It was the spring season again.
Nie Bufan leaned on the second floor railing of the restaurant, watching the carriages passing by on the street, and exclaimed: “There are so many rich people!”
The news of the arrival of the Tian Nu had been circulating since last year. Young talents from all over the country have gathered in Xishan City. Not only men, but also even some young ladies have come all the way, in order to find a good marriage. Xishan City it seemed, had become a holy place for marriage hunting.
Nie Bufan turned towards Zhang Junshi and Li Yi and said: “The Tian Nu has not shown up yet, how does she plan to choose her husband?”
Zhang Junshi replied: “The Mistress of Divining Heaven Palace have sent people to buy a manor in Xishan City and renamed it ‘Fragrant Illuminating Garden’. Soon, young talents and young ladies of noble birth will be invited to participate in the garden party. The young ladies will be able to receive an invitation as long as they have a certain family status. But there are only forty-nine invitations for the young men. Forty-nine Jadeites sent by the tian nu will first do the screening, only the ones suitable will be given one of the 49 invitations.”
“Screening? How to screen?” Nie Bufan looked curious.
“It’s hard to say, at least you have to have a good impression on the Jadeite, looks and mannerisms are prerequisites.”
Nie Bufan looked at Zhang Junshi, then at Li Yi, and nodded: “Well, the three of us at least meet this prerequisite.”
Zhang Junshi shook his head amusedly, and continued: “Forty-nine Jadeites each have an invitation card on them. They will choose people according to their own preferences. Sometimes they just chat with you briefly, sometimes they will give a difficult problem that you must solve. But there are also several people who don’t need to go through this much trouble to get an invitation, such as the royal family members.”
“What about you two?” Nie Bufan looked at them and asked, “Have you figured out how to get the invitation?”
“I already have one.” Zhang Junshi smiled.
“How did you get it?” Nie Bufan asked in surprise. As far as he knew, Zhang Junshi was just a merchant.
Zhang Junshi said casually: “I sold Fragrant Illuminating Garden to the Mistress of Divining Heaven Palace.”
“So that’s it.” Nie Bufan looked at Li Yi, “What about Li Fourth?”
Li Yi didn’t answer, just drank his tea slowly.
Zhang Junshi replied for him: “With brother Li’s background, I believe he already has one.”
“What is the background of Li Fourth, don’t tell me it’s the Emperor’s relative?”
“No.” Li Yi said lightly, “Just a family of officials.”
Just a family of officials? The corner of Zhang Junshi’s mouth twitched. Since the founding of the country, the Li family had been granted hereditary nobility. And from the Li family came three prime ministers, two generals, four Shangshu, and the number of officials under the fifth rank was even more uncountable. The family of Li was well-known for its loyalty and talent, surviving for hundreds of years and was the most longstanding evergreen tree in the imperial court. (TN: Shangshu=high official)
Nie Bufan did not delve into Li Yi’s identity. He frowned and thought for a while, then said in a conflicted manner: “You all have one so I can’t fall behind.”
“Do you also want to find a Jadeite for an invitation?”
“Maybe.” Nie Bufan tapped his forehead with a finger, and said seriously, “I suddenly thought that this kind of invitation could also be stolen, right?”
“Steal?” Zhang Junshi disagreed, “Do you know why there is only one invitation card for every Jadeite? Because each invitation card is unique and the stolen invitation card will be invalidated. Additionally, the person who steals the invitation card will also be ineligible to attend.”
“Oh?” Nie Bufan said with a strange expression, “In this case, I can steal an invitation first, and then replace it with someone else’s, this way I can get rid of a competitor without amyone being the wiser.”
How darkly evil are you?
Zhang Junshi and Li Yi were both speechless.
“Even simpler, I can steal directly from a person who got the invitation!”
“You better stop such troublemaking strand of thought.” Zhang Junshi rubbed his forehead and said, “If you really want to go, I will help you find a way.”
Nie Bufan shook his head and tutted, “If I use your help, doesn’t it seem that I am too incompetent?”
“Then what do you want to do?” Zhang Junshi rolled his eyes, “Let me first remind you that you cannot use improper means.”
“Ah-la~, am I such a person?” Nie Bufan waved his hand.
Zhang and Li gave him a slanted 60 degree angle look of contempt.
“Can anyone tell me where I can find a Jadeite?”
“Look, there is one right there.” Zhang Junshi pointed to a place not far away from them.
Nie Bufan leaned forward and saw a seventeen or eighteen year old girl walking towards this side. She was dressed in a light blue and silver-rimmed robe. Her hair was simply tied into a ponytail without any accessories, looking very refreshing and neat. Behind her, there were dozens of people not far away, probably the servants of some Gongzi and young masters, planning to see where this Jadeite will settle down so that they could report back to their master and make a visit.
Nie Bufan raised his hand and shouted, “Lady Jadeite, look over here, do you want to have a meal with us and have a chat?”
This yelling voice caused the surrounding people to suddenly fall into silence.
Zhang Junshi covered his face. He had never seen anyone speak this way to a Jadeite, careless and unruly.
Everyone downstairs were also contemptuous of this hothead in their hearts. If this can even attract a Jadeite then what are they doing following with such difficulty?
But what caused everyone to be stunned was that the Jadeite actually walked towards the restaurant and went up to the second floor.
Everyone collectively turned into statues.
“Milady, please sit down.” Nie Bufan greeted the Jadeite, smiling as he pulled out a chair for her.
The Jadeite’s gaze swept across the three people present and was secretly impressed. One of them was graceful and elegant, one was stoic and unflustered, and the third was like a spring breeze, all of them were superior in manner and aura.
“How may I refer to milady?” Nie Bufan asked politely.
“Jadeites have no name, you can just call me Nineteen. And how may I refer to the three Gongzi here?”
“Humbly yours, Nie Bufan.” Nie Bufan cupped his hands in greeting.
Jadeite Nineteen raised her eyebrows, it was the first time she heard such a simple introduction. However, just looking at the appearance and manners of these three people, they must come from good backgrounds.
“Don’t know which one of you want the invitation card in Nineteen’s hand?” Nineteen asked directly.
“Me.” Nie Bufan raised his hand excitedly.
Nineteen smiled at him: “Then how does Gongzi want to win it?”
Nie Bufan calmly replied: “Literary or martial arts, it is according to the milady’s wishes.”
As soon as these words came out, both Zhang and Li had on weird expressions.
“I didn’t expect Gongzi to be well versed in literary and military matters.” Nineteen however did not catch the looks of the other two people, and just continued, “In that case, I won’t test Gongzi’s literary and martial talent, instead I will test Gongzi on something else.”
“Please speak.” Nie Bufan was calm and composed.
“I passed the market just now and accidentally lost my handkerchief. I wonder if Gongzi can find it for me within the burning of a stick of incense?”
“Don’t know what milady’s handkerchief look like?”
“White silk with two plum blossoms embroidered on one corner.”
“If I find it, does that mean I will win the invitation?”
“If I am satisfied.”
“Okay, I will definitely help milady find it.” Nie Bufan agreed.
Nineteen was quite surprised, the other seemed confident, looking for one lost handkerchief was like finding a needle in a haystack. Why was he so sure about finding it?
Nie Bufan stood up, clapped his hands, and immediately from the corner two roosters walked out. One of them was naturally the loyal Lady Flower, and the other was a new member of Chicken Nest Village, the beautiful as a painting ‘Hero’. It had colorful feathers and was the most gorgeous and proud brother among all the chickens. Recently, because of Hero’s bad mood, Nie Bufan decided to take it out for a walk to avoid depression setting in and causing trouble for everyone.
Nineteen looked stunned when she saw two roosters suddenly appear in the room, especially when seeing that colorful fellow. A trace of surprise flashed in her eyes, and she couldn’t help asking: “This is?”
“My bodyguards.” Nie Bufan replied quite proudly.
“Oh, it’s……it’s quite chic.” It took a long while for Nineteen to come up with such a word.
“If you can please wait, Lady Nineteen, I will be back soon. Zhang Third Gongzi and Li Fourth Gongzi, please entertain Lady Nineteen. If I can’t find anyone when I come back, I will have Pokey accompany you when you sleep.” Pokey was a hedgehog chicken, its entire body of feathers were hard and sharp, and will even give off a peculiar smell. These two people will absolutely not be able to stand it.
Sure enough, both Zhang and Li had disgusted expressions on their faces.
After saying this, Nie Bufan led the two chickens out of the room.
After going out, Nie Bufan knelt down and whispered, “Did you smell it carefully?”
Lady Flower puffed up his chest with a natural self-confident look.
“Good, you lead Hero to find it together. The sooner the better, if you are picked up by someone, you are allowed to use force.”
Lady Flower clucked proudly, raised his head, sniffed the air, and then rushed off with Hero.
Nie Bufan waved his hand at their backs and exhaled as if some big issue was taken care of, then turned around and found a noodle stall, ordered a bowl of spring noodles, and ate it leisurely.
There was no choice, there wasn’t any time to eat the food just now, he was too hungry.
Just after eating two bowls of noodles, Lady Flower and Hero ran back, holding something in his beak. Nie Bufan took it over and frowned, “It’s not this one, but the one embroidered with plum blossoms, do you know plum blossom?”
He drew a picture on the floor with chopsticks. Lady Flower tilted his head to look, then nodded cautiously, and ran off again.
After a while, they once again appeared with another piece. This time the plum blossoms were there, but it was not white.
So the search continued.
The third time, Lady Flower actually brought back a bra……
After going back and forth several times, finally the target was found.
White silk handkerchief, with two plum blossoms embroidered on one corner, this was it!
Nie Bufan smiled widely, the time was just right.
He returned to the restaurant triumphantly and handed the handkerchief to Nineteen.
Nineteen’s expression when she got the handkerchief was very strange, blue and white in the face. After a while she asked, “Where did Gongzi find it?”
Nineteen took a deep breath, her fingers trembled a bit, she hadn’t lost the handkerchief at all, this handkerchief should have been in her room! The reason she used the excuse of losing her handkerchief was just to test the other’s reaction.
Who knew that he could truly find the handkerchief? Doesn’t this mean that he had sneaked into her room?
She had always been cautious when she went out, and Divining Heaven Palace’s clothes were also changed in other places. At present, few people knew where she lived, even if they do know, they would not trespass.
What is the matter with this person in front of her?
Did he really think he can pass by taking a handkerchief from her room? What delusion!
“What’s the matter?” Nie Bufan asked her after seeing her strange expression, “Is there something wrong? Isn’t this your handkerchief?”
“This is mine.” Nineteen gritted her teeth.
“That’s good.” Nie Bufan said with a smile, “So, can I get the invitation card?”
In your dreams! Nineteen yelled in her heart, but said with a fake smile on her face: “Sorry, you didn’t pass.”
“Why?” Nie Bufan said unhappily, “Didn’t I find the handkerchief for you?”
“Hmph, just where you found it, you know it in your own heart, why should I say more?”
“I don’t know!” Nie Bufan retorted without hesitation, “Could the place where you dropped your handkerchief be somewhere unsightly?”
“Don’t pretend to be confused!” Nineteen threw out her previous image of a refined lady, and said angrily, “This handkerchief had never been lost!”
Nie Bufan was silent for a while, then suddenly said, “So, your handkerchief had been in your room all this time?”
“What do you think?” Nineteen exclaimed angrily.
“I truly didn’t know this. I thought it was picked up by someone else. Who knew that that was your room?”
“You dare to lie! If you hadn’t known where I was living originally, how could you find what I wanted so quickly despite having no clues?”
“You look down on me too much, I never lie!” Nie Bufan replied confidently, as if he was in the right and with justice on his side.
Lies! Both Zhang and Li, who had been watching from the side, at the same time thought this in their hearts.
“Knowing others, knowing their face but not knowing the heart, you say you don’t lie then you don’t lie?”
“Then what do you want to do?” Nie Bufan said in a righteous manner, “I will never allow others to insult my integrity casually.”
What is Nie Bufan’s integrity like? Both Zhang and Li slandered silently.
Nineteen’s face reddened and said fiercely: “If you want to prove your innocence, unless your chicken can speak! Otherwise I will never give you an invitation.”
“Are you sure? Have the chicken speak?” Nie Bufan revealed a deep and profound expression.
“Yes!” Nineteen pointed at the two chickens on the ground, “If you are really capable, let them testify for you.”
Nie Bufan picked up Hero and said with melancholy: “Your master is questioned by others, what do you think should be done?”
Hero’s eyes peered around, looking as innocent as if he didn’t understand.
Nineteen sneered and said, “Alright, don’t pretend to be pitiful. I’ve lost too much time here, so I won’t keep you company anymore.”
Saying so, she turned around and was about to leave. At that moment, a sharp and weird voice suddenly came from behind: “Milady, walk slowly.”
Nineteen’s figure paused, turning her head, she saw the colorful chicken standing on the arm of the chair, raising his head and saying: “I am Hero, hello milady.”
Nineteen’s mouth opened and closed pointing to Hero and stuttered: “You are talking.”
Hero spread his wings, clucked a few times, and said, “Cheer up, milady, do you need help?”
This time, not only was Nineteen in a daze, even Zhang Junshi and Li Yi were stiff as if they were struck by lightning.
After a while, Nineteen left the room in a daze, while Nie Bufan took the invitation and turned it over with interest.
Zhang Junshi and Li Yi looked at each other and couldn’t help but ask about the talking chicken.
Nie Bufan glanced at them contemptuously: “You have been in Chicken Nest Village for so long, but your knowledge of Chicken Nest Village is still so superficial?”
The two were silent.
“In Chicken Nest Village, there is only the unimaginable, never the impossible. Anything is possible so long as you can imagine it.”
Indeed, chickens can even talk, what else can’t be impossible?
At this time, they heard Nie Bufan mutter again: “If I put this invitation card out for auction, how much money can I make?”
Both Zhang and Li suddenly sympathized with Nineteen and her master……
On the other side, when Nineteen returned to her residence, she found that the room was in a mess. The cabinets and dressers had been turned over. The clothes and silk handkerchiefs were scattered all over the place. Occasionally there were some chicken feathers interspersed with several distinctive claw prints. What’s more maddening was her bra, bra, bra!
Damn Nie Bufan! Don’t let her meet him again!
TN: Merry Christmas and happy holidays! Thank you again for all the support!
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