Chapter 13: A drop of red on the handkerchief

Han Yunxi spent the night nesting in the study. Fortunately it wasn’t very cold so she could bear it. When she woke up the next day, Long Feiye was already gone from the bedroom. He wouldn’t have gone back on his word, right? Then again, he’d never given her a straight answer last night. Han Yunxi began to grow restless and burst out the doors. 

Who knew that Long Feiye would be drinking tea right outside? He saw her flustered form run out, her robes and hair in a mess. She wasn’t even wearing any shoes. He abhorred the sight and said unhappily, “You have an hour to prepare. Get yourself together before leaving the room!”

“Yes, I promise I won’t make Yyour Hhighness lose face,” Han Yunxi smiled like a lackey before hastily closing the doors. One hour was enough time for her to soak in the hot spring pool indoors.

However, she quickly discovered that she’d been far too optimistic. Ancient hairstyles were so complicated that she had no idea how to fix them. It took her a long time just to undo her hairstyle from yesterday. In the end, she had no choice but to adopt a typical Han-styled princess half-updo[1], spending three to seven minutes just fixing her bangs. She wanted to find some hair accessories, but the dowry that came with her wedding were all substandard goods. Han Yunxi was very clear that she’d lose face both for herself and the Duke of Qin’s household if she wore those things. 

Forget it, she wasn’t skilled at pinning them anyways, so she might as well wear no ornaments at all.

Han Yunxi was right on time as she opened the doors again. She was wearing a draping, ice-blue dress that highlighted the freshness of her white skin. The simplicity of the outfit complemented her unadorned hair. Even though she had no precious jewelry to enhance her appearance, the overall effect was quiet and exquisite, a refined beauty that brightened one’s eyes.

A beautiful person didn’t need superfluous accessories. Simplicity was the most beautiful thing of all.

“I’ve prepared myself, would Yyour Hhighness offer his inspection?” Han Yunxi was in a rather good mood.

Long Feiye looked at her for a long while before rising to his feet and walking away without a word.

“Such a miser, it’s not like you’ll die from saying one sentence,” Han Yunxi whispered to herself as she hurried to catch up. Of course, she didn’t know that Long Feiye had never looked at a woman for longer than three seconds.

With Long Feiye leading, Han Yunxi followed a step behind. Yesterday she hadn’t seen clearly because the wedding veil was over her head, but now she discovered that this Hibiscus Courtyard was filled with flowers and plants, and even a man-made brook complete with a grove of bamboo. It was a secluded and peaceful place that exuded refinement, almost like a hermit’s home.

They met no servants during their entire trek until they reached the main courtyard, where an old mama[2] stood dressed in the colors of Grand Concubine Yi’s people. The old mama was clearly surprised to see Long Feiye. It took a few moments until her shock wore off to hastily greet him. “Your elderly servant greets Yyour Hhighness the Duke of Qin.”

Long Feiye ignored her and kept walking. Though Han Yunxi was now his wangfei, she had no aspirations of people paying her respects. She copied Long Feiye and kept walking as if nobody was there. Only, the old mama barred her way with a stiff tone. 

“Esteemed wangfei, it’s custom for the grand imperial concubine to inspect for the drop of blood on the handkerchief. It also needs to be delivered to the palace for the empress dowager’s inspection.”

The drop of blood on the handkerchief was to test the bride on her wedding night to see if she was a virgin. Not every woman bled after their first time, so imagine how many innocents had been killed by this very cloth! If Han Yunxi couldn’t hand it over, she had to admit that either nobody visited her in the wedding chambers, or that she wasn’t a virgin. The first choice would make her a laughingstock and lose her status in the house. The second would grant her a death sentence and tangle up the fates of the entire Han Family. Entering the gates of the imperial court[3] meant there were dangers with every step she took. This was only her first day of marriage and troubles had already found her on this early morning. 

She didn’t even get to sleep on that bed last night, so where was she supposed to get a bloody handkerchief?

“Esteemed wangfei, please give the item to me,” the old mama pressed. 

Seeing Long Feiye’s unmoving form, Han Yunxi had a moment of hesitation. Well, since things were already so troublesome, she might as well risk it all! Thus she lowered her head, adopting a shy expression as she asked, “Your Hhighness, that thing’s with you, right?”


[1] typical Han-styled princess half up-do (韩式公主头) – Han shi gongzhu tou, for a better picture I suggest you check out the Google image search results. Han Yunxi…really can’t do her hair. ^^;

[2] old mama (老嬷嬷) – a form of address for an elderly woman, also a wet nurse.

[3] gates of the imperial court (宫门) – gongmen, while Han Yunxi didn’t marry the emperor, she did marry his only living brother, making her thus related to the royal family and part of their circle.

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