TCPCHW Chapter 15 Part 1
The Crown Prince Chases His Wife
Chapter 15 On Fire (1/2)
When Ji Nanfeng entered Qin Yan’s study in the Duke of Zhenguo Mansion, he saw his master dressed in a moonlight Suzhou embroidered brocade, painting a fan in front of the sandalwood desk.
Qin Yan’s expression was indifferent, while Shen Ying, who was serving the brush and ink, had a bitter look on her face.
Shen Ying raised her head to see the incoming person, and was ecstatic, “Mister Ji, come quickly. Master thinks that the ink I ground is either too thick or too light…”
Qin Yan had not been able to paint with interest many times. In the past, Ji Nanfeng used to accompany her. Shen Ying’s hands that wielded weapons really couldn’t do the chores of grinding ink.
Ji Nanfeng stepped forward slowly, stopped by the desk, and took over the ink stick in Shen Ying’s hand.
The smell of ink on the hand was not as strong as the new ink, sometimes it was sticking to the brush, and sometimes it was runny. Its color was a simple glossy black, and its smell was like iris, which was the superior ancient Anhui ink commonly used by his master.
There was a Plum Moon Duanxi inkstone on the table. It was blue and purple in color, the quality was as smooth as jade, and produced a deep sound when grinding. It was the famous inkstone of Laokeng.
The incense of Tuwu was burning in the room. It was said that the incense was covered in the ground, and even the soil and rocks had an aroma.
Their master was extremely picky about these refined things.
Ji Nanfeng looked at Qin Yan who was concentrating on painting. The woman beside him had a delicate and perfect side face, her red lips were slightly pursed, and when her eyelashes fluttered, Ji Nanfeng’s heart also moved with her.
Ji Nanfeng closed his eyes slightly, calmed down the delusions he shouldn’t have in his heart, and then opened his eyes again, forcing himself to focus on the desk and looking at the painting that was pressed by a white jade bergamot paperweight.
The plain paper fan was filled with mist and clouds in the mountain forest. The brush, ink, and color used were light but not thin, sparse but precise, and exquisite without losing their roughness. Between the wet and dry shades, it was the best.
Ji Nanfeng had seen Qin Yan’s paintings, including beauties, monks, and traders. She had painted beautiful peonies, as well as misty clouds landscapes, and cool bamboo shades.
Qin Yan’s brushwork was remarkable, rich, thick, flexible, unpredictable, and unexpected. Between the great vulgarity and the great elegance, like sadness and joy, everything was blended well together.
Just like her…
When it was over, Qin Yan took out a purple brush with a black-painted golden scroll of grass pattern from the engraved agarwood brush holder. After dipping it in ink, she inscribed the word “Drunken Mountain” on the lower right side of the fan. The writing was bold, not like a seventeen-year-old girl at all.
Like the usual paintings, there were inscriptions, but no inscription with a name or seal.
Qin Yan cleaned her hands with the basin held by Shen Ying and wiped them dry with a towel.
“Master, are the slats of the folding fan made of white jade, red sandalwood, or mottled bamboo?” Ji Nanfeng asked as these were the common fan slat materials used by Qin Yan to make fans.
When Qin Yan was in high spirits, the paintings she made casually were all handled by Ji Nanfeng. Whether it would be mounted, made into a fan, or given to embroidered women as a pattern to make clothes and fragrance sachets.
Qin Yan took the teacup that Ji Nanfeng handed over, and smelled the fragrance of the tea. Several pieces of green tea floating in the white porcelain cup expanded out. She took a sip, and the tip of her tongue filled with a delicate fragrance, which was a good tea.
“It’s about to enter the summer, the bamboo fan slat is soft and elegant. Let’s just use mottled bamboo.” Qin Yan’s tone was relaxed.
Seeing that Qin Yan was quite satisfied after drinking the tea, Ji Nanfeng said, “This is Yunhai Pekoe*. The new tea has been in storage for more than a month. It won’t be too cold, so it is suitable for Master to drink.”
(Yunhai Pekoe* – a type of green tea)
“Mister Ji came to deliver tea in person?” Qin Yan looked at Ji Nanfeng.
“The matter for the trading establishment’s entry into the capital has been arranged, and Wen Luo’s Wen trading establishment is also being arranged in an orderly manner. In the next few days, we can get to work.” Ji Nanfeng replied.
“Yes.” Qin Yan was not very interested in Song Mei’s affairs. Compared with the incidents she had handled over the years, Song Mei’s affairs were not important, and they weren’t worth her keeping in mind. She was just avenging the injustices against her mother.
“How is Jiang Mu lately?” Qin Yan suddenly thought of Young Master Jiang who was taken to the Imperial Academy by her.
Ji Nanfeng explained Jiang Mu’s situation, “Young Master Jiang has been in the Imperial Academy for seven days and being assigned to an outer class. He can return to the mansion and go to school every day.”
“There are six halls in Imperial Academy, and the six halls are divided into high and low. According to the school rules, those who have mastered the “Four Books” but have not mastered the scriptures will be in Zhengyi, Chongzhi, and Guangye Hall. Those who have been literate for more than a year and a half will be promoted to Taoism and Chengxin Hall. Those who are versed in both scriptures and history and who are excellent in literature were promoted to Shuaixing Hall.
“It’s reasonable to say that as a privileged student, Young Master Jiang’s foundation is not very good, and he should be admitted to the Zhengyi, Chongzhi, or Guangye Halls, and at most the Taoism and Chengxin Hall. However, the Chief Officer of the Imperial Academy arranged for Young Master Jiang to directly enter the Shuaixing Hall, which may be the meaning of the one in the palace.”
“However, the young master has been studying for several years with the tutor hired a few years ago, and he can still keep up with his homework.”
“However, according to the report from the secret guard, since the first day he entered the Imperial Academy, Young Master Jiang will encounter a little trouble every day when he goes to school and when he leaves school.” Ji Nanfeng looked at Qin Yan, hesitating whether he needed to say what happened next. His master didn’t seem to be very interested in the people and affairs of the Qin Mansion.
“Oh?” Qin Yan looked indifferent, “Tell me about it.”
With Qin Yan’s instruction, Ji Nanfeng continued, “The son of Prime Minister Qin, Qin Ming, brings a group of small followers to provoke Young Master Jiang every day when he arrives and leaves school. They just talked provocatively, neither of the two sides did anything, and there was no major conflict.”
Oh, Qin Yan smiled, and just took it as children goofing around and didn’t take it to heart.
In the northeast corner of the Imperial City, two buildings stood opposite each other. On the left was the Confucius Temple, which worshiped Confucius, and on the right was the Imperial Academy, the highest institution of official studies. The courtyard was paved with green bricks, shaded by evergreen pines and cypresses, and interspersed with white marble columns and railings, which looked solemn and awe-inspiring.
Since entering the Imperial Academy, Jiang Mu had only listened to lectures and did his homework every day. Because of Jiang Mu’s special status, it was not easy for other students to get close to Jiang Mu. So, Jiang Mu was always alone.
After school that day, Jiang Mu was walking alone toward the main gate of the academy. Not surprisingly, he was blocked by a group of little kids again.
Jiang Mu was very irritable. Twice a day, early in the morning and in the evening, the other party just blocked him, and provoked him with words, but did not do anything. Jiang Mu was holding back his belly full of anger and couldn’t let it out.
Among the little kids in Jiang Mu’s eyes was the leader, Qin Ming, the son of the Right Prime Minister.
Qin Ming became angry when he saw Jiang Mu. He was Qin Yan’s proper younger brother, but he hadn’t even met her yet. He went to the Duke of Zhenguo Mansion several times, but he was stopped outside, and his father and mother didn’t allow him to see his eldest sister.
While the kid on the opposite side was just the so-called adopted brother by his eldest sister. The eldest sister also asked the imperial family for a place to send him to the Imperial Academy, and the kid was also arranged in the best Shuaixing Hall. Qin Ming’s father was the Right Prime Minister, and he could only be in the next-level Chengxin Hall. This made Qin Ming even more unconvinced. Qin Yan was his own eldest sister, so what did this kid think he was?!
“Kid, tell me, why did you become my eldest sister’s adopted brother? Why do you deserve my eldest sister’s attention?” Qin Ming took the trouble to ask the questions that he had been asking every day for the past few days.
Jiang Mu still ignored the idiot opposite, and just stood there idly. He knew that in just a cup of tea time, the supervisor of the Imperial Academy would patrol this road, and he would be able to escape. If Qin Yan hadn’t told him not to cause trouble, he really wanted to beat up these kids. It was really a waste of his time.
“Oh, the kid of the Qin family is bullying Princess of Zhaoren’s younger brother again!” It was the second son of the Left Prime Minister, Wang Jingyu, who was the same age as Jiang Mu and was also enrolled in the Imperial Academy.
“Hahaha…” Wang Jingyu was also followed by a group of followers, and everyone laughed.
In the past few days, whenever Qin Ming brought people to block Jiang Mu, Young Master Wang of the Left Prime Minister would bring people over to say some sarcastic words.
Wang Jingyu was born to the first wife of the Left Prime Minister. In addition to his mother, his father’s rear courtyard had several concubines. Those concubines also had some concubine-born children. His mother had suffered at the hands of concubines and those concubine-born children in the mansion. Therefore, he hated the identity of those born by concubines extremely and even looked down on Qin Ming, the precious concubine-born of the Right Prime Minister.
Wang Jingyu and Qin Ming had conflicts in the academy from time to time, and it was not uncommon for them to fight. They were often caught by the supervisor and brought to the Shengqian Hall.