The Reborn Noble Girl is Hard to Find | Chapter 34: The Talented Youths of the Capital

Chapter 34: The Talented Youths of the Capital


Han Yan obediently walked over to the Empress, who patted her head, her voice somewhat anxious: “Did you really see a Golden-Winged Sparrow?”

Han Yan was a bit fearful yet also delighted, “It’s true! It was the first time I’ve ever seen one, so I got so excited and lost my way,” she cautiously looked at the Empress and added, “The bird’s feathers were shining with a golden light, quite like the trim on Your Majesty’s dress.”

As soon as she finished speaking, a stern voice snapped, “How dare you! How can you compare Her Majesty to an animal?”

Han Yan looked up to see it was Miss Li, who was now standing, glaring at her with anger.

The Empress waved her hand, somewhat displeased: “Jiaqi, how can a young lady be so rash? Let Miss Zhuang finish her words.”

Han Yan pouted slightly and said earnestly, “The Golden-Winged Sparrow is not an animal. My mother once told me that it is the incarnation of a guardian deity. Wherever the Golden-Winged Sparrow is, that family will be blessed with prosperity and numerous descendants. I just thought that since Her Majesty is also a blessed person, having aided the Emperor all these years, it is because of Your Majesty’s fortune that our empire thrives. Moreover, the sparrow’s noble feather color is much like Your Majesty’s elegance. In that sense, Your Majesty is like the incarnation of the Golden-Winged Sparrow on earth. But while the sparrow guards a small family, Your Majesty guards the entire nation!”

As women, naturally, they enjoyed hearing such praises. The other ladies present often flattered the Empress, but none as cleverly as Han Yan. In a single sentence, she praised the Empress’s noble status, her innate grace, and the nation’s fortune attributed to her. The Empress, as the head of the six palaces, had heard many compliments over the years, but none had been so pleasant to her ears. Han Yan’s compliments were grand and satisfying, making the Empress involuntarily smile. Looking down at Han Yan’s innocent face, she felt even more affectionate towards her: “You child, what are you saying? The country’s prosperity is due to the Emperor and the valiant generals and ministers who protect it. I am just a woman, how could I have such abilities.”

Han Yan tilted her head, and suddenly a loud laugh came from behind: “Zitong, there’s no need to be modest. I think the young girl is right; you are indeed my lucky star!”

Han Yan looked up and saw the Emperor approaching with several courtiers. He must have heard her previous words.

The Empress was taken aback, a flash of joy in her eyes, and quickly stood up to bow: “Your Majesty.”

The surrounding ladies also knelt to pay their respects, but the Emperor, appearing very pleased, said: “No need for formalities.” Then he turned to the Empress and said, “Zitong, I heard what Miss Li said. It seems our great empire’s prosperity has indeed attracted auspicious birds.”

The Empress smiled faintly, “It is all due to Your Majesty’s wise governance.”

The Emperor looked at her with satisfaction, “You have also played your part!”

It had been a long time since the Emperor had spoken so kindly to her. The Empress was overjoyed, blushing slightly. When she looked at Han Yan again, her eyes were filled with tenderness.

The Emperor’s unexpected arrival during the plum blossom viewing was a minor incident. After he stayed for a while, he left, and the plum garden gradually regained its previous liveliness.

Han Yan sat beside the Empress, conversing obediently. After the earlier incident, many of the ladies present looked at Han Yan differently, with some even considering getting closer to her.

Throughout, Han Yan maintained a cheerful demeanor, responding to the Empress’s questions in a way that was very pleasing, enhancing her lovable image. The Empress grew genuinely fond of her.

Meanwhile, Zhuang Yushan’s face was extremely unpleasant. She had not anticipated that her plan to trouble Han Yan would backfire, giving Han Yan a chance to shine. The Emperor had praised Han Yan several times before he left, and now the Empress had her sitting beside her, making Zhuang Yushan feel a pang of jealousy.

Madam Zhou was busy socializing with the other ladies. Though she resented Han Yan’s luck, paving the way for Zhuang Yushan was more crucial. Opportunities to enter the palace were rare and had to be seized.

While chatting and laughing, Han Yan didn’t forget to observe Miss Li Jiaqi. She noticed that Li Jiaqi kept staring at her, her hostility evident. Han Yan was puzzled.

There is no such thing as baseless enmity. Why does Li Jiaqi target her?

If Li Jiaqi’s hostility was clear, another scrutinizing gaze was making Han Yan feel pressured.

Picking up a piece of pastry, Han Yan masked her thoughts, glancing towards the Empress Dowager beside Consort Li.

The scrutinizing gaze from the Empress Dowager was enigmatic. Han Yan couldn’t fathom its meaning, but since their first encounter, the Empress Dowager’s attitude had been very intriguing. The jade bracelet in her embroidered pouch seemed to heat up.

Unable to figure it out, Han Yan decided to set the matter aside and focus on appreciating the plum blossoms. Although the white plum blossoms in this garden were beautiful, they couldn’t compare to the red plum forest. Since the Empress chose this place for viewing, perhaps the other place was not accessible to everyone or held some secret.

Han Yan had no interest in the secrets of the palace. Usually, the more secrets one knows, the sooner they meet their end. Instead, her thoughts wandered to the handsome man she had encountered earlier. The memory of hiding in his cloak made her blush.

He seemed to move freely within the palace, indicating his high status. She hoped not to encounter him again, not wanting to suffer the cold again.

The time spent admiring the plum blossoms passed quickly, and soon the sky began to darken. The Empress stood up and said to the assembled ladies: “It’s getting late, the banquet should be ready. Let’s go take our seats.”

Han Yan watched the Empress. Her manner of inviting them seemed warm and natural, like an ordinary official’s wife, yet she exuded elegance and nobility befitting the leader of the six palaces.

Deep in thought, Han Yan lowered her head. Learning such a demeanor from the Empress might be useful in the future.

She then followed the ladies towards the banquet hall.

The banquet was held in a grand hall, with a long lake dug in front of it. The lake’s banks were adorned with small glass lanterns shaped like golden tortoises, which reflected beautifully in the water when lit.

The sky was dark, with no stars or moon, and the thick snow covered the ground for miles. Red lanterns under the eaves cast a joyful glow, illuminating the snow. The palace maids, dressed in matching jackets, held silver trays, welcoming the ladies.

The grand hall was divided into sections for male and female guests. Since it was a royal celebration, there was no screen separating them. The young women present looked expectant, their eyes shining with excitement, though they kept their heads lowered in compliance with etiquette.

Deng Chan nudged Han Yan’s arm: “I heard General Cheng will be returning today. We might get to see this brave general.”

Han Yan smiled at her: “He just has two eyes and a mouth like everyone else. What’s there to see that’s so special?”

  • 27 June 2024