2nd additional chap this week!!! Many thanks to the donors!!! Enjoy!!!
Chapter 34: Winning
The examiners were up on stage discussing the results of the examinations and the students below the stage were also in the heat of discussion.
Today Shen Miao did not make a fool of herself and that made the academy examinations seem a little boring, but many of her classmates who did not look at her now paid her more attention. Humans were all weird. When a normally terrible person performed a little better, perhaps others would think that there would be a reversal of fortune.
Feng An Ning was somewhat nervous and kept looking over at the examiners from time to time. For some unknown reasons, the few Darens on stage had a dispute over something.
“It seems that it is also very intense today.” Fu Xiu An laughed, “But for females, why should one be so competitive since they would not enter the official circles.” He has some conceited characteristics and was not afraid that the Darens beside him would be unhappy upon hearing his words, after all some of their daughters were those who were up on the stage.
“The opportunity of an academy examination is rare and naturally one would take advantage of it.” Fu Xiu Yi said.
“Ninth Younger Brother’s words are not wrong.” Fu Xiu Xuan picked up the tea on the table for a sip before speaking, “If there is any particularly outstanding female, Ninth Younger Brother must pay a little more attention.” Although he looked quiet, he was not one who was easy to dealt with. He was secretly and openly testing if Fu Xiu Yi would find a wife with a strong family background.
“Fifth Older Brother is joking.” Fu Xiu Yi shook his head, “Imperial Father will call the shots for my marriage. I would not have a say in the matter.”
That was also true. It was the Emperor that arranged Fu Xiu Yi’s current tasks and he rarely took the initiative to think of anything up by himself. In the eyes of an outsider, this kind of Prince was simply overly docile and had no ambition, just like Consort Dong Shu. But in the eyes of Prince Jing, Fu Xiu Xi, it would always be different.
“There is only one life and one would need to take a chance at it. Wouldn’t it be the same with marrying a wife?” Prince Jing’s words had an additional meaning, “Until the end of it, who would know what the outcome would be?”
Prince Zhou heard the temptation made by his own younger brother to Fu Xiu Yi, his eyes shifted but he did not speak.
It was not long later when the examiners came out and announced the results.
In the qin category, as expected, it was Feng An Ning that came out on top. Originally there was no one particularly powerful and Feng An Ning could be regarded as the most prominent one. She naturally was happy as she went up to collect the examination certificate and happily came down to show it to Feng Furen. Feng Furen looked happy as such a glory like this would be the icing on the cake even the female would not be an official. Noble and rich families’ children naturally do not lack of wealth or valuables but their talent and beauty would be able to separate them on different grades.
Feng An Ning used the academy examinations and elevated her grade up a level.
In the chess category, it was Bai Wei that came up on top. The records of the proceeding chess match were shown from the people below to view to ensure fairness. Shen Miao glanced at the chess game and repeated the moves in her mind. Bai Wei’s game was meticulous and could last the longest. Unfortunately too much attention was placed in trifles details and there was no better focus on the overall situation which hindered the progress and making it somewhat a burden.
For the literary category, Shen Qing only got the second rank. The first rank belonged to Yi Pei Lan. Her poem of a blooming Chrysanthemum’s complains was elegant and adorable. Even though it was a little excessive for an unmarried young lady to write such a poem but Guang Wen Tang was a place that broke through etiquettes and was not too harsh on female requirements. In addition the poem was written in an interesting and adorable manner and not merely from a Chrysanthemum’s point of view but using a Chrysanthemum to voice out one’s thought and thus added another higher level.
Shen Qing’s expression was not good but she was naturally not good at writing poetry thus was very helpless at the result.
Finally it was Shen Miao’s group on ‘painting’.
On the stage the examiners’ expressions were mixed and it was most probably that this was what the dispute was about. The females started to speculate that it was that Shen Yue’s and Qing Qin’s pieces had their own merits and it would be hard to make a choice, after all both of them were often compared against one another in Guang Wen Tang. Qing Qin sat in her original position arrogantly as if she scorned the result but the fingers that were holding the teacup stiffened.
In contrast, it was Shen Yue who seemed much more calmer. She sat beside Chen Rou Qiu, looking somewhat coquettish and shy while Chen Rou Qiu looked at her warmly. This daughter of hers was intelligent and talented and was as outstanding as her, well versed in the four scholarly arts. She would be the most outstanding one in every academy examinations, second to none. Seeing her being that cheerful, she must be extremely certain of the results today.
Shen Yue naturally had a well thought up plan, her brush strokes showed strength, it was interesting and even the conception of it was all thought out. It was as if she had found out the preferences of these examiners for her to always come out with the best works. So what if Qing Qin looked beautiful, it was only to look at and of no use. Thinking of useless, her eyes landed on Shen Miao who was sitting at the side. Shen Miao had made her suffer such a big damage and she thought that Shen Miao would make a fool of herself in the academy but who knew that she went through it safely. Now when the pieces are all displayed for everyone’s viewing, Shen Miao would not be able to escape ridicule.
Anyhow she would be a joke and a trace of comfort flashed in Shen Yue’s heart.
The examiner who was responsible for reading the results shouted out on the stage loudly, “Painting group’s first rank – Shen Miao.”
Shen Miao? First rank!
One stone created a thousand ripples. Everyone created a ruckus that the names of subsequent ranks that were read by the examiner were drowned in it.
Shen Yue’s smile stiffened on her face in a moment as she looked at Chen Rou Qiu with an incredible look and spoke with a trembling voice, “Mother, just now… Just now, who was the first ranked? I must have heard it wrong.”
Chen Rou Qiu pinched Shen Yue’s arm. Even though there were shock and anger in her heart, she ate a few decades of rice more than Shen Yue, and thus knew that under such a situation there will be many who would certainly watch Shen Yue’s reaction. If Shen Yue was magnanimous, it would be good but if she was like it was a matter of life or death like before, she would be at a disadvantage.
Although Shen Qing and Ren Wan Yun were gloating that it was the first time that Shen Yue has lost her face, they were also shocked when that person was Shen Miao. They thought that the examiner had mistaken Shen Yue for Shen Miao.
There were continuous discussion among the female side of the banquet and naturally there was an uproar in the male side.
“What is going on? Why was it not Little Yue?” Cai Lin suddenly stood up and looked at his classmate sitting beside him, “Was it me that heard it wrong? It was that old man that wrongly read it, right?”
He was not the only one thinking that. Especially the youths who were Shen Miao’s classmates had a shocked look in their eyes.
“Eldest Brother, see. I knew that she would win.” Su Ming Lang tugged Su Ming Feng. In this group of people, it was most likely that he was the happiest of all and the fats on his fair face also followed along and trembled.
Su Ming Feng head was also aching. Who knew that it was Shen Miao. Every year there would be a underground betting for the academy examinations and he bet Shen Yue for one thousand liang!
Finished. One thousand liang were squandered away just like that. If Master Su were to know, he would definitely tear him apart. Looking at Su Ming Lang who was jumping for joy, Su Ming Feng wanted to cry but there were no tears.
Pei Lang frowned but he did not look at the examiners on stage and instead looked at the purple clad young lady in the middle of the female side of the banquet.
She was exceptionally calm and was indifferent with all the surprises and doubts from others.
She had long known that she would win.