Shen Yue threw a tantrum for a while in Qiu Shui Yuan, but this time Chen Rou Qiu seemed to have an iron heart. No matter how much she begged, she remained indifferent and even got furious, and said that if she continued then she will confine her. This time Shen Yue really panicked but Chen Rou Qiu was no longer bothered about her, so she was angry and anxious as she left Qiu Shui Yuan.
However she saw a few people coming out of Cai Yun Yuan, and the blue clad young female who was leading was startled first before stepping forward to speak, “Second Older Sister.”
Shen Yue glanced at that female and replied, “En.” Her attitude was however somewhat cold.
This female was no other than Second household’s Shu daughter, Shen Dong Ling. Previously, Shen Dong Ling was pressed down by Ren Wan Yun, and would not leave the courtyard for the entire year, thus some servants did not even recognise her. But after Ren Wan Yun’s death, Shen Gui was diagnosed as unable to have any heirs, Shen Dong Ling became the only bloodline of the Second household. But even so, Shen Yue still looked down on Shen Dong Ling’s identity, even though she appeared to be amiable with her. Even if it was the same blood, it would not change the fact that Shen Dong Ling was a Shu daughter. If one were to say that Shen Yue is jealous and resentful of Shen Miao, then towards Shen Dong Ling, there was no hesitation with the contempt for her.
However, Shen Dong Ling seemed to have not see the cold look in her eyes and still said with a smile, “I intend to spin a few silks to make silk cloth, and a few days back when one spoke to YiNiang about the matter, one was very excited about the patterns. Coincidently one had designed a few patterns. Does Second Older Sister want some?”
“No need.” Shen Yue said.
Even being treated coldly Shen Dong Ling said with a good temper, “Since it is as such then it is alright. One originally was thinking to make a few for Second Older Sister.”
Shen Yue was somewhat impatient. At this moment, she was only worried about the matter of Chen Rou Qiu choosing a husband for her, so how would she think of other matters? Seeing Shen Dong Ling lowering her head and exposing a section of her fair neck, her heart slightly paused. She retracted her hand and carefully looked at Shen Dong Ling.
There was only a difference of half a year of age between Shen Dong Ling and Shen Yue. If one were to speak of the original daughters of the Shen family, Shen Qing was magnanimous, Shen Yue was a refined elegant beauty and Shen Miao was a delicate beauty. The three of them also had the unique temperament of a Di daughter, thus Shen Dong Ling also had the similar unique frailness of a Shu daughter. Wan YiNiang was previously the lead of a theatre, and was a bit of a beauty when one was talking about looks. Shen
Dong Ling did not look like Shen Gui, but was almost the exact same copy of how Wan YiNiang looked like when she was young. Big eyes and sharp chin that were taken from Wan YiNiang’s looks. However, compared to those domineering YiNiangs, Shen Dong Ling often lowered her eyes and would not snatch or create noises, putting her YiNiang to shame.
However after a careful look to measure her up, she was a delicate girl who grew up and became a beautiful lady.
Suddenly Shen Yue’s heart moved. She took the initiative to pull Shen Dong Ling’s hand over and said with a smile, “I do not let you do it for me because I fear that it would tire you out. You are a Young Lady of the residence and not a embroidery lady of a workshop. What is with doing needlework all day long?”
Shen Dong Ling was surprised for a moment and her face slightly reddened, seemingly surprised by Shen Yue’s sudden intimacy. She said favourably, “Second Older Sister spoke too seriously. I have nothing to do on normal days so YiNiang told me to do some needlework, thus I did some. It does not hinder anything.” Wan YiNiang seemed to be suppressed by Ren Wan Yun too long and even though the tide has turned now, what she loved to do was just staying in the courtyard to do embroidery. Shen Dong Ling apparently also followed her character.
Seeing Shen Dong Ling this well-behaved, the smile in Shen Yue’s eyes got deeper, “You should change your temperament. It is a good thing to be well-behaved and like doing needlework, but which Young Lady is seen doing embroidery all day? Tomorrow I will be going to the jewellery shop to choose some jewellery. You should follow me. There are some new designs this year and perhaps there would be some that you will fancy. If you saw anything you like, I will gift it to you.”
“This.” Shen Dong Ling waved her hands in panic, “Cannot.”
“You are still being too courteous to me.” Shen Yue feigned anger, “You and me are after all closest sisters and if even you are so distant, then what is the point of being sisters?”
Shen Dong Ling was somewhat at a lost, and did not know how to continue Shen Yue’s words. When Shen Yue saw this, she smiled gently and patted her shoulder, “Third Younger Sister is still timid and has a character that make other’s heart ache. That will do, I still have some matters so one will not continue talking to you. Tomorrow one will let the maids go to Cai Yun Yuan to look for you, so that you can go to the jewellery shop with me.” There was an indisputable tone in her words.
Shen Dong Ling nodded her head and accepted.
After Shen Yue and entourage left, Wu Mei who was a maid beside Shen Dong Ling said, “What is this Second Young Lady trying to do? At one time cold, at another time warm. Without any rhyme or reason, why would she thought about inviting Young Lady to the jewellery shop?”
Shen Yue naturally treated Shen Dong Ling blandly
blandly and to be that warm, it indeed aroused suspicion.
“This is her changing her tactics to fawn me.” Shen Dong Ling looked at Shen Yue’s fading figure and said with a gentle smile, “Most likely she felt that I am easy to bribe and want me to rely and trust her, so that in the future when she need me to help her to do something, it would be much easier.”
Wu Mei was astonished when she heard this, “What can be done? This Second Young Lady clearly has ill-intentions and want to use Young Lady. Since Young Lady know about it, what can be done?”
“There is no harm.” Shen Dong Ling was somewhat happy, “I am happy to help in it, just like her gifting me jewellery. She want to gift good things to others, and I am not a saint so there is no logic in not accepting.” She said, “It is just that she is short-sighted.”
Shen Yue, who was walking towards Qiu Shui Yuan, was deep in thoughts as her mind was filled with the weak and obedient look of Shen Dong Ling. Both were sweet, fair and graceful ladies, both were at the prime age, both were daughters of the Shen family, but Shen Yue had an instinct that by winning Shen Dong Ling over, it would perhaps be of great use to her in the future.
At this end Shen Yue was in total disorder and at another end, at the doors of the Western courtyard, there was someone outside moving flowers. The bustle of activity was a bit lively and just as Shen Wan passed by the Western courtyard’s doors, he heard an old woman exclaiming, “Young Lady, be careful.”
Shen Wan looked over at the sound and saw a young female moving a heavy pot of flowers. Most likely the flower pot was too heavy and it almost knocked against her foot. The MaMa beside sighed in relief, and that female turned around and smiled at the MaMa with a smile like flower.
Shen Wan’s footsteps paused.
The female was wearing a greenish blue top with a pink jaded skirt, and has her hair up in a Lily style with an agate hairpin. There was a thunderstorm last night and she was out and about early in the morning. She was not devastatingly beautiful that could cause the downfall of a country, and could only be considered as a graceful beauty. But the sunlight fell onto the sweat on her forehead and became dazzling like crystals. Because she was sweating, her face was a little flushed, making her become a kind of unspoken beauty. (T/N: Argh… Hate translating this few sentences)
Everyone had the heart for beauties. Even though Shen Wan was not lustful, it did not mean that he would be indifferent towards beauties. There was only Chen Rou Qiu in his inner courtyard and even though he was in love dearly, as the days grew longer and as time passed, one would always feel a little bored. However, today upon seeing this beauty with vivid fragrance, naturally one could not help but stop.
It was like one was appreciating a painting or a poem. At this
At this moment Shen Wan did not have any other emotions. He had always been not warm to matters between a male and female. That female seemed to have noticed that someone was watching her and turned over. Upon seeing Shen Wan, she paused in surprise before walking over.
She walked to Shen Wan and was not at all shy or embarrassed but instead gracefully greeted, “Third Master.”
Shen Wan swept a glance at her and suddenly realised her identity, “Young Lady Chang.”
Chang Zai Qing only saw Shen Wan once and that was when she just came to Shen residence, and that evening Chen Rou Qiu brought her to Old Shen Furen. At night the light was fainter and since everyone was thinking about matters during the day, Shen Wan also did not notice Chang Zai Qing. He did not expect that upon closer look she was such a beauty of a rare temperament. Thinking that Chen Rou Qiu had good relations with Chang Zai Qing, his attitude became more cordial.
“What is Young Lady Chang doing?” Shen Wan asked while smiling.
Chang Zai Qing turned back and looked at the flower terrace, “It was raining last night so many of the flower stalks were damaged by the rain, so I am bandaging them up.”
“Bandage?” Shen Wan felt it was somewhat novel and asked, “How to bandage the flowers?”
Chang Zai Qing smiled gently, “Third Master can just take a look.”
Shen Wan walked over to the flower terrace to take a look and indeed saw that on those scattered branches, some were wrapped in fabric and some was coated in some medicine but all were place and arranged tidily. Around them, there were some fabric and scissors, and one of the flower was folded into half but actually became connected.
“You are considerate.” Shen Wan sighed, “It is difficult to be willing to do it.” With the thunderstorm last night, most of the flora and fauna would be injured and even Chen Rou Qiu, one who loved flowers, would also throw the flowers away after pitying for a bit. Destroyed flowers are not as good looking as before, and it would be annoying to keep raising it. One did not expect that Chang Zai Qing would be so attentive with these plants, and not only she did not throw them out, she still ‘dressed’ them up.
“Plants also have life.” Chang Zai Qing smiled as she spoke, “Since one is one who loves flowers, one cannot forget one’s original aspiration upon such encounters. Every living thing has a spirit, and one cannot be a person who say one thing but mean another. To speak about loving flora and fauna but cannot even do this little thing.” Chang Zai Qing said candidly, “Moreover it is just doing some stuff, and this would delight ourselves so why not?”
“Such a pleasing person.” Shen Wan looked at Chang Zai Qing with eyes full of appreciation, “Young Lady Chang is truly an elegant person. It is me who is vulgar.”
“Third Master has praised exaggeratedly.” Chang Zai Qing said jokingly, “Everyone is common people and I too have selfish motives. If I grew the flora and fauna well, one will feel more will feel more at peace staying in the residence, since one can still do some little things.”
Shen Wan smiled, “Young Lady Chang has worried too much. Even if Young Lady Chang do not know how to grow anything, there will not be anyone in the Shen residence that will chase you away.”
Chang Zai Qing also smiled along, “Then many thanks to Third Master.” She suddenly remembered something and looked at Shen Wan, “Speaking of which, I accidentally laid out a chess game yesterday and was unable to solve it. One initially wanted to look for Third Furen to help me take a look, but Third Furen seemed to be a bit busy today. One heard that Third Master is a chess expert. Is it possible to help give Zai Qing a pointer or two?”
After thinking again she smiled, “I can make tea for Third Master. Perhaps Third Furen had told you that the tea I boil is very good to drink.”
Her conduct was natural and unrestrained and if one rejected her, it would seemed that Shen Wan was rude. At the end she also used tea as a condition, showing a little wit. Shen Wan thought for a moment and laughed, “Obedience is a better way of showing respect than outward reverence.”
Both of them began to play chess upon reaching the stone table in the garden and when they were playing, they also casually chatted. Shen Wan was surprised to discover that not only Chang Zai Qing was superior in chess, when she was talking to him, she knew about astronomy, geography and there was no subjects that she did not dabble in. Moreover, she has a long term perspective and could even talk a little about matters of court. Shen Wan was one who appreciate talented people and paid less attention to the beauty of a female, and only favoured Chen Rou Qiu in the inner courtyard because Chen Rou Qiu was skilled in the four scholarly arts, and was an out and out talent. But the only one thing bad about Chen Rou Qiu was that because she was from a scholarly lineage, she would occasionally put up on airs and thought herself as high and pure. It was interesting if it was once or twice but for one who lived every day, one would inevitable feel that Chen Rou Qiu was too small minded, and unduly worried over minor matters.
Chang Zai Qing was however very different. Both were very talented females but Chang Zai Qing did not have the arrogance of a big family and was candid. She was exquisite in her candidness and was very considerate. When chatting with her, it was full of humour and wit and made one’s mind calm. Unconsciously Shen Wan’s gaze at Chang Zai Qing became admiration and they hang out with one another longer.
Zhao MaMa looked from afar and a trace of happiness appeared in her eyes. However, she quietly instructed the maids at the courtyard door to guard carefully, and not let others come in.
It was the case at this end and within the Imperial Palace of Ming Qi, it was also an exceptionally lively day today.