GNU sponsored chapters (1/8) by CrankyReader, EmmaC-C and QiaoAn at ko-fi. Thank you for your support!
This is the first part of today’s sponsored chapters.
Towards Cheng Yujin, Cheng Yuanjing was somewhat helpless. He happened to see the dispute when her engagement was canceled. He didn’t understand her entanglement with Huo Changyuan and too lazy to care. But after getting out of the engagement, she treated his former fiance as a stranger and actively looking for the next spring(1) with such an open-mindedness, which was a good thing.
A few days ago, Cheng Yuanjing noticed that Cheng Yujin had a not-so-good intention towards the Xu family’s feminine young master. Cheng Yuanjing simply thought that her speed was quite fast. He heard that they were childhood playmates and also maternal cousins. Theoretically speaking, they were a good match. As for whether it was truly a good thing for Xu Zhixian, at this point was still unknown.
Cheng Yuanjing thought that this was the end. But who could have imagined that he would see Cheng Yujin was trying to target the future young talents he took the fancy of? And even in his own territory, under his eyes. As a man, seeing her behaved like this made Cheng Yuanjing felt a bit tangled.
Cheng Yujin stared at Cheng Yuanjing with bright eyes, waiting for him to introduce her to his guests. Cheng Yuanjing had no choice but to come forward: “This is my family’s niece, the eldest one.”
He then pointed to the two young men: “This is Lin Qingyuan, the zhuangyuan(2) of the nineteenth year of Jianwu. This one is Zhou Cheng, my fellow jinshi of the same year.”
Turned out to be a zhuangyuan! Cheng Yujin’s eyes lighted up, but she quickly hid her enthusiasm. She then turned to Lin Qingyuan and Zou Cheng, and made a curtsy: “It turned out to be Master Zhuangyuan and Zou Jinshi, this little girl has been disrespectful.”
Lin Qingyuan smiled politely, Cheng Yuanjing looked at them and said: “Okay, sit down now.”
Xu Zhixian was a close relative of the Cheng family. After the banquet in the front yard ended, he went directly into the inner residence with familiar movement. Lin Qingyuan and Zou Cheng were very familiar with Cheng Yuanjing, so it wasn’t strange for them to visit his courtyard. Huo Changyuan, on the other hand, wanted to marry Cheng Yumo, so he used some excuse to follow the group. Finally, there was Cheng Yujin. With her elder Cheng Yuanjing present, it wasn’t rude or improper for her to stay here. She quickly examined the situation and then let Du Ruo move an embroidered stool for her to sit next to Cheng Yuanjing.
From beginning to end, she did not give even a single glance at Huo Changyuan.
Huo Changyuan, for the sake of Xue family, was planning to build a good relationship with Cheng Yuanjing. Cheng Yuanjing himself was now still lacking manpower, so having another military man to recruit wouldn’t be a bad thing. Both men tacitly did not mention their Xue family relationship.
Earlier, when there were still many people present, Huo Changyuan didn’t feel anything. But now, with just a few remaining, he obviously felt a little uncomfortable. Of course, the real source of discomfort should be Cheng Yujin, who was sitting next to Cheng Yuanjing.
At first, Huo Changyuan thought Cheng Yujin was coming for him. Huo Changyuan knew a bit about Cheng Yujin. Other people might truly accidentally enter the place where their elder was entertaining guests. But Cheng Yujin definitely wouldn’t make such a mistake. He subconsciously felt that Cheng Yujin was regretting and took this opportunity to approach him.
His former fiancee was still entangled with him after the engagement was canceled; Huo Changyuan should be troubled, but secretly, he felt a little joy.
However, up until they were seated, Cheng Yujin didn’t spare Huo Changyuan even one glance. Huo Changyuan thought that she was good at perseverance, and as usual, had an excellent method. However, seeing Cheng Yujin and Cheng Yuanjing talking, he gradually felt an indescribable discomfort. Didn’t she come for him? Why did she stick with Cheng Yuanjing instead? That man had just back recently, when did Cheng Yujin become so familiar with Cheng Yuanjing?
Lin Qingyuan was very curious about the girl who could freely enter and leave Cheng Yuanjing’s study. He asked: “What did eldest miss Cheng do in the study?”
Cheng Yujin answered with a smile: “Ninth uncle is teaching me Chinese calligraphy. Today, there is a word that I don’t know how to write, so I come to ask ninth uncle. I didn’t expect him to have guests. I’m sorry to disturb you. When coming here, I brought some pastries. If you don’t dislike, please have some.”
Cheng Yujin smiled gently. It was the right choice to prepare those pastries. Now she should use them fully.
Du Ruo brought out several plates of pastries prepared by Cheng Yujin. There were not many, only three per plate, but they were exquisite in appearance and excellent in taste. Lin Qingyuan tasted one and immediately gave out praise, “It’s delicious. Which shop makes it? I never tasted this.”
“Lin Zhuangyuan is wrong. I made it myself.”
Lin Qingyuan was even more surprised: “Eldest miss Cheng is the daughter of a marquis manor. You are born high and respected, but can also cook?”
Cheng Yujin showed some embarrassed look: “Dare not. My grandmother’s teeth are no longer good, and she likes to eat soft pastries. So I slowly learn to make some.”
Lin Qingyuan was surprised and praised Cheng Yujin even more. Xu Zhixian was listening from the side and suddenly added eagerly: “That’s not all. Elder sister Jin is not only filial and good at cooking, but also proficient in zither, chess, calligraphy and painting, and has good needlework. My eldest sister saw the embroidery made by elder sister Jin, and was full of praise.”
Xu Zhixian’s eldest sister was the Shu Consort in the imperial palace. Cheng Yujin secretly praised Xu Zhixian for his support, but she still maintained a humble expression: “I merely did that to pass some time, biao elder brother is too exaggerating. People sitting here are the pillars of the court, biao elder brother don’t need to give me a false face, letting Master Zhuangyuan and the others see my joke.”
Cheng Yujin and Xu Zhixian laughed very naturally, and everyone could see how good their relationship was. Huo Changyuan sat on the side. His mood was complicated. He quickly bowed his head to drink tea, concealing the expression on his face. Huo Changyuan secretly took a glimpse at Xu Zhixian, his pastry was lotus cake, and his tea was flower tea. At the banquet, Xu Zhixian said that he likes light pastries and sweet tea, and was teased by everyone. Unexpectedly, here he saw someone who perfectly catered to Xu Zhixian’s preferences.
Cheng Yujin’s servant girl served the tea and pastries, it was self-evident who prepared this.
(1) Spring is a euphemism for romance.
(2) Zhuangyuan: top scorer in the palace examination (highest rank of the Imperial examination system).
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