Chapter 2: Shameful, come back tomorrow

It was her wedding day and this nanny was shouting ‘terrible’ in the streets? She had to be doing it on purpose…

Han Yunxi prepared to lift the window curtains and see what was the matter but she stopped to reconsider. A new bride would be forgoing etiquette if she showed her face to the public before to her husband. Wouldn’t the ancients drown her in spittle if she did such a thing? She gave up the idea to instead listen quietly. It was obvious that the commotion had attracted quite a few spectators.

Aiya, it’s wrong, we’ve picked the wrong path! At the fork back then we should’ve turned right, but we went left!” The wedding nanny seemed on the verge of tears as she shouted.

“And here I had thought something serious happened with all your fuss. This road leads to the Duke of Qin’s residence, too.”

“Yes, yes. Nanny Wang, you’re always so muddled-headed. How could you say such unlucky words on the wedding day? Weren’t you the one who took us on left path before?”

As the sedan-chair bearers spoke in turn, Wedding Nanny Wang stomped her feet and cried out, “I am muddle-headed! Bad news! Taking this path means traveling for two more hours, which means the new bride will miss the auspicious hour[1]!”

When these words came out, the entire group fell silent.

Auspicious hours were something that not only the ancients, but even contemporary people took seriously. It was a long while before a sedan-bearer asked, “Then…should we turn back and take the right path?”

“What are you saying?” the wedding nanny gave a vicious stomp, her thick layer of rouge and powder ended up splitting a crack from her temper. “A new bride can never turn back[2] or retrace roads she’s already traveled. Are you cursing her to be divorced and returned to her home?”

Hearing this, the sedan-bearer grew speechless.

Han Yunxi rolled her eyes within the covered sedan. This matchmaker obviously wanted to make her late on purpose. The Duke of Qin’s household hadn’t sent anyone to escort her and the bridegroom wasn’t even here, only this wedding nanny.

They hadn’t even crossed the threshold of the bridegroom’s door and here was the woman with a show of force. To miss the auspicious hour meant that the Duke of Qin’s household could blame her for all the unlucky things that happened in their future. Han Yunxi wished she could alight from the sedan chair and refuse the marriage, shaking off her husband entirely. But, she knew with her background that there were jackals and wolves in the bridegroom’s house and tigers and leopards in her own. Since assuming the identity of this ugly, good-for-nothing miss of the Han family, she couldn’t afford to be rash. She could only take it step by step. In any case, it was the empress dowager who offered her as a bride and the emperor who ordered the marriage. She’d like to see the Duke of Qin’s residence dare and try anything against her.

The matchmaker discussed things with the sedan bearers for a while before deciding they could only hurry along ahead. The four sedan-bearers ran for their lives, violently jolting Han Yunxi inside. But they still missed the auspicious time and were a full hour late.

The Duke of Qin’s residence had their dignified doors shut tightly. Even the side gates were closed, though the entrance was surrounded by a crowd of city residents long gathered to gossip and discuss amongst themselves.

“I heard Han Yunxi’s extremely ugly, no wonder the Duke of Qin isn’t even willing to show his face.”

“Heheh, even the world’s top beauties want to marry into the Qin duke’s house, what’s Han Yunxi worth? I’m betting that even if she enters, she’ll stay alone in an empty bedchamber for the rest of her life.”

“Still, that woman’s got some nerve showing up an hour late. Yowch, I waited so long my face started hurting!”

If this was the Han Yunxi of the past, wouldn’t she have cried herself to death upon hearing these words? Unfortunately, the current Han Yunxi was nothing like that shrinking violet, self-abasing woman who had long given up. Ignoring the difficulties, she felt the tumor growth on her face while peeking outside the curtains. The front gates of the Duke of Qin’s residence were deserted, and there were no wedding decorations anywhere. If it wasn’t for the bridal sedan chair resting at the entrance, no one would know this household was getting a bride today.

Such a cold and cheerless scene was a clear message to Han Yunxi that she wasn’t welcome, that they didn’t even want her here. Nanny Wang was currently knocking on the door, her movements very light. A while passed, but there was no reaction from the main gates. A side door opened, and an old gatekeeper stood just inside the entrance with no intentions to come out.

Nanny Wang ran hastily over, assuming a professional air as she smiled and laughed joyously. “The new bride is here! The new bride is here!”

Who knew that old servant would only shoot them a few glances before speaking disdainfully, “The grand imperial concubine has orders. Since you’ve missed the auspicious hour, come back tomorrow!”

When he finished speaking, the door slammed shut with a pah!


[1] auspicious hours (吉时) -jishi, lucky hours in the day where good fortune follows certain deeds. Also applies to days, months, seasons, etc.

[2] a new bride can never turn back – women being carried off to their grooms’ families needed to keep going forward. Turning back was equal to being rejected for marriage, which could lose a lot of face for the bride’s family and ruin her future prospects.

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