That is also why he is reading the book while leaning on the bookshelf and not taking the book somewhere to sit. He reads too fast, going here and there will only waste time. This method is much more convenient, he get to read more books at the end of the day. Ya Xuan is not your regular place, most of the books here are the only edition, you will not find them elsewhere.
Besides, Ya Xuan has a rule. You can read the books anywhere inside the premise but are not allowed to take it out. Some of them are crafty and tried to sneak their favorite book out but none of them succeeded. They are banned from ever entering Ya Xuan again.
Indeed, the more Yun Qian Yu observes him, the more confident she is that he possesses photographic memory. As she looks at the book he is reading, her eyes sparkle; this is the person she is looking for.
The book he is reading is a military book. When Yun Qian Yu checks him out, she realizes that he has no inner power. He does not look like he is here to participate in the martial arts test, but he seems to like reading military-related books. She has been beside him for a long time yet he doesn’t even notice her presence. That is how absorbed he is in his book.
“Go and find out his name and where he comes from,” Yun Qian Yu does not bother him and turns around to leave.
Feng Ran glances at the person who is engrossed in his reading before searching for someone to inquire about him.
Yun Qian Yu then slowly steps towards those students who are reading examination samples.
At that moment, a voice that contains excitement reaches Yun Qian Yu and draws in the attention of everyone in Qing Yuan Hall, “Are you Princess Hu Guo?”
Yun Qian Yu turns around and sees a round face that belongs to a girl. There are two little buns on her hair so that means she is not of age yet. That girl looks at her in excitement, as though she wants to dissect her to her bones.
“It is really you! I just saw your poem in Zheng Hall just now, you are too awesome! The land is vast and beautiful, cold sword pierce through the frontier’s invaders, the hand is grasping books of war and strategy, riding the horse towards the enemy’s camp while wearing rouge. The song of victory echoes and the maiden laughs, delicate peach blossoms are stored in her pouch, her headdress (jinguo) does not lose to a man’s aspiration, the dream of having an unformidable army.” The girl recites her poem while slightly dancing around. Her voice is light while her steps are brisk, just one look and one can tell that she knows martial arts.
Yun Qian Yu’s mood turns lighter at the girl’s lively personality. “I wrote it casually. I didn’t think it was anything special at first, but after hearing you reciting it, it does give out the feeling of pride.”
“Of course! My grandfather always told me I was born wrong. He always shakes his head while sighing about how I ‘should have been born as a boy instead’!” The girl mimics her grandfather’s deep tone and stroke her non-existent beard as she paces around. After she finishes mimicking him, she laughs happily by herself.
Yun Qian Yu smiles; what an innocent girl. “Who says that women are inferior to men?”
“I love hearing that the most! All my brothers are not as well read or as good in martial arts as me. I am superior to them!”
“Shan Er, that was us giving face to you! Stop promoting that everywhere!” Two young men gracefully stop near them.
“Wen Lan Jin greets Your Highness the princess!”
“Wen Lan Xi greets Your Highness the princess.” The two people pay respect to Yun Qian Yu upon arrival.
Wen Lan Jin speaks first, “Our sister, Ling Shan is spoiled rotten by our family. She lost conduct. We ask for your forgiveness.”
“It is okay. I think it is hard to find people like her around.”
Hearing what Yun Qian Yu said, Wen Ling Shan happily pokes her tongue at her brothers.
“Stop being so naughty! Father will make you stand by the wall with books on your head once we get home!”
Wen Ling Shan’s cheeky demeanour immediately withers down.
“Alright. Be obedient and Eldest Brother will not tell Father.” Wen Lan Xi immediately comforts his sister.
Wen Ling Shan appears invigorated again.
“Ya~, isn’t this Miss Wen? Why aren’t you at the back, chasing after my cousin? Oh right, there is only Liu Piao Piao in my cousin’s heart. Not many can topple that over.”
Wen Ling Shan turns pale as she bites her lips while looking at the incoming person.
Yun Qian Yu frowns; Murong Bing? Enemies are indeed destined to meet; it is only yesterday that they last meet. Someone who has been embarrassed so bad at the banquet yesterday still has the face to show up here. Her cousin? Can it be the administrator of the capital’s government office, Shen Qiu Ming’s son. If the father is like that, how good can the son be? This Wen Ling Shan has bad taste.
Wen Lan Jin puts Wen Ling Shan behind him while Wen Lan Xi looks at Murong Bing in disdain, “Pot calling kettle black. I wonder who spits on her own face, chasing after Xian Wang when the other party is too lazy to even look at her.”
Yun Qian Yu is dumbfounded; Murong Bing likes Gong Sang Mo? No wonder she was so upset by the road that day; she even wanted to hurry home and make her father kick her out of Xian Wang’s manor. Her heart suddenly feels uneasy.
“You- How dare you be so rude to a member of the imperial family?” Murong Bing says in exasperation.
“Woah, I am so scared! You didn’t even bother hiding your face after embarrassing yourself in the imperial banquet. I wonder how Rui Qinwang educates his daughter. The banquet was only yesterday yet you are already free to go out today. People who didn’t know better would think that the person who got punished was somebody else and not you! I wonder what the emperor will think!” Wei Lan Xi is smiling, but his words are like daggers.
Only then did Murong Bing sees Yun Qian Yu. Her heart turns cold. Why is she here?
Her Father forbade her from coming out so she had to snuck out, hoping she can bump into Xian Wang here. Who would have thought that instead of Xian Wang, she will meet the person she wants to meet the least. And that person may very well report everything to the emperor later. She secretly panics; her Father only grounded her this time but if the emperor wants to pursuit this matter, she will get worse than that.
Thinking about that, Murong Bing’s heart turns into a mess.
Situ Han Yu who has been standing behind her, steps forward, “The Third Miss speaks rashly, Young Master Wen is not a woman to be so calculating.”
What Situ Han Yu implies is very clear; are you really a man to be so petty to a woman?
“Is she a woman? Why didn’t I know that? No matter how I look at her, she looks like a shrew!” Wen Lan Xi crosses his arms and measures Murong Bing up and down.
Situ Han Yu didn’t think Wen Lan Xi wouldn’t give her face like that. No matter where she goes, she had always been able to attract men’s eyes. But nobody treats her accordingly the moment she arrived in the capital. Her heart feels really uncomfortable.
Yun Qian Yu steps towards Wen Ling Shan and takes her hand, “Would you like to walk with me?”
Wen Ling Shan looks at her in surprise, “You do not mind me?”
“Mind what? Your sincerity? Your honesty? If that is what you are worried of, do not be. These are your advantages. A man who deserves you will discover your sincerity one day.”
Everyone who are watching them whispers to each other, agreeing with Yun Qian Yu. If you are to compare Murong Bing to Wen Ling Shan, the latter is better than the former by tenfold. Wen Ling Shan knows her line even though she likes Shen Shao Kang; she has not done anything that is out of the line, unlike the shameless Murong Bing who chases after Xian Wang.
Wen Ling Shan sniffs and raises her head, trying to hold in her tears.
“Had you not been a princess, I would definitely befriend you!” Wen Ling Shan says in regret.
“What does us being friends has anything to do with me being a princess?” Yun Qian Yu finds it funny inside; such an amusing and innocent child.
Wen Ling Shan’s big eyes twinkles before she happily speaks, “Your Highness is willing to befriend me?”
“Of course; if you are willing to!”
“But my Father is only a small imperial censor!” Wen Ling Shan’s voice is low. A lot of people aren’t willing to associate themselves with her because of her father.
“I am befriending you, not your father!”
Wen Lan Jin and Wen Lan Xi look at Yun Qian Yu in surprise, secretly grateful towards her. Before this, every time Murong Bing bullied Wen Ling Shan, their sister would be sad for days.
Wen Ling Shan laughs happily, “I knew someone who can write that poem will not be ordinary. Alright, I will be your friend! If anyone bullies you from now on, tell me and I will let my brothers go after them!”
Wen Lan Jin and Wen Lan Xi exchange a look before laughing bitterly. Their sister sure speaks on her own whim. Does she really think they will be able to come after people who bully Princess Hu Guo?
“Let’s go! I will keep you company! I know this Qing Yuan Hall better than anyone!” Wen Ling Shan very quickly forgets her sadness.
“Qian Yu!” Situ Han Yu gently calls for her.
“Preposterous! How dare you call out Princess’ birth name!” Before Yun Qian Yu even gets to speak Feng Ran already scolds her.
Situ Han Yu’s face changes, “Why must Guard Feng act this way? Qian Yu and I….”
Feng Ran impatiently cuts her off, “My mistress’ engagement with the Lord of Feng Yun Manor has already been broken. Both of you no longer have any relationship with each other. There is nothing I can do about it if Feng Yun Manor cannot live without the one million liang of silver we are supposed to send every year. I hope Miss Situ will not simply act so intimate every time you see our princess in the future.”
Yun Qian Yu continues walking forward with Wen Ling Shan without even turning her head. Everyone whom she passes by bows towards her.
Situ Han Yu stands there with an embarrassed face. She really hates her brother at this very moment; he actually lets go of this god of wealth.
Murong Bing doesn’t dare to pull anything anymore and simply pull Situ Han Yu away and walk towards the sideline.
Wen Ling Shan introduces the Qing Yuan Hall to Yun Qian Yu before they both settle down in a tea room, “Let’s drink tea.”
Yun Qian Yu nods in agreement.
“Why haven’t I seen you smile? Not even once.” Wen Ling Shan curiously asks Yun Qian Yu.
“I am used to it.”
“Men will not like women like you! They only like gentle women.” The moment that comes out of her mouth, her eyes dim down.
Yun Qian Yu lightly asks her, “What do you like about him?”
Wen Ling Shan’s face reddens a bit, “I don’t know.” Her eyes are lost in a daze, “The first time I saw him, he was like a great hero, descending from the sky. He was saving a little child who almost got trampled by horse. Liu Piao Piao was also there. She gave him a warm smile and he just looked so happy. Even though I know he likes Liu Piao Piao, I cannot stop myself from liking him. Every time I see him, my heart will race and my face will burn up. I can’t even bring myself to look at him.”
Yun Qian Yu froze. Heart racing? Face burning up? Doesn’t have the ability to even look at the other party in the eyes? Are those the signs of liking someone? She suddenly panics. Don’t tell her she likes Gong Sang Mo? This discovery upon discovery finally renders the level-headed Yun Qian Yu helpless.
“Your Highness, are you secretly laughing at me?” Wen Ling Shan asks, discouraged as she studies Yun Qian Yu who is in a daze.
Yun Qian Yu regains her composure in the blink of an eye. Seeing the slightly aggrieved look on Wen Ling Shan’s eyes, she realizes she has hurt her.
“No. I just think he is unworthy of you.”
“Unworthy of me?”
“He clearly calculated that heroic entrance the other day, to get the favour the one he likes. Who would have thought that the innocent you would have fallen for him?” Yun Qian Yu exposes Shen Shao Kang in front of his admirer.
“You are saying that everything was pre-meditated? Everything was fake?” Wen Ling Shan asks in disbelief.
“Of course. It is transparent to those with discerning eyes. Why else was it so coincidental? Liu Piao Piao was also there.”
“Eldest Brother and Second Brother said so as well!” And just like that, Wen Ling Shan’s first love is heartlessly crushed.
“You didn’t believe your brothers?” Yun Qian Yu is very surprised.
“I thought they purposely said that so I wouldn’t like Shen Shao Kang.” Wen Ling Shan lowers her head in shame as she toys with the teacup in her hand. She knows his father and her father are not on the same side.
“Then have you ever considered observing how Shen Shao Kang usually conducts himself on his regular days?” Yun Qian Yu really doesn’t know what to say to this little white flower that is Wen Ling Shan.
“Hehe!” Wen Ling Shan laughs in embarrassment.
Yun Qian Yu shakes her head, she looks up and checks the colour of the sky, “I still need to go to the High Pavillion. Would you like to go with me?”
Wen Ling Shan’s face immediately turns bitter, “My token can only takes me up to Qing Yuan Hall.”
“Oh, then wait for me. I would like to check that place for a while. Then, I will take you to a place to eat at noon.
“Great! It’s a promise! If you forget about me, I will sleep here for you to see!” Wen Ling Shan happily says.
“I will not forget you!” Yun Qian Yu says before getting up and walking to the direction of the High Pavilion.
Feng Ran wants to follow her, but Wen Ling Shan speaks up, “Guards are not allowed in the High Pavilion.”
Feng Ran pauses but chases after her anyway, to give her the token. He also tells her that the High Pavilion does not allow guards in so he will wait for her here.
Yun Qian Yu takes the token and walks towards the High Pavilion’s stone steps; there are probably around 30 stone steps there. The stone steps leads straight to the entrance of the tower. The moment the door is pushed open, it reveals a fairly simple decoration inside.
There are a couple of tables and chairs and the number of people there is very small, only around 7 or 8. All of them are reading the poems hung at the wall. Those poems are written by everyone who has entered Ya Xuan.
Yun Qian Yu’s entrance does not attract anybody’s attention. She slowly reads the poems one by one. Simply seeing the rows and rows of ink without even looking at the content itself is already enjoyable. Each writing out there has it’s own style. The contents varies too; some wrote about love and affection, others dances and songs. Some are expressing their lofty ambitions while some are expressing disappointment over their failures.
Reading all that, Yun Qian Yu finally understands the purpose of establishing Ya Xuan.
This is a way to replenish one’s spirit while appreciating art and literature. By coming here, one can make friends, can learn, and can make up for what one lacks. This is also a place where you can meet talents from far away.
People who get access to the High Pavillion must have been of rare talent. Yun Qian Yu look at them one by one, all of them appear focused. They are all carefully reading other’s works, trying to absorb as much useful information as possible.
Yun Qian Yu looks away before walking out of the High Pavillion.
The High Pavillion is located in that pavilion tower that is visible from the entrance. Only when she is standing there does she notice that it is built on a high terrain that enables her to see the hustle and bustle of Tian Street.
Her skirt is blown by a light breeze while her hair dances. Autumn is ending and winter will be here soon. Even though Nan Lou Kingdom is located at the southernmost part of the land, the slight chills in the air can already be felt here.
“Greeting Your Highness the Princess.” The gentle voice of a woman can be heard beside her. Yun Qian Yu turns her head towards the owner of the voice.
serene: Chapter 53 is sponsored by Teresa!