The dowry that Li Ce prepared for CQ has arrived from Biantang over a month ago. According to the guards of the Zhenhuang city, there has been more than four hundreds carts of cargos, several tens of etiquette officials, and a guarding troop of 50 000 soldiers arrived in Zhenhuang from Biantang. While the soldiers must be settled outside the Zhenhuang city, the etiquette officials had settled in the embassy of Biantang in the city. Everything from Biantang has clearly declared to the world about the royal status of the marriage between the Grand Princess Xiuli of Biantang and the Sima of Daxia.
The status of the whole Zhuge clan has been raised by their affinity relationship with the royal member of the Biantang state. Yue’s father, Zhuge Muqing has come back to Zhenhuang from the home territory of the Zhuge family for the ceremony of the wedding. Furthermore, Yue had invited some remote relatives of the Jing family to the wedding, who presented deep sensations to CQ during their first meetings with each other. Despite her ill impression on those relatives, Yue had settled them in the mansion of Sima and ordered a well treat to them, and CQ has to listen to those old ladies in the following days teaching her about those rituals and rules of being a proper bride.
As the date of the wedding is coming closer, CQ is getting more and more perturbed as the whole worlds’ attention has been attracted to this wedding, and she has felt invisible winks of hidden blades. Yue has tried to calm her saying that it was only an overexcitement before the wedding, and CQ herself has also wished that instead of some ill-starred sixth sense, this is just a premarital anxiety. Yet her anxiety gets stronger after Yue’s leaving for border inspections in the west and the incitements to attack Yanbei of war hawks raised in Daxia.
According the traditional custom, the bride must be received by the bridegroom from her own home on the wedding day. Since CQ does not have any home in Zhenhuang, she has to move to the old mansion of the Zhuge family before the wedding. Yue, as the bridegroom, will receive her with his escorting group, and the two of them will return to their own home, which is the Sima’s mansion. Therefore, CQ has moved to the old Zhuge mansion a week before the day of the wedding. Thanks for the help of Yue’s snowy owl, CQ and Yue are able to exchange letters to each other.
Five days before the wedding, CQ receives a report from a servant that Yue has arrived back in Zhenhuang, and he has visited his father at the old Zhuge mansion. Following the customs, the bridegroom and the bride are not allowed to see each other before the wedding, so Yue has left after meeting the elders of the Zhuge family. On that evening, a young maid hands over to CQ a letter from Yue. In the middle of the paper, there is just one line of his handwriting: “I’m back, will come to receive you five days later.” During the midnight, after putting some developer on the paper, a full page of small characters emerge in front of CQ, describing all his concerns and counter-strategies. CQ’s finger tips lost blood due to her hard press on the page, and the old sounds of weapons and fighting return to her ear, like a touching melody.
On the night before the wedding, He Xiao is assigned with a secret mission and left from the old Zhuge mansion. All the assistants of makeup and dressing sent by the Zhuge family have been send back by CQ, and there is only Meixiang left by her side. Piece by piece, Meixiang has put the splendid jewelries and the vivid red wedding dress on CQ, which make a gorgeous look of CQ as a bride. While the always brave and tough girl finally breaks with tears, Meixiang smiles to CQ with her most resplendent smile. CQ reaches her face and erases her tears, then she holds the girl who had been following her for so many years deep in her chest, and Meixiang tightly hugs CQ in return, hardly saying anything except constantly repeating “Miss, Miss, …”.
Finally, it is the day of the wedding. As was planned, the bride’s carriage, along with the whole escorting group, has left from the old Zhuge mansion in the morning. The group has dropped by the embassy of Biantang, received the official congrats and good wishes on the wedding from Li Xiuyi, the emperor of Biantang. The whole group then left from the embassy, crossed the main streets, and approached to the Sima’s Mansion. If everything would be as planned, Yue would be waiting for her on the Peacock Bridge that is not far away, where the bride’s carriage will be hand over to the bridegroom by the etiquette officials of Biantang.
While the group just reaches to the Yueliu Lake a few hundred meters away from the Peacock Bridge, the bride’s carriage suddenly stagnated then stopped, and CQ’s heart jumps a harsh beat. Right at the same time, from the royal Shengjin palace comes a melodious sound of an ancient bell. For fourteen times has the solemn bell ringed, five long and nine short, which announces the death of an very important royal person. All the busy sounds of the walking, the standing, the watching has stopped. For a while there is just silence between the heaven and the earth, even birds on the sky seem to have stopped flying. No one knows who has come back with conscious at the first, but everyone follows, to kneel down on the ground and to bowed towards the direction of the Shengjin palace. Then there is a loud sound of crying from the Ziwei square roaring to the sky. It is until now, that CQ realized what has happened — the emperor of Daxia is dead.