The Rebirth Of An Ill-Fated Consort

Chapter 163
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Chapter 163 : She Seduced Me

Lin Lang led Xiao Shao to the entrance. Smiling, she said, “This is the tea pavilion. This servant will go prepare some tea and snacks now, so Wangye can go in and have a rest; it won’t be long before Eldest Miss arrives.”

Xiao Shao remained silent as Lin Lang bowed and withdrew on her own accord. But before she left, she paused and gave another look towards an ornate flower door, then lifted her skirt and departed. After Lin Lang left, Xiao Shao pondered for a moment before reaching out his hand to open the door.

Upon entering, he could smell a faint sweet fragrance permeating the room. This particular aroma was not at all heady but rather delicate. From the initial whiff, one could sense that it was a scent that came from a female’s body. It was delicate and subtle, yet there was a mild sense of sweetness, causing a person to develop an irresistible and indescribable feeling of intoxication.

It was not quite incense but rather a body fragrance. Xiao Show raised his eyebrows as he walked towards a table and sat down. On it was an exquisite jade wine pot and three small jade cups. In the middle of the table was a platter of delicate, crystal-like, translucent purple grapes, each of them plump and succulent, almost like individual crystalline beads.

The place was already well prepared and ready to host, so why was there a need for Lin Lang to say that “she was going to prepare some tea and snacks”?

Not only that, the room was partitioned by a jadeite screen. The screen was rather large whilst the green from the jadeite was glistening with moisture. At the very top were four beautiful drawings of women dancing, each magnificently lifelike, and some calligraphy. And, although one couldn’t see what was behind the screen, there was the subtle sound of splashing water.

Chinese Jade Screen – 4 For Sale on 1stDibs

Jadeite Screen

The sound was almost inaudible, and if it weren’t for the fact that Xiao Shao was a person who trained in martial arts and had internal strength, it was likely that he wouldn’t have heard it. The sound of splashing water gave a charming and gentle impression, causing a person’s heart to have unfettered wild and fanciful thoughts.

Xiao Shao remained unmoved, and no one would know what he was thinking as he lowered his gaze to the pure white jade whistle at his fingertips. Naturally he did not move an iota, but as time seemed to quietly fly by in the room, there remained no sign of Jiang Ruan’s arrival. However, right at that moment, the sound of water from behind the screen became louder and then there was a rustling noise. Xiao Shao’s eyes dilated, and immediately thereafter, a slender silhouette vanished from behind the screen and then appeared before him.

It was an exceptionally beautiful female.

She was attired in a simple and plain white dress, without any embroidery or motif. From top to bottom there was only a large jade coloured belt which was bound around the waist of the large floaty robe. This contrast gave the illusion that her waist was so slender that it was less than a grip*. Her movement was as delicate as a willow bending in the wind, and in all aspects very much like a woman who was lustrous and seductive. Her every movement was like that of a charming vixen, making it almost impossible for anyone not to be enticed by her. Her body still had some water droplets from her recent bath, and those sparkling and translucent droplets dripped down her sharp and charming chin, trailing down towards her breasts. As they dripped down further, the drops were hidden by the robe, making it increasingly hard for one’s heart not to tremble.

*不盈一握 (bù yíng yī wò) – “Not full of a grip” refers to a woman’s slender waist. It is generally used to describe a woman’s waist. It is less than a grip (the size of the index finger and thumb relative to the circle), and it is also used to describe beautiful and lightweight things. In ancient times, “ying” here was interpreted as “full”, and “one grip” refers to holding with an arm.

Looking upwards, there was indeed an exceptionally exquisite and elegant face. Her facial features were striking, with full brows, almost like a pure white fairy from the Heavenly Jade Lake. Such an immortal like face, as if naturally unspoilt and unblemished, but with a charming and seductive demeanour like a brothel woman, is fatal to every man

This was Jiang Su Su.

Once Jiang Su Su noticed Xiao Shao, she was momentarily startled, and her face showed panic and trepidation before she was able to compose herself. Then she said, “Xiao Wangye.”

Xiao Shao gave her a quick glance, before lowering his gaze, both refusing to look at her or speak. Jiang Su Su’s body stiffened. Since she had practised the art of seduction, men’s looks would always transfix on her body, and never had she been overlooked and spurned like this. Instantly her heart felt indignant. With a slight smile, she turned around and sat on the chair beside Xiao Shao. With her every movement, there was that familiar sweet fragrance conveniently wafting about. It was the exact same fragrance that was infused throughout the room, and in fact, it was a scent coming from her body.

Jiang Su Su tilted her head to observe the person beside her. Though this young man was dressed all in black, even his sleeves gave off a feeling of gorgeousness, making him appear resplendent. His side profile was exceptionally beautiful, but there was nothing feminine about him. Thin lips and starry eyes, aloof and reticent, he had a graceful bearing that seemed to have been naturally and unforcefully engraved into his bone marrow. This was indeed a beautiful yet heroic and manly young man. Even without the prestige of the Jinying Wangfu, with his good looks and poise, it was more than sufficient enough to stir the heart of a young lady.

For instance, at this moment, Jiang Su Su was very envious and jealous of Jiang Ruan for being fortunate enough to marry this young man before her.

“Just now Su Su was having her bath, and didn’t think that anyone would suddenly enter, only to see that it was Xiao Wangye,” Jiang Su Su’s voice carried a faintly indiscernible sense of arousal, scratching across a person’s heart, “Since it so happened, then I may as well share and have a cup of wine with Wangye.”

A single man and a single woman in a secluded place; intoxicated in the tea pavilion; one of them just finishing her bath and wearing a loose fitting robe. Moreover, this person was an exceptionally stunning lady, and her every moment was highly forward. If any man under the skies were to encounter such a situation, even if he had wanted to remain unmoved, it was a hard endeavour.

Through it all, Xiao Shao remained silent, his cold demeanour seeming to dip even more. Jiang Su Su noticed this and so she stood up and went to his side. She reached out her hand and personally poured him a cup of wine then offered it in front of him, bending down in an alluring fashion, almost as if she was about to lean onto Xiao Shao’s knee. As she gazed attentively at Xiao Shao, her eyes glistened and immediately began to fill up with an inexplicable sense of bewitchery. From her body, a natural sweet scent diffused out, giving an illusion of a person watching a soft boneless blooming white flower trembling in a deep ravine. Making a person unable to resist the urge to pluck and collect. Making the person want to rip the flower to shreds to see how the flower would look being dominated.

Seeing no reaction from Xiao Shao, Jiang Su Su decided to lean in even closer, her lips casually flitting across Xiao Shao’s ears, her voice velvety, “Wangye — “ dragging the end as if she was exhaling her breath.

Xiao Shao’s brows narrowed. But not waiting for Jiang Su Su to attempt any further action, to one’s surprise the cuff of his robe moved and in the next moment the white jade cup from the table fell towards the ground with a sound, heading straight for Jiang Su Su’s abdomen. A mere jade cup had become a vicious hidden weapon. There was only a loud ‘putong’ sound, and Jiang Su Su’s whole person was sent flying back. Her back collided with the jadeite screen, like a kite that had lost its string, and she landed sprawled out on the ground before immediately spitting out a mouthful of blood.

“HOW DARE YOU ACT RECKLESSLY!” Xiao Shao’s indifferent voice seemed to be filled with indignation.

The silence that engulfed the room caused Jiang Su Su to be stupefied as she tried to get up with much difficulty. The attack from Xiao Shao’s hand was only about a third of this strength, yet it was sufficient enough to render her totally unable to withstand his blow. What had surprised her even more was that, even until now, Xiao Shao was still aloof and indifferent towards her.

There was no man on this earth who should have been able to withstand her charm because she had practised the art of enchantment. Even the most puritanical and ascetic senior monk would fall at her feet. In which case, there was really no need to mention Xiao Shao, who was a young man, because as long as it was any young man just one glance of hers was enough to tickle their hearts. Especially because she had intentionally taken the effort to bathe and dress up, and had even gone so far as presenting herself before Xiao Shao by using the submissive and alluring attitude that most men would find irresistible.

She was very confident that her plan was flawless, yet she had miscalculated Xiao Shao’s inclinations. She knew that Xiao Shao was naturally not fond of feminine wiles and charms, but those were just rumours. If he really didn’t care about women’s charms, why would he ask for Jiang Ruan’s hand in marriage from the Emperor. Although Jiang Ruan was blessed with a good appearance, with regards to grace, flirtatious expressions and enticement, which of these was better compared to her? But she had never thought that not only had she been unable to entice him, he had not spared her a thought and treated her to his heavy hand!

“Xiao Wangye,” Jiang Su Su spat out another mouthful of blood, and the blood remained on her cherry red lips, making her all the more tempting. She continued, “Xiao Wangye, how can you not be protective and tender towards a lady, this is really breaking Su Su’s heart.”

Xiao Shao looked at her coldly.

“Xiao Wangye, today you’ve seen my body, do you think you can walk out this door easily?” Jiang Su Su lifted her mouth into a smile. There was an inexplicable sense of pride when she added, “Jiefu, since you’ve seen my body, then I am yours now. Today, I had intended to be gentle and tender towards Jiefu, but I never imagined that Jiefu would be so unamendable to reason. Shortly, Su Su will head out the front door and holler, allowing Jiefu’s reputation to drop down a few notches.”

“What utter nonsense.” Before the sentence was finished, a man’s voice was heard from within the room. From the rafters there leapt down a man dressed as a personal guard. Without a second thought, he said to Jiang Su Su, “I have also seen your body, doesn’t that mean that you are my woman as well? In here there are about seven to eight personal guards, so I’m afraid to say that they’ve all seen your body. Now who should you be given to?” After saying this, he pretended to be vexed as he scratched his head, “But most of my brothers seem to prefer a woman from a good family. And a lady such as Miss who is audacious, bold and unrestrained- we are definitely unable to bear it.”

This person was none other than Jin Er. He had come earlier together with Xiao Shao to lay an ambush in the room, just to see what the Jiang family was planning to do. Later, when he saw Jiang Su Su open her mouth to seduce Xiao Shao, his heart felt despise and disdain. It would have been alright if it was a lady from the brothels, but Jiang Su Su was a di daughter, after all, from the Jiang fu. This person, who at one time was the capital’s renowned stunning beauty, and talented in the four arts, could now not even compare to a girl from a commoner’s family. And, a girl from a commoner’s family would still know a sense of propriety, justice, integrity and honour, yet Jiang Su Su could cast away her reputation, honour and self respect.

However, even having said as such, Jin Er no longer looked towards Jiang Su Su’s body. Jiang Su Su was indeed a beauty, and adding to the fact that she practised the art of enticement and seduction, she was definitely able to attract the eyes of all men. Therefore, it would be hard to fathom when one would be ensnared in Jiang Su Su’s entrapment.

What Jiang Su Su was not aware of was that since Xiao Shao had taken authority over the Jinyi Guard when he was younger, he had journeyed from mountains of daggers and seas of flames, and experienced extreme dangers, so his self control was naturally way better than others. All these years, he had experienced many enticing entrapments, and it was not that he had not seen stunning beauties such as maids and concubines. It was just that this puny effort of Jiang Su Su was not even capable of entering Xiao Shao’s eyes, not to mention his heart.

Jiang Su Su almost spat out blood again. Never had she considered that the room had someone else hidden within, and from his words, it wasn’t just the three of them in the room. Just thinking that today she had needlessly exposed herself to a group of personal guards, her heart was unable to bear the sense of melancholy. Nevertheless, since she had come to this point, she may as well take a shot because when a man and woman were found together in the same room, the woman might suffer the loss of her reputation, but it was also very easy to shift the blame onto the man and have him take responsibility. Thus Jiang Su Su opened her mouth to holler, to shout for the people she had prepared and stationed outside. Except, just as she was about to holler, Jin Er, who was beside her, reacted lightning fast and lightly pressed on her vocal acupuncture point. Immediately she was not able to make a single noise.

“Master, what should we do with this woman?” Jin Er asked.

Xiao Shao creased his brows saying, “Kill.”

Instantly Jiang Su Su’s face turned white. Obviously Xiao Shao had no regard for a human’s life, issuing to kill someone much like a simple chore of cutting vegetables. Unfortunately, she was unable to move at all, and a streak of fear noticeably flew across her eyes.

Jin Er shrugged his shoulders and as he was about to lift Jiang Su Su, the door was pushed open by someone. Jiang Ruan took a step into the room, and with one glance, she saw Jiang Su Su. Momentarily startled, she asked, “What happened?”

Xiao Shao contemplated for a while before answering, “She seduced me, so I injured her.”

Jiang Su Su’s face was already extremely bright red, and it was only now that she realised that this man had never had any feelings for her from the very beginning. If she had heard what Xiao Shao had just said a few years ago, she would have been so embarrassed that she would have ended her life. Even though she was not as spirited as her past self, still, she felt a deep sense of humiliation. It was like she had used up all her heart and efforts to present her best talents before a person, yet the person had considered it merely a joke.

After Jiang Ruan heard Xiao Shao’s words, she lifted her eyes and looked towards Jiang Su Su. Her expression was placid, to the extent that there wasn’t a sliver of displeasure. Jiang Su Su’s heart tensed up. When Zhao Mei was alive, she had never attached any importance to Jiang Ruan because she was aware that the person who called the shots was Jiang Quan, and Jiang Quan did not like Zhao Mei, nor did he treat Jiang Ruan or her brother well. Jiang Ruan was merely a weak imbecile who was afraid of getting involved in anything, and she was as stupid as a pig. However, it was unknown since when, no, it ought to have been when she returned to the fu three years ago, that Jiang Su Su was no longer able to make sense of Jiang Ruan.

It was precisely from that time onwards that Jiang Ruan no longer expressed any forms of human expressions of joy, happiness, anger and sorrow. She smiled when she was happy, she smiled when she was angry, she smiled when she was faced with false allegations, she even smiled when she was thrown into prison. Just like now, she smiled when she looked at Jiang Su Su. But although her smile was placid and mild, the lilt in her charming eyes in the end leaked out a sliver of ridicule and a lofty sense of disdain.

And it was that shred of disdain that instantly stinged Jiang Su Su’s eyes. She very much wanted to loudly rebuke, criticise and verbally abuse her, but no matter what she thought, she was still unable to make a single sound.

Jiang Ruan withdrew her gaze and looked towards Xiao Shao, “Fifth Yiniang asked me to come and see you. So this was the show I was meant to see. How is it that you weren’t seduced? But by the looks of things, it would be hard for this play to continue.”

Xiao Shao was slightly stunned, but he was intelligent and was quickly able to see the crux of the matter. So this was what Hong Ying was up to. If today there had been any other man, at this juncture, he would have fallen under Jiang Su Su’s enticement. Then, at this moment, they would be engaged in provocative behavior so that when Jiang Ruan coincidentally pushed open the door and entered she would personally behold their compromising position.

It would be unbearable for an unmarried girl to behold her own sister being intimate with her soon-to-be husband, so without a doubt she would be unable to accept the situation. Also, there was no way to make changes to the Empress Dowager’s imperial decree, so if she was one who was ardent and upright, it was not an impossibility that she would commit suicide. Then later they would gloss over the situation with some mundane reason, and finally, following the natural progression of things, the di younger sister would take her place in marriage. How could this not be a beautiful summation of the whole situation.

However, even if her disposition was meek and mild mannered, if she couldn’t bear with the situation she would still have to accept it. Because they were after all the di daughters from the same fu, and they would not allow anyone to besmirch her good name, thus they would have the other party make remuneration. For a di daughter to become a concubine was not in line with the regulations, but it wasn’t too hard to be conferred as a cefei*. And in the end, this would become a story that would be known far and wide about a pair of sisters who shared the same husband.

*侧妃 (cefei) – ce means “side,” therefore cefei is literally a wang’s “side fei,” akin to a secondary wife. Among a wang‘s consorts, cefei is the highest rank below the wangfei (王妃, the principal wife). A wang can have two cefei.

No matter which outcome it was, the inflicted blow towards Jiang Ruan would be huge. Whether dead or alive, her life would ultimately be affected by this incident, and for the rest of her life, she would never find happiness. Even if she was forced to proceed with the marriage, her heart would forever be in a knot, and there would never be any mutual respect between her husband and herself. And it would only be a matter of time before she would fall out of favour and lose the love and care of her spouse.

Today’s incident looked simple, but in actual fact, they were all closely interrelated. Until the end, the intention was vicious and sinister, making one totally at a loss for words. Hong Ying and Jiang Su Su had indeed put in a lot of effort for this matter. It was just that they were banking on a man with weak nature, and had not anticipated that fundamentally Xiao Shao was innately aloof and cruel, nor had they anticipated that Jiang Ruan would likewise remain serene and calm, to the point that she didn’t even possess the slightest inclination to misunderstand the situation.

Xiao Shao took in Jiang Ruan’s calm and cool headed attitude and his heart felt a smidgeon of disappointment. If she cared anything about him and his affections, then at this moment, she ought to have revealed some concern about the situation. The more she was calm and cool-headed, the more it was glaringly obvious that she did not take the matter to heart at all.

This was what Xiao Shao thought in his heart, but he was wrong about Jiang Ruan’s thoughts. Jiang Ruan took in the sight of the wine that had been spilled and the whiff of sweet fragrance lingering in the air of the room, then she looked at Jiang Su Su’s disarrayed clothes that were enticing, and her heart began to erupt with a burst of anger.

Precisely at this moment, she suddenly recalled the time towards the end of her past life when Xuan Li had thrown her into the imperial prison, and how Jiang Su Su had strutted to visit her in the prison. She had come to talk vividly about her precious and endearing sweet relations with Xuan Li. At that time, Jiang Susu’s words were a shock to her. What was once a heart full of sincerity was only at this juncture revealed to be merely a meticulously planned scam. Xuan Li together with Jiang Su Su had done things openly in order to attract the attention of their opponent. She was clueless at that time as to why Xuan Li kept repeating over and over again that there was only her(JR) in his heart, yet he was able to engage in intimate things with Jiang Su Su when he hadn’t even done so with her.

In hindsight, Jiang Su Su must have been just like today, using her charms on Xuan Li, which subsequently made him treat her(JR) differently.

No matter if it was the past life or this one, it was obvious that Jiang Su Su and her were destined to fight to the bitter end. In her past life, she had been enamoured by Xuan Li, so Jiang Su Su had snatched Xuan Li away. In this life, the Empress Dowager had conferred her marriage to Xiao Shao, so likewise Jiang Su Su had wanted to snatch Xiao Shao too. Jiang Ruan was utterly enraged as she looked directly into Jiang Su Su’s eyes but almost immediately she(JR) returned back to being composed and veiled.

“What do you intend to do?” Xiao Shao asked, “Kill her?”

Although Xiao Shao was tagged with the name of a rebel scoundrel, when he handled matters, it was always extremely thorough. He was never concerned about the fighting, scheming, and the rivalries for affections within the inner residence. He executed matters in a brutal and straightforward manner, that even the Jinyi Guard embodied this similar approach of dealing with situations, simple and brutal, just kill and be done. Jiang Su Su really did not understand Xiao Shao at all because even though Xiao Shao was the subject of many rumours, the many things pertaining to him could only be hearsay. Thus Jiang Su Su had made the grave mistake of lumping him together with all other men, not realising that arrogance was truly ingrained in him. Just like today, even though he was set up, he did not passively submit to Jiang Su Su’s manipulation. The most likely possibility was that he would have everyone in the Jiang fu killed and walk off without a second thought. In the end, even if the Emperor really had to have him remanded, the outcome would merely be a matter of taking it seriously yet settling it gently.

“But why?” Jiang Ruan softly asked, “We are sisters after all so there is no need to be malicious and merciless. It’s just that,” she looked at Jiang Su Su, who was staring daggers at her, full of hatred, and slightly smiled, “since Second Sister is so afraid that she won’t be able to get married to the extent that she would use her body to gain your attention, then as the eldest di daughter, it is my responsibility to lend a helping hand.”

Xiao Shao looked at her, and after a moment asked, “What do you intend to do?”

“Second Sister is the capital’s most outstanding beauty, and her innocent and virtuous body ought to be seen by as many people as possible.” Jiang Ruan insipidly stated, “The Jiang fu has many manservants and if any one of them were to be able to marry someone as beautiful as Second Sister, then I’m sure they would be most grateful.”

A tired look flashed in her eyes quickly, but even if it was just a short moment, Xiao Shao was perceptive enough to catch it. He had noticed that just a moment ago, Jiang Ruan’s state of mind had undergone some kind of change. And while he didn’t know what the cause was, it had most certainly provoked her into making this decision.

Nonetheless, whatever Jiang Ruan said, it was all the same to him. He would always support and agree with her unconditionally. With a nod of his head, he said, “Okay.”

Jiang Su Su stared at Jiang Ruan in utter disbelief. Never would she have thought that Jiang Ruan’s audacity had become so extreme, or perhaps because those past few times Jiang Ruan obviously could have sent her to her death and yet stayed her hand, made her think that Jiang Ruan was inevitably trying to avoid certain things that may have adverse consequences. Since Jiang Quan dearly loved Jiang Su Su, should anything befall Jiang Su Su and there was any association with Jiang Ruan, Jiang Quan would unequivocally leave no margin for error and would surely make things difficult for her. But at this moment, Jiang Ruan had spoken, which meant that she had every intention to shred all pretence of cordiality, and was not giving any leeway whatsoever.

Jiang Ruan walked infront of her, looking at her from above, her gaze lifeless like stagnant water. She had never forgotten the hatred from her previous life. Jiang Su Su originally intended to cause her to lose everything she had, and ultimately slowly fall apart. Looking at it now, it was she who was superfluous now. Currently Xia Yan was defeated, Jiang Chao’s aspiration to pass the imperial exam and serve as an official had been crushed, and her(JSS) reputation was none to speak of. Compared to the splendid life she had in the previous life- an elegant and exquisite fairy-like existence- it was as if it was two different people.

The original obsession now seemed unnecessary. Jiang Su Su was used to pretending, and all along she had pretended to be a fairy merely in her quest to climb to a higher status. From someone whose heart was constantly reaching for the sky, to subsequently fall to such a lowly status and have to live her life relying on others for the very air she breathed, what kind of feeling would that be.

From Jiang Su Su’s point of view, this would be a painful form of torture and punishment.

Jiang Ruan lowered her gaze. She would not waste her time on a bedbug that was destined to fall in surrender at her feet in this life. She still had Jiang Xin Zhi, the Zhao family and Xuan Pei. Whatever probable calamity or adversity came her way, she would use her utmost effort to eradicate them all. There was nothing beneficial for her to have Jiang Su Su live another day because there were many more things that had to be quickly expedited, and Jiang Su Su had long been too comfortable.

Indifferently she said, “Then I’ll have to trouble Husband*to think of a way to have Second Sister thrown out. Remember, the more lively the place is, the better.” Her lips curved up into a beatific smile, it was bright and alluring much like a red fox, “Such beauty, it surely is worthy to be shared with the masses.”

* 夫君 (fū jūn) – an olden form of address for one’s husband, often out of respect and endearment..

Xiao Shao was utterly floored by Jiang Ruan’s casual and natural manner in which she had spoken “Husband”. He didn’t know whether he was shocked or frightened, but in the end there was still a faint sense of pleasure on his face. After a moment of silence, he said, “Jin Er.”

Jin Er scratched his head as he stood, “Good idea, good idea. Master, how about we throw her out the main doors of the Jiang fu? If it’s too far then it would be so tiring.”

“That should do.” Jiang Ruan smiled, “sorry to have to trouble you.”

“It’s no trouble at all, Young Furen, but please show some empathy towards Master.” Jin Er smiled. With one hand, he lifted Jiang Su Su and flew out; secret guards had martial arts that were unfathomable. Additionally there were backup people already present to assist and those servants and maids who were outside the door, waiting to watch a good show, had already been dealt with. Otherwise, it could not be that until now they had not made an appearance.

After Jin Er left, Xiao Shao lifted his gaze to look at Jiang Ruan, then stated suddenly, “You’re not happy.”

“Naturally, I would not be as happy as you.” There was no change to Jiang Ruan’s countenance, her smile was as usual, gentle. However, unbeknownst to her, it had unexpectedly allowed one to notice a sense of dissatisfaction, or possibly an insipid undertone of anger. She stated, “With a stunning beauty coming forth to seduce, I’m sure it is not just anyone who would have the opportunity to encounter such a sight. Husband is very fortunate.”

Xiao Shao’s mind went blank for a moment before he lowered his eyes to consider further. Suddenly his lips curved up into a slight smile.

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