Edited by Kiskaiya
Updated on 7 Sep 2019
Chapter 18: So It Was You
The days were always gone too quickly.
With the weather turning colder, the students of Guang Wen Tang began to prepare for the academy examinations that would be held at the end of the month.
The young males did it so that they could be officials and the young females did it to show off their talents to increase their value when they married in the future or so prospective matches would take a fancy to them.
This was what the noble children must do. Even pampered females like Feng An Ning also started to work harder these days, much less Shen Qing and Shen Yue. Shen Yue especially composed poetry and played the qin in the East courtyard all day long as she looked forward to being in the limelight again this year.
Shen Yue and Shen Qing were already fifteen and according to tradition, it was the time where the two families would meet. The females in Ming Qi would be married around the age of sixteen, so they could be engaged at the age of fifteen. Shen Qing and Shen Yue did not settle it for a long time because they had set their eyes very high and looked down on those of the same status. But it would be somewhat not knowing what was good for themselves if they set it too high.
In the end, these two households resolutely fixed their sights on Prince Ding.
Of the nine sons of the late Emperor, only the ninth, Prince Ding, had yet to marry. He was just in his early twenties and it was the perfect time to get married. But, because of various reasons, the Prince Consort position was still undecided. Like a hanging piece of meat, Prince Ding would personally be there as an examiner in the academy examinations. This made many young ladies put in more energy and effort as they hoped to leave a good impression in front of Prince Ding and wished that His Highness would fall for them at first sight.
Shen Miao, however, had no intention of doing that.
Even with another lifetime, she was still not a woman of romance. She did not know how to compose poetry or perform any dance. Obviously she could not stand on the stage to talk about the major national issues. Moreover, she did not want to have any association with Prince Ding.
In her past lifetime, Prince Ding used her Shen family, harmed her children and massacred her entire clan. This was a debt that needed to be paid sooner or later. Since there was a blood debt, how can they be husband and wife in this life?
Feng An Ning asked her, “Why are you not reading? Seeing that the end of the month is here, if you do not buck up, aren’t you letting others laugh their teeth off?” Shen Miao fell into the water and afterwards had quieted down a lot. Feng An Ning thought that she started to understand things properly, but today it seemed that there was no difference from how it was previously. She was still that stupid and ignorant student.
Shen Miao said, “One would not understand anyhow, why waste additional time.”
Yi Pei Lan, who was listening to the remarks at the side, laughed and sneered, “It’s nothing more than mud not sticking to the wall.”
Shen Yue was talking to Shen Qing at that moment and pretended as though as she did not hear the words spoken here and did not come to her rescue. These days, Shen Miao did not please them as she did previously, so they were unhappy about it in their hearts and were anxious to see Shen Miao embarrass herself.
Shen Miao, however, seemed not to have heard Yi Pei Lan’s words and stood up, “I will go for a walk in the garden.”
When she had left, Yi Pei Lan then curled her lip in disgust, “Only escaping when she has nothing to say, truly as timid as a mouse.”
“Have you said enough?” Feng An Ning’s brows pinched, “What is so good about having knowledge?” Since level two, she was imposing and pampered at home. Yi Pei Lan did not want to create trouble with her, so she kept quiet.
Shen Miao reached the gardens and walked slowly around.
Guang Wen Tang was a place of elegance and the garden’s greenery, pond, rock formation and construction were done up beautifully. As one walked into the bamboo forest, one would be able to smell a fragrance which could make one’s heart feel refreshed.
She only wanted some quiet time for herself. The people in level two were only young impetuous kids, and she had already been a mother in the past lifetime. Many times, as the Empress, other than receiving the greetings of various concubines, she would need to spend most of her time in her own Feng Yi Palace. After being accustomed to quiet isolation and emptiness, she was too lazy to deal with a group of kids making a ruckus, be it be ridiculing or getting ridiculed.
In the end, she did not care about them.
As she was walking, she saw a snow white glutinous rice dumpling appear in front of her.
The small dumpling clad in ivory satin robes was standing under the bamboo. The clothes that should be very beautiful were deformed by the round body shape, and the hat on his head was creased and crumpled, making the entire look seem funny and ridiculous.
“Su Ming Lang.” She softly called.
When the dumpling heard his name, he quickly turned around. When he saw Shen Miao, a look of pleasant surprise appeared. He seemed to want to rush off, but stopped hesitantly and did not speak as he watched Shen Miao.
This child really did look like a four or five year old baby, which made Shen Miao’s head ache. Could it be that he took her as a mother?
When Su Ming Lang saw Shen Miao, he pursed his lips like he wanted to say something yet did not dare to speak. Afterwards, his eyes started to redden as he softly cried, “I’m sorry…”
Sorry? Shen Miao was slightly blanked out when she saw the dumpling’s mouth tremble as he was about to cry with grievance.
The next moment, a lazy voice rang out.
“So it was you.”