The Noble Woman’s Guide On How to Tease One’s Husband – Chapter 23
Translated by: Oinkoink
Chapter 23 – Visit
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The palace examination was just around the corner. Ye Huaixin however was having trouble with sending an invitation to seek a mentor. After pondering about it, he decided to discuss it with Ye Huaiyang.
Since the founding of Chu Country, there had been an unwritten rule in the imperial examination system. All elected scholars and their hall must choose among the three excellencies as their mentor unless one was the student of the Emperor. Otherwise, even if their names were listed on the honorary board, they would be regarded as unorthodox who would be scorned by the crowd of ministers.
This rule which was preceded during the rise of the prominent families, had then gradually evolved into another means of forming factions for personal interests when the poor families emerged and objected to such practices. The new generation scholars would need to be recommended by mentors in order to gain firm footholds in the royal court while these mentors also needed fresh blood to strengthen their powers.
However, there were also some clear streams*, such as the outstanding person from the poor families faction – the Head of the Secretariat*, Yue Ting who had only one student under his mentorship. Only those who were completely virtue of moral integrity and knowledgeable would enter his sight. Mentors and students however would only discuss principles and knowledge, never involving any political affairs. He was not the only one like this, but in the royal court, he could be regarded as a minority.
[T/N: Clear Streams (清流 -Qīngliú) – refers to the name of a political faction within the ruling class. It is also a metaphor for political clarity]
[T/N: Head of Secretariat (中书令 – Zhōng shū lìng) – an official who helped the emperor handle government affairs at the royal court]
For descendants of a noble family like Ye Huaixin, sending an invitation to seek a mentor was just a formality, after all he had such a huge Ye family backing him and also an elder brother in the royal court who was the chief commander of Guanzhong. Even if he didn’t conform to the rules, who dares to diss him? It was merely his desire to find a mentor to gain more knowledge, therefore his hesitation till date.
“Elder Sister, who do you think I should send this invitation to? Looking at the royal court, the influential officials were factions of the Wang and Xie. Although Yue Ting is my heart’s inclination, he never accepts descendants of the noble families as students. This is really a headache….”
Ye Huaiyang looked up from the document she was reading. The corners of her lips slightly curled up, “How would you know it will be impossible if you don’t try?”
“Will it be useful to try?” Ye Huaixin was still a little skeptical.
“Yue Ting is a great scholar of this age. You should try as long as there is a glimmer of hope. It doesn’t matter even if you are rejected. Ye family can still take care of such small matters, moreover….. “ Ye Huaiyang paused when a strong enticement raised in her eyes, “I don’t believe that you can’t compare to Pei Yuanshu.”
Pei Yuanshu was precisely the only student of Yue Ting.
Ye Huaixin laughed too. He wasn’t lacked courage and intelligence. He was just a little worried that should this matter spread among the royal court, it might bring adverse effects to the Ye family. Ye Huaiyang’s encouragement was finally a reassurance to him.
“Good. Then I will send the invitation to Yue’s residence tomorrow!”
After saying that, he went back to his room to prepare. When he was outside the door, he happened to bump into Yue’ya who merely said Xie Yun had come to visit and was waiting at the wayside pavilion at this moment. Hearing that, Ye Huaiyang raised her eyebrows. She didn’t even change and met her in her casual clothes.
When she arrived at the wayside pavilion, a touch of light-green like the willows on the embankment greeted her eyes amongst the clusters of flowers, whose every movement was proper.
“Elder Sister Yun, I have kept you waiting.”
Ye Huaiyang greetly softly, without excessive politeness or any hypocritical greetings. Xie Yun seemed to be very comfortable with this kind of interaction. She naturally stood up to return the courtesy, “It’s me who came uninvited. Thank you for having me, Younger Sister.”
“What are you saying, do have a seat, Elder Sister.”
They took their seats successively on both sides of the round table which was an arm-length apart. Ye Huaiyang personally took charge of making tea. Plumes of white vapor drifted up like clusters of clouds. She raised her eyes to take a quick glance at Xie Yun just as the vapor was about to disperse. Her brows resembled the tender sprout in the teacup, towering at the edge one moment before stretched into the lush green water, too fast to be noticeable.
Xie Yun had been quiet since the time she last asked about matters of raising a pet. This unexpected visit to her personal residence must probably be for other purposes. She was disinclined to expose her, so she patiently waited to see what exactly Xie Yun wanted to do.
“I have been told that this year’s examination questions have stumped many talented scholars. I’m truly happy for Huaixin in passing the examination successfully.”
“He is just lucky.” Ye Huaiyang smiled indifferently. Though she had simply rebuffed it, the pridefulness in her eyes couldn’t be concealed.
Xie Yun smiled weakly and said, “Luck is also part of the strengths. Moreover, while my Elder Brother assisted Lord Feng in sorting out the papers, he saw Huaixin’s essay on the current affairs. His point of view was distinctive with a clear structure and well received by the high-ranking officials. So, how could it be eclipsed by luck?”
There were a large number of people participating in the imperial examination this year. The staff in the Ministry of Civil Personnel were utterly busy. Her elder brother, Xie Miao was the student under the Minister of Civil Personnel and also one of his assistants.
“He usually loafs around. I’m sure Elder Sister has somewhat heard about it. Since he has already passed, I’ve nothing much to say about it. If he is fortunate to hold a position in the royal court in future, not mentioning about supporting the Emperor in governing the country, it will be good enough as long as it can obliterate his presumptuous temperament.”
Hearing these words, Yue’ya who was by the side almost laughed out loud.
She had been hearing Wangye indignantly reprimanded Young Miss for being presumptuous all day. Eighth Young Master could be regarded as significantly pale by comparison and now she could shamelessly say these sort of words which was really laughable.
“I think it will not be a problem if there is a mentor who will guide with utmost devotion. Wondering whose mentorship has Huaixin sent his invitation to?”
Ye Huaiyang sighed faintly, seemingly having a little headache, “He has not thought about it yet. Elder Brother is not home and I am in uncertainty.”
Upon seeing this, Xie Yun suggested, “In my superficial view, the senior official of Imperial Censor, Gu Yong is a good candidate. Even though he is a little hot tempered, he is an uncorrupted and upright official. If Huaixin is to place himself under his mentorship, he will definitely learn a lot.”
Ye Huaiyang was truly dumbfounded once these words were out.
She deliberately said those kinds of words just to see what Xie Yun would say. If she was aiding the high-ranking official Xie in branching out then her purpose would be self-evident. Instead she actually asked her to choose Gu Yong. This person was from a prominent family and very well-learned. He would completely ignore any family status or disputes of any factions when he worked. In these twenty years of managing the Imperial Censor, he had unknowingly impeached numerous officials who committed crimes. He yielded neither to persuasion nor coercion and could be considered a dauntless person. If Ye Huaixin wasn’t wholeheartedly yearned towards Yue Ting, he could be regarded as one of the hard to come-by choice of the prominent family’s faction.
Judging by this, Xie Yun’s suggestion seemed rather sincere.
“Elder Sister’s words are truly right. I will talk to Huaixin about it and let him think over it carefully.”
Xie Yun nodded. She took out a piece of paper from her sleeve and placed it on the table then pushed it slowly towards Ye Huaiyang. “My father used to be close friends with Lord Gu. If Huaixin is interested, there is no harm in using this as the invitation. Lord Gu will naturally understand when he received it. I hope Younger Sister will not decline. Just take it as a trifle token of mine.”
Ye Huaiyang stared at her for a long while before she suddenly smiled and immediately asked Yue’ya to put it away in a brocade box then expressed her thanks to Xie Yun, “I will thank Elder Sister Xie then.”
Xie Yun smiled thinly, her eyes raised slightly bursting out soft radiance as gentle and elegant as a neighbour’s elder sister.
After that, they chatted for a long time and when their family’s pets were mentioned, Xie Yun’s interest came thus Ye Huaiyang invited her to see Lan-lan in the backyard. She proceeded with pleasure but who would have thought, she would be startled by what she saw before her.
Lan-lan was right there creating disturbance. To be precise, it was creating disturbance to King Lan mansion.
It had fallen in love with this sport since it climbed the wall last time. Even though King Lan mansion’s wall had been heightened, it had however grown a lot in the past few months, hence there was no difficulty for it to get up. It was now clinging on the top of the wall with its butt facing Ye Huaiyang and Xie Yun as they watched helplessly at that swaying butt that almost turned over into the courtyard of King Lan mansion again.
“Lan-lan, come down!”
Ye Huaiyang reprimanded softly. It immediately turned its head but its body didn’t draw back. Instead, it raised its paw and shook at them. When Xie Yun looked carefully, she took in a breath of cold air.
Its hand was clutching a snake!
Seeing that Xie Yun was seemingly frightened, Ye Huaiyang laughed lightly and said, “Don’t be afraid, Elder Sister. Lan-lan will not toss the snake over.”
Xie Yun anxiously responded, “Even so, what if that snake opened its mouth and bit as it had been swung dizzy and confused by Lan-lan?”
“Don’t worry. Even though Lan-lan appears cumbersome, it can move agilely and that snake can’t bite it.” Ye Huaiyang was full of certainty, but when she saw Xie Yun still weighed down with anxieties, she explained softly, “In the first place, this courtyard was bought in a haste and without inspection, its lair was built in the backyard. Who would have thought, it would dig out a snake hole every few days then grab the snake and swung it around, playing with extreme pleasure. Come to speak of it, it was rather strange as those snakes were actually afraid of it and gradually fled. It is rare for it to capture one today. At this moment, I am afraid it will not stop no matter how I admonish it.”
“But it has tossed it over to King Lan mansion….”
Ye Huaiyang was taken aback, following Xie Yun’s finger, the snake was circling a few rounds in the air before falling into King Lan mansion which then followed by a scream from the other side. The instigator was entirely unaware as it patted the tiles and bricks on the eaves, seemingly rather excited.
“Lan-lan, come down now!”
Ye Huaiyang scowled, as if she was truly angry. Lan-lan looked back at her and began to slide down the wall sluggishly, seemingly a little unwilling. Looking at the scene, Xie Yun laughed till her shoulders quivered and the little fear she felt just now completely disappeared.
“Younger Sister, how did you tame your pet? It’s really….”
Before she could finish her sentence, someone on the other side of the wall suddenly screamed out, “Audacious! Who lives next door? Actually dare indulging a pet to commit crime in broad daylight, do you know what place this is!”
Ye Huaiyang had yet to speak when another hearty male voice resounded, “Why, Lan-lan toss something over again?”
Listening to this voice, Xie Yun suddenly stiffened and a crack appeared on her face that was usually calm as water. There were many emotions revealed that others were not able to understand.
Ye Huaiyang was not in the mood to understand at first and was about to leave after she carried Lan-lan. Who knew that when she turned around, she noticed Xie Yun was standing there without her soul. A flint of light flashed through her mind instantly which was too fast for her to grasp it.
“Miss Ye, your family panda is getting more and more mischievous. Climbing over here everyday. Might as well let King Lan mansion raise it.”
Both of them regained their senses, one was occupied with concealing her gaffe while the other languidly responded next door, “Physician Lu is so concerned about Lan-lan, is it possible you have changed your profession to be a veterinarian?”
“What’s wrong with a veterinarian? At least animals can distinguish who is good to them that humans may not necessarily act the same. Just barely a few days after treating the arrow wound and in a blink of an eye, someone already did not recognize people.”
Ye Huaiyang could hear the mockery from Lu Heng, but she was not angry and only snorted lightly, “As Physician Lu is so eloquent, it is such a waste to be a doctor, you should be a storyteller instead.” Saying that, she placed Lan-lan back into its lair then pulled Xie Yun and walked back, “Let’s go Elder Sister. Letting you watch a jest.”
As they walked along the long corridor, there was no more sound from King Lan mansion and no servants were around to disturb them. Xie Yun and Ye Huaiyang were engaging in small talks. Though the expression looked normal, Ye Huaiyang could still discern her slight preoccupation.
Before leaving, Xie Yun feigned by casually asking when Ye Huaiyang was seeing her off, “Is Young Sister very familiar with the people of King Lan mansion?”
Ye Huaiyang smiled and replied nonchalantly, “How could that be? How can I make friends with Wangye? I have only some contacts with that Physician Lu.”
The hand that was holding the handlebar tightened for an instant, yet Xie Yun didn’t say anything more. She just nodded to Ye Huaiyang then took her leave. Ye Huaiyan watched till the carriage was a distant distance before the corners of her lips perked up with a touch of interest.
This play seemed to be getting more and more interesting…..