Chapter 374: A rude request!
It was only after listening to Li Shinian’s explanation that Li Muyang became aware of what the Still Water Dew was.
Li Muyang looked at the deeply troubled face of Li Shinian, "Since someone has sent you an invitation then you should go take a look. If you plan to stay in Tiandu in the long term, then you should meet some friends. When I leave for Starry Sky Academy, you won't be bored or lonely."
"But why would they invite me?" Li Shinian asked with a puzzled expression. "They only invite princes, aristocrats, nobles or princess——I heard that even the Kingdom’s second prince Chu Jiang will participate in this gathering. Why did they ask me to attend? I don’t know anything about it."
Li Muyang took the invitation card, studying it for a moment, and then said with a smile. "The person who sent the invitation is Song Tao. Perhaps because he had a good opinion of you during the trip to the Thousand Buddha Temple so he also invited you to participate in this gathering."
Li Shinian blinked and said, "There is another possibility."
"He wants to impress Sister Xiaoxin, so he also invites her close friend. I heard that Sister Xiaoxin is a regular member of the gathering. If I were to help him say something nice in front of Sister Xiaoxin, would he be grateful?" Li Shinian said with a grinning smile.
"Of course you’re not going to do that, right?" Li Muyang said aloud. He had boundless confidence in his little sister. Even if the world betrays him, she would still be on his side.
"Well, that’s not guaranteed. It depends on the behaviour of someone." Li Shinian said proudly. She stretched out her soft, fair hand and said, "Come, support me over to admire the plum blossoms."
"Yes. Miss." Li Muyang walked forward, holding the small hand of Li Shinian, and the sibling headed over to the plum garden.
After a while, Cui Xiaoxin's personal servant Liulu came over. Liulu came to deliver the message that she knows that Miss Shinian is invited to the Still Water Dew gathering, so Miss Xiaxoin will come collect Miss Shinian in the evening to head over there together.
Li Shinian expressed her thanks, and personally walked Liulu to the door.
"Sister Xiaolu, I just received an invitation card, how would Sister Xiaoxin know about this already?" Li Shinian pulled Liulu by the hand, asking with a smile.
"Third young master delivered a message to Miss saying that Miss Shinian will also participate in tonight's scholar gathering. He also asked our Miss to be sure not to be absent." Liulu did not have any suspicion and answered Li Shinian honestly.
"I see." Li Shinian nodded. "I troubled Sister Xiaolu."
"Miss Shinian is too polite." Liulu smiled, bowing her head. "Our Miss will come pick up Miss Shinian in the evening, please don’t forget."
"I won’t. I’ll be at home waiting for Sister Xiaoxin." Li Shinian nodded.
Waiting until Liulu’s carriage had gone far, Li Shinian walked back to the courtyard with a tight frown on her face.
"What’s the matter?" Li Muyang asked, setting aside the brush in his hand. Li Shinian had heard the legendary story of Li Muyang making the courtyard of peach blossom bloom with his painting, so when the two of then were admiring the Plum blossom she urged Li Muyang to draw a snowy plum blossom painting. Li Muyang did not know how to refuse his precious little sister’s request, and had no choice but to draw for her.
"I still feel something is a bit strange." Li Shinian said.
"When soldiers arrive, a General will defend; when the water rises, the soil will keep it back." Li Muyang said with a smile, "if you are really worried, then why don't you decline the invitation?"
Li Shinian responded with a wry smile: "Brother, do you believe it? If I decline the Song family's Third young master's invitation to the Still Water dew gathering, then tomorrow all the Gongzis and young masters of Tiandu will regard me as an enemy——What they cannot get was declined by me with one word. They would not resent Third young master for not inviting them, but detest me, a servant's daughter, for not knowing how to appreciate someone's kindness."
Li Muyang gently sighed.
From Li Shinian's words, he heard something that his family had never told him.
The fact that Li Shinian, a servant's daughter, had become famous throughout Tiandu must have brought her countless ridicule and disapproval?
A servant’s daughter—these words were not something that Li Shinian would say. It must have be because she had received a lot of criticism and had been miserably condemned, that she blurted out these words without thinking.
Although in his mind, Li Shinian was intelligent and outstanding, clever and sensible, as well as talented and beautiful, but her family background was still a big problem. In this Kingdom where status was particularly important, and in this imperial capital where there were as many nobles as the hair on an ox, for Li Shinian to obtain the reputation of the 'Fourth moon' of the kingdom, she must have suffered many attacks and slander as a result.
Li Muyang’s heart was full of tender feelings, looking at his little sister with infinite pity, "Li Shinian is the best in the Kingdom, Li Shinian is the best sister in the entire divine continent. You are not the Kingdom’s fourth Bright Moon, you are my sun. My only sun."
Li Shinian looked at Li Muyang in shock, "Big brother, when did you learn to speak like that? Is that what the Starry Sky Academy taught you?"
Li Shinian came over to pull Li Muyang’s arm, leaning her little head on his shoulder, and softly said: "Brother, I’m fine. What is there to be upset about? If they scold me in person, then I will fight back. I’m not afraid of them. If they scold me behind my back, then I can’t hear them anyway——As long as Father and Mother are healthy, as long as you can come back safely, our family can be like how we were in Jiangnan, living happily and harmoniously, then a little tribulation is nothing. The foul-mouthed, like the wind, cannot cut me at all, right?"
Li Muyang earnestly nodded. "Yes. It will get better and better in the future."
"I don’t want it to get better and better." Li Shinian shook her head, "I want to be——just fine."
"Good." Li Muyang smiled, "Then we’ll just have to be just fine."
Li Shinian looked at Li Muyang's painting on the easel, 'Cold plum against the snow', "What a good painting. I’ll put the picture away and give it to Sister Xiaoxin."
"Is that a good idea?" Li Muyang said with some concern. His painting skills had entered the realms, if Cui Xiaoxin noticed something strange, wouldn't that make her doubt his identity? "
"Brother, don't worry." Li Shinian said with a smile. "I know what I’m doing." "
Li Muyang smiled, shaking his head, "I know you are the smartest."
After dinner, Li Muyang and Li Shinian each took a bath and changed into clean clothes.
Li Shinian put on a Chinese dress and draped the Fire fox cloak that Gongsun Yu gifted to her this morning over her body. A white dress matched with a red cloak, made her looked as beautiful as a blooming begonia.
Li Muyang was more cold and miserable, wearing the outfit of a cart driver and putting on the mask that Hongxiu made. He took on the disguise of a sickly cart driver just like the last time.
Li Shinian was going to participate in the Still Water Dew gathering, Big brother Li Muyang naturally had to accompany her.
Of course, with the identity of a carriage driver.
Before evening had come, Cui Xiaoxin’s luxury carriage had arrived punctually outside the back door of the Lu mansion.
Cui Xiaoxin was travelling with little luggage and few escorts, but the person acting as her cart driver was Heart Buddha Ning Xinhai.
Ever since the attack at Thousand Buddha temple, the Cui family had been paying close attention to the safety issues of Cui Xiaoxin, and Heart Buddha Ning Xinhai had been placed as her personal bodyguard.
Li Muyang somewhat feared Ning Xinhai, because they had met before and he was worried that this person can see through his identity.
Fortunately, he only coldly swept a glance over Li Muyang when he saw him before turning away.
Cui Xiaoxin drew open the curtain, beckoning to Li Shinian, "Shinian, come sit in my carriage."
Li Shinian declined with a smile: "Sister Xiaoxin, I will go by my carriage. Otherwise I have to trouble you to take me back afterwards."
As they were talking, Li Muyang had diligently done his job as a cart driver by pulling a carriage out from the Lu mansion.
Li Shinian jumped on her own carriage, smiled to Cui Xiaoxin and said: "Sister Xiaoxin, my carriage driver does not know the way, I have to trouble you to guide in front."
Cui Xiaoxin nodded, "Okay, I'll see you at the gathering."
Cui Xiaoxin lowered the curtain. Ning Xinhai speeded the carriage toward West Wind University where the Still water dew gathering was held.
Li Muyang did not say a word, quietly following behind.
The carriage drove for half an hour, before it stopped before a stone tablet.
The stone tablet was engraved with three ancient characters: West Wind University.
Li Muyang stared at the stone tablet, gazing at the three ancient and profound characters, indescribable emotions filling his heart.
This was the school of his dream for a long time, the beautiful future that he and Cui Xiaoxin agreed to meet together at to see the sunset.
Unfortunately, things did not go smoothly, he did not come to study at West Wind University and also lost contact with Cui Xiaoxin.
What he did not expect was that so many things happened after, which pushed him and the Cui family to opposite sides, and also pushed him and Cui Xiaoxin to such awkward positions.
Cui Xiaoxin was also staring at West Wind University stone tablet, every time she came here she would stay for a moment and stare fixedly at it.
For some reason, there was an extremely hidden but difficult to get rid of sour feeling inside.
"Let’s go." Cui Xiaoxin softly said.
Ning Xinhai shook the horse reins, and the carriage speedily rumbled across the stone path toward the school.
Li Muyang caught up with the carriage in front, his eyes panning across the unfamiliar yet made him feel very familiar university. It is as if he was a former student graduated from this school and came to revisit ten years later.
The carriage came to a stop outside the doorway of a small building and Ning Xinhai drove the carriage to the boulevard, where servants came over to take care of the horse.
Li Muyang also drove the carriage over, but no one came to pick up the reins in his hand.
Li Muyang scanned the surroundings and yelled to a few servants in the distance: "Brothers, please take care of our carriage."
The servants all cast a look over at Li Muyang and then burst into laughters together.
"Is this man crazy? Telling us to help him take care of his carriage——"
"He must be crazy, or why would he make such a rude request?"
"He is a cart driver himself, but he told us to help him watch his carriage, what is this about?"
Chapter 375: The daughter of a servant!
This was going too far.
Ning Xinhai was a cart driver, and when he drove the carriage over servants immediately came to take his reins. Li Muyang was also a cart driver, but when he called them 'brothers' and asked them to help, they began to mock him. What is this about?
Thinking of the outside world calling his sister Li Shinian 'a daughter of a servant', and linking this matter together, Li Muyang was even more furious.
He was not afraid of being bullied, since he was accustomed to being bullied. What he was afraid of is his sister Li Shinian being despised and insulted by others.
Ning Xinhai looked over at this side, and Li Muyang also did not want to provoke a disturbance.
Holding back his anger, he tried to reason with them, "we are also invited to participate in the Still Water dew gathering, why could other people can but I can’t?"
A group of blue-clad workers came over, headed by a horse-faced man, who coldly glanced over Li Muyang, saying: "Do you not know your identity? Butler Ning is the butler of the Cui family, and is acting as the cart driver for the Cui family’s Cui Xiaoxin. Miss Cui Xiaoxin is a regular customer here, and Butler Ning is our acquaintance. What about you? Who the hell are you? Who’s your Miss? How come I’ve never heard of you before? Is this your first time here?"
"Our family's Miss is the Li family’s Li Shinian. Miss Shinian is personally invited by the Song family's third young master to participate in the gathering, is she someone you people can despise and neglect?"
"The Li family?" The horse-faced man and the companions around him looked at one another for a moment, before bursting into laughter. "What a joke. Li family? Which Li family? Is there a Li family in Tiandu? How come I’ve never heard of it?"
"Brother Ma, there really is a Li family in Tiandu. Assistant Minister Li is from the Li family? But the young master of their family didn’t get a chance to join our Still water dew gathering, right?" A fat man chuckled.
"Of course. I have never seen the Li family come. Those that come to join our Still water dew gathering are all talented people——" The horse faced man grinned. "We know Miss Shinian, since Master has personally sent her an invitation, we naturally do not dare neglect her. But you——"
The horse-faced man swept his eyes up and down Li Muyang, saying with a smiling, "what are you? You're just a cart driver, yet you dare tell us brothers to look after your horse? What? You think you are superior to us?"
"That's not what I meant——"
"What do you mean by that then? Your master is going to the distinguished gathering, but you the carriage driver also want to go? Take a look at who you are first. Watch your carriage yourself, if you lose your horse and carriage, us brothers cannot be responsible."
"What? Can’t take it?" The horse faced man raised his head, shouting, "Hit me then."
Li Muyang hit him right in the face.
The horse faced man's face was left with a purple red palm print.
The horse-faced man covered his cheek, not knowing how to respond for a moment.
He really hit him?
The rest of them were all stunned at the fact that a cart driver dared to beat their brother?
It must be said that they were workers of the Song family. As they say, those in front of the minister's door all are officials; which one of the cart drivers that attended was not polite to them?
As the severe pain struck, the horse-faced finally regained a touch of consciousness.
He glared at Li Muyang, yelling back fiercely, "you dare hit people here? Hey, guys, beat him up."
As he was speaking, a group of workers had already surrounded Li Muyang.
"Stop." A gentle voice cried.
Originally gotten off at the doorway of a small building, Li Shinian and Cui Xiaoxin scurried over this side, and the one who yelled them to stop was Li Shinian who was dragging Cui Xiaoxin over.
"What happened?" Li Shinian asked with a frown.
"He hit me." The workers recognised Cui Xiaoxin but did not know Li Shinian. "However, since she was with Cui Xiaoxin, it was obvious that she was the young Miss of the Li family. They have nothing to fear about this young Miss. Who would be afraid of the daughter of a servant?
"He told me to hit him." Li Muyang explained, pointing at the horse-faced man.
"How could that be?" The horse faced man fumed. "What idiot will tell others to hit them?"
"You're the idiot," said Li Muyang. He saw the contempt on these people’s gaze at Li Shinian, which made him feel worse than being slapped in public. He secretly vowed that he must make good efforts to become a Starry sky cultivator and never let his sister be looked down on and insulted again.
Cui Xiaoxin looked to Ning Xinhai, asking, "Uncle Ning, what Li Mu said is true?"
"It is so." Ning Xinhai nodded. "They insulted Li Mu and said that if Li Mu can't take it then he should fight back——it seems Li Mu really can’t take it."
At the key moment, the bystander Heart Buddha chose to help Li Muyang. Or, in his mind, his Miss was hoping him to give such an answer.
Cui Xiaoxin slapped the horse-faced man's face.
"He is my saviour, how can you insult him? If you insult him, that is tantamount to insulting me, I have to ask Third elder brother whether this is your way of treating guests——" Cui Xiaoxin said coldly.
"Miss Xiaoxin——" The horse-faced man was startled for a moment, before he plopped down on his knees, "Miss Xiaoxin, we did not insult him, this kid——he was extremely rude, he was ordering and yelling at us, he is just a cart driver but he told us to come to take care of his horse——so we quarreled with him."
When the other worker saw Cui Xiaoxin was furious, they also dropped to their eyes. They do not understand why would the two young Miss stand up for a cart driver?
"This is naturally not my way of treating guests." A clear and bright voice echoed.
Wearing a light silver long robe, Song Tao came over with a smile on his face, saying: "I was talking with Meng Jiang and the others just now. I should have come sooner, that would have prevented the servants making the two beautiful young ladies this angry——"
Song Tao did not even glance at the workers who fell to his knees, when he issued a command, "Drag them out and beat them with the rod twenty times."
Immediately rushed over were several black clad bodyguards who dragged the workers to the distance.
The workers were extremely frightened, but did not dare utter a word, or even beg for forgiveness.
Thinking to themselves that this was how master treat his servants——the two young ladies were also too kind?
Song Tao bowed to Cui Xiaoxin and Li Shinian in apology. "Don’t get mad over those servants. They look down on people because they have been flattered too much and have an exaggerated opinion of their own ability."
And then he gave an acknowledging nod at Ning Xinhai, smiled and said, "I had to trouble Butler Ning to personally escort Xiaoxing over."
"It is my responsibility." Hearing this, Buddha Ning replied with a cupped fist salute.
It was only then that Song Tao's sight shifted to Li Muyang, asking, "Did you suffer?"
"No." Li Muyang said.
"That’s good." Song Tao said with a smile. "I think you are not one willing to suffer."
Li Muyang puzzledly looked back at Song Tao, who had already shifted his attention to Cui Xiaoxin and Li Shinian, inviting the two ladies into the building. "Today, there is an assemblage of talented individuals, we will definitely be able to discuss some beneficial insights to both the country and the people."
Cui Xiaoxin knew Li Shinian did not understand the arrangements of Still water dew gathering, and asked aloud: "Third elder brother, what is the theme for today’s gathering?"
"Enjoy freely, no theme." Song Tao said with a smile. He knew Cui Xiaoxin was asking for Li Shinian, so he turned to explain to Li Shinian. "It is Miss Shinian's first time attending the Still water dew scholar gathering, you may not understand the format. In fact, this is just a small party between friends, we can recite poetry, paint, play chess, as well as discuss the affairs of the Kingdom——do as one pleases, there is no restrictions."
"Thank you Third young master." Li Shinian expressed her thanks.
"Xiaoxin calls me Third elder brother, you are a good friend of Xiaoxin, you can also call me third elder brother, right?" Song Tao asked with a smile.
Li Shinian had no other choice but to say, "Third elder brother."
"Hahaha, I have another little sister. The Kingdom’s fourth Bright Moon, now the three of us are as close as siblings, it is a wonderful matter in life." Song Tao laughed heartily.
Someone stretched their head out from the balcony, asking with a smile, "what’s Third young master so happy about?"
"I have one more little sister." Song Tao frankly replied.
"It is indeed a major event, you should have a drink."
Song Tao led Li Shinian and Cui Xiaoxin into the wooden building, and when Li Muyang wanted to follow in, Ning Xinhai held out his hand to stop him.
"Are you going in to write a poem or to paint?"
He was right. Li Muyang was only a cart driver, if his poem and painting were better than those young ladies and young masters, wouldn't that be a direct slap to their face?
It’s not good to be too high-profile.
So, Li Muyang followed Ning Xinhai into a hall where the bodyguards and butlers that had been brought in by the young masters and ladies were resting.
When the people in the room saw Ning Xinhai come in, they immediately one after another greeted him. But no one paid any attention to Li Muyang, an unfamiliar looking man in a workers costume.
Li Shinian and Cui Xiaoxin had just entered the small building, when a young man carrying a pot of wine came over, yelling: "Third young master, drink——"
When he saw the face of Li Shinian, he could not help staring blankly at her for a moment, before raising his voice to ask, "How come the daughter of a servant is here?"
"Cui Yu, this is Miss Shinian, my honoured guest." Song Tao stated.
"But Third young master, she is a sword enemy of our Cui family, her brother Li Muyang had killed my eldest brother Cui Zhaoren——" The young man shot a murderous look at Li Shinian.