Chapter 76 – Injured (1)
Lu Shiming went back to the capital early morning the next day, leaving his family in Zhuangzi.
On the other hand, Lu Xiangzhi who had followed Lu Lingzhi in hunting had yet to return.
Ye Zhen had been learning etiquette and calligraphy these past few days. Etiquette was relatively easy to learn as she had learned it since she was little!
But calligraphy proved to be a difficulty for her.
Ironically, she was not afraid of not being able to write well, but worried that her writing was too good to arouse Teacher Shan’s suspicion!
To avoid this morbid possibility, while practicing in front of her teacher, she put down the ink and faked a frustrated face.
“Teacher, calligraphy can’t be learned in a day or two anyway. Why don’t I practice equestrianism and archery instead?”
She was not worried about Teacher Shan recognizing her handwriting as the same as that of the original Ye Zhen. During the two years in the palace, she had practiced various copybooks1A copybook is a book used in education that contains examples of handwriting and blank space for learners to imitate. when she had nothing to do.
She could write any kind of word she wanted in different handwriting if she wished!
But every time her ink touched the parchment of paper, it was evident that her writing skills were accumulated through years of practice.
Lu Yaoyao didn’t pay much time to academics and writing too well was never in her character.
Thankfully, Teacher Shan agreed with her and felt that instead of spending time writing and reading, it was better to practice what she was good at.
“Let’s learn equestrian and shooting tomorrow!” she said, “Hhm… we will practice equestrianism in the morning and archery in the afternoon.”
Ye Zhen immediately bobbed her head up and down. She was well aware that doing this would not put her chance of entering the academy in jeopardy – she could still pass up by mastering the arts of music, archery, equestrianism, and etiquette.
In the evening, Dai Mei went into her mistress’ chambers and asked Ye Zhen if she wanted to bathe in the hot springs.
Ye Zhen hesitated for a moment. Since she had met Mo Rongzhan, she hadn’t gone to the hot springs for the past two days, thinking that he was still in the hunting ground.
“Go bathe for a while. I want to rest.” Ye Zhen ushered her handmaiden. Ever since her arrival at the hot springs, she hadn’t had even a drop of the lingquan from her palm.
Ah! She would surely look like a ghost if she did!
However, when she was drinking that day, she quietly dropped a drop into the hip flask. Lu Shiming, his wife, and Teacher Shan drank it.
The next day, they looked much better, but their improvement was not as visible as hers.
Maybe it was the dosage. As far as she could remember, she drank one drop all to herself while the three of them shared one drop equally.
Henceforth, she became afraid to use these drops at will but still insisted on dropping it into the water she used to wash her face.
At night, Ye Zhen came to the hot spring pool again. This time she didn’t let Dai Mei go out. Instead, she just let her wait nearby. She didn’t swim out of the wooden wall again and went out of the water when she finally felt tired.
The next day, she came to the garden to practice archery with a spirit one hundred times better than yesterday!
She wore new clothes made not long ago; a sleeved riding outfit specially made for the convenience of her riding.
The plush, peach-colored riding outfit made her look even more spirited. Her face was not smeared with herbal juice, and her hair was simply pulled up, leaving beautiful tresses hanging by the sides of her face.
Teacher Shan saw her plain and elegant dress, with a satisfied smile on her face. Although this Lu Yaoyao was not as brilliant as Ye Zhen, she had a talent in showing her most beautiful side.
“Teacher, when I take the archery test at the academy, how many steps away will the target be?” Ye Zhen asked, pretending not to know.
“Twenty steps, but you better start practicing thirty steps away from the target.”
Having heard that, she took 30 steps from the target, positioned her arrow and bow, tensing her wrists. She looked sharply at the target in front of her and pulled the bowstring in full blast, letting go of the arrow.
Straight to the heart!
Loud applause came from Teacher Shan who believed in her heart that the girl’s ability in equestrianism and archery was exceptional.
As long as she deliberately made things difficult for her, Ye Zhen entering the academy would be a piece of cake!
Despite this, there was still something that worried her. Mo Rongzhan.
She thought day and night if Mo Rongzhan remembered the late wang fei and would see her in Lu Yaoyao. But a consoling thought entered her mind– the emperor left for war right after his wedding, he might not remember Ye Zhen’s face at all.
She just wished that what she was thinking was true… Lu Yaoyao earning the attention of the emperor would not bring her any good.
More importantly, Lu Yaoyao was not surnamed Ye and had no deep hatred towards Mo Rongzhan.
“Teacher, Teacher?” Ye Zhen had shot all the arrows in her hands. Looking back, she saw Teacher Shan in a daze. She called her several times, but she was still unresponsive.
Teacher Shan returned to her awareness, looked at Ye Zhen, and smiled. “What’s the matter?”
“Teacher, why don’t you go back to the courtyard and have a rest first? My brother should be back in the afternoon. Then he will accompany me to ride outside.” Ye Zhen thought he was tired, thus sending her off to have respite.
Before Teacher Shan could refuse, Pei Shi came into view at a distance, waving her hand in panic. “Yaoyao!”