Extra chapter of the week…
Chapter 25: Sneering
The Chrysanthemum banquet was held in Yan Bei Tang, which was located near the Qin ranking Prince’s residence, and it was the hall where the founding Emperor and Empress personally set it up. Thus the former mansion was exquisitely pruned and covered several acres with magnificent buildings. If it wasn’t that it was far away from the city, the Emperor and Empress would want to transform it to part of the Palace.
With the mountains on one side and water on the other, it was indeed a good place to enjoy the scenery. In particular, in every tenth lunar month, different types of Chrysanthemums would bloom and because the place was manage well and had the possession of different Chrysanthemum seeds, when they bloom, the entire place can be considered as very elegant.
The carriage would take about one Shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours) from Shen residence and Yan Bei Tang so snacks would be prepared so that one would not feel hungry.
Gu Yu opened the basket that Gui Momo brought over and asked Shen Miao, “Young Lady better eat something. The journey is long and one will have strength if there is something to eat.”
Shen Miao looked at the things in the basket.
Cold goat geese, scallion rolls, spicy and oily drumsticks… At first glance it would make one’s mouth water as it was colourful and savoury.
Unfortunately the flavour of these things were just too heavy. Like the cold cheese and spicy and oily drumsticks were easy to smuge the lip rouge and if one was not careful, it would be easy to make one’s clothes dirty. Gui Momo really put in ‘utmost care’ when preparing these food.
The courtyard battle between females was about some tricks that was done in the dark to make others stumble. But Shen Miao was previously in the Inner Palace of Ming Qi and her opponents were the concubines who were fighting for favour thus the stakes were much higher. These kind of tricks were really nothing at all. She shook her head and let Gu Yu cover the box up and spoke to Jing Zhe, “No need. Jing Zhe have some.”
Jing Zhe carefully took out a small cloth bag from behind, that held small and exquisite pastries. Shen Miao did not trust the kitchens in Shen residence and let Jing Zhe bribe the steward to help her buy some snacks from outside. The steward only thought that Jing Zhe was greedy and did not add anything to the food. That steward was only somewhat surprise that Jing Zhe, a maid, would be actually willing to buy snacks from Guang Fu Zhai.
Guang Fu Zhai was one of the best pastry shop in the Ding capital that even the concubines in the Palace love to eat it. In Shen Miao’s previous life, she was not very interested in Guang Fu Zhai’s snacks but Wan Yu love it so much that she would not be happy if she did not eat it for a day.
At this moment the snacks was only about the size of Shen Miao’s finger and was made to look like flowers which was very cute and adorable. Shen Miao distributed some to Gu Yu and Jing Zhe to eat. Both maids initially did refused but after Shen Miao’s insistence, they was unable to continue refusing and ate a mouthful before saying in surprise, “Young Lady, this snack is really delicious.”
Shen Miao smiled. Actually no matter how delicious can the snacks may be, it only need to be made elaborately and cutely as females would always like good looking things. When Wan Yu had the marriage alliance, she spend a lot of money to buy Guang Fu Zhai’s pastry master as she hope that Wan Yu was able to eat her favourite snacks when she was in the bitter cold country of Xiong Nu.
Who would know… Who would know that in the middle of the journey Wan Yu perish and she was unable to even see her body.
Shen Miao closed her eyes.
Wan Yu’s marriage alliance was instigated by Mei Furen and colluded with Chen Rouxi that family but was ordered by Fu Xiu Yi. In this lifetime, not one of these people should think about running away. She want these people who cause Wan Yu’s death to pay back hundreds and thousands of times!
Gu Yu was eating the snacks in relish when she looked up and saw Shen Miao’s cold and chilly look, as if it was a noble lady in a high position having a killing intention. In that moment, Gu Yu seemed to have seen Shen Xin’s shadow. Shen Xin was someone who had killed others and seen bloodshed in the battlefield thus when he became angry, the ferocious came from his bones. At this moment the look in Shen Miao’s eyes was exactly the same as Shen Xin’s.
She almost choked on a snack and had to swallow it down strenuously before asking carefully, “Is Young Lady uncomfortable anywhere?”
“No.” Shen Miao’s eyes drooped, “Was thinking about some things.”
Fu Xiu Yi would also be present in today’s Chrysanthemum banquet. Not only Fu Xiu Yi, there would be several brothers of Fu Xiu Yi would be present. There were currently nine princes with each their own merits, thus each of them had their own camp. But Fu Xiu Yi had the most harmless appearance and had slightly better relationship with the Crown Prince’s fraction.
Who knew that at the end the Crown Prince was oust and Fu Xiu Yi was the heir apparent? She did not intend to help the Crown Prince as the Imperial Family of Ming Qi was the most ruthless. They see all those vessel families whose ancestors help to found the empire as an old dogs. It was these dogs had help them to hunt down the rabbit but when the rabbit was in the bag, they were worried that their dogs would kill them so they drain the dogs to the last drop of blood before killing and cooking them.
The world was heartless. The heir to the throne was not just. So on what basis was there to require the loyalty of everyone?
Why not watch how a dog would bite another dog? Shen Miao’s lips slightly hooked up.
There was a number of noble family who had arrived at Yan Bei Tang.
Although in today’s academy examinations would not differentiate males between females, the banquet divided the guests by female and male seats. At the male seats, many youths and their father quickly greeted one another as it was natural to build up relationships between families to support one another. As these youths would one day take over their fathers to support the entire family, more friends were always beneficial.
The female side would not frequently meet up as the males thus the women often gossip among themselves and the young ladies would have their fixed group of friends. As they would chat together in every three to five days, they were both nervous and looking forward to the Chrysanthemum banquet. They would also occasionally look up and glance across the area to see one’s admired youth.
Yi Pei Lan fiddled with some small flowers as she said, “Do you all have confidence in the academy examinations today?”
“I do not have.” The female beside her smiled, “There are so many people and I am mediocre at best thus I am really scared. I only help that later I would not be drawn out or chosen in a challenge by anyone. I don’t seek to stand out and only not to make a fool of myself.”
Yi Pei Lan ‘s mouth twitched, “One must at least try. As everyone know, His Highness Prince Ding would also be present and moreover your admired Young Master Lee would also be here. The Young Master of the Lee family’s language skills are exceptionally outstanding and would definitely come on the stage. Shouldn’t you take this opportunity to perform well?”
The young female pushed Yi Pei Lan as her face revealed some shyness, “Don’t say nonsense.”
Jiang Xiao Xuan heard what was said and smiled, “Exactly. Bai Wei, you must not be afraid. If one where to say about making a fool of oneself, there would still be the Shen family’s number five to be at the end of the spectrum. Seeing that, you are much better than her.”
“Precisely.” Yi Pei Lan also smiled in amusement, “During the yearly academy examinations, that Fifth Shen would be responsible for provoking laughter and it is tough for her to still come every year. When I think about how she is going to show off her work this year, I would want to laugh out. Really don’t know that she would wear again. Would it be like last year’s terribly bright red dress with purple gold hairpin?”
A number of young females started giggling.
“Enough already.” Feng An Ning suddenly open her mouth, “What so funny about it?”
Yi Pei Lan was surprise for a moment before she said, “Feng An Ning, you seemed very strange recently. Why are you so good with that fool?”
Feng An Ning had a look of anger and was about to speak when she heard someone speaking from the other side, “The Furens of Shen family have arrived.”