Early in the morning on the 2nd day, Gu Lian wore a casual narrow-sleeved dress as she boards the carriage with Lan Xiang.
She had always brought Mei Xiang along when she heads out. However, today, Mei Xiang had to stay at home to attend to some duty. At the same time, Lan Xiang who had learned some medical skills was the right choice too. Although Lan Xiang was awkward in speech, she was firm and meticulous. When it comes to handling duties, she was patient and was able to respond to emergencies promptly.
Yin Shi was not aware that Gu Lian was going to visit the princess until she mentioned it when she gave her greetings in the morning. By then, the
Princess’s carriage was already waiting outside. No matter how upset Yin Shi was, she could do nothing but watched as Gu Lian left.
“This wretched girl does not know how to appreciate one’s kindness!” Yin Shi’s anger welled up in her chest: “She did not even take the initiative to bring her sister along. Was it easy to get close with the princess? She kept all the good things to herself. I have raised an ungrateful child who has no filial piety!”
Yu Lan cast her head down, feeling a sense of disapproval in her heart.
The other party already have a bad relationship with her step-sisters and step-mother to the point of them holding a grudge. It would be weird for her to share her fortunes. Even if she was really stupid enough to bring Gu Qing along, Yin Shi might suspect that she had some evil-intention.
Yin Shi had led a very comfortable life for too long and thought that she was too important.
Yu Lan was worried. The lady had lived a noble, good life and had ridden her smart and considerate personality. Now, she had to deal with that concubine in the backyard too, hence, she does not what were the chances of winning.
Regardless of how frustrated her step-mother was, Gu Lian sat down in the carriage happily as she converses with Su Dan.
Unlike other palace servants, Su Dan does not have to serve others all the time. This was all thanks to the princess. Qiao MingYu was a keen-sighted common-sense girl who loves to pull others with her to discuss about books which she felt was pretty good. However, her female soldiers do not like girly stuff nor reading books, so she had to pull her palace maids to read together. Therefore, Su Dan had read many classics and was very knowledgeable.
With permission, Su Dan would often stay in the Study to read all kinds of books, unlike the princess who prefers novels only. Even if she was not proficient in all knowledge, she knows bits and pieces, hence, she can easily converse about everything.
After bout of conversation, Gu Lian realized that Su Dan preferred geography especially travel books. For Su Dan who had been confined in the palace since young, she longed to see the outside world. And yet, with the princess, she could still view the scenery inside and outside of the capital city. Sadly, it was not possible to view any sceneries further out.
As a Miao(1), Gu Lian had left WuDu Sect central plains at a young age, she not only have see WuDu WuXin ridge and rocky mountain but also the famous sceneries around Jiu Zhou(2), beyond the great wall, eastern china sea and western regions. As she continues to talk about these topics, Su Dan was quickly absorbed in it.
(1)苗人, Miao Ren: Miao – one of the ethnic minorities in china
(2)九州, Jiu Zhou – same writing as the island, Kyushu in Japan. However, over here it refers to the 9 provinces in china
“This servant has not seen all these places before.” Su Dan sighed as the carriage slow to a stop.
Gu Lian smiled calmly: “They are all from the books in mother’s dowry. They are neither famous nor written well. Those sceneries are my imagination based on the description, so it may not be accurate.”
The original owner was the mother’s side of the family and was merchants back in the days. They bought a lot of books to fill up for the sake of appearance. However, no one in the family likes to read. Afterwards, the family business collapsed and they had sold those with values except for the invaluable travel books, so they were kept away.
In fact, after a few generations, most of the travel books have been thrown away. Even if it was not a valuable thing, none of the outsiders knows about it so it was very convenient for Gu Lian to lie about it. It was not just travel books among them, there were all kinds of books such as novels, and mostly unknown ones.
Su Dan got down from the carriage with the help of a eunuch and turned around to help Gu Lian: “Even so, Miss Gu is amazing.”
Before Gu Lian could reply, Qiao MingYu who had been waiting impatiently came out from the side door with a whip in her hands, followed by a eunuch leading a horse out.
“Let’s go! I’m going to take you to see the polo.” Qiao MingYu raised her chin slightly. No choice, Gu Lian had to sit in the carriage with the help of the servant.
This time, Su Dan did not follow her back in, but another strong and masculine woman got onto the carriage.
“Miss Gu, I am Qiu He, the daughter of a government official and the commander of Her Highness’s right guard.” she bowed with fist palm salute, completely professional like those men.
Qiao MingYu has 2 guards beside her. 1 left male guard was assigned by the emperor, the other right guard who is a female picked by herself from the women’s guard. Additionally, she has 10 spies split into 2 groups, A and B. The males were in A group while the females in B group and they were all hiding in the dark.
The left guard guarded Qiao Mingyu on the periphery while the right guard stayed close to the carriage and Qiao MingYu.
There were numerous people who wanted to kidnapped Qiao MingYu to threatened the third prince. So Qiao MingYu had to bring a lot of people along, as the upcoming polo competition was situated right outside the capital city. The stronger left chief commander guarded Qiao MingYu while the slightly lesser right commander, Qiu He sat beside the coachman to guard.
Gu Lian greeted Qiu He in a friendly manner, after which, she lifted the curtain to have a look. Only about half of the left and right guards followed them, while the remaining half were guarding the princess’s estate. But even so, there were still a lot of people. Gu Lian glanced around, and notice that there were about 40 to 50 people in total.
With so many people, it was enough to protect them.
Lan Xiang took a peek and was shocked by the situation outside. She had never seen so many guards on a trip. The most she had seen was when Yin Shi went out with 10 servants and almost 5 of them do not converse well and there was not a single guard around.
“Miss….” Lan Xiang furrowed her eyebrows slightly and quietly pulled Gu Lian’s sleeve.
“Don’t worry.” Gu Lian gave an assuring smile.
With a carefree attitude, Qiu He picked up the tea and drank it. Seeing this action was not rude, it could be said that this official’s family teaching was pretty good. Hence, Gu Lian has a good feeling about her. This kind of women were close to the chivalrous women she had met in her previous life.
“Miss Gu is quite courageous.” Qiu He praised.
Although it sounds like provocative mockery, she did not have any ill-intent at all.
Gu Lian poured a cup of tea for herself calmly and took a sip: “I’m just a newborn calf who is not afraid of tigers.”
Qiu He changed the subject nonchalantly: “Her Royal Highness plays polo very well, Miss Gu, please watch and enjoy it later.”
“Of Course.” Gu Lian put down the teacup and gently wipe the corner of her lips with a handkerchief. “However, I don’t understand these things, hopefully, Commander Qiu can take care of me.”
Qiu He suddenly felt her stomach churned a little.
She was not good at dealing with such a delicate and elegant lady. Looking at Gu Lian, She could not help but think of the dignified and generous sister at home. Despite being born to the same mother, she was active and tomboy which made her father proud. While her sister was gentle and demure, just like a daughter of a civil servant.
Every time she went back home, her sister does not talk much, do things at a slow pace and even eats in bite-size pieces which was a torture to her. Qiu He’s head hurt suddenly and then she saw Gu Liu took out handkerchief slowly to used it to picked up a piece of pastry and ate it in small bites.
God! This is killing me!
Qiu He took a deep breath and turned her head away.
Gu Lian smiles with her eyes, good, she did it on purpose.
When this person talked to her, her attitude was fine. But when she glanced at Lan Xiang, it carried a little scornful look in it. It was inevitable as the other woman was still of noble status. And today was Lan Xiang’s first time seeing the world, hence, she behaved like a hillbilly. Actually, Qiu He does not have any malice, it was just that she subconsciously flashed a sense of subtlety. Naturally, Gu Lian could not pick a bone with her, but it was still fine to get even for Lan Xiang.
Gu Lian could see that Qiu He may have been at the barracks for a long time, so she was upright and not hard to figure out. If not, Gu Lian might not be able to take ‘revenge’ on the spot.
“We are reaching soon.” Qiu He reminded awkwardly.
“Thank you.” Gu Lian nodded with a smile.
Qiu He glanced at Gu Lian’s handkerchief that was folded aside, and her vein in temple twitched. She could not understand why she had to use it to eat a piece of pastry and not just hold it with her hands? If she had to, she could simply wipe her hands after eating.
The ladies in civil servant were really hard to comprehend.