Shi Baoning grabbed Shi Qingxue to sit down in the room. Her face blushed, and she seemed a little embarrassed. After a while, she whispered, “Isn’t it Qiqiao Festival a few days later?”
Shi Qingxue nodded, and her look became even more confused. Why was the annual Qiqiao Festival worth of Shi Baoning’s worries?
“In the past, I was not in a good health. Basically, Grandma wouldn’t allow me to attend any banquets. But this year, I feel much better, and Empress Dowager has sent the fancy stationery. So I think…” Shi Baoning hesitated, and was embarrassed to continue to say.
After all, no one could believe that Shi Baoning, the eldest daughter of Duke Shi, had never attended any banquet and needed to prepare much for a banquet.
Unfortunately, Shi Baoning really asked the wrong person in this matter.
Although Shi Qingxue understood, she was still confused. She asked, “It was just a banquet on Qiqiao Festival. It will be nothing more than eating, drinking, chatting and having fun. There is nothing to be noticed specifically!”
In Qingxue’s opinion, the identity of the eldest daughter of Duke Shi was already dignified enough, so there was no need to please anyone at the banquet. It would be enough to maintain normal etiquette. As for this, Shi Baoning could do more perfectly than her without any notice.
Shi Baoning sighed slightly, and said in her heart: It was all because of Qingxue’s temper. She never stooped to compromise. Though there was nothing wrong with being like this, she could never learn it anyway. Even though her identity was more dignified than her sister’s, she was still worried that there would be something that she didn’t do well and offend others, or that her etiquette was not perfect enough.
But she couldn’t explain these concerns to Shi Qingxue in details. Shi Baoning could only change her way to ask, “I didn’t go out for too long, so I was unfamiliar with the popular dressing nowadays. I’m not sure what I should wear at the banquet on Qiqiao Festival. And the tempers of those dignified people in the palace, and what to pay attention to while chatting, could you please tell something about those?”
“It’s simple. I will send Xia Mang to ask the Mammy in dressing department of the palace, and see what clothes the attendant noble people will wear this year. I remember that Empress Dowager likes dark purple dress with golden stripes, and Empress likes red, and Imperial Concubine Liu usually wears pink. As long as you avoid those colors of these people’s dresses, it would be fine.
As for tempers, Empress Dowager was aged and she likes watching the younger having fun. As long as you don’t behave rudely, she will like you. Empress is strict…”
Shi Qingxue often hung around in the palace, so she knew much about the preferences of those ladies in the palace. She said it clearly and logically. She didn’t hide anything from Shi Baoning, and she told her everything she knew.
At the end, she concluded, “Baoning, don’t worry. With your identity, as long as you don’t make great mistake, no one dares to be picky with you. They will take every opportunity to please you! If you are too cautious, it would make others think that you are weak and easy to bully.”
“I also know it. But I’m still a little worried. I heard that this time, Empress Dowager has invited the daughters of princesses in every famous aristocratic family in capital city. I’m afraid to make our family ashamed if I do anything not well enough.”
Shi Qingxue smiled and grabbed her sister’s hand, reassuring her again, and patted her chest to guarantee, “Don’t worry about it. It’s not easy that you are now in good health and can go to the banquet in the palace. You should be just relieved and have fun. If anything happens, I will deal with it for you!”
“You this little girl. You won’t even be embarrassed when calling a bluff. Aren’t you afraid that I really rely on you then?” With the encouragement, Shi Baoning felt relieved and joked back on her sister.
Shi Qingxue was not embarrassed at all. She raised her chin and implied, “I’m not calling a bluff. I am the most favored by Empress Dowager, and Yuzhen will also defend me. I have nothing to worry.”
Although Shi Baoning felt that her sister was too proud, she couldn’t say anything to rebut. She just slightly tapped Qingxue’s forehead. She was happy and envious in her heart, “Then I will follow you at that time. Don’t you be tired of me?”
“No, I won’t. You don’t know how much I hope you can also attend before! Otherwise, there would only be me and Third Lady from the Shi Family. It was really boring!” Shi Qingxue twitched her mouth, and complained in a low voice.
Shi Baoning could not help frowning and persuaded softly, “I know you are not in a good relationship with Third Lady, but she is your sister anyway. Grandma always hope that we sisters can be friendly. Don’t be too tough with her in everything. It’s not good to make Grandma worry about your business at such an old age.”
Shi Qingxue pouted and felt disdainful with Shi Baoning’s words. But thinking of her sister’s respect to Mo Shujun, she didn’t say it out. She just changed the subject, “On Qiqiao Festival, there must be some activities at the banquet in the palace, and those are all some girly boring things. If you are willing to do it, you can participate. But if you are unwilling, just find an excuse to reject. Don’t be too serious about it.”
Qingxue was a descendant of the military general. She was deeply influenced by her grandfather and father. In addition, she was outgoing. So she liked riding and archery, and she was good at playing with weapons. But she didn’t care much about girly things.
Shi Baoning also knew this. She only lowered her head slightly, but said in her heart: You had the privilege to be willful and do anything you want, but I needed to obey every rules. We were different.
Shi Qingxue and Shi Baoning were indeed close sisters. They were sincerely caring and thought for each other. But the differences in their personality couldn’t be ignored.
At this time, neither of them realized how much crisis this would bring to their future relationship.
Qiqiao Festival was a big day for the women in the Mo Dynasty.
On this day, while begging to the moon, you could ask for marriage, and could also ask for intelligence and skills. It was also a good day for friends to chat and enjoy.
At this time of every year, Empress Dowager would set up a banquet on palace, and invite all the dignified girls from the aristocratic families who were already thirteen years old into the palace to attend and beg to the moon together.
Shi Qingxue had been attending for two years. In her memory, nothing happened at the banquet on Qiqiao festival this year.
She just arrived at the banquet with Shi Baoning, when Third Princess Mo Yuzhen rushed to her with excitement, “Qingxue, it’s been so long. Why don’t you come to visit me?”
Qingxue was reminded that since the day when she was reborn, she had been worried about Shi Baoning’s illness, so that she didn’t have a good talk with Mo Yuzhen. She was somewhat guilty, “I’m sorry. I’m not on purpose.”
“I don’t care. You definitely forget me for someone else!” How could Mo Yuzhen not know what Shi Qingxue was busy these days? But she was just unpleasant that she ignored her for someone else, not even her sister.
With her arms akimbo, she said predominantly, “If you stay with me all day today, I will forgive you!”
Seeing Mo Yuzhen’s spoiled look, Shi Qingxue certainly understood that her friend was inviting her into the palace as a companion!
If it was in the past, Shi Qingxue was definitely willing to do it. But at this moment, Shi Baoning was looking at her with expectation. She didn’t want her to go but it was not good for her to reject Mo Yuzhen’s will. Shi Qingxue wasn’t relieved to leave Shi Baoning here alone, so she could only meet the wills in the middle, “Empress never refuses your requirement. Why don’t you come and sit with us?”
Mo Yuzhen turned her head around and glanced at Shi Baoning sitting straight up aside. She was a little bit picky in her look. After a while, she finally agreed, “Fine. But you need to sleep together with me in the palace tonight.”
Princess Yuzhen had always been doing whatever she wanted, but this time she was willing to compromise and yield to her. It was impossible for Shi Qingxue not to be moved. She hurriedly promised, “Okay, I’ll accompany you.”
After thinking for a while, she suddenly laughed and joked, “I reckon that you are trying to be lazy again!”
As long as Shi Qingxue was in the palace, Mo Yuzhen had a perfect reason not to go to Qinxue School for a lecture!
“How can it be?” Mo Yuzhen’s little face turned red. She wanted to pretend and get passed, but her trick was seen through instantly by Shi Qingxue who knew her so well.
She suddenly felt embarrassed, and she put on the princess’s posture and angrily said, “Well! Shi Qingxue, how dare you to laugh at me! Don’t you want to be alive?”
Shi Qingxue was used to it that as long as she couldn’t argue against her, she would suppress her with her identity. And she didn’t answer to it. The princess wouldn’t do anything to her anyway. However, after Third Lady of Shi Family, Shi Baojin, heard it, she immediately criticized her seriously, “Qingxue, behave yourself! Do you forget all the etiquette the teacher has taught you?
Third Princess invites you kindly. Not only are you not grateful for it, but you made fun of Third Princess. Some people know that you are in good relationship with Third Princess. But those who don’t know about it will think that those of Shi Family are not taught well!”
This lengthy argument made Shi Qingxue and Mo Yuzhen stunned. They looked at each other, and they saw smiles in the eyes of each other.
Mo Yuzhen even laughed out impolitely and criticized straightforward, “I am talking to Qingxue. Are you qualified to interrupt? As you know that I am joking with Qingxue, you should shut your mouth up!”
Shi Baojin originally intended to please Mo Yuzhen, but she didn’t expect that she would be criticized. Suddenly her face turned red because of embarrassment, and she was so awkward that she even wanted to hide underneath the earth.
Fortunately, Empress Dowager came in, and everyone was silent for a while.
Empress Dowager, Ling Ruiyin, was 65 years old. She was the mother of Emperor. Her status was outstanding but she barely asked about the junior’s matter, and won much real respect from the junior because of this.
Empress Dowager looked around the whole banquet with her kind sight, and at last she looked at Shi Qingxue, who wore a light yellow Ru skirt. She couldn’t help but smile, “Xue, come here. I haven’t seen you for so long!”
Shi Qingxue paced to the front of Empress Dowager, and gave a blessing salute according to the rule. She said sweetly, “Your Majesty. I haven’t seen you for a long time and I miss Your Majesty so much! But Your Majesty looks rosy and dynamic, so Your Majesty definitely doesn’t miss me much!”
In the whole Mo Dynasty, maybe only Shi Qingxue dared to talk rudely like this but still made Empress Dowager delightful.
“You this little girl. You really…” When Empress Dowager heard Shi Qingxue’s words, she burst into laughter.
Among all those words complimenting that she looked great, however, only Shi Qingxue’s words made her especially pleasant. She pinched her nose and pretended to scold her, laughing, “I haven’t seen you in several days and you learn to flatter!”
Shi Qingxue obediently let Empress Dowager make fun with her. She was about to please Empress Dowager, when she suddenly saw that Shi Baoning was sitting alone in the crowd, as if she was isolated.
She rolled her bright eyes around, and she pouted and murmured deliberately, “Well, I am telling the truth, but Your Majesty just doesn’t believe me. I see. It’s surely because that Your Majesty sees my sister here and Your Majesty doesn’t like me anymore!”
When other noble ladies from aristocratic families saw Shi Qingxue courting in front of Empress Dowager again, they were jealous and disdainful in hearts. But it was useless.
Anyway, as long as Shi Qingxue was here, Empress Dowager wouldn’t notice them.
But they didn’t expect that Shi Qingxue dared to openly strive for Shi Baoning’s being favored in front of Empress Dowager. She acted so improperly. Would Empress Dowager do as she wished?
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