Chapter 32: Same Group
The examiners in charge of the academy examinations was already up on stage and the personnel that were holding the wooden buckets had recorded the different categories to divide it to groups for the examinations.
First up were the female groups, for the four scholarly arts. The students of Guang Wen Tang did not have to take the academy examinations in the first grade, only when they are in grade two and three. Grade Three were done at the next wave and thus only Grade Two students were left with around twenty over people.
The female who attended Guang Wen Tang were the capital’s noble daughters and Su daughters had no qualification. Even among the Di daughters, families would also hire teachers into the residence to teach. Moreover the fees for Guang Wen Tang were not low, every year their profits would reach to a thousand liang.
In the beginning Shen Xin did not care about such money matters so the three daughters of the Shen residence were all sent to Guang Wen Tang. Ren Wan Yun had some dissatisfaction with the matter but Shen Xin waved his hands on it and they did not dare to continue arguing. After all, the money in the public fund were all rewards that the Emperor gave to Shen Xin for his battle efforts.
Twenty two people were divided into four groups. There were more, seven people, in the qin group since females had always like things that highlight themselves. For the other three topics, there were five people each.
In the painting group where Shen Miao was in, there was Shen Yue, Left Commanding Imperial Censor’s Di daughter, Qin Qing from Feng Tian residence, Fu Yin residence’s Fan Liu-er and Zhao Yan from the Left Vice Minister residence
Fan Liu-er and Zhao Yan were both somewhat disappointed. Fan Liu-er expertise was in the qin and Zhao Yan was good in chess, moreover no one was like Shen Yue who was proficient in every category. To be unable to pick their expertise in front of the males, Fan Liu-er and Zhao Yan was not satisfied about it. It was Qin Qing, who was as arrogant as usual. Qin Qing was pretty and was the only rival of Shen Yue in Guang Wen Tang but not on talent. Even though Shen Yue was a soft beauty, Qin Qing looked glamorous and her presence could push her down.
Shen Miao’s eyes landed on Qin Qing. Today she was wearing a green wide-sleeved cotton robes and there was a yellow belt on her waist. Her waist was less than a grip and with the fluttering of her robes, there was some fairy-like feeling. As compared to the weak and soft appearance of Shen Yue, she was like a pure Water Lily.
However in such a life of a beautiful female would be caught up in the late Emperor’s plan of cleaning up of the noble family clans. After the Left Commanding Imperial Censor’s family suffered a defeat, she was reduced to a prostitute in the army and later it was heard that she used a knife and perished with some insignificant soldier in the army.
Seeming aware of Shen Miao’s sight, Qin Qing looked over and was somewhat surprised but then turned back with some disgust, as if she was not willing to see one more look of Shen Miao.
Shen Miao was not bothered about it but it was Feng An Ning, who stood beside her, who tugged the corner of her clothes, “Later on you should just draw anything casually and not think too much.”
Feng An Ning thought it simply. Since one would definitely be humiliated, to be humiliated like that would make those people find it boring. But if Shen Miao strive to be vindicated and did overstep the boundaries of propriety, then it would be a major disadvantage.
Shen Miao nodded. After hearing the examiners on stage beating the drum, the academy examinations officially started.
The first comparison was ‘qin’.
It could be Feng An Ning’s good luck as the female students who had picked ‘qin’ all had mediocre skills. In addition of being the best few in qin, it turns out to be a lucky coincidence. Feng An Ning had picked up a big advantage.
Moreover Feng An Ning had been practising her qin skills hard these recent days and it was finally not in vain. When she was sitting, there was some air of a gentlewoman and couple with her good looks and qin sounds that comparing with those mediocre others, it was like a burst of breeze that made one feel pure and cool.
A blue clad youth at the male section of the banquet said, “It’s sonorous and resounding.”
When Cai Lin heard it at the side, he kicked that youth unhappily, “What was that? That was because one did not hear Yue’er qin. If Yue-er was to play a piece, even nine heavenly fairies would not be able to compare. Such ignorance!”
Cai Lin was one who always protected his crush but Su Ming Lang who heard it began to twitch his mouth. He wanted to say something but seeing his brother warning eyes, he held back.
The ‘qin’ category was almost finished and the few examiners started to discuss with one another on the judgement. After the ‘qin’ group was done, it was then chess. The process for chess was much simpler. The five people were divided to two and play with one another, one game to define the winner and marks were awarded for the chess strategy and manner. In this category, the winner was Yi Pei Lan.
After chess it was ‘literary’. Shen Qing, Bai Wei and Jiang Xiao were all in a group. These three people were good friends normally but in the academy examination, there was a nervous atmosphere. This time the literary context would be based on Chrysanthemum. One would pick up the brush to write a poem down. First to see the calligraphy and second to see one’s talent. Shen Qing’s expertise was not at poetry and chess but accounting. Unfortunately accounting was in the male examinations so she did not get it.
But as long as the final result was not out, no one would know who would be the first position.
One would need to wait till the end before it reaches to Shen Miao’s group.
Shen Yue glanced at Shen Miao, most likely she still remembered that Shen Miao humiliated her just now, Shen Miao actually did not try to maintain their good sisters’ appearance. She smiled at Shen Miao, “Later at the stage, Fifth Younger Sister must not give way to Older Sister. To have such a confidence appearance, even I am a little afraid.”
These words were heard by Fan Liu-er at the right moment and she could not help but laugh, “Shen Yue, what are you talking about? What confidence appearance, could it be – Shen Miao has a trump card?”
“Since you say it to such, I have some expectations already.” Zhao Yan said in rejoice at her misfortune, “Remember last year Shen Miao picked qin but pull the strings off from a good bamboo qin. It must be that she had inherited General Shen’ bravery. This year is painting, the brush better not be broken.” As she spoke, she touched Shen Miao’s cheek, “Such a fair and tender face, better not paint on this face later on.”
Shen Miao did not move and just look at her indifferently. Under that extremely cold eyes, Zhao Yan smile gradually froze and Fan Liu-er also felt that Shen Miao expression was not good. There was a sudden wave of fear in her heart and she involuntary pull Zhao Yan’s hand back.
Qin Qing seemed somewhat impatient and glance Shen Miao, “Quarrel what quarrel? If you want to quarrel then go up stage and quarrel and let everyone see both of your appearances.”
After she said it like that, even though Zhao Yan and the rest were not happy about it, they did not speak any more.
At the male side of the banquet, Cai Lin looked at Shen Yue’s figure excitedly but that rice dumpling tugged Su Ming Feng, “That pretty older sister is there. Eldest Brother look.”
Su Ming Feng was between laughter and tears, he did not know how his own Younger Brother was so persistent with Shen Miao. He was already Grade Three and this was the first time he was out after being seriously ill and also evidently weak so he was unable to participate in the academy examinations. He also knew of Shen Miao’s reputation, after all the entire Ding capital knew that the formidable Shen General was unhindered in the battlefields but had an idiot for a daughter.
“She will definitely win.” Su Ming Lang said while making a fist with his hands.
Su Ming Feng did not express an opinion as he knew that it would be Shen Yue who would win the first place today again.
In front of the stage, Shen Yue could not help but spoke to Shen Miao, “Fifth Younger Sister, later on you must not show any mercy. Older Sister will wait for you.”
“Definitely.” Shen Miao answered.
Would definitely not show any mercy.