Chapter 21 “Reunion”
At dinner time, the complexion of Qin Baochuan had returned rosy, and he was more active than usual. He even slapped his chest and laughed, saying that he could do it longer next time.
Nurse Liao made some good doughball for dinner tonight. The warm soup dispelled the coldness of the winter. Compared with the peace and warmth in Qin Yunuan’s yard, the Caizhi Courtyard was all a mess.
“Alright, you’re all dismissed.” Dou Qing’e yelled towards the maids and the nannies outside the door, and looked at quilts and embroidered pillows scattering all over the floor. Then, she turned around and closed the door. She sighed as she saw Qin Yunzhuang sitting on the bed with a grumpy look, and said slowly, “Now you’re more sensible. You used to throw antique vases and potteries, but now you know that those are expensive, so you only throw some soft stuff.”
When Qin Yunzhuang heard it, she almost cooled down at once. She coquettishly held Dou Qing’e’s arm and said softly, “Mother, why did you send Qin Yunuan the little b*tch to pray at the Temple Festival? Although the custom of the Temple Festival is to let the younger generation of the family attend the worship at the temple and pray for peace for the whole family, Qin Yunuan is just a daughter of a concubine! Wouldn’t it be too shameful if you send her? ”
“What else could I do?” Dou Qing’e raised her eyebrows. “Among all the younger generation in the family, your elder brother is traveling far away and you look at yourself. You cannot attend, can you? Originally Qin Yuwan is suitable, but this mess turned up. Baochuan and Baoduan are too young to go. Hence, all leave us with only one option left, which is Qin Yunuan.”
“Mother,” Qin Yunzhuang still complained, “For god’s sake, it’s such a great advantage for her.”
“Hum, do you think it will be an advantage?”
Dou Qing’e was crystal clear about Qin Yunzhuang’s thoughts. Qin Yunuan had attracted a lot of attention at the last Flower Fairy Festival in the palace. There were many people talking about her in the bigwigs circle lately. As they talked about the Empress finding frostbite on Qin Yunuan, it seemed that they were testing Dou Qing’e if she had neglected or abused the daughter of a concubine. This made her quite embarrassed.
She found it even more unexpected when Qin Yunuan actually sent the informer she had planted around her to Qin Yuwan. “She’d better be unintentional,” Dou Qing’e thought, “Otherwise, my tricks will be far more than that.”
She also thought of the news from the maid Cui’e, whom she sent to spy on Qin Yunuan temporarily, saying that Qin Yunuan was training Qin Baochuan to take a cold shower this morning. If Qin Yunuan was a spike in her flesh, Qin Baochuan would be a needle poked in her heart. She wouldn’t be satisfied until she removed it.
Seeing that Qin Yunzhuang really cared about this matter, she laid out her plan to her completely, thinking that it would be done in half a month and there was no need to hide it anymore.
“Mother, seriously?” Qin Yunzhuang’s eyes were flashing with expectation and a special kind of enthusiasm, “Mother, do you really have a way to drive Qin Yunuan and Qin Baochuan out of the Qin’s family?”
“She’s just a daughter of a concubine. How hard could it be?” Dou Qing’e said calmly, and she petulantly stroked Qin Yunzhuang’s forehead, “You’re my sweetheart. I would remove anything or anyone that would trouble you.” Dou Qing’e showed a strong motherly love, and she touched Qin Yunzhuang’s cheek in distress. “Your task now is to rest nicely at home. I assure that I would find a way to heal your face even if losing everything I have.”
Qin Yunzhuang lifted her face and there was fierceness in her eyes. She clenched her teeth and said, “From now on, Shangguan Yee and I are enemies.”
Time flies. After Qin Yuwan was punished, the mansion of Grand Commandant was peaceful for quite a while. It was a sunny day. The water jasmine at the corner of the yard had sprouted buds after the cold winter. Qin Yunuan was in a good mood after waking up to see those small and delicate buds in wind.
“Third Miss, young master Su Chenghai has sent two honey pomelos here. I’ve put them in the room for you.” Tong said happily to Qin Yunuan. She lowered her voice and added, “From my point of view, it’s even better than that given to the Grand Miss and Madam.”
Qin Yunuan put down her needlework and raised her head. She saw two smooth and shiny yellow pomelos on the table, carefully tied with two red ropes for easy handling.
For the past half month, Su Chenghai had been sending seasonal fruits or southern snacks to Qin Yunuan’s yard every day. Surely, he would also send double to Qin Yunzhuang and Dou Qing’e. Su Chenghai was always aware of his manners and knew the difference between the elders and the youngers.
“I do find that young master Su Chenghai sends these things sincerely,” Maner was helping Qin Yunuan pulling threads, but she smiled when she saw the pomelos on the table and said, “Third Miss, what a coincidence! Whether the oranges the day before yesterday or the Tendrils cake yesterday, every time young master Su Chenghai sends what you like to eat.”
Qin Yunuan acted to knock on Maner’s forehead and said, pretending to be angry, “Now that I don’t discipline you both, you have grown bolder and bolder. Now you dare make up stories about me!”
It was true that Qin Yunuan and Su Chenghai had a great friendship in their childhood. However, time flies. Qin Yunuan couldn’t understand Su Chenghai’s thoughts anymore. Sometimes Su Chenghai made her feel like a total stranger, such as his indifferent sight and icy words. Sometimes he was extremely warm, such as the greeting gifts he had sent her, and the snacks and fruits he had sent during the past half-month.
“Third Miss, it’s time to go.” Nurse Liao came in to remind her that today was the annual Temple Festival, the day when all the juniors of the rich and famous families in the capital went to pray at Lingtai Temple together. As a result, she should be able to see many people today, like Fang Ziying, or Shangguan Yee.
The delicate carriage cover was fringed with purple-embroidered fringe, and the white horse pulling it was apparently well-fed and full of spirit. They set off from Qingshui Lane, and the scenery changed from the prosperous bazaar to a dense wood of pine trees. Wan’an temple could be almost seen.
Maner and Tong could only follow that carriage from far behind, and an older servant girl named Lvliu, whom Dou Qing’e chose personally, was following the carriage aside. All the way, she kept reminding Qin Yunuan repeatedly about how to talk to the young men, how to bless them properly, and the rules of having the vegetarian meal in the temple.
It sounded that Lvliu was an experienced servant girl, but in the end she was sent by Dou Qing’e. Therefore, Qin Yunuan had been on guard against her.
“Third Miss, we’re there.” The carriage stopped outside the gate of the temple. Lvliu just bowed slightly, with no intention to open the curtain for Qin Yunuan. After all, she was serving the Madam, so not everyone was worthy of her service.
Qin Yunuan didn’t care about it. She opened the curtain with a smile. Her elegant pinkish purple skirt touched the ground slightly. The pale green flowery collar matched the wet moss on the stairs perfectly, and her glamour stood out. She was like a freshly carved jade sculpture, clear, elegant, natural and bright.
The gatekeeping young monk came over to greet her, “Benefactor, the other benefactors are waiting in the East Side Hall.”
“Please, young master, show me the way,” Qin Yunuan nodded her head. Every move of hers just made others couldn’t help adoring her.
Suddenly, a frivolous and teasing male voice came behind her, “We are destined to meet each other. The Third Miss of the Qin’s family is such a beauty, even from a distant look. It must be fate that I have the chance to see you here.”
How blatant flirting it was. Qin Yunuan was certain that the man was Shangguan Rang, a useless son of the Shangguan family. In her past life, Qin Yunuan had seen Shangguan Rang occasionally. However, he had a high standard. He would not even pay a look at any woman apart from the famous ladies and belles in the capital. The way he praised her today really surprised Qin Yunuan.
Qin Yunuan turned around with a reserved manner, and saw Shangguan Rang striding towards her. He had a luscious forehead, dazzling eyes and white teeth. He had the most romantic face in the world, and he knew how to please women with his words. No wonder so many young ladies in the capital were captivated by him. There were plenty young ladies like Qin Yuwan who was in love with the wrong guy.
“Greetings, young master Shangguan.” The peaceful and unhurried attitude of hers made Shangguan Rang feel refreshed. He was used to the enchanting and affectionate women, as well as self-respected noble ladies. Qin Yunuan was exotic for him, but aroused his interest.
“Oh? You know my name?” Shangguan Rang was a bit excited and pleased.
Qin Yunuan smiled faintly, as she hinted with her sight, “Young master came out from that carriage with the symbol of the Shangguan’s family. Apart from Shangguan Rang, the first son of the Shangguan’s family, who could afford such a gorgeous and exquisite carriage?”
Shangguan didn’t get the ridicule of Qin Yunuan at all. All he felt was flattery, so he got more proud of himself, “Naturally, I have very particular standards for every detail of my life. Take the silk I am about to give my sister for an example, if she likes it, I don’t care how much it costs.”
Silk? Qin Yunuan raised her eyebrows. She saw a young servant behind Shangguan Rang holding a long brocade box. The golden cloud-shaped carving was brilliant, and it must be the silk inside which Shangguan Rang was about to give Shangguan Yee.
“Third Miss Qin, you don’t know how expensive the silk is in the capital these days,” Shangguan Rang continued to boast, “These silk are usually only from East Qin, but since we are at war now, and the trading has stopped, only two families are able to get goods from East Qin.” Shangguan Rang blinked at Qin Yunuan, as he wanted to arouse her interest.
However, Qin Yunuan almost figured them out in her heart. They were General Meng Hua and the “Cool Face General” Leng Changxi, who were in charge of the East Qin affairs. They were the only two people who could easily get the East Qin goods.
Shangguan Rang threw pleasing gazes towards Qin Yunuan repeatedly, but the girl was unmoved at all. This made him a bit frustrated.
As they arrived at the gate of the hall, Qin Yunuan finally asked gently, “Where is Miss Shangguan? Why does not she go with you?” She wasn’t worried about Shangguan Yee’s whereabouts. She just heard that Shangguan Yee and Shangguan Rang had a great relationship. As they did not show up together, it made her think deeply.
Shangguan Rang stretched himself and kneaded his chin, which was a bit thin because of excessive indulgence. He said without hesitation, “There is a nobleman coming today, and my little sister takes order from our father to accompany him.”
What kind of nobleman actually made the Left Chancellor treat him so carefully? Shangguan Rang even used the word “accompany”.
“Third Miss Qin, do you want to know who this nobleman is?” Shangguan Rang intentionally tried to raise Qin Yunuan’s curiosity again.
Qin Yunuan turned her head aside and kept silent. Her glance swept over the slightly happy face of Shangguan Rang lightly, and she turned around again and said quietly towards the gate of the hall, “I will find out when I enter the hall.”
“What an uninteresting girl!” Thought Shangguan Rang as he was quite embarrassed due to her. However, the more estranged the woman was, the more she aroused his interest. He quickly followed Qin Yunuan. However, before he was able to talk to her, there was the sound of a tea cup cracking from inside the hall.
“Leng Changxi, I am kind enough to serve you a cup of tea, don’t test my limits!” A female’s voice which sounded extremely angry came out from the East Side Hall. The voice was sharp and slightly trembling. Qin Yunuan immediately recognized that it was the voice of Shangguan Yee.
“That sounds bad,” Shangguan Rang was anxious, “My little sister is impetuous. It would be a disaster if she offends the nobleman.” After saying that, he ran straight in.
Qin Yunuan stretched her neck. She didn’t expect that they would meet again so soon.