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  • My Husband is a Flower

    Chapter 56

    Originally, the royal hunting was scheduled for the autumn, but due to the large temperature difference between morning and evening during the autumn, it was most prone to catching a cold. Moreover, Emperor Ming Shun was weak and frail, unable to withstand even the slightest cold wind.

    Therefore, the Ministry of Rites discussed and decided to change it to a spring hunt. Spring is the season of new beginnings for all things, and it showcases the benevolence of the emperor. So they moved it to late spring or early summer, settling on the current time.

    Su Mi heard this secretly from Feng Bao. It was said that officials ranked fifth or higher could participate and bring their wives and legitimate children. The imperial decree had been issued, setting the date at the end of the fifth lunar month, and Su Mi was naturally included.

    The chosen hunting ground for the spring hunt was a corner of Longhu Mountain. Although Longhu Mountain was close to the Lord’s Mansion, it spanned north and south with vast terrain. It would take an hour or two to travel by horse-drawn carriage.

    “Miss, this time you can’t bring me along.” Chun Mei grumbled, feeling disappointed. Last time, when the miss decided to leave, she was left alone at the Lord’s Mansion. And now, it seemed like she couldn’t accompany her again.

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    Su Mi looked up from her book and smiled. “I asked on your behalf. Feng Bao said you can come this time, but you will be searched upon entry. At night, you will have to sleep in a tent with the palace maids. Are you willing to go?”

    Chun Mei eagerly replied, “Of course I’ll go.”

    If she was lucky, she might even get to see the emperor’s face. That was something she wouldn’t have dared to dream of before.

    The following parts of the text will be scrambled to prevent theft from aggregators and unauthorized epub making. Please support our translators by reading on secondlifetranslations (dot) com. If you are currently on the site and and you are seeing this, please clear your cache.

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    The slanting sun was setting in the dusk, casting a golden hue on the eaves of the long street.

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    Inside the Tianfang Shop in Xishui Alley, there was a change from the usual scene. Behind the elmwood counter on the right side of the entrance, it wasn’t the chubby and benevolent old man standing there, but a slender and handsome scholar.

    His appearance was refined like jade, and his back was slender without appearing frail. The light blue sleeves of his robe were slightly pulled up. He held a brush in his hand, seemingly engaged with an account book on the table.

    Ordinary scholars would appear somewhat mundane when dealing with financial matters, but his serious expression and elegant demeanor made even these mundane things emanate an aura of scholarly refinement.

    As Shangguan Yan approached the entrance of the study, the first thing he saw was the side profile of Jian Yujue, with a complexion akin to jade, reminiscent of the calligraphy practice sheet from that day, appearing as quiet as a painting.

    He walked into the study with his hands behind his back, wearing a brightly colored silk round-collared robe. He strode from the first row to the last row, but Jian Yujue did not lift his head.

    Shangguan Yan raised an eyebrow and couldn’t help but walk towards Jian Yujue.

    “Is this how you greet guests in your shop?”

    Jian Yujue didn’t seem surprised by this somewhat provocative remark. He slowly raised his head, meeting Shangguan Yan’s gaze.

    “What do you want?”

    Shangguan Yan was not short in stature, but compared to Jian Yujue, he fell slightly behind. He interlaced his hands and leaned halfway on the table, looking up at Jian Yujue. “I’m looking for you.”

    He smiled casually, exuding a hint of rascality, with one arm pressing against half of an account book, whether intentional or not.

    Jian Yujue took a small step back and positioned himself to meet Shangguan Yan’s gaze. Only then did he speak, “What do you want me to do?”

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    “Why don’t you ask who I am first?”

    “I know. You are the classmate of the person who overturned my stall that day.” So when he heard the provocative words, he wasn’t surprised at all.

    “Oh, since you remember, then we can consider ourselves acquainted.”

    Shangguan Yan smiled, straightened his posture, and said, “Rest assured, I didn’t come here to ruin your shop.”

    He paused and looked at Jian Yujue. “I want you to be my personal guest. You can set your monthly allowance, and I can also help you enter the imperial college and become a student there.”

    As Shangguan Yan’s arm left the table, the account book from earlier was once again revealed. Jian Yujue took a step forward and continued calculating the accounts from before. In contrast to Shangguan Yan’s tone, he casually replied, “You can leave. I’m not interested.”

    “Aren’t you afraid that I’ll bring Lu Guanlin over to find you? If you become mine, I will protect you from him.”

    Jian Yujue didn’t even raise his head. “I’m not interested.”

    Shangguan Yan looked at the stubborn, poor scholar in front of him and somehow didn’t feel annoyed. It seemed that this kind of answer was to be expected. However, there was nothing he couldn’t achieve with what he wanted to do.

    “Alright, then you can try waiting for me for a few days.”

    After Shangguan Yan left, Jian Yujue looked at the fading, deep purple figure outside the door and rubbed his temples. Uncle Li asked him to wait for a few days and return to his hometown to take care of some matters. If someone really came with him, he feared it would ruin the peaceful shop.

    But when did he provoke these people?

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    In the blink of an eye, five days had passed. Uncle Li entered the shop with a bundle in his arms, looking happy.

    “Yujue, I’m back.”

    Jian Yujue felt relieved when he saw Uncle Li. These past few days, he was afraid someone would come looking for trouble, but he couldn’t just close the shop.

    Uncle Li placed the bundle in the back room of the shop and came out again with a smile.

    “Uncle Li, is everything settled at home?” Jian Yujue handed him the account book he had organized in the past two days.

    “Yes, Yujue. I sold the house deed in my hometown and raised some money. I plan to buy a small courtyard on the outskirts of the capital in the future, so you don’t have to live in that leaky thatched house anymore. It gets quite damp there when it rains.”

    Jian Yujue was from Qingzhou, which was adjacent to the capital. It would take about two days by carriage to travel between the two places. He came to the capital to sell calligraphy practice sheets, partly to help his grandmother recover her health, and partly to buy books. Therefore, he lived a simple and frugal life.

    Uncle Li didn’t know about these things before, but he had become familiar with them now and had some idea. He had experienced setbacks in his youth, which cut off his path to an official career. Now, seeing a good kid like Jian Yujue, he couldn’t help but feel sorry for him.

    Looking at Jian Yujue, who was silent with his head down, Uncle Li smiled and lightly pushed him again. “Anyway, just spend some time with the old man, okay?”

    Jian Yujue was about to speak when he caught a glimpse of a dash of vermilion, and his eyebrows slightly furrowed. If the person who had come wasn’t the one from last time, who else could it be?

    Shangguan Yan shook his folding fan and confidently stepped over the threshold without even looking at Uncle Li. He just called out to Jian Yujue.

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    “Jian Yujue.”

    Jian Yujue glanced behind him but didn’t see anyone else, as he had expected. “What are you here for?”

    “I told you I could get you into the imperial college.” Shangguan Yan walked to the side of the table, leaning against it and smiling. “You’re lucky. It so happens that someone fell seriously ill these past two days, and I managed to secure that position for you.”

    After he finished speaking, he dropped a piece of peach wood plaque from his hand onto the table.

    Uncle Li had been a student at the imperial college when he was young, so he remembered the prestigious name plaques clearly. Since he was close by, he picked it up and looked at it, and to his surprise, it had Jian Yujue’s name on it.

    “This, Yujue, is your name plaque.”

    Jian Yujue took it abruptly, holding the blue-lacquered peach wood in his hand, and those three shiny golden characters flickered before his eyes.

    Jian Yujue’s expression finally turned cold as he held the wooden plaque. He turned to Shangguan Yan and asked, “Why is my name engraved on this name plaque?”

    “It was originally yours. If your name isn’t engraved, whose should be?” Shangguan Yan smiled indifferently. “So, now, are you willing or unwilling to be my guest?”

    Uncle Li stood aside, understanding even more than Jian Yujue how difficult it was to handle the halfway acquired student identity. When considering the twists and turns of claiming it was due to an illness, he could easily figure it out.

    This was a great opportunity. With less than a year until the provincial examination in the second lunar month next year, entering the imperial college would be a tremendous opportunity. However, when Uncle Li looked at Jian Yujue, he knew that someone with Yujue’s character would never agree.

    As expected.

    “Not willing.”

    For the first time, coldness filled Jian Yujue’s usually gentle eyes. It was a more direct chill compared to their previous encounter on Yong’an Street.

    He preferred peace and never wished to contend with others. His sole pursuit was learning. If he had wanted to rely on others, with his status as the top scholar in Qingzhou, he wouldn’t have missed that opportunity in the provincial examination.

    Since his birth, abandoned and with nothing, this remaining stubbornness was all that his parents had passed down to him.

    Shangguan Yan glanced at him and sighed lightly. “Jian Yujue, your stubbornness has truly wasted my efforts.”

    After speaking, he turned around and left, not even taking the name plaque from the table.

    Uncle Li glanced at Jian Yujue, gritted his teeth, and hastily ran back to the inner room. He took out the money obtained from selling the house deed and caught up with Shangguan Yan, who was walking outside the door.

    “I bought this name plaque for Yujue, and I will persuade him to go.” After saying that, Uncle Li stuffed a bag of heavy silver coins into Shangguan Yan’s hands.

    Actually, it wasn’t enough, as Uncle Li knew. It would have been more than enough to cover the costs alone, but with the favor Shangguan Yan had done, he was acting shamelessly.

    “I will persuade him to go,” Uncle Li added, afraid that Shangguan Yan would refuse to accept it.

    Shangguan Yan looked at the old man opposite him, and a smile suddenly appeared on his face. He shook the bag of silver coins in his hand. “I’ve never used such fragmented silver before.”

    “Yujue,” Uncle Li returned to the shop and placed the name plaque into Jian Yujue’s astonished hands.

    “Do you remember what I said? Scholars should be upright and adaptable to the situation.”

    “It wasn’t him who forced you; it was me, the old man, who forced you to go. Even though you are talented, you cannot continue to neglect yourself like this. Consider this student status a gift from me. I’ve spent the money, and if you don’t go, it would be disrespectful to me.”

    Uncle Li had just returned from the countryside, exhausted from the journey. He could only support himself against the counter as his back ached from the rush. When he spoke these words, he kept his head lowered, afraid of Yujue’s resentment.

    Jian Yujue tightly clenched the wooden plaque in his hand, his lips forming a straight line. The wooden square in his palm felt scorching hot.

    “Uncle Li.”

    “It’s too late for regrets now. Tell me, will you go or not?”

    Finally, Uncle Li looked up, and the expectation on his weathered face seemed to carry an intense warmth.

    Jian Yujue forced a smile and looked at Uncle Li. “Well, I’ll go.”


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    hana [Translator]

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