39 Annoying Flies
The journey back to Lanbei took a few days.
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While Li Chenyang and Li Wenmin were nonchalant over the idea of going back to their previous homes, Xueyue was unbelievably nervous.
When she accepted the invitation, she didn't know it was held in Lanbei.
Pacing back and fourth in a room within the enormous Li Manor, Xueyue was beginning to overthink.
What if I see Viscount Bai and his family?
What would happen? Will they recognize her ? Will they try to capture her back?
She was worried about running into her family, but she was more worried at the idea of seeing Tianai and Leiyu.
She knew the couple would most definitely compete in the Summer Banquet because the Bai Family would do everything to show off their precious daughter.
"You're going to ruin your new shoes if you keep pacing." Chenyang's voice startled Xueyue.
She turned towards her door to see Wenmin and Chenyang.
"Yueyue, what's wrong? Are you worried about something?" Wenmin asked, stepping into the room and plopping himself onto the couch.
Chenyang followed suite but instead of sitting down, he leaned by the frame of it.
"I...I..." Xueyue didn't know where to begin.
"Are you nervous about the competition?" Wenmin pressed on, his brows drawing together in concern.
He didn't like to see her light skin become even paler than usual.
"Only a little..." Xueyue sighed.
"You don't have to be nervous, both me and Chenyang will be there." Wenmin patted the spot besides him and Xueyue sat down.
"Don't tell mother this, but I snuck some Lotus Seed buns out of the kitchen. Want some?" Wenmin grinned, showing her the plate he was hiding. Even after four years, his usual antics didn't change.
Wenmin might've been twenty-years old this year, but that didn't stop him from acting childish in front of his doting parents.
At the sight of his bright expression over the idea of eating, Xueyue felt her worries wash away.
She laughed at Wenmin's love of food, but nodded her head.
"You're quite the glutton, aren't you?" She teased, watching him place the buns to his mouth.
"And you're the second glutton of the family." Wenmin tapped her nose, watching her pick up two.
"Here, have some." She handed one to Chenyang because he was on the opposite side of the couch.
"Ah-wait Yueyue, Chenyang doesn't-" Wenmin's voice tied off when Chenyang took the bun and ate it.
Wenmin's mouth fell open. Did he really just eat that?
Chenyang gave his brother the stink eye, warning him to not say anything.
Meanwhile, Xueyue was completely oblivious to their expressions and happily munched away on the food.
Wenmin knew Chenyang didn't like those type of buns because of the lotus seed pastes, but he seemed to have ate it without hesitation as if he didn't throw a tantrum over it when he was four.
Knowing it was best to not say anything, Wenmin continued to eat his bun in silence.
- - - - - - - - - -
After chatting with Xueyue the entire day, she had finally fallen asleep from all of the talking.
Wenmin's expression was soft when he saw her droopy eyes as she mumbled about something.
He allowed her to sleep, and she immediately did so.
"It seemed we tired her out too much." Wenmin mused, poking Xueyue's cheeks.
It was soft and fluffy, just like a white steam bun.
"We've had a long journey back to Lanbei. It's not a surprise she's tired." Chenyang sighed, scooping her up and walking to her bed.
Wenmin lifted the blanket and allowed Chenyang to place her onto the bed.
Chenyang took off her shoes and watched Wenmin tuck her into bed.
After lighting the fire to ensure she was warm and locking all of her windows, Wenmin and Chenyang walked out of her room.
"Why did you eat the lotus seed bun? Didn't you dislike the taste?" Wenmin walked with his hands behind his neck.
"That's none of your concern." Chenyang rolled his eyes, crossing his arm.
"Don't be shy, I'd eat it too if she offered me one." Wenmin nudged his brother.
"You think too much." Chenyang scoffed.
"Are you excited for tomorrow's competition?" Wenmin decided it was better to change the topic.
He didn't want to annoy Chenyang any further.
An angry Chenyang was like an angry grizzly bear that was ready to pounce.
Wenmin shuddered at the idea of being attacked by Chenyang.
"There's nothing to be excited about if we always win." Chenyang was honestly, very bored of the competition.
There was not that many people whose skill was up to pars with his, and after so many years of mothers pestering him about their daughters, he was beginning to grow annoyed.
"I hear Xueyue is competing in archery with her black horse." Wenmin mused, remembering what his mother told him.
"She was always so good at archery, I'm sure she'd blow her competitors out of the water." Wenmin chuckled, remembering the first time they've met.
"I suppose I'll sign up for archery this year." Chenyang suggested, which caused Wenmin to hit his shoulders.
"Do you want to have a humiliated loss to her? Because I'll tease you about it for a very long time." Wenmin knew Chenyang was pretty good at archery.
But his skill was nowhere in comparison to Xueyue who always shot her target.
Recently she was beginning to practice with moving objects like clay plates and she was getting exceedingly good at it.
Chenyang shrugged. "Who knows, maybe I'll beat her."
"Or she'll beat you to the ground." Wenmin rolled his eyes.
"Besides, if you join, mother will not be happy. It will be Xueyue's first time competing, don't make it hard for her." Wenmin added on.
Duchess Li would be horrified if Xueyue's first introduction to the high society was a horrible loss in a very respected sport.
Not only would that be embarrassing, but it would leave a bad first impression.
"Wouldn't it be good if she embarrasses herself? That way, there won't be annoying flies hovering over her." Chenyang muttered, his eyes starring ahead of him.
Wenmin's eyes grew wide.
"You're totally right! Why didn't I think of that?!" Wenmin said, remembering that none of the noble sons had seen Xueyue before.
Xueyue was a beautiful young woman now.
Her beauty had greatly blossomed, and it would be hard to hide it.
Many of the male servants would often sneak a peak at her. Xueyue's oblivion to her beauty only enhanced it. She was never the haughty and overly confident type of woman, instead, Xueyue was the polar opposite.
Despite the years that have went by, Xueyue still kept her old mindset of what Viscountess Bai told her: she was an ugly child.
"You're right, you should compete in the competition. Try to outshine her and steal the limelight, so no pests would notice our Mei-mei." Wenmin firmly nodded, completely agreeing with Chenyang's idea.