It has been a long time since she's had this feeling of being the moon surrounded by stars.
"Did you all miss me?" Ning Yunyan said to them with a smile. "Or do you miss the snacks my family makes?"
Behind her, her servant girls carried boxes of food.
The Ning Family's kitchen ladies were sent by Ning Yan from the capital. They had studied imperial culinary arts. Their family's feasts were famous in Yangcheng.
The girls all laughed.
"Of course we missed the snacks," teased everyone.
The sounds of laughter in the room were joyful and harmonious.
"How come you could come out today? Can you stay for a longer time?" the girls asked Ning Yunyan.
"My elder brother is in Yangcheng so Mother let me go out. Big Brother said he would go back on the 3rd day of the 3rd month, so I can be here for two more days," Ning Yunyan said with a smile.
After hearing about her elder brother, the girls' eyes immediately sparkled, and they subtly shifted closer to Ning Yunyan.
"Tenth Noble Son also came?"
"Tenth Noble Son came here to drink tea?"
Ning Yunyan's mouth twitched, ignoring the girls' excitement.
"He did not come with me. He said he was going to call on some old scholar; that scholar is good at Go." She feigned flippancy when really, she was quite proud. "You don't know, but my elder brother is now obsessed with Go..."
"Tenth Noble Son is such a good Go player, and he still wants to advance further," the girls acclaimed.
"I know. The He Family Fifteenth Miss said she saw your elder brother," said one of the girls suddenly.
So there actually was a girl who was able to catch sight of Tenth Noble Son. Moreover, they hadn't heard of such circumstances. All the girls in the room immediately turned to look at her.
Although she wasn't Miss He, the girl who had spoken was still scared back by the envious glares.
"The He Family's young miss said that Tenth Noble Son called on her father to play Go," she hurried to say.
"The He Family on the Sandao Alley next to the bridge on East Street?" Ning Yunyan obviously hadn't heard of this before. With a frown, she said, "The He Family Master is indeed preeminent in Go arts. It is not strange for my brother to call on him, but how did she see him?"
Tenth Noble Son Ning knew that he was famous, so he made sure to avoid girls and attracting unnecessary trouble.
"She sneaked a look," answered a girl.
Wherever Tenth Noble Son was, although there couldn't be any face-to-face meeting or dialogue, everybody definitely wanted to find a chance to see him with their own eyes.
"How is that 'seeing' him," the girls scoffed.
The girl who had spoken waved her hand rapidly.
"No, no, she really did see him," she said. "Miss He said that Tenth Noble Son said Master He had good Go skills, so if the father is a lion, the son cannot be a dog, so he wanted to see the children of the He Family."
The girls were immediately sent into an uproar.
"See the kids, then what was she doing going out? She is a girl! How hateful!"
"She will definitely appear. It is rare for Tenth Noble Son to say anything, so Madam He will definitely send all of the young misses out. She wouldn't miss out on this opportunity."
"So that's why Miss He hasn't been out these days; she said something about studying Go. I see that the wine-lover's heart is not in the cup ."
Ning Yunyan frowned because of the voices in the room. Of course, she did not believe that her elder brother really wished to see the young misses of the He Family. He was definitely just politely asking to see the young masters of the He Family. That ladder-climbing Madam He had a thick skin to push out her daughters like that.
She was very familiar with the thickness of those women's faces.
But Big Brother was also partly responsible. What was he doing giving other people such an opportunity?
None of these young misses of Yangcheng had the qualifications to be her, Ning Yunyan's, sister-in-law.
Although she enjoyed seeing these girls getting excited about hearing about her brother, it was also a bit troublesome.
"This is nothing. Didn't I say that Big Brother has recently been trying to solve an ancient Go arrangement. Nothing all that interesting," she declared, not wanting to continue on this topic.
The girls immediately understood. They really wanted to talk more about Tenth Noble Son Ning, but no one wanted Ning Yunyan to be unhappy. All smiles, they changed the topic.
"It's true, Aunt is really being way too strict."
After the girls had seated themselves, the girl next to Ning Yunyan spoke.
"To constrain you for such a long time, obviously the one in the wrong isn't you."
The girls next to her nodded their heads.
"Not just Yanyan. Who could feel pleased, rather everyone was feeling punished," someone said.
Ning Yunyan used a silver spoon to pick up some preserved sugary treats.
"We shouldn't talk about things of the past. Before, everybody were girls, so it was hard to avoid meeting in Yangcheng. Now, it's different. We are girls," she said with a big smile. "And she's a young lady."
Of course, the 'young lady' was now the most famous name in Yangcheng.
"The bets at the gambling halls are getting bigger," said one girl, covering her smile.
"The bets on when they will have intercourse?" asked another.
This made the room even noisier.
The girl sitting next to that girl covered her mouth, her face flushing red.
"What drivel do you think you're saying?" she scolded.
Could girls talk about things like having intercourse?
The room immediately filled with sounds of stifled laughter. The red-faced girls squeezed together like blooming flowers swaying in a warm room, making a beautiful scene.
"No, right now the bets are on when Miss Jun will become a widow," a girl said.
"That cripple is dying?" several people asked with curiosity.
The girl nodded.
"I heard he was close. He can't even get off his bed," she said with a scary face and pursed lips. "You guys know what kind of person Jun Zhenzhen is. How could she think highly of a cripple. Obviously she wants to monopolize the Fang Family with the young lady's position."
"She wants to murder her new husband?" one of the girls asked, biting on her fingernails.
"Don't say things without evidence. The Fang Family won't go extinct; they still have Old Lady Fang," Ning Yunyan said. She kept fiddling with her sugary preservatives, turning it over and over again. The motions were just as lazy as her voice. "That Young Master Fang was never going to live long. This is something everyone in Yangcheng knows; the Fang Family also knows, and Miss Jun too. So no one would blame Jun Zhenzhen even if he died."
"That Young Lady Fang will live it good from now on," someone commented with a laugh.
The girls in the room all laughed. Ning Yunyan did not.
That's right. This Jun Zhenzhen's future days would really pass well. With her identity as a widow, who could deal with her. The Fang Family had wealth. Just like Yangcheng's Lantern Festival, the Fang Family would do things in style. It was obvious now that Jun Zhenzhen would flaunt such wealth around in future festivities.
This was the name Ning Yunyan didn't want to think or hear about.
"Don't say things like that. She is rather pitiful."
In the midst of the laughter, one voice spoke rather timidly.
The voice was delicate, like it didn't have any willpower. But still, she spoke?
The room immediately fell silent as everyone looked to where the voice was coming from.
 The wine-lover's heart is not in the cup: someone who drinks not because they're interested in the alcohol itself