Chapter 15 – The Empress (2)
Well, it really looked that way but it was not Su Xin who sought her. He Yunshu delivered herself to Su Xin’s doorstep. Besides, Su Xin’s friendship with her was not a hypocritical show of affection, not anymore. Su Xin will definitely stand up when friends are in need of help. For Su Xin, He Yunshu was not a mere stepping stone, but rather her lucky charm.
“Since you love to jump into conclusions, let me clarify this. Before I knew Xue Yao, she had already set a goal to attend the banquet. When we met, she was demoted by that female brothel keeper just because she didn’t agree to Xue Yao’s plans.”
He Yunshu did not like Yu Hongliang’s words about Su Xin. She strongly believed that Su Xin was a good person despite someone in prostitution. So she defended Su Xin from Yu Hongliang who questioned her friend’s motives towards her.
Seeing Su Xin downcasted, He Yunshu felt disappointed just as much. She began to think of ways that she could help Su Xin.
At that exact moment, sudden realization hit her—the man in front of them was the beloved prince of the imperial palace! Therefore, he is the only person she knew who has the most influence to help Su Xin.
“Fifth Master, can you please help us?”
He Yunshu’s eyes turned somber as she looked straight at Yu Hongliang, daring him to decline. Yu Hongliang was powerless under the threatening look and accepted his fate silently.
He rubbed his chin and coughed twice, thinking.
“It is possible, but it still depends on her own efforts. I may be able to give her a recommendation, but.. “
“There is a condition, you’ll have to agree to my request.”
“What is your request?”
“I’ll tell you later.” Yu Hongliang answered, his eyes telling them that there were onlookers surrounding them.
Oops! It seemed like that they forgot that they were in a public place, not an appropriate venue to discuss such trivial matters. Having the cocky prince with them, they were attracting too much attention. With suppressed laughters, they left so as to not cause further ruckus.
On their way out of the marketplace, Su Xin served as a third wheel of the pair. Miss Mary Sue bantered flirtatiously with the prince who kept on stealing her attention every time she conversed with Su Xin.
This womanizer actually resembled a pitiful dog wagging its tail after its beloved owner.
When it was almost dark, the prince declared that it was time to go home. He Yunshu objected, still wanting to chat with Su Xin and catch up with things, but Yu Hongliang was swift to drag her away.
Yu Hongliang sent someone to pick up Su Xin by the next day.
“Young lady indeed was blessed by the heavens! Shu Juan did say that nothing was impossible with the Young Lady!” Hearing that Su Xin will be given the opportunity to attend the renowned Banquet of the Four Countries, Shu Juan was even more excited than her master. Her cheeks were bright red out of elation as she showered Su Xin with hugs and blissful cheers.
This is indeed a rare opportunity, the rarest there might had been. Who would have known that the Su Xin from a small town was now a potential attendee of the upcoming banquet? It felt like it was just yesterday when she was walking the streets of the capital, hopeless and utterly dejected.
Shu Juan thinks it is more mysterious than a meat pie falling from the sky[note]掉馅饼 (tiān shàng diào xiàn bǐng) – a meat pie falls from the sky (idiom); to have something fall into your lap[/note].
“It’s all thanks to Yunshu.” Su Xin did not forget Miss Mary Sue’s contribution. She was heaven-sent; The meat pie that fell from the sky.
The selection and training of the courtesans for the banquet was held privately in a small courtyard inside the imperial palace of the capital. On the day Su Xin entered, she was intimidated by the blatant scrutiny from the respected folks, the grandeur of traditional activities that could be seen at every corner and most of all, the unparalleled elegance of the place.
The history books of the modern world didn’t give justice to the paradise she had seen. The imperial palace was absolutely mesmerizing, built from highest architectural specifications. It took her everything to keep her mouth shut the
moment she saw the luxurious exterior of the palace. The interior didn’t disappoint as well. It was just as outstanding.
Women arrived in succession, each was desperately trying to garner the attention of the spectators. Some came with musical instruments, offering entertainment while others came with massive supporters whose cheers could be heard faintly from outside the thick towering walls of the palace.
Su Xin only came with Shu Juan. As contenders, the women were required to stay in the imperial palace to train at which Su Xin was glad to accept. She wouldn’t dream of passing off this privilege and she made sure that Shu Juan would have her fair share.
There were four women in the little yard, adding Su Xin as the fifth. The competition had heated up by a notch since only two out of the five competitors would be selected to attend, in willful obedience to what the banquet entailed. Upon seeing Su Xin, the women had actually the audacity to scowl at her, rather unabashedly. For them, Su Xin was another hindrance to their goal that must be eradicated in the briefest of time, nothing less.
Su Xin would be lying if she had said that this vulgar aggressiveness towards her didn’t irk her even at the least.
Well, she didn’t expect a welcoming party and hugs on her arrival but these women were too much! They conspired to ostracize Su Xin, refusing to be civilized in her presence. All of these impudence but still, they failed in squeezing a reaction from her. Su Xin would never give them that satisfaction. Hence, she returned their maltreatment with her coldest indifference.