“Eldest cousin, how much longer do we have to wait?”
It was very noisy outside the carriage. Xie Lanyin couldn’t sit still in the carriage anymore. After annoying her mother to agree, she opened the curtain a peek and asked her cousin in a quiet voice while her eye’s observed the situation in front of the gate. The road was lined with armed soldiers. It went on for so far, no one knew where the end was. Behind the soldier, on the side of the road, was the excited common people, packed shoulder to shoulder. They were all here to see King Qin.
Jiang Jizhou walked a few steps closer, and guessed: “Around half an hour.”
Xie Lanyin was disappointed. She was just about to close the curtains when she heard a beautiful bird sounds from the carriage beside theirs. Xie Lanyin looked over curiously, but only saw that the curtains were closed, so she couldn’t see anything. She turned her gaze and then saw a familiar solemn face in the driver’s seat. It was the tourists she had met near the Jade Well.
They met again, what a coincidence.
Xie Lanyin couldn’t to help but give him another glance.
Lu Jun continued sitting in front of the carriage motionlessly as if he was asleep.
Since King Qin hadn’t arrived yet. Xie Lanyin, who disliked the sunlight, didn’t need her mother’s reminder. She directly closed the curtains and sat upright.
On a small shelf was a plate of dried longans. Xie Lanyin began to peel and eat them one after another. It was too sweet, so she poured herself a cup of tea.
“Would mother like a cup?” Before drinking it herself, she asked her mother with a smile.
Madam Jiang shook her head and then signalled out the window with her chin.
Xie Lanyin stuck her head out the window to ask her sister and cousins if they wanted a cup. Her lovable voice made the man in the carriage beside hers look up from his book. Even the surrounding common people looked over curiously.
Xie Lanqiao noticed and immediately made Xie Lanyin sit back down.
It wasn’t convenient for her to show herself outside. Xie Lanyin looked towards her sister and pointed to a teacup. After receiving her rejection, she finally began to drink.
It was a long, uninteresting wait before the outside suddenly became quiet. Jiang Jizhou came to remind his cousin that the king was arriving. Xie Lanyin immediately became spirited. She quickly put on her veil, and after many warnings from her mother, she got off the carriage. Before she even stood properly, someone also got out from the adjacent carriage. Xie Lanyin couldn’t restrain her curiosity and looked up. With one glance, she was starstruck.
It was a man wearing an ink black robe tied at his waist by an embroidered belt. He looked to be around 20 and had an aura that made others lower their head the moment he stepped out of the carriage. His long and slim eyes looked coldly forwards. His handsome face didn’t show any contempt, but his every action exuded a kind of inherent nobility. It was as if he didn’t come to see the activity but was instead here to check on his underlings.
The man not only had a superior appearance, his noble bearing wasn’t something that could be hidden. His appearance was extremely outstanding, while his aura was cold and noble. He was like a crane in a flock of chicken. The moment he showed up, it wasn’t only Xie Lanyin who was dazed, even her cousins were all flabbergasted
Sensing their gaze, Xiao Yuan raised a brow and looked over.
Jiang Jizhou cupped his fist and praised: “Young master is so elegant!”
Xiao Yuan wasn’t modest, nor was pleased. He simply nodded, returning the greeting, and then politely distanced himself and faced forward. The whole time, he hadn’t said a single word.
Jiang Jizhou looked at his back and then exchanged a glance with his 2nd brother. This man was absolutely not ordinary.
Jiang Hangzhou nodded, and then saw that his little cousin was still staring foolishly. It seemed she had been stunned by the site of that young master. He softly said: “Let’s go. We’ll go look from the front.”
Xie Lanyin finally snapped out of it. Fortunately she was wearing a veil, otherwise her cousins would have seen her loose expression.
“That person sure is unmannered. Eldest cousin praised him, yet he didn’t even know to act humble.”
No matter how good he looked, if he couldn’t act properly, it was still no good. She thought of how the man had coldly ignored her eldest cousin and she began to instinctively dislike him.
Jiang Jizhou hadn’t taken his eccentric behavior to heart. He and his brothers protected their two cousins in between them.
King Qin had yet to show up but the front of the procession had already arrived at the gate. The Shangxi province’s soldiers and Marquis Pingxi, Shen Jie, had already lead all the officials out to welcome them.
Xie Lanyin looked over all those big and small officials, then leaned towards Jiang Jizhou to whisper: “Eldest Cousin, who is that?”
Last time she came to Shangxi, she was only 9 years old. 4 years had passed, so the people she had met back then had long been forgotten.
Jiang Jizhou followed the direction of her finger and immediately said: “That’s Marquis Pingxi’s son, Shen Yingshi.”
The Jiang family was the richest in Shangxi, so they often met with important officials. For example, he had given the Shen family an invitation to his wedding. It was only an etiquette though. Whether they came or not didn’t really matter.
Xie Lanyin understood. She once again sized up this Shen Yingshi. No wonder he could stand in the 2nd row even though he was so young, turns out he was born into nobility. He was wearing an embroidered robe and looked brave and lively, it’s just that…
Xie Lanyin couldn’t help looking to the side. She didn’t dare to be too obvious though, she only glanced at the man in the ink black robe.
There was always a sky above the sky. She now understood what those words meant. In the past, she use to think her father, Xie Hui, was the most attractive. In her generation, she would say that out of her 3 cousins, Jiang Huaizhou was the most handsome. However, with just that quick meeting, she’s now seen a man with the regality of a dragon and the beauty of a phoenix. The most handsome man in Xie Lanyin’s heart had quickly changed.
It’s a pity that his character sucks…
“His highness King Qin has arrived. Everyone kneel!”
A loud announcement arrived from the distance. Xie Lanyin was shaken out of her thoughts and quickly kneeled with her sister.
Xiao Yuan’s reaction was slower by a step, but he also quickly lifted his robe and kneeled. His sight was locked onto Marquis Pingxi, Shen Jie.
Shen Jia was in his 40s and had a dignified aura. He was watching King Qin’s carriage, which was slowly approaching, and the corners of his mouth curled into a smile. He lead Shangxi’s hundred officials to kneel. Afterall, it was a king. In front of all these commoners, he had to give King Qin some face. However, King Qin had best act tactfully in the future, otherwise, he wouldn’t mind letting him have a taste of what it was like to be a tiger in a trap.
King Qin had arrived. Of course, all the commoners were kneeling with their heads lowered, but they all wanted to take a look at their new king, so not many of them obediently kept their sights lowered.
Xie Lanyin parted the veil on her head in order to see more clearly.
In front of the carriage were 8 royal guards, each of them sitting proudly on large horses. It was an awe-inspiring site. A flag hung off the luxurious carriage, but no one could see inside it. Behind the carriage were King Qin’s 3000 officials and guards. Whether it was cavalry or just foot soldiers, their movements were all orderly, giving others an austere feeling.
Xie Lanyin looked over it all twice, and became even more curious about King Qin. Her line of sight once again arrived at the carriage window.
The carriage stopped, and everyone held their breath. The curtains rustled, but it was only an eunuch who came out. He dusted off his robe, and then said towards Marquis Pingxi: “His highness’s horses are weary, and his noble self is sick, so he won’t be coming out to greet everyone. Everyone please make way. It’s not good to delay his highness from his rest.”
His attitude was proud.
The hundred officials all looked at eachother with dismay. Was this king really sick or just not giving them any face?
Shen Jie’s expression remained unchanged as he walked forwards a few steps and said in a clear voice: “Since his highness is unwell, then we’ll come welcome his highness another day!”
He spoke and then took the lead to step to the side. The other officials looked up to him as a leader, so they all followed after him. The front of the city gate became empty in an instant.
The eunuch nodded satisfied, then said in a drawn out voice: “Let’s go, to the King’s mansion…”
Following his tapered voice, the carriage began to move once again. Shangxi’s climate was dry, so a gust of wind caused the dust to rise.
The dust blew and got under Xie Lanyin’s veil. She frowned and held her breath, waiting for the procession to enter town so she could stop kneeling. She was the first to get up and walk away, saying in a small voice: “I kneeled for so long and don’t even get to see his shadow. I even breathed all that dust for nothing. As expected of a king, he sure is arrogant.”
Jiang Jizhou smiled and followed her. When they arrived back at their carriage, he held out a hand to help her in.
Xie Lanyin bowed her head and her veil was blown by the wind, revealing half her dainty face. Her red lips pouted making them look plump and attractive.
Behind them, Ge Jin saw this and immediately glanced at his master.
Xiao Yuan had already took back his glance and had an indifferent expression.
Ge Jin’s mouth twitched. As long as someone was beautiful and had a nice voice, they would be popular. His master didn’t even get mad after being insulted.
The sun was now high in the sky. Xie Lanyin and the others finally entered the city.
“If I knew I wouldn’t get to see his face, I wouldn’t have come.” Xie Lanyin lightly wiggled in her seat as she complained quietly to her mother.
She was already this big, and besides the Marquis Pingxi she had seen from a distance earlier, the highest level official she had met was her grandfather Xie Ding, a third ranked border general. The next was Hangzhou prefecture’s magistrate. She had also been to the capital before, but at that time, she was still small so they were even more strict with her. She had to obediently stay with her elders and never got the chance to go out and see any of the noise and excitement. When she came to Xi’an, she still thought she could see King Qin, who would have thought that she ended up waiting for nothing?
Her daughter pouted and had a fit. Madam Jiang watched and laughed. She patted her daughter’s hand and said: “Nobles are just like us. They have a nose and two eyes. It’s only their status that’s a bit higher. There’s not much to see. Lanyin, don’t be mad, we’re almost at your uncle’s house. Don’t let your aunt and uncle misunderstand.”
Xie Lanyin thought of her uncle and aunt that she hadn’t met in a long time and her face brightened. Her unhappiness was gone in an instant. She moved to the window and looked at the busy streets.
“Mother, I remember that elm tree. Uncle’s house is just down that alley, right?”
They left the bustling street, and the surroundings gradually became more peaceful. Most of Xi’an’s rich merchants were concentrated on the west. The alley with the elm tree was known to the common people as treasure lane. Xie Lanyin had lived at her uncle’s house for months when she was just a few years old, yet she had never seen a treasure there. She remembered that her 3 cousins had climbed the tree to pick fruits for her.
Thinking of her childhood, Xie Lanyin poked her head out the window. She laughed and winked at her cousins on their horses. “Third cousin, do you still remember that year when you picked elm fruit for me to eat? When you jumped down, you accidently twisted your ankle and were punished by uncle.”
Jiang Huaizhou glared at her, “You can still laugh about that? How many times have I been punished because of you? This time, you can just go home after the wedding. Don’t stay too long. Besides, we have a lot of dust around here, you won’t like it.”
He was joking with her, but Xie Lanyin acted rashly and threw a dried longan at him. “If I want to stay a few days then I will. You don’t need to care!”
Jiang Huaizhou had good eyes. He caught the dried longan with one hand and squeezed out the juicy inside into his mouth. Then he threw the shell towards his cousin, feeling proud of himself.
Xie Lanyin quickly put down the curtain, her watery peach-blossom eyes smiled.
Her cousins on the other side of the family weren’t very close. She preferred these three Jiang brothers.
King Qin: What’s wrong with my character?
Xie Lanyin: You were too cold to my eldest cousin!
King Qin: I was afraid he’d misunderstand if I was too enthusiastic.
Eldest Cousin: … I have a fiance …