Chapter 30: Disgust
Located 30 miles west of Lijing, Jiuman mountain is a rare scenic spot in DaYu, with hundreds of miles of mountains, though not high nor rugged.
Jiuman mountain was famous for its hot springs since ancient times. It was said that in ancient times, Tao people visited this mountain and bathed in the hot spring, and thought this mountain must have been the place immortals resided. But in recent years, people came to Jiuman mountain for its plum forest.
The plum blossom forest was surrounded by a large lake. This lake was not as warm as the hot springs on the mountain, but it didn’t freeze in winter. Every first month of the year, plums bloomed and gave off a sweet smell; the lake was like a mirror, so this plum forest got the name of Xiangxuehai (Sea of Sweet Snow), the lake got the name of Mirror and Flower Lake.
Every year, when the Snow Festival was held, the stage for playing music was built on the side of the river. This year was no exception. One month ago, the Emperor ordered the Ministry of Works to build a stage there.
If the festival was just to pray for snow, most of the people in the capital wouldn’t have taken it seriously. However, this festival had an instrument competition for young ladies. Thus, this festival was as crowded as Shangyuan, because it was easy to see fireworks but plums blossomed only once a year. You could listen to music anywhere but it was rare to listen to the music played by noble ladies.
Therefore, on the 20th day of the first month, every road leading to Jiuman mountain was very crowded.
Durian heard about the Snow Festival two days ago and repeatedly mentioned it in front of Qin Jiu. When he got Qin Jiu’s promise to take them there, he was very happy these two days. Finally, the day came, the sun rose, but Qin Jiu had no intention to leave, sitting in the warm pavilion and embroidering.
Ever since the day Durian cursed Qin Jiu in the carriage, he suddenly felt that he didn’t hate her that much. Perhaps it was because she had spared him and Cherry. He didn’t know how Cherry felt, but she looked more taciturn than ever.
Durian was very worried, but didn’t dare to disturb her.
His heart was burning with anxiety, but still pretended to sit calmly on the carpet, and under the supervision of Yellow Hair, separated silk threads for Qin Jiu.
These colorful silk threads were very thin, silky and shiny, and they were very difficult to separate.
Durian remembered that when his mother embroidered before, the silk threads she bought were already sorted by color. He didn’t know where Qin Jiu got hers, but they were all mixed together.
Qin Jiu didn’t ask Cherry and Lychee, instead having him do this woman’s job. She also sent Yellow Hair to be the supervisor; Yellow Hair’s black bean eyes were so sharp that when he saw him pick up the wrong thread or his hands were slow, he would fly to him to peck at him.
Durian felt that if he continued doing this job, his hands would be as dexterous as a woman’s. He was afraid that Qin Jiu would teach him embroidery later.
“Master, are we still going to the Snow Festival?” Seeing the sun rise higher and higher, it would be too late if they didn’t leave now. Durian finally couldn’t help but urge her.
Qin Jiu raised her eyebrow and glanced at him, appearing not worried at all, “What are you worrying about?”
“I heard if we go late, we wouldn’t get front row seats.” Durian hesitated.
Qin Jiu smiled, “Someone will reserve the seats for us, and that someone will pick us up.”
Durian thought for a while, “Is it His Highness Kangyang?”
Since the day His Highness Kangyang treated Qin Jiu in Linglong Pavilion, this good story was spread all over the capital. After all, it was rare to spend money like water to order every dish just to gain a smile. Most importantly, the one who had been treated was the evil woman from the Heaven Sect, the very same woman who sneaked into the Princess Palace and had four young men serve her. Although there was no evidence that the four men had been raped by this evil woman, it was enough for people to make up their own stories.
Qin Jiu shook her head and said, “I don’t know if His Highness Kangyang will come or not, but I know for certain that ‘he’ will come to pick us up.”
“Who’s he?” Durian was guessing hard. Besides His Highness Kangyang, who else would be willing to pick her up?”
While Durian was pondering, Lychee from outside of the door reported loudly, “Master, His Highness Anling has come to visit.”
Qin Jiu smiled and put away the needle, “Durian, the man who has come to pick you up is here.”
Durian almost couldn’t believe his ears. His Highness Anling came to pick up Qin Jiu, did he hear it wrong?
Just then, he heard several hurried footsteps outside the door, followed by a strong force, the curtain was opened and a cold wind poured in.
Yan Su strode in, dressed in a peacock purple outfit, which looked dark and colorful with complicated patterns. He walked so fast that when he abruptly stopped, the wind blew his purple coat up. Even at some distance, the cold wind still quickly immersed Qin Jiu’s arm through her sleeves.
Qin Jiu was sitting on the brocade mat in a red dress with short sleeves, showing half of her pale arms. Her fingers were holding the needle and thread as she smiled, “Durian, close the door.” She looked at His Highness Anling with a lovely smile on her face, smiling like a peony: “What a surprise,His Highness Anling! Lychee, go serve us some tea.”
Flowery face, watery eyes, a lovely smile, and a soft tone; all men would feel a heartthrob except for Yan Su…
His eyes were as sharp as a sword, as cold as ice, with an innate dignity.
“Don’t bother.” Yan Su waved his hands, mercilessly refused, “Qin Jiu, don’t pretend. I came here today to take back the warm silk dress.”
Qin Jiu slowly put away the smile, looking at Yan Su, whose body was surging in anger, and slightly frowned.
They looked at each other for a moment, then Qin Jiu picked up the dress she was embroidering and said, “I was wondering how Your Highness would have time to come here. So it’s for that reason. Here’s your dress. I heard that you are going to send this gift to Miss Su so I ordered the sewing bureau to work on it day and night. But as you know, you’ve sent in the silk late and it took some time to weave this piece of cloth. Last night, the tailors worked all night to get this dress finished. There are a few embroidered flowers that weren’t finished, but their eyes were too strained so they couldn’t embroider anymore. I had no choice but to take it over. I had planned to go to the Snow Festival, but in order to finish this work for you, I am now late for the festival. I planned to send this to you when I finished, but since you’ve come here, just wait for a moment and I will finish it up quickly.”
After Yan Su heard Qin Jiu’s words, his cold face still didn’t change. Only when his eyes looked at the dress in Qin Jiu’s hands did his eyes turn softer.
He sent someone to the sewing bureau to pick up this dress yesterday, but director Ningshu said the dress was not ready yet, and that they would send it to him tomorrow morning. He sent people early in the morning but was told that the flowers on the dress hadn’t been embroidered, and Miss Qin took it home to finish the embroidery. He was very angry when he heard about this.
This piece of silk was not easy to get. When he handed it to the sewing bureau, he asked it to be done before the Snow Festival. He didn’t expect that they couldn’t finish the dress and that this evil girl took it. Did he hear it wrong, Qin Jiu would embroider on this dress? He was not worried about Qin Jiu’s skill, but he only felt that if he let this evil girl embroider on the dress, Miss Su wouldn’t wear it if she knew about that.
Qin Jiu knew that Yan Su was disgusted by her, so she sneered inside.
Yan Su, you have a long way to go.