Wen Ling Shan squeezes herself out from between the crowd, “I told you so! Her Highness the princess does not care for protocol! None of you believed me!”
Imperial Censor Wen immediately pulls her back, “Nonsense! This is the rule, you must not ignore rules!”
Yun Qian Yu shakes her head before walking over and pulling Wen Ling Shan from him, “You better take me to your courtyard now.
“Alright. Follow me, princess.” Wen Ling Shan happily drags Yun Qian Yu into her house.
The rest of the people are stunned; the princess is really here to look for Wen Ling Shan! They exchange a look with each other before hastily walking back to the house.
The old madam turns to her daughter-in-law, “Didn’t you hear what the princess said? She is here to eat; what are you waiting for? Go and prepare lunch! Cook all the delicious dishes! Go and buy the ingredients if we don’t have it here!”
Just as the old madam says that, Yun Nian appears. “This is the menu for princess’ lunch. Once it is cooked, you can send them to Miss Wen’s courtyard. Her Highness left an order, she only wants these and nothing else.”
The family members of Wen family exchanges look with each other. The princess prepared a menu? Will they be able to afford to cook it?
They didn’t know that this was hastily written by Yun Qian Yu the moment she entered Wen Ling Shan’s courtyard. From the way they welcomed her, she knows that if she does not interfere, they will prepare a table full of delicacies for her. When she leaves, the entire Wen family will not have much to eat for half-a-year.
When the Imperial Censor takes a look at the menu, he freezes for a moment. She is not asking for any luxurious meals, she is asking for four simple dishes along with a serving of crispy pastries. The princess’ meals are even more modest than their family’s daily lunch!
The Imperial Censor understands Yun Qian Yu’s intention. He hands over the menu to his wife, “Prepare everything according to this menu. Do it exactly as it is written.”
When the madam reads the menu, she too is surprised. She nods at the Imperial Censor.
Her husband then turns to his parents, “Father, Mother, both of you should go back first. Princess Hu Guo is here for Ling Shan, let Ling Shan keeps her company.”
At that moment, Wen Lan Jin speaks up, “Do not worry, Grandfather and Grandmother. Little sister and the princess are well-acquainted. They are really close to each other. The princess must have really came to get free food.”
The old Wen Grandfather only looks at Wen Lan Jin while sighing. Then, he turns around and walks away with his wife.
Wen Lan Jin turns to face the crowd, “All of you can go back. None of you are allowed to interrupt the princess unless you are specifically called.”
Seeing the old grandfather and grandmother leaving, the crowd too disperses.
The Imperial Censor looks at Wen Lan Jin, “Have you met the princess before, Jin Er?”
“Second Brother and I followed little sister to Ya Xuan the other day because we were worried about her. Little sister and the princess hit it off, the moment they met. The princess not only helped little sister out, she even took her to Xian Wang’s manor to get free food.”
The frown on the Imperial Censor’s face becomes deeper.
“One more thing, I do not know what the princess said to little sister, but whatever it is she said, little sister no longer has feelings for Shen Shao Kang. She doesn’t like him at all, now!”
Wen Lan Jin and his brother, Wen Lan Xi have spent the past two years trying to persuade Wen Ling Shan out of her crush. He really wants to know what kind of method Yun Qian Yu had used to make Wen Ling Shan get over Shen Shao Kang. By doing that, she actually helped solve a pretty big problem for them.
The Imperial Censor still remembers that day too. His daughter was sent back by Xian Wang Manor’s guards and one of them clearly told him that it was under the order of Princess Hu Guo.
Was it really only because Princess Hu Guo likes his daughter?
“Besides, little sister is very diligent these past few days. She would wake up early every morning to practice martial arts. Then, she would read books and practice writing, it is as if she is going to take part in the examination!” Wen Lan Jin laughs.
The Imperial Censor looks at Wen Lan Jin, “Jin Er, there are some people out there that we cannot involve ourselves with.”
Wen Lan Jin freezes, understanding the hidden meaning behind his father’s words. He smiles, “Don’t worry, Father. Jin Er understands.”
The Imperial Censor nods, “I have always known you have a sense of proportion. We have wronged you for keeping you idle in this house when you are that talented and capable, but things have changed a lot. Our Wen Family cannot withstand another blow.”
The Imperial Censor appears a little sad. Wen Lan Jin appears desolate too.
On the other side, Wen Ling Shan’s courtyard is full of laughter; one that is emitted by Wen Ling Shan. She is very pleased with Yun Qian Yu’s visit.
“I didn’t think princess would really come. I thought you were just saying…”
“I promised you I would come, so I naturally have to come.”
Yun Qian Yu observes Wen Ling Shan’s room. It is not warm or elegant like other girls’ rooms. It is very simple, filled with books. Seems like Wen Ling Shan likes reading. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have gotten entry to Ya Xuan.
There is a large open space in her courtyard with all kinds of weapons arranged beside it. It must be where Wen Ling Shan practices her martial arts.
From this, one can tell that the Wens dote on Wen Ling Shan. Why else would they let their daughter practice martial arts instead of learning more feminine skills?
“Are we considered friends now, princess?” Wen Ling Shan carefully asks.
“I thought we already are, from long ago!” Yun Qian Yu replies while looking at Wen Ling Shan.
Wen Ling Shan happily twirls around, “That’s awesome! I finally have a friend!”
“Why? You have never had a friend, before?” Yun Qian Yu is taken aback.
Wen Ling Shan’s face dims a little, “My Father is very upright and has offended so many people in court. No one is willing to be friends with me. Those whose fathers are ranked below my Father would only carefully interact with me. None of them really wanted to be my friend.”
Yun Qian Yu is reminded of the court this morning, when the Imperial Censor spoke up while the others were trying to shield themselves. He is indeed unafraid to offend others.”
“I’ve never had friends too. From now on, we are friends!”
Wen Ling Shan is pleased when she hears that. “It is very fair. We are both first-timers when it comes having a friend.”
Yun Qian Yu is happy as well. “Then, from now on, stop calling me ‘princess’. Just call me Qian Yu.”
“No way! If my Father finds out, he will punish me again!” Wen Ling Shan hastily opposes.
“Do it in private. Your Father will not be angry.” Yun Qian Yu wants to laugh at the scared expression on Wen Ling Shan’s face.
Wen Ling Shan looks around anxiously, “You are right. If I call you that in private, my Father may not necessarily finds out.”
Yun Qian Yu laughs, what an innocent girl. Is there anything her Father doesn’t know, in this manor? Her Father is upright, not stupid. How else was he able to keep his job despite angering so many people?
“Qian Yu!” Wen Ling Shan calls.
“En.” Yun Qian Yu joyfully replies.
Wen Ling Shan calls her over and over again and Yun Qian Yu good-naturedly replies her. From outside the courtyard, Wen Lan Jin listens to the joy in his sister’s voice with a smile on his face.
“It’s your turn to call me!” Wen Ling Shan requests after having her fill.
From that moment onwards, the two girls develop a close friendship. Neither of them knows that their friendship will span this entire lifetime and that they will become sworn sisters.
Yun Nian had returned after sending the menu, just he does not wish to interrupt them when he saw the joyful atmosphere between them.
When Wen Ling Shan sees him, she becomes quite curious, “He looks familiar…”
Yun Qian Yu looks at Yun Nian. He shakes his head at her, meaning he does not know Wen Ling Shan.
Wen Ling Shan, on the other hand, still appears to be pondering about something. “Right! It was you! Last year, my Mother and I went to the village at the outskirts of the capital. On the way there, she fainted and you were the one who saved her!” Wen Ling Shan excitedly jumps up and runs towards Yun Nian.
Yun Qian Yu looks at the confused Yun Nian before looking at Wen Ling Shan who is looking at him with starry eyes: yet another ‘a hero saving the maiden’ plot. Just this time, the hero saved the maiden’s mother, not the maiden herself. It is a level higher than the normal plot. Looking at Wen Ling Shan’s starry eyes; don’t tell her she is now falling for Yun Nian? This improvement to the ‘hero saving the maiden’ plot is really effective. En, she needs to tell Feng Ran about this.
“Yun Nian, is there really such a thing?” Yun Qian Yu asks.
“I saved a woman, on my way back to the capital last year. But, I was in a hurry to leave back then. I never knew who that woman was,” Yun Nian replies in embarrassment.
“It is okay that you don’t remember; I remembered just fine!” Wen Ling Shan excitedly tells him.
Yun Qian Yu speechlessly purses her lips as she looks at Wen Ling Shan.
“Ling Shan, Yun Nian isn’t going anywhere. You don’t have to be so hasty to repay his grace.”
“So his name is Yun Nian? Why do you two share the same surname? Is he from Yun Valley too?” Wen Ling Shan eagerly asks.
Whoever out there who calls Wen Ling Shan stupid, is a liar.
Yun Nian is actually anticipating Yun Qian Yu’s answer.
“Yes, Yun Nian is Uncle Yun’s son. Something happened to Yun Clan back then, so Uncle Yun has been living outside. We have met again only recently. Yun Nian can be considered as my only brother.”
“So it is like that! I was wondering who he was; he was completely selfless. He left without even asking for anything in return. As expected, Yun Clan’s people are all heroes,” Wen Ling Shan says in reverence.
Yun Nian’s heart is a mess. His Mistress actually considered him as a brother? This is something he never even considered. He is now determined to do his best to fulfil his responsibility as an older brother.
Wen Ling Shan pulls Yun Nian by the sleeves and forces him to sit down, “Older Brother Yun, thank you for saving my Mother!”
“No need to thank me. It is nothing big.” Yun Nian is a little antsy; how can he sits on the same table as his Mistress?
Yun Qian Yu can see the discomfort in him. She gently speaks, “Qian Yu have always wanted an older brother.”
Yun Qian Yu feels like having an older brother is not bad.
In the previous life, she was the older sister that protected her younger brother. Now that she has an older brother, does that means she will be the one getting protected, now? She is really envious of Wen Ling Shan who has two older brothers who would unconditionally protect her, no matter what the circumstances may be. She feels like she is very greedy in this lifetime. She wants it all; from romantic love, to familial love, to love between friends.
Yun Nian knows that Yun Qian Yu has no siblings. He has no siblings too, but at least he has a father who dotes on him. His heart suddenly aches for Yun Qian Yu who has been alone, for the past three years.
“I will be a good brother to you,” Yun Nian becomes even more determined to become a good elder brother.
Wen Ling Shan is happy for Yun Qian Yu, the three of them chats happily and before long, it is time for lunch.
The Wen madam personally comes over, bringing servants who are carrying trays to Wen Ling Shan’s courtyard. Before even entering the entertaining hall, she can hear the sound of her daughter chirping away. She is very curious inside. The princess is very calm, how can she possibly like her noisy daughter?
In the madam’s eyes, Yun Qian Yu is someone who is outstanding and elegant, someone peerlessly beautiful. She is definitely unlike her boisterous daughter.
“Your Highness, lunch is here,” the madam bows upon entering the hall.
“We had to trouble you,” Yun Qian Yu simply says.
“Mother, come and have a look. This is Yun Nian, he was the one who saved you, last year!” Wen Ling Shan pulls the madam over.
The madam looks at Yun Nian in shock. She never got to see her savior. The moment she woke up, Yun Nian had left. She had taken a good look on him earlier, when he went to send the menu. Yun Nian has clear brows and straight eyes; he radiates heroic air, something no young masters in the capital has.
“So it was you. Thank you for saving me back then. I searched for you but couldn’t find you and have always been shrouded in guilt ever since.” The madam is very excited as well. She gives Yun Nian a deep bow.
If Yun Nian had not been there, she might have not survived.
“No need to be like this, Madam Yun. Anyone would have done the same thing,” Yun Nian immediately gets up.
“Not necessarily. Yun gongzi is too kind-hearted.” Madam Wen says.
(TN: Gongzi (公子) is a polite way of addressing young men in ancient China.)
Wen Ling Shan laughs, “Mother, now that you know who your saviour is, you will get your chance to repay him, in the future.”
“You are right!” Madam Wen smiles. Then, she turns around and takes the four dishes from the maids and place them on the table, followed by a plate of pastries.
Then, she serves three bowls of rice for each of them.
“All the dishes are prepared according to what Your Highness had requested. Please enjoy your meal.”
When she sees how inappropriate the dishes are to be served to a guest, the madam feels very helpless. Especially since the people she is serving are the princess and her saviour.
“No need to fret, Madam Wen. Ling Shan and I are friends, I will come to visit even more often in the future. I prefer eating normal meals,” Yun Qian Yu explains as she looks at Madam Wen.
Hearing that, the madam is a little relieved. Right! The princess gets to eat a lot of exquisite meals, it is normal meals like this that are rare for her!
“Feel free to come again, Your Highness. Tell me what you like to eat, I will instruct the kitchen to cook them for you!” Madam Wen’s nervous expression relaxes a lot.
“Alright. Feel free to tend to whatever you need to do. If I want anything, I will ask Ling Shan.”
“Alright, I will leave first.” The madam bows again, before leaving.
Wen Ling Shan looks at the dishes on the table, “Qian Yu, were you afraid of financially inconveniencing us?”
“A little worried. I was afraid that the moment I leave, your family would announce fasting for three days,” Yun Qian Yu jokes, picking up a dish with her chopstick and chewing slowly.
Wen Ling Shan is stunned for a moment, before she laughs loudly. “It’s okay! If we ran out of rice, I will freeload in your place!”
Yun Qian Yu blinks, remembering Hong Su’s skills, “I’m afraid, once you have taken a bite, you can no longer stomach your family’s rice.”
Yun Nian also remembers Hong Su’s cooking skills. He has been eating her cooking for the past two days. He confidently tells Wen Ling Shan, “You will not be able to stomach them.”
Hearing what they say makes Wen Ling Shan wants to have a taste of Yun Qian Yu’s rice.
“Qian Yu, will you go to Tian En Temple tomorrow?”
Yun Qian Yu nods. She has to go, or else, it will be hard to tell if Yu Jian will be able to return safely.
“Then, I will go too!” Wen Ling Shan happily says.
“Alright. We can live together for three days!” Yun Qian Yu is very happy too. Wen Ling Shan is her first friend.
After lunch, Yun Qian Yu leaves the Wen Manor. She returns to the palace. There are a lot of preparations that needs to be done before departing for Tian En Temple tomorrow.
The matters inside Tian En Temple needs to be arranged in advance, too.
The moment Yun Qian Yu returns to her palace, she is greeted with a sullen Yu Jian.
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