Chapter 6: Jealousy

As an honest and good child, Gu Lian kept her eyes downcast before answering honestly, “This commoner has not seen that book before.”

Let the awkwardness begin…

An endearing hand-maiden nearby chuckled softly at her response, before quickly changing the mood, “As expected of the daughter of House Gu, I assume that it is probably quite difficult for Miss Gu to get ahold of magazines.”

Gu Lian stared at the hand-maiden gratefully, Such a godly teammate! She thought in relief, because explaining it herself would’ve made her look like she was complaining about her parents, but having it explained by someone else would keep her away from this trouble.

It was awfully easy for the princess to give her a hand, but in order for that to happen, she needed to somehow let the princess realize that her situation at home wasn’t too favorable.

Qiao MingYu’s eyes widened as she realized that not all young ladies are as free as her, some of the ladies of this age could not even have a will of their own…

As for the princess, who was the sole daughter of the emperor, there was almost nothing he would not do for her. The emperor even allowed the princess to create her own female army, let alone wanting to read mere magazine…

In regards to the princess’s female army, there had been many disputes over it from the ministers at court, but still, no one had the power of stopping the emperor from pampering his daughter… Furthermore, the generals were all in approval of her actions, as their daughters had been enlisted into the female army too, and it had made them proud.

Even though enlisting their daughters into the princess’s army would mean taking the side of the third prince, but so what? There was no other prince with the power of taking away the position of the heir from the third prince, hence he was already assumed to be next in line in the eyes of many, even the king.

Gu Lian sighed deeply at herself, cursing her luck for being the daughter of a minister instead of a general…

“There aren’t many books at your place, but I will allow you to read at mine.” The princess said suddenly after a long pause.

Isn’t this progression a little too fast? Gu Lian’s lips twitched subtly at the princess’s words.

Before meeting her in person, Gu Lian had never expected this princess to be such an easy person to speak to, and the fact that earning a favorable impression from her would end up so simple. She can’t be assumed to be an innocent person, because the wits shown in safeguarding the emperor’s everlasting love for her even though she had lost her mother showed that she was not such an innocent person, but still, she was not scheming too, as she lacked the common precaution for someone she just met.

Perhaps this was one of the situation where one just follow their instincts and feelings for another person… Just like how humans would act when they see someone to their liking and someone whom they dislike with just one look.

Gu Lian decided that this was too complicated for her to comprehend.

But the true reason behind the princess’s friendliness towards Gu Lian was due to the fact that Gu Lian looked similar to her late sister, hence she transferred all the affection she had for her little sister onto Gu Lian subconsciously.

The competition ended in a blink of an eye, and Gu Lian was led back to her family’s pavilion by SuDan, the princess’s hand-maiden, as it was now the flower appreciation session, which was an important session that will allow unmarried young misses and young masters to get to know each other at a closer range.

The princess had always been too lazy to attend an event like this, as she would rather just stay in her own pavilion and gobble up all the food and desserts while enjoying the music played by an experienced musician.

When SuDan returned, she jumped at the sight of the princess, who was laying lazily on the pavilion chair with less to zero elegance.

“Princess…” SuDan called out sadly, Where has it gone wrong…? Queen Yuan would never forgive me… SuDan was twenty-five this year, and she had initially served under the princess’s mother, Queen Yuan, but when the queen passed on, she had left her only daughter in SuDan’s hands.

SuDan sighed softly, as she knew the exact reasons on the princess’s ungraceful behavior, this was obviously due to the extreme pampering by the emperor and the third prince!

“What?” Qiao MingYu answered impatiently, entirely unlike the patience she had shown Gu Lian earlier.

SuDan sighed once again at her behavior, this was to be expected as the princess had always been like this. The previous person who had received the princess’s patience was her late little sister, knowing this fact made SuDan pondered about Gu Lian.

Everyone had thought that Qiao MingYu was the only princess of the country, but that was actually not the case. Queen Yuan had passed away when Qiao MingYu was merely a eight year-old child, and the newborn little princess, who had also lost her mother during her birth, was sent to live with Qiao MingYu. Both princesses had lived and grown up together. At that time, Qiao MingYu had not been as wild, for Queen Yuan had made sure that she’ll grow into an elegant and graceful princess.

She took it upon herself to take care of her little sister, who had been born with a weak body, just like how her mother had taken care of her before passing away. That was how she had grown into an independant and strong-willed lady, meanwhile the little princess grown up to be a graceful young lady.

Unfortunately, it all ended three years ago, when the little princess was merely seven years-old, she passed away due to her extremely weak body which had gotten worse over the years.

This was why Qiao MingYu began to hate her father’s women and the so-called rules of a lady, as her sister’s death was indirectly caused by those troublesome people and rules.

“MingXin used to be like that too,” Qiao MingYu sighed softly, “Such similarities…”

“Princess, I’m sure the little princess would live prosperously in her next life.” SuDan comforted her softly, her heart aching at the princess’s sadness.

Live prosperously in her next life? Being a princess is already a prosperous life, but she had still died… I’d rather choose for her to be born into a common family, and live her new life happily and safely.

“So lucky of big sister to be invited to accompany the princess.” Gu Qing forced out a smile as she gritted the back of her teeth in rage.

“Is second sister sick? Your face looked extremely pale, I hope it doesn’t scare the young masters away later.” Gu Lian glanced at her lazily, giggling softly before pointing at a young man nearby, which had coincidentally been approaching their pavilion, but leaving swiftly after greeting the sisters with a nod.

Gu Qing’s face froze instantly, she had recognized that young man who had left. He was the legitimate son of the Noble House Xu, and he was also the next heir in line to inherit the noble title, which would happen in two years.

He was one of the most sought out golden turtle son-in-law in the entire country, and it was a pity for Gu Qing to miss the chance to familiarize herself with him…
(TNote: Golden turtle son-in-law is something like a son-in-law who would bring a lot of prosperity and luck into the family, usually used when the man is of high authority / position and by marrying him, it would bring a lot of benefits to his wife’s family.)

Come to think of it, of course he wouldn’t even take a second glance at the daughters of House Gu, as House Gu could not compare to the Noble House Xu, furthermore, the daughters of House Gu were not beautiful to the point of attracting him.

Gu Qing glared angrily at her elder sister, It’s all her fault for causing me to leave an unfavorable impression on Young Master Xu!

Gu Lian ignored her second sister’s hostile glares before moving ahead quickly, as she prefer the peace rather than walking together with Gu Qing. As for meeting a good man, let them come and go as they please, she, on the other hand, was not at all interested.

Even though she had not paid much attention to the competitions today, she had stood by Qiao MingYu’s side when she announced the winners, hence noticing the people who had earned the first placing in the various competitions.

Since this party was created in the favor of the her sister-in-law, Qiao MingYu would surely announce the little sister of her sister-in-law as first placing. And unfortunately for House Gu, the two competitions Gu Qing entered had also been entered by the pre-confirmed winner. But honestly, even without the pre-confirmed winner, Gu Qing wouldn’t have won as she had not even reached top five.

Although Gu Yi, who had entered the zither competition, had managed to achieve a fourth place. She had been slightly disappointed, as she had expected at least a second or third place. But thankfully, every competitors who had entered the top five would receive a reward in front of the audience, hence Gu Yi was satisfied as her initial objective had been reached.

Gu Qing chided her sister rudely before moving to the side, planning to ignore Gu Yi and her earned reward. As a smart lady, Gu Yi knew that if it wasn’t for the fact that Gu Lian was here, she would’ve been taken care of and possibly killed for stealing the spotlight of House Gu, but thankfully for her, Gu Lian had been the spotlight for the entire feast, as she was the only person who had been invited into the princess’s pavilion.

And Gu Qing was raging in jealousy while looking for ways to remove Gu Lian entirely, hence leaving her out of the conspiracy for now.

Gu Lian giggled softly after avoiding Gu Wan’s attempt at tripping her, shaking her head in process. Gu Qing teaming up with this idiotic sister of mine was the worst idea ever, but of course, idiots would pair themselves with idiots…

Elder sister noticed it! Gu Wan’s face to pale instantly as she saw her elder sister grinning subtly at her, while her hands began to tremble uncontrollably in fear.

As a weakling, she was extremely sensitive to danger, just like how a rabbit can somehow sense it when predators are around. And even though Gu Wan was somewhat dumb, deep inside, she knew that the weak-looking elder sister of hers was actually the most dangerous of all of her sisters combined, especially that chilling smile that hanged from her face.

“Eh?” A random young man appeared from a nearby path, his brows raising up with interest at the current commotion.

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