Seeing that Han Yimei is starting to make a scene, Feng Jun Yi finally made a move. He doesn't like dealing with women but he also doesn't want to let her ruin the banquet. Also because in a sense this is happening because of him. He never promised to marry her but also he never rejected it before. He might be cruel but he should do it right now. He will deal with the Right Prime Minister later.
"Lady Han, since you are boasting about your fertility in front of Zhen, Zhen will give you a good news." Hearing his words, Han Yimei's foul mood brightened. As if she can already hear him asking her hand for marriage. "Zhen already mentioned it to Prime Minister Han and agreed to it. Emperor Xing have an older brother who was a great general of Zhixiang. Due to an encounter with some bandits he became blind but he is still considered the hero of their country. He is given the title of a King and still have fair amount of power and prestige. He is also about 28 years old and a great fit for you. Zhen is confident that your union will bear good fruit and peace to both countries."
Since the words of the emperor is irrevocable and is akin to gold, even though it sounded like a suggestion everyone knew that it is final. They all suppressed their urge to laugh and instead bowed in unison while saying. "Long live emperor! The emperor is magnanimous and kind! Thank you for your bestowment! This country is blessed!"
Meanwhile, the girl who received the unwanted marriage arrangement paled miserably. Each word said by Feng Jun Yi is like a dagger piercing through her flesh and bones. Even if the other man was a great general with vast wealth and authority, he is still blind. A waste. There is no way she would let go of the emperor and just accept the blind man. "No! I don't want to marry any other man! I only---"
But before she could finish her words, Feng Jun Yi cut her off. "Lady Han, are you going against Zhen? Against imperial power?" He said with a thick air of authority around him that says no one can disobey.
Han Yimei knew that this matter cannot be resolved right now. Specially in front of all these crowd. She has no choice but to bite her teeth in frustration and anger. She kneeled and thank Feng Jun Yi. "This subject thanks your majesty for your magnanimity and kindness. This subject is honored." Although she said that, she refuse to accept this fate. She will still do her utmost effort, even using her life.
The banquet resumed with foods and drinks continuously coming. Lin Xulian is enjoying her platter full of different kinds of sweets when Yin Mei approached her and asked her decision. "Your majesty, the envoy of Zhixiang country gifted a bottle of precious wine. But I know you don't drink. What should this servant do? I think he is expecting for you to drink it tonight."
"Does this bottle of wine have some distinct appearance or smell?" Even though they are just talking about wine, Lin Xulian needs to consider it seriously. Because this small stuff might affect the volatile relationship between the two countries.
"The bottle has a beautiful painting of plum blossoms. The wine is also made from fermented plum. It is popular as drink for women with a very light aroma. But this specific bottle is of the highest quality and very rare." Yin Mei said in detail.
"Just throw the wine then replace it with tea. As long as the bottle is used then they won't notice anything." Lin Xulian said not minding the high quality wine. She is not fond of wines so throwing it out doesn't hurt her thrifty side.
But Yin Mei is different. She is fond of wine since a part of her training as a high ranking servant is identifying wine through aroma and taste. She already tasted a lot of kinds of wine but the wine from Zhixiang country is the highest quality wine she had ever seen. Her heart is already aching thinking about throwing it away.
Lin Xulian noticed her oddity and relented. "Mei jiejie, if you want you can have the wine. Thinking about it, it is a waste of the maker's effort if it's thrown out."
Yin Mei's face brightened but she tried her best to control her excitement and thanked Lin Xulian. "As you wish your majesty. Thank you for your kindness."
Lin Xulian tilted her head. After more than a year together, she finally found something that could bribe her Mei jiejie. She is actually a wine enthusiast.
Yin Mei entered the back hall where the food and drinks for the banquet is stored. There, she found Zie Xin fiddling with the bottle of wine. "Xin, what are you doing?"
Zie Xin got startled and almost dropped the bottle. Luckily she was able to hold it in time. "Mei! T-this ummm… I just got curious and took a sniff. The imperial family is really lucky. They could have a taste of such rare and high quality wine."
Yin Mei totally understood her sentiment. She is contemplating whether to tell her that the empress bestowed the wine to her or not. But she chose to keep silent or else the other servants might get jealous. She will just call her out privately to have a drink later.
When Zie Xin went out to serve in the front hall, Yin Mei proceed to her task and that is to replace the wine with tea. She made sure to wash the bottle thoroughly so that the stench of wine will not spoil the tea.
The moment she stepped towards Lin Xulian when she returned to the hall, her face blushed seeing Lin Huang talking to the emperor and empress. Since the day he helped her up from kneeling in the imperial study, she can't forget the sensation of his hand on hers. Thinking about it, no one could blame her right? Lin Huang is good looking. Even more good looking than the emperor. He is also a gentleman and a loving brother.
Yin Mei focused her whole life in striving to become a high ranking servant. This is the first time she had feelings towards a man so she doesn't know how to act normally around him. With red face, she placed the bottle and a small cup in front of Lin Xulian. She wanted to leave but she needs to serve and pour the tea for the empress. She will just try to minimize her presence.
She is trying to focus on her task when she suddenly heard Lin Huang's voice that seem to rang deep into her soul. "Lady Yin, are you feeling fine? You look sick."
"I-I am fine Young Master Lin." Yin Mei's voice sounded a pitch higher.
Lin Xulian looked at the two to and fro while thinking. 'When did big brother cared about other woman aside from mother and me? hoho~'