“To fight? What do you mean?” Chen Wang dragged the person back: “You are a little girl.
How will you fight a few big men?”

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JiuZhu lunged forward a few steps and yanked her collar out of Chen Wang’s hand: “Don’t pull me!”

 

Stooping down to pick up a large wooden stick from the ground, JiuZhu raised the hem of her skirt and rushed out aggressively.

 

The soft little white rabbit suddenly turned into a rabbit with steel teeth.

 

Chen Wang watched her leave with the imposing manner of a magnificent army with thousands of men and horses1, and leaned against the tree lazily.

 

“Your Highness.” An attendant who was hidden in the dark appeared beside him: “This… What should be done now?”

 

“What else can be done?” Chen Wang noticed that the little girl was only a few steps away from the gossiping men, “Go help her fight ah.
Everyone has brains and eyes.
Don’t you know how to use them?”

 

When JiuZhu reached the three men, they were still haranguing over the topic.

 

“In terms of talent and virtue, His Highness Qi Wang is admirable.” The man in green jacket said loudly, “I dare not say this elsewhere but Chen Wang is ignorant, incompetent and temperamental…”

 

“Ow!” He didn’t get to finish his sentence before a piercing pain shot through his back.
Someone had sneaked up on him from behind!

 

“Who’s so bold!” The man jumped in pain and turned around, only to see a delicate young girl with tender skin holding a big wooden stick in her hand.

 

“You woman, for no cause or reason, why…”

 

“Who told you to speak ill of people behind their back!” JiuZhu held up the wooden stick and struck again, the stick producing a terrifying sound as it slid through the air.

 

The man who was beaten was so scared that he frantically tried to escape.
However, when one of them reacted and attempted to snatch it from her hand, she thrashed it on his thigh.

 

Although a sharp pain spread over, the man did not cry so easily.

 

“Which family’s crazy woman are you?! Since you humiliated us, we also won’t abide by the etiquette of a gentleman!”

 

As soon as the words were spoken, the three of them encircled JiuZhu and raised their hands, ready to let her know the frailty of a woman in front of a man.

 

However, in the next moment, the trio flew out like stones being kicked out by someone.

 

They lay on the ground, howling in pain.
It turned out that this crazy woman also brought helpers with her.
A group of people beating up three weak and unarmed scholars… Where was their dignity as martial artists?

 

“You three grown men actually bullied a weak woman!” A few well-dressed men stepped forward, picked them up with one hand, and said in a solemn voice: “As subjects, you dare to presumptuously comment on a member of the Imperial family? You deserve punishment!”

 

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Without waiting for the trio’s to fight back or reply, they hit them to the point of crying and fished out ropes to tie the them together: “Now, be obedient and follow us, you all’s brothers, to make a trip to the yamen2.”

 

JiuZhu watched the people come and leave in a hurry, holding the wooden stick in her hand.
She was completely at a loss.

 

“What are you blankly staring at?” Chen Wang grabbed the wooden stick from JiuZhu’s hand.
Seeing that she didn’t react, he threw the stick on the ground: “Resorting to hitting people, much less scholars, once you have a disagreement, are you not afraid of them running their mouths?”

 

“How can they be regarded as scholars?” JiuZhu rolled down her sleeves: “They are different.
Because today is the day to stand tall and see far, there are a lot of people coming and going through here.
Despite that, they stand here and talk nonsense loudly, not caring to distinguish right from wrong.
They simply made the other scholars lose face.”

 

Chen Wang smiled meaningfully.
These scholars were not at all stupid; they intended to be heard by others.

 

“Do you know that Qi Wang will come to Mount FeiXia to climb the mountain today?”

 

“Eh?” JiuZhu nodded: “I saw him at the foot of the mountain.
So what?”

 

Chen Wang: “……”

 

This child didn’t seem very bright.

 

“Their words were meant for Qi Wang to hear, or at least, the people around him.” Chen Wang was usually an impatient person but today, he was in a good mood and was willing to accompany this little girl with an underperforming brain for a while more: “We should take advantage of the fact that there are only a few people here and leave at once.
We shouldn’t let anyone discover us.”

 

“They spoke bad words about His Highness Chen Wang but I couldn’t beat them to death.” JiuZhu pushed back the hair on her temples with her hair clip and complained in a low voice: “If they curry favor with Qi Wang, just do it ah.
Why must they bully His Highness Chen Wang?”

 

Bully?

 

The little girl’s tone was too aggrieved.
If it wasn’t for the fact that he was one of the parties involved, he would have almost believed that he was a poor little man who was often bullied.

 

“The ones who helped me fight just now… were they your subordinates?”

 

Chen Wang raised his eyebrows and nodded: “You helped me break the cornel branches, and I will help you fight.
Isn’t it fair?”

 

“It’s not exactly fair.” JiuZhu thought over it carefully: “I seem to be taking unfair advantage of you.”

 

“It’s okay, I’m a grown man.
I won’t bother to haggle over such trivial matters with you.” Chen Wang looked around, but he didn’t see anyone around them: “Who are your parents?”

 

The elders of her family must be care-free enough to dare to let such a fierce little girl come alone and pluck cornel branches.

 

“My father’s surname is Ming.” After the other party helped her fight, JiuZhu classified him as a ‘good person who values loyalty’ so she was not afraid of telling him her family name.

 

“Ming?” The smile on Chen Wang’s face froze.
He looked at JiuZhu carefully from head to toe: “You are the beloved daughter of… Lord Ming JingZhou, the assistant minister of the Ministry of Rites?”

 

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This was the first time Chen Wang had ever addressed Ming JingZhou so politely in his life.

 

“You know my father as well?” JiuZhu looked at Chen Wang with bright eyes.

 

“I have a little acquaintance with him.”

 

Acquaintance was acquaintance.
What did it mean to have a little acquaintance? Ever since she came to the capital, JiuZhu discovered that her cognitive ability couldn’t keep up with the speaking level of its people.

 

“No wonder you were so angry just now.
You were actually protecting your fiancé.” Chen Wang paused for a moment: “Next time you want to hit someone, don’t do it yourself.”

 

Having lived in a Daoist temple from childhood, JiuZhu was completely ignorant about the matters of affection between men and women.
As a result, when the subject of marriage was brought up, she didn’t feel bashful like any other young girl: “His Highness Chen Wang is a good person.
What does it have to do with whether he is my fiancé or not?”

 

Chen Wang: “……”

 

Only the rustling sound of the wind blowing in the mountains could match his mood at the moment.

 

“Young Miss, Young Miss!” ChunFen ran over with the hem of her skirt in her hand and sized her up nervously: “Some noise was heard from this side just now.
They said that it was some drunk scholars who were causing trouble.
Are you okay?”

 

“I’m fine.” JiuZhu winked at Chen Wang, hinting him not to say what had transpired just a moment ago.

 

“Mother asked me to pluck some cornel branches.
I’ve already picked them.” JiuZhu grabbed ChunFen’s hand: “Sister ChunFen, let’s go back.”

 

She had already beaten the people so all they had to do now was to flee from the crime scene as soon as possible.

 

“Okay.” ChunFen draped the silk cloak in her arms over JiuZhu’s shoulders, bowed towards Chen Wang and led JiuZhu away from the grove by her hand.

 

Chen Wang walked to the cornelian tree and stooped to pick up the branch that JiuZhu had snapped for him, deciding to take it back to the Palace.

 

“Such a big branch.” Su Guifei looked at the cornelian-cherry branch placed in the vase on the floor.
Her son, who usually didn’t remember to bring back even a thin piece of paper, brought her a branch of cornelian cherry on Double Ninth Festival: “It looks very fresh.”

 

“Can it not be fresh?” Chen Wang leaned on the soft seat lazily: “This is from your future daughter-in-law.
She climbed the tree to pluck it herself.”

 

“Did you meet JiuZhu?” Su Guifei looked at Chen Wang.

 

“En.” Chen Wang lowered his eyes so Su Guifei couldn’t see the emotion in his eyes.

 

“Bengong thinks this girl is pretty good.” Knowing that her son was not very enthusiastic about this marriage, Su Guifei couldn’t help but speak on behalf of the little girl from the Ming family: “She seems easy to get along with.”

 

“She indeed seems like that from her appearance.” Chen Wang nodded.

 

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It’s just that her melon-seed sized brain doesn’t work very well.

 

After her son left, Su Guifei asked the maid beside her doubtfully: “From DuQing’s attitude, does he like her or not ah?”

 

“Niangniang, this is a delightful matter.
Fifth Highness doesn’t seem to hate the Ming family’s Young Miss.” The maid assured Su Guifei: “Before, His Highness knitted his brows whenever the topic of his marriage was mentioned.
But today, this servant took a closer look at him and noticed that His Highness was in a good mood.”

 

Su Guifei sighed; she knew the maid’s words were just to comfort herself.
His Majesty was the one to be blamed for not knowing how to raise a child and letting her son develop such a foppish temperament.

 

As soon as Chen Wang came out of MingYue Palace, he ran into Qi Wang, who had entered the palace to pay his respects.

 

“Fifth brother.” Qi Wang looked at the black and red patterned brocade clothes on Chen Wang’s body.
Among the brothers, except the fifth one, no one would wear such flashy clothes.

 

Chen Wang halted, and looked at him.

 

“I heard fifth brother’s attendant dragged a few scholars to the yamen today?” Qi Wang sighed: “The autumn exams are just around the corner.
If it’s not a big deal, fifth brother should spare them lest their ten years of strenuous studies go to waste.”

 

“It is indeed not a big deal.
They were merely praising fourth brother for having both talent and virtue while insulting me for being ignorant, incompetent and moody in passing.” Chen Wang raised his eyebrows: “Since fourth brother has such a benevolent heart, just send someone to let them out.”

 

The tender smile on Qi Wang’s face froze slightly.

 

Although it was true that his fifth brother was ignorant and incompetent, as the elder brother, he absolutely could not acknowledge it.

 

“Fourth brother, go ahead and free them, I will never investigate this matter again.” Chen Wang flung his sleeves behind his back, raised his chin slightly, and walked away in large strides.

 

Chen Wang’s attendants imitated their master, looking at the attendants of Qi Wang’s mansion from the corner of their eyes.

 

The faces of Qi Wang’s attendants turned red with anger, but they did not dare to utter a word.

 

Who let Chen Wang have such a favored Mother Consort.
For this very reason, no one in the palace could afford to offend him!

 

“My lord.” The attendant looked at Qi Wang worriedly.

 

Qi Wang raised his hand slightly and stopped him from continuing.
“Those scholars were discussing the rights and wrongs of the Imperial family and trying to drive a wedge between Ben Wang and fifth brother.
They should be severely punished.”

 

The wind blew the corners of his robe, but it couldn’t produce a bit of ripple under his eyes.

 

After the Double Ninth Festival, the number of invitations being sent to the Ming family had increased dramatically.
Some invited Shen-shi and JiuZhu to appreciate the beauty of the chrysanthemums, some invited them to eat crabs while some even invited them to taste tea.

 

There was no shortage of people in the capital who neither liked Chen Wang’s attitude nor dared to offend that pair of mother and son.
Ming family’s daughter was about to marry into Chen Wang’s mansion so no matter whether it was sincere or not, as long as it was an important gathering between the females of the families, they will arrange for the younger generations of their families to personally send the invitations to the Ming family.

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For the most part, these invitations were tactfully declined by the Shen-shi until the Sun family sent an invitation for a tea tasting banquet.

 

The auspicious date for the marriage of Young Miss Sun and Qi Wang was set on the sixth day of the month of winter.
It was already the last third of the ninth month, so there was only about a month left before Young Miss Sun’s marriage.

 

As a literary family that had existed for almost a hundred year, the reputation of the Sun family in the minds of scholars was self-evident.
Although the Ming family had also established its prestige in recent years by relying on the fact that they had two zhuangyuan and one tanhua, compared to the Sun family, they were still lacking in status.

 

Qi Wang was already well-known as a virtuous person.
When he married the daughter of the Sun family, it was akin to a tiger growing wings3.
He became even more influential and revered.

 

Holding the invitation, Shen-shi turned her head to look at her daughter, who was immersed in nibbling on the snacks happily and drinking tea from the teacup.
She gently wiped her daughter’s mouth with a handkerchief.

 

“Thank you, Mother.” JiuZhu smiled sweetly at Shen-shi.

 

Shen-shi covered her chest with a hand lightly.

 

What was His Majesty, Chen Wang, Sun family’s girl.
No one among them was a good person!

 

On the day of the tea tasting banquet, the females of the invited families dressed up in rich attires and arrived at the Sun family’s residence early, flattering Sun CaiYao to no end.

 

“Madam Shen is here at last.”

 

The laughter suddenly reduced; the smile on Sun CaiYao’s face also diminished slightly.
She looked at the door intently, quickly glancing at Ming JiuZhu standing just beside Shen-shi.

 

She had black eyebrows like distant mountains, and delicate, cherry-red lips.

 

“Greetings, Madam Shen.”

 

“Is this your daughter? Indeed, she has bright, starry eyes and bones made of snow.
An unusually beautiful appearance.”

 

The women who were still praising her, turned their heads and crowded around Shen-shi and her daughter. 

 

Sun CaiYao pursed her lips.

 

In private, all of these people despised Chen Wang for acting unreasonably and ignorantly, but in the matter of pleasing the future Chen Wangfei, no one was ready to be left behind.

 

She stood up and took the initiative to walk towards Ming JiuZhu.

1

Magnificent army with thousands of men and horses [千军万马] – This is an idiom that implies that she left with a domineering attitude.
It basically means an ‘impressive display of manpower’.

2

Yamen [衙门] – It was the administrative office of a regional public official in Imperial China.

3

A tiger growing wings [如虎添翼] – An idiom that means that someone, who was already very powerful, had their power(s) redoubled.

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