Summary of the last chapter:
Mingxia's grandmother has schedule for her to take her classes with Mingxue. Not wanting to abide by this arrangement, she crept out before the teachers arrive and remembers that she still has a debt to pay. She arrives at the Water Lotus Pavilion and begins her work.
She was suddenly called to go to VIP room 1 and she find out that Zong Qiu, the second prince, was the one waiting for her. By accident the two finds themselves in an awkward position and Mingxia quickly leaves the room with a flushed face.
__________________________________________________Xing softly stared at her mistress with gentle eyes. She was an orphan and was taken in by her uncle and aunt. Her village was attacked and burned when she was still a baby and her parents died in the fire. Her aunt and uncle promised to raise her till she was 14 before leaving her to fend for herself. She gratefully accepted knowing her uncle and aunt could have thrown her out in the streets as a beggar long ago, but they chose to let her leave when she was older and more mature.
She walked from the outskirts of the country in the freezing snow to one of the largest cities in Zong Country, Crystal City. There she stumbled upon the Wei household, in need of servants and maids. She jumped at the chance and was recruited. For three months she was working in the kitchen tending the fire when she was suddenly chosen to serve Lady Mingxia. She didn't understand at first but she obeyed her orders.
When she started the first day she found out that the rumoured tomboy lady was really a tomboy. Somedays, Mingxia would flip over the wall and sneak out in boys clothing. But there were also days where Mingxia would stay at home and read books for long hours. It was like she had two sides of her that would come out on different days. In Xing's eyes this was what makes Lady Mingxia, Lady Mingxia.
Xing may be young but she understood what loyalty was and vowed to be loyal to Lady Mingxia for life.
She went into the closet and retrieved a blanket to place over Mingxia. After that, she blew out the candles and exited the room.
The next morning she awoke at dawn, like the many other servants, and went to the washroom to prepare Mingxia's outfit. As she walked over she heard the other female servants gossiping like usual. She pretended to ignore it but the topic they were talking about caught her attention.
"-Spring Banquet." a servant said.
"I heard that the lady of the Luo family can't go this year."
"Oh really! Why though?"
"You haven't heard what happened last year? The Queen Dowager wanted her to marry to the sixth prince but she rejected it. As a result her father was demoted and she was banned from ever entering the imperial palace."
"What? That's so cruel."
"Yeah, but it's her fault from rejecting the Queen dowager."
"Why would she reject him? If she didn't, she could have been a Prince Consort by now."
"Probably because she wasn't going to be married as a consort."
"Don't tell me she is going to marry as the second wife."
"No, she was given to the sixth prince as just a concubine."
"Oh, no wonder. With her father's status she should be entitled to be at least a wife."
"Oh well, it doesn't concern about us."
"Anyways, I heard that Lady Mingxue and Mingxia are invited this year."
"They are invited every year even though there normally they wouldn't be."
"I can understand why Lady Mingxue is invited but Lady Mingxia. Sigh"
"I mean like didn't she change lately."
"Yeah, but she's still herself. Didn't you know she escaped class yesterday."
"She's been like that since young, you can't expect her to change everything."
Xing didn't hear the rest of their conversation, she walked out with Mingxia's dress and went straight to her lady's room.
"Xing, morning." Mingxia greeted as she yawned.
"La-Mingxia, why are you up so early? The sun just came up."
"Oh don't worry, I slept enough last night." Mingxia turned around and went back into her bedroom.
Xing helped Mingxia wash and get dressed into her favorite jade green robes.
"Mingxia, what is the Royal Spring Banquet?" Xing asked in a quiet voice.
"Hmm? Why do you ask?" Mingxia looked up at Xing.
"Nothing. Some maids were talking about it and I grew curious."
"The Royal Spring Banquet is one of the few events where ladies of nobility and princess can meet the princes or other sons of nobility. For young ladies like Mingxue, this would be one of the most important events in the year." Mingxia ended her statement with a blank face, like the banquet had nothing to do with her.
"I see. But I also heard that the Queen Dowager sometimes pair the princes with ladies." Xing's curiosity overflowed and her eyes sparkled.
"Hmmm. I guess you can say that the Royal Spring Banquet is a place for the Queen Dowager to play matchmaker then." Mingxia stood up and stretched before moving towards the door.
Outside, a young maid was waiting for her.
"Lady Mingxia, your father has summoned for your presence in the main hall." The young maid bowed and waited for Mingxia to respond.
"Looks like that time of year has come. Let's go Xing, can't let my father wait, can we?" Mingxia strolled off, following the maid to the main hall.
When they arrived, Mingxia saw that the entire family was there. Her father was sitting in the front on the left side with her grandmother on the right side. A wooden table separated the two. To her father's right hand sat Mingxue's mother, Tang Xiao Min, while her face held kindness, Mingxia could feel the daggers coming out of her eyes.
Beside Tang Xiao Min was Mingxue wearing her usual pale pink dress and innocent smile. Mingxia curtsied and sat in her chair next to grandmother.
"Now that Xia er is here, let's get to the reason why you are gathered here." Mingxia's father waved his hand and a servant handed Mingxue and Mingxia a light pink envelope.
Mingxue's eyes sparkled and she started to look excited while Mingxia held an expressionless face and only flipped the envelope side to side, investigating it.
'Just like last year.' She thought and set the envelope down, she didn't need to open it to know what was inside.
Mingxue, on the other hand couldn't wait and quickly opened it to pull out the invite inside.
| Royal Spring Banquet |
| It is a honor, to say that Lady Wei Mingxue is invited to this |
| year's Royal Spring Banquet. It will be held in the palace in the |
| Plum Blossom courtyard and the Royal Queen Dowager |
| will be the host of this year's banquet. |
| It will be a pleasure to have you there on the 24th of this month. |
"Father look! I'm invited to this year's Royal Spring Banquet!" Mingxue looked like a five year old as she said this.
Their father chuckled and stroked his grey beard. "Congratulations to both of my daughters for being invited. Now that you know the banquet is going to be held in a week, I expect for you two to be busy."
Mingxue nodded happily while Mingxia sat in her seat, nonchalant about what was happening.
"Xia er, are you alright. You seem quiet today." Her grandmother was first to notice and raised the other's attention.
"I'm fine grandmother, I just didn't sleep well." Mingxia flashed her a small smile and her grandmother smiled back.
"If you are tired you may leave first Xia er, there isn't much after this." Her grandmother said and patted her hand.
"Thank you grandmother. I shall excuse myself then." She got up and walked out with the pink envelope in her arm. Xing followed her and when she looked back she did not miss the dangerous look on Mingxue's face change back to innocent. Xing was shocked and prepared to ask when she saw that Mingxia has not lift her expressionless face yet and stayed quiet.
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