[TYCDTN] – Chapter 17
Translated by: oinkoink
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Names mentioned in this chapter (which can also be found in the glossary):
-永乐侯府 (Yǒng lè hóu fǔ)- Marquis Yongle manor
-承嗣 (Chéng sì) – The Crown Prince
Little Qiu’er repeatedly exclaimed with Yu Xiang’s sleight of hand in conjuring the camellia flower. She didn’t feel wronged even when a box of pastries was swindled into Yu Xiang’s belly as she glued to her and refused to leave.
The old momo was given order to bring the Ninth Princess to acquaint with the other noble girls but instead she hid herself in a corner, unwilling to go which was truly a little worrisome.
The Ninth Princess was unsociable and exceedingly shy with strangers. The selection of her study companion was not like all the other princesses or appointed by the Empress as it would only be doable if the Ninth Princess actually likes her. For the sake of guarding against those tactless noble girls from scaring her should they surrounded and fawned over her, the Empress purposely dressed her ordinarily.
If under this circumstance, an unwitting noble girl was willing to befriend and gained the Ninth Princess’ fondness then this matter would be regarded as accomplished.
The old momo was both moved and hesitated when she glanced at Yu Xiang’s leg. She presumed that this little girl should be the Di daughter of the Marquis Yongle manor who sacrificed herself to save her elder brother. There was indeed nothing to comment about her behavior as well as her extremely nimble and witty temperament, yet the trouble was with her legs as it could be kind of torture for her to enter the palace everyday being the study companion even though it was supposed to be a pleasant task for others.
Anyway, she would just report to the Empress and let her make the decision.
Yu Xiang who knew nothing about the identity of Little Qiu’er was lifting her blanket to allow the other party to look at her injured legs at this moment.
Little Qiu’er squatted down and slowly extended her finger to lightly poked, then loudly exclaimed, “It’s soft!”
Did this little child think she couldn’t walk because her legs were made of wood! Yu Xiang didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry as she pinched her tender cheek, “Of course it’s soft!”
“Why can’t it walk then?” The Ninth Princess blinked her big round eyes.
“See, there are two gems inside here but were destroyed by the bad guys. I will have to find the suitable gems to replace it before I can walk again.” Yu Xiang casually fabricated a wild tale while pointing at her kneecaps. She wasn’t able to explain the medical theory to a seven or eight year-old child as she would certainly get crazy answering more questions.
The corners of the old momo mouth raised up. She had never really seen a noble girl that could fabricate such a tale.
Little Qiu’er was dumbstruck when she heard that. She kept groping Yu Xiang’s kneecaps as if she was admiring a miracle and straightened up. A while later, she untied a small pouch from her waistband and handed it over to Yu Xiang, “For you!”
The old momo’s eyes got darkened.
Yu Xiang took the small pouch to look at it and chuckled soon after. There were actually several large gems inside; sheer transparent jadeite, garishly colorful tourmaline, glittering clear crystal and glossy smooth chalcedony which must be exceptionally valuable. This child was truly too adorable!
“Hurry and replace it.” Little Qiu’er poked her arms urgingly.
Yu Xiang shook her heads, “These gems are not the right ones.” She reached out and rubbed the extremely disappointed child as she continued with a deep smile, ‘Many thanks to Little Qiu’er. Don’t worry, my elder brother will find me the right gems and I will get back on my feet again someday.”
As she explained, she tied the small pouch back to the child’s waistband then smilingly took a quick glance at the tensed face of the old momo. What did she take her, Yu Xiang for? A trash that fabricates a tale to swindle a child’s money? It was totally absurd to think that she would care about such little things when the shoes she wore in her previous lifetime were diamond studded.
The old momo lowered her head and felt extremely embarrassed. The noble girl that was brought up in the Marquis Yongle manor would surely be dignified and imposing, as expectedly resembled the Young Marquis. If the Empress was to know how narrow-minded and unpresentable she was, she would truly feel ashamed.
Little Qiu’er wasn’t aware of the volatile undercurrent of the two persons. She disappointedly fondled the small pouch and asked, “How would it be put in after it’s found?”
“Just like this.” Yu Xiang placed a copper coin on her palm and tapped it on her kneecap then spread out her palm where the coin seemed to have varnished into the thin air.
Little Qiu’er was stupefied.
Yu Xiang then tapped her kneecap again then stretched out the fair palm right before her eyes and once again, the copper coin was firmly lying on the palm.
Little Qiu’er sucked in a breath and four words appeared in her head – You are truly divine!
Even the experienced old momo was amazed and in her mind she thought that among all the noble girls in the Capital, there wouldn’t be anyone as intelligent as this Di daughter of the Marquis Yongle manor. What a pity.. Truly a pity…
The Crown Prince whispered as he pointed at Yu Xiang who was stuffing the copper coin into his sister’s small pouch, “It’s a pity for your sister!” Such a bright, intelligent, optimistic, cheerful and no lacking of many whimsical ideas. If the ingenious and sophisticated traditional Chinese realistic painting was to define the present noble girls then Yu Xiang would precisely be the splashing ink technique, casual and carefree which could hold all kinds of rich uninhibited colors.
If both her legs were undamaged, how charming would she be a few years later? The Crown Prince shook his head with regret.
A touch of bitterness was finally revealed on the carved-like face of Yu Pin Yan as he thought; he could fall short of anyone but he would never again beholden to Xiang’er in this lifetime.
Little Qiu’er was having lots of fun and unyieldingly wanted Yu Xiang to continue the performance. Fortunately, both her legs had gradually lost their sensation when the wound healed, otherwise she would have been in an indescribable pain. On the twenty-third time of patting and conjuring, she finally broke down. She pointed at the bright lights not far away and asked imbued with hope, “Should we go to look at those palace lanterns?”
Little Qiu’er pursed her lips as her eyes expressed some panicky restlessness.
Yu Xiang somewhat apprehended that this child was antisocial and very much in fear of strangers which would explain why she was willing to stay at this corner with her. Usually a seven or eight year-old child would have long scurried away like a monkey.
“Why don’t we just walk along the narrow path and look at the lights from the veranda?” She didn’t want to tap her kneecap anymore. The nature of her torment using the copper coin to tap her leg was the same as the saying – shooting oneself in the foot.
Little Qiu’er tiptoed to look. It did look like a good destination as both sides of the narrow path were lined with flowers and trees while the strip of veranda would separate them from the crowd as well as maintaining some tranquility and also enabling them to view the lights on the opposite through the windows. She gradually nodded her head after pondering it for a moment.
Yu Xiang hurriedly ordered her two little maidservants to push her wheelchair and patted her chest as she felt a big sense of relief the moment she turned her back away. She however was not aware that the old momo and the two elder brothers had been secretly laughing. Such a witty person was instead tenaciously clutched by Little Qiu’er, it was indeed true that everything has its nemesis!
The two of them quietly walked for a distance when they saw the osmanthus trees in front where several palace lanterns were also hung there which nobody noticed as this place was too remote. They both moved closed and earnestly appreciated for a moment before Yu Xiang shook her head, “This writing was not as good as my elder brother’s.”
“Not as good as my elder brother’s too!” Little Qiu’er seriously nodded her head.
Yu Xiang glanced at her then pointing at another lantern, “This painting was not as good as my elder brother’s as the artistic mood was remotely off!”
“Not as good as my elder brother’s too! My elder brother is the best, super best!” Little Qiu’er extended a thumbs-up gesture then felt that it was not enough and extended one more.
“My elder brother is the best too, super best!” Yu Xiang mischievously locked horns with her.
“Your elder brother is no good.” Little Qiu’er was rather nettled that she swung her chubby hands rapidly.
“Your elder brother is no good too!” Yu Xiang was secretly laughing as she put out a boastful look. Provoking this wimpy child was really enjoyable as her eyes would get redden with anger while her mouth was pursed foolishly and unable to speak.
Little Qiu’er stammered for a while before she finally choked out, ‘Your elder brother, your elder brother is not as good as mine!”
“It’s your elder brother that is not as good as mine!” Yu Xiang refuted swiftly as she looked at Little Qiu’er sniffed her nose and pursed her little mouth revealing a cute little weeping expression that she was seized with spasm of laughter inwardly.
The old momo gave her a sympathetic glance and secretly pondered; would this little girl pass out with fright if she knew the elder brother of her master was the Crown Prince.
After Yu Xiang was satisfied with her wicked amusement, she hurriedly pulled Little Qiu’er to her side then caressed her head and gently coaxed her, “Okay, okay, okay, your elder brother is the best, super best! Every younger sister will think that their elder brother is the best, so both our elder brothers are the best!
Little Qiu’er thought about it then smiled through her tears.
This child also had an elder brother complex. It was no wonder they hit it off. Yu Xiang pinched the reddened nose and laughed along too.
Only heaven knew the truth of the matter was this odd auntie bullying a little girl to satisfy her wicked amusement. In the eyes of others, it was actually those two fair adorable little girls defending their elder brothers. The scene was extremely sweet and warm.
Not only the old momo’s harsh face turned soft, even the two elder brothers who were hiding in the dark place wished they could rush over to embrace their precious to dote on them dearly.
The two were on good terms again and continued their walk passing the osmanthus tree where they soon reached the end of the veranda. Without the shelter of the brick walls and the hollow window frame, the faint yellow flickering lights and sound of laughter assaulted the senses. A phoenix-shaped palace lantern which was binded with brightly-colored crystals while its base was studded with assorted precious stones was hung on the highest eaves, projectile tiny spots of colorful rays. When the candle swayed within it, the effect was much more dazzling than the disco ball light.
Yu Xiang couldn’t help but to have another look.
Little Qiu’er excitedly cried out softly, “Ah, That’s my lantern! I have to take it back!” She took two steps forward but slowly retreated when she saw the stream of crowded people. Her little face revealed a sorrowful sobbing expression.
“Unfortunately my elder brother is not here otherwise I can help you win it.” Yu Xiang merely thought this little child had taken a fancy on that palace lantern as she regrettably shook her head.
That was indeed the grand lantern for this evening that anyone could take away with the prerequisite of passing the Empress’ test. This test required two people to complete it together. The one on the temporary set-up platform would need to pick an item out from the several designated articles and place it into a box while the other one who was below the platform would have to guess. There were twelve rounds to be completed correctly before the winner could take home the grand lantern, the first was to choose one from two articles, second was one from three and the final was one from twelve.
Without a doubt, the value of the Empress’ thing must be out of this world, hence many people were green with envy and enthusiastically went up the platform successively to try their luck but all had returned with defeat.
The probability of winning was fifty percent for the first round, thirty-three percent for the second while the third was twenty percent…. with no mistakes allowed, so after a tiring calculation, the chances of winning was less than one in ten thousandth with the difficulty that was comparable to buying the lottery ticket. Unless the two persons had telepathic power or bribed the palace staff, otherwise no one could pass through this test.
The Empress was truly too narrow-minded to deliberately not allowing anyone to take away this palace lantern. Yu Xiang couldn’t help but to silently criticize after she understood the Empress’ ploy.