Title: The Dreamer in the Spring Boudoir
Chapter: 132 out of 513 – Even if you give a jade crown hat to a pig, the pig will still be a pig (1)
With someone to help her write, the pressure that Ji Man felt decreased considerably. All girls liked poetry about flowers since they were young. The poem that she had the deepest impression about was a poem that her teacher had requested they recite many times. It was called Ode to the Plum Blossom.
Now that she was thinking about it, it would be quite appropriate for today. Ji Man lightly smiled, glanced at Wen Wan, and said, “Sangyu will give this poem to Wan-er.”
Wen Wan had been confidently looked at Nie Sangyu. Surprised by these words, she slightly frowned. Giving her a poem?
“Wind and rain escorted Spring's departure, flying snow welcomes Spring's return,
On the ice-clad rock rising high and sheer, a flower blooms sweet and fair,
Sweet and fair, she craves Spring not just for herself,
To be the harbinger of Spring, she is content,
When the mountain flowers are in full bloom, she will smile mingling in their midst.”
(T/N: The full translation of Ode to the Plum Blossom can be found here.)
After Ji Man finished reciting the poem, the heir had also finished writing the poem. Hearing that this poem would be given to Wen Wan, he had done a very good job writing it.
“This is called Ode to the Plum Blossom. Sangyu composed it to praised Wan-er, who doesn’t try to vie for anything. Her devotion to selflessly contribute is impeccable.” Ji Man followed these words with a cutting remark, “Wan-er has always been as lofty and unsullied as a plum blossom. An ordinary person doesn’t have any hope of catching up to her level.”
Wen Wan felt endlessly aggravated by her words. What did she mean by “doesn’t try to vie for anything?” Wasn’t Nie Sangyu just saying these words sarcastically? The most hateful part was that, other than the several women that had never liked her in the poetry association, no one could tell that Nie Sangyu was mocking her. Instead, they all thought that this poem was very well composed. Even Qiang Yingchen was smiling and nodding.
Originally, the various sons of nobility had planned on saying something to make life difficult for Nie Sangyu. But, hearing that this poem was meant to praise Wen Wan and it was also truly well-written, they dryly coughed and wanted to change the discussion.
One of the said, “Let’s look at the poem that Wan-er had written.”
Wen Wan blushed. She had already handed her poem to Qian Yingchen and it was already too late for her to take the poem back.
Qian Yingchen swept his gaze across the paper and read it aloud. “A bluish green pond outside of the city, it has an overlooked snow-like thing. The white lotus is thoughtful, it’s not the same as other muddy things.”
The tonal cadence was awkward and the poem didn’t rhyme either.
Hearing that Wen Wan had written about a white lotus, Ji Man couldn’t stop herself from turning around and holding onto Muxu for support as she guffawed.
Really, Wen Wan was too cute. She had actually written a poem praising the white lotus to indicate that she was different from them, the muddy things.
Several of the men were racking their brains trying to think of a way to help Wen Wan. Unfortunately, Ji Man had already disregarded appearance and let out her laughter. If they still wanted to pretend that the poem was good by saying a few words of praise, they couldn’t do so.
With Wen Wan’s poor display of skill, she naturally wouldn’t be able to enter Tonghao Poetry Association. Ji Man also now understood what Ning Errong had meant by “poems that even a three-year-old could write”.
For a period of time, there was only the sound of Nie Sangyu’s laughter.
Tears appeared in Wen Wan’s eyes. Her pitiful appearance as she bit her lip made it seem as if she had been monumentally wronged. Her eyes were filled with hate and resentment as she looked at Nie Sangyu.
Xiao Tiangyi stepped forward and said, “Madam Ning, you’re being rather rude. Even if Wan-er’s poem wasn’t as good as yours, you shouldn’t laugh so loudly. You’re not showing any respect.”
Ji Man had laughed enough. She dried her eyes, turned around, and said, “Sangyu has truly acted rudely. Sangyu didn’t laugh because Wan-er didn’t write a good poem. It’s because Sangyu feels that the imagery that Wan-er had written was truly too suitable for her.”
Wen Wan felt confused. Didn’t Nie Sangyu dislike her a lot? Then, why did she give her a poem and also praise her for being like a white lotus?
Nie Sangyu must be plotting by pretending to be magnanimous and treating her nicely. Wen Wan settled her mind and quietly said, “Wan-er is willing to admit defeat for today’s competition. Madam, please let Wan-er off and stop embarrassing Wan-er.”
There was an art to speaking. Even though Ji Man hadn’t done anything, Wen Wan’s words had made her look guilty. Because Wen Wan’s first response was to plead with her to let her off, it gave off the impression that she had become accustomed to frequently bullying Wen Wan in the ears of outsiders.
It was pointless to waste her saliva arguing with Wen Wan. Ji Man said, “Let’s stop this game here. Sangyu still has to go back to attend to Old Madame. Since everyone has come to Marquis Moyu’s residence, Sangyu has to do a proper job with entertaining. After lunch, everyone can go to Luoyan Pagoda to continue appreciating poetry. All expenses will be paid by Marquis Moyu.”
Wen Wan looked at Nie Sangyu and tried to persuade her, “Madam, it might be a bit inappropriate for you to be so generous.”
“It’s fine. Yuxuan said I could make the decisions.” Ji Man smiled and said, “The result of today’s competition isn’t important either. Sir Qian can handle everything. Sangyu has to leave first.”
Just one sentence, “Yuxuan said I could make the decisions” was enough to turn Wen Wan’s eyes red. Nie Sangyu’s following words about competition’s results made Wen Wan’s heart feel as if it was being hanged up to be drawn and quartered. Today had been extremely humiliating for her. Without any good reason, Luo Qianqian had been given the opportunity to laugh at her. She would definitely remember this enmity.
Holding the two poems, Qian Yingchen lightly smiled asked, “Everyone, judge for yourself. Nothing needs to be said about Madam Ning’s poem. But, what about the lesser Madam Ning’s poem? Can she be admitted into Tonghao Poetry Association?”
Luo Qianqian, who had been watching from the side for a long time, snickered and said, “The woman chosen as the capital’s most talented woman by Tonghao Poetry Association lost to a married woman. You guys can afford to lose this face, but I can’t. If people find out that Wen Wan’s poem meets the threshold for entering Tonghao Poetry Association, then we’ll definitely have enough members to cover the world soon.”
Wen Wan bit her lip and quietly said, “Today’s poem is indeed a bit lacking… Wan-er was just feeling too lonely, so Wan-er came to Tonghao Poetry Association to talk about poems with everyone. But after the fuss of today, Wan-er is afraid that I’ll have to bid everyone farewell…”
Before these words were finished, her voice became choked with emotion. Several men came forward to yell at Luo Qianqian.
One of them said, “Miss Luo, your words are too harsh. Aren’t you just being hostile because Wan-er took your title as the most talented woman?”