Edited by Kiskaiya
Updated on 8 Aug 2019
Chapter 7: Guang Wen Tang
Guang Wen Tang was Ding capital’s academy.
Ming Qi’s officials and the wealthy would often place their sons and daughters into Guang Wen Tang as Guang Wen Tang’s teachers were perhaps geniuses or reputable scholars of the four scholarly fields. As for young noble females, they could also enter Guang Wen Tang with pride.
Shen Miao also studied in Guang Wen Tang.
Unfortunately Shen Xin and Shen Furen were from military families and Eldest Brother, Shen Qiu, was someone who would have a headache if he were to study. Shen Miao was brought up by Old Shen Furen and she was a songstress who did not know many words. Shen Miao was taught by Third Shen Furen, Chen Rou Qiu. Chen Rou Qiu came from a family of scholars and at the beginning taught Shen Miao books that were difficult to understand. Kids would normally prefer to play so after much teaching, so Shen Miao completely hated reading and writing.
Chen Rou Qiu saw that Shen Miao did not like studying and did not force her, instead teaching her to pay attention to food and clothes, living the life of a delicate young lady. When she was of age to go to Guang Wen Tang, Shen Miao was unable to keep up with the lectures from the teachers and her knowledge was worse off than those at level one, and thus became the student at the bottom of the class. Since Shen Miao did not like studying, she became infamous throughout the entire Ding capital for being stupid and ignorant.
Among the three Di young ladies of the Shen family, Shen Yue was the famous one. She was learned in the four arts of Qin, chess, calligraphy and painting, and there was not one thing that was not perfect. Even though Shen Qing was not as outstanding as Shen Yue, she also did a good job, especially in embroidery, and was considered as first class in calculations. As someone who would be married and become the mistress of a family, if one had a good head for calculation, one would be able to increase the favours from the in-laws, so Shen Qing was also able to get the reputation of being competent.
The more outstanding Shen Yue and Shen Qing were, the more Shen Miao would appear as nothing. Even becoming incomparable to the Shu daughter of the Second household, Shen Dong Ling.
In the carriage, Jing Zhe asked, “Young Lady, why not travel together with Eldest Young Lady and Second Young Lady?”
Usually, Shen Miao would always want to take the same carriage as Shen Qing and Shen Yue as Shen Miao felt that having her older sisters with her would boost her courage. As for Shen Yue and Shen Qing, the reason they allowed this was most probably because with a stupid and foolish sister as comparison, they would naturally look better.
But now Shen Miao did not even want to put up the pretence of compliance.
“To begin with, these people are not from the same household, living under the same roof but walking on roads that are poles apart. So tell, why travel together?”
Jing Zhe did not know why she stuck her tongue out. The more her Young Lady spoke, the more she did not understand but she felt that this was also good. Shen Miao’s character had been too weak and she would always let the Second and Third household make the decisions. This time, on the matter of her falling into the water, it seemed that she had her own ideas. This was correct, the status of the official Di daughter of the First household was not inferior to anyone, so why act like a maid.
In the other carriage, Shen Yue pulled the curtain back to secretly look behind and softly said, “Eldest Sister, Fifth Younger Sister is following behind.”
“She is purposely throwing a fit at me.” Shen Qing coldly scoffed. In front of Shen Yue, she never bothered to conceal her contempt of Shen Miao, “Let her be, anyways the person who would be disgraced would not be me.”
Shen Yue said worriedly, “But she was infected with a cold and the matter with His Highness Prince Ding is also…”
“Shen Yue?” Shen Qing said, “How could I not know what your heart is thinking? Don’t pretend to be a good person here. If you are really concerned about her, then you should go and sit in her carriage and not spout principles.”
Shen Yue bit her lip as she looked down and did not say anything more.
The carriage travelled for almost half a shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours) before finally reaching Guang Wen Tang.
It was still early so the teachers had yet to start class. The second level students had almost all arrived and were sitting at the classroom chatting. Shen Yue and Shen Qing just reached the room when immediately there were some females who went up to greet them warmly.
In Guang Wen Tang, Shen Yue was number one in terms of talent for the females. She was pretty and her temperament was gentle hence she was naturally sought after by everyone. Even though Shen Qing was not as outstanding as Shen Yue, she was also capable and handled things smoothly, so the circle of noble young ladies liked her a lot.
A pink clad young female said, “Yue Niang, why is Shen Miao not here today?” Usually Shen Miao would be like a maid following beside Shen Yue and Shen Qing, but it was unusual to not see her today.
“Most likely she did not have any face to show up.” The young lady who said that looked charming but her voice was somewhat loud and she had some ridiculing expression on her face. “I heard that she fell into the water while stealing a look at His Highness Prince Ding. Was it because she has yet to recover from her cold or that she did not have any face to see anyone.”
“Pei Lan, it is not like that…” Shen Yue shook her head.
“You are too protective of your younger sister.” Yi Pei Lan said, “That kind of stupid and foolish person should simply not come out from your Shen residence. You should always keep an eye on her. But she really opened the eyes of everyone in the world. Usually she looks timid and sticky but once she meets His Highness Prince Ding, she is so brave. Those who did not know would wonder what sort of small family taught such a poor mannered young lady.”
These words were somewhat serious. Shen Qing heard it and laughed, “Fifth Younger Sister was only mischievous in that moment.”
“I think it is because General Shen and Shen Furen are not by her side teaching her.” Another young female with a horse style bun said, “The lack of discipline means that even the etiquette and manners of a female are not known.”
“Cai Xuan’s words are not right,” Shen Yue softly spoke, “Even though Eldest BoFu and Eldest BoMu are not in Ding capital, Fifth Younger Sister was brought up by ZuMu and my mother, and Second Shen also constantly taught her so there was no lack of discipline.”
The unspoken implication was that Shen Miao had no sense of shame or honor.
Sure enough, when Shen Yue’s words came out, Yi Pei Lan spoke out, “This is strange. With the same set of parenting, Yue Niang and Qing Niang, you and Shen Miao are as different as the sky and the earth. This is probably what the teacher was saying: mud will not stick to the wall (aka she is worthless).” As she said this, she started chuckling causing the surrounding noble females to also start laughing. Even some young males could not help but look over.
In the next moment, they heard someone shouting, “Look, Shen Miao is here!”
Everyone looked towards the door, holding onto the hope that there would be a show to watch.
They saw a young female walking slowly from the door, wearing a dark red outfit with cloud and geese embroidery and a dark blue, embroidered cloak. These colours would normally be too old for young females, especially since Shen Miao was a little rounded. If she was not careful, she would look like a child who had stolen an elder’s clothes to wear.
Her footsteps were slow and the corners of her skirt did not move as each step was very light yet still had weight. One did not know why it felt as if there was a graceful air of magnanimity. Her chin was slightly raised and her eyes were naturally placid, as if one was unable to see the bottom of her eyes but all the energy was confined inside, like a beast that had kept all its claws and teeth.
Her five facial features were still lovable because her face was round and adorable but now there was no trace of stupidity. Though she had yet to grow up, when coupled with her dignified manner, it was unexpectedly not out of sorts.
It was not the manner a young female but was more like… Those noble furen with high status or a firm and decisive master of the entire family or residence.
The classroom gradually quieted down.