Chapter 113 The banquet of the Mid-Autumn Festival
This was an era where it was popular to enjoy the moon and lanterns. Before the sky had become dark, Shu Huan took a few maids and hung exquisite lanterns everywhere. Meijing took people to put fragrant incense burners, mooncakes and fruits in preparation for admiring the moon tonight.
During the Mid-Autumn festival, families would eat a reunion dinner. To facilitate the enjoying of the moon, the table and chairs had been moved outside and were facing the lake. The field of view was very wide. A box was already placed on the table. Inside of it was full of dried fruits, candies and foods preserved in honey. At the beginning of the night, there would be maids who would put simmering hot dishes on the table. There were also the just steamed fat crabs and sauces made with wine, vinegar and ginger.
However, when they went to sit on the table, Shu Huan was a bit unhappy.
They had invited Ji Danqing, Du Qiu and mother Du to come enjoy the dinner and the moon. Although, there were womenfolk at the resort, but she and Gu Xiran weren’t people who care much about the etiquettes and didn’t take avoiding suspicion of an affair into consideration at all. Even concubine Yun who was temporarily released from the ban and was able to come eat dinner and get some fresh air, didn’t feel that anything was inappropriate.
This was supposed to be a harmonious and beautiful night. When Zhang Hanfang suddenly appeared, a tiny bit of not harmonious melody appeared together with her.
Zhang Hanfang was dressed in Chinese clothes. She came with arrogance, but when she saw Du Qiu and Ji Danqing, her expression changed a bit. She casted Shu Huan a sidelong glance and said, “Why is cousin sister-in-law having dinner on the same table with strange men? Are you not afraid that people would gossip?”
Ji Danqing and Du Qiu couldn’t sit still anymore after hearing this. Forget it, if it was only Shu Huan. They had already become familiar with her and habitually didn’t try to avoid suspicion of an affair. However, Zhang Hanfang was still an unmarried girl and they weren’t familiar with her at all. It was indeed not convenient to have dinner together in one place.
Seeing Ji Danqing and Du Qiu’s intention to leave, Shu Huan couldn’t hold it in anymore, stood up and smiled, “I’m someone who is not afraid of gossip. Moreover, your big cousin brother is here. There is nothing to be gossiped about. However, little cousin sister is clear as ice and clean as jade. You shouldn’t let those villains gossip about you. Because of this, I didn’t dare to invite little cousin sister to come have dinner and enjoy the moon tonight.”
The meaning of the words was: since no one had invited you, if you feel that this scene is uncomfortable, you can hurry up and leave!
She was originally not such a mean person and also had thought about whether she should invite Zhang Hanfang to come have dinner together. Because Zhang family had sent people to urge several times, Zhang Zirong had already left, but Zhang Hanfang used the excuse that she was sick and couldn’t be on the road to stay at the resort.
Shu Huan didn’t understand this move of Zhang Hanfang. She was also unhappy to go guess. She only felt that since they were family, it was a bit not right to ignore her when they were having a reunion dinner. However, if she truly invited her, it could be expected that the atmosphere of the dinner would become silent and awkward. After thinking about it, she didn’t want to let herself suffer and make the others angry. Hence, she simply didn’t invite her and only let people sent a dinner over. She didn’t expect that Zhang Hanfang would come uninvited. It immediately made her understand how wise her decision was to not invite her!
When the words were spoken to this degree, the meaning of driving the person away was very obvious. Zhang Hanfang’s face turned blue and then pale. If she followed her usual prideful attitude, she should turn around and leave in anger now. However, something unexpected that made Shu Huan surprised happened again. She didn’t leave. She swept once over everyone, humphed once and sat down as she said, “Since big cousin brother and cousin sister-in-law are present, I also havenothing to be worried about.”
Shu Huan didn’t know whether her change was good or bad, but it was a sure thing that it would be a headache. It was not good to drive her away anymore. She could only do as if she (ZHF) didn’t exist. She called the maids to bring water to eliminate the fat crabs on the table that she had craved for a long time.
Gu Xiran was also unhappy, but he didn’t reveal anything on his face. Seeing that the atmosphere was a bit stiff, he raised the wine cup and invited people to have a drink. Then, he said two jokes. The atmosphere gradually eased down.
Crab had always been Shu Huan’s love. Before time-traveling, it was extremely difficult to eat such a fat and fresh crab who lived in a purely natural environment. Hence when she grabbed a crab and had opened the crab shell, she had forgotten all about Zhang Hanfang. She only cared about eliminating the fat and creamy lump meat of the crab.
Seeing that she liked it, while Gu Xiran chatted, he quietly peeled a crab, put all the lump crab meat into the crab’s shell and pushed it to her.
Zhang Hanfang sat there and didn’t have anything to talk with them about. She also picked a crab and was peeling it. However, at this moment, she paid an inexplicable attention to Gu Xiran. She followed his every move. Seeing him like that, there was an unhappiness that she couldn’t explain in her heart. She didn’t even think when she blurted, “Presumably, cousin sister-in-law hasn’t eaten crab before getting married. Then, eat more.”
As she said that, she put the crab shell she just peeled in front of Shu Huan and smiled, “People who don’t know how to eat crab can only eat lump crab meat. After all, the peeling of crab meat is a very delicate thing. If you didn’t peel it well, you will chew on a mouthful of shells.”
What’s wrong with her?!
Shu Huan wouldn’t get moody when she wakes up, but could get moody when she was eating. While one was enjoying food, it was really something that would affect one’s appetite if there was someone causing trouble at the side. Hence, she took the lump crab meat that Zhang Hanfang gave her and smilingly thanked her, “Right, right, little cousin sister is right. I don’t know how to peel crab. I can only eat lump meat, then…”
When she talked till here, she pushed the remaining of the crab body that she hadn’t had the time to eat yet over and said, “Trouble little cousin sister to eat this and solve these crab meats for me.”
What a good thing!
She had once fantasized a hundred times about how great it would be if crabs didn’t have legs and only had lump meat. Although, this fantasy hadn’t been realized, it was a great thing if there was someone to get rid of the crab meat for her as she ate the lump meat.
Zhang Hanfang’s expression stiffened. She didn’t go take it. Shu Huan also ignored her and directly threw the crab legs into her (ZHF) plate. After she finished the lump meat, she grabbed another crab. This time she was more direct. After she peeled the crab shell, she threw the rest onto Zhang Hanfang’s plate. She didn’t even look at her (ZHF) and only smiled, “Little cousin sister, I have to trouble you with these. When you eat, I can learn at a side to see how one should eat these crab meats to be considered graceful.”
Seeing that the two of them were fighting and that Shu Huan got the upper hand, the others tactfully held in their laughter, lowered their head and ate crab.
Zhang Hanfang was very embarrassed. In fact, she also liked lump meat. Just now, she gave it to Shu Huan just to ridicule Shu Huan. She didn’t expect to suffer a loss and that she couldn’t retaliate. She also didn’t want to eat the crab legs for others to see. She could only angrily pick up her chopsticks to go eat the other dishes.
Fortunately, Meijing brought a dice at this time. Gu Xiran took it and said with a smile, “It’s boring eating silently. Why don’t we shake the dice as a gamble? The penalty is one cup of wine.”
The others haven’t said anything yet when Zhang Hanfang sneered first, “Shaking a dice is too tacky. Why don’t we have a drinking game? It’s also good if we recite poetries against each other. The readily available topics are chrysanthemum, moon, crab and autumn. Those who can’t make a poem would be punished with one cup of wine.”
She felt self-sufficient and confident that she wouldn’t lose in coming up with poems. When she talked, she casted Shu Huan a glance and asked, “What does cousin sister-in-law think?”