Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations
The Duchess was truly angered now. “You! Mammy An, take her to kneel at the ancestral hall. Don’t give her anything to eat until she apologizes!”
Qiao Jinniang picked up the head ornament on the ground. “What a pity. It’s broken. I don’t know if it can be repaired.”
Unconvinced, Qiao Ruoshui shouted angrily, “Mom, do you know how I was laughed at by the other girls in the East Palace yesterday?
“They said I was going to have a slave-raised sister and told me not to be contaminated by her air of lowliness…”
The Duchess slammed the table and said, “Who said that? I’m going to ask their parents how they educate their daughters!
“I’d like to see, in Chang’an City, who dares to disrespect the eldest daughter of Duke Anyuan!”
Qiao Ruoshui said in an unconvinced attitude, “Even if they don’t say such words anymore, they will think it in their hearts. I’m going to marry into the East Palace, and having a slave-raised sister will affect my reputation.
“We have so many farms. She can live on a farm. Why do you have to bring her home!”
The more the Duchess listened, the angrier she was. Fearing that Qiao Jinniang would be sad, she hurriedly held Qiao Jinniang’s hand. “Jinniang, you must feel very wronged. Don’t take her stupid nonsense to heart. No matter who brought you up, you are my good daughter. .”
Qiao Jinniang smiled with relief. “I don’t mind. I’m very happy. After my foster parents left, I thought that no one in this world loves me anymore. But now that I have Father, Mother, Grandmother, Sister Ruoyi, and Sister Ruoyun, there is no reason for me to feel wronged.”
Qiao Jinniang could tell the Duchess really loved her and Qiao Ruoyun truly felt guilty about her situation.
This was enough.
As for those people who said nasty things about her, she wouldn’t take their words seriously.
She wouldn’t take those words to heart.
Seeing that Qiao Jinniang was so sensible, the Duchess was even more annoyed at Qiao Ruoshui and urged Mammy An to quickly take her to the ancestral hall.
A child’s soft, cute voice came from outside.
Qiao Jinniang looked over and saw a cute little boy in a red round-necked robe trotting over. When he saw Qiao Jinniang, he was slightly taken aback.
The Duchess said, “Ali, this is your eldest sister.”
The boy called her ‘sister’ sweetly.
Qiao Jinniang was 12 years older than this younger brother of hers. She motioned Nuomi to take out a gold-inlaid jade longevity lock and gave it to him.
The Duchess said, “You must have spent a lot of money on these gifts. Let me take you to buy some clothes and jewelry this afternoon.”
“Mother, you’ve already prepared a lot of clothes and jewelry for me.”
“That’s not enough. It’s spring, so you should wear brighter colors. Ruoyi, if you’re free in the afternoon, let’s go together.”
Qiao Ruoyi nodded obediently.
Qiao Jinniang thought that the one most difficult to get along with would be this half-sister of hers. However, although this sister was only 14 years old, she was polite and sensible, who reminded Qiao Jinniang of her former female teacher.
In the afternoon, Qiao Jinniang followed the Duchess to the central street to buy some jewelry and clothes.
“Mother, the head ornament for Fourth Sister is of great value, so I want to find a shop to repair it. Which store is the best jewelry store in Chang’an?”
The Duchess sighed when she thought of her annoying younger daughter. “I’m sorry for what she did to you, Jinniang. There is no need to fix it. I will buy you a new one.”
“Mother, I got it with a lot of effort. It’s very precious. It’ll be a pity to throw it away.”
The Duchess thought Qiao Jinniang simply didn’t want to waste money, so she took her to the most popular jewelry store in Chang’an, Treasure Pavilion.
They sold the best jewelry in Chang’an.
Qiao Jinniang entered the store and looked around at the jewelry here, discovering they were similar to those sold in Lin’an City.
She took out the head ornament shattered by Qiao Ruoshui and asked a staff member, “Do you have any hard-gold craftsman who can repair this pearl head ornament?”
“Hard gold? Is it the new jewelry-making technique invented in the South?” The shopkeeper hurriedly came over. “This is hard gold indeed. This kind of gold is very precious. I guess this head ornament costs you at least 10,000 taels of silver, right?”
The Duchess was surprised.
Qiao Jinniang nodded and said, “It’s hard gold. Do you have a craftsman who can fix it.”
The shopkeeper said, “There is no hard gold in Chang’an yet. Hard gold normally won’t break like this, so this thing must have been smashed really hard.”
Qiao Jinniang said helplessly, “Forget it. I’ll have it repaired after I go back to Lin’an.”
The Duchess asked the shopkeeper to take out the newest batch of jewelry that the shop had and let Qiao Jinniang choose at will. Qiao Jinniang really didn’t like jewelry, but she didn’t want to disappoint the Duchess.
Pretending to be interested, she picked four to five pieces and then chose a set of jewelry for the Duchess. “Mother, you look really beautiful in this piece of jewelry.”
The Duchess was very happy to hear it, so she generously paid for it.
“I just saw the carriage of Duke Anyuan’s Mansion. Has their slave-raised eldest daughter who grew up in the countryside returned?”
“Such a vulgar woman. I’m afraid that sooner or later, she will be disgusted by the people of Duke Anyuan’s Mansion after coming to Chang’an!”
A group of noble girls in colorful clothing shook their fans, laughed and talked in small voices.
The Duchess was picking jewelry with the shopkeeper in the store so she didn’t hear these words, but Qiao Jinniang heard them clearly.
Qiao Ruoyi said, “Sister, don’t mind them. They are nothing but a bunch of snobs. The most senior official among the elders of those people is no more than a deputy minister. They’re just jealous of you.”
Qiao Jinniang smiled at Qiao Ruoyi. “Okay, I’ll just ignore them.”
At such a young age, they already talked so viciously. Paying attention to these kinds of people would abase herself.
“The spring hunt will be coming in a few days. I heard that the Crown Prince will go on the spring hunt this year. The Crown Prince has received his capping ceremony and is about to choose his wife and concubines. We can’t be the crown princess, but if we can become his concubine…”
Qiao Jinniang was shocked by the boldness of the girls in Chang’an.
They even dared to say those words so loudly.
Qiao Ruoyi said to Qiao Jinniang, “His Majesty loves the Crown Prince very much, so even just becoming his concubine means a bright future, so Sister Ruoshui…
“After the Crown Prince came back, many noble girls in Chang’an got into conflicts with each other.
“Daughters and sisters of aristocrats wanted to be the crown princess, and daughters and sisters of those government officials wanted to be the Crown Prince’s concubines…”
Hearing this, Qiao Jinniang couldn’t help but chuckle. “Dangerously handsome!”
Qiao Ruoyi laughed too. “Exactly, dangerously handsome. There will be a lot of interesting things happening in this year’s spring hunt. Sister, I think we will have a lot of fun this spring hunt.”
Qiao Jinniang was amused. “What about you, Sister? Don’t you want to make it to the sky in one step?”
Qiao Ruoyi said, “Daddy is a duke, a marshal and the Defense Minister. Our family is already very high up in Chang’an, so why bother to take the risk?”
Qiao Jinniang finally understood why Duke Anyuan was so powerful in Chang’an. It turned out that his position was so high.
Being already so powerful, he really didn’t have to rely on his daughter to advance his career.
It was no wonder that her grandmother asked her mother to pressure Qiao Ruoyun’s husband’s family to treat Qiao Ruoyun nicely, which made her relieved.
After the Duchess settled the bill, she took Qiao Jinniang to a clothing store, where many noble young ladies were choosing their clothes, most of whom came to tailor riding outfits.
In the Tang Dynasty, people held the military arts in high regard, so most women could ride horses. The spring hunt was just around the corner, so many young ladies came to tailor themselves a riding outfit.
The Duchess also gave a set of tailor-made riding outfits to Qiao Jinniang. Seeing this, she hurriedly declined. “Mother, I can’t ride a horse…”
“It doesn’t matter. My daughter has to have what anyone else’s daughter has.”
When the Duchess and Qiao Jinniang entered, they attracted the attention of many ladies and girls.
One of the ladies came over and said, “Duchess Anyuan, this is your second daughter, right? She looks so much like you, as if she was brought up by you personally.”
Qiao Jinniang realized that this lady looked a little similar to the girl who insulted her just now.
Qiao Ruoyi whispered to her, “She is the wife of a deputy minister of defense. You saw her daughter in the Treasure Pavilion just now.”
The Duchess was happy when others praised her daughter, “Yes, Jinniang, be it temperament or appearance, is similar to me when I was young.”
Mrs. Lin sighed. “You must have suffered a lot, poor girl, but fortunately, after suffering comes happiness. Second Miss, please study etiquette hard so as not to disgrace the Duke Mansion.”
Qiao Jinniang simply said, “I’ve never suffered. My foster parents treated me like the apple of their eye.
“Also, they have long redeemed themselves from slavery, but your daughter keeps calling me a ‘slave-raised girl’. May I ask you, Madam, does your daughter think that government documents are not valid?”
Mrs. Lin looked utterly embarrassed.
Hearing this, the Duchess was immediately annoyed, “Did Miss Lin really say that just now?”