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Chapter 75 Part 2: A flower, two servant girls

    "Mu Chun!" The sun was bright that morning. Yun Qian Meng woke up slowly, her eyes were still heavy with sleep. Perhaps because she was thinking so much about Chu Fei Yang's mysterious words last night so that now she had a headache. She struggled to sit up on the bed and called softly to Mu Chu who was waiting outside.

    "Xiaojie, you're awake!" A bare hand drew open the curtains, allowing a beam of sunlight to shine on the bed. Yun Qian Meng brought her hands to her face in an uncharacteristic fashion as her eyes adjusted to the light. Eventually, she was able to fully open them.

    "What time is it?" Yun Qian Meng asked as Mu Chun helped her off the bed.

    "It's just a little over the hour of rabbit. Xiangye sent Butler Zhao earlier to say that xiaojie does not have to go to Bai Shun Tang to pay respects. Said that xiaojie should just recover well because she just came from illness." Mu Chun replied as she expertly folded the sheets after which she hung the two wings of curtain neatly behind silver hooks.

    After tidying up the bed she turned to the pre-prepared copper basin and wrung a kerchief over it. Then she brought it over to Yun Qian Meng.

    "Ya!" Her eyes, upon seeing Yun Qian Meng's hair, tied up in a bun, made her gasp in shock. In a daze, she eyed the elegant knot of hair on the back of Yun Qian Meng's head suspiciously.

    "Is something the matter?" Yun Qian Meng could see her reflection in the copper basin, it was just an ordinary bun. It couldn't make anybody suspect that last night somebody had been in her room. Moreover, it was summer so the weather was very hot. It was not uncommon for girls to pull their hair up to sleep, what was Mu Chun fussing about?

    "Xiaojie, how did you get to have a flower in your hair?" Mu Cun replied when she heard Yun Qian Meng's question. After saying this she she pulled off, from the back Yun Qian Meng's head, a violet flower on a single stem. She put it on Yun Qian Meng's hand.

    Yun Qian Meng looked at the rare crocus flower, and waves of anger filled her thoughts. She inwardly cursed that man several times. She was already resigned to Chu Fei Yang sneaking into her room at midnight, but leaving behind a flower, was he deliberately trying to make people suspicious?

    Luckily, Mu Chun had discovered it early. If she had gone out with that on her hair, wouldn't she be met with criticism?

    Mu Chun carefully watched Yun Qian Meng's expression and saw a streak of annoyance flash across her eyes. She was very curious about the origin of the flower, but she more than anyone else trusted her xiaojie's good moral character. She spoke in a very curious manner "Xiaojie,nubi has never seen such a flower before!"

    "This is a crocus flower, I've seen it recorded before in some old documents. The are very few places in Xi Chu where this flower can grow." Yun Qian Meng delicately brought the flower below her nose to inhale its perfume. Only then did she realize that this flower had no fragrance and that it also felt weightless in her hand. It was no wonder that she did notice Chu Fei Yang's trick. She brow wrinkled in ire!

    Mu Chun saw that Yun Qian Meng was visibly displeased over the flower, quickly opened her mouth to make a suggestion, "Xiaojie, allow nubi to throw that flower away! That type of flower cannot be found anywhere in the fu!"

    Yun Qian Meng could heard the meaning behind her words and was about to nod her assent. But then she took another glance at the crocus flower, it was rare beauty in Xi Chu, it would be a waste to throw it away. So she merely said, "No need, it's just a flower. Leave it here. But not speak of this to anyone else!"

    When Mu Chun heard this, she carefully took the flower from Yun Qian Meng and placed it inside the jewelry box on the dressing table. Then she returned to helping Yun Qian Meng dress.

    While Yun Qian Meng was having her breakfast Yun Yi Yi sauntered into the room unceremoniously. A smile on her face.

    Yun Qian Meng knew that Yun Yi Yi had entered so self-assuredly without being invited based on instructions from the old madam. Had this been a normal visit from Yun Yi Yi, she wouldn't be so carefree since her grandmother was just put under house arrest!

    Yun Qian Meng gestured to Mu Chun and Mi mama for the dishes to be put away, then dabbed at the corners of her mouth. Only after she finished taking a sip of tea did she smile lightly and say "Si meimei, what brings you here today?"

    Yun Yi Yi smiled cheerfully and bowed in a casual greeting, only slightly bending her knee. Then she took a seat beside Yun Qian Meng and affectionately pulled at her arm, acting like spoiled child, "Da jiejie has been away from the xiangfu for so long, meimei missed you very much! Last night saw that jiejie was already tired so did not come to be a bother! Meimei looked forward to today so agitatedly and came her as soon as I could. Please jiejie do not take offense!"

    The corners of Yun Qian Meng's lips curled into a smile as she lifted a hand to gently arrange the bangs on Yun Yi Yi's forehead. She replied warmly "Why would I take offense? Meimei is always welcome here! It is just that, here at jiejie's place it is simple and crude, meimei might not be used to this!"

    Hearing this, Yun Yi Yi vigorously shook her head and replied "Being with jiejie is a blessing for meimei! Besides meimei thinks that jiejie's place is peaceful and elegant, it's more comfortable that those sumptuous mansions! If jiejie does not object, meimei wishes to come here everyday to chat with jiejie!"

    After saying this Yun Yi Yi looked up with a pair of big, innocent eyes and stared fixedly at Yun Qian Meng. Yun Qian Meng had been smiling throughout the speech. There was a warmth in her eyes that made people feel welcome to be there, "Why, nothing could be better! These days Ruo Xue meimei is very busy taking care of Su yiniang. The idle person in the fu is me. You and san meimei, both should naturally come often and get more to know each other! Otherwise, when other fu's xiaojie's come to visit they might think that there is animosity between the xiaojie of the xiangfu and that we don't pay attention to each other!

    Yun Qian Meng's words were layered with meaning. It hinted at Yun Yi Yi invitation of the xiaojie of other fu for dinner the other night and receiving them by herself. She had snubbed Yun Ruo Xue and Yun Yan, giving other people a reason to talk, driving a wedge between the xiangfu and other xiaojie!

    Yun Yi Yi wasn't that foolish after all and had heard the meaning behind Yun Qian Meng's words. But zumu had been put under "protection" by dabo. She is only a niece of dabo, if she did not yield now, dabo would be unlikely care about relations with relatives and send her and her two brothers back to Su city!

    So at Yun Qian Meng's warning, Yun Yi Yi nodded her head in acknowledgement of the rebuke, with an earnest expression she said "Yi Yi will definitely take da jiejie's words to heart!"

    Yun Qian Meng saw that today she was obedient, and understood that last night Yun Xuan Zhi's actions had given the old madam a wake up call. He must have made it cleart that while she was in the xiangfu, the master of the house was Yun Xuan Zhi. If the old madam did not care to maintain the relationship between mother and son, then he also would not attend to the relationship between his flesh and blood!

    Probably the old madam did not expect Yun Xuan Zhi to deal with her that way. But it seemed that her estrangement with Yun Xuan Zhi was now like an abyss that could not be filled. She must know that if she obstinately continued to discriminate in favor of her second son's family, Yun Xuan Zhi might treat her with more excessive measures. So, even though it was against her wishes, she decided to lay low for now. Instructing Yun Yi Yi to get close to Yun Xuan Zhi's daughter and to foster a deeper relationship with her.

    At this time Mu Chun brought over a tray of summer cakes. Yun Yi Yi's sharp eyes eyed the tray of green tea fobing. She took a piece and declared with a smile, "This is the green tea fobing jiejie made for Gu laotaijun! Zumu couldn't stop raving about it! She said that she had never tasted anything like this fobing. Up until now she still talks about it! It really made me very curious!"

    Yun Qian Meng did not waste her words to dignify the flattery with a reply. She only brought a cup of cool green tea towards herself and said with a light smile, "Eat slowly so you don't choke. If zumu really likes them that much one day I will bring some over to her myself."

    Yun Qian Meng said her words very clearly. If the old madam really liked the green tea fobing, then she would do as any filial granddaughter ought and make a batch for the old madam with her own hands. But if somebody merely borrowed the old madam's name to acquire the fobing for themselves, using this pretext to deceive her, Yun Qian Meng would not allow it!

    As expected, after Yun Qian Meng said these words, Yun Yi Yi stopped talking. Her eyes remained fixed on her hand holding the pastry as she gingerly took a small bite. A flash of annoyance flitted through the eyes under the hooded lids. The look of displeasure quickly disappeared from Yun Yi Yi's smiling eyes but it did not escape Yun Qian Meng.

    After at time, only the clinking of the tea cup lids could be heard, the bedroom was once again blanketed in silence. Yun Yi Yi lowered her head and silently ate the green tea fobing. Yun Qian Meng held her cup of tea in her usual relaxed manner.

    "Xiaojie, Liu yiniang has come to visit!" At this time, Mi mama entered the room and announced softly!

    Yun Qian Meng swept a glance at Yun Yi Yi briefly before speaking "Let her in!"

    Yun Yi Yi lowered her head, she must have felt Yun Qian Meng's gaze. She knew that there was reproach in Yun Qian Meng's look. As if she was criticizing her failure from announcing herself and wantonly intruding the xiangfu's di xiaojie's room!

    But since Yun Qian Meng never spoke about the matter outright, Yun Yi Yi acted as if she did not perceive her own lack of impropriety. She continued to eat her snack as if nothing was amiss.

    The tinkling sound of pearl curtain being swept aside was heard as Liu yiniang entered the room with a smile. When she saw that Yun Yi Yi was also present, she immediately bowed, "Nubi greets da xiaojie, greets si xiaojie!"

    "Yinniang what brings you here today?" Yun Qian Meng put down her cup of tea, and asked Liu yiniang with a cheerful smile.

    Liu Han Yu glanced at Yun Yi Yi then looked at Yun Qian Meng. She looked at the other with a light smile, as if she wasn't concealing any thoughts, and said the reason for her visit "Nubi saw that the number of da xiaojie's yatou is still below the quota. Coincidentally today Butler Zhao purchased some yatou to bring into the fu today. They will be brought to da xiaojie so da xiaojie can see if she would take a liking to some of them."

    Hearing this, Yun Yi Yi's narrowed eyes twinkled. In her heart she couldn't help but admire zumu's foresight. As expected, sticking close to Yun Qian Meng would bring lots of news!

    As a matter of fact, she had only been there for half a day and she had already discovered this good bit of news. To understand the conditions of the enemy's surroundings was a way of defeating the enemy. She decided to pay close attention to the type of people Liu Han Yu brought for Yun Qian Meng.

    Yun Qian Meng already noticed the expression on Yun Yi Yi's face, she smiled coldly in her heart. Yun Yi Yi thought that if she had a good understanding of the people around Yun Qian Meng, she would be able to find a way to deal with her? She was really just a naive yatou. The old madam should really devise a better strategy for such a yatou, or else Yun Yi Yi would never be able to find a good marriage in this lifetime!

    On the other side Liu Han Yu was anxiously awaiting Yun Qian Meng's reply. When she saw that she was somewhat hesitant to give an answer, she smiled and said "Nubi came today in a hurry and did not know that si xiaojie was visiting. Should nubi come back another day?"

    Yun Qian Meng shook her head indifferently, then followed with a reply "Now that you've come, how could I let Liu yiniang make another trip here for such a reason? Bring them to the outer room. I and si meimei will freshen up and will be with you soon."

    Hearing this, Liu Han Yu mad a small sound of assent then retreated to the outer room to prepare. Yun Qian Meng smilingly pulled Yun Yi YI's small hands, and took the handkerchief from the table, and carefully wiping off the oil and crumbs from her hands. Then she saw that the corners of her mouth had traces of sesame seeds from the green tea fobing, and said in a doting way, "Looking at you, you really are a greedy little cat, eating with your whole face!"

    Yun Yi Yi's face blushed red. She immediately used her own hands to recklessy rub off the crumbs off her face, causing Yun Qian Meng to laugh lightly. She proceeded to wipe off the sesame stuck to the corner of her mouth, then she pulled her along to leave the room.

    At this time, Liu Han Yu was leading eight 15 to 16 year old girls with very satisfactory looks. Intelligent looking yatou neatly arranged themselves in a row. When the saw Yun Qian Meng enter, they took Liu Han Yu's signal and made their salutations "Nubi greets da xiaojie, si xiaojie!"

    Yun Qian Meng and Yun Yi Yi sat down together. Then she said in a warm tone "Everybody, rise."

    The group rose, and saw the sitting Yun Qian Meng's gentleness, a dignity shone through her eyes unconsciously that made the people respect her!

    On the contrary, Yun Yi Yi who was seated below her with squirming to get into a good posture with a presumptuous appearance. But she was still young, mimicking the posture of adult, it could only make people mock her!

    Yun Qian Meng cast a look in front of her and saw that last night's Ying Xia and Yuan Dong was also among the eight. Their only difference from last night was that today they were wearing the uniform of the xiangfu's yatou. At the moment they were standing with bowed heads among the other girls, deliberately trying not to look out of the ordinary. But the two talented yatou's had an air of grace that distinguished themselves from the other yatou. It made Mu Chun and Mi mama pay attention to their eyes, which seemed to be completely pleased!

    But Yun Qian Meng's eyes did not stay on those two yatou long, instead she looked at another pair of yatou who appeared to be the prettiest of the group. It looked as if she was examining this other pair very closely.

    "Yinniang gave jiejie very clever looking yatou, they seem to be even better than the yatou I brought over from Su City!" Yun Qian Meng hadn't yet spoken when Yun Yi Yi had already opened her mouth. When she looked at the pair Yun Qian Meng was looking at she could not hide the look of envy in her face!

    Yun Qian Meng's lips curved into a small smile as she looked at her and she said warmly "If meimei doesn't find her servants handy, today, pick two for yourself, so meimei will not pass her days in discomfort. Jiejie does not need that many people here."

    When she heard these words leave Yun Qian Meng's lips, Yun Yi Yi's eyes were filled with pleasure. She immediately pointed at the to yatou Yun Qian Meng was appraising the longest and urgently said "Yi Yi feels that those two yatou are not bad, wonders if she can really bring them with her!"

    Liu yinninag, Mu Chun and Mi mama who were observing from the side saw that Yun Yi Yi had no sense of propriety. Da xiaojie had yet to pick her own yatou, how was it the time for a person like her, a guest lodged under somebody else's roof, to pick? Moreover she also selected the yatou with the most outstanding looks. Apparently she was snatching them away before da xiaojie could, the people of her social standing did not seem to have any sense of propriety. If she were sent out into the world wouldn't she be made into a laughingstock in front of the rich and prominent families!

    But Yun Qian Meng did not seem to care in the slightest, she only instructed Liu Han Yu "Liu yiniang must have heard si xiaojie? Now let her bring those two to si xiaojie's Qiu Bi room. Don't give si xiaojie cause to feel wronged!"

    Yun Yi Yi saw that Yun Qian Meng unexpectedly let her have her way and was allowing he to take the best yatou. She had a self-congratulating expression as if she had caught a disease. She looked at everybody with pompous eyes, as if flaunting her victory. From her seat, she said in a sweet and cute way, "Thank you very much to da jiejie!" Then she didn't say anymore and copied the posture of da xiaojie. This manners of this person with low social status made people feel disgusted!

    Yun Qian Meng remained indifferent, then she immediately gestured towards Ying Xia and Yuan Dong and gave instructions to Liu yiniang "I will only take these two! You two will enter Qi Luo Yuan and start as third rank yatou. If you do your tasks satisfactorily and carefully, I will never wrong you."

    Mi mama saw that Yun Qian Meng still decided to pick those two yatou in the end. However, luckily they were only going to serve as third rank yatou, still giving her time to observer. She breathed a sigh of relief and walked forward to lead the two girls out of the room. Liu yinninag saw that Yun Qian Meng was finished, and let her own yatou escort the remaining yatou out of the room. She smiled and said "It's still da xiaojie that has good eyes, those two yatou look very dependable!"

    Yun Yi YI heard Liu yiniang say this, and her heart felt a little uncomfortable. How come when she chose the most beautiful yatou she did not receive praise from Liu Han Yu, and when Yun Qian Meng made her choice she recieved from her mouth delicous cakes (something that is in high demand, like prase?)?

    After some time, Yun Yi Yi's heart flared up with indignation. She could not help but compare her choice with Yun Qian Meng's. She felt that the looks of the two yatou she picked were far superior, but in terms of reliability, Yun Qian Meng's two yatou were more reliable. She suddenly changed her mind and was about to open her mouth to speak but was interrupted by Yun Qian Meng's casual reply...

    "Liu yiniang's praise is misplaced! I am no expert at picking people. I only look at who is sincere and honest and chose them, that is all! Most important to me is a yatou's loyalty. I would never trade my people for anyone else. Who is to know what even intentions such people can have? Yinniang what made you say that?"

    Liu Han Yu naturally understood the meaning behind Yun Qian Meng's words. She turned to look at Yun Yi Yi who just then had a covetous expression because she thought others had better things than her, then understood Yun Yi Yi's thoughts.

    But she was stopped by Yun Qian Meng's words, even if Yun Yi Yi was thick skinned and impudent, she had to hold back the urge in her belly. She forced an smile and stood up and used the excuse of taking the yatou back with to make her departure.

    Yun Qian Meng let the mama and yatou on the doorway assist Yun Yi Yi, her smiling eyes held some coldness.

    Liu Han Yu saw that Yun Yi Yi had finally left and pulled out from her sleeves two slave contracts and handed it to Yun Qian Meng, saying with a smile "Nubi followed xiaojie's instructions and especially left behind those two, Ying Xia and Yuan Dong. Nubi personally kept their slave contracts, please look them over xiaojie!"

    Yu Qian Meng cooly picked up the slave contracts from Mu Chun's hands and perused them before promptly returning it to her for safekeeping. Then she said "I've troubled yiniang! Take the price of these two yatou out of my monthly salary. Their salaries every month will also always be taken out of Qi Luo Yuan."

    Liu yiniang was astonished when she heard this. She knew that Yun Qian Meng did not want to give her any difficulties. But how could she do this to a master of the house. She immediately replied in a terrified voice "Da xiaojie, you are an master of this fu, cannot let you use your private money on yatou! Nubi will tell the accounting office to create a new hiring contract for these to yatou. Please don't worry about this matter xiaojie!"

    Yin Qian Meng saw Liu Han Yu courteousness and did not object, she nodded her head and smiled, that smile was the end of the business. Liu Han Yu feared that Yun Qian Meng would change her mind and quickly left.

    "Xiaojie must want to be alone to watch the two yaotu!" There was finally nobody else around, so Mu Chun spoke.

    Yun Qian Meng shook her head and commanded "Just observe how they do in everyday situations, don't pay them too much mind!"

    After a few days, Ying Xia and Yuan Dong's performance was very good. Mi mama who had originally been against the two could not help but sing their praises in front of Yun Qian Meng!

    A few days later, after breakfast, Liu Han Yu excitedly rushed towards Qil Luo Yuan. She saw Yun Qian Meng enjoying the cool air in her courtyard. After quickly performing her greetings she said "Da xiaojie, someone from the palace has come!"

    Hearing this, Yun Qian Meng slowly rocked the circular fan, her brow perked up as she asked without enthusiasm, "Oh? Who is it?"

    "It's the palace's Rong Xian taifei personal eunuch. He's currently taking tea in the drawing room. Said that Rong Xian taifei is inviting da xiaojie into the palace for a call!" But Yun Qian Meng remained indifferent. Seeing this, Liu Han Yu's heart grew calmer.

    When she heard this bit of new at first she was astonished and thought that something had occurred that made the palace's taifei unexpectedly send people out. But seeing Yun Qian Meng's tranquil expression, Liu Han Yu recovered herself in the end, the empress dowager was da xiaojie's maternal aunt, da xiaojie entering the palace was probably not a bad thing, this stabilized her feelings!

    When Yun Qian Meng heard this she was also very surprised but she could hide it well. She had been to the palace numerous times to visit the Empress Dowager but Rong Xian taifei had never been present in those visits. The taifei was a total stranger to her. But now she beckoned her to go the palace at this time, what for?

    "Besides asking for tea, that gong gong hasn't said anything else?" She asked Liu Han Yu who had followed her into the bedroom. Mu Chun busily picked out appropriate clothes for her to change into.

    "He didn't say anything else. But nubi saw that he appeared very anxious. So I hastily came to inform da xiaojie!"

    "If that is the case, have Butler Zhao wait on that gong gong. After I get ready I will go see him!" Yun Qian Meng put down her fan and pointed at a light blue outfit embroidered with butterflies and nodded to Mu Chun. When Liu han Yu left she began to change into the dress.

    "Xiaojie, why don't we let Butler Zhao inform xiangye, so as to avoid..." The remaining words, Mu Chun couldn't dare say!

    Yun Qian Meng pulled out the jade hairpin on her head and replied indifferently, "Hou Gong is the living area of women. We don't need to inform father, water from afar cannot quench fire (urgent need, a slow remedy does not address the current emergency), when the time comes we should be adapt to the situation (be pragmatic)! If there is a chance, you should go to the Empress Dowager's palace to inform her of what has happened."

    "Yes!"

    In under a quarter of an hour, Yun Qian Meng entered the drawing room. When she saw the gong gong she unnecessarily performed salutations, respectfully saying "Yun fu Yun Qian Meng greets gong gong, gong gong was kept waiting for so long!"

    When the gong gong saw Yun Qian Meng a flash of admiration flitted across his eyes. The xiangfu's qian jin was different from the rumors circulating about her. Her natural and unrestrained manner made people feel captivated. Her face had a cool and prudent expression that made the palace's old man regard her with a new level of respect. He put down the tea cup in hands and stood up with a smile "It was no trouble, Yun xiaojie. Taifei niangniang really wants to meet with you. Please allow nucai to take xiaojie into the palace."

    After hearing this, Yun Qian Meng bowed slightly, then followed that gong gong to the palace's carriage.

    The bumpy road did not allow a person to fall asleep, add to that the hot weather, it added to the feeling of making people jittery. The considerate Mu Chun pulled out a water pouch she thought to bring with her at the last minute, and poured a cup of the iced pickled plum juice she had prepared earlier and carried it over to Yun Qian Meng to dispel some of the summer heat. Yun Qian Meng saw that she was already getting sticky from moving about so busily, she made her and Shu'r and Bing'r drink some glasses too. In spite of their suffering they enjoyed the drive and time flew past quickly.

    When the carriage entered the palace gates, the sound of fast horse hooves came. Yun Qian Meng opened the curtain a little bit, but only felt a stream of wind momentarily rush by. Those horse hooves came from behind her carriage and overtook them and continued on ahead of them. Yun Qian Meng only caught a glimpse of the rider's violet sleeves...

    Just like the last time she was here, half a day had passed when they finally arrived. Yun Qian Meng had just dismounted from the sedan. When the gong gong turned his head she quickly flashed a look at Shu'r and Bing'r then immediately brought Mu Chun with her to follow the gong gong up into the palace's exquisite Jiu Qu corridor!

    They hadn't gotten far yet they saw a girl wearing a light yellow dress!

    "Who is it?" When she saw people nearing, the maid beside the girl called out in a stern voice!

    The following is a note the author left at the end of the chapter:

    Darling fans, have you found the hint from this chapter?

    Haha, it's not hard to figure out!

    If you guess and leave a message, the first to guess correctly will receive XXXXXX, get a move on!
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