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    "Nian'er, tomorrow is the Empress's banquet.  Will Nian'er be going?" Lan Mo Xian stood in the courtyard of You Nian Pavilion as he asked Lan You Nian who was strumming the strings of the zither.

    "What does brother think?" The sound of the zither continued as Lan You Nian asked somewhat rhetorically.

    "Brother thinks Nian'er shouldn't go.  The Empress is Prime Minister An's daughter, An yiniang's older sister.  This time Prime Minister Manor suffered such a huge loss, if you enter the palace, they will definitely be stirring up some trouble.  If you go, you're bound to be schemed against," Lan Mo Xian thoroughly analyzed the situation.

    "Does brother think Nian'er can dodge this?" Lan You Nian bowed her head as she plucked the strings of the zither, breezily pointing out, "For the chrysanthemum banquet, the Empress invited all the daughter and sons of officials, grade five and above.  My name is prominent on the list."

    "You can pretend to be sick, then you can dodge this chrysanthemum banquet!" Lan Mo Xian said anxiously.  The royal palace is ridden with crises and danger.  If something went wrong, there wouldn't be enough time for him to protect his little sister.

    "Does brother know how many physicians are in the palace?  Even if Nian'er can pretend to be sick and pass the physician's inspection.  I can escape one, then what about the second time?  Third time?" Lan You Nian withdrew her delicate jade hands, stopping the melody of the zither and looked directly at Lan Mo Xian, "Since one can't dodge it, then one should go face it.  What is meant to come, no matter how you dodge it, you can't hide from it forever."

    "But…" Lan You Nian anxiously wanted to say more.  In the royal palace not only was there the empress, but there was also the eldest princess and second wangye.  These people were on the same rope.  If they wanted to punish Nian'er meimei, then Nian'er meimei was really in trouble.

    "There are no buts.  My wise and handsome brother, when did you become so wordy?" Lan You Nian put away the Qing Shui Zither, then smiled radiantly at Lan Mo Xian.

    "Ai, Nian'er meimei disdains brother for being wordy, isn't your brother just worried for you?" Lan Mo Xian was aware he has become excessively wordy, but that was only towards his little sister.  This little sister inspired pity and tenderness in others, always involuntarily made others want to take care of her so that she can be happy all the time.

    "Nian'er knows brother is doing this for Nian'er's own good, but Nian'er is not without any ability to protect herself.  Besides," Lan You Nian stepped in front of Lan Mo Xian.  She was obviously so much shorter than Lan Mo Xian, but that aura could not be covered up.  Lan You Nian looked directly into Lan Mo Xian's eyes and affirmed, "No one can hurt Nian'er.  Those who hurt Nian'er, Nian'er will repay them one by one."

    Perhaps because he was shocked by the aura surrounding Lan You Nian, the words Lan Mo Xian wanted to say "brother will help you gain retribution" was not uttered.  Nian'er meimei had too many secrets on her.  Perhaps it was all due to the suffering in the past.  Lan Mo Xian only wanted to protect his little sister.  Everything else was unimportant.

    "Young miss, do you need to dress up grandly today?" Lan Qu asked while dressing up her family's young miss.  After all, today young miss will be attending a banquet at the palace.  Her family's young miss, no matter at what time, always wore a simple attire, or it was more accurate to say young miss never dressed up in earnest.   After following young miss for so long, she's never seen young miss put on make-up.  Even though every time young miss didn't apply any rouge, she was already shockingly beautiful.

    "No need, just the usual," Lan You Nian said.  She didn't even reveal her own appearance so what would it matter if she dressed up or not?  Not to mention it was best to be low-key, but if someone purposefully provoked her, then it wouldn't be a bad idea for her to stir up the water in the palace.

    "We're not allowed to bring maidservants into the palace today.  If you two want to go out, go out and take a walk, or go to third brother's place to look around!" Lan You Nian instructed.  Many of the businesses in the capital were taken care of by third brother so was very busy indeed.  If Lan Wu and Lan Qu went over, they’d be able to help out.

    "En, but young miss, there may be danger entering the palace this time.  Young miss has to be more careful," Lan Qu said worriedly then to Lan Ren who just came back yesterday, she instructed, "Take care of young miss.  Pay more attention to everything."

    "I understand!" Lan Ren smiled slightly at Lan Qu.  Lan You Nian and Lan Wu caught this slight smile.  The two both stopped to look at Lan Qu and Lan Ren, their straightforwardness made Lan Qu's and Lan Ren's face blush.

    "I didn't expect Lan Ren to have such an appearance of tender affection.  This young miss thought you are never gentle?" Lan You Nian laughed and teased.  Concerning the ambiguous relationship between the two, Lan You Nian was fully aware of it.  If the two can be together, it would be a good union.  Ever since Lan Ren followed her, he always worked hard, and Lan Qu was also cautious and sensible; the two were well suited.

    "Young miss, how can you be like this?  Doesn't Lan Ren usually smile in front of young miss?" Lan Qu refuted, red-faced.

    "Oh, our Lan Qu jiejie is jealous?" Lan You Nian looked at Lan Wu and teased, making the two blush even harder.

    "Young miss, "Lan Qu circled Lan Qu and Lan Ren then sincerely said, "The two of them are really well matched.  When did you get together?  Even hiding this from young miss and me.  Young miss should punish then!"

    "Young miss!" Lan Qu's cautious expression was gone.  She was so embarrassed she didn't know what to do, only gently pushed Lan Qu, "If you dare talk nonsense, be careful I…"

    "You what?  Aiya, how can our Lan Qu jiejie not even know how to speak anymore?" Lan Wu didn't let her off easily.

    "Young miss, there is nothing between Lan Qu and me.  Please ask young miss to believe us!" Lan Ren suddenly knelt on the ground and pleaded sincerely.  Although he did have a good impression of Lan Qu, the two did not have any secret interactions.  Their body and hearts were entirely loyal to young miss; this was the vow he made when young miss saved him.

    Lan Qu also put down the peach-wood comb in her hands and fell to the ground in suit, earnestly entreated, "Young miss, ever since young miss saved us, gave every one of us a new life, gave us hope of life, this slave vowed to accompany young miss, to take care of young miss.  Please ask young miss to believe Lan Qu!"

    Lan Wu also dropped her smile.  Because of young miss, they had everything they had now.  They respected young miss, loved young miss; they will never betray young miss.  Their entire life will be dedicated to young miss, to guard young miss; this was their vow.

    "Alright!  Get up!" Lan You Nian dragged the two up.  She was aware that in ancient times, subordinates were not allowed to act according to their own will concerning marriage.  In the old times, many subordinates were solitarily loyal to their master.  However, that didn't mean she, Lan You Nian, needed to do this too.

    "In the past, I told you, you guys are not only my subordinates but are also my friends.  I even said I want loyalty but won't deny that you have your own thoughts," Lan You Nian picked up the peach wood comb on the table and continued combing her long hair as she addressed the others, "In the future if you have someone you like, it's a happy occasion.  Besides, as long as the person you like isn't harmful to me, it's all good.  I believe you understand what is appropriate!"

    "I don't want to like other people.  I want to stay with young miss all my life!" Lan Qu was unusually unruly as she rebutted.

    "Even if you want to leave my side, this young miss is reluctant.  Who said after marriage you can't stay by my side?  Besides, what if you marry Lan Ren?  Then aren't the two of you still by my side?  This method is really good!" Lan You Nian nodded to herself, agreeing with her own perspective.

    "Young miss, why don't you still believe?  There really is nothing between Lan Ren and me!" Lan Qu was very anxious.  There was really nothing between her and Lan Ren, they were both people under young miss so inevitably considered each other family members.  If she spoke the truth, Lan Qu felt she really liked Lan Ren a little bit, in her heart, young miss was the most important.

    After listening, Lan You Nian knew that the two were still at the stage of confusion, but Lan You Nian was still very optimistic about them both.  Both of them knew each other very well, and their characters were trustworthy.  If the two really got together, in the future Lan Qu didn't need to leave her side, and Lan Ren can still continue to work for Wu Qing Pavilion; indeed it was very good.

    "Alright, why so serious?  Anyways, you only need to know that I don't object to it!" Lan You Nian didn't rush them.  After all, the matter of feelings was best if it proceeded naturally.  If they got together, it was their fate, if not, then it was not destined to be.

    Lan Qu seeing her family's young miss did not continue this topic finally sighed in relief.  She continued to comb Lan You Nian's comb, meanwhile muttering in her heart, it seems young miss was educating her one after the other but when it came to her own matters, how is she so slow?  That Ming wang treated young miss so well.  When he sees young miss, his eyes will shine, that was so obvious, why doesn't young miss understand?  But Lan Qu considered again, young miss was only thirteen years old, how much can she know about love?  It seems that young miss was usually too omnipotent that she almost deified young miss.

    "Nian'er, are you ready?" Lan Mo Xian arrived at You Nian Pavilion a while ago and now waited outside the pavilion as he asked.

    Hearing her brother's voice, Lan You Nian put on the veil.  Meanwhile, Lan Ren returned to the shadows in concealment.  Lan You Nian walked out of the pavilion.  She saw her own brother wearing a moonlight colored formal wear.  The cuffs were embroidered with several stalks of serene green bamboo.  Long raven black hair like black ink was held together by an exquisite piece of white jade hairpin.  His entire person was like a tree covered with snow (idiom: a person with high moral character), crystal clear, fresh and pleasing.  He looked like the most ordinary brother as he stood waiting there.

    "Brother…" Lan You Nian came to Lan Mo Xian's side and softly murmured, enjoying this hard-won familial love.

    "Hn." Lan Mo Xian glanced at his little sister's attire, then frowned, "Why is it so plain every time?  Aren't other girls your age all wearing colorful dresses?  Only you wear white all day long!"

    "Hehe, does little sister not look good wearing it?" Lan You Nian linked her arms with Lan Mo Xian and asked in a spoilt manner.

    "Looks good, how can it not look good?  I, Lan Mo Xian's little sister is the prettiest!" Lan Mo Xian felt useful at little sister's rare act of being spoiled.  Although he knew his little sister's face was already disfigured, most of the time, he will forget this matter.  After all, Lan You Nian's temperament was too wonderful.  Besides, if you merely looked at Lan You Nian and didn't think about that disfigurement, take the posture and disposition, who can compare?

"Isn't that good enough?" Lan You Nian tugged on Lan Mo Xian and headed out of the manor, "Okay, let's go, it's almost time for the banquet!"


wangye-first ranked prince

jiejie-older sister

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