After Becoming the Hero’s Ex-fiancée - Chapter 18
A Dance (2)
“Since ancient times, a beauty deserves a hero. If Wan’niang likes him, you should get the Senior Grand Secretary to inform His Majesty as soon as possible. His Majesty will surely grant the engagement between you and this gentleman, and give you both a happy ending. This will also dispel the criticisms the people have towards my royal family——Brother Crown Prince, don’t you agree?”
Before the Crown Prince could respond, the lady in crimson next to him took over.
“That’s not right, Your Highness.”
“Then tell me, Second Sister Liu, what’s not right?”
“First, the Zheng family broke off the engagement, then they flogged him. It is utterly unjust—this is their first offence. Then, they concealed the fact of the broken engagement, and tried to marry their daughter a second time into the imperial family, thus committing the crime of deceiving the Emperor—this is their second offence.
“If His Majesty does not pursue the matter, that’s because he is magnanimous and benevolent. If he does, that is to show that the empire’s laws are clear and just, and serves as a warning to all.” Second Lady Liu arched her hand towards the imperial city. “Whether it is punishment or reward, it is a blessing given to us by His Majesty, it is not up to us subordinates to comment on.”
The prince’s tight jaw relaxed a little. He sent an approving glance towards Second Lady Liu, and said lightly,
“Ah Qin, have some juice. The berries are a tribute from the foreigners. It takes a lot of work to pound it into juice, and it is very sweet and refreshing.”
Rong Qin was almost fooled; she rolled her eyes inwardly. These two were such a good match; one pretends to be a scholar, and the other pretends to be affectionate—when most of the time they were simply intimidating others under the cover of “being righteous”.
Even though they were all condemning her family, Zheng Wan remained straight-backed and silent.
Cui Wang glanced at her, then turned away without any expression.
Seeing Zheng Wan acting no different from a wooden man with no temper, Rong Qin felt bored again. She darted her eyes about, and a new plan immediately came to mind.
“Sitting and drinking like this is really boring. I’m also getting tired of watching the dancers. Why don’t we take the stage ourselves?”
“Oh, Ah Qin you know how to dance?”
The Crown Prince was surprised.
“Brother Crown Prince, don’t expose me like that.” Rong Qin glared at him, then turned towards Zheng Wan with a grin, “If I don’t dance, naturally someone else will. Isn’t that right, Wan’niang?”
“Yes.” Zheng Wan nodded.
“What about… dancing on my behalf, Wan’niang?”
The gazes of everyone in the room swept in unison to the corner where Zheng Wan was.
The young lady of the Zheng family was famous throughout the capital, firstly because of her beauty, and secondly for her family background. As for talents, it was obvious from the poems she penned that she had excellent literary talents.
In terms of feminine arts, she had earned accolades from her various masters in horse-riding, archery, calligraphy, and etiquette. However, no one had heard of her achievements outside of these realms.
Although, an acquaintance revealed that Zheng Wan once said, “Dancing and the like, are just skills to flatter the viewer, and is unsuitable for the refined nobility.”
Rong Qin’s public suggestion was simply to humiliate the high-and-mighty Zheng Wan by making her do something that she used to scorn.
As for the others, they neither helped speak up, nor did they think that Zheng Wan would really learn a skill that she felt was ‘unsuitable for the refined nobility’.
“Ah Qin, stop fooling around.”
The prince tossed the porcelain cup in his hand, “Do something else.”
Rong Qin’s temper flared; she stiffened and refused. “Wan’niang, do you not want to dance because you look down on dancing? Consort Rong was a great dancer of her time; ten years ago, her Luyao dance3 astounded everyone. It was also because of that dance that she was conferred her title, and has been by His Majesty’s side ever since. Are you implying that Consort Rong is ‘unsuitable’ to be part of ‘the refined nobility’?”
The marble boat was deathly silent—everyone was holding their breaths to see how Zheng Wan would respond.
Unexpectedly, it was Second Lady Liu who let out a soft sigh.
“Your Highness, everyone knows that Wan’niang doesn’t know how to dance, you should… go easy on her.
“If Wan’niang really doesn’t want to, why don’t I dance on her behalf?”
Zheng Wan chuckled; this Second Lady Liu was exactly as described in the book.
3 Luyao dance: 绿腰舞; Literally translated as “Green Waist dance”. It’s a traditional soft dance from the Tang Dynasty. The rhythm is from slow to fast, and the dance is light and soft. Example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CXajzU8PKto
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