Chapter 5 Part 1

When Ming Huazhang saw the young man, his gaze remained unmoved, but the young man didn’t mind Ming Huazhang’s indifference and walked up to Ming Huazhang with a smile, “Jing Zhan, why didn’t you let me know beforehand that you were coming? I thought I was the only one attending the banquet, and I even regretted it for a long time on the way here.
I didn’t expect you to come too.
The banquet will be much more interesting then.”

As the young man spoke he looked at Ming Huashang, and said with a smile, “I guess this is your fraternal twin younger sister? I have known about you for a long time, but today’s the first time we’ve met; second younger sister is much cuter than I imagined.”

Ming Huazhang glanced at the young man coldly, “Is younger sister something you can call? Second miss, don’t worry about him, let’s go.”

The young man didn’t mind Ming Huazhang’s cold treatment.
His peach flower eyes were slightly bent, and he smiled warmly and charmingly, “I forgot to introduce myself to second younger sister.
I am Xie Jichuan, your elder brother’s good friend.”

Ming Huashang had already guessed it.
She crossed her hands together and saluted to Xie Jichuan, “Young master Xie.”

Xie Jichuan bowed to return the salute, and said kindly, “You don’t need to be so polite.
You are Jing Zhan’s younger sister, so you are also my younger sister, just call me elder brother.”

Ming Huashang accepted while feeling flattered.
Unlike her, who was a salted fish, Xie Jichuan and Ming Huazhang were well-known far and wide in Shendu, and everyone in the officials’ circle knew about them.

As previously explained, if Huazhang was the object of the dreams of half of the girls in Luoyang then the other half dreamt of Xie Jichuan.
Xie Jichuan belonged to the great aristocratic Xie family.
His family was a branch of Chen county’s Xie family1, a noble aristocratic family more ancient than the “Five Surnames and Seven Families”2.

Even though the Xie family withered during the war, fell into a slump, and no longer boasted the glory it had from the Wei and Jin dynasties, the Xie clan’s good name and reputation had been passed down through the ages, so this surname was still the white moonlight of many people.

Xie Jichuan was the eldest son of the current generation of the Xie family.
He was famous for his talent since he was young: he could recite at the age of three, he could write at the age of six, and he could write essays at the age of ten.
He could write quickly and excellently making his reputation as a child prodigy spread far and wide.
Furthermore, his appearance and conduct were impeccable.
No matter whether one’s status was high or low, he treated others the same.
He was always gentle and kind, neither too humble nor overbearing; he was the epitome of a young master from an aristocratic family and had captured the hearts of many women.

Excellent people always made friends with excellent people.
Xie Jichuan and Ming Huazhang had a very good relationship.
The two often attended banquets and wrote essays together.
They were known as “Shendu’s Pair”.

Even a homebody like Ming Huashang had heard of Shendu’s Pair’s reputation.
When the girls of Luoyang got together, they couldn’t avoid talking about these two people.
One of them was as pure and coldly arrogant as the moon, and the other was as laid-back and charming as the spring breeze.
Both had their fans, and now, both were standing beside Ming Huashang.
Ming Huashang could already feel gazes pierce her like sharp needles from all directions.

Ming Huashang had known about Xie Jichuan’s existence for a long time, but she was not even familiar with Ming Huazhang, let alone her brother’s friend, so they had only officially met today.
She felt wronged by bearing the murderous gazes of girls and women, so she said tactfully, “It’s a bit windy here, why don’t we go inside and talk?”

Xie Jichuan understood her intention, and said, “It’s because I was so happy to see Jing Zhan and second younger sister, I lost my comportment for a moment.
Let’s find our living quarters first, and not let younger sister freeze.”

Originally, only Ming Huazhang was going to escort Ming Huashang, but now there was another Xie Jichuan.
Ming Huashang failed to refuse him, so she could only search for her guest courtyard in the company of two beautiful youths while withstanding the eyes of envy and jealousy all around her.

With Ming Huazhang and Xie Jichuan present, Ming Huashang only needed to hold her stove.
Xie Jichuan curiously looked at the large and small bags in the hands of the servants, and asked, “What did second younger sister bring? Why is there so much luggage?”

Ming Huashang said embarrassedly, “Actually, it’s not much.
The main thing I brought was a little bit of food, so it only looks like a lot.”

A little bit? Ming Huazhang raised his eyebrows but did not comment.

Probably more than that.

Xie Jichuan was stunned when he heard that Ming Huashang even brought her own food, and said as he broke into laughter, “Second younger sister really thought things thoroughly; how could I have forgotten about this?”

Ming Huashang waved her hand, “Brother Xie you’re flattering me.
You and second elder brother have poems and books on your minds, so both of you brought ink.
I only have food and drink on my mind, so I can only eat wherever I go.
Brother Xie, do you like pastries? I brought a lot of flavors; if Brother Xie doesn’t mind, we can eat them together.”

Xie Jichuan responded “okay” with a smile, and sighed, “Second younger sister is so cute, she’s not the same as Jing Zhan at all.”

“What do you mean ‘okay’?” Ming Huazhang glanced at Xie Jichuan coldly, “She is a girl, is her room somewhere you can enter?”

Xie Jichuan could not fathom where the issue was, “We are best friends.
In my heart, she is the same as my own younger sister.
What is there to avoid?”

“That won’t work either.” Ming Huazhang remained unmoved.
Xie Jichuan was quite speechless when he saw Ming Huazhang’s strong stance, “Jing Zhan, you are only sixteen years old, why are you so rigid like an old scholar?”

Afraid that the two of them would quarrel, Ming Huashang hurriedly said, “It’s okay, it’s okay, I have also prepared food for the second elder brother.
It’ll be fine as long as I send Zhaocai to second elder brother’s room when the time comes.”

Xie Jichuan was stunned for a moment, thinking that he had heard wrongly, he slowly raised his eyebrows, “Zhaocai?”

“That’s right.” Ming Huashang waved her hand behind her, “Zhaocai, come quickly and greet Brother Xie.”

Zhaocai scampered over and gave Xie Jichuan a hand-crossed salutation, “This servant pays respect to young master Xie.”

Xie Jichuan found that Zhaocai was indeed the “Zhaocai” he had imagined.
He couldn’t laugh or cry and looked at Ming Huazhang with his peach-blossom eyes.
Ming Huazhang shook his head lightly at him, signaling him not to say too much, and to respect the name Ming Huashang came up with.
Xie Jichuan held back his laughter and said to Ming Huashang, “Why didn’t I get to know second younger sister earlier, younger sister is so interesting.”

After he said that he rolled his eyes at Ming Huazhang, “Not like Jing Zhan at all, serious and boring.”

Ming Huazhang didn’t bother to respond to Xie Jichuan.
The two of them had known each other for many years, and they were used to belittling each other, so he had long been used to it.
But when Ming Huashang heard this, she defended Ming Huazhang very seriously, “Brother Xie, you can’t say that.
My second elder brother abides by the virtues of a gentleman; a gentleman cannot be awe-inspiring if he is not self-respecting.
It is also for my own good.”

Xie Jichuan was surprised again.
He raised his eyebrows and glanced at Ming Huazhang.
He saw that even Ming Huazhang was a little surprised.
He obviously didn’t expect Ming Huashang to say such a thing.
Xie Jichuan sighed softly, and said, “It’s nice to have a younger sister, you’ll always be protected.
Why didn’t I get a younger sister?”

Ming Huazhang was about to reprimand Xie Jichuan to stop putting on a show here when suddenly his expression froze.
He pulled Ming Huashang behind him with one hand and raised the other hand to block the front.




One of the most famous families in ancient China.
The Xie family from Chen county originated in the Wei and Jin dynasties which is more than 300 years before the setting of this novel (very ancient).
In the famous “Battle of Feishui”, the Xie family was a great contributor to the victory of the Eastern Jin dynasty which established the Xie family’s status as a leader Reminder that Ming Huazhang and Ming Huashang’s mother is from the “Five Surnames and Seven Families”

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