Chapter 39: Provoking
When Shen Miao exited the plum blossom forest, Gu Yu and Jing Zhe felt finally relieved. Jing Zhe took a peek inside and did not saw any figure and thus asked doubtfully, “Why is there no one?”
Shen Miao also took a glance back. The leaves of the forest were lush and gently swaying with the wind. How could anyone see any figure? Xie Jing Xing was someone who practices martial arts and most probably could disappear by flying away.
She said, “Let’s leave.”
When they were back in the banquet, Feng An Ning run over in a rush and complained, “Didn’t we agree for you to wait for me? Just a turn of the head and one was unable to see anyone. Upon returning, you were also not here. Where exactly did you go?”
“Seeing that the Chrysanthemum blossomed well, I casually walked around.” Shen Miao raised her eyes and looked towards the stage, “Has it started?”
“You were gone for a long time. The choosing portion for the male groups was over.” Feng An Ning’s lips curled, “Now it is the male group turn for the selecting portion.”
The youths on stage were in the midst of competing. The first round of ‘drawing lots’ were over but Shen Miao did not care of the results. The second round was ‘selection’, which was to select the areas that one was good at.
Shen Miao’s eyes fell on the other far left side of the banquet, at the aqua green clad youth.
This youth was fit, dark and his facial features were not bad. It was only that his overly sturdy stature made him look rough. And even so he still chose to wear green robes, making his complexion to appear even darker. Not only that, he still combed his hair up and binded it with a jade bamboo hairpin. Most likely he was trying to follow the example of a gentleman but because he also wanted an appearance of wealth, his semblance was somewhat nondescript. In a nutshell, although he wanted to look distinguished but because of him trying to imitate someone else, he failed to gain the desired effect and looked tacky.
This was Gao Yan of the Historian Adviser Jing’s family. Gao Yan was still young this year, not surpassing sixteen and his feathers were not even grown. Until after Fu Xiu Yi ascended to the throne and because Gao Yan rode on Gao Jing’s wind as the latter’s status rose, he would act tyrannically in the Ding capital and was extremely bold to even dare to covet after Wan Yu.
As long as she thought about Wan Yu who would suffer Gao Yan’s words of provocation, Shen Miao would become furious. She stared at Gao Yan as if she was watching a prey walking into a trap.
At that moment Gao Yan thought about something and talked to Gao Jing with a look of joy on his face.
He was naturally happy as he had obtained such a unique worded essay since during the ‘drawing lots’ he had picked righteousness which resulted in a mediocre performance. He waited for the ‘selection’ to bring out this essay and then he would be able to startle the entire audience.
Shen Miao sneered in her heart. Go then, take this essay and go to Fu Xiu Yi’s side then! Enter officialdom before Gao Jing make progress in his career. She believed that with Gao Yan’s high level of means and methods, he would be able to personal and single-handedly annihilate Historian Adviser Jing’s residence.
This was the big gift she was giving to Historian Adviser Jing.
As for Pei Lang, she turned and looked at the man clad in a green robe sitting near Fu Xiu Yi. From now in this lifetime, you will start to slowly repay me for your past debts!
“Shen Miao, after the male groups are done, it would be the female group’s ‘selection’. What will you choose?”
“Will not.” Shen Miao answered.
In the academy examinations, ‘drawing lots’ was a category that all students had to participate. As for the ‘selection’ category, it was of one’s wishes and if one did not want to, they need not participate. Thus in the ‘selection’ category of the academy examinations, it was a category that could easily show one’s abilities. If one has an area that was naturally good at then it can also be performed in this ‘selection’ category. Thus in the ‘selection’ category, the crowd would have a higher level of enthusiasm.
Because the performance from ‘selection’ was the one in which they felt more confident . If it was the previous Shen Miao that had no strength, she would not have participated in the ‘selection’ category as she would only make a fool of herself if she went up.
“Why?” Feng An Ning was somewhat disappointed and she said, “Currently your painting is good, so there should also be improvements on the other categories. Why not simply show it off?”
“There is no need.” Shen Miao started fiddling with the chess game on the table again and replied Feng An Ning without even lifting her head, “There is no difference to me between being in the limelight or not. Moreover, I am not knowledgeable in the four scholarly arts and was only lucky just now.”
“You…” Feng An Ning was flustered and exasperated, “How can anyone say that of themselves?”
“Fifth Younger Sister.” A voice interrupted their conversation. They did not know when Shen Yue stood in front of them with a worried expression on her face, “Fifth Younger Sister, in the next round of ‘selection’, you would really not participate?”
“Could it be that Second Elder Sister wish for me to participate?” Shen Miao answered the question with another question.
Shen Yue was choked by her words. She did not know for why Shen Miao seemed to be bent on shedding all pretence of cordiality with recently and it was making Shen Yue to become really puzzled. Was it possible that after the accident of falling into the water this had made her lash out on Second and Third Household? Although she was doubtful, Shen Miao had been undiscriminating her in quick succession, accumulating anger in her heart. Shen Yue bit her lips and seemed to be somewhat aggrieved as she softly said, “I naturally hope that Fifth Younger Sister would participate. Just now that painting was extremely done well, so since Fifth Younger Sister possess such great skills, why not continue to choose the topic ‘painting’ since everyone is still talking behind your back. If the next painting is drawn well, the rumours will be discredited.”
Shen Yue’s voice was not soft and since she was surrounded by young ladies and Furen, naturally they clearly heard every single word. These words seemed to be nothing but it voiced out the suspicions that everyone had in their heart. Even though Shen Miao’s drawing of the white Chrysanthemum had gotten the first rank, she has been an idiot for so many years. The perception in people’s heart would not change easily, thus they did not believe that the painting came out from her and thought that there was someone at her side giving her pointers.
Shen Yue also thought so in her heart, so she was thinking that as long as in the second round when Shen Miao draws another painting, without any helpful pointers, she would not be able to draw a good painting and would definitely make a fool of herself.
Feng An Ning heard the knack of it and immediately ridiculed, “Second Shen Young Lady spoke as if it is very easy. Painting pays particular attention to the desire of composition. Even if it was Second Young Lady, it would not be possible to draw two paintings continuously.” Shen Miao was only a student and not a master in painting and calligraphy.
“I only asked that after seeing Fifth Younger Sister’s improvement in skills.” Shen Yue smiled gently, “Just now such a good painting was able to be drawn, so why is it not possible to draw another one?
Shen Miao did not raised her head from beginning to end and only placed a chess piece in the middle of the chess game before saying, “Not interested. You have worried.”
Shen Yue did not expected that Shen Miao would give such a lukewarm reply in front of so many people and was embarrassed for a moment. In this world the most annoying thing was to dig a trap but the other party chose not to fall into it.
As Shen Miao was not even willing to accept her provocation in front of everyone’s suspicions, this made Shen Yue think that the intention behind that painting came not from Shen Miao. Thus the thought of watching Shen Miao making a fool of herself ingrained deeply into her heart and she continued laughing after a pause, “Since Fifth Younger Sister insist, then I would not say more.” She then turned around and returned to her seat.
Over at the male side of the banquet, Cai Lin had been secretly watching Shen Yue when he suddenly saw Shen Yue looking over from afar and seemingly smiled at him gently.
Cai Lin was startled following that, he was somewhat excited. But he saw Shen Yue bowing her head as if she was somewhat upset.
He suddenly felt anxious.