Chapter 35: Su Wanxiang
Editor: Snowy, Divine
Dozens of dresses were easily given away. Although, in order to finish the work on time, all the peonies on the dresses were dyed by the weaving bureau. Qin Jiu had chosen a specific fabric which was easy to dye, because with properly matched patterns, colors, and the right fabric, the dresses would look luxurious, and elegance exuded through the beautiful dresses. The girls from ordinary families had no opportunity to wear these nice dresses, and naturally accepted them with joy.
It was a sunny day, but the air was icy cold. When the girls got these new dresses, they put them on and joined the crowd.
The platform for the show was built a month ago. A wooden shelter surrounding the tower was built at the same time as the platform. This wooden shelter was built for the royal family, officers and their families to watch the show. The roof and walls were covered with felt rugs to block the cold from outside.
Although Qin Jiu was the head of the woven bureau, her position didn’t give her the qualification to sit in the shelter. Almost everywhere outside the shelter was full of people.
The music competition with girls from the royal family at the annual Snow Festival was wonderful. Last year, Su Wanxiang won the first prize, so everyone wanted to see who could compete with Su Wanxiang this year. That was why there were so many people who came to see the show.
Looking at the bustling crowd, Durian asked Qin Jiu, “Great Lord Jiu, didn’t you say that someone would reserve seats for us? Where is he?”
Qin Jiu stroked the feathers of Yellow Hair in her arms, and looked at the man not far behind Durian. She smiled and said, “He’s already come to meet us.”
Durian looked back and a servant dressed in blue quickly came to them. Durian knew him, he was the boy who splashed his face with spicy lettuce that day in Linglong Pavilion–His Highness Kangyang’s servant.
He walked to Qin Jiu, without the rude attitude from before, bowed and said in respectfully: “Miss Qin, my master prepared food and wine for you in the shelter, and he sent me to ask Miss Qin Jiu to go there.”
Qin Jiu smiled and said, “Thank His Higness Kangyang very much for his kindness.”
A group of people followed the servant and went through the stream of people, arriving in the shelter of His Highness Kangyang.
The royal family knew how to enjoy themselves, and even a temporary show-watching shelter was decorated with beautiful flowers and heated stoves. The heat inside the shelter contrasted greatly from the coldness outside.
The floor was covered with scarlet carpet, and in the middle of the floor was a large rosewood table, surrounded by cushions sown with gold and silver threads. His Highness Kangyang Yan Min was sitting in the middle, Li Yunxiao from the Heaven Sect sitting next to him, and two maids were standing behind them adding water for their tea.
Yan Min saw Qin Jiu come in, and his face suddenly burst with a smile; he seemed to be very happy, “Please come in, Miss Qin Jiu. I was going to pick you up at your house, but then I heard you came with my brother, so I didn’t bother you. Just now I was worried that you wouldn’t come and was about to invite you myself.”
Qin Jiu could understand the meaning behind Yan Min’s words. He was afraid that she and His Highness Anling were getting too close. It seems that he felt Concubine Hui’s support was not enough. She took off her cloak with red fox hair and handed it to Lychee. Then, she slowly walked to the table and sat down.
After talking for a while, a servant came in and said, “Your Highness, the Snow Festival is about to begin.”
His Highness Kangyang nodded, “Lift the curtain.”
The servant lifted the curtain of the shelter.
This wood shelter had been built with only three sides, and the other side was hung with a felt rug and revealed everything outside when it was lifted.
The high platform was right in front, the mayor of Lijing, Menghuai, standing on it, reading aloud a letter from the Emperor, praying and then burning the letter. Then, the priests performed a “bamboo prayer for snow” on the stage.
After the priests got off the stage, the crowd of people began to get excited. Qin Jiu knew that today’s most important part–the music competition was about to begin.
It was the first time Durian saw this, so his eyes were filled with interest. Yellow Hair was also staring with his black bean eyes and stood on Durian’s shoulder. They both raised their heads and looked at the high platform. Cherry and Lychee were also looking full of interest at the high platform; only Loquat was standing to the side of Qin Jiu, all of his attention fixated on Qin Jiu.
Su Wanxiang was the fifth one…
When the presenter announced that Su Wanxiang would be the next to appear, the crowd started to get excited, and some even shouted, “Miss Su, Miss Su… “
People in Dali liked weaving embroidery and good music, and it was especially the case for the people in Lijing.
Surely Su Wanxiang played good music, which was why people were so cheerful.
“They say Miss Su was the winner last year, Your Highness? I wonder how good she is?” Qin Jiu looked at Yan Min with a smile and asked in a clear voice.
Yan Min’s eyes were full of admiration, “She played ‘Picking Peonies Happily’. The name sounds happy, but it is actually a sad piece, clear as water, cold as ice springs, and she infatuated everyone.”
Qin Jiu smiled and said, “Your Highness likes Miss Su so much. I’ve heard she is very beautiful, why don’t you marry her?”
Yan Min became serious and said in a low voice, “Miss Qin, you are joking. Prime Minister Su doesn’t like the Heaven Sect. Even though Miss Su is beautiful, I will not admire her. Besides, she is not as good as you.”
When Qin Jiu heard those words, she laughed loudly. Her laugh was loud and sunny, but it didn’t lose charm.
She could sense the bitterness in his words.
Obviously, most men liked Su Wanxiang.
The night of the Shangyuan Festival, her mind was concentrated on dealing with Yan Su, and she didn’t pay much attention to Su Wanxiang. Today, she wanted to take a good look at her.
The noise gradually died down and then turned to silence.
In the silence, an ethereal sound was made, as if it came from the sky, hovering in people’s ears.
Although the sound was low, it was clean and pure, just like the trickling in mountains, making people happy and awake. The tone became higher, and the sound gradually became greater, like a stream into a river, its surging waves barely heard.
With the surging sound of music, a slender figure stepped onto the platform.