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Published at 2nd of November 2017 12:40:12 PM


Chapter 24

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Chapter 024 - The Arbitrator of The War of Roses




 

The next morning Minglan could not teach Changdong because Rulan and Molan had woken up early and secretly entered the study area. Minglan felt the situation wasn't right, so she quietly gave Danju a wink. Danju understood and went to tell Changdong, who was waiting, that there would be no lessons today.

Molan came first, acting coy for almost half the day. After praising every single thing in Minglan’s study,  she finally stated her true purpose - wanting to change seats with Minglan. Minglan played the fool and asked, "Huh? Wasn’t Fourth Older Sister sitting beside the left wall? You said that since it was shady it was perfect for you, whose body is too weak for frequent contact with sunlight. It made you dizzy."

It did, in fact, make her dizzy. Later Old Madam Sheng tried to find a piece of white cotton yarn to cover the school windows for her benefit.

Molan blushed and whined while keeping quiet about her intentions, when Rulan came. She was more straightforward and asked Minglan for the seat right away, "The middle is too dark, it is much more bright near the window!”

Minglan, amused, deliberately claps her hands and laughingly says, "That's great then, Fourth Older Sister and Fifth Older Sister can simply change places! Fifth Older Sister can be in the bright side of the room, while Fourth Fifth Older Sister can be in the shade and not feel dizzy.”

Molan, feeling upset, had an unpleasant expression as she twisted her handkerchief without a word. Rulan did not understand at first. After realizing that Molan also came to change seats, she also had an unpleasant/shocked expression. They looked at each other as though confronting each other. Minglan, innocently, looks at them and says, "I do not mind where I sit, but...which sister should I give my seat to?" Minglan did not know why but she was very happy deep inside.

Molan and Rulan had schemed and calculated inside their mind for half the day before coming to Minglan. But looking at this little child now they felt that their position was weaker than they had thought. If only they had a better excuse, possibly a weaker threat, than the one they used they could have changed seats, but not it was no use. The final conclusion was - no one changes seats.

As time passed, the girls appearance began to change. Molan gradually grew taller, more gracefully, and as delicate as a willow. She only worries a little and have thin hatred. Rulan resembled Wang Shi more and more. Minglan was also no longer a child. Though a little less beautiful than Molan she was also a youthful vigor, yet within the group, only Minglan still looked like a small, fat white bun. Minglan touches her nose and notes the genetics issue. Regardless, it was not her problem.




Also from this day onwards, the three sisters starts to dress up completely differently than their usual.

Atop of Molan’s head, there was already a double bun [1] tied with a pair of cora turquoise wax beads, and hanging behind her ear was a fresh magnolia flower. Her dress was embroidered with long branches of green flowers that was forming circles, clearly depicting autumn. Around her wrist was a tender jade bracelet, green as a magnolia,  that causes a buzzing sound as she moves since it was wrap around a silk. On the other hand, Rulan had a pair of ring buns and hanging from her hair was a colored butterfly hairpin made out of glass. The cui long beads tassel hanging around her neck shines, perfectly matching her colorful silk skirt. Dangling from her ears was a fine silk string together with big pearls. She looked smart and beautiful, not at all inferior to Molan.

Both Molan and Rulan dressed elegantly and delicately, while not being bland.

Minglan had few distinctions, in this fortunate morning, the wise Cui Mama combed her hair and bundled to make two buns on each side of her head, then wrapped it with some coral beads - it looked very cute.

Qi Heng came early holding a stack of books. His coat, as white as the moon, covered his usual blue attire. The collar had a wavelike pattern and were adorned with jewels. His waist-long jacket had auspicious animal patterns on it. With him standing straight, it was as if he was reflecting the color white. Upon seeing him  Molan’s eyes brightened. Slowly the past was left behind, as in a gentle voice like how a river flows, she says,  "Older Brother Yuan, I had an idea last night and made a two-line poem about ways to stop war, I do not know whether it is nice or not? Older Brother Qing Yuan, if you can please guide me.”

After cunningly speaking, she took out a note from her sleeves, and handed it over. Who knew that Qi Heng wouldn’t take it and instead laughingly says "Fourth Young Lady has two brothers of my age and with talent equal to mine, why not ask them?" Molan feeling embarrassed quickly says, "Mr. Zhuang often boasts that brother Yuan Ruo has high talent, that’s why I would rather ask you. Why did you have to reprimand me?" Then, innocently pouts her small mouth.

Qi Heng took the note and carefully read it while Molan moved close to the side and whispered quietly.  Afterwards Changfeng went over, joining them in discussing ways in which to win a war. Changbai was ignoring them as he comfortably prayed at the side.

Rulan was at the sideline, her small face was composed and serious while her back was straight.  Last night Liu Mama and Wang Shi had said that to make a man deeply respect a maiden of a noble house like her - absolutely don’t talk with the man first, it should be the man, Qi Hong, who should be the one to talk  to her, first. After that the young lady should quickly show her haughtiness and talent.  Seeing Molan’s manner, Rulan couldn’t help but angrily grit her teeth and sit more upright to be more haughty.

Minglan lowered her head and silently read a hundred times, ‘Reality doesn't exist’ [2].


Mr. Zhuang was greeted with an entire room of sparkling pearls and bright jade upon entering the classroom. Ignoring this, he quietly begins the lesson. Qi Heng has proper posture but he was so tall that Minglan couldn't see anything. Not wasting such a good barrier, Minglan happily rested behind him. Molan and Rolan had passed by her seat again and again in the morning but Minglan didn’t know. She was tired and worn out from all her matters and thus, had really fallen asleep. Upon waking up Minglan saw a pair of bright eyes looking at her with a smile.

"Was sixth younger sister’s sleep good?" Qi Heng asked while happily looking at the table where a blushing little face and a pair of small, chubby hands can be seen. "Not bad, not bad.” After waking up, she looks around at her surrounding. Class was finished and everyone was tidying up their books and calling their maidservants to tidy up the papers and inks.

Qi Heng turns over, then two slender arms was resting on Minglan's table as he smiles and says, "Sixth younger sister’s sleep was deep, were you so tired last night?”

Qi Heng’s eyes became more cheerful, while Minglan continued to meditate on the 'Reality doesn't exist and all that doesn't exist are real’.

This noon, like before, Minglan didn’t have an afternoon nap. There was currently a nobel guest, Qi Heng’s main [3] mother - the Junzhu of Pingning Region [4]. She was visiting the Old Madam Sheng and Wang Shi at the Shou’an Hall while waiting to see the Sheng Household children.  

The Junzhu of the Pinging Region was indeed great and powerful, certainly blessed with the seal of the three pillars of gods [5]. Even though Minglan was still far away, she can still see the servants and maidservants of the Shou’an Hall standing neatly in two rows for her. There hung a smell of sweet-scented lush branches of the osmanthus tree, in the air. Fang Mama had been waiting at the door so she can quickly inform the people inside. Walking inside everyone behind Changbai held their breath and didn’t move. Sitting below Old Madam Sheng was Wang Shi and a beautiful woman sitting on the black wooden chair with  Eight Immortals across the sea engraved on it. Qi Heng lead the greeting ceremony for the three elders and stood beside the beautiful women.

"You dare not to hurriedly go and perform the greeting ceremony and kowtow to the Junzhu of Pingning Region." Old Madam Sheng says.

The six children of the Sheng family turn to that beautiful woman and  immediately kowtow, performing their greetings, then go to stand behind Wang Shi.

Minglan sits down on her place and secretly checks the owner of the Pingning Region. She was a 30 years old woman wearing a long overcoat that’s yellow as a ginger, spread throughout the whole room, embroidered with twigs and pink peonies all over. Inside it was a shirt as white as a moon with a standing collar, paired with a slightly creased long green skirt the color of the forest. Under it the pointy head of a beautiful shoe with big pearls sewn on it poked out. The Junzhu of the Region had beautiful, thick, and fluffy hair. Her face looked gentle and refined with thin shaped eyebrows. Overall she was a charming, beautiful lady. On looking closer her facial features were inherited by Qi Heng’s and Minglan thought in her heart - no wonder that kid looks so handsome.


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Junzhu of the Pingning Region went to meet each children during their ceremony and give them gifts, Changbai and Changfeng were each given a piece of jade -whether the quality was good or bad, Minglan didn’t saw,  while Chengdong’s gift was a golden doll, on the other hand the three girls were given a string of good pearls from the south, pearls as round as a ball, dazzling smooth and round, value surely expensive, old madam Sheng quietly says: "Junzhu is too polite, how much was spent just for this; we are embarrassed.”

Junzhu of the Pingning Region went to meet each child during their ceremony and gave them each gifts. Changbai and Changfeng were each given a piece of jade - whether the quality was good or bad, Minglan didn’t see, and Chengdong’s gift was a golden doll. The three girls were given a string of good pearls from the south. The pearls as round as a ball, dazzlingly smooth and round and looked to be expensive.  Old Madam Sheng quietly says, "Junzhu is too polite, how much was spent just for this; we are embarrassed.”

Junzhu of the Pingning Region smiles and says, "Making young girls happy would be my pleasure, sadly this one has no such good fortune, I only have Heng’er yet he’s a naughty child. Today who to reward and how; furthermore...sigh, we wronged them..."

Minglan listens and was frightened, what happened?

Wang Shi smiles and turns to the three girls, "Mr. Zhuang has spoken to your father.  You don’t have to go to school with your brothers anymore, instead concentrate on learning about how to manage the household and the feminine arts..."

Molan’s disappointment showed on her face while her heart lurched. She quickly turns to see if Rulan was fine with this decision because she knows that Rulan also thought the same as her. Besides class time, it’s usually difficult to see Qi Heng. Her parent’s status are low therefore they cannot help her in this matter. If they can’t see Qi Heng then what was their advantage? Thinking of Qi Heng’s face, his gentle and polite remarks, Molan felt resentment at the loss. Under her sleeve she clenches her fist and sometimes mumbles words behind Wang Shi too softly for her to hear.

Minglan, on the contrary,  is quite relaxed and was very happy  to leave the class where there is always so much trouble...Ah Buddha, to take away this obstacle, just excellent.

Seeing the beautiful Junzhu of the Pingning Region and Old Madam Sheng exchanging a few words Wang Shi tried several times to intervene but didn’t find an opportunity. Suddenly the Junzhu of the Pingning Region laughs and says: "...Which is the Sixth Young Lady, who was able to make my child laugh?”

 


Minglan’s mind was drifting off, thinking that next morning she wouldn’t be able to teach Changdong and see him off, since the Old Madam would visit her. She would just use the extra time to sleep...when suddenly her name was called out. Old Madam Sheng points her out and laughingly says, ““This naughty grandchild of mine. She’s being raise at my side but I can’t manage her as she is so naughty."

Junzhu of the Pingning Region pulls Minglan's small hand as she checks it carefully, this slender and soft hand, to see this ignorant Minglan’s snowy white tender plump hand and little chubby face; holding this tender little hands is very comfortable so she says, "This child is truly a good person to take care off, no wonder the Old Madam doesn’t want to hurt her.  Old Madam is quite fond of her...this bright young lady Ming, you should chat with me after class and will not be in Mr. Zhuang’s class, are you fine with it?”

Minglan was unaware and wasn’t able to see Qi Heng’s hateful smile, this intention is really tricky and so only embarrassedly said, "Where, where ..."

Qi Heng really couldn’t help it as he put his mouth near the Junzhu of the Pingning Region ear, and  he gently whisper few words while covering his mouth.  The county owner suddenly  was happy and hugs little Minglan more and smilingly, she says: "...This is good, you can sleep this afternoon..."

At school, everyone had seen Minglan dozed off and sometimes they had laughed. Rulan went near Wang Shi’s side and whispered. Sheng Old Lady thought about it a little and also understand, pointing at Minglan, she laughs without a break and exclaims, "...You naughty little child, now that you don’t have to go to Mr.Zhuang’s class anymore, are you happy?!”

Minglan’s little face blushes and quietly bows while secretly grinding her teeth and cursing inside her heart... Qi Heng, Yuan Ruo how dare you snitch on me, careful that your son will not have a XX!

Junzhu of the Pingning Region only smiles and says: "...Heng Er’, you don’t have any sisters to understand this. You cannot understand her clearly when you don’t even know what she’s experiencing. Next time you have to love Ming’er like your own sibling...ok?"

Old madam Sheng smiles, then says, "Oh, isn’t this like claiming connections with people in the higher social class to climb the social ladder." and so on. Wang Shi’s face slightly changes but in the flash returns to normal and continues to follow the talk and laughs.

Minglan secretly checks Molan and Rulan and seeing them still unconscious, suddenly her heart felt a tiny pang of  pity.

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