"This lady wants to compete with Lan manor's third young miss. Is Lan third miss willing?" a young woman of eighteen years old stood up and directed her question at Lan You Nian.
Lan You Nian lifted her eyes to look at the woman. She wore a somewhat extravagant dress, the colorful flowers under the sunlight were splendid and gleaming, sparkling as they showed off the hallow carved flower hairpin tucked in a bun and the tassels swaying on a buyao (a type of hairpin that sways as the wearer walks hence the name). Elegant and dignified, quiet and graceful, but the malice in her eyes directed at her destroyed this beauty
"Who is that?" Lan You Nian, studying the woman who challenged her, asked Hua Mu Qing. Although she already received a detailed report of the relationships in the capital, having not met the actual persons, a little bit of confusion was inevitable.
"Nian'er meimei, you must be careful. This woman is An Si Yan, Prime Minister An's most beloved granddaughter as well as the capital's recognized beauty. I'm afraid she's calling on you because of what happened the other day at Prime Minister Manor!" Hua Mu Qing worried. After all, under such circumstances, Nian'er meimei must agree. If she didn't agree, everyone would think Nian'er meimei was useless. People already looked down on Nian'er meimei since her return to the capital.
"Lan third young miss, why don't do you speak? Do you look down on this lady? Are you not willing to compete with this lady?" An Si Yan deliberately asked dejectedly. Due to her beauty, many men in the capital admired her. The moment she acted dejected, there were indeed many young masters who cast blaming eyes at Lan You Nian.
Lan You Nian, towards these indignant men, couldn't help but feel that a woman's face was indeed her greatest weapon. She, however, won't allow her own looks to become a weapon. Looks will always grow old, but only when you have your own ability, only then can you protect yourself better.
Feng Yi Xuan was prepared to stand. Although he knew Nian Nian was capable of dealing with these vulgar people's purposeful provocation, in his eyes his Nian Nian should be pampered by everyone. Yet these people actually dared to bully Nian Nian in front of him. How can he turn a blind eye to it?
"A'Xuan!" Feng Xia Qi held down his younger brother who was about to lose his temper. He asked with displeasure, "Who can compare to Nian'er meimei in comparing talents? Who can compare to her song?"
Feng Yi Xuan pursed his lips in silence. The cold air around him was unabated. His eyes were fixed on Nian Nian who was being blamed by so many people. His heart twinged with pain. Of course, he knew Nian Nian's talent was unparalleled but so what? He wanted his Nian Nian to perform because she liked to do those things, not because she was forced to do those things by other people.
"A'Xuan, when have you become so impulsive? All these years, I have never seen you so impulsive. What's happened to you?" Feng Xia Qi lowered his head, his voice was low as he whispered in Feng Yi Xuan's ear, "Nian'er meimei is a great girl. I also want to protect her like a little sister, but no matter what, you can't be so impulsive!"
Feng Yi Xuan coolly glanced at Feng Xia Qi, then as if nothing happened withdrew his gaze. He didn't regard Nian Nian as a little sister; he saw Nian Nian as his own woman—his wife for the rest of his life, his most loved person in this life.
Feng Xia Qi sighed lowly. This younger brother of his usually never cared about anything. Now that he was finally like a person and showed care towards a little sister, his temper has become even more eccentric. Feng Xia Qi honestly didn't know what to do. Only in the future did Feng Xia Qi finally understand. His own younger brother—because he cared, he became impulsive; because he cared, he became different.
"This lady did not mean to look down on An young miss. Please ask An young miss not to speculate casually!" Lan You Nian looked at the woman opposite her and said calmly. Although this woman was beautiful, she was not a scheming person. For her to do this, a large part of it was probably the Prime Minister's intention, or if not, then it was the Empress's intention.
"Since it's so, then third young miss is agreeing!" An Si Yan eyes flashed with a smug look. She heard grandfather talk about this Lan third miss, making her wonder how smart she was, but with a simple provocation, she actually agreed. Indeed, she was just a little girl who can't be seen in public. As long as she wins this time, then she will certainly mercilessly humiliate this Lan third young miss and make it so that she cannot lift her head in the capital in the future. This will also be taking revenge for the loss of face for what happened to her An family last time.
An Si Yan believed Lan You Nian did not have any talent. Not only An Si Yan thought so, everyone else who was attending the banquet thought so. Lan manor's third young miss who has been missing so many years is only now just found. How could she have time to learn these womanly skills?
An Si Yan curtsied to the Empress. It had to be said that whatever a beauty did, it was beautiful. An Si Yan was like this. But those who use beauty to get the attention of a man cannot be a respectable person.
The talent that An Si Yan wanted to show off was a painting of chrysanthemums. Everyone sitting in their seat watched as An Si Yan painted the garden full of chrysanthemums. After waiting for a few incense sticks, An Si Yan enchantingly smiled and put down her brush. That enchanting smile made eyes of many of the men who were there burn with desire. Indeed a seductive woman.
"Si Yan painted a painting of a garden of chrysanthemums. Please ask every wangye and young master to give pointers!" An Si Yan bent down slightly to the men's side with a curtsy. That slightly exposed clavicle swaying in front of them made many men's eyes squint. Why would they go look at the painting? They only cared to look at the beauty in front of them.
Lan You Nian studied that painting. The painting technique was not skillful nor exquisite. The chrysanthemum drawn were flashy but had nothing substantial to it. The essence of the chrysanthemums was not drawn. Chrysanthemum was the hermit within the other flowers. It had the style of pine and deportment of plum blossom. However, An Si Yan's painting was only an empty hole.
"Lan third young miss, please!" An Si Yan looked at Lan Yu Nian as she invited her to the stage. She seemed to already see Lan You Nian's humiliated image.
Lan You Nian stood up and gave a curtsy. If one said that the reason An Si Yan caught people's attention was because of that beautiful face, then the reason Lan You Nian attracted everyone's eyes by standing up was due to her unique temperament. Ethereal like a celestial fairy, free and at ease like a chivalric hero, fragile like porcelain, so many kinds of temperaments contradicting each other yet were merged together, forming a unique temperament that made everyone couldn't help but want to get close to.
Those who were familiar with her, seeing her stand up, believed she will pick the zither and sing a song. After all, they knew Lan You Nian is a famous girl in the mainland. Moreover, Lan You Nian's song was indeed absolutely unique. However, Lan You Nian as she stood in the field did not pick up the zither, neither did she even open her mouth; it made everyone bewildered.
"Lan third miss, do you not know anything? If Lan third miss really can't do anything, then admit defeat. Si Yan can understand!" An Si Yan's smug voice rang in the banquet and attracted many people's agreement.
Just as everyone was ready to say something, Feng Yi Xuan's apathetic eyes like that of a wolf's swept over the entire banquet. Those who were swept by Feng Yi Xuan's eyes all felt their souls tremble in fear. This bloodthirsty feeling that can casually shred you apart at any time made everyone afraid to mutter a sound.
Dark and faint purple, a warm incandescent yellow. Tao makes the color around the fence, Luo Han resident's fragrance.
When is it time to forbid the heavy dew, truly afraid of the setting sun. Willing to soak in the gold conch cup, to enter the luxurious hall.
The crisp yet delicate voice rose up over the area. From the very first verse Lan You Nian spoke, everyone was stunned. Then it was admiration and then shock. Who would ever have imagined that Lan You Nian can make a poem on the spot? Moreover, the literary talent was so extraordinary. Even Feng Yi Xuan and the others were stunned for a moment. They couldn't believe that that delicate figure standing in the open space, not only was her skill at the zither and song moving, now even poem verses were flowing out of her mouth. Such a girl, who wouldn't like?
Feng Yi Xuan's eyes bore straight into Lan You Nian, eyes flashing with a burning glow. He always knew Nian Nian was very talented, from the song she sang, from her heart-moving and soul-stirring music, from her rapid skill. He thought he already understood this girl but the closer he got, the more surprises he received. This girl was so outstanding it made him immensely proud.
Jing Wu An clapped his hands without stop, his mouth joyfully calling out, "Nian'er meimei, great literary talent!"
The capital's number one gifted scholar was already praising, everyone followed suit in applause. Many of the people were aware that Lan You Nian's literary skill was genuinely amazing; this was undeniable. An Si Yan hatefully glared at Lan You Nian who nonchalantly returned to her seat. Her heart hated to the extreme. She never imagined that not only was not not able to humiliate Lan You Nian, she even earned the praise of Jing Wu An. It was really failing to steal the chicken even losing the rice in the process!
"Nian'er meimei?" Hua Mu Qing looked at Lan You Nian who was sitting quietly and melancholily called out.
"What's wrong?" Lan You Nian didn't understand how come Hua Mu Qing looked like she received a massive blow? Who provoked her?
"Nian'er meimei, how are you so smart? You make older sister I feel embarrassed!" Hua Mu Qing carefully looked at Lan You Nian. On the one hand, she felt happy for Lan You Nian's talent, on the other hand, when thinking about herself, she felt she wasn't worthy of being an older sister.
"Everyone has their own value. Mu Qing jiejie is a rarely seen broad-minded woman. Nian'er admires a great deal!" Lan You Nian peeled an orange and put it on Hua Mu Qing's table, her tone sincere. She envied Hua Mu Qing's personality, even envied Hua Mu Qing's clean soul, not like her…
"Really? If so, I'm still qualified to be Nian'er's older sister? Having such a sister like you, older sister is very proud! I really envy Lan Mo Xian!" As Hua Mu Qing finished, she even glared at Lan Mo Xian, making Lan Mo Xian feel entirely innocent.
"Nian'er meimei and older sister's feelings, how can one use worthy or not worthy to measure? The feelings between sisters are only dependent on the heart!" Lan You Nian smiled.
"En! I Hua Mu Qing's sister is indeed different. In the future, as long as there is I Hua Mu Qing one day, I will definitely protect younger sister you!" Hua Mu Qing declared, seemingly like she was making a vow. This was precisely what Hua Mu Qing really did in the future, and this friendship was like the vow of today.
The men's side started to discuss Lan You Nian and An Si Yan's contest result. Although second wangye and others tried to say An Si Yan's talent was better, many eyes were looking. There was even the capital's gifted scholar Jing Wu An's personal praise. What made second wangye couldn't figure out was that even fourth wangye and Ming wang all inserted themselves into the discussion. So, he can only report as it was.
"An manor's An young miss and Lan manor's third young miss's talent contest, Lan third young miss won!" Second wangye said dully.
"Truly deserved! Nian'er meimei's poem, even this heir does not dare to say he can surpass!" Jing Wu An praised to Lan Mo Xian and He Chu Yang.
"Mo Xian, what do you think Nian'er meimei has gone through all these years? How could she be so smart? Nian'er meimei's indifference makes people's heart ache for her, this…" He Chu Yang did not evade Jing Wu An as he directly lamented to Lan Mo Xian
"I don't know either. Nian'er meimei never speaks of the past, but it can't have been any good. Otherwise, how can a girl of the boudoir need to go on stage at Zhen Wei Pavilion?" Lan Mo Xian also wanted to know, but he simply cannot find anything out about Lan You Nian's past.
"The past is in the past, why must you torment yourself with the past? In the future you two good older brothers only need to treat Nian'er meimei well, isn't that good enough? No, there's still this brother, I!" Jing Wu An grinned. If it weren't for the fact that Lan You Nian was a girl, he would definitely drink a few cups with Lan You Nian as they discuss life. Such a woman was rare to find.
"How is Lan third young miss going to punish Si Yan?" The Empress sitting up top spoke, but the partiality towards An Si Yan was easy to hear from her words. After all, An Si Yan was the Empress's own niece.
"This…this lady can't think of anything. How about let everyone think up one?" Lan You Nian kicked this troublesome ball out of her court. After all, under such circumstances, if An Si Yan won, punishing her (LYN) was easy, but if she turned it around to make things difficult for An Si Yan, it wasn't favorable for her (LYN). Since it was so, let others deal with it!
"Since Nian'er meimei can't think of it, how about allow this junzhu say it?" Hua Mu Qing seeing the eldest princess was ready to speak, she hurried to block her. This An Si Yan actually dared to bully Nian'er meimei, she Hua Mu Qing was not afraid.
"This…" second wangye was ready to intervene.
"This wangye feels junzhu makes the decision is a good idea. Does anyone else have a different opinion?" Feng Xia Qi stood up, obviously helping Hua Mu Qing. In fact, everyone wanted to help Lan You Nian vent. Besides, Feng Xia Qi was afraid if he didn't help Lan You Nian vent, this younger brother of his will directly strike out.
Everyone agreed, and Hua Mu Qing smirked smugly at An Si Ya, "How about punish An eldest miss by practicing some dog yelps!"
"Mu Qing junzhu, you go too far!" An Si Yan shouted at Hua Mu Qing in a fury.
"How is this junzhu going too far? The one who wanted to compete was you, the one who lost is you. If you can't afford to play, then don't play. An eldest miss is going back on your own words!" Hua Mu Qing attacked back. She Hua Mu Qing was not without a brain and scheme. She simply did not use it against her own friends.
"You…" An Si Yan wanted to refute but couldn't deny anything. The empress sitting above did not speak for An Si Yan again.
"This young master also feels junzhu's proposal is pretty good. It's just making a few dog barks, there is nothing making things difficult for An eldest miss!" Lan Mo Xian also spoke. His little sister can't be bullied just by anyone.
An Si Yan wanted to deny it but second wangye sinisterly stared at An Yi Yan. That look made An Yi Yan aware she must accept the punishment. If she refused, then it was not keeping her word, it lost her own face, and also lost Prime Minister Manor's face.
"Woof! Woof woof!" An Si Yan made dog sounds as her neck flushed red, causing everyone to laugh out loud. An Si Yan burst into tears and ran out of the garden. It seemed her self-esteem has taken a hit.
"Follow and watch her!" Empress ordered the palace maid standing beside her to go chase after An Si Yan. Her eyes drifted to Lan You Nian and Hua Mu Qing.
"Hahaha! Nian'er meimei, sister I helped you vent, do you feel better?" Hua Mu Qing grinned from ear to ear.
"Mu Qing jiejie really can think of ideas, but, in the future, don't randomly offend people. This woman's capability of bearing a grudge is really frightening!"
"I know, but I just don't like her. Besides, bully my little sister, of course I must take revenge!"
Lan You Nian smiled slightly but didn't speak. Having such a friend who she can rely on, it was really nice.
The poem is by a poem by Li Shan Yin (李商隐)
Dim purple, bright yellow.
They both have the color of the chrysanthemums by the fence of Tao Yuanming (famous poet who wrote a poem about chrysanthemums) and has the fragrance of Luo Han’s (a famous person in Chinese history) residence
Chrysanthemum is not afraid of getting wet from the dew but afraid of the coming of sunset.
Willing to stay in the conch cup of the people drinking by the water, hoping to come to the rich banquet of the rich people.
T/N: Sorry about the late chapter but this is what happens when you stay up all night to finish reading a book, only get three hours of sleep, before waking up 7 in the morning to finish writing the paper that I should have been doing instead of reading. Then I had to study for two tests in the evening in between classes. My goodness, I’ve really become a master at procrastinating!