The Reborn Noble Girl is Hard to Find | Chapter 37: Counter Every Move

If she had known that man was Prince Xuanqing, she would have preferred being discovered rather than boldly doing such a thing!


Feeling both regretful and worried, Deng Chan noticed her unusual expression and softly asked, “Could it be that you really fancy him? It’s fine to look, but with his status, families like ours shouldn’t even dream about it.”


Prince Xuanqing held significant power and was personally outstanding. Marrying into a family of such high status was far beyond the reach of someone like her, the legitimate daughter of a third-ranked official.


Han Yan shook her head. “I wouldn’t dare. Don’t tease me. But I think you and General Cheng are quite a match. Your families are well-matched. How about…”


Deng Chan blushed. “Stop teasing me.” Her face showed the shyness of a young girl.


Han Yan was moved. In her previous life, Deng Chan married a bureaucrat from the Hanlin Academy but met an untimely death at a young age. Could she change her fate in this life? Deng Chan seemed to have feelings for General Cheng, and their families were well-matched. Just now, Han Yan observed Cheng Lei and found him to be upright and principled. Considering this, she thought she might be able to change Deng Chan’s fate before her father’s demotion in a year.


Lost in thought, Deng Chan pushed her. “What are you daydreaming about? Try these dishes. The palace cooks really do make exceptional food.”


Han Yan collected her thoughts, picked up her chopsticks, and tasted a pastry, finding it delicious. She smiled with delight.


“I told you so,” Deng Chan said, seeing Han Yan smile. She picked up a crystal lotus seed jade pastry, sprinkled with translucent sesame seeds, aromatic and cute in shape. Han Yan couldn’t help but feel happy.


A disdainful scoff came from beside her. “Such a gluttonous look. Anyone who didn’t know better would think you were some servant. What kind of smile is that! Your behavior reflects your status.”


Han Yan was taken aback and saw Li Jiaqi sitting nearby with a mocking smile and disdainful eyes.


The seating arrangement for the banquet was clear, with women and men seated separately. The ladies and young women sat apart, with most sitting near their close friends. Since Han Yan had distanced herself from other young ladies after her mother fell ill, she had no friends, sitting only with Deng Chan. The ladies at the table seemed to consider Li Jiaqi the highest in status. When Han Yan was previously harassed, these ladies sided with Li Jiaqi instead of defending her. Now, they all looked at Han Yan with disdainful and contemptuous eyes.


Adding insult to injury was a common behavior. Moreover, Li Jiaqi was the daughter of the Right Chancellor, and her words carried weight. Even if Han Yan was right, these ladies would side with Li Jiaqi.


Zhuang Yushan timidly spoke up, “Miss Li, don’t say that. Sister Yan is still young. It’s a rare opportunity for her to join us at the banquet. She might just be too happy.”


Her words seemed to defend Han Yan but subtly implied that Han Yan was immature and not usually favored, hence her inappropriate behavior.


Did they think Han Yan was a fool?


Li Jiaqi was pleased and looked even more provokingly at Han Yan.


Han Yan said nothing, quietly looking at Zhuang Yushan, her smile unwavering and her expression calm. Deng Chan, who had wanted to speak for Han Yan, seeing her demeanor, decided to watch the unfolding drama instead.


Han Yan smiled at Zhuang Yushan until the latter couldn’t bear it anymore, her face changing. “Why are you smiling, Sister Yan?”


Han Yan innocently shrugged. “Today’s banquet is hosted by the Emperor and Empress, and all the arrangements, including the food and decor, were instructed by the Empress. Everyone knows how meticulous her arrangements are. I praised the pastry for its excellence, reflecting well on the Empress and the Emperor. What’s wrong with that? I smiled to express my joy. Should I cry instead? Sister Yushan said I was impolite.”


She sat upright, smiling gracefully. “One shouldn’t laugh excessively, eat hastily, sit like a pine tree, and speak gently. These are the manners of a noble lady. Sister Yushan, which of these have I violated?”


Zhuang Yushan, not expecting Han Yan to retort in front of everyone, was both angry and frustrated, unable to refute her. Forced to suppress her anger, she grudgingly said, “None.”


The other young ladies fell silent. Earlier, the Empress Dowager and the Empress’s praises had already made them envious of Han Yan. Now, with Zhuang Yushan’s instigation and Li Jiaqi’s opposition, they wanted to suppress Han Yan’s rising status. But Han Yan’s calm retort and her recitation of the “Women’s Virtues” from memory showed she wasn’t to be underestimated.


Han Yan smiled slightly. In her previous life, her only joy while confined to her home was reading. The Zhuang family had many ancient books, and Zhuang Yushan wasn’t interested in them, leaving them to Han Yan. Although she disliked these constraints, she memorized the “Women’s Virtues” hoping to please Wei Ruwen after marriage. However, that didn’t turn out well. Han Yan lowered her head, hiding her deep thoughts, and when she looked up again, she was smiling brightly at Li Jiaqi. Her voice was sweet and pleasant. “Since I haven’t violated any manners, it must be Sister Yushan’s mistake. I found the pastry delicious. What do you think, Miss Li?”


Li Jiaqi sneered at her. “Such petty thoughts. It’s just a pastry. Even the dogs in my house wouldn’t eat it.”


Her words created an awkward silence. Realizing she might have insulted the other ladies, Li Jiaqi briefly regretted her words. But recalling her high status, she regained her confidence.


Han Yan looked at her calmly and gave Deng Chan a reassuring glance. Li Jiaqi wasn’t a fool, as shown by her initial regret. But she had chosen the wrong opponent. Han Yan intended to give her a taste of her own medicine.


“So, Miss Li feeds royal pastries to dogs?” Han Yan’s words shocked everyone.

“What nonsense are you spouting? When did I say that? Zhuang Han Yan, you’re slandering me!” Li Jiaqi’s shrill voice attracted the attention of nearby ladies and men.

  • 29 June 2024