The flower festival poetry contest was held at the imperial garden. A terrace was built in the garden. The men and women who completed their poem, would paste it on the terrace for people to judge and appreciate.
If there were exceptional people, the eunuch in the palace would also recite it aloud. The purpose was to encourage the rest of the people who haven’t finished or already finished, compose a better poem. Finally, the best ones would be selected by a several scholar.
Because Lu You was injured, Yang Xian He had to replace him with another scholar as her partner the last minute. Few people knew about the dispute between Yang Xian He and Tang Wan. When they saw that Tang Wan and Zhao Shi Cheng was in fact a group. Although it’s sudden, It wasn’t as puzzling when they associated it with the injured Lu You.
This day, the theme for the poetry contest represented flowers. As long as there were flowers in the poem, it could be posted on the terrace.
Tang Wan was known for being a talented woman, but Zhao Shi Cheng was a military official. He naturally granted her to write the poem first. However, she knew she was an amateur after her transmigration. She could merely rely on her experience in history to make a living. The words she wrote couldn’t be read at all. After she humbly declined, it was Zhao Shi Cheng who did the actual writing and she composed the poem.
At this time, a breeze unexpectedly blew and the flowers scattered; flying around like snowflakes. She remembered she saw the “Flirting Scholar.”
[note] “Flirting Scholar” is an actual drama. You can search it up online to watch. It’s about a married scholar trying to win over a woman with a song. He even worked as servant to be near her. [/note]programme in heaven. Although Tang BoHu was romantic, his literary attainments were astoundingly high. Looking at their surnames was both Tang; it will probably be fine if she borrowed his poem to use.
“Peach blossoms’ gone and apricot blossoms’ bare;
blooms and falls every year, approximately the same time.
As the solar term
[note] The Lunar calendar is divided into 24 segments and each segment is a specific solar term. It indicates the different of the season, changes of the weather and etc. For more information, https://www.hko.gov.hk/gts/time/24solarterms.htm. [/note]Approach the end of March.
there’s no need to blame the wind before dawn for making the flower fall.
Vine roots crawled over the roofs,
descending to the ground like broken curtains.
What surrounds him now
Is a broken-down house;
As he picks up the silk handkerchief;
He recalled the couple they use to be.”
This was Tang Yin’s Fallen Flower Poem.
[note] If you are interested in reading or seeing the raws of this poem:
[/note]and also one of the few lines that she could completely recite from memory.
The slight feeling of sorrow was exactly in line with Tang Wan’s current state of mind. It moved Zhao Shi Cheng deeply. “Good poem! Miss Tang deserves to be called a female scholar. I’m extremely impressed. I think later on Eunuch Liu will recite Miss Tang’s poem aloud on stage, I will equally benefit from this.” After he said his last word, he was both admiring and sighing. It makes him extremely envious that Lu You. He had a talented and attractive woman like her admiring him.
Tang Wan implemented her vital cheat, but she wasn’t blushing or breathing heavily, smiled slightly towards him. She had Xiao Chun give in the poem while she and Zhao Shi Cheng were admiring other people’s poem.
Not long after, Eunuch Lou recited a poem on stage to greet everyone and started reciting a poem loudly.
“Peach blossoms’ gone and apricot blossoms’ bare; blooms and falls every year, approximately the similar time…As he picks up the silk handkerchief; he recalled the couple they use to be. Up to this moment, all the scholars think this poem is the best.”
When everyone under the stage overheard this, they sighed in admiration—
“Good poem, good poem! Since it compared peach blossoms, it’s most likely a girl. I wonder who wrote it.”
“From amiable to sorrow; it also fit in the seasons. Eunuch Lin, tell us quickly who wrote it!”
Zhao Shi Cheng smiled and looked sideways at Tang Wan. She looked like she was timid but inside her mind; she was laughing. It seems that it wasn’t that hard to be a female scholar.
However, Eunuch Liu’s next words made both Zhao Shi Cheng and Tang Wan’s expression change—
“This poem was written by the right prime minister, Yang Wen Chang’s daughter, Yang Xian He and Wang Xiang!”
As soon as the remarks came out, everyone was in an uproar. She was worthy of being the right prime minister’s daughter. Her intelligence was a cut above others. Everyone complimented the Yang Xian He duo.
Zhao Shi Cheng and Tang Wan looked at each other and then looked towards the place Yang Xian He was at. Only seeing Yang Xian He smiling coldly towards them from far away as if she wasn’t afraid they would expose her.
Even exposing her would need evidence. Do they have that? If they really fought, it would be likely people think the scholars can’t afford to lose and in vain, make people look down on them.
At this time, Xiao Chun; who was going handing in the poem, came back crying. With an apologetic face, she said. “Young miss, young master Zhao; when nubi was going to hand in the poem. Miss Yang’s people stopped me halfway there. They snatched away the poem young miss wrote. Said they wanted to appraise it first. In the end, in the end, it…”
[note] nubi- refers to themselves as servants [/note]
Shameless! Zhao Shi Cheng knitted his eyebrows tightly. He’s delighted he didn’t listen to his parents carefully and arranged a meeting with Yang Xian He the moment he came. He felt offended even going near such a shameless woman.
Tang Wan didn’t have as much of a reaction. Her poem was borrowed anyway. If it was stolen, she could merely borrow another one. Therefore, she said with ease toward Zhao Shi Cheng. Whose morale was profoundly affected. “Young master Zhao, it’s fine. We can just produce another poem.”
“Miss Tang’s sentiment is noble. I’m impressed.” She could even tolerate this. He adored her more and more.
Unexpectedly, Yang Xian He actually came over with her partner Wang Xiang; swaggering. She deliberately raised her volume and said, “Well, the poetry contest is almost over. How come I don’t see Miss Tang and young master Zhao writing a poem? It’s fine since young master Zhao is a military official. But isn’t Miss Tang, a renowned scholar in the capital? You better not be unable to take out anything at the end and lose face!”
As soon as everyone heard this, they knew Yang Xian He was deliberately looking for problems. The dispute between two beauties coupled with the conflict between Yang Xian He and Zhao Shi Cheng’s fathers. This made the confrontation take on a special meaning. Everyone was waiting to see a good show with interest.
Zhao Shi Cheng’s temper was frank and when he saw her. He was extremely angry. He didn’t even make up anything and said with his livid expression, “it’s not that we can’t write anything, but the poem we wrote was stolen.”
Stolen? At any rate, they obtained no evidence.
Tang Wan calmly took over and said. “Since our poem was stolen, we can only rewrite another one. It’s just that there are too many poems in my mind. I don’t know which one to use.”
Yang Xian He’s expression slightly changed. Of course, she won’t admit she stole Tang Wan’s poem. At any rate, they obtained no evidence. She didn’t believe Tang Wan would be able to come up with a new trick in such a short time. She jeered, “Since Miss Tang is so amazing, just now, I compared myself to peach blossoms. Can Miss Tang also write a poem about peach blossoms right now?”
“That’s not hard.” Tang Wan smiled lightly and suddenly had a flash of inspiration. She recited gently,
“Light green and dark red flowers wilted a big half,
As the terrible wind brought cold rain,
like scissors wrecking flowers.
Peach blossoms can’t be compared with Yue Zhou woman…”
This poem was Yuan Hong Dao’s Peach Blossom Rain.
[note] Here’ the raw to this poem:
She also changed the original Hangzhou into Yue Zhou. As Tang Wan’s ancestral home was in Yue Zhou. But when she recited this, she stopped suddenly. Not because she was keeping people guessing, but… she actually forgot the concluding sentence.
She looked indifferent on the surface. In her mind, she scolded her rotten memory a hundred and eighty thousand times. How could her mind fail her at this critical moment? She set this poem to satirize Yang Xian He, but now it was going establish herself look bad.
Unexpectedly at this time, Zhao Shi Cheng said slowly and without haste,
“Light green and dark red flowers wilted a big half,
As the terrible wind brought cold rain like scissors wrecking the flowers.
Peach blossoms can’t be compared with Yue Zhou woman.
she doesn’t look nice without rouge.”
That’s it! It doesn’t look nice without rouge! After her surprise, Tang Wan looked towards Zhao Shi Cheng. With an expression like she saw a ghost, thinking that this fellow couldn’t have also transmigrated here as well. How did he even know the poems written by later generations?
Zhao Shi Cheng smiled apologetically at her. “Miss Tang, how’s my continuation of the poem? I just suddenly thought that it was very suitable and casually recited it.”
“It’s good.” He could barely write poems in this way. She admired him from the bottom of her heart. It seemed that his brain was cleverer than she imagined. It’s purely perfect she changed her mind and found him as her partner. She suppressed the ecstasy in her heart. Looked at Yang Xian He, who expressed a displeased expression. She smiled lightly and said, “Miss Yang, the poem just now, was blurted out without thinking. It’s unaimed at anyone. Please don’t mind it.”
There’s no way she wouldn’t take offense. Yang Xian He was practically dying of anger! She used the peach blossom as a metaphor for herself just now. Isn’t this poem clearly saying she lost her chastity and couldn’t be compared to the Yue Zhou woman, Tang Wan. Even if she was trembling in anger, she could merely pretend not to know and ridicule. “It’s not bad to be able compose a poem in such a brief amount of time. It’s still uncertain who will win and who will lose.”
The poets of the Southern Song Dynasty pursue gorgeous, flowery language. If it was compared in this way, Tang Yin’s poems would naturally be more popular. However, everyone could hear that Tang Wan and Zhao Shi Cheng’s poem satirize the arrogant Yang Xian He. In addition, their response was quick-witted, and the poem was absolutely exquisite. It’s hard to say who’s good, and who’s bad.
Zhao Shi Cheng naturally knew of this point. He wasn’t suitable to directly accuse Yang Xian He of her harmful behavior. However, since Tang Wan was in his group. He couldn’t permit her suffer, so he suddenly shouted, “Get the brush.”
Li Yong hurriedly brought over the brush. He looked decent as he wrote the poem down. Due to the influence of his family customs, his writing indicated the extraordinary momentum of warriors which made it hard for people to imitate.
After he had finished writing, it also attracted bursts of admiration—
“Good handwriting! The strength of Zhao daren’s words seeped through the back of the paper. His skills are astonishing!”
“But I recognize this handwriting…why is it so familiar? Eh? Isn’t this the same as the poem Miss Yang handed in?”
The people who went to the terrace to look at Yang Xian He’s great poem. They almost recalled the poem Eunuch Liu recited at the same time. The handwriting was as impressive as that of Zhao Shi Cheng’s. Something equally occurred to them that Zhao Shi Cheng said that Tang Wan and his poem was stolen. Could it be?
At this time, everyone looked at Yang Xian He with a gaze of doubt and disdain. Although there was no direct evidence, but everyone seemed to be convinced. Yang Xian He did a shameless act of stealing people’s poetry; also degraded her character. It’s only because of Yang Wen Chang’s face that they didn’t dare to articulate it explicitly.
Suddenly, numerous people pointed at her. Yang Xian He jumped up and down in anger and pointed at Zhao Shi Cheng and said. “Zhao Shi Cheng, don’t forget what we’re doing today. Aren’t you anxious I won’t like you?”
Zhao Shi Cheng said indifferently, “If I take a wife; I will marry someone with virtue. I’m unworthy of Miss Yang’s shameful manners.”
Yang Xian He didn’t possessed the face to continue to stay. She turned around swiftly after snorting. Before she left, she had glared at them fiercely. She won’t let them off so easily!
T/n: I’m sorry for posting it late. I got struck on the last few verses of the poem and I couldn’t exactly post the chapter without finishing the poems. Fortunately, I got help from junelys, iamfeiii and blacklotus. Do you guys prefer Xiao Chun referring herself as I or nubi? Also, happy late thanksgiving.
Update: Chapter 7 is edited.