The three walked side by side, clearing the way in front of them, and guiding the princess into the city. People in Shanhaiguan City heard that the princess was marrying the prince of Pingxi.
The street has long been crowded with people, competing to watch the excitement. The city was decorated with lanterns, archways and happiness banners everywhere, and gongs, drums, and firecrackers blaring sky-high prices along the way.
Song Qingshu, however, carefully observed the terrain all the way, and silently estimated in his heart that the city wall was about fifteen meters high, and the thickness was estimated to be seven or eight meters.
After Wu Sangui got the news of the princess’s betrothal, he started construction and built an Anfu Garden, which was a towering palace and a pavilion. Wu Sangui and his son first led the princess to Anfu Garden to rest, and after greeting the princess through the curtain, they accompanied Song Qingshu and Wei Xiaobao to the Pingxi Palace.
Adjacent to the carved walls of the Pingxi Palace was a towering pavilion. The red pavilion and the green marsh, and the inner courtyard of the palace created a beautiful contrast. A grand banquet had already been set up in the hall, and all the military officials of King Pingxi came to attend the banquet. Wei Xiaobao, the minister and an imperial envoy, naturally sat as the chief guest, while Song Qingshu and Wu Sangui sat next to each other.
Wei Xiaobao’s eyes swept around, but he couldn’t help but feel disappointed when he didn’t see Ake, but he also understood that it was impossible for a daughter of the royalty to come out to greet him, the imperial envoy.
He handed the imperial decree to Song Qingshu on the side and motioned him to read it out. Seeing that he was puzzled, he quickly whispered, “Brother Song, this thing recognizes me, but I don’t recognize it, and you know that I can’t read…” (G: meaning, the guy can’t read.)
Song Qingshu showed an understanding smile, held the decree, and read it aloud to everyone present. He now had profound internal strength, his voice was clear and full of energy, and his words would spread far away. In the scene, Wu Sangui, his son and the civil and military officials fell to their knees and listened silently.
In the edict, the King Pingxi was commended for his high merits, diligent work, guarding the frontier, and defending the land from the barbarians. It also mentioned his subordinate generals and soldiers, all of whom had made great achievements, and each was promoted a level, and given rewards.
After receiving the decree, Wu Sangui kowtowed to the south and shouted, “I show my gratitude to the Emperor for his grace, long live, long live!”
The civil and military officials also shouted: “I show my gratitude to the Emperor for his grace, long live, long live!”
After taking a seat again, Wu Sangui and Wei Xiaobao discussed the auspicious date of the marriage ceremony after three rounds of drinking, “The fourth day of first month is an auspicious day, and the wedding on that day would bring good fortune. What do you think, Lord Wei?”
Wei Xiaobao frowned, he felt very unhappy, and thought to himself, ‘As soon as the princess marries Wu Yingxiong, I can’t do this and that with my fake concubine.’
He said, “This seems a bit too rushed? The marriage of a princess is no small matter, my lord, you have to prepare everything carefully. To tell you the truth, this princess is very favored by the empress dowager and the emperor. If there is anything sloppy, it would not be very convenient for us.”
Listening to his nonsense, Song Qingshu raised the wine glass to cover the smile on his lips, and secretly laughed in his heart, ‘If you said this before, there would be no problem, but now that Jianning’s identity as Mao Dongzhu’s evil offspring is exposed, Kangxi and the Queen Mother may even wish her to die. Then how can there be any favors left?’ (G: Check the wiki.)
Wu Sangui froze and thought, ‘Are you deliberately making things difficult, or are you extorting bribes?’
He smiled and said, “Yes, yes. It is all up to Lord Wei to take care of this matter. If there is anything wrong, please give instructions and we will do our best to handle it. If the fourth day of the first month is too rushed, then the next month will be an excellent day for the wedding, and there is no conflict with the princess and our son’s eight characters, so there are no taboos.”
Wei Xiaobao wanted to refuse subconsciously, but Song Qingshu noticed that Wu Sangui already had anger on his face, and hurriedly spoke out to smooth things out, “Your Highness, don’t blame Lord Wei for pushing this matter, in fact, he has a certain matter of his own, and he is embarrassed to speak to His Highness. “
Wu Sangui was startled and thought to himself, ‘Could it be that you really want to ask for bribes? In front of civil and military officials, it would be too ugly to behold’
Wei Xiaobao was also taken aback and looked at Song Qingshu quickly, his eyes were full of bewilderment, and his heart was full of doubts, ‘What does Brother Song mean? Could it be that he wants to expose my identity as a fake consort? It’s over, this is the real end…’
Noticing Wei Xiaobao’s pale face, Song Qingshu felt amused and said, “Actually, the emperor thought that Lord Wei has not yet been married, and he heard that Your Highness has a daughter who is like a flower and jade, and intends to be the matchmaker between the two of them, so this time he sent the two of us came here to present you with a proposal.”
When Song Qingshu said this, everyone was shocked, and Wei Xiaobao’s heart skipped a beat. Looking at Song Qingshu, he was moved to tears. He thought to himself, ‘Brother Song is really a good friend. If I can marry Ake in the future, it will be for his contribution. I, Wei Xiaobao, won’t even frown if I have to climb a mountain of knives to repay him. Even if he wants my wife, I won’t hesitate… uh, no, anything but that…’
Wu Sangui’s purple face turned black all of a sudden. He had always looked down on Wei Xiaobao, a rascal, and he had seen a lot of wretchedness in Wei Xiaobao just now. How could he bear to marry his beloved daughter to Wei Xiaobao!
What’s more, he already had a plan in his heart, and was going to marry Ake to the heir of Prince Bao, Fu Kangan. He wanted to take that opportunity to form an alliance with Prince Bao, and fight against the court together in the future, so it was even more impossible to allow Ake to marry Wei Xiaobao.
Knowing Wu Sangui’s plan, his subordinates looked back at Wu Sangui’s face. After all, Wu Sangui was an old fox who had experienced many storms, and he quickly calmed down from the shock. He stared at Song Qingshu and asked, “May I ask if the Emperor has an imperial decree for this marriage?”
“Oh, that is not the case.” This was just Song Qingshu’s temporary intention, how could he have Kangxi’s imperial edict? Originally, he planned to directly take Ake into the palace, but he was worried that Kangxi would become angry afterwards. So, out of selfish considerations, he did not want Ake to be sent to the palace as a concubine.
There were several reasons why Song Qingshu was not proposing for himself. Firstly, his status was not high now, so he was afraid it wouldn’t be convincing enough. Secondly, considering that Wei Xiaobao was so obsessed with Ake, it was hard to guarantee that he wouldn’t turn against him in maddening fury. And that would cause a major problem. That’s why he used Wei Xiaobao as a shield. Song Qingshu knew that Ake hated Wei Xiaobao very much in her heart, and it would be easier to steal someone from Wei Xiaobao than from Kangxi. (G: Wah! That’s one well considered plan.)
Noticing that Wu Sangui was holding back his anger, Song Qingshu continued, “The Emperor also thought that the prince only had one daughter, and he couldn’t bear to directly issue an edict to force you. That’s why he sent me to convey this meaning. As for the final decision, it is still up to Your Highness.”
Wu Sangui’s face turned green and white, and everyone in the scene was staring at him to see how he would deal with it.
“I send my gratitude to His Majesty, for being sympathetic to this minister.” Wu Sangui first bowed his hands to the south, and then said, “It’s not that this minister does not agree, but my daughter has been betrothed to Fuk’anggan, the son of Prince Bao, and one daughter can’t serve the two husbands. I am grateful for the Emperor’s kindness.”
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