After Murong Ting had shown her contempt for those philistines, she held her hands which had touched what was left by Prince Ding and started to indulge herself in admiring her hands. Minister Ye was in a jolly good mood and praised Ye Li. He could almost imagine how much reputation and honor it would bring Ye Family once the news that Ye Li had won Sword of Lan Yun back was spread out there. As for whether there were books on war or treasures in Sword of Lan Yun was less of a concern to him. It showed that Minister Ye at least had some sense of his own position. If there really were treasures, it would have nothing to do with him. In contrast, the reputation that would cost him nothing seemed more meaningful.
"Third sister, you are so lucky. Prince Ding got here in such a short time once he knew about the visit of the eldest son of Prince Zhennan. It's clear that he has a deep affection for you." Ye Ying looked at Ye Li with her watery eyes and said in a low voice. Ye Li had a faint smile on her face and said: "Fourth sister, Prince Li and you are also a married couple very much in love." Ye Ying shot Mo Jing Li a glance and lowered her head, looking upset. Minister Ye saw all of that and his eyebrows drew together in a slight frown. Was it possible that Ying-er was indeed frustrated in Prince Li's Manor? Thinking of that, Minister Ye pretended to look at Mo Jing Li unintentionally while asking Ye Ying softly: "Ying-er, have you been used to your life in Prince Li's Manor?"
"Yes, all is well. Thank you for asking, father." Ye Ying lowered her eyes and said in a small voice.
Only by then did Minister Ye set his mind at rest and smiled at Mo Jing Li: "Ying-er has always lived in comfort, pampered and spoiled since she was a little girl. If she did anything wrong, I hope that Your Highness forgive her for her ignorance."
Mo Jing Li said: "Father, you can rest a.s.sured that I will treat Ying-er with love and affection."
"That would be good. Li-er's wedding is only a few days away. Ha ha, this year we have double blessings in the house." Minister Ye smiled with satisfaction. The looks of the other three present were very different from each other. Ye Li smiled faintly and nodded: "You are right, father."
Before there was light, Ye Li was already woken up. Though she had the habit of sleeping early and rising early, seeing the pitch-dark sky outside, she couldn't help but sigh. The time of her being escorted to Prince Ding's Manor was eleven in the morning, however, she had to rise at three in the morning to get herself ready with the help of others. The maids attended to her while she was in an aromatic shower with flowers. When she got out of the shower, her second aunt, the first lady of Duke Hua's Manor, Qin Zheng's mother Lady Qin as well as her aunt Lady Ye who had helped her with her dowry before were already in Qing Yi Pavilion with Murong Ting, Hua Tian Xiang, Qin Zheng, and Qin Yu Ling. Holding the wedding gown made of phoenix brocade, Hua Tian Xiang walked in, beaming. The glistening phoenix brocade served as a foil which made her pretty little face even more appealing. "Congratulations." She looked at Ye Li with a silent smile and said.
Ye Li smiled a little. She lifted her arms like a doll and let several maids put her wedding gown on. In the candle light, the stylish and splendid phoenix flowed along the light and loomed through the delicate peonies. With the bright red wedding gown on, Ye Li, who used to look pale and simple, now had some joy on her face. "It's so beautiful. Phoenix brocade is well worth of its reputation…" Came a soft murmur. Everybody was lost in its beauty. Looking at Lady Xu who was looking at Ye Li with smiles and relief all over her face, the first Lady Hua had a deeper understanding of the third miss of Ye Family's position in Xu Family. Lady Hua patted her daughter, who was staring blankly, laughed and said: "All right. Step aside if you want to admire the wedding gown. Don't get in our way when we put some makeup on the bride." She led Ye Li in front of the bronze mirror and had her sat down without any explanation and started to discuss with Lady Xu and Lady Qin about what hairstyle they were going to make for Ye Li.
Ye Li remained silent in front of the mirror and let the ladies had their way with her hair. Meanwhile, she quite enjoyed seeing Murong Ting and the other girls winking at her. The sky had already started to grow pale when those stubborn ladies who stuck to their own views finally agreed on the hairstyle. Ye Li couldn't help but look up to the sky and she finally realized why they began the preparation so early. If they had started after the sun rose, she bet she wouldn't be ready when the escorts came for her. After they were done with her hair, several maids were quick to bring those sets of jewelries for her head and face that were prepared previously. Lady Hua wasn't in a hurry to get them on Ye Li's hair. She smiled and told the maids: "Go and get your miss some food to fuel her up. She won't get any food for the day after we are done with her makeup." Qing Shuang made a face, giggling and took Qing Yun with her to prepare Ye Li some food. Those ladies took each other in their arms and went out to take a small rest as well.
When the adults left, those girls who were left behind came to Ye Li and surrounded her completely. "How do you feel, Ah Li? Are you nervous?" Murong Ting leaned on the desk, her hands cupping her chin and asked curiously.
Ye Li smiled with closed lips and said: "Whether I'm nervous or not, I think you know that the best. I would very much like to see whether you are going to be nervous in the future." Murong Ting's faces went red in a flash. She gritted her teeth and said: "I'm not… not going to be nervous at all." Hua Tian Xiang looked at Murong with all smiles: "You are stuttering and not convincing a little bit. I bet you are going to be more nervous than Ah Li. Ah… the next to get married is Zheng-er. Zheng-er, you have to get yourself prepared." Qin Zheng glared at Hua Tian Xiang with annoyance. Her face was all red and she said in a small voice: "Don't get me into this." Seeing how shy Qin Zheng was, Ye Li couldn't help but reach out for her little face and give it a pinch, and she laughed and said: "What Tian Xiang said made sense. What do you think about that, my future cousin-in-law?"
"You guys… Li-er, today is your big day. Why do you… why…" Qin Zheng had no choice but to look at her girlfriends who were laughing so hard and Qin Yu Ling, who were hiding by a corner and also laughing. The one who was supposed to be shy didn't show any sign of shyness, but her, who had nothing to do with this wedding was so shy and embarra.s.sed. Hua Tian Xiang wiped her tears while she was still laughing and said: "Zheng-er, good girl, don't be mad at us. She's a weirdo. Don't count on her to be shy or timid." Turing around, she measured Ye Li up and nodded in satisfaction: "Our Li-er is indeed a great beauty."
Ye Li felt nothing but awkward: "You are not saying that clothes make the beauty, are you?"
"Never! But you do pay too little attention to how you dress every day. Look at you now, without any jewelry or makeup, you are stunning as ever! Ha ha… Prince Ding is going to love that."
Ye Li shrugged and remained silent. If a beauty like n.o.ble Consort Liu couldn't make Mo Xiu Yao fall in love with her, she couldn't imagine what kind of beauty would be his type. Qing Shuang, along with several other maids brought some light breakfast. After the girls finished the breakfast and had a little rest, the ladies came back in and was ready to pick the jewelry and put some makeup on Ye Li. Since she couldn't try the wedding gown on or had a second wedding gown, she could only decide her jewelry, hairstyle, and makeup after she had the wedding gown on. Therefore three sets of jewelries were prepared. At last, the ladies agreed on a set of gold peony ta.s.sel shakes engraved with rubies as well as gold hair clasps with gems on them. Then they painted her eyebrows and drew her cheeks with rouge. Lady Qin adopted an original approach and painted a peony in half bloom between Ye Li's eyebrows.
Ye Li stared blankly at the beautiful charming woman in the bronze mirror, for a moment, she didn't even recognize herself. Her dark hair was made into an elegant coil. The ta.s.sel shakes adorned with gems swayed slightly in the candle light, which added a stroke of loveliness to her stylish red wedding gown. Ye Li smiled to herself. She never thought that charming or attractive had anything to do with her.
"You are beautiful. Are you stunned by yourself as well, Li-er?" Hua Tian Xiang teased her.
Ye Li gave her a glare while Lady Hua was already pushing those girls out with smiles: "All right, all of you, get outside first. Let the bride have a little rest. It won't be long before her escorts get here." Everybody congratulated Ye Li once more before they went out happily. The only one left behind was Lady Xu. After Lady Xu handed over a slim booklet to Ye Li with all smiles and told her to look through it carefully, she went out as well. Ye Li was left to stare blankly at the booklet in front of her in silence. She knew what was in the booklet at once. Thinking for a while, Ye Li stood up and put the booklet in a box that she seldom used.
Apparently, Prince Ding's Manor was way more reliable than Prince Li's Manor. It was just half past nine when Qing Yi Pavilion started to bustle with noise and excitement. The first Lady Huan and Lady Qin put the veil made of phoenix brocade on Ye Li by themselves and helped her to bid her farewell to Old Lady Ye, Minister Ye, and the memorial tablet of Xu-shi while they were surrounded by people.
In this wedding, the one who attracted the most attention was naturally the bridegroom, who was supposed to appear but appeared in a way that was out of everyone's expectation. Since a long time ago, there had been guesses about who from Prince Ding's Manor would come and escort the bride. But n.o.body had guessed that Prince Ding himself was going to come in person. The road which led from the gate of Ye Manor all the way to Prince Ding's Manor was already filled with commoners of the capital who were there to watch the excitement.
Seeing Prince Ding showing up with a red suit, it reminded the commoners of the young man in brocade who once galloped the horse and wielded a whip, so unrestrained and at ease with himself, which added a bit of pity to their hearts. Meanwhile, the escorts of Ye Manor were extraordinary as well. The escort of Ye Family was supposed to be Ye Rong who was going to send his sister to Prince Ding's Manor. But it was totally different from Ye Ying's wedding. Outside Ye Manor, there were six extremely handsome men who were distinguished from each other. Standing in the front were, without any doubt, Xu Qing Chen and Xu Qing Ze. Behind them were Xu Qing Feng and Xu Qing Bai. And then there were Xu Qing Yan and Ye Rong. One of those sons of Xu Family was gentle and refined, like he was from another world. Another was serious and imposing. The next was valiant and formidable-looking and the one after him was distinguished and confident. The youngest one of them, Xu Qing Yan was clever and open. Ye Rong was naturally ignored. He had no choice but to follow Xu Qing Yan as a little n.o.body.
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