Pearl in the Palm: Chapter 2, Part 2

Chapter Two, Part Two

Ye Fu’an said: “Lizhu, your mother… she had already passed away a long time ago.”  

“What?” Ye Lizhu couldn’t believe her ears.

For so many years, the only person who ever visited Ye Lizhu in the temple was Ye Fu’an. Ye Lizhu once secretly wondered if her mother despised her and didn’t want her anymore, but this idea only appeared for an instant and was quickly dispelled. Now Ye Fu’an told her that her mother had long been gone, Ye Lizhu couldn’t accept it for a while.  

There was a sweetness in her mouth, and she quickly covered her lips with her veil, looking at Ye Fu’an: “Father, what did you say?”

Ye Fu’an also noticed that Ye Lizhu’s complexion has turned even more unsightly. 

He originally didn’t intend to tell Ye Lizhu, but while he could hide many things for some time, he couldn’t hide them for a lifetime.

Moreover, Ye Lizhu’s mother Jiang-shi[1] has passed away for more than eight years.

Ye Lizhu was young at the time, and Ye Fu’an was afraid that she couldn’t take it. Now that Ye Lizhu is coming home, even if Ye Fu’an doesn’t tell her, someone else will. Ye Lizhu ought to know about her mother.

Ye Fu’an said: “When you left, at that time, your mother was pregnant with your younger brother. When she gave birth, we were able to keep your younger brother, but your mother…”

Ye Lizhu’s eyes suddenly widened.

It has been so long. Her mother passed away a long time ago.

However, she didn’t know until now!

Ye Fu’an raised his hand and wiped Ye Lizhu’s tears: “Lizhu, don’t cry. Your mother gave birth to you, how could she not think of you? After giving birth to your brother, and she had severe bleeding, she kept repeating your name. She said whatever her outcome was, she didn’t want me to tell you to always be filial. Hearing that her body wouldn’t be able to hold on…”

Ye Lizhu entire person fell into tears, crying bitterly, and unable to utter a single word.

When Ye Fu’an finally coaxed her daughter to sleep, the sky was already dark.

As it was still quite far from the capital, they had to stay at an inn for tonight.

Ye Fu’an called a strong servant woman to carry Ye Lizhu in.

When the carriage has stopped, the sky was getting dark. Ye Fu’an’s attendant entered the inn and asked the innkeeper to prepare the rooms. A short while later, the attendant came out.

“L-lord, all the rooms in the inn have been booked, and although there are some unused rooms, people are not allowed to move in.”

Ye Fu’an glanced at Ye Lizhu. Ye Lizhu’s eyes were red and swollen like peaches, and her complexion was white as jade, delicate and weak. With such a lovely daughter, it is naturally impossible to let her be wronged.

Ye Fu’an sneered: “Who’s occupying the inn?”

He was the dignified Prime Minister and a senior official who has served two dynasties, even the emperor has to give him face[2]. Except for the Crown Prince, all the princes are eager to win him over. Ye Fu’an would like to see which audacious family actually dared to stop him.

The attendant whispered: “It’s Prince Qin…” [3]

Ye Fu’an fumed: “Prince Qin’s people dare to shut me out?”

The attendant said: “It’s not Prince Qin’s people, it’s Prince Qin. The innkeeper said Prince Qin was staying here. Lord, why is Prince Qin coming to the capital?”

Ye Fu’an was momentarily distracted.

Prince Qin is coming to the capital?

When did the news come?

It’s almost under the feet of the emperor[4], why hasn’t anyone notified him? 

Must be fake, right?

Ye Fu’an repeatedly told the servant woman to take good care of the young lady and went into the inn by himself.

  

The door was knocked twice.

Ti Xiao put down the writing brush in his hand: “Come in.”

A tall, middle-aged general in military uniform pushed open the door: “Your Highness, Prime Minister Ye is bringing his daughter back to the capital and would like to stay here for one night. Are you coming down now?”

Under the dim yellow light, looking from the general’s direction, a man’s loose ink-black hair, a pair of upturned phoenix eyes, profound, and somewhat cold, making people dare not take a closer look.

Within a quarter of an hour, Ti Xiao went down the stairs, and Ye Fu’an had already been waiting for a long time. This is the first time the two have met. Ye Fu’an originally thought that the legendary Prince Qin who kills people without blinking an eye would be a rude man. Now, looking at him, Prince Qin is nine feet tall and has a handsome appearance. As someone in a high position, he has an inexplicable noble bearing, incomparable to many noble sons in the capital.

Ye Fu’an saluted[5]: “Your Highness, Prince Qin.”

Ti Xiaopi smiled insincerely and said: “Prime minister Ye, your name has been known to me for a long time.” 

To be honest, Ti Xiao has no favorable impression of Ye Fu’an. The current Empress is Ti Xiao’s blood-related sister, and His Highness the Crown Prince is Tixiao’s nephew. The Crown Prince was born noble and legitimate yet, Ye Fu’an and the civil servants under him never favored the Crown Prince.

Of course, Ye Fu’an was not partial to others, as well.

Ye Fu’an said: “I was taking home my beloved daughter who had been living outside for years. It is getting late so we will have to stay here for one night. Your Highness, I heard that the inn has been taken over by you[6]…”

Tixiao slightly narrowed his phoenix eyes.

Ye Fu’an actually has a daughter.

As it happened, the Crown Prince has yet to marry, and Ti Xiao has always been partial towards his smart and obedient nephew. If Ye’s daughter’s character and appearance are passable and her age is about the same, marriage is possible.

Notes:

1) 室 (shì): maiden or clan name.

2) ‘To save face‘ is to preserve the dignity and prestige of a person/to avoid embarrassing the person.

3)王 (wáng): “Prince” or “King”. In this case, he’s a prince of a different surname/not related by blood to the imperial family. The title can be bestowed after rendering meritorious service.

4)  天子脚下 (tiān zǐ jiǎo xià): tiān zi= son of heaven (emperor), jiǎo xià = under the foot. It means that they are “near the capital” since the capital is where the emperor lives and is the core of his power.

5) 拱手 (gǒng shǒu): cupping of hands one around the other and bringing to the chest. There many different ways to do it (also different for men and women). It is also called “揖” (yī) which is “to greet by raising clasped hands”.

6) The “you” he used here is the informal or more casual “你” or “nǐ”.

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