Chapter 157 “Talent Showcase”
Now that’s a little strange after hearing the Dowager asking about the Queen. Originally Ling Yue thought the woman in red had to be the Queen of Da Xia.
Although she herself weren’t perfectly fluent in the rules of the palace, but prior to entering, her god mother had set aside enough time to teach her the basic etiquettes, know how of what to pay attention to and what taboo to avoid.
Take the color red for example. According to what she knew, red was solely reserved for the queen herself during the banquets.
But the one in front…
Gorgeous and eye catching with her phoenix embroideries on the dress, it made no mistake in flaunting the idea that she’s the star of the show.
“To answer your grace’s question, her highness the Queen had intended to come, but due to another relapse of the Sixth prince’s condition, she had tasked the lowly I instead to preside over the feast.” Enchanting with her plump assets, this beautiful lady here was the infamous Senior Consort Luo.
As the most favored consort of the king and birth mother of the current crown prince, Consort Luo had very good relationships with Hong Fang and his family. As such, Consort Luo’s been chatting away with Zhu Ge Rou since her initial arrival prior to the whole chaotic mess.
As soon as the topic of the Sixth Prince was brought up, silence gripped the air.
Those who often attended the banquets in the palace all knew this. Due to the Queen’s son being sick year-round, her highness would perennially stay away from events like these and would task Consort Luo in overseeing such occasions.
After a long time of this, Consort Luo has technically become the true wielder of power within the inner palace. Second only to the Queen Dowager of course.
As for the Sixth Prince, he’s practically the biggest taboo within the palace grounds and hardly any would dare mention the topic in front of the old queen.
Somewhat displeased on her face, the Queen Dowager could only wave her hand to signal everyone to take their seats and start the celebration.
Despite the initial disturbance, things were going well. A full moon in the night sky, performing dancers, music in the air, an enjoyable scene, what more can one ask for in a banquet?
After taking a few bites of her food, Ling Yue quickly noticed her god mother’s absent-mindedness.
“Mother, what’s wrong?”
“Nothing much, I’m only worried about the Queen. It seems there’s still no improvement to the sixth prince’s illness yet.” Finding her god daughter eyeing herself in a confused way, she apologizes with a smile.
“Prior to her highness the queen entering the palace, my father was her tutor and teacher. Therefore, we were very good playmates since we were young. While our status may have changed, our bond never broke off and it was only a few years ago that I was constantly coming into the palace to visit her. Then came the illness on her son. Ever since the start of it, I’ve rarely seen the queen since and our relationship quickly became distant.” Speaking of old memories, Madam Lan couldn’t resist a lamenting sigh at how the world changes.
Back when the queen first married into the palace, she quickly won the love of the king at every turn. But since her son took a turn for the worse with the illness, the woman became secluded and stopped interacting with former friends and families. Eventually, even the king had started to give her the cold shoulder.
As time passes and new blood enters the palace, it’s unavoidable the king would turn his focus to younger and more beautiful females. Hence the rise of Consort Luo and his son – the Fourth Prince – who now claims the crown prince position.
“Ling Yue, mother always had a favor I wished to ask you. Like how you helped your father, I hope you can have a look at his highness the Sixth Prince and see if you can do something.” Madam Lan pleads in her voice.
In Madam Lan’s view, if Ling Yue was capable of healing an old injury as bad as her husband’s, then the girl’s bound to be better than those royal physicians.
For a second there, Ling Yue became speechless because only she knows herself best.
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If she got technical, all she did was imitate the medical skills recorded in the Red Mist Codex and used her cheating spirit smoke to help. Though adamant to admit, she can’t even be called a healer.
But how can she tell this truth to her god mother like so? She can’t!
“Mother, let us discuss this on a later date. After all, there’s so many physicians in the palace, as if they would let someone like I go look at his highness based on my own claim.” Not wanting to outright refuse the request, Ling Yue can only make up an excuse to appease the woman.
Sure enough, it worked and she got a nod from Madam Lan.
After the quick reminder from her daughter, Madam Lan realizes it she’s been too anxious and forgot the rules of the palace. If she wishes to carry out such a plan, proper arrangements must be made.
As their conversation continues, they were halted by the sudden stop of the music.
“Your highness, since today is the Ghost Festival and there’s so many fine ladies gathered in one place, why don’t we have some of them come forward and show us a performance of their talent.” Getting a hint from Zhu Ge Rou, Consort Luo whispers into the Queen Dowager’s ear.”
Since the old queen felt a bit good after drinking some wine, she didn’t think otherwise of the suggestion and nodded. “I will reward whoever is capable of showing us a great performance.”
Now things were getting interesting. Raising their spirit after hearing there’s an opportunity to show off in front of the old queen, the various daughters of each family started to step forward. For a while, repeated cheers and applauds shook the banquet hall.
As the daughter of a noble house, Hong Yu Ying definitely had to take part. The talent she portrayed was a set of beautiful swordsmanship.
“Praises to the daughter of the Hong House. As expected of a military lineage, your swordsmanship stays true to your father’s style. Her reward shall be fifty gold.”
Cheeky and proud over her achievement, Hong Yu Ying left the stage like a shining peacock. Then by coincidence or not, she noticed Ling Yue and her mother sitting at the dimmest corner of the hall.
Immediately, she furrowed her brow: “Your highness, if we are to mention military lineage, then the one to take top prize can only be the first miss of the Lan House. I can still vividly remember how grand and marvelous her swordsmanship was. Sadly, the person in question is absent from the banquet tonight. However, I heard the Lan family recently took in a new daughter, why don’t we have her give us a performance instead?”
As soon as those words came out, Madam Lan’s face didn’t look so calm anymore. She’s been keeping a low profile the entire night, but again and again, trouble keeps coming their way without provocation.
“Oh? The second miss of the Lan House is here too? Now come on, hurry and step forward so I can have a good look.” The old queen also heard about General Lan’s newfound daughter. Supposedly it’s his long-lost daughter who he found recently. If not for the sudden reminder by Hong Yu Ying, the old woman would’ve forgotten this fact due to the large crowd tonight.
Quieting down, all eyes were now on Madam Lan and Ling Yue.
It’s no secret that the Queen Dowager favored the first miss of the Lan House and had personally bestowed a princess title to the girl. The tale actually went around the high circle for quite some time back then. Now that it’s the second daughter’s turn, it’s unavoidable the crowd would be curious as to the outcome of tonight’s performance: will she gain the favor of the old queen like her elder sister, or will she be disliked instead?
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