It turned out that there was a deeper meaning behind the tree locations.
This first location was Empress Dowager’s childhood hometown.
All of the memories of her mother remained there.
The second location was her maternal grandparents’ place where Empress Dowager went to live after the death of her mother.
There, she met Gaozu Emperor who was on his excursion to the south.
Henceforth, their fates have been tied for a lifetime.
The third location was where she accompanied Gaozu Emperor as his step Empress to Mt Tai offering sacrifices to the ancestral mausoleum.
It was also Gaozu Emperor’s last toured place.
After learning about the secret behind, people present on banquet all have praised the sixth prince for his diligence and filial piety.
They secretly reckoned inwardly that this sixth prince’s congratulatory gift was probably most to Empress Dowager’s like.
Zhong Zheng Lin’s ingeniousness made the rest of the imperial princes depressed.
The crown prince was particularly resentful.
He believed that Zhong Zheng Lin, who belonged to crown prince’s faction on the surface, clearly had a draft worked out in his mind early on, yet he hadn’t notified him a tiny bit about it.
He went as far as to directly climb over him and put himself into the limelight before the Empress Dowager and Emperor.
He obviously harbored evil intentions.
Precisely because of the constant strife at this banquet and the grim face the crown prince cast Zhong Zheng Lin due to his evident dislike of him made Yuancheng Emperor be increasingly disappointed in the crown prince.
Zhong Zheng Lin didn’t bother to pay attention to what the crown prince thought.
He was as solemn and upright as usual.
After paying respect he returned to his seat, sitting straight as a ramrod.
However, inside he was quite curious about the item the little woman had worked on and then concealed in the Huizhou.
Mu Xi Yao was very surprised when she saw Zhong Zheng Lin’s present.
She didn’t expect they would think alike.
Both of them played emotional cards.
Their hearts indeed beat in unison1.
She turned her head to throw him a crafty smile and then waited for her grand present to go on stage.
The gifts from the womenfolk were mostly hand-copied Buddhist texts or needlecraft and embroidery.
The only ones that were a little more special were the crown princess who has presented a unique copy of《Vimalakirti Sutra》and the fifth princess consort’s double-sided embroidery of a boy offering birthday congratulations which was accomplished by her in person.
Both of them were praised greatly.
When it was Mu Xi Yao’s turn to present a birthday gift, they saw two little eunuchs carry an object that was as tall as a person, covered by a dark green silk fabric.
Like this, it was carried forward.
Everyone joked that the two deserved to be called a family as even the way her present appeared on the stage resembled so much that of the sixth prince Zhong Zheng Lin.
After the two eunuchs stood still they cautiously unveiled the cover simultaneously from both sides.
As soon as the silk fabric fell, it instantly invoked an exclamations from the audience.
They saw a screen like decoration standing at the center of the hall.
Its body was actually a colorless glass they’ve never seen before.
It was wholly transparent, arranged in a yellow rosewood frame with decorative carvings.
Two enlarged Vanda orchids were inlaid in the middle.
Its flowers were light purple while the branches and tendrils were in dark green color.
The whole Vanda orchid, whether it was its petals or vine, glittered with splendor, giving off an aura of great opulence. The flower’s shape was uniquely charming, elegant and refined.
A closer look has revealed that the enlarged Vanda orchids were actually made of countless of small flowers and vines.
These little flowers and vines were all made out of real Vanda orchids’ fresh flowers, branches, and leaves.
Their surface was coated and sealed up by a crystal.
Through the crystal, people could see that each flower and piece of the leaf had distinct arteries and veins, which appeared vivid and lifelike, as if there was truly a breeze that has brushed them, making them sway elegantly.
All of the flowers that have been sealed up by the crystal have maintained the beautiful form from their fresh times, remarkably true to life, so beautiful it dazzled people.
The entire screen contained hundreds of flowers.
The wines were intervened with each other.
The craftsmanship was complicated but exquisite beyond compare.
On the lower right corner of the screen was a light yellow silk fabric label where could be seen a woman’s delicate handwriting: The splendiness of Vanda orchids.
Flowers bloom a splendor, its name immortalized.
Once this screen came out, it immediately stunned everyone at the birthday banquet.
The ones who were even more pleasantly surprised than others were Empress Dowager and Yuancheng Emperor.
However, each of them had a completely different reason for being impressed.
It was well known that among all the flowers, Empress Dowager was solely fond of Vanda orchid.
Back then when Gaozu Emperor met her and they came to know each other, he repeatedly gifted her this flower, praising her for “having a pure heart and spirit, to be with a virtuous and noble character”.
Thereupon, for the rest of life, Empress Dowager had eyes only for Vanda orchid.
Yuancheng Emperor, on the other side, was amazed by its ingenious manufacturing technique, which had no equal.
The only one to exist at the present age.
Nowadays the orchids of Huizhou had already become the important source of Great Wei’s taxation.
If this peerless artwork that the world has never seen before was counted in, it will without a doubt bring about another grand occasion.
Yuancheng Emperor contemplated about the screen’s origin and then directly had Mu Xi Yao step forward and answer questions.
Mu Xi Yao got up calmly.
She firstly curtsied to Empress Dowager and Emperor and then replied to them with a gentle voice.
“Replying your Imperial Majesty.
This servant got an inspiration for this screen while appreciating the beauty of orchids in Huaizhou.
Subsequently, this servant crafted it personally along with craftsmen.”
When Empress Dowager heard that it was handmade by Mu shi, she became a little more satisfied.
The artwork was incredulously complicated.
It could clearly be seen that she has put a genuine effort.
“Mu shi, how many fresh flowers are in the screen Aijia2 looked at it.
There must be more than hundreds of them.” Empress Dowager was somewhat curious.
Mu Xi Yao wore a shallow smile on face.
Her voice was clear and resonant, “Replying to Empress Dowager.
The whole Vanda orchid used over two hundred and seventy flowers.
The shape of each flower is unique and unparalleled in the world.
Therefore, there is also only one kind of such a screen in the world.
Hearing these words, a joy engaged on Empress Dowager’s face.
She ordered people to cautiously carry the screen back to her palace hall.
Then, she recalled that this sixth prince’s cefei Mu shi was pregnant with child.
She rewarded Mu Xi Yao with camlet and brocade.
Even the unborn child in her belly also has received the longevity lock and jade scepter.
The eyes of the present womenfolk reddened when they saw it.
Yuancheng Emperor was elated.
He didn’t expect that this craft was actually Mu Shi’s possession.
This nice surprise was just too great.
Yuancheng Emperor was very excited inwardly.
Furthermore, he felt that this cefei promotion was the right decision, indeed wise of him.
Subsequently, on the spot, he told Zhong Zheng Lin to see him tomorrow at the study and praised Mu Xi Yao that her appearance and conduct could be rated as an example for Great Wei’s noblewomen.
Once Yuancheng Emperor’s words came out, there was no woman present who wasn’t envious and jealous.
These were golden mouth and jade words3.
An enormous honor.
Looking at that Mu cefei curtsing, thanking for the grace and then gracefully retreating to sit down beside his sixth Highness, all women longed to take her place.
With swishes, their dagger gazes hailed Mu Xi Yao.
Her Ladyship consort Shu at the side was very happy.
The actions of her son and Mu shi grew her a face4.
That Mu cefei became even more pleasing in her eyes.
Inwardly, she muttered it seemed that since she entered the estate everything went smoothly for her son.
Could it possibly be that this one truly possessed a fortune
If consort Shu learnt how unusual was this woman’s fortune, she would, probably, not feel pleasantly surprised but scared half-death.
On this side, as soon as Mu Xi Yao sat down, she instantly smugly winked at Zhong Zheng Lin in secret.
Under the cover of the sleeve, her little hand jabbed his thigh.
That appearance of hers was a typical example of demanding the praise and reward.
Seeing her like this, Zhong Zheng Lin laughed inside.
He patted her plump derriere.
Yet, his face showed nothing on the surface.
The fifth prince Zhong Zheng Ming who was seated at a table’s distance from them turned his head and cast a glance at Mu Xi Yao, unable to reconcile in the heart.
Such a bright and beautiful maiden, yet she was seized by Zhong Zheng Lin.
A moment ago, Yuancheng Emperor has instructed Zhong Zheng Lin to go to the study tomorrow.
It clearly had something to do with this screen.
Moreover, it seemed that he hold this matter in high regard.
Zhong Zheng Ming’s eyes darkened.
He contemplated inwardly that after returning back he ought to discuss with his adviser to see whether something could be done by the time.
On the Empress Dowager’s banquet this evening, the sixth prince’s estate stood most outstanding.
Their two birthday presents were both enthusiastically talked about by people.
Momentarily, it has spread to the top of streets and bottom of alleys of Shengjin, made known to everyone.
After birthdays banquet, Zhong Zheng Lin took Mu Xi Yao and together they went back to the estate.
Inside the carriage, Mu Xi Yao proudly demanded the reward.
The sixth Highness gladly consented.
As soon as they returned to Danruo courtyard, he put the person on the bed to put her in order, responding to her request in the carriage.
She naturally ought to be rewarded greatly, so that she would never be able to forget for all her life.
I guess that screen wall should somehow look like this, just much bigger (tried to find a similar one but couldn’t find any)
 Heart beat in unison fig.
two hearts beat as one
 Aijia is the first-person pronoun employed by the emperor’s mother out of respect for her deceased husband
 Golden mouth and jade words means Emperor’s words, words that carry great weight
 Grow one a face means bringing a higher level of honor, improve the reputation