wife4 of the new top scholar had an affair.
This matter would definitely be spread outside.
In this kind of situation, the wife would usually be divorced and then driven out of the household.
However, Shen Yurong stubbornly went against it.
Xue Fang Fei was deeply anxious and worried, which caused her to miscarry.
After being in bed for some time, she heard someone mention that Xue Zhao had hurried to Yanjing after hearing her matter.
Not having yet arrived at the Shen residence, he encountered bandits during the night.
In the midst of the attack, he was killed, and his corpse was thrown into the river.
Hearing these grievous news, Xue Fang Fei did not dare to send word back to Tongxiang. She was forced to suddenly accept that she could no longer see Xue Zhao, and also had to make arrangements for his funeral.
Soon afterward, she fell ill. And for the next three months – during the whole three months-, Shen Yurong never came to see her even once.
At her sickbed, Xue Fang Fei’s thoughts ran wild.
To even refuse to see her, Shen Yurong must have misunderstood.
Or maybe he deliberately gave her the cold shoulder to vent his anger However, after laying down for so long and hearing some bits and pieces from the passing servants, she soon figured out a few things.
A truth that was much uglier and more unbearable than what could be seen on the surface.
Xue Fang Fei struggled to sit on the bed.
At the bedside, there was a bowl of medicine that had turned cold and gave out a bitter and astringent smell.
She took the bowl of medicine and stretched her body forward to pour the medicine out into the pot of a cherry-apple tree.
Suddenly, a creaking from the door opening was heard.
Xue Fang Fei lifted her head and the corner of a dress came into view.
A young woman wearing a luxurious garment, with slightly raised eyebrows that gave out a haughty air, came into the room.
Her gaze fell on Xue Fang Fei’s hand holding the medicine bowl, and in a flash, understanding dawned on her face.
She laughed and said: “So it was like that.”
Xue Fang Fei calmly put down the bowl and looked at the person who came into the room.
Two tall and sturdy servants followed in and closed the door. She didn’t know since when the servants who had been chatting outside had disappeared. There wasn’t any noise that could be heard inside the room, except for the occasional chirping of insects coming from outside.
As if something important was about to take place.
Xue Fang Fei saluted: “Princess Yong Ning.”
As Princess Yong Ning smiled, the thumb-sized Southern Sea pearl on top of her hairpin swayed alongside her single smile.
Their brilliant luster was enough to dazzle the eyes.
A single pearl from the Southern Sea was worth around 4000 hectares of fertile land.
The imperial family would always get the best things.
They led a life of luxury and did not know the suffering of the common people; possessing what others people may not have, and may not even dare to imagine to have throughout their entire lives.
Hi, everyone! I’m Nigaria, the editor ^^ you will frequently see me commenting here after the chapter.
Lime, the translator, is usually much quieter, but if she has anything to say she will do so in the space before the chapter, or sometimes a short comment in between the chapter if she can’t resist x)
Marriage of the Di Daughter was actually the first project we worked on together, but some things happened due to our carelessness, so in the end, we took Who Moved My Mountain, our current main project, instead.
However, seeing that MDD was discontinued enough to be considered ‘dropped’, we decided to offer the chapters we had already translated (up till 8.1) to the readers.
But then again, we felt that you readers would end up heart-aching even more if we just gave you a taste of it and then stopped delivering (especially seeing the ending of chap 8.1, which made me jump straight to MTL the rest of the novel >..< but well I’m not sure if that might have changed in different dynasties or… maybe it’s different here just for the plot’s convenience… or maybe...
1: Here I’m guessing this ‘something sweet’ actually refers to blood.
In China, if someone is told something outrageous or victim of venomous slander, they would spit blood (血口噴人), and they often refer to it as a warm, sweet feeling in their mouth.
Here, XFF wants to vomit blood after hearing the princess call her own husband ‘my dear’ but she is able to hold it back.
2:本宮 (bengong), lit.
this palace (aka this one from the palace), used by an imperial princess or the empress to refer to herself in 3rd person, showing their arrogance and superior standing.
3: 淡泊名利, lit.
to be indifferent to worldly rewards.
4: In Chinese, face (臉麵) represents sth like your dignity, reputation, prestige or the respect others ought to have towards you.
In this case, committing suicide (which equals to herself admitting her wrongdoings) would atone a bit for her misdeeds (having an affair) so that would return her a bit of her face (reputation/dignity).