Bu Ni Shang’s Provocation
In regards to this special item, many of the people had already heard rumors about it, causing everyone to feel excited.
Feng Yu Heng noticed Feng Chen Yu ask Qing Le a question. After hearing Qing Le’s response, Chen Yu’s expression displayed a great shock, as she looked to be on the verge of screaming. It was Qing Le that covered her mouth, which prevented her from being discovered. This action, however, was seen by a fair number of people, which frightened Chen Yu into quickly lowering her head.
Feng Yu Heng shifted her chair back a bit. She felt that this sort of competition was completely unrelated to her. The Empress herself had said it. This was for the sake of letting the younger generation find good marital matches. For someone who was already engaged, why would she go mess around with them.
But even if she did not want to join in, there would be someone who would not allow her to rest freely. “Zither, chess, calligraphy, painting, singing, dancing and archery” Of these seven competitions, the first six attracted the participation of a large number of pampered young misses. The large Liu Li courtyard was split into six competition areas, with each area filled with people.
As for the competition area for archery, it was outside out Liu Li courtyard and was rather quiet. Aside from a single person, there was not a single person that went over.
And the only girl that stood in the archery competition area turned her head towards where Feng Yu Heng sat. She then raised her right index finger and very proudly pointed at her “You, come compete with me.”
Feng Yu Heng looked at that girl and suddenly smiled. That smile held some understanding, some wicked charm, some lethargy, and some indifference.
Sure enough, it was as imperial concubine Yun said. Princess Bu’s niece would provoke her, even if she did nothing to the other side.
Feng Yu Heng’s smile truly caused Bu Ni Shang to feel irritated. She could not help but put on a more fierce expression and once again said to Feng Yu Heng: “You, come compete with me in archery!”
Feng Yu Heng did not understand. Standing up, she took a few steps in that direction, with a group of people that wanted to see something entertaining.
“I heard that this is young miss Ni Shang of Minister Bu’s manor. Just now, the Empress said that this competition is for the sake of giving the younger generation an opportunity to find a marital partner. If I did not remember incorrectly, the young miss to the first wife of the Bu manor was engaged to his Highness the fourth prince, right? I really don’t know what sort of outcome young miss Bu hopes to accomplish insisting on competing in archery, but I have no intention of participating in any of the competitions. Regardless of what young miss Bu feels towards his Highness the fourth prince, A-Heng must take his Highness the ninth prince’s dignity into consideration.”
Her voice was not quiet, loud enough for the people who had come to see a spectacle to hear. As for the Empress, she had come down to the competition areas to give the younger generation some words of encouragement for those who were presently competing. This caused Liu Li courtyard to become more joyous.
When Feng Yu Heng said what she did, the Emperor and Empress were also nearby. Hearing Feng Yu Heng’s words, the Empress could not help but smile, “No wonder he likes this girl. She truly has a similar personality to Ming’er.”
The Emperor also nodded: “Not only is she like Ming’er. Looking at her, it makes Us remember my days of youth.” As the Emperor spoke, his expression sank, “I just hope this child does not follow this one’s future.”
The Empress comforted her: “She won’t. Yours is just human nature. This child, as I see her, has a great determination.”
The private words between the Emperor and Empress were heard by none. At this time in the competition area for archery, Feng Yu Heng’s words caused Bu Ni Shang to become even more vindictive. If it had to be said, she was previously just trying to provoke Feng Yu Heng, and if she did not want to compete, she would take it as Feng Yu Heng being afraid to. Now, however, Bu Ni Shang was resolute and absolutely had to fight her.
Among the onlookers, there were naturally some princes. Xuan Tian Hua pushed Xuan Tian Ming, while the fourth prince, Xuan Tian Yi, stomped over with both hands behind his back. Lowering his voice, he said: “Ninth brother’s future princess really has a way with words!”
“What?” Xuan Tian Ming looked over towards the competition area with squinted eyes. The crowd that had been blocking his view had, at some point, parted to the sides, giving him a clear line of sight. “I feel that what Heng Heng said is the truth. She’s just an honest child, how could it be that she has a way with words. Fourth brother, don’t give her too many kind compliments. She will become arrogant.”
Xuan Tian Yi snorted but remained silent. He instead looked towards Bu Ni Shang and saw a coldness in her gaze. Feng Yu Heng’s words had successfully left a mark in her heart.
“Thinking about it, those that speak lots are not good with their hands.” Bu Ni Shang also smiled. Looking at Feng Yu Heng, she said: “Time spent training your way with words would be be better spent drawing a bow or swinging a sword. Come compete with this young miss.”
Ren Xi Feng could no longer endure watching this and walked in front of Feng Yu Heng, angrily glaring at Bu Ni Shang: “You, the daughter of a general’s family dare to bully the child of an official’s family. Do you not feel any shame? If you want to compete, then this young miss will be your partner!” She was the daughter of General Ping Nan. In terms of martial arts, she was naturally unwilling to concede.
But Bu Ni Shang made light of Ren Xi Feng. She shook her head while running her mouth, “You have lost to me for three years in a row. Do you want to lose face for a fourth year in a row? Ren Xi Feng, I can’t even bring myself to do it.”
Ren Xi Feng’s face turned red from these words. Indeed, she had lost three years in a row; however, when it came to archery, Bu Ni Shang could be said to suit it perfectly. She almost began thinking that the other side trained for the sole purpose of this annual competition.
Feng Yu Heng, however, did not know that there was this matter. Glancing at Ren Xi Feng, she could tell from her expression that Bu Ni Shang was telling the truth. As she thought about it, she actually became a little interested.
“Previously, his Highness the ninth prince asked me something.” Smiling, she turned to look at Xuan Tian Ming. “His Highness asked: ‘Heng Heng, aside from medical skill, what else are you proficient at?’ At the time, my answer to him was: secrets must be revealed one at a time. If they are all revealed at once, then it’s no longer interesting.” She turned back around to face Bu Ni Shang: “Today, I was originally not in the mood to partake in any competitions, but young miss Bu’s boundless kindness is truly too difficult to refuse. Then let us take it as me revealing one of those secrets to his Highness the ninth prince, so he can sate his curiosity!”
Bu Ni Shang snorted: “You speak too much.” She then took a few steps into the competition area, where a eunuch handed her a bow. She held the bow and pointed at the bullseye on a target twenty steps away: “According to the rules, three arrows to determine victory or defeat.”
Feng Yu Heng also walked forward. Looking at the bullseye, she shook her head: “It’s too close.”
“What?” Bu Ni Shang practically thought that Feng Yu Heng had lost her mind. A prime minister’s daughter competing with a general’s daughter in archery, yet she was being picky?
“Then just go a little further!” The fourth prince spoke up. Looking at Bu Ni Shang, he spoke without expression: “Since you are going to compete, you are both going to become wed to the Xuan family. How can we be petty.” He looked at the bullseye and loudly said: “Another ten steps further.”
“Alright!” Bu Ni Shang also got in the mood. Looking at the fourth prince, she nodded. The two had reached a tacit agreement.
The eunuch moved the target ten steps further away then looked at Bu Ni Shang. Seeing Bu Ni Shang nod, he returned.
“This time, it is good enough, right?” Bu Ni Shang once again challenged Feng Yu Heng.
Who knew that Feng Yu Heng would actually shake her head once more, “Ah, too close. It really is much too close. Young miss Bu, if you only invited me to accompany you in playing around, then A-Heng really is not in the mood.”
The crowd was shocked.
Thirty paces was already quite far for a competition between two girls.
The Empress watched with some concern and could not help but begin discussing with the Emperor: “The Feng family’s girl hasn’t stirred the pot too much, right? I heard that the Bu family’s girl has trained in martial arts from a young age, but I have never heard of Minister Feng’s family having a martial arts master?”
The Emperor smiled and shook his head: “Quite often, the more outrageous someone is, the more likely they are to be victorious. You should also know that this daughter of the Feng family was tossed into the mountains in the Northwest by Feng Jin Yuan a full three years ago. Apparently, she found a Persian eccentric as a master, who gave her medical skills that are even better than old man Yao’s. Heavens knows if that Persian eccentric also knows martial arts.”
The Empress was still a little worried and looked towards the competition area. She saw the eunuch bring the target another ten paces further away.
“Forty paces is enough.” The Empress was on edge for Feng Yu Heng. She was truly worried that if Feng Yu Heng lost, not only would she lose face, the most important part would be her losing face for Xuan Tian Ming. Only the heavens knew if Xuan Tian Ming would destroy this banquet if he lost face!
Bu Ni Shang was furious with Feng Yu Heng. It was not that she had not experience shooting from forty paces, but she had not way of guaranteeing a hit one hundred percent of her shots. Forget about hitting the red spot in the middle of the target, even the edge of the target would be hard to hit.
Fiercely glaring at Feng Yu Heng, she was filled with doubt. The daughter to a minister’s concubine could compete with her in archery?
Thinking along these lines, Bu Ni Shang raised her bow and walked towards the middle of the competition area. She truly believed this forty paces to be the absolute limit. If Feng Yu Heng was still not satisfied, then there was something wrong with her head.
In reality, aside from Xuan Tian Ming, Xuan Tian Hua and the Emperor, everyone else present had the same thoughts as Bu Ni Shang. Even Xiang Rong and Xuan Tian Ge were on edge. Ren Xi Feng sneakily said to Feng Yu Heng: “A-Heng, don’t force yourself. Although I lost to her for a few years, this is fine. We are girls after all. Something like archery will likely never be used in this life. Just take it as giving the Emperor a performance. There is no need to be angry at her. It’s not worth it.”
Feng Yu Heng got angry!
She did not get angry for Ren Xi Feng. Instead, she was angry at Bu Ni Shang.
She took a couple steps forward and angrily looked around. Pointing at the target, she angrily yelled: “Arrows are used on the battlefield to shoot and kill enemies! Have you ever heard of enemies standing this close for you to shoot? Your Bu family manages soldiers. Could it be that they teach the soldiers to wait until the enemy is at fourty paces before they can shoot?”
When she spoke, she asked many questions, but she did not give time for any response. Doubt was a certainty, and this certainty led to reprimand. Bu Ni Shang suddenly felt as though she were in a trance. It was as though the person speaking before her was not Feng Yu Heng, rather it was her brother, who was always strict with military disciple, Bu Cong.
While she was in this trance, Feng Yu Heng had already loudly said to the eunuch: “Move it back! If you want to compete, then begin at one hundred paces! At one hundred paces, one set will decide the victor!”
Everyone went crazy. Even the Emperor’s eyes were opened wide. Xuan Tian Ming raised an eyebrow, while Xuan Tian Hua bent slightly at the waist and asked him: “Is sister really capable?”
The corners of Xuan Tian Ming’s mouth twitched, “How could I know.”
The Empress began sweating and asked the Emperor: “Should we stop them? To prevent both families from losing face.”
The Emperor thought about it while staring at Feng Yu Heng for a long time. He felt that this girl not only possessed the strength to refuse to admit defeat, she also seemed to have some of what she said. She seemed to have a great many secrets left to be uncovered. He also began to feel curious. What sort of wonders could a twelve year old girl display?
“Good!” Suddenly, the Emperor spoke up. The single word “good” echoed the area.
All of the competitors stopped what they were doing and began gathering around the archery competition area.
The Emperor then said: “We had originally been prepared to award a special item to the winner of one of the seven disciplines of zither, chess, calligraphy, painting, singing, dancing and archery. Since the competition in archery has become so magnificent, We have chosen the discipline of archery!”
The Empress cooperated and brought the phoenix hairpin forward, “Daughters of Bu family and Feng family, whoever wins this round of archery, this one will personally place this hairpin on your head!”