BEHIND THE CURTAINS

Marriage With First Princess

Moon was shining brightly and millions of stars were twinkling all around the sky making it look like a box full of dazzling gems. A carriage was passing slowly on a rural road with many guards walking before and behind it. Inside of carriage two women were talking about something and from time to time watching their children fondly. In their lap, two little boys were sitting and playing some games.

Outside of the carriage a man was sitting beside the coachman and looking inside from time to time. He felt his heart at peace watching his family happy. Suddenly one of those children wearing a green robe like him turned to him with shining doe eyes and said ”A-die¹, when Ill grow up I want to be smart like tangge² ”. Three elders can help but laugh.

Suddenly those laughs turned into the sound of painful screams and cries. Another boy just watched his mother and others dying in front of his eyes. Suddenly a sword came towards him and–

A man woke up from his sleep panting heavily. His eyes were wide open and beads of sweat coated his forehead and body. His chest was heaving up and down from panting heavily. He slowly sat up in bed and turned to the window only to realize it was already morning. He rubbed his palm against his face and thought again that nightmare.

He pushed the blanket and got up from bed. He wore his robe and went outside. Seeing no one is in the house he shouted ”Zhu Rui ”. A beautiful girl wearing a peach-coloured robe was sitting inside the kitchen and boiling some herbs. Her hair was tied into two braids on both sides with some little accessories sticking to it.

She was wiping her sweat while blowing a fan sometime towards herself then sometime towards boiling medicine. Just then hearing her masters scream she nearly jumped in shock. She quickly put down the fan and ran outside. Many herbs and fragrant flowers were planted outside. She ran to another house and entered only to find a bird nest standing in front of her.

Zhu Rui smiled widely and said, ”Zhuren³, good morning. Today you look uglier than normal days ”. That man just looked at her with done face before saying ”If you
e done with your everyday prayer then go and prepare a bath– ” She cut him off and said, ”Zhuren, everything is prepared long ago. You
e the one who woke up late ”. That man just glared at her and walk away.

She giggled before running back to the kitchen. She took out just finished steaming breakfast and ran back to other house and beautifully placed every dishes and two rice bowls then does a spin from delight. Suddenly she heard some noises and while frowning confusedly went outside to look but saw nothing just trees surrounding from all sides. After all this house is in the middle of a dense forest.

Just then her master came back after finishing his bath. He was wearing a light blue coloured robe with narrow sleeves. His hair was tied in a high ponytail but some strands of hair were falling over both sides of the face. His eyebrows were thick and his plumpy lips were crimson red. His triangle eyes were so dark and sharp that a single glance will leave people feeling chill.

Zhu Rui had to admit her masters beauty can outshine the moon and flush the flower but if you judge him by his appearance then it is purely your bad luck. She came out from her thoughts when her master flicked her forehead. ”Oww- ” with a big pout on her face she went to the table with her master.

They both were eating quietly when suddenly a goose landed on their window. Zhu Rui went to that goose and saw it has a letter attached to its feet. She frown distastefully and took the letter from that goose. After that goose flew away she came to her master and said ”Zhuren, why does Shaoye⁴ always send letters by these weird animals?? ”.

That man just laughed and motioned her to read that letter. She nodded her head and opened the letter before reading loudly ”Xue Jing Xuan… ”. When she didn speak for a while Jing Xuan stopped eating and confusedly look up at her only to find her looking at the letter with wide eyes. She suddenly screamed making the whole house tremble before running to Jing Xuan and starting to shake him.

”Zhuren, Marquis Jiang is coming back!! ” hearing this, the chopsticks in Jing Xuans hand broke into pieces and fell to the ground with a loud clank. He sat quietly for some time before saying in cold voice ”so what? This is nothing to do with us. Sit and eat quietly ”. Zhu Rui opened her mouth to protest but Jing Xuan beat her to it and said ”If you speak another world Ill throw you outside of the house and let wild animals feast on your meat tonight ”.

Zhu Rui just fight with him in her mind and went to the kitchen to grab another pair of chopsticks. Jing Xuan slowly put his hand over his chest, where a purple pendant was hidden inside of his robe. He felt his heart getting heavy as time passes by. Just then Zhu Rui came back from the kitchen with new pair of chopsticks and gave it to him.

After that, breakfast went quietly. Zhu Rui took dishes to wash while Jing Xuan went to look over medicines. In the kitchen, Zhu Rui in the middle of washing dishes suddenly got an idea of how to take her master back to Xianyang and smiled creepily.

Jiang XiMin and others reached the capital and saw many imperial guards waiting for them in front of the gate. Soon their leader came forward and bowed to Jiang XiMin in respect, who nodded in response. Then that commander cupped his hand and bowed to others, which others returned. After that, they all entered the capital with imperial guards.

When they entered Xianyang, from both sides girls, maidens and people started to throw flower petals at them. At first, everyone were shocked but soon the trio behind started to enjoy while Jiang XiMin kept his poker face and continued to ride the horse while looking ahead. Many girls started to throw flowers at them. Bai Rongyi and Han Youhai with wide smiles took flowers while Duan Qing became flushed from shyness.

Citizens were eager to see Marquis but got shocked to know the powerful Phoenix of the Frontier is a young man in his early twenties. But still, they didn stop their loud screaming of joy.

Suddenly a maiden courageously threw a lily at Jiang XiMin but before it could reach him, a small yet sharp knife tied by a thin string came out from his narrow sleeves and cut that flower into small pieces before going inside of his sleeves. Everyone became quiet but Bai Rongyi quickly laughed and said ”Our Marquis Jiang is allergic to flowers, hope this beautiful maiden doesn mind ”.

Hearing this atmosphere again became lively while Bai Rongyi quickly caught up to Jiang XiMin before asking in a low voice ”why did you do that? Can you– ” Jiang XiMin cut him off and said, ”That girl should feel lucky I didn cut her. No one is in the position to give me flowers ”. Bai Rongyi rolled his eyes and said ”yes Marquis Jiang, you
e right. Forgive this lowly human for speaking without thinking ”.

Jiang XiMin didn bother to talk to him and went ahead of them. Bai Rongyi hissed at him from behind and then went side by side with the other two. After some time they finally reached Imperial Palace and get down from the horse. Commander soon came to them and escorted Jiang XiMin towards Royal Court while others waited outside.

Inside of Royal Court, many ministers were talking about citizens problems while from time to time debating with other ministers. Emperor just sat with a bored expression and let Duke Xue Yewan handle everything. Just then a royal guard came inside and got on his knee before reporting Marquis Jiangs arrival. Suddenly Emperors mood became bright.

He sat up and motioned for that guard to go and let Marquis Jiang inside. Ministers were also curious as most of them haven seen how this Phoenix of the Frontier looked. While everyone were keenly waiting for the Marquis to enter, Duke Xue Yewan had an ugly expression on his face. Just then a man entered wearing a dark blue coloured robe. His high ponytail was flying in the air and his eyes were icy cold without any emotions.

Jiang XiMin stopped in front of the Emperor and got on his knees before saying ”This Marquis greets Your Majesty ”. Emperor motioned for him to get up and he thanked him before getting up. After that Emperor motioned for Duke, who took out a red-coloured silk edict and handed him over.

Emperor after looking over the edict gave it to eunch and motioned for him to read loudly. Soon eunch started to read loudly ”This Honorable One is very delighted after knowing armys heroic action to save their Homeland. This Honorable One has decided to reward the army with two years supplies and fifty silver coins for each one ”.

Jiang XiMin got on his knees to receive the Imperial edict. After that, he thanked Emperor again for his kindness. ”You mightve gotten tired from the long journey, go back and take some rest at home. Youve worked hard ” hearing Emperors word Jiang XiMin quickly thanked him again before bowing and taking leave from Royal Court.

Outside he gave that edict to Bai Rongyi, whose eyes started to shine with joy after reading this. Finally, they can eat till their stomachs fill. After that, they quickly got on their horses and rode towards Jiang Manor.

[1] A-die – father

[2] Tangge – an older cousin from fathers side

[3] Zhuren – master/ owner

[4] Shaoye – young master

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