Chapter 27: Bloody Spell
Perhaps, no one in this world knew the Snow Festival better than Qin Jiu.
However, she forgot that the Snow Festival was coming soon.
The snow flowers that stretched for several miles, had it bloomed already?
Was the mirror lake, which wound its way around the forest, still frozen?
Only three years had passed, but everything seemed to be gone with wind, appearing like a lifetime ago.
Li Xiangrong saw Qin Jiu lost in her thoughts and thought that Qin Jiu might have never have heard of the Snow Festival. She lowered her voice and said mysteriously, “About this Snow Festival, it is a big event in Lijing and has its own story.”
Qin Jiu smiled, pretending to be surprised and asked, “Oh, there’s a story? Tell me about it.”
Li Xiangrong smiled and said, “In fact, it is not a great story. It was about six years ago when there had been no rain in the capital since fall. There was also no snow that winter. After the Shangyuan festival, the weather became drier and colder, neither warm nor humid. The land around the capital was all parched, without a trace of spring. There were orchid forests at the foot of Jiuman mountain. In previous years at this time, it would have already bloomed, but that year it had not. The Emperor was very concerned about his people, so at the beginning of that year, he had asked people to pray for snow, but nothing happened. On the 20th of the first month, a daughter of an officer played a song at the foot of Jiuman mountain called ‘Compassion’. Guess what?”
Qin Jiu knew better than anyone about what happened after that, but she still smiled and pretended to be surprised, “Was there heavy snow that day?”
“You got it right. The lady played the song five times, and snow fell from the sky, turning into big snowflakes. The snow lasted for a day and a night. What’s more, on the morning of the second day, all the orchids had bloomed for several miles, like a snow flower sea. This scent had attracted the nobles from the capital to see the snow. The Emperor was so happy after hearing this, he ordered the 20th of the first month to be the day to celebrate the Snow Festival. Every year on that day, the ladies from Lijing would gather in the orchid forest to play music. As time went by, this day became a competition in playing music. Praying for snow is not regarded as most important anymore.”
Qin Jiu touched the warm silk and said slowly, “It was just a coincidence. If mercy could be obtained from the gods by just playing music, then the world would be less unfair to the unjustly departed souls.”
“You are absolutely right!” Li Xiangrong said with a smile.
“So, the Snow Festival is truly a great event. I wonder who she is?” Qin Jiu pretended to be very interested and asked.
Li Xiangrong glanced and said with cautiousness, “You don’t need to know who she is, because she committed a felony and three years ago burned herself. We do not dare mention her name.”
Qin Jiu didn’t know that after three years, people in Lijing still did not dare to talk about her.
Escape punishment by burning herself!
These words were like a spell dripping with blood, deeply ingrained on the name ‘Bai Suxuan’.
Qin Jiu curdled her brows and slightly narrowed her eyes. Her eyelashes were drooping, and there was a trace of sadness in her cool eyes.
“I see. I have no chance to meet her then.” Qin Jiu said, seeing Li Xiangrong smiling humbly, it seemed that she would not continue to talk about this topic any more, so she asked, “You said that this was the warm silk His Highness Anling wanted to give Miss Su. Is she the one that Yan Yu lit fireworks for? I also heard that she will go on stage?”
“Yes, that’s Miss Su, Minister Su’s daughter Su Wanxiang.” Li Xiangrong said.
Qin Jiu didn’t know that the woman His Highness Anling Yan Su loved was also Su Wanxiang.
So, at the Lantern Festival last time, the woman he wanted to please with the bamboo lamp was Su Wanxiang, the one in the fur coat.
She was a beautiful woman.
“His Highness Anling likes Miss Su, so we must make this dress beautiful and unique. You must finish weaving this warm silk today and send it to the sewing division as soon as possible. The Snow Festival is in two days.” Li Xiangrong ordered a female weaver.
Hearing this, Qin Jiu glared briefly but then smiled, “So His Highness Anling hasn’t caught her heart yet?”
Li Xiangrong said, “It is said that Miss Su is very talented. She is especially good at playing instruments and embroidery. There is no woman better than her in Lijing. She had won the competition at this Snow Festival for the past two years. But, her standards are also very high. For the past two years, many people wanted to marry her, but she didn’t like anyone.”
Qin Jiu raised her eyebrows in surprise. If Su Wanxiang was so outstanding, how come she had never heard of her before?
After Qin Jiu left the weaving department, she went to Linglong pavilion.
She didn’t go directly to see Mu Yufei, instead finding a seat in the hall on the first floor and secretly ordered Loquat to get details about Su Wanxiang. After a while, Loquat quietly came back and said to her, “Mr. Mu said Su Wanxiang is the third daughter of Minister Su. She has a weak body and has lived in the temple in Cangwu mountain since she was a little girl. She came back from there five years ago, but seldom went out because of her weak health. After recovering from her illness two years ago, she started to become famous in Lijing.”
Temple in Cangwu mountain. Qin Jiu smiled sadly.
She remembered that Yan Su’s mother worshipped the Buddha. Every year, she would go to Baiyun temple in Cangwu mountain to pray.
So, Yan Su met Su Wanxiang in Baiyun temple when he went to visit his mother.
So, he and Su knew each other for a long time?
Maybe five years, maybe seven years, or maybe even longer?
No wonder why the two guards told her that he had never loved her.
From Qin Jiu’s lips slowly emerged a faint smile.
It was worthwhile to be looking forward to this year’s Snow Festival!