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Chapter 145 The Trouble
Qiu Yelan was right. Barely had the team led by Jiang Qizheng arrived at the bottom of Jinxiu Slope, several men caught up. They were all riding horses of the same color. The riders in their distinctive armors looked n.o.ble and outstanding. Obviously, they were not from an ordinary rich family.
They galloped all the way to Jiang Qizheng's carriage before reining.
Qiu Yelan was in the back of the troop. She was screened by horses and carts in the front and did not know how they negotiated. After a while, the riders returned to Princess Shou'an, but the troop of the Jiang Family did not move a bit.
After another moment, an old maid came to ask the ladies to get off and go to the enclosure in the front, “Princess Shou'an is also going to Jinxiu Slope. In order to prevent overcrowding, she proposed a three-round compet.i.tion with our princess. The winner will go to the slope and the loser will go somewhere else. The princess sent me to invite Your Grace for advice.”
Naturally, Qiu Yelan wouldn't refuse. She thought of something before getting off and said to Su He, “Take Whitey.”
Chunran reminded, “Your Grace, this is a wild place and there are so many people. What if Whitey runs away…”
“I don't think I've got anything to do with this kind of fight. I don't have any acquaintances except Princess Chunfu and Miss He. They may have to preside over the situation and have no time to be with me. It will be boring to stand there watching. So I can play with Whitey.” Qiu Yelan thought she was an intern girl who had only been in cla.s.s for two years and would never have a chance to be in a compet.i.tion. Other onlookers might have companions but she had nothing to say with Qiu Jinzhu. She could release Whitey so that she could chase it and leave the spot in case no one would care about her!
So she left Chunran and Xiaran to guard the carriage, put on the veil hat, took Su He and Chen Shui, joined Qiu Jinzhu that had been waiting by the cart and walked towards the enclosure together.
Arriving at the enclosure, they found thick blankets covered on the gra.s.s, which served as seats, surrounded with charcoal pots to protect the n.o.ble ladies from the chill.
Jiang Qizheng and He Shuijin were sitting opposite to each other at the main seats. Obviously, the circle was in their charge.
Several ladies were sitting or kneeling around, all of whom were gorgeous and dressed brightly. At the moment, all of them looked gloomy. It was not surprising. They came out in high spirits but were held up in the city. Anyone would feel unhappy in such a situation.
“Princess Ningyi and Princess Ningtai are here. Please sit down!” Seeing Qiu Yelan come in with Qiu Jinzhu, Jiang Qizheng smiled slightly, pointing to the seats not far from hers.
Qiu Yelan was about to nod when suddenly a young girl with a black hair bun wearing a yellow shirt and a green skirt turned back and hummed, “Is Princess Ningyi here? We are held up here all because of the trouble you caused. Now Shou'an has proposed a three-round compet.i.tion. What do you think we should do?”
“Cousin, it's unreasonable of you to say so.” Jiang Qizheng's gloomy face darkened when she heard that. “Shou'an has been fighting with us for a long time. But this is the first time Princess Ningyi has been invited to join us. It has nothing to do with her.”
Hearing what Jiang Qizheng said, Qiu Yelan remembered that the young girl with the black hair bun was Jiang Qiyun, whom she had met only once. She felt very unhappy. “What's wrong with the girls of the Jiang Family? Of the three I have met so far, only Princess Chunfu is kind to me probably because of her brother Jiang Yashuang. The other two are so mean to me. Is it because I have no parents to protect me?”
She kept that in mind and decided to instigate Jiang Yashuang when she went back!
But that was one thing. In the current situation, Jiang Qiyun apparently did not want to let her off even though she was repressed by Jiang Qizheng, and still said lukewarmly, “It is only the beginning of February. The snow on the northern slope has not yet melted. The date you set for this year's outing is so early. Gu E'nuo has always been afraid of cold, and she usually goes hiking at the end of February or even early March. She came out so early this year. Who believes she is not coming for Princess Ningyi?”
“I think that makes sense.” There was no need for Jiang Qizheng to remind this time. Qiu Yelan remembered the one who took over the topic was Jiang Qisheng. She was wearing a blue spring blouse today. Her hair bun was falling on one side of her head. Her bright eyes were full of disdain and mockery, “Everyone knows that Gu E'nuo's aunt broke her foot in Pingshan and is on her way back to Jing City day and night for medical treatment! Now Princess Ningyi is still in the mood to come out for an outing. Anyone who is a niece will catch up and demand a reason.”
Jiang Qiyun and Jiang Qisheng's hostility towards Qiu Yelan was so obvious that most of the girls in the enclosure who had planned to greet the newly arrived ladies no longer had the intention to a.s.sociate with them. Some were drinking tea while others were talking to the maids. A few of them cast a playful and contemptuous gaze towards Qiu Yelan.
A girl, who seemed to be Qiu Yelan's age, sneered and said, “That Lady Gu just broke her foot. She is not dead for the mourning. Why can't Princess Ningyi come out?”
“You!” Jiang Qiyun and Jiang Qisheng had successively attacked Qiu Yelan and felt satisfied when they saw everyone was affected. They were dumbfounded at the sudden question. The girl's tone and wording made them very disgraceful!
Qiu Yelan also felt very surprised. Before the girl spoke, even He Shuijin, the person she was the most familiar with in the enclosure, bowed her head. Obviously, she didn't want to get involved in it. Only Jiang Qizheng showed her intention to defend her. How could a girl whose name she didn't even know come forward?
She couldn't help but look carefully at her. She was beautiful and fair-skinned. Her eyebrows were like new moons and her lips red. She was wearing a tusk-colored narrow-sleeved blouse, with the patterns of twisted red peony blooms on the short sleeves, a dark purple fairy skirt and a crabapple red silk shawl. The dark eyes were especially smart, pretty and bright. The whole body was overflowing with the brilliance of the youth.
“She seems a little familiar…” Qiu Yelan muttered to herself, “But… I have no impression of her. Did I accidentally encounter her somewhere? But we are not friends. This is really strange. Who is she?”
Jiang Qiyun and Jiang Qisheng had been so aggressive. She had planned to fight back, but the girl suddenly jumped out to take over. Qiu Yelan stopped and sat down at her seat, wondering what was going to happen next.
The girl asked in defiance, “Am I wrong? What do you mean by looking at me like this? Want to bully others by taking advantage of the larger number?”
Jiang Qiyun said angrily, “What are you crazy about, Zhuang Man? We are talking about Qiu Yelan. Does it have anything to do with you? What do you mean?”
Zhuang Man? Qiu Yelan thought of it, and suddenly remembered the Director of Studies Zhuang Mo at the court that year. She later learned that the wife of the Great General of North, namely Jiang Yadan, Jiang Qizheng and Jiang Yashuang's mother, was also surnamed Zhuang. She was Zhuang Mo's sister.
Could this be Jiang Yashuang's Cousin? Was it entrusted by Jiang Yashuang?
“You are happy to talk about others and I am happy to stand up. It's none of your business!” This Zhuang Man was nothing but the daughter of an official of junior level four, whose family background was much inferior to that of the Jiang Family. But, somehow, she had the courage and refused to give in at all!
The girls of the Jiang Family, like the boys, had been used to domineering since childhood. How could they stand such provocation?
Jiang Qiyun dropped the tea bowl and was about to break out when Jiang Qisheng looked at Qiu Yelan and sneered, “Can't you see it? They can't wait to be a family! I really don't know how the family educates their children. She is so eager to marry into our family for some unknown reason.”
“Madam Shao of our family school also taught you before.” Qiu Yelan was not the one who would not fight back. She was mad at the cousins of the Jiang Family but found no chance as Jiang Qizheng and Zhuang Man had successively shielded her. Now she really couldn't bear it and interrupted directly. “Don't blame the people who teach you if you can't learn well. The cleverest housewife can't cook a meal without rice. The bad material only complains about the craftsmanship of the worker!”
Everyone in the enclosure was stupefied at her cold words. Qiu Jinzhu even covered her own mouth and looked at her in disbelief. Although Qiu Yelan was also distinguished here in terms of t.i.tle and was only second to Jiang Qizheng, everybody knew that her uncle and aunt didn't care for her and she even had hatred for her only uncle in the family.
How did she dare challenge the two who picked on her? Even a princess of the royal family would not dare to neglect them!
So everyone sighed after the daze, thinking that this girl without the guidance of her elders did not know how to behave. She couldn't stand being blamed by ladies of the Jiang Family and wanted to put on airs as a princess. But would they respect her?
Sure enough, Jiang Qiyun couldn't contain her anger. She stood up and shouted, “How dare you talk to us like this!”
“I forgot to say something just now.” Qiu Yelan turned a blind eye to her fury and continued coldly. “Although my family has declined in the past years, the backbone of the Qiu Family is still there. I can a.s.sure you here that I will never…”
“Jiang Qiyun!” Jiang Qizheng, who had planned to smooth things over, was so anxious that she got up, stood in front of Jiang Qiyun and glared at her, “You are not welcome here. You go out! Go out now!”
Even a fool could understand that if she did not interrupt Qiu Yelan, she would swear in public that she would completely break with the Jiang Family and never marry Jiang Yashuang! If Jiang Yashuang was like Jiang Yadan who only wanted your body but didn't care about your heart, Jiang Qizheng wouldn't act in such a hurry. But Jiang Yashuang loved Princess Ningyi sincerely. He, who had always been well-behaved, climbed over the wall to please his sweetheart once in a while for the past two years. Who in the family didn't know that?
If Qiu Yelan were forced by Jiang Qiyun and Jiang Qisheng to announce on the outing that she would have no contact with Jiang Yashuang in the future, Jiang Qizheng didn't know how to explain to his brother after returning!
Now Jiang Qizheng just wanted to quickly get rid of the two cousins who were making trouble and pacify Qiu Yelan!
Although there was a rift between Jiang Qiyun and Jiang Qizheng because of the disfigurement that year, the two still maintained a good relation in front of others. Jiang Qiyun had never thought that Jiang Qizheng would suddenly break with her. She was stunned for a while, “What did you call me?”
“Go out!” One was her brother and the other was her cousin who almost disfigured her. Jiang Qizheng certainly knew who was more important. She completely ignored all the ladies in the enclosure and shouted with a pale face. “Are you all deaf ?! Get her out of here!”
Jiang Qisheng was dumbfounded, “Cousin, why are you standing by an outsider? Even if she would be on good terms with you in the future…”
“You shut up, too!” Jiang Qizheng caught a glimpse of Qiu Yelan with the corners of her eyes and found that she frowned, as if to speak again. She shouted at once in the name of an appointed princess, “Believe it or not, if you two dared say one more word, I would not compete with Shou'an today but go directly to the palace and ask for Aunt's decree!”
“Sister Qiu, you are generous. Don't bother about such trifles with them…” The anxious Jiang Qizheng didn't know that, at the moment, Qiu Yelan, who was listening expressionlessly to He Shuijin's eager comfort, was thinking, “Very well. Jiang Yashuang indeed has a much higher status in the eyes of Jiang Qizheng than her two psychopathic cousins. Now that Jiang Qizheng has broken with the two, she will definitely speak for me when she goes back to tell the elders what will happen next.
Qiu Yelan didn't mind making things a little bigger, so she bid farewell!