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“To be honest, I did not want to hide anything from you. The reason why I suggested her for a senior concubine at that time was that I wanted to figure out any other information.” Qiu Yelan explained thoroughly. She said, “However, after that the tomb of my grandfather was dug up and then the Gu was killed. How could I catch up with this matter when I was so engaged?”

Xin Fubing squinted and smiled, “How hard would it be? No matter what happened, Princess Qi has no choice but to go to the farm outside the Palace to recuperate. The Mansion of Prince of Qi needs to be in charge by someone. Empress Dowager likes Ni Jin so much. Though she used to be a maid, she is so sophisticated. Besides, she used to serve Empress Dowager for so many years and their relationship cannot be neglected. If she becomes a concubine, both Prince of Qi and Concubine Tong will be pleasant.”

“It is just because Empress Dowager adores her. It looks like poaching from Empress Dowager, doesn’t it?” Qiu Yelan peeled an orange, cleaned the tangerine pith, divided it into three, and then gave away to them, “Otherwise I will say something, after all Empress Dowager treats me well.”

“Wait!” Zhuang Man took over the orange and reminded her, “Did Ni Jin say if she could be the concubine, she would help you handle with Niguang? I heard that Niguang still serves as an assistant for Empress Dowager. How could we allow her to be a concubine? She certainly has to help you and then Aunt Tianhe can intercede for her.”

Qiu Yelan said softly, “Is she waiting for my positive decision?”

“Do you want to let me deal with it?” Xin Fubing suggested, “My mother plans to bring me to renew acquaintance with Empress Dowager more often the next days. I will meet Nijin many times. I believe she won’t doubt my promise.”

“You are the future empress. Your promise will be more reliable than mine.” Qiu Yelan smiled, “I will leave it in your hands. This is a good deal. I just wear a formal dress to attend the banquet, but you help me handle such a trouble!”

Xin Fubing said carelessly, “It is my mother who will have a chat. I just pass the information for you.”

“So, you should have asked Aunt Tianhe to come back much earlier!” Zhuang Man said critically, “The branch of my sister-in-law is always exploited by others like the first branch and Maid Lin just because my aunt and her husband are not in Jing City all the year round. If my aunt were here, would they dare?”

“That’s easy for you to say. That is your aunt! She will never be bad to you. I am just a daughter-in-law.” Qiu Yelan did not agree with her. She thought, “Such a fierce mother-in-law will frequently humiliate me if she does not like me. How can I bear with that? I cannot imagine what the situation will be like.”

Thinking of that, she remembered what Jiang Yashuang said. Marquess Qin wanted him to stay in the court for three years. Around the year after the next year, he would send him to the Northern Army. By that time no matter she had a kid or not, she would be reluctant to separate with her husband for such a long time like Qiu Zhongyan and Princess Ruan, who were together for only several days after getting married.

But if she accompanied her husband to Beijiang, she would live with her father-in-law and mother-in-law.

“I hope my mother-in-law will treat her enemies ruthlessly like the autumn wind blows away leaves and treat her families warm-heartedly like spring, instead of not caring about others but her husband and children!” Qiu Yelan looked at Zhuang Man seriously, “It is wonderful if she will be like Man.”

Xin Fubing and Zhuang Man romped for a while and they finished the orange. Xin Fubing looked at the copper hourglass. She was about to ask maids to serve the dishes but she suddenly remembered, “Where is Xing? Why hasn’t she come?”

Qiu Yelan and Zhuang Man were also surprised. But it was because all of them were in Jing City and the Ou Family was the henchman of Marquess Qin. Even boys in the Jiang Family cannot bully them for no reason. So, they didn’t feel worried. They suggested, “Shall we go for a walk?”

Just as they were talking, maids led Ou Qinglan to them.

She was always fond of red. Today she wore a dark cloth with loose colour and the whip was still around her waist. She came in with a serious face.

“You are late, Xing!” Zhuang Man yelled at her loudly, “Do not explain. Drink three cups of wine to show your pardon!”

“Just three cups are not a big deal.” Ou Qinglan smiled slightly because of her yelling. she said with arms akimbo, “Let’s battle! I make a concession for three jars.”

Hearing that, Zhuang Man, a trouble maker, stood straight, showing a holy face, and pretended to say angrily, “Ridiculous! We are girls from respectable families! How can we battle?”

Xin Fubing kept nodding her head as her fear was on her face. It was easy to tell that the two were once bullied by Ou Qinglan and so they have emotional shadows.

Seeing the situation, Qiu Yelan smiled as a sense of honor appeared. She decided, “Ok! Let’s battle! What if you lose?”

“Yelan, do not mind! ” Zhuang Man and Xin Fubing didn’t know Qiu Yelan’s capacity for liquor. They stopped her hurriedly, “Xing was born in Beijiang. It is cold in winter so no matter boys and girls can drink in order to keep warm. Her father took chopsticks to stain wine to feed her when she was just a few days old. When she was three years old she could accompany her father to drink every day. Last time we did not know, so we were plied with drink heavily. We had serious headaches and even could not get up.”

Ou Qinglan said quickly, “I can make a concession for three jars!”

“It doesn’t matter!” Qiu Yelan said generously. She was so confident, “Let’s have a fair battle!”


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“Do you have a great capacity for liquor?” Knowing that Qiu Yelan was not an aggressive person, Zhuang Man and Xin Fubing were full of expectations. They looked at each other and opened their wallet, “I bet Yelan will win!”

And then Zhuang Man and Xin Fubing got sleepy. The battle of the capacity of liquor between Ou Qinglan and Qiu Yelan cannot appear a winner.

“When will they finish?” Xin Fubing said faintly, “The dishes were cold.”

“Why did we have a headache for so many days?” Zhuang Man said calmly, “It seems that her capacity of liquor is abnormal!”

Xin Fubing said with a fainter voice, “Don’t you think Yelan was scarier? She even doesn’t blush! Xing has already blushed!”

“Let’s eat!” Zhuang Man caught the chopsticks, “Otherwise, we could only look at them today.”

They were envious of their capacity of liquor, while Ou Qinglan and Qiu Yelan were in higher spirits. Finally, Ou Qinglan threw her wine jar away, “Stop!”

“Why?” Qiu Yelan asked her confusedly, “I think you still can drink, don’t you?”

“Today we came here to attend the banquet. If we continue, Fu Bing and Man will hate us!” Ou Qinglan made faces to her with a smile and she commended her, “I thought you were a delicate girl. I did not imagine you are a master when you are drinking! Do not mention Jiang Yashuang, my brother cannot catch up with you!”

Hearing that, Zhuang Man and Xin Fubing breathed a sigh of relief,” We finally come to your mind!”

Xin Fubing hurried to ask maids to fetch hot soup. She sent through the hot handkerchief by herself, “The dishes have already got cold. Let me ask maids to serve some new dishes!”

It was because the drinking battle had wasted some time and though the banquet only had three guests, the night had almost fallen when it finished.


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It got dark early in the winter. The carriage was just on the way when the sky darkened.

Qiu Yelan saw she had already separated with Zhuang Man and Ou Qinglan and so asked Su He, “Go to check out why Xing was late today.”

Su He promised. She asked puzzledly, “Madame, do you think Miss Ou runs into trouble? But for her family background, who can get her trouble?”

“There must be something wrong!” Qiu Yelan rubbed her head, “Her expression was upset when she just walked in. She asked Man to drink with her. It was definitely to conceal her feelings. I thought she wanted to cry in her wine!”

Though the possibility that Ou Qinglan became her sister-in-law was small, after two years of acquaintance, they had feelings for each other. Qiu Yelan could not help her with her marriage, but she would spare no effort to help her at any other matters.”

When they got to the Marquess’s Mansion, the sky was completely dark.

Since Madame Tao gave An to Qiu Yelan to raise, she treated Qiu Yelan much more considerate than before. At this time, she particularly sent maids to wait for her at the gate, telling her that the night was long in winter and she didn’t have to pay respect to Madame Tao.

Qiu Yelan thanked that maid and asked Xiaran to give her a piece of silver. She went back to her own yard and met with Jiang Yashuang in the corridor, “Are you going outside?”

“Seeing that you have not come back, I want to pick you up.” Jiang Yashuang held her hand, complaining, “You can go to Cousin Xin’s place anytime you want. Why do you go home so late? Take care of the cold wind!”

After saying that he smelled the wine around her, he said unhappily, “How much wine did you drink? The alcohol smell did not melt away all the way back.”

“Xing seemed disappointed and so I accompanied her to drink!” Qiu Yelan explained with a sentence. When she was about to talk, Jiang Yashuang sighed, “Tomorrow or the day after tomorrow you can ask her to come, I will tell her.”

Qiu Yelan could not figure out whether the disappointment on Ou Qinglan’s face was for Qiu Jinglan or not and so she answered vaguely.

“Today there is a reason why I ask you to come back earlier.” Jiang Yashuang said, “Ling Zui came back!”

“Is he?” Qiu Yelan was stunned and then she was surprised, “Just now? Did he come here or ask anyone else to send a message?”

“Just now. He did not even go to Princess Royal’s Mansion. He straightly came here to see how is it going with you. Hearing that you were not at home, he tried to set my words. He said he would go to the Li Family to see Sister Ruan and go back to Princess Royal’s Mansion at last!” Jiang Yashuang hummed, “I was wondering whether he would get punched after Princess Royal heard his words.”

Qiu Yelan smiled, “Are you mad because he doubted you treated me bad? You cannot blame him. My brother asked him to take care of me and my cousin when he left. However, he was forced by Princess Royal to go to the South till today. Didn’t he keep his promise?”

Jiang Yashuang’s face was sullen,” Was I the person who maltreat my own wife?” He glanced at her, “It is you who maltreat me!”

“When did I maltreat you?” Qiu Yelan was puzzled.

“You stand by his side. You don’t consider my feelings!” Jiang Yashuang said that confidently, “Is it you who maltreat me?”

Qiu Yelan gave him a supercilious look, “Since I have missed him today, let’s ask him to come here tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. I believe he wants to know my brother’s situation. The south is not as convenient as Jing City when someone wants to send a letter.”

She did not expect that the next day when she invited Ling Zui to come in the afternoon, he told her something that surprised her, “Sister Qiu, I have heard that Xue Fangmi, the b*tch, bullied you many times, didn’t she? Why don’t you send someone to the south to tell me? If you tell me earlier, do you need Jiang Yashuang to make a scheme to drive her away? A letter written by me can put her to death. Of course, she will die right away!”

Qiu Yelan looked at her husband with surprise, ” Didn’t you promise you wouldn’t kill her?”

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