The banquet was going to be held in half a month, but Mingxia became extremely quiet as the days passed by. She would still go out everyday to work off her debt but it was like she changed from being the sun to the moon. After a week, Mingxia proudly walked out through the pavilion front doors, giving each of the guards an "accidental" step on their satin shoes. She walked away saying "I'm sorry" with a proud smile on her face. That was the last time she smiled in this entire month.
After that, everyday she was forced to learn the feminine arts and her grandmother made sure she attended each class. She would act bored and could care less about her sitting posture and walking gracefully, it wasn't that she didn't know, it was just that she knew the lessons too well. She can perfectly recite the poems assigned by the teacher and learn the dances with her eyes closed. It was just that having to learn all this again only bored her and aroused for the unwanted to be remembered again.
"Hold your fan up to your face, but make sure that it doesn't cover over half of your nose. That way you can show your proper feminine charms." Her teacher said as she modeled it.
Without anything stopping it, the Royal Spring Banquet came at last. The ignorant ones were so excited they couldn't sleep but the ones that knew the reason behind it could only dread the day, hoping it passes by without any mentions of their name. Why?
The Royal Spring Banquet in short was basically the Queen Dowager playing matchmaking. She would invite all the noble ladies, princesses of foreign countries to come. Then she would assess each of the ladies to find the perfect one for each of her grandsons.
Two years ago the prime minister's daughter was given to the 6th prince as the first wife and the Luo family's daughter to him as a concubine during that year's Spring Banquet. Everyone knew that if anyone rejected her request their result could be worse than death, the Luo family was an exception because of their high status in court, but to be able to do that to someone with their status showed her power. Anyone who had a clear head would guess that the Queen Dowager's actions was basically publicly announcing that the Spring Banquet was a place for her to do what she believed was right and no one can reject.
Her target was not only to find fine wives for her favorite grandsons, but to also find strong capable women. In this time period, women were expected to be innocent, fragile and always in need of someone to protect them, but the Queen Dowager hated this stereotype. She was taught growing up that women can be just as good as men if they tried, she held this motto even when she was in the palace fighting against the other scheming concubines, and succeeded.
"Lady Wei, we have arrived at the palace." her servant announced. Mingxia stepped out of the wooden carriage.
The crowd spurred when they saw the beauties coming out one by one from their carriages. This was one of the rare times where commoners were given the permission to see these beautiful girls. There were girls wearing expensive jewelry and lavish dresses while others dressed very simply but were also very elegant.
Mingxia chose to wear something overlapping both of these areas. She wore her favorite jade green gown and had a long braid twisted through her hair. Her jewelry consisted of a pair of pearl earrings, a jade bracelet and a silver string of water crystals adorning her hair.
Mingxue was dressed in pink head to toe. She wore a pink gown and had her hair tied in a simple silver hairpin with a dangling chain of plum blossoms shaped jewel. Her jewelry also included a pair of a pink crystal earrings and a white necklace. She looked exactly like what a white lotus would look like.
Mingxia purposely strayed away from wearing anything pink. She hated that color even in her past life and she still does. Pink was the color that a girly girl would choose (no offense) and she was definitely not that kind of girl. She preferred the color green and maybe sometimes white.
"Sister, can we go in together?" Mingxue asked in a sweet tone.
Mingxia looked at her sister and only nodded. Two beauties walking in through the front door was quite the sight. One looked cute and precious while the other gave off a fresh look but still managed to look elegant. They caught the attention of the gentlemen around them as they walked through the palace.
Mingxue's soft façade perfectly hid the thoughts brimming inside her. 'Today's the day, the start to her downfall' she declared inside.
The sisters were shown to the Spring courtyard along with the other participating girls and the moment they entered the courtyard an array of pink blossoms showered on them. Some of the girls giggled and laughed as they walked through the rain of pink petals while others calmly walked through with an elegant smile.
During this event, females and males walk into the banquet from different aisles. Girls are to walk through a courtyard first before they reach where the banquet is happening. The males have to walk through the balcony of the Fan Hua library right next to the courtyard. This setup was organized intentionally by the Queen Dowager herself. From the balcony the princes can watch the girls come in and get an idea of the possible matches in this year's banquet.
The princes come first, then the sons of nobles, then the sons of officers and generals.
For the females, princesses comes in first along followed with daughters of nobility then the daughters of officers and generals.
Because Mingxia and Mingxue are the daughters of mere viscounts they were among the last to come in, but the pair were successful in raising the attention of the gentlemen coming in.
"Look at those two."
"Oh, the Wei sisters."
"As expected of the all known Viscount Wei, to have daughters like those two."
"The one you want to pay attention to is the younger one, Wei Mingxue. The older one, sigh, she's way too barbaric."
"But she sure doesn't look like it." Their comments and remarks continued on but Mingxia didn't care or listen, her eyes were cloudy and her face frowned. Each step she took became heavier than the last as she walked into the garden and traveled over the bridge. Her mind told her to stop but her feet didn't listen. Before she knew it she was sitting on a wooden stool facing the lotus pond, oblivious of what was happening.
This is one of the chapters that I wrote early on.
Next chapter would be told in Mingxue's angle during the banquet.
And the special chapter I promised for Mid Autumn Festival is published on both sites but is blocked here. So I apologize for this again.
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