Good news!!! I have an editor!!! So now there will be lesser mistakes and the flow of the story would be better 🙂
Will also be updating Chapter 37 & 38 too
Edited by Tnyhy & Larkspur (Updated 30th May 2022)
Chapter 39: Provoking
When Shen Miao exited the plum blossom forest, Gu Yu and Jing Zhe were finally relieved. Jing Zhe took a peek inside but did not see any figure, and thus asked doubtfully, “Why is there no one?”
Shen Miao also glanced back. The leaves of the forest were lush and gently swaying with the wind. How could anyone see any figure? Xie Jing Xing was someone who practiced martial arts and most probably could disappear by flying away.
She said, “Let’s leave.”
When they were back at the banquet, Feng An Ning ran over in a rush and complained, “Didn’t we agree for you to wait for me? Just a turn of the head and one was unable to see anyone. Upon returning, you were also not here. Where exactly did you go?”
“Seeing that the chrysanthemum blossomed well, I casually walked around.” Shen Miao raised her eyes and looked towards the stage, “Has it started?”
“You were gone for a long time. The picking up round for the male group is over.” Feng An Ning’s lips curled, “Now it is the male group’s turn for the selecting.”
The youths on stage were in the midst of competing. The first round of ‘drawing lots’ was over, but Shen Miao did not care about the results. The second round was ‘selection’, which was to select the areas that one was good at.
Shen Miao’s eyes fell on the other far left side of the banquet, at the aqua green-clad youth.
This youth was fit, dark and his facial features were not bad. It was only that his overly sturdy stature made him look rough. And even so he still chose to wear green robes, making his complexion seem even darker. Not only that, he still combed his hair up and bound it with a jade bamboo hairpin. Most likely he was trying to follow the example of a gentleman, but because he also wanted an appearance of wealth, his semblance was somewhat nondescript. In a nutshell, although he wanted to look distinguished but because he was trying to imitate someone else, he failed to gain the desired effect and looked tacky.
This was Gao Yan of the Historian Adviser Jing’s family. He was still young this year, not surpassing sixteen and his feathers had not even grown. Until after Fu Xiu Yi ascended to the throne, and because Gao Yan rode on Gao Jing’s wind as the latter’s status rose, he would act tyrannically in the Ding Capital and was extremely bold to even dare to covet Wan Yu.
As long as she thought of Wan Yu, who would suffer Gao Yan’s words of provocation, Shen Miao would become furious. She stared at Gao Yan as if watching a prey walking into a trap.
At that moment, Gao Yan thought about something and talked to Gao Jing with a look of joy on his face.
He was naturally happy as he had obtained such a uniquely worded essay since during the ‘drawing lots’ he had picked righteousness which resulted in a mediocre performance. He waited for the ‘selection’ to bring out this essay and then he would be able to startle the entire audience.
Shen Miao sneered in her heart. Go then, take this essay and go to Fu Xiu Yi’s side then! Enter officialdom before Gao Jing makes progress in his career. She believed that with Gao Yan’s high level of means and methods, he would be able to personally and single-handedly annihilate Historian Adviser Jing’s residence.
This was the big gift she was giving Historian Adviser Jing.
As for Pei Lang, she turned and looked at the man clad in a green robe sitting near Fu Xiu Yi. From now on, in this lifetime, you will start to slowly repay me for your past debts!
“Shen Miao, after the male group is done, it would be the female group’s ‘selection’. What will you choose?”
“Will not.” Shen Miao answered.
In the academy examinations, ‘drawing lots’ was a category that all students had to participate in. As for the ‘selection’ category, it depended on one’s wish and if one did not want to, one need not participate. Thus, in the ‘selection’ category of the academy examinations, it was a category that could easily show one’s abilities. If one had an area that one was naturally good at, then it could also be performed in this ‘selection’ category. Thus, in the ‘selection’ category, the crowd would have a higher level of enthusiasm because the performance would be the one in which they felt more confident.
If it was the previous Shen Miao that had no strength, she would not have participated in the ‘selection’ category as she would only make a fool of herself if she went up.
“Why?” Feng An Ning was somewhat disappointed and said, “Currently your painting is good, so there should also be improvements in the other categories. Why not simply show it off?”
“There is no need.” Shen Miao started fiddling with the chess game on the table again and replied Feng An Ning without even lifting her head, “There is no difference to me between being in the limelight or not. Moreover, I am not knowledgeable in the four scholarly arts and was only lucky just now.”
“You…” Feng An Ning was flustered and exasperated, “How can anyone say that of themselves?”
“Fifth Younger Sister.” A voice interrupted their conversation. They did not know when Shen Yue stood in front of them with a worried expression on her face, “Fifth Younger Sister, in the next round of ‘selection’, would you really not participate?”
“Could it be that Second Elder Sister wished for me to participate?” Shen Miao answered the question with another question.
Shen Yue was choked by her words. She did not know why Shen Miao seemed to be bent on shedding all pretence of cordiality recently, and it was making her really puzzled. Was it possible that the incident of falling into the water had made her lash out on the Second and Third Household? Although she was doubtful, Shen Miao had been undiscriminating her in quick succession, anger accumulated in her heart. She bit her lips and seemed to be somewhat aggrieved as she softly said, “I naturally hope that Fifth Younger Sister would participate. Just now that painting was done extremely well, so since Fifth Younger Sister possesses such great skills, why not continue to choose the topic ‘painting’ since everyone is still talking behind your back? If the next painting is drawn well, the rumours will be discredited.”
Shen Yue’s voice was not soft and since she was surrounded by young ladies and Furens, naturally, they clearly heard every single word. These words seemed to be nothing, but they voiced out the suspicions that everyone had in their hearts. Even though Shen Miao’s drawing of the white chrysanthemum had gotten the first rank, she had been an idiot for so many years. The perception in people’s hearts would not change easily, thus they did not believe that the painting came out from her and thought that there was someone at her side giving her pointers.
Shen Yue also thought so in her heart. So she thought that as long as in the second round Shen Miao draws another painting, without any helpful pointers, she would not be able to draw a good painting and would definitely make a fool of herself.
Feng An Ning heard the knack of it and immediately ridiculed, “Second Shen Young Lady spoke as if it is very easy. Painting pays particular attention to the desire of composition. Even if it was Second Young Lady, it would not be possible to draw two paintings continuously.” Shen Miao was only a student and not a master in painting and calligraphy.
“I only asked that after seeing Fifth Younger Sister’s improvement in skills.” Shen Yue smiled gently, “Just now such a good painting was able to be drawn, so why is it not possible to draw another one?
From beginning to end, Shen Miao did not raise her head and only placed a chess piece in the middle of the chess game before saying, “Not interested. You have worried.”
Shen Yue did not expect that Shen Miao would give such a lukewarm reply in front of so many people and was embarrassed for a moment. In this world, the most annoying thing was to dig a trap but the other party chose not to fall into it.
As Shen Miao was not even willing to accept her provocation in front of everyone’s suspicions, this made Shen Yue think that the intention behind that painting came not from Shen Miao. Thus, the thought of watching Shen Miao making a fool of herself ingrained deeply into her heart and she continued laughing after a pause, “Since Fifth Younger Sister insists then I would not say more.” She then turned around and returned to her seat.
Over at the male side of the banquet, Cai Lin had been secretly watching Shen Yue when he suddenly saw Shen Yue looking over from afar and seemingly smiled at him gently.
Cai Lin was startled following that, he was somewhat excited. But he saw Shen Yue bowing her head as if she was somewhat upset.
He suddenly felt anxious.