Jiang Ruan is here to wow everyone. But before that we get a double dose of elaborate clothing description.. hehe. Enjoy!
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Chapter 42: Allure
"Then, you are Jiang Ruan?" Shen Ming Zhu was startled. She had already heard the stories regarding Jiang Ruan. She was on good terms with Jiang Su Su, and a few days ago, when Jiang fu had become the subject of public ridicule due to the account circulating about Jiang Ruan's remarks in court, it had caused Jiang Su Su's normally beautiful and refined appearance, and her gentle nature, to transform into a scowling countenance that lasted a few days. In Shen Ming Zhu's eyes, Jiang Ruan was nothing better than a crude and untalented country b.u.mpkin. However, after seeing Jiang Ruan today, she appeared to have a n.o.ble bearing equivalent to that of the palace officials. Her appearance was comparable to Jiang Su Su's, and might even be a bit more vibrant.
Jiang Ruan nodded. Jiang Li smiled and said, "Ming Zhu meimei, this is my Da Jiejie. She has just returned from the rural residence and is not familiar with how things are in the capital. This is the first time she has visited your residence."
The manner in which Jiang Li emphasised this statement caused Shen Ming Zhu's eyes to flash with contempt. She said, "The capital and the rural residence are very different. Miss Jiang should be careful."
Lu Zhu and Lian Qiao could not prevent anger from showing on their faces. The two ladies were engaged in a battle, both overt and covert, but Xia Yan was happily chatting away with Shen furen and appeared to not have noticed what was happening. Naturally, however, she would not say a word to help Jiang Ruan out of her embarra.s.sment.
No need to mention Jiang Dan, who was so thoroughly cowed that she dared not utter a single sound. She stood where she was with her head lowered, fervently hoping that no one would notice her. Jiang Li was already gleefully delighting in Jiang Ruan's predicament. What was unexpected was Jiang Su Su's att.i.tude. She stood to one side, smiling slightly, without saying a word.
This was the first time such a scene had occurred. In her previous life, whenever any of the young ladies from the influential families crossed swords with Jiang Ruan, if Jiang Su Su were present, she would definitely speak up on Jiang Ruan's behalf. Perhaps it was to win her trust, or it could have been to burnish her own reputation. However, now, she was unwilling to put in a good word for Jiang Ruan. Could it be possible that she was waiting for Jiang Ruan to lose her composure?
Jiang Ruan simply smiled faintly and kept quiet without responding. In this way, it was as if Shen Ming Zhu's blow had struck a wad of cotton, totally without effect. Shen Ming Zhu sucked in a breath and took hold of Jiang Su Su's hand, saying, "Niang, the furen and jiemei in the main hall have been waiting for a long time now. Would Jiang furen and Su'er Jiejie kindly come this way?"
 jiěmèi ( 姐妹 ) – sisters / siblings.
In her arrogance, Shen Ming Zhu had only included Jiang Su Su and Xia Yan in her invitation. It was extremely discourteous. However, Shen furen did not show any intention of rebuking her, and just smiled in agreement. Clearly, this was something of a common occurrence. Shen Ming Zhu was truly the precious pearl of the Shen fu, and had been coddled all throughout her growing years.
The furen and young ladies had been waiting in the main hall of Shen fu for a considerable time. Those familiar with each other were seated together, chatting. One lady said, "I heard that the Eldest Jiang Miss will make her appearance today."
"The Eldest Miss of the Jiang family?" A lady with high cheekbones said, "You mean, the di daughter who was so badly treated by Official Jiang? Heaven have pity on her, to lose her own birth mother at such a young age, and then to end up in such a miserable state. If she had not fortuitously encountered Imperial Censor w.a.n.g, who knows how much she would have had to suffer."
However, another lady next to her smiled and said, "Although she is indeed to be pitied, I've heard that, according to her birthdate characters, she is considered inauspicious in regards to marriage compatibility. Official Jiang is usually a just man, so there must have been some reason for his actions." This lady had a face as round as a disc, and when she smiled, her eyes turned into slits. She looked just like an amiable, portly bodhisattva usually found in a temple, and seemed polite and friendly. She went on to say, "Of course growing up in the countryside could never compare to growing up in the Jiang fu. There must surely be some aspects of her conduct which are inappropriate. For certain, she is inferior to the Second Jiang Miss, who is so outstanding."
 ba zi ( 八字 ) – a Chinese fortune-telling method utilising the astrological concept that a person's destiny or fate can be divined by the two s.e.xagenary cycles characters a.s.signed to their birth hour, day, month and year. For more information, see here and here. Most commonly used before marriage to check compatibility.
 ke qin ( 克亲 ) – the term refers to someone who, in terms of marriage compatibility, is lacking, almost a jinx. She would have to do something deemed auspicious in order to 'balance' the marriage. On the other hand, there is also the possibility that such a person will increase her opportunities and fortunes through marriage. The former perspective is more likely.
As soon as the Second Jiang Miss was spoken of, everyone unanimously thought of Jiang Su Su's talents and appearance, and each nodded in agreement. "Naturally, the Second Jiang Miss is indeed exceptional, just like a beautiful fairy. There is no comparison possible between her and the Eldest Jiang Miss."
"When the Eldest Jiang Miss and the Second Jiang Miss stand next to each other, the contrast is very clear."
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"It's enough that the Jiang fu has the Second Jiang Miss; she is the capital's talented lady. The girl who grew up in the wild mountains would inevitably be terribly boorish. Of course, there's no need to talk about her appearance."
Jiang Su Su was already elegant and refined, but this young lady's beauty was such that she was vibrantly alive. As a result, the people who had become accustomed to looking upon the ethereal fairy-like beauty of Jiang Su Su were dazzled by her. It was like watching a magical spirit full of vitality emerge from the flowering bushes, walking gracefully and elegantly towards them.
On taking another look, as this young lady walked, her skirt hardly whispered with movement, and neither did her hair, while her hands were decorously folded over in front of her chest. However, underneath this bright and vibrant appearance, there was a magnificent yet quiet n.o.bility. That such a young lady should exhibit such a unique charm made people feel as if time had stood still.
Formal posture with folded hands.
What gave rise to the greatest amazement was that, when this young lady stood next to Jiang Su Su, they were equally matched in terms of looks and bearing. If one looked carefully, one would suddenly feel that the elegant and refined fairy had lost several degrees of colour in the presence of this vibrant spirit. That incomparable snow-white purity was somewhat inferior to this ardent and unrestrained crimson.
A lady muttered, "It's the Eldest Miss of the Jiang family!"
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Translated by : shl
Edited by : Anks & Ely
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