"En." Yun Qian Yu replies.
"But this is Xian Wang's manor!" Wen Ling Shan reminds her.
"Yet we are still here to freeload on their food?"
"I have no other place to freeload from other than here." Yun Qian Yu thinks for a while, looking at Wen Ling Shan before saying, "I think, I will have one more place to freeload from in the future. Your house."
Wen Ling Shan wants to cry; this isn't what she meant. Yun Qian Yu is free to take all the rice in her house for all she cares; Princess Hu Guo visiting her house to freeload is something she takes as an honor. But this is Xian Wang's manor, not somewhere they can simply go to.
Feng Ran has already stepped forward to knock the main gate. Wen Ling Shan immediately stops him. Feng Ran instinctively wants to throw her off of him, but that girl knows a little martial arts so Feng Ran does not successfully throws her off, on the first try.
"What are all of you doing here?" Gong Sang Mo who has hastily flied back gives them a warm, breeze-like smile. When his eyes fall on the little girl that is hanging from Feng Ran's arm, he teasingly raise his eyebrows at him.
Once Wen Ling Shan sees Xian Wang, her little face turns pale. She is done for! They are caught by Xian Wang! She hides her face on Feng Ran's sleeves, not daring to look on.
When he sees that teasing look in Gong Sang Mo's eyes, Feng Ran immediately shakes Wen Ling Shan off, as though he is chasing off a fly.
Wen Ling Shan who is not prepared for the attack ends up yelping as she is fling backwards.
Yun Qian Yu helpless waves her sleeves and catches Wen Ling Shan's fall with her internal power.
Wen Ling Shan appears surprised for a moment before looking at Yun Qian Yu with sparkling eyes, "Your Highness, you are so powerful!"
The corner of Yun Qian Yu's lips twitches; she calls this 'powerful'?
She turns around towards Gong Sang Mo, "I am here to play chess with grandfather."
Gong Sang Mo laughs dotingly at her. When he remembers that San Qiu said she seems to have planned to eat lunch there, he imagines a stone-faced Yun Qian Yu exclaiming that she has come to free-load. Just thinking of that makes him pleased to no end.
"Grandfather will be really happy!"
As he says that, the gate of the manor is opened before Yun Shan welcomes them all with a delighted expression.
"Little Miss, you are here!"
Gong Sang Mo lowers his head and speaks near Yun Qian Yu's ear, "See. Uncle Yun don't even see me, right now."
As the hot air reaches her ear, Yun Qian Yu's face heats up.
Yun Shan laughs, "Don't tell me wangye is jealous of Little Miss."
Wen Ling Shan looks at Yun Shan who treats Yun Qian Yu as though she is a treasure. Then, she looks at Gong Sang Mo who is looking at the princess with eyes that are deep in affection; she is stunned. What is going on? Her Father had forbidden her from participating in yesterday's banquet because of her inclination to get into trouble. Because of that, she does not know what truly transpires in the palace. She does not know what relationship Yun Shan has with Yun Qian Yu, but what surprise her the most is the way Xian Wang treats her! The god-like Xian Wang actually likes Princess Hu Guo! This is a breaking news!
Gong Sang Mo naturally sees Yun Qian Yu's reddening face. After having a good look, he retreats a little and says, "Uncle Yun, have you told Grandfather?"
"I have already sent some people to. The old wangye keeps talking about Little Miss. He said she has only gone for one day, why does it feels like she has been gone for one year? He must be really happy once he knows Little Miss is here."
Yun Shan's mood is particularly good today. Early in the morning, he went to the government office to dissolve his slave deed. Gong Sang Mo even sent people to invite his son, Yun Nian, back. Yun Nian had studied medicine from Yun Shan ever since he was small; now, he is a famous military doctor in Long Wei Camp.
When a person is happy, their spirit is rejuvenated. Yun Shan is over fifty years old, but today, he feels like he is only a little above thirty.
"Hurry and come in; wangye, Little Miss."
Gong Sang Mo walks into the manor with Yun Qian Yu while carrying a simple smile. Yun Qian Yu suddenly remembers about Wen Ling Shan's existence. She turns around only to find that girl staring at her in shock.
"What are you doing there? Hurry and come in." Yun Qian Yu beckons her with her hand.
Once Wen Ling Shan regains her composure, she quickly runs after them. This is real! She is really in Xian Wang's manor to freeload!
Feng Ran does not come in. He tells Yun Qian Yu that he will pick her up after lunch. And then, he goes to do his own thing.
The group of people head towards the old wangye's courtyard. Just as they stepped into the entrance gate, they hear his loud exclamation, "Are you sure yatou is here?"
"We are sure. Housekeeper Yun already went to welcome her." A servant boy helplessly replies.
"Then why isn't she here yet?" His voice sounds very anxious.
"Old wangye, the main gate is very far from your courtyard. It is natural for her to take a little time."
"Aren't their martial arts skills really high? They should be more considerate to this old bone!"
The corner of the servant's lips twitches; it is necessary for guests to be courteous when visiting other people's house; who in their right mind will fly straight to the personal courtyards? Even if they want to, they won't dare to in Xian Wang's manor.
The bunch of people who have just reached the courtyard are even more dumbfounded. Yun Qian Yu did not think the old wangye would be so fervent in welcoming her.
Yun Shan teasingly says, "I told you the old wangye will be impatient!"
The moment the door is pushed open, the energetic old wangye immediately appears in front of Yun Qian Yu. His eyes are crescent-shaped as he laughs, "Yatou, you are here!"
His voice is really warm ah! It is as though the person throwing tantrum in the courtyard just now was not him.
"Grandfather Gong, the envoys from other kingdoms will arrive in a couple more days. Qian Yu will be really busy by then, so Qian Yu comes today to play chess with Grandfather. I hope Grandfather will not blame me for not informing beforehand."
"No! In fact, this old sack of bone is very happy!" How can he bear to blame Yun Qian Yu? In fact, he'd rather she comes every day.
"Grandfather, I bring a friend with me, this time." Yun Qian Yu pulls at Wen Ling Shan from behind.
Wen Ling Shan demurely speaks up, "Wen Ling Shan, the daughter of imperial censor Wen Ru Hai, greets old Gong wangye."
"En!" The old wangye solemnly straighten his body.
"You are that outspoken Wen Ling Shan?" the old wangye asks.
"Er, yes." Wen Ling Shan replies hesitantly, secretly sighing at her own notoriety. Even the old wangye who barely leaves this manor has heard of her.
She does not know that in his search for granddaughter in law, the old wangye has investigated every single young maiden in every officials' households in the capital. Who is in the right age of marriage, who hasn't, even their personalities and preferences are at the back of his hand.
Gong Sang Mo coughs lightly. The old wangye realizes that he has been exposed and quickly says, "The rest of you can find your own seats. Yatou, the chessboard has been prepared. Let's begin."
"Alright." Yun Qian Yu accompanies the pleased old wangye to a flower pavilion in familiarity.
Gong Sang Mo follows them and Wen Ling Shan got absolutely neglected. She stands there, not knowing where to go.
Yun Shan laughs, "Miss Wen, come on in. The old wangye does not put much importance in rules and bearings. Do as you please."
Hearing that, Wen Ling Shan isn't completely relieved, but she listened to him anyway.
Yun Shan instructs someone to make tea before he personally goes to the kitchen to prepare meals. After arranging everything, he returns there while carrying exquisite pastries.
Gong Sang Mo already instructs his people to pick grapes. Not long after their arrival, a tray of juicy round grapes that has been washed clean is carried in.
Gong Sang Mo gets up and wash his hand before sitting on the table-side to peel off the grapes.
Wen Ling Shan who has never sit in such a proper manner as she does at the moment, is dumbfounded as she watches Gong Sang Mo peels grapes. She secretly thinks: This Xian Wang is so filial. He even peels off grapes for the old wangye. This beautiful man is so pleasing to the eyes. He looks handsome from all angles.
Not long later, a plate of grapes has been successfully peels off. Gong Sang Mo gets up and soaks a handkerchief before naturally making his way towards Yun Qian Yu. Then, he lifts up her left hand and gently wipe it using the damp cloth.
Yun Qian Yu is too preoccupied with strategizing over the chess game; by the time she realizes what has transpired, Gong Sang Mo has finished wiping her hand clean. Yun Qian Yu's eyes flashes as she looks at her left hand; her ears unwittingly turning red.
Gong Sang Mo puts the plate before Yun Qian Yu as he gently speaks, "Eat this."
The old wangye's head is lowered towards the chess board, but his heart is secretly jumping in glee. This crafty, opportunistic brat. He sure acts fast. They are already touching hands, things should be developing fast. The more he thinks, the higher the corner of his lips rise. At first, he thought he should lift his hand to start something. But after seeing this, he realizes that he does not need to. This girl will not be able to escape his cunning, fox-like grandson's hands.
Yun Qian Yu cannot resist the temptation of the grapes. She picks one up and eats it. She freezes when she sees the old wangye's smiling face. From the looks of it, the old wangye is losing, why is he laughing so cheerfully? Did something change in the chessboard? Something she did not see? She quickly puts her eyes back to the chessboard.
Gong Sang Mo gives a light cough and the old wangye immediately wipes that smile off of his face. He solemnly studies the chess game that he is about to lose instead.
Wen Ling Shan finds this hard to believe. She rubs her own eyes. The grapes that Xian Wang peeled are for the princess! He even cleans her hand for her!
Wen Ling Shan feels like everything she has experienced today has been surreal. Is she dreaming? She secretly pinch her own legs. It hurts, she almost cry out from the pain. She covers her mouth as she studies Yun Qian Yu's expression.
Yun Qian Yu is eating so peacefully while playing chess. Seems like this is not the first time Xian Wang has ever peel grapes and wash her hands for her.
She knows for sure now, Xian Wang likes Princess Hu Guo! This is an undisputable truth! Even though she is audacious, she is not stupid. She knows this! Her father has always been strict, but he is very attentive to her mother in private.
Yun Shan walks in on that very moment, carrying exquisite snacks.
Wen Ling Shan understands everything by now; don't tell her all those are only for the princess?
Yun Shan walks straight towards Yun Qian Yu and exchange the tray with the empty plate of grapes that Yun Qian Yu has just finished.
A maid walks in right after Yun Shan. She places a plate of pastries on the table in front of Wen Ling Shan before bowing and retreating away.
Wen Ling Shan secretly mumbles to herself; lucky they don't forget her.
"Little Miss, these are the pastries that the kitchen made today. Why don't you try them and see if you like them or not?"
Yun Qian Yu nods and picks up a pastry using the hand that she used to eat grapes. The pasty is crispy and sweet, just like how she likes it. Just, the hand that she used to eat grapes with feels a little sticky.
Gong Sang Mo takes that damp handkerchief and wipes her hand again with it. As Yun Qian Yu chews on the pastry, her eyes falls on Gong Sang Mo's long, jade-like hand that is earnestly wiping and holding her left hand.
"Try to eat less even if you like it. It will be lunch soon and Uncle Yun must have prepared many of your favorite dishes," Gong Sang Mo says after he finishes wiping her hand.
Yun Qian Yu's heart beats rapidly. She nods, trying to cover the look in her eyes.
The old wangye who is sitting in front of her already puts down his chess pieces, "I lost. Yatou's chess skill is extraordinary."
Wen Ling Shan is already numb as she speechlessly watches this entire family circling around Yun Qian Yu.
A maid comes in from outside and informs Yun Shan, "Housekeeper Yun, lunch is ready."
Yun Shan instructs them to bring lunch over to this flower pavilion. Then, he walks towards the old wangye and says, "Old wangye, lunch is ready."
The old wangye nods his approval, he cannot bear to let his granddaughter in law goes around in hunger.
A group of maids walks in, carrying plates and plates of delicacies.
The old wangye sits on the head of the table, while Gong Sang Mo sits on his left. Yun Qian Yu drags the uncomfortable Wen Ling Shan forward before sitting on the old wangye's right.
Seeing the various kind of delicacies on the table, Wen Ling Shan finally realizes what being doted on means.
Yun Qian Yu has been spoiled by the Yun Valley's people from the very beginning; had this been any other girl, they would have been moved to tears.
Gong Sang Mo removes all the bones from the fish first before allowing Yun Shan to place it in front of Yun Qian Yu. Then, he peels off the prawns first before putting them on her bowl. The moment Yun Qian Yu moves towards a dish, that dish will quickly be placed in front of her.
Wen Ling Shan has always thought she is pampered back at home. She always shows it off to her friends too. But that is not even worthy to even be compared to the kind that Yun Qian Yu gets. This is a big blow towards her.
Before they even finish eating, San Qiu walks in. He gives Wen Ling Shan a look before whispering something to Gong Sang Mo.
Gong Sang Mo raise his eyebrows for a while before nodding at him. San Qiu then, leaves again.
Gong Sang Mo does not say anything. The old wangye too acts as if he didn't see San Qiu coming in.
After they finish eating, Yun Qian Yu prepares herself to go back to the palace. Gong Sang Mo glances at her and says, "Why don't you sit around for a while more?"
There is something he does not say. If she returns to the palace, she will have to come out again. Even though he does not say it out loud, he knows Yun Qian Yu will understand him.
A sharp light flashes in Yun Qian Yu's eyes.
Yun Shan and a couple more maids serve tea. After drinking a cup, Yun Qian Yu turns to Wen Ling Shan, "Shen Shao Kang, he…"
Hearing Yun Qian Yu speaking about Shen Shao Kang in Gong Sang Mo's presence makes her embarrassed. She quickly cuts her off, "I understand. I must not be so silly anymore."
Hearing that, Yun Qian Yu says, "Lucky you are not completely silly."
Wen Ling Shan gives her an eyeroll; is she that silly?
After they finish a cup of tea, Feng Ran hastily walks in.
"Mistress, the envoys from Jiu Xiao Kingdom were attacked by assassins, thirty li away from the capital. One of them, the 7th wangye of Jiu Xiao Kingdom has been kidnapped. His Majesty already ordered Shen Qiu Ming and Duke Rong's son, Xi shizi to tend to the injured envoys and do everything they can to find the 7th wangye."
Yun Qian Yu's eyelashes flutter. She glances at Gong Sang Mo, "Has Yu Jian gone out of the palace?"
Feng Ran replies her, "Yes, he has. He is on his way to Xian Wang's manor, he should be here soon. His Majesty instructed the imperial grandson and you to appease the remaining envoys and help Xi shizi find the wangye."
They actually dares to kidnap somebody just 30 li from the capital. They are slapping the Kingdom of Nan Lou right in the face.
Serene: Chapter 55 is sponsored by Oddanka!
And I just realized this: there is a thread made in about this novel. Feel free to join in the discussion there! And thanks a bunch to Ruyi for making it!