[TYCDTN] Chapter 32 Part 1

Translated by: Jellylynn

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Edited by: Lynn

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Names mentioned in this chapter (which can also be found in the glossary):

-虞襄(yú xiāng)- Yu Xiang, the female lead

-虞思雨(yú sī yù)- Yu Si Yu, the female and male lead’s sister

-老太太(lǎotàitai)- Old Madam

-虞品言(yú pǐn yán)- Yu Pin Yan, the male lead

-方志晨(fāng zhì chén)- Fang Zhi Chen, Pei Shi’s son

-沈元奇(Shěn yuán qí)- Shen Yuan Qi, the top scholar

-永乐侯府 (Yǒng lè hóu fǔ)- Marquis Yongle manor

One month later, Fang Zhi Chen passed brilliantly. However, he wasn’t top scholar[1] in the imperial examination, but the third place candidate[2].

This year’s top scholar was from Lingnan. His surname was Shen and his name was Yuan Qi. His appearance was more beautiful than the third place candidate. When he would stroll the street, he was almost drowned by flower purses that were thrown by passers-by. What was even more impressive, however, was his talent. The Emperor was marveled at his sharp words, unique arguments, and the essay on current affairs containing the theory of heaven and earth. The Emperor proclaimed that this was the best piece he had ever read since he ascended the throne. Immediately, he brought in several current mastered scholars to take turns testing him at the banquet in Qionglin.

The top scholar was neither servile nor overbearing, and he was composed. He refuted several great scholars making them speechless and ashamed of themselves. He was not only brilliant but also equally good at interpersonal skills. A few words could make the scene lightened up, which earned the Emperor’s praise. 

The second place[3] and the third place candidates were also one of the most handsome in that era, but they were pale in comparison with the top scholar. 

After the banquet, the Emperor talked all night with the top scholar. The next day, he was admitted to the Imperial Hanlin Academy to serve as an Academician Reader-in-waiting[4]. Unexpectedly, he became the fifth ranking government official in the capital.  It was evident that the saints from his family were looking down on him favorably.   

This was without mentioning that there were various forces that had tried to draw in the top scholar. The annual festival would be held in Baiyun temple. This was an important event in the capital.  Both the nobility and common people would go to Taoist temples to perform rituals to pray for a good harvest and weather in the new year. 

Although the Emperor and Empress could not attend personally, they would also send attendants to bring offerings to the temple. The ten-day celebration would attract people to the capital. 

In the Marquis Yongle manor, Xi Xiang courtyard. 

Ah Lu, who was standing on its golden frame, saw the handsome young man striding forward. He flapped his wings and yelled, “The Marquis is here! The Marquis is here!” 

As Yu Pin Yan walked in, he popped a peanut into its mouth, which cut-off the loud and raspy voice that was like a broken bellow. Tao Hong and Liu Lu had just finished changing their master’s clothes and were kneeling to fix her skirt. 

The girl was dressed in a fiery red soft silk trailing dress, and draped on a light and transparent mahogany long open front coat. The garish colour was not suppressed by the blouse, but added a bit of mystery. 

She waved the two maidservants away, picked up the thin writing brush made of weasel’s hair and started drawing her eyebrows. When she heard Ah Lu’s noise, her pupils turned towards it and said lazily, “Elder brother, wait for me.  I still have time.” 

Yu Pin Yan was used to his younger sister taking half a shichen(1hour) to dress up when she went out.   He sat beside her and drank tea. His dark eyes did not leave her delicate pretty face for a moment. 

Yu Xiang placed some ink on the brush and applied carefully along the direction of eyebrow growth. She deliberately thickened and darkened it. Then, she gently pulled the ends of the eyebrow. The already beautiful and brilliant face became twelve times sharper. 

She looked in the bronze mirror and changed it several times. Then, she raised her eyebrows and gave her elder brother a proud smile, “See? It’s called knife-styled eyebrows. Isn’t it fierce? That’s the effect I want.” She used the brush and dabbed it on the corner of her eyes. After that, the round and big feline eyes became brighter, and she squinted her eyes slightly and looked towards her elder brother. “Look at me, do you feel that your heart is trembling and flustered, and dare not even come forward to talk to me? Those who have a foul mouth and always laugh at me for being crippled. I will crush them with my appearance, and make them ashamed and turn back.” 

Hearing this, Yu Pin Yan’s disordered heartbeat gradually returned to normal. He felt somewhat funny yet distressed. He tapped on the tip of her nose and said, “That is if you can kill them with this face alone.” 

“Not only would they die, even I would die of my beauty when I look at myself in the mirror.” Yu Xiang turned her face in the mirror. 

Yu Pin Yan put down his tea cup, chuckled and pinched her cheeks. He joked, “Let Elder brother see how thick my Little Xianger’s face is. I’m afraid that it can’t be pierced through.” 

Yu Xiang shook her head around to evade, and her elder brother and her made a lot of noise. 

A quarter of an hour later, Yu Xiang was lying in her elder brother’s arms as she laughed and said angrily, “Stop. Stop. If we don’t leave now, we can’t rush to the festival. I haven’t applied the rouge yet.” 

Yu Pin Yan let go of her soft cheeks and helped her apply the rouge. After holding her jaw and admiring it for a long time, he placed Yu Xiang down on his knees and placed her in the wheelchair. 

Yu Xiang noticed that he didn’t push her out of the door. Instead, he turned around and went behind the folding screen. She called out warily, “What are you doing? Grandmother is anxiously waiting.” 

Yu Pin Yan smiled and didn’t say a word. He held a wet handkerchief in his hand and carefully wiped off the make-up she did for half a shichen (1 hour) and said with a smile, “You can die beautiful by yourself. Don’t harm others.” There were so many people at the festival that he didn’t want his baby sister to be seen by any strange man. 

“At least let me stick a huadian[5].” Yu Xiang desperately struggled. 

Yu Pin Yan rummaged through her trousseau to find the most simple and a mole-like flower forehead ornament. He stuck it between her eyebrows and urged. “Done. Let’s go.” 

“Can it be changed into the lotus shaped one? This is not very eye-catching.” Yu Xiang tugged on his sleeves. 

Yu Pin Yan didn’t respond. He bent down to peel off the cinnabar mole ornament in between her eyebrows. Yu Xiang quickly plunged into his arms and hid her face, shouting, “Done, done. Elder brother, let’s go.”

Yu Pin Yan put his arm around her shoulder and gave a long and soft chuckle.

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[1] 状元(zhuàngyuán)- Zhuangyuan/top scholar/principal graduate. An advanced scholar (进士[jìnshì], a graduate who passed the triennial court exam) who ranked first overall nationwide. 

[2] 探花(tànhuā)- Flower snatcher/third place candidate/tanhua. An advanced scholar (进士[jìnshì], a graduate who passed the triennial court exam) who ranked third overall nationwide. 

[3] 榜眼(bǎngyǎn)- Bangyan/eye positioned alongside/second place candidate. An advanced scholar (进士[jìnshì], a graduate who passed the triennial court exam) who ranked second overall nationwide.

[4] 侍读学士(shì dú xuéshì)- Academician Reader-in-waiting. Academicians that were entrusted with the task of helping the emperor read or write documents. 

[5] 花钿(huā diàn)- Huadian/flower forehead ornament; a kind of floral decoration on women’s faces in ancient times. Huatian has three colors of red, green and yellow. It is made of gold and silver in flower shape. It is a popular jewelry in Tang Dynasty.

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