At night Li Yuanying met up with the group. Hearing that a new friend is joining, the three girls were excited.
Li Zhi however was not supportive. “Are you still not going to class? Teacher is going to be furious!”
Yuanying felt that Li Zhi was just being emotional because he wasn’t able to join them for he had classes to attend. He tried consoling him: “If you want to come just take a leave of absence. Don’t worry, you’re already so smart; skipping one or two classes is nothing. You’ll still keep up to progress!”
“I’m not thinking of joining.” Said Li Zhi with a red face.
Li Yuanying thought while shaking his head. This kid is so untruthful, if you want to join just say so. He doesn’t buy Li Zhi’s reasoning at all that teacher will be angry if he did not turn up for class. I’m not stupid.
“Anyway, help me get my leave of absence. Old man Kong will be overjoyed that I’m absent”
Li Zhi has no word to refute Li Yuanying. After all, it was the truth that their teacher had no reaction apart from nodding when he updated that Li Yuanying will not turn up for classes.
In truth, Li Zhi actually thinks that Li Yuanying is smarter than himself. If only he was willing to seriously learn. Hence he’s not in agreement with him always skipping class.
“Teacher has great knowledge, don’t always go against him.”
Smirking, Li Yuanying flicked Li Zhi’s forehead: “Don’t you find old man Kong’s furious face amusing? Whatever it is I’m not turning up!”
It doesn’t matter how much Li Zhi tries to convince him. He has made up his mind to skip lessons.
The next day, Li Yuanying woke up early and went to pick up Wei Shu.
This was coincidently the same hour that court sessions were starting so it’s a busy period. Only Li Yuanying was walking in the opposite direction rousing up people’s attention.
Unfortunately for him, he bumped into Kong Yingda. Li Yuanying was so looking forward to seeing his friends that didn’t pay attention to his surroundings and ran headfirst into his teacher.
Li Yuanying greeted Kong Yingda calmly: “Chancellor Kong, good morning!” The good-looking boy was smiling brightly with two small dimples giving off a pleasant look.
Kong Yingda wasn’t buying this and sneered: “You’re not sick today?”
“No sickness! No sickness!”
Kong Yingda ignored him and continue on his journey. Reaching the lecture hall, he saw Li Zhi waiting for him anxiously.
“Uncle said he consulted a fortune teller and concluded that he shouldn’t leave the house today. So he’s absent again.” Stuttered Li Zhi nervously.
Ahh… so he’s not sick today but instead has bad fortune!
“You don’t have to request on his behalf anymore. Let him come or go as he wishes! What do you mean by not supposed to leave his house? Then who was that kid running around just now?!”
Li Zhi quickly went back to his seat and thought that things are not good.
Having zero interest in his studies, Li Yuanying was instead busy introducing Wei Shu to his three nieces.
Hearing that she was meeting three princesses Wei Shu was nervous. However, she has always been calmer than others and none of that nervousness could be seen on her face.
The children were all younger than ten so they quickly became friends.
Sizi circled around Wei Shu: “You look better in this outfit than older sister Gaoyang! Although she likes skirts, she also thinks that boys’ clothing makes it easier to play.”
Wei Shu felt a little uncomfortable being surrounded by so many enthusiastic people.
Li Yuanying took out his <<Guide to Planting Sunflowers>> handbook which he had compiled himself according to the tutorial found in the sunflower seed package.
When three lolis became four, Li Yuanying became even more excited and was fully enjoying the attention on him.
“I heard that sunflower originated from a faraway place. On the mainland that is separated from us by a large ocean. You might not even reach it by boat after many years.”
“Wow. That’s far!” (Sizi)
The four girls took turns reading the sunflower planting guide with Wei Shu being the last.
Compared to the other three, Wei Shu had some experience in plating as she would normally help her grandmother grow fruits and vegetables at home. After reading the handbook she found the tutorial reliable.
Li Yuanying led the group towards a greenhouse in Jiucheng Palace. This greenhouse supplies seasonal vegetables for the palace all year round. In winter you plant off-season vegetables inside it while on other months’ plants are grown around the greenhouse.
Seeing the group, the workers quickly rushed over while wondering why a group of little nobles suddenly came to play in such a place.
“Anyone here that is literate?” (Li Yuanying)
A worker not older than eleven or twelve came out nervously and respectfully responded: “This humble one can read!” He looks ordinary but his eyes were hopeful showing signs that he wanted to grasp this opportunity to get recognition.
Li Yuanying having no intentions of personally tending to crops and passed the sunflower planting guide to him: “Then you can pick a good plot of land and be responsible for taking care of this for us.”
Hearing this, the worker was overjoyed. Holding the sunflower planting guide in both hands he led the group to a suitable place to grow sunflowers.
The children were excited and passionate about this project. Li Yuanying was in charge of digging the pit under the command of the four girls. He then divided ten seeds into five parts, two seeds in a group, and carefully buried them onto the ground. Finally, Sizi and Wei Shu prepared signboards with names on them which are to be hung at the location so that they can observe whose plants grew better in the future!
After finishing, Li Yuanying threw a golden bean to the worker and said “Take good care of it according to the instructions on the planting guide. You will be rewarded handsomely for your good work.”
“Your humble servant is called Dong Xiaoyi, I promise to take good care of your highnesses’ flower.”
Li Yuanying nodded and requested that he be notified when the seeds sprout. Being a people pleaser, Li Yuanying then suggested that they adjourn to the library instead.
Li Yuanying knows how to take care of her friends’ preferences, and after leaving the greenhouse, she asked Wei Shu: “It’s all here, why don’t we take you to the library!”
“Can we?” (Wei Shu)
“Of course we can, let’s go!” (Sizi)
Li Yuanying’s proposal was passed unanimously and Wei Shu followed them to the library.
Wei Zheng’s home might lack many things but books were not one of them. But as soon as Wei Shu arrived in the building she felt like she was living in a sea of books and her eyes sparkle brightly in excitement.
Li Yuanying obviously had not have much interest in books but seeing Wei Shu’s excitement he join in and casually pick up a book to read.
Both Sizi and Hengshan were about the same age as Wei Shu but they had very different personalities. After a short while of reading, they got bored and started running towards Yuanying grabbing his arms.
“Young uncle, Tell me a story!” (Sizi)
“Yes, tell us a story please!” (HengShan)
Chengyang and Wei Shu hear them and join in by putting down the book in their hands.
Seeing four pairs of eyes looking at him he couldn’t possibly let them down. After thinking for a while he decided to tell them a warm and beautiful fairy tale called <<The Nightingale and the Rose>>.
The gist of this story is about how a nightingale sang the whole night on top of thorns from the rose bushes to aid a man in his quest to win his lover’s heart. The trade-off was the nightingale’s life for a single red rose. Unfortunately, it was all in vain as the rose was thrown into the gutter in the end.
Li Yuanying had a real talent for telling stories. A story comes to life when it passes through his mouth. The girls’ eyes became red midway through the story and Sizi burst into a loud scream when she heard that the rose was thrown away.
“How can this be? The rose was earned using the nightingale’s life!”
“Why is it another sad story? I don’t like uncle anymore.”
Both children held onto Chenyang’s hand and ran away while sobbing.
Seeing his new friend Wei Shu with red eyes he started to wonder if <<Wilde’s fairy tales>> were recommended by the system to scam him. But he actually thinks that the stories were great!
“Will you also ignore me now?”
Wiping away her tears Wei Shu shook her head “It was a good story.”
Thinking that he found a true friend Li Yuanying happily said: “Right, I think so too.”
“Xincheng said such a story again. Have you told similar stories before?”
Li Yuanying mistakenly felt that Wei Shu wanted to hear more stories so he happily told her about <<The Happy Prince>> and <<The Little Princess’s Birthday>>.
“I want to go home.”
Although his friend’s eyes were red her emotions were still stable so he took her. On the way, Li Yuanying asked nervously: “Will you still come and see the sunflowers with us next time?”
“Next time I will tell you a new story.”
Li Yuanying sent Wei Shu home and left happily.
Wei Shu ran back to her room and soon became tearful as she recalled the three stories. She isn’t a sentimental person and hardly cries but the stories Li Yuanying told were so moving that she couldn’t hold back her tears.
While Wei Shu hid and cried secretly the other three were less thoughtful. They went straight to their father the Emperor to complain about Li Yuanying.
Li Er had just finished discussing official matters and was about to eat some refreshments when three of his precious baby girls ran towards him crying.
“Who bullied you?”
Sizi whimpered and repeated “The Nightingale and the Rose” to His Majesty and finally hugged him and cried: “The poor Nightingale!”