Edited by Kiskaiya
Updated on 8 Aug 2019
Chapter 9: Pei Xiu Cai
A young male in his early twenties walked in from the outside. He wore light robes and his features were straight. Even though his stature was slightly weak, one could tell that he was what a gentleman should look like. He walked in and praised, “That was said well. There is also dignity in love and it should not be something to be mocked. Even though Guang Wen Tang is a place for learning, it is also a place to practice one’s virtue.”
Not one of the students uttered a single word.
Shen Miao looked closely at that young man.
Pei Lang, an accounting teacher at Guang Wen Tang. He had both integrity and talent and was the only Xiu Cai in Guang Wen Tang that could teach accounting. Pei Xiu Cai had a gentle temperament and was patient. When compared to other strict teachers, he was more worthy of the respect of the students. Even Shen Miao, who was at the end of the spectrum, was never scolded by Pei Xiu Cai as he would patiently and repeatedly explain.
If that was the case, then this person was a good teacher. His moral character and talents were one in tens of thousands, but unfortunately Shen Miao also knew his other identity.
Fu Xiu Yi relied heavily on his aids and advisors and when Fu Xiu Yi ascended to the throne, he conferred him the title of National Preceptor. National Preceptor Pei Leng was proud of his success, only beneath one person and above tens of thousands.
As a National Preceptor, he really did well. Shen Miao thought that Pei Lang was an intelligent and upright person, however, during the time when the Crown Prince was deposed, he was silent.
Shen Miao’s and Pei Leng’s private friendship could be considered good. At the beginning, the proposal of Shen Miao going to the Qin country to be a hostage was brought up by Pei Lang. Pei Lang said, “This is for the sake of the Empire of Ming Qi. If Your Ladyship is willing to go, it would resolve His Majesty’s desperate situation. In the future, there will be the Empress’s shadow all over the country and everyone will appreciate the grace of Your Ladyship.”
But in fact, when she returned to the Palace after five years, there was an additional Mei Furen in the Inner Palace and Pei Lang’s people who previously respected her began to have precautions against her instead.
When the Crown Prince was abolished, Shen Miao went down to her knees to beg Pei Lang because Pei Lang was Fu Xiu Yi’s trusted aide and when Pei Lang spoke, Fu Xiu Yi would definitely listen to his views. But Pei Lang supported her up and said to her, “Your Ladyship, this official is also powerless on matters that His Majesty has decided.”
“Pei Lang! Could it be that you will watch as the Crown Prince is abolished? You are fully aware that the matter of the abolishment of the Crown Prince cannot proceed!” She was extremely furious as she questioned him aggressively.
“This is already ultimately inevitable. Your Ladyship should resign to one’s fate.” Pei Lang said with a sigh.
Resign to one’s fate.
How could one resign to fate? If there was a chance to repeat and one still needed to resign to fate, wouldn’t it be too lamentable and hateful?
Shen Miao’s eyes focused on the young man in front. He was straightforward, upright, and had a gentle temperament but was also callous and cold-hearted and could see one’s death without helping. As an official, everything was done for the sake of the country, and Pei Lang was a loyal official. But… As long as he stood by Fu Xiu Yi’s side, he would be opposing her endlessly in this life!
At this current period, Fu Xiu Yi should not have subdued Pei Xiu Cai, so was there a possibility of pulling Pei Xui Cai to her side before that happened? Or just simply… Nip him in the bud (aka kill him).
Pei Xiu Cai had just put down the book in his hands when he felt a pair of eyes on him. He looked up and met Shen Miao’s eyes full of unknown implication.
Even though Shen Miao’s sitting position was in the back, she still stubbornly stared at him. This feeling was a bit strange and Pei Xiu Cai felt that there was a sense of judgement and scrutiny in that expression as if she was weighing the pros and cons before making a decision. To go deeper, there was also a critical look on her face.
He stopped his movements, wanting to clearly see what expression Shen Miao was showing, but he saw the young lady pick up the brush on the table and bow her head. Pei Lang smiled in his heart and shook his head. How could a little girl portray a condescending look? As for passing judgement and scrutiny, it would be even more impossible. Shen Miao was the most stupid and timid person in Guang Wen Tang.
After tidying up some things, he started the class.
The entirety of the level two students were a little drowsy.
One would easily feel bored during accounting lessons and no matter how marvellously Pei Xiu Cai teaches, they were all fourteen or fifteen year old youths who were at the age of jumping around, so how would they even listen. Coupled with the cool autumn weather, there were many who were taking a nap.
If it was other teachers, they would have taken a ruler out to reprimand them, but Pei Lang was the most gentle person and would never punish the students. So everyone would have the courage to misbehave in his class. Other than Shen Qing, who was always the first in accounting, listening seriously, the others were so bored that they did their own stuff.
The Shen Miao today was different.
She stared at Pei Xiu Cai without blinking and sat upright as if she was earnestly listening. This was something incredible as she usually hated to study and had no interest in accounts. It was already a miracle that she was not asleep, but she was actually listening actively in class?
The beautiful young female who was sitting with Shen Miao at the same table was wearing a thin, chrysanthemum embroidered dress and looked somewhat haughty. Seeing Shen Miao seriously listening to the lesson, she could not help to reveal a surprised look, her eyebrows raising from time to time.
Why would Shen Miao care that much? Previously she had no interest in books, but after becoming the Empress, her foundation was not stable and she needed to maintain life in the Inner Palace carefully. She, as the Empress, also needed to reduce the cost of living, and after doing all that personally, she felt that books were no longer that difficult. Every matter of the Inner Palace, from the big matters like the cost of each ceremony to the smallest matter like the cups and snacks of the concubines, was all included in the accounts, which were considerable and messy. She had looked each one individually, so how could these calculations in the textbooks matter?
She only wanted to work harder to see clearly what kind of person Pei Xiu Cai actually was.
Only with this method could she then know what kind of methods would be appropriate for this person.
When her focused look was seen by the young female beside her, it was already very unusual. Only after the calculation lesson finished and Pei Xiu Cai left did Shen Miao retrieve back her gaze.
Her desk mate tugged her sleeves as she spoke with a tone of surprise, “Shen Miao, are you possessed by evil spirits?”
“Why do you say that?” Shen Miao asked. The young female in front of her was Feng An Ning, the Di daughter of the Minister of Attendants..
The Feng family was initially one of the capital’s meritorious and rich officials and Feng An Ning had been raised with an arrogant and willful temperament. But in the last life, Old Feng Master supported the wrong team and when the new Emperor ascended the throne, he was dismissed. In order to save this daughter from harm, he could only marry her off early to a distant cousin. After Feng family collapsed, Feng An Ning, who was married off, also did not have a good ending. That cousin had a gilded exterior, but had a shabby and ruined character beneath. Feng An Ning was not even married for a year when he had a son with a concubine outside. He still scolded her as the burden that the Feng family left. How could Feng An Ning take such grievances? She immediately picked up a pair of scissors and killed the concubine and herself.
All the various things that happened in her past life were now like clouds floating by. Looking again at the young woman with haughty expression, what would she have thought of her tragic ending in the future?
When Shen Miao now looked at the youths in Guang Wen Tang, she felt that she was looking at children like Fu Ming and Wan Yu and could not muster any feelings of anger or annoyance. Other than Shen Qing and Shen Yue, who were two-faced villains, most of them were just spoilt children. And all these spoilt young ladies and men would encounter a cruel fate in the next ten years time.
Seeing that she did not speak, Feng An Ning was somewhat dissatisfied as she said, “Are you disregarding me on purpose? Shen Miao, you are so hardworking today because of the academy examination in a month time, correct? Your older sister mentioned that you want to take the opportunity to shine so that Prince… Others will be able to see you.”
After all, she was a good child. After listening to Pei Xiu Cai’s words, she did not talk about being in love with Prince Ding.
“Academy examinations?” Shen Miao raised her eyebrows.