Without realizing, it was time for the Shen family banquet to start.
Male and female guests were seated separately. The females were all sitting at the hall of Rong Jing Tang while the male guests were under the care of Shen Gui and Shen Wan. Since Shen Xin did not have much interest in the family banquet, he did not care to go around fawning in the official circles, so he just sat down to drink.
There were not many guests that came over and most of them were civil officials who had a good relationship with Shen Gui and Shen Wan, and thus did not have anything to talk with Shen Xin. Thus when one looked over at the bustling table, it seemed like Shen Xin and Shen Qiu was deliberately neglected. Shen Qiu was not in the slightest unhappy as he was happy eating the food by himself. But it was Shen Yuan who portrayed a shadow of Shen Gui, with his smooth and slick appearance that made Shen Qiu somewhat lose his appetite.
At the other side on the female guests, the ones who were naturally neglected were Lou Xue Yan and Shen Miao. Since they were Chen Rou Qiu's friends, naturally they would give her face. Even though they could not ridicule Shen Miao in front of Luo Xue Yan, they could treat her coldly. Those young ladies and Furens keep talking to Chen Rou Qiu and Shen Yue and even pretended to care about Jing Chu Chu and Shen Dong Ling and talked a few words with them. Only Shen Miao was purposely ignored.
Lou Xue Yan was somewhat angry and if it was the past Shen Miao, she would be acting out rashly. But now it was different and even if those Furen and young ladies were talking with excitement, Shen Miao would reservedly take her meal. Each move of hers had a type of majesty and grandeur, that made others have an illusion that it was not that others were deliberately neglecting her, but that Shen Miao herself disdained from talking to those people.
As if a punch had landed on soft cotton and after many times, everyone's interest started to die down.
Yi Furen smiled and said, "It is always said that SuZhou is a place endowed with talents and previously I did not believe it but after seeing this Biao Young Lady from Old Furen's family, one believe that those words were not false. Our capital would not be able to raise such a full of life young lady."
During the banquet, Old Shen Furen had shown high importance towards Jing Chu Chu and even though the Furens present did not know the reason why they were not fools. Since Old Furen wanted to enliven Jing Chu Chu up then there was no harm in saying that she was beautiful.
Jing Chu Chu was so shy that her face flushed and she lowered her head and dare not say anything. Old Shen Furen laughed, "Yi Furen words, this old person cannot agree. Yi Young Lady is also full of life that when I see I also like."
Yi Pei Lan smiled and thanked Old Shen Furen's praise. She became more curious about Jing Chu Chu and softly asked Shen Yue, "Old Furen look like she really likes your Biao Older Sister."
Shen Yue vaguely agreed and her heart was somewhat doubtful.
Even though Shen Dong Ling sat at the corner of the banquet, Wan YiNiang did not have the opportunity to be present at this kind of situation. Since she did not have her birth mother to help or Old Shen Furen to lift up, she was a nobody. Even it was such, Shen Dong Ling did not reveal a hint of unwillingness and just ate from her bowl, and behave properly like what an unfavoured Shu daughter should be.
Old Shen Furen at one end instructed Jing Chu Chu to eat more, and at the other hand talked to others about Jing Chu Chu good points. She practically made a pretty daughter from a humble family into one that was from heavens.
Until a servant came over to pour tea and accidentally spilled tea over Jing Chu Chu then she stopped. Old Shen Furen scolded the careless servant, "How do you do a thing? What if Biao Young Lady is scalded?"
"It is alright." Jing Chu Chu smiled, "The tea is not hot so I am fine."
"Are the clothes wet?" Old Shen Furen saw that the front of Jing Chu Chu's clothes had a large patch of water and caringly said, "It is a cold day and one cannot wear such wet clothes. Xi-er brings Biao Young Lady down to change into a set of clean clothes." She then also said to Jing Chu Chu, "One must not catch a cold."
Jing Chu Chu lowered her head and looked at her old clothes. No matter how thin winter clothes were they would still be heavy, thus when tea was soaked into the cotton, it would not be comfortable if one were to continue wearing them. Thus at the moment she did not decline and agreed with Old Shen Furen as her face redden, and said her greetings to the female guests before following the maids to leave.
Jiang Furen said, "Jing family's Young lady is really fortunate to have Old Furen to value this much."
"How is it her fortune." The smile on Old Shen Furen face was wrinkled together, "It is this old person's fortune. This girl is well-behaved and sensible, thus this one like."
Hearing this, everyone started up flattering. Chen Rou Qiu glanced at Old Shen Furen and her gaze unconsciously went towards Shen Miao. Most likely she had felt her eyes, so Shen Miao also looked towards Chen Rou Qiu with some slightly puzzled intention.
Chen Rou Qiu smiled and lowered her head and a trace of pleased filled her heart. But she did not see that when she was lowering her head, the doubts on Shen Miao's eyes disappeared and was replaced with a slight smile. If one were to seriously look, that smile contained some kind of inexplicable excitement.
It was Shen Dong Ling who looked at Shen Miao without a trace before quickly lowering her head to eat the things from her bowl.
At the male side of the banquet, it was not as meticulous as the female side, but it was like in the official circles and was filled with wine. Even though Shen Xin and Shen Qiu were left out, there were several colleagues who came over to toast and after a few cups, Shen Qiu's head was a little dizzy and heavy.
"Brat. Only drink a few cups and you got drunk. Did you not eat?" Shen Xin said angrily.
Shen Qiu rubbed his brows and shook his head, "One does not know." As a man who grew up in the barracks, this little bit of wine was nothing. One needs to know that normally in the army, one would drink by the jars and thus would look down on the wine in the Ding capital as it was not strong enough. Who knew that today one would be hit on the face.
"Really taught you for nothing after so many years." Shen Xin said exasperatedly that he did not live up to expectations.
"Eldest BoFu must not be angry." It was Jing Guan Shen who smiled as he explained, "It is not that Biao Older Brother does not have the volume for alcohol, but it is that he had drank Fu Tou Wine and Yin Guang Wine together." He pointed to the wine cups in front of Shen Qiu. Indeed the wine in the cup was not as red as Fu Tou Wine and was not as silver as Yin Guang Wine but was like a kind of mixed version. Jing Guan Sheng continued explaining, "There are people here who are drinking Yin Guang Wine and some who are drinking Fu Tou Wine. Biao Older Brother most likely did not pay attention and poured it together. Others would have collapsed after drinking half a cup of Yin Guang Wine and Fu Tou Wine but Biao Older Brother is still awake. It is already not an easy feat."
"Hahaha." A Daren heard this and laughed, "The heir's alcohol volume is already not bad, General Shen must not blame him."
Shen Yuan swept a look at Shen Qiu and said, "Eldest Brother cannot continue to drink like this. It is better to go to a room and rest."
Shen Qiu waved his head and mumbled something with his mouth. It seemed that he was quite drunk.
"Let me send Biao Older Brother back." Jing Guan Shen said with a smile.
Even though because of the Shen Miao matter, Shen Xin was quite critical of Jing Guan Shen but one would not raise one's eyes to beat up a smiling person, and ever since more guards were placed at the courtyard doors, Jing Guan Sheng behaved better. Shen Xin looked at him, "That being the case then one would trouble you and Ah Chi to help him back."
Just as Jing Guan Sheng was about to get up, one saw Shen Qiu grab onto Shen Yuan shooking his head, "Ah Chi, you bring me."
Shen Yuan was startled as Shen Xin frowned, "This kid has treated you as Ah Chi." He then spoke to Shen Qiu, "You brat, quickly release your Second Younger Brother."
Shen Qiu did not move. Shen Yuan's gaze slightly moved and said, "Biao Younger Brother and I are the same since it is as such, I will send Eldest Brother back to a room." He supported Shen Yuan and headed out without waiting for Shen Xin to refuse.
Just as Shen Xin was about to speak, Shen Wan came over with wine, "Eldest Brother, I offer you a cup!"
After the little waves in the banquet, no one put it in mind as there were many people who entered and exit. But when the banquet ended, the Furens were talking leisurely about the courtyard, Bai Furen suddenly seemed to remember, "Why has Jing Young Lady not returned yet?"
After Jing Chu Chu's clothes were dirtied by the maid, she went back to change her clothes. But after that, she did not make another appearance. Old She Furen was surprised for a moment and asked Xi-er who was standing beside, "Go and find someone to ask why is Biao Young Lady not back yet."
"Perhaps one is a little drunk." Shen Yue smiled, "Just then she had drank a lot of honey wine and even though it is sweet, the alcohol content is rather high. Biao Older Sister loves sweet things and one forgot to hold her back. Most likely she was a little drunk and is resting in the room."
Xi-er complied and went out.
Feng An Ning pursed her lips and slightly pushed Shen Miao, "Initially one thought that since there are more daughters in your residence, it would be very lively during the family banquet so I insisted on following my mother. Now it seems that it is very boring." Feng An Ning was the bright pearl in the Feng's residence palm and did not have that many sisters, but Shen Miao had so many sisters but was not close to them. She was even deliberately neglected thus in Feng An Ning's eyes, it was very boring.
"So it is the case." Shen Miao answered.
Feng An Ning looked around, "I want to go to the toilet and will come over later. Wait for me."
Feng An Ning followed the servant and walked away when Xi-er also returned back to Old Shen Furen's side before shaking her head, "Old Furen, Biao Young Lady is not in the resting room."
"Not in the resting room?" Old Shen Furen voice was rather high and the Furens' gazes turned over to look. Old Shen Furen quickly tapered her voice down, "Then where is she?"
Xi-er shook her head, "The servants also do not know."
"This girl." Old Shen Furen was somewhat anxious, "Could it be that something happened?"
When her appearance landed into the sharp eyes of the noble Furens, naturally it was cause for reckon.
"Old Furen?" Just at the right time Chen Rou Qiu walked over and asked about what had happened before smiling, "Old Furen need not be worried. I just came over from Master and think that Chu Chu is drunk. Speaking of which it is also coincidental that Qiu-er that child is also drunk, and was sent back to a room to rest. The alcohol in our family banquet is quite strong so perhaps Chu Chu is resting in another room."
She had deliberately pointed out that 'Shen Qiu was also drunk' and Shen Miao's eyes suddenly sharpened.
Old Shen Furen shook her head and said, "Go and get a few people to search for Chu Chu since it is just in the residence. It would not be good if one were to catch a cold." She looked towards other, "Speaking of which, this old one lately acquired from Zhang Qiao Xian a piece of a golden Buddha drawing that has embroidery on both sides. It is currently hung in the main hall of this ones if anyone wants to see, this old one is willing to take all of you to take a look."
Zhang Qiao Xian was the Ming Qi master embroidered, and one piece of embroidery could fetch a high value in the marketplace. Hearing that Old Shen Furen had a piece, everyone wanted to take a look to widen their horizons. Shen Miao's lips hooked up. That double sided embroidery was bestowed from the Palace and was given to Old Shen Furen by Shen Xin a few years ago, but this stingy person did not let others see. Now with this appearance, to be willing to bleed this much, there must be for another thing.
Could it be… really as Old Shen Furen wished?
Furens and Young Ladies were indeed very willing to follow Old Shen Furen to look at that embroidered picture. The main hall of Rong Jing Tang was like a tea room for guests to relax at, but usually, there were few people who would go there as Old Shen Furen had few guests, thus the tea room was empty most of the time.
However when one reached the doors, one saw that the doors were somewhat strange.
Some noise sounded from the closed room and one could not hear what it was for the time being as if something in the room was knocked over.
Everyone abruptly stopped.
"Who is inside? Where are the guards?" Old Shen Furen questioned.
"Replying Old Furen, just now they were still here. Most likely there is no one in the tea room." Xi-er said unconvincingly.
"Really raise a group of idlers! Cannot even guard a door properly." Old Shen Furen was somewhat angry, "Open up the doors!"
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