Published at 2nd of November 2017 12:38:55 PM

Chapter 22.1

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Chapter 022 - Good Teachers Doesn't Drag Class

edited by: MangoDragon 

Part 1

As soon as Minglan finished speaking, everybody began to laugh. Mr. Zhuang's body shook as he laughed and his papers crumpled in his hand. The others were more subtle, holding in much of their laugher. Even Changbai, though shaking his head, joined in the laughter. There was even a light laughter that was clearly not from someone in the room. It seemed to come from beyond the curtain behind Mr. Zhuang, undoubtedly some naughty servant who had snuck into that room without permission.

The paused their laugher as they looked strangely towards the curtain. Changbai said with a deep voice, "Who’s behind? How did you manage to trespass?”

In response, an adolescent walked out from behind the curtain. He was dressed in an long aqua blue shirt with its collar crossed and embroidered with silver thread. His hair, black as crows’ feathers, was loosely held together with a jade crown. On his waist was a cerulean jade belt with a moon white purse, covered with sparking blue beads made out of tourmaline, shaped like a gourd [1].  He looked as though he had recently been outside as his shoulders had several pink peach blossom petals.

Upon seeing him, Mr. Zhuang chuckled, "Yuan Ruo, why did you come here? What about your mother?”

The juvenile stood in front of Mr. Zhuang before cupping his hands and bowed. After rising his head  he said, "How do you do, sir, after parting ways in the capital, we can finally meet again today. My mother told me to wait outside yet, even after waiting for quite a while, you still didn’t dismiss the class. I, this student, was very anxious and could wait no longer, thus I secretly entered through the back door on my own accord. Hope that the seniors here would not mind.”

While saying so, he cupped his hands and paid respect to the Sheng children.  The youth’s deep red lips and white teeth created a gentle smile. His eyes were bright and eyebrows elegant.  His posture was as tall and straight as a bamboo. Overall his appearance was akin to the rarest of all flowers in the country, when people see him, all would say ‘such a beautiful boy!'.

By a look at the juvenile’s attire, the Sheng children knew he was an important figure. They immediately stood up to show their respect to him. Mr. Zhuang waited for them finish before introducing his background. He was the only son of the envoy of the Salt Department [2], the second son of Qi Gong Gong.  His mother is Xiangyang, also an only child and given the imperial edict to be titled as the dignified Pingning Princess.

His title is Qi Heng [3] and seemed to be one year younger than Changbai. A few years ago in the capital, he became Mr. Zhuang's’ student but soon had to follow his father out of the capital due to work. Recently the Senior of Qi, under imperial order, needed to visit Deng Prefecture to inspect and rectify the salts. He estimated they need to stay for a while, so naturally his small wife accompanied him. Qi Heng heard Sheng Hong is sheltering Mr. Zhuang, so he asked his father to give a message notifying them of his visit.

Minglan noticed that Mr. Zhuang was very close to Qi Heng and feels that it’s strange. These days while teaching, Mr. Zhuang’s behavior when talking is like patiently waiting at the door in disdain for Wang Gong [4]. He had once publically pointout that the Earl Household’s children were ‘stupid insects’, something that no one else had dared to.  She also thought the same and even Changfeng has said, "I guess Mr. Zhuang is really proud. I shall call you my senior for now on." in a laughing manner while bowing.

Mr. Zhuang points to Qi Heng and laughs, "This kid has a great family background. They're officials that don’t take anything from donation, all they have is from their own hard work. Last winter they helped me get a heater for my broken cottage, as the Princess was anxiously walking to district masters to handle matters.”

Qi Heng's snow white skin was flushed a soft red, "Father often regrets not being able to take the exams and hopes that his descendants will have a better future. Luckily Old Madam Sheng invited Mr. Zhuang, Yuan Ruo can then only shamelessly impose."

He glances to the side to see the silent smile of Changbai. "Son of the Sheng couple, Brother Changbai, I heard that you along with your brother here, will go and take the home examination. I do not know if I may have a word?”

Changbai says: "Mr. Zhuang said that straightforward words are honest.”

After the three big boys salute each other, Qi Heng towards the Sheng family’s two son, gave advice and says, "Then, to Brother Changbai and virtuous Younger Brother Changfeng.”

Mr. Zhuang not wanting to get scolded by Old Madam Sheng for dismissing them late, had been getting impatient.  He had been wanting to dismiss the class early on but had been holding back until now,  "You are too energetic that this old man is getting pedantic.  Let your wish go for now as my class has not yet been dismissed." – Minglan secretly thought that he has been waiting to dismiss the class, even before this official came.

The servants had finished setting up a table and chair for Qi Heng as they were speaking so, Mr. Zhuang called Qi Heng to sit down. Originally Changbai was on the right of the wall while Changfeng was on the left with their sisters behind them. The seat in front of Minglan was empty while Changdon sat behind her. Mr. Zhuang told Qi Heng to sit in the empty seat in front of Minglan, blocking her line of sight.

After Qi Heng sat down, he suddenly turned back and smilingly says: "Sixth younger sister is good.”

Minglan was shocked –this guy how...? and intuitively turns to check Molan and Rulan.  They were really looking here...meanwhile Qi Heng had already settled back down and was looking forward silently.

The room went quiet until Mr. Zhuang cleared his throat and said, "Looks like the sixth lady and her maids have something they want to say, what is it? You may speak.”

Changbai smoothly laughs, "Sixth younger sister say whatever you wish to say.”

Chengfeng purses his lips, looks at Qi Heng with misgivings but no longer criticizes him.  Molan and Rulan, though childish were still beautiful ladies of the household; hence were still annoyed to death watching Qi Heng and Minglan.

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Qi Heng did not hold himself back with the intention of looking very cool and bright turned back to the front.  

Mr. Zhuang did not comment, indicating that Minglan to sit down and asks Qi Heng: "Yuan if, you have just been listening for a long time behind –what can you say about what she said?”

Qi Heng starts to get up and says: "This student had just come recently, how to say absurd things but..." He pauses and then laughs, "Sixth younger sister’s last question... what she asked was excellent.”

The atmosphere immediately loosened as everyone remembered the question and how funny it was, while Mr. Zhuang was pointing while shaking his head.

Mr. Zhuang says to the boys in the first row, "I’m only going to say today's words once, after I go out of this door I will not recognize this. When a man is loyal and patriotic, regardless of if the whether outside is windy or raining, it will remain in the past and locked up tightly. (Regardless what happens in the past should remain there). We must not be naive to fall into them. (We must not let them demons in our hearts and allow them to overcome our now). colleagues sometimes do unnecessary dispute, to be a loyal official is the only right thing (Being loyal to the emperor is the only way to succeed)!”

As all the students nod to this, Minglan thought, This old man is truly cunning, Saying that it does not matter if you do not legislate nor is it important where to stand, as long as you are loyal to the emperor until the end, it's fine. This should not be said but cannot help but say; as it’s too painful to say that to truly complete a task; one can’t do everything but can only rely on oneself.

Because Qi Heng wanted to pay his respect to Old Madam Sheng, the children would be eating their lunch together at Shou'an Hall. Old Madam Sheng observed Qi Heng carefully, her heart secretly happy, and then looks at the side where the three flowers - her three little granddaughters - were. Her heart inevitably made a move, thinking of Minglan, she could not help but sigh. Wang Shi stood at the side and especially made an elated introduction.

When Sheng Hong saw the message given by Madam Qi, he felt unhappy with Qi Heng personally looking for him and paying his respect to him on his own accord [5], at that moment he invited Qi Heng to the household to study. Madam Qi had been worrying about his son delaying his studies, at that time there were also speculations and rumors, after using their influence to dig around, there was actually a magical discovery - the Qi Houshold and Wang Shi's family had a close family relationship with each other.

Wang Shi smiles and says: "It was my maiden’s family’s distant relatives, though they’re distant relatives, my family decided to be close again." This time, the used to be colleagues in the past had become relatives [6]. In the room, more people talk about the heat, even the sisters did not shy away.

Minglan after hearing Wang Shi's explanation, she understood why Qi Heng intimately called her sixth younger sister but she found it uncomfortable. During their discussion about the heat, Rulan had been calling him, 'brother Yuan Ruo' along with Molan who has also been prettily calling him that, Minglan could not help but shake her head and copy them. Qi Heng also courteous replied, "Fourth young lady, fifth young lady, and sixth younger sister."

Looking down at Minglan, he observed her and saw her coiffure, as she was just idly standing at the side; her fat little hand covering her mouth as she couldn’t help but yawn, making her plump tender white fat cheeks that were like buns move. Qi Heng bent a little, suddenly he felt his hands itching.

Minglan had never felt a day would be tough as this day. The weather in the early morning wasn’t good hence she didn’t teach the little Changdong. While Mr. Zhuang refused to continue the class, at lunch time everyone was talking, unwilling to end the banquet. That afternoon that old tiger-like mother, Mrs. Zhuang wanted to slaughter her but she wasn’t able to sleep last night while her two sisters obviously feel very beautiful and active today.

During the afternoon guqin class, Molan’s guqin made sounds that flowed smoothly like water, moving emotions and changing the mood. Mrs. Zhuang closed her eyes as she appreciated this. Rulan had also changed and was no longer like in the past as became more intolerant, with a crook in her mouth, she laughed and bow down, Minglan was just listening to the song as her gaze went to see her and saw their face flushed and eyebrows stretch; it seemed happy to laugh out.

Minglan sighed; as she continues to pluck her own strings, spring ah…

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