The clamor from the women leaving had faded.
Fang Chengyu squinted his eyes to look at the courtyard through the glass.
Liu’er stood at the entrance of the courtyard, looking at the person sending the flowers from the greenhouse.
"Concubine Yuan specially had these sent out; the first flowers of spring," said an obsequious maid. "Miss, take a look and see what you like."
Liu’er selected and chose, seeming very satisfied, then waved her hand to send someone in.
"Don’t arrange them in Young Master’s room," she said. "Just the study."
The servants that were headed straight for Young Master’s room stopped, not understanding.
"The ones in Young Master’s room should be changed to new," said one gutsy maid.
"What do you understand. Young Master is ill and is taking medicine. His room already has a very strong scent," she said. "It would be even worse with an added flower scent."
The ‘strong scent’ referred to Fang Chengyu’s stench from his illness.
The servants were very embarrassed. One servant girl in the courtyard wore a face of indignation.
"Young Master, Young Master has no scent. We wait on him very well, and wash his clothes often," she couldn’t help but say.
Liu’er rolled her eyes at her.
"You waited on him well?" she glared. "Then why aren’t you hurrying to wait on him! What are you doing sticking around here."
The servant girl trembled from fear.
Fang Chengyu put down his book.
"Come," he raised his voice.
Not knowing what to do, LIu’er glared at the servant girl again.
"You’re so slow. He might’ve wet the bed," she said nastily.
The girl lowered head and rushed in.
Liu’er smiled at the other servants keeping quiet out of fear.
"Take these flowers and arrange them in Young Lady’s study," she said. "Follow me."
The servants walked in a single file, not a hair out of place, and not making a single noise.
Fang Chengyu took the proffered tea and smiled at the servant girl.
"Lingzhi, how old are you this year?" he asked.
The girl called Lingzhi smiled.
"Young Master, this servant is sixteen this year," she said.
"You’re already this old," said Fang Chengyu with surprise.
Lingzhi exposed her smile.
"Young Master, this servant has already served you for five years."
Five years. Fang Chengyu felt somewhat disappointed.
"This long," he muttered, leaning back on his wheelchair to look out the window.
For other people, five years wasn’t long, but for him, he didn’t have another five.
LIngzhi’s eyes reddened, and she hurried to hide her face.
"Lingzhi, comb my hair. My scalp itches," said Fang Chengyu.
Lingzhi hurried to agree, straightening up to grab the comb. She stood behind Fang Chengyu and parted his hair, slowly combing through it.
Fang Jinxiu leaped with her horse over a ditch, attracting cheers from all around.
In March, many boys and girls came by the river to enjoy the scenery. Because the girls mostly road carriages on the outskirts of the city, Fang Jinxiu on horseback was particularly eye catching.
Although the gazes around her were adoring and admiring, Fang Jinxiu was still plagued with a belly of fire.
"Horseriding should be done in the mountains. Why are we so close to the city," she muttered, turning to look on the opposite bank.
Through the layers of rippling willows, she saw Jun Zhenzhen dismount and stroll forward.
Fang Jinxiu rolled her eyes.
I want to leave here and go to some farther place for a walk.
She turned her horse around for the main road, when a group of young men exited the city gates.
"You really didn’t need to send me off," said Ning Yunzhao on horseback to his laughing companions. "We’ve already done this before."
His friends smiled.
"Don’t misunderstand. We are actually using sending you off as an excuse to go play," they said.
Ning Yunzhao laughed soundly.
"Today I’m going out early. In a while it will be more crowded," he said, looking back at the gates.
"If you take off your hood, Yunzhao, and I shout ‘Tenth Noble Son’ the city gates will definitely be so crowded, not even water could slip through," said one of the young men with a smile.
Ning Yunzhao laughed again, but he was somewhat lost in thought.
Today he would be leaving Yangcheng, and he wouldn’t return until after next year’s imperial exam.
He felt somewhat reluctant at leaving, like there were people he hadn’t said goodbye to yet.
Yunyan had been formally engaged under pretense of him leaving, he had seen all his relatives, and now his friends were by his side, prepared to send him off for ten li.
These lingering thoughts were truly unfathomable.
His gaze fell on the path in front of him, and he saw a girl riding a galloping horse on the main road, unable to hide from passers’-by gazes.
That girl seemed to be displeased by the criticism, and turned her head and glared.
Ning Yunzhao’s eyes sparkled.
"Xiaoding," he called.
The servant boy following on horseback immediately stepped forward.
His companions were unconcerned, laughing while getting out of the way.
Ning Yunzhao whispered something to Xiaoding and pointed in front of him.
Surprise showed on Xiaoding’s face, but he did not ask anything and urged his horse forward.
Ning Yunzhao turned around and waved a hand at his friends.
"Don’t send me off just yet. Let’s go to a tavern and have a farewell feast," he said.
Today he was the main character. No one would reject his intentions, so everyone went to a clean restaurant up ahead.
Not long after, Ning Yunzhao walked out of the restaurant and rode off to confused gazes.
Fang Jinxiu did not pull ahead that far. Once she had ridden for a distance, she stopped, finally slowing down and turning back.
It couldn’t be for that Jun Zhenzhen who had become part of the family.
Although now it seemed her attitude had changed greatly, who knew the future.
What was really hateful was why wasn’t Jun Zhenzhen always that loathsome.
Thought Fang Jinxiu melancholically. Out of the corner of her eyes, she saw a horse approaching from behind. She straightened up in her seat.
She recalled that this horse had been following her from a little while ago.
A boy, fourteen or fifteen dressed as a servant, looking very pretty and clever.
Fang Jinxiu did not turn her head, only furiously increased her pace. The person behind her immediately sped up.
As expected, he was following her. But this was much too clumsy of an attempt.
Fang Jinxiu tugged on the horse and raised the whip. She lowered her head and charged at the person.
The servant boy lifted up his hands as he saw the girl scarily charging at him with her whip raised.
"Miss Fang, don’t hit me, don’t hit me," he shouted. "I was looking for you."
She stayed her hand, but flicked the whip and it went past him.
The servant boy, frightened, hurried to urge the horse forward.
Behind her came the sound of horse hooves and a man’s voice.
"It is I who is looking for you."
Fang Jinxiu turned and saw a man astride a horse, exposing his face as he spoke.
No way. It was him too.
Fang Jinxiu’s grip on the reins slacked.
Ning Yunzhao brought his horse in front of her and greeted her.
"Miss Fang," he said, his eyes sparkling. "I have something I want to talk about."
No way, it was this line again.
Fang Jinxiu looked at his strange expression.
"I want to see her," Ning Yunzhao added.
Really, what intolerable bullying.
Fang Jinxiu was furious.