The Festival Of Xizhao.
Today xiunus had lectures only for half a day.
They could spend the rest of time either by resting or decorate themselves for the coming poetry banquet held in the imperial garden that starts at the hour of You.
Mu Xi Yao put on herself simple yet elegant clothes today.
The brocade upper garment had white-colored vine pattern embellishments while the long muslin skirt was of the blue-green shade.
Near the edge of the skirt were dark flowers embroidered with silver threads.
When she walked, the long skirt created gentle waves.
As each layer of the skirt intertwined with one another, some of the thread reflected the silver light, adding a subtle extravagance to it.
She wore only one dangling hairpin which was ornamented as four butterflies that fluttered over a flower blossom.
The hairpin was inlaid with cyan-colored gemstones.
With its owner’s every movement the tassels glittered brightly and the butterflies there seemed to spread its wings and soar.
Her beautiful jet-black hair was loosely draped over her back, a knot was combed on the side and two-three blue-green orchids were randomly attached on it, creating a beautiful picture.
The most special item on her were two delicate apricot-white ribbons that hung on her waist, each of different length.
At the ends were fastened furry cherry blossom ball decorations that adorned the maiden’s delicate beauty.
Mu Xi Yao has been nurtured by the spiritual pills since she time-traveled here.
Nowadays it was time for her womanhood to bloom.
Her body was of a tall and well-proportioned build.
The body-fitting silk belt emphasized her slender waist.
Combined with the dress she wore today, she appeared even more graceful and airy.
Today she had put on her face a light make-up. Delicate and fair face, long and thick eyelashes, underneath them was a pair of black and vivid eyes that were like rippling autumn water.
They seemed to hold thousand of words inside yet too shy to speak them out.
The soft pink lips of hers were moist and plump, making people generate fanciful thoughts about them.
She was indeed a charming maiden!
Mu Xi Yao was waving a circular fan with a landscape drawing with one hand and clutching onto her elder cousin’s arm with the other, while beside her was Mu Xi Ting who was dressed in the same delicate and pretty manner as her.
The three of them made each other company and together they marched toward the direction of the imperial garden.
The high-spirited xiunus around them were also in the group of threes or fours.
The atmosphere was bustling with excitement.
At the hour of You the poetry banquet started.
The Yuancheng Emperor and Empress Dowager accompanied by the high-ranking consorts were seated inside the Chengxiang water pavilion.
The rest of the imperial harem was placed outside the water pavilion on the left side whilst the imperial princes and their family members had seats reserved on the right side.
All the princes that have reached the age of seven were present.
Following were the seats of courtiers and scholars of the Imperial Academy.
On the prince’s side.
The crown prince was surrounded by beauties.
He has actually taken along with him five female members! Since the crown princess was expecting she did not attend the banquet.
The first prince Zhong Zheng Chun was sitting aside with his princess consort and favorite concubine, enjoying their presence.
The fourth prince Zhong Zheng Yun and fifth prince Zhong Zheng Ming were only accompanied by their princess consorts.
Both pairs of husband and wife seemed to treat each other with respect.
Zhong Zheng Lin, on the other hand, sat there upright alone at the back wearing a solemn expression.
He was attended only by Wei Zhen who stood two steps behind him.
At the rear was seated eighth prince Zhong Zheng Han who has just turned eleven years old but was already showing manners of a royalty.
Zhong Zheng Lin was in a good mood.
Today he could perhaps ’meet’ Mu Xi Yao.
Zhong Zheng Lin was not bothered by the fact that he has already developed feelings for her yet she didn’t even know about him.
In his plans, he never did take into consideration Mu Xi Yao’s feelings.
As long as he fell in love everything else should be just a matter of course.
Mu Xi Yao had to just wait to enter his estate.
Mu Xi Yao sat down on the seat provided for the xiunus which was located behind the seats of imperial concubines.
She shared the table with Mu Xi Ting.
Coincidentally, next to her on the left was seated Jiang Pin Ting.
Mu Xi Yao was immediately in high spirits.
Jiang Pin Ting also did deliberately dress up today.
She looked truly graceful.
From the day she entered the palace, Jiang Pin Ting regarded others as her rivals and strived to outshine them all as she possessed an outstanding family background and outward appearance.
Toward people like Mu Xi Yao she only felt contempt.
She sat there alone fully displaying her proud personality.
Among the present xiunus who were engaged in lively conversations, she was indeed very eye-catching.
Anyway, Mu Xi Yao will help her later.
She will make her even more eye-catching.
On the outward Mu Xi Yao was chatting with others, inwardly her thoughts already went somewhere else.
Zhong Zheng Lin should be seated with other princes.
She was unable to see him clearly as he was too far away from her.
Should she arrange an accidental encounter as her warm-up or not Well, forget it.
There were too many people and moreover they were also too far from each other.
It would be too bothersome to arrange such a meeting.
She better concentrate on how to properly mess with those particular women since it was a more enjoyable activity.
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At the poetry banquet wine flowed freely and cups went gaily around.
Yuancheng Emperor was in high spirits.
He gave an order that, as long as there was a good poem, one could present it to everyone during the banquet but it ought to stay nameless.
The Imperial Academy, The Great Literary Society and the Shengjin Library were to choose ten most outstanding works and its authors were to be rewarded greatly.
As the result, the young scholars were burning with eagerness and the atmosphere in the banquet grew livelier as time went by.
Even the imperial princes have joined the fun.
The fifth prince Zhong Zheng Ming and the sixth prince Zhong Zheng Lin both consequently received the fourth and seventh place in one swoop.
Yuancheng Emperor was very pleased with them.
After all, the princes’ studies were not focused on poetry.
To be able to accomplish such achievement with their arduous studies was not an easy feat.
Just as the group of courtiers was fawning over the two princes a woman’s exclamation suddenly broke out.
A silence overshadowed the banquet in an instant.
What an insolence! Everyone turned their eyes toward the direction where the commotion came from.
They saw a frightened xiunu who jumped up from behind her table out of fear.
She kept on checking her dress as if she got there something extremely dreadful.
The imperial guards quickly went to inspect.
They found on table seven to eight dormant spiders, two were at their last gasps while the rest were all dead.
Yuancheng Emperor with a gloomy face ordered the noble consort to investigate thoroughly this incident and punish severely the culprit.
Such a vicious thing shall not appear in the imperial palace.
Subsequently, he ordered that xiunu to be dragged away and punished with twenty flogs for the disrespectful behavior in front of the Emperor.
If she still does not learn from her misconduct afterward she shall have her xiunu identity removed and be sent home! This could be regarded as a considerably severe punishment.
If a maiden was sent home by the imperial family, she was practically deemed undesirable for marriage.
Jiang Pin Ting lost all colors in her face.
She was shocked and felt bitterness when imperial guards dragged her away.
She had no idea who machinated against her behind her back.
Just a moment ago something had flashed before her eyes and it seemed like some object had dropped down on the table.
Upon the closer inspection, she found out that the thing on the table was dormant spiders.
For a short while she forgot about her circumstances thus she made the exclamation.
Unbeknownst, it actually brought upon her a disaster.
Originally, if she passed the final stage of selection, with her family background and beauty she would be able to easily obtain the cefei position and marry into the imperial prince’s household.
But after this incident, even a concubine position would be a luxury thought.
All of a sudden, every hope of her turned to dust.
Mu Xi Yao also pretended to be frightened.
She stood on the side while supporting her body on Mu Xi Ting, yet inwardly she was rejoicing.
She would kill two birds with one stone by using Jang Pin Ting to draw out the real culprit
After all was said and done, feeling elated, she went together with Mu Xi Ting to appreciate the lanterns and play riddle games.
Mu Xi Ting still had a heart of a young girl.
She was fond of riddle games hence she stayed behind and secretly pondered about the solutions.
Since Mu Xi Yao lacked the patience she went to view the lanterns alone.
Suddenly, Mu Xi Yao’s eyes brightened.
She discovered a super cute rabbit lantern.
She quickly walked over to stand under the lantern, appreciating the lamp.
Abruptly, she recalled a certain chubby rabbit in the modern world and could not refrain herself from chuckling.
In the end, she circled around the rabbit while looking fixedly at it, thinking about how impossibly cute was this chubby rabbit.
She so wished to take it home……..
“Do you like it”
Mu Xi Yao was surprised by the rich voice of a young man that has spoken out from behind her.
She slowly turned around and saw the sixth prince Zhong Zheng Lin standing there tally dressed in a dark blue colored prince’s robe.
The pair of pitch-black phoenix eyes on his handsome face was watching her.
Mu Xi Yao soon came back to her senses.
She adjusted her posture and made a proper curtsy to greet him: “The xiunu from Qingzhou, Xi Yao of Mu House, pays a greeting to your Highness.”
It was truly her.
The maiden under the light of the lantern possessed an outstanding appearance, ethereal aura, and lithe build.
For a moment Zhong Zheng Lin could only stare at her.
But soon afterward he regained his composure and returned to usual expressionless self.
He raised his head to sweep a glance at the lantern and then asked her with a rather dissatisfied tone: “This lantern, do you like it”
Mu Xi Yao started to beat a petty person in her mind.
Did he have to use ‘your esthetic taste is quite questionable’ kind of tone to inquire her And what was with that solemn expression That dissatisfied tone and expression were completely out of tune.
Mu Xi Yao did not dare to act impudently before the big boss, hence she spoke softly, “I do like it.” She stood there with a lowered face, pretending to be timid.
A smile flashed through Zhong Zheng Lin’s eyes as he watched her well-behaved and polite manners.
If he had not just seen her circling around the lantern, he wouldn’t have come to know that she also had a childish side in her.
He ordered Wei Zhen: “Go fetch the lantern and give it to her.” Afterward, he stood on the side and uttered no more words.
Wei Zhen was stupefied, his body stiff.
He clearly has not yet come to himself but his body has already mechanically acted on its own.
When he took down the lantern and handed it over to Mu Xi Yao he cast a quick glance at her and then respectfully retreated.
Mu Xi Yao held on the rabbit lantern with a silly expression on her face, feeling that her memories were somehow unreliable.
In her memory, Zhong Zheng Lin was very cold toward Mu Xi Yao at the beginning.
Later on, they did grew to be a little bit closer but it was only because he liked to stay in her yard reading his books.
Perhaps he did have a faint affection for her, however, that affection could not compare to the easiness and comfort he experienced at her place.
So what was going on now Zhong Zheng Lin from the previous life did not bother to gift her with even a single hair of his.
Moreover, the two currently were not familiar! The memory from previous life did not indicate that the sixth prince had a friendly personality……
She has not yet discerned Zhong Zheng Lin’s changes, yet she already heard him saying: “Take it home if you like it.
Circling around the lantern….silly.”
Mu Xi Yao was dumbfounded.
This fellow must have been also possessed by someone else’s soul!
Zhong Zheng Lin did not know in the slightest bit that Mu Xi Yao was criticizing him in her heart.
He just thought that she looked amusing when distracted into silliness.
Only when Mu Xi Yao had freed herself from the chaotic thoughts did she realize that she has been looked down upon! She’s had enough.
She stared at the Zhong Zheng Lin with an aggrieved look, her cheeks puffed.
Zhong Zheng Lin looked at that bullied expression of hers and then at the chubby rabbit next to her, he thought……….so alike.
The corners of his mouth slightly curled upward.
He looked at her deeply for another moment and then left together with Wei Zhen.
Mu Xi Yao composed herself after she saw that they have gone far.
Carrying the cute rabbit, she went back to search for Mu Xi Ting.
Ten something years old maiden ought to show her naive and mischievous side at the appropriate time to appear more enticing, right A gleam shone in Mu Xi Yao’s eyes.
 Hour of You means 17-18 PM
 Beat a petty person is a folk sorcery widely spread in the area of Guangdong and Hong Kong.
Its purpose is to curse one’s enemies using magic