A handsome looking young man, dressed in brocade robe is standing in front of the entrance. Yun Qian Yu knows that he is Official Shen Qiu Ming’s son. Shen Qiu Ming is in charge of the capital’s government office. From the way the servant of the Wen Residence treats him, the young man seems unwelcomed in this household.
Shen Qiu Ming is related to Rui Qinwang. With Rui Qinwang as backup, Shen Qiu Ming used to be very ostentatious and overbearing. Very few people dared to pick fights with him out of fear for Rui Qinwang.
Now that Rui Qinwang has fallen from grace, his reputation also took a major blow. Now, all of his so-called friends have started distancing themselves from him. He can live on carefully. He knows that Wen Ling Shan used to chase after his son. It is said that Wen Ling Shan is very close to Princess Hu Guo, if his son managed to be together with Wen Ling Shan, their future will be a lot more secure. He only needs Wen Ling Shan to speak favourably about his son in front of Princess Hu Guo and everything will be set. With that in mind, he tells his son, Shen Shao Kang to start currying favour with Wen Ling Shan.
As for Shen Shao Kang, the one he likes is General Liu’s daughter, Liu Piao Piao, but General Liu has lost his position and will not be able to help them in terms of power. If he has to choose between women and position, in the face of such ‘friends’ that have abandoned him lately, he will unhesitantly choose position.
Just, he has made a few trips to the Wen Residence under the excuse of meeting Wen Lan Jin, but even Wen Lan Jin’s shadow he has not seen, much less Wen Ling Shan.
Everytime he comes, people would tell him that Wen Lan Jin is out. It is obvious that the Wen Family are trying to avoid him.
What makes him even angrier is that he has come a couple of times already and Wen Ling Shan never comes out to see him. Now that he has lost Rui Qinwang’s protection, even Wen Ling Shan looks down on him. If this was before, Wen Ling Shan would have run out to greet him. This made him realize how important power is.
Yun Qian Yu gets off her carriage and walks to the entrance of the residence without sparing Shen Shao Kang a glance.
The servant guarding the door respectfully lets her in.
Shen Shao Kang looks at Yun Qian Yu entering the residence in shock. By the time he regains his head, the door has closed again. Now that he has seen it with his own eyes, he is now sure that the relationship between Wen Ling Shan and Princess Hu Guo is indeed good! His resolve to get Wen Ling Shan strengthens.
He needs to plan carefully. If he can get Liu Piao Piao’s heart, he can also get Wen Ling Shan’s heart.
He flings his sleeves and walks away, returning to his own residence while the gear inside his head continues turning.
Yun Qian Yu is soon greeted by Wen Ling Shan who immediately welcomes her upon knowing her arrival.
“You finally came, Qian Yu! I was almost suffocated to death, these past few days!” Wen Ling Shan immediately complains after seeing Yun Qian Yu.
“Because of Shen Shao Kang?” asks Yu Qian Yu while frowning.
“How did you know?” Wen Ling Shan looks at her in surprise.
“I saw him standing in front of your residence! How can I not know?” Yun Qian Yu points at the entrance with her mouth.
“How hateful! Why did he come again?” Wen Ling Shan purses her lips unhappily.
“Didn’t you used to like him? Now, he is sending himself to your door, why aren’t you celebrating?” teases Yun Qian Yu.
Wen Ling Shan lowers her head in shame, “I must have been blind to have liked him….”
Yun Qian Yu ponders earnestly before saying, “Must be!”
“Ah, I need you to comfort me, you know. Not poke fun of me!” Wen Ling Shan looks at Yun Qian Yu in grievance.
Yun Qian Yu looks at Wen Ling Shan from head to toe before saying, “You don’t look like someone who needs comforting.”
“This part- This part needs comforting!” Wen Ling Shan pats her own chest.
Yun Qian Yu laughs while patting her chest for her, “Better now?”
“Much better!” Wen Ling Shan smiles at her brightly.
Both of them laugh as they enter Wen Ling Shan’s room. They begin drinking tea and starts chatting.
It is when she is with Wen Ling Shan does Yun Qian Yu finally feels like a normal young maiden. She feels free and unfettered.
When she remembers that she needs to leave the capital tomorrow, Yun Qian Yu says, “I will leave the capital for a certain amount of time tomorrow. I will visit you again once I return.”
Wen Ling Shan’s eyes dim down a little.
Yun Qian Yu quickly mollifies her, “I will bring you a gift!”
Wen Ling Shan laughs, “Since you are kind enough to be planning to buy me gifts, I will be kind and will miss you in return!”
Yun Qian Yu frowns a little, “Then, should I buy you more gifts so that you will think of me day and night?”
Wen Ling Shan laughs loudly, “Never mind. Even if you have the money to spare, I do not have enough guts to take on the jealous Xian Wang! Who on their right mind would dare to think about you day and night?”
Yun Qian Yu glances at her, “If you have the time to worry about Sang Mo, why don’t you spend it on figuring out ways to avoid the ‘hero saving the maiden’ trick?”
Wen Ling Shan is not stupid. She immediately catches what Yun Qian Yu is trying to imply.
“I will not fall for it again!”
Yun Qian Yu sighs; things will not be avoided just because she will not fall for it. Wen Ling Shan is simple and naïve, it is better for her to bring this up with Wen Lan Jin.
After eating with Wen Ling Shan, Yun Qian Yu bids her goodbye. There are still so many things she needs to do before leaving the capital tomorrow.
She encounters Wen Lan Jin the moment she steps out of Wen Ling Shan’s courtyard.
Yun Qian Yu tells Wen Ling Shan to leave first, scaring her off using Shen Shao Kang. Afraid of accidentally meeting Shen Shao Kang, Wen Ling Shan obediently returns to her own room, asking her brother to send Yun Qian Yu off for her.
“Your Highness has something to say to Lan Jin?” There must be a reason why the Princess sends his sister away.
“Ling Shan is too naïve, I am worried for her,” says Yun Qian Yu.
“Is this about Shen Shao Kang?”
Yun Qian Yu nods, “He is desperate, be careful of his tricks.”
Wen Lan Jin frowns, “I understand what you are trying to say, Your Highness. Don’t worry, I will protect my little sister. If he dares to harbour any impure thoughts, I will not hold back.”
Yun Qian Yu believes in Wen Lan Jin’s capabilities. With him around, she is no longer as worried.
“How confident are you about this trip, Your Highness?” asks Wen Lan Jin in worry.
“I am not confident at all, but I will try my best,” Yun Qian Yu appears solemn.
Seeing this, Wen Lan Jin laughs instead of looking worried, “Seems like it was Lan Jin who worried too much.”
Yun Qian Yu looks at Wen Lan Jin, “You people seem really confident in me.” Hua Man Xi also said the same thing.
You people? Wen Lan Jin wonders who else she is talking about. He laughs, “Perhaps, it is because Your Highness has never done anything to disappoint us.”
Yun Qian Yu trains her eyes on him, “I am very curious as to why the Master of the Wen Family refuses to let you become a scholar.”
Wen Lan Jin freezes for a moment, “Your Highness will get the reason once you investigate the tragedy of Yu Tower that happened 10 years ago.”
When she notices the despondent look on his face, she no longer pursues the matter and simply says, “Alright.”
After they reach the main door, Yun Qian Yu bids Wen Lan Jin goodbye and boards her carriage, heading back to the palace. While on the journey, she asks Feng Ran to investigate what happened in Yu Tower 10 years back.
After she returns to the palace, Yu Jian comes over to see her along with his four newly selected companions. He already promised his Imperial Sister to pick four companions after the examination ends. Now that he has made his picks, he presents them to his sister for approval.
One of the four is Wen Lan Xi, and the other three are the people that both Yun Qian Yu and Murong Cang have good impressions on. As for the people that they had selected to test Yu Jian, they have been sent back to their respective families.
The four selected people look at Yun Qian Yu anxiously. They are not the sycophantic type, so they are not very close to Yu Jian compared to the other boys. Who would have thought that they would be the ones chosen out of the rest? It makes them think that the Emperor is not easily fooled despite his young age.
Yun Qian Yu does not say anything about Yu Jian’s choices. She believes in Yu Jian’s judgement; and not saying anything means that she agrees with Yu Jian as well.
Yu Jian naturally knows that. He is feeling rather proud of himself at the moment.
Yun Qian Yu knows what Yu Jian is feeling. She calls him forward and starts assigning him some homework to do while she is away. She tells him to ask Lu Zi Hao if there is anything he does not understand. If Lu Zi Hao cannot help him, she will help him herself once she returns.
Yu Jian listens to her instructions earnestly.
Wen Lan Xi looks at Yun Qian Yu from the sideline. He has always wondered how the Emperor studies without the service of a Grand Tutor; turns out that he is being personally tutored by Princess Hu Guo. Wen Lan Xi is originally grateful towards Yun Qian Yu for her help with Wen Ling Shan. He has always been impressed by her after knowing that she entered the capital to subdue Rui Qinwang, even more so after she successfully protected the imperial palace during Rui Qinwang’s siege. But now, after he sees her carrying the responsibilities of the kingdom’s Grand Tutor, he is a little depressed.
No wonder his older brother keeps calling him lazy. Just look at the distance between him and the Princess; they are so far from each other in terms of abilities.
After assigning Yu Jian some homeworks, Yun Qian Yu asks him if he has finished reviewing memorials.
Yu Jian nods; with Lu Zi Hao’s help, the speed in reviewing memorials has become a lot faster.
After Yu Jian left, Yun Qian Yu heads for Murong Cang’s palace.
Murong Cang is lying on his bed while hugging Ru Xue. His eyes are gentle as he looks at Ru Xue.
He smiles when he sees Yun Qian Yu, “You are here, yatou!”
“En, how do you feel today, Grandfather?”
“Good. It has been many years since Grandpa feels this relaxed,” says Murong Cang emotionally.
Yun Qian Yu sits by the bedside and checks Murong Cang’s pulse. When she senses nothing off, she puts his hand down in relief.
“You will start the journey tomorrow?” asks Murong Cang.
“En, I am still worried about your health.”
“You are the one who understands Grandpa’s health the best. Grandpa can still accompany Yu Jian to the morning court. As for the memorials, Yu Jian has Lu Zi Hao to help him. Everything will be fine.” Murong Cang continues to carefully feed Ru Xue.
“You must take care of your health, Grandpa. Do not overwork yourself.” Yun Qian Yu is worried that Murong Cang’s health will deteriorate without her by his side.
“Don’t worry, it is Grandpa who is worried about you. Take Sang Mo with you so that Grandpa and Yu Jian will worry less.” Murong Cang knows Gong Sang Mo. Even if they don’t let him go with her, he would secretly trail after her anyway. Might as well let him accompany her.
Yun Qian Yu nods. Gong Sang Mo already told her from the start that he intends to go to Mount San Xian with her.
Yun Qian Yu and Yu Jian eat their dinner in Murong Cang’s palace. Ever since they know that Murong Cang only has until summer next year to live, they have been accompanying him through every meals.
Since Murong Cang likes Hong Su’s cooking, Yun Qian Yu will not take her with them to Mount San Xian. Hong Su will stay in the imperial palace to be in charge of Murong Cang’s meals.
As for the rest, she will take Chen Xiang and her other personal maids, along with Feng Ran. She also wants to bring Yun Nian with them, intending to teach Yun Nian the Art of Medicine throughout the journey.
The next day, after the morning court, Yun Qian Yu and Gong Sang Mo begin their journey. There is a procession of carriages on the road. Yun Qian Yu and Gong Sang Mo share a carriage, Chen Xiang and the other girls share the second carriage while Feng Ran and Yun Nian share the third one. San Qiu and Yi Ri has to share a carriage, but since they are both needed to steer the carriages, no one boards the last one. Chen Xiang uses that carriage to store their luggages instead.
When the officials find out that Yun Qian Yu is going to Mount San Xian, their hearts are tangled. On one hand, they want her to fail. Ever since she arrived in the capital, she has been rising above everyone steadily. They want to see her fail for once. But, on another hand, they want her to be successful. After all, Su Huai Feng is a rare talent. He will be very useful to the Nan Lou Kingdom.
Yun Qian Yu is not aware of their hearts entanglement. She leans against the soft cushion while holding a book, Lan County’s Record. They have just entered winter, so the weather has been really chilly. The inside of the carriage is dark, so Yun Qian Yu has to depend on the light of the Ye Ming Pearl to read.
Gong Sang Mo takes the book away and pulls her into his chest, “Stop reading, you will hurt your eyes. I will tell you whatever it is you need to know.”
Yun Qian Yu blinks her eyes prettily, “You are right. Mount San Xian was your school, there is nothing you doesn’t know about that place.”
Gong Sang Mo laughs warmly before starting to tell her everything about the Lan County as well as Mount San Xian.
In order to get to Mount San Xian, they will need to pass through Qing Zhou and Jing Zhou. Mount San Xian is located in the Lan County. The Lan County is in the east of Nan Lou Kingdom. The farther eastern you go, the colder the weather becomes. Although winter has arrived in the capital, the leaves on the trees are still green. Mount San Xian, on the other hand, must have been covered with snow already.
As Gong Sang Mo speaks, he realizes that the girl snuggling against him has not shown any reaction at all. He looks down and finds Yun Qian Yu already asleep.
He laughs helplessly and gives her his cloak so that she can sleep better.
Both of them remain that way throughout the journey. When Yun Qian Yu is awake, Gong Sang Mo will chat with her. When she is asleep, he would silently accompany her.
Since they still have enough time, they are not in a rush to get to Mount San Xian. They would continue the journey during the day and rest at the nearest available inn at night.
On the fourth day, they enter Qing Zhou’s border.
A gust of wind blows in when Yun Qian Yu opens the window. She is suddenly invigorated again.
This place is under Guo Shu Huai’s jurisdiction. A month have passed and they have gone through so many things in the capital; she wonders how Guo Shu Huai has been doing here.
Yun Qian Yu can see a couple of dozens of countryside homes in front. She suddenly has the desire to check on things. She turns to Gong Sang Mo, “Let’s stay in this village tonight.”
Gong Sang Mo looks out of the window as well. Those houses are all village houses, definitely not suitable for someone who values cleanliness like him. But, when he sees that hopeful look on Yun Qian Yu’s eyes, he cannot bear to say no, “Alright.”
The corner of San Qiu’s lips twitches. He is in charge of driving their carriage during the morning and is also one of the people in charge of cleaning the inns that they have to spend the night in, how are they supposed to clean these village houses to meet their masters’ standards? At the same time, he also knows that his master will not be able to say no to everything the Princess asks of him.
Two minutes later, they reach the little village.
A bunch of kids are playing under an old tree near the village’s entrance.
“Time to eat, Sha Dan!” a woman’s very loud voice can be heard calling for one of the kids.
“Yes, Mother!” answers a five year old boy before running towards a house on the east side of the village.
As for the rest of the kids, they too start going home when they see the sky is darkening. One of the boys spot their carriages and exclaims, “Look! Four carriages! Is Official Guo here again?”
“Hurry and tell the Village Head!” A clever child immediately runs towards the Village Head’s house.
The kid named Sha Dan looks like he wants to check the carriages out, but upon another look at his own house, he continues running off, probably scared of his mother.
Yun Qian Yu and Gong Sang Mo gets off the carriage and finds the Village Head running towards them.
The Head is a man over forty years of age. When he sees their robes, he assumes that they are a bunch of scholarly families.
The Head becomes momentarily stunned when he sees Gong Sang Mo and Yun Qian Yu. Who are these people? Did they come from a painting? They look like a pair of celestial beings.
He wakes up from his daze when he receives a cold look from Gong Sang Mo. He laughs awkwardly before carefully opening his mouth, “Can I ask what business our esteemed guests are here for?”
Gong Sang Mo stops glaring at him, “We coincidentally passed by here and decides to spend the night here.”
The Head laughs, “No problem! We are frequently visited by guests seeking for accomodations here! Since there are many of you, it is better if you stay at Sha Dan’s house!” He points at the direction the boy has ran off to just now.
Yun Qian Yu looks at that particular house’s courtyard, larger compared to regular family’s courtyard. The outside walls are made of stones.
“Let me send you there,” the Head kindly offers.
Yun Qian Yu and Gong Sang Mo thank him before following his lead.
The Head is a very talkative person, he keeps on talking to them while leading them away, “Esteemed guests must know that the newly instated little Emperor is really extraordinary. He gave us Official Guo, what a blessing for us! After Official Guo came here, he started opening the cases that the local government office have been withholding. Official Guo even released a statement allowing victims to hand in a new complain. We, the citizens of Qing Zhou are very lucky!” After saying that, the Head furtively asks, “Do you know about that matter regarding Princess Hu Guo?”
Gong Sang Mo and Yun Qian Yu exchange a look before shaking their heads.
serene: This chapter was supposed to be uploaded yesterday, but we were undergoing some site upgrade then. Sorry for the wait and thank you for your patience! 😀