Empress Dowager couldn’t help but take another look and successfully caught that exclusive coquettish wink.
Empress Dowager Shen, “…” If he didn’t see it wrong, that was a wink! It must be a wink!
Tsk, he’s like a male peacock, flashy and ostentatious.
Shen Fengyue’s ears turned pink. Ugh! Shameless! Isn’t he embarrassed!
Since he stopped dressing up as a eunuch, Lord Shen’s handsome features had become more prominent. Plus, he relied on his clothing and looked very deceiving. He had all the young girls infatuated with him.
That smile and the power of that coquettish wink were simply a violation. The young ladies’ group responded in time, and even if one pretended to be deaf, they could hear the whispers and gasps.
“Lord Hou is really…” Compared to the young girls, there were many middle-aged and noble women in the group who praised him generously, finally ending with a sigh.
“That smile and that gaze earlier made me blush and my heart race. Not to mention those unmarried young girls…” Shen Fengyue heard someone whisper in a direction behind him, probably two people away, “I just don’t know who the Lord is giving that wink and smile to.”
Empress Dowager Shen, “…” Oh, I apologize. I’m not skilled at guessing, but that smile and wink were obviously meant for this palace.
However, these thoughts cannot be spoken out loud. Shen Fengyue cleared his throat and calmed down the restless group of noblewomen below.
Upon hearing his words, the noblewomen also became more restrained and continued to flatter and chat with him.
Lord Shen showed off, winning the admiration of others and also attracting the attention of Empress Dowager. After noticing that he was not paying attention to him, he smiled and rode his horse to the Emperor.
Every year, the first arrow of the Spring Hunt is always shot by the Emperor. Chu Xi picked up the bow and arrow presented by a palace maid, pulled the bow to a full moon shape, held his breath, and shot the arrow.
The arrow cut through the air with a loud sound, and a hundred meters away, a deer that was grazing fell to the ground.
“Bullseye, Your Majesty has great archery skills!”
Chu Xi killed the prey with one shot, feeling quite pleased with himself and smiling. Shen Fengyue noticed him when he started shooting arrows and immediately applauded when he hit the prey.
As soon as he clapped, the women around him followed suit. Then, the relatives of the royal family and court officials all praised Chu Xi, busy flattering him, and it was quite lively.
After a group of royal relatives had practiced their shooting skills, they went hunting in groups of three or five. Before leaving, Chu Xi came over and asked Shen Fengyue, “Mother, is there anything you want?”
Shen Fengyue thought for a moment, his eyes flickering, and finally realized that he had a soft spot for rabbits. He said,
“Just bring a small rabbit for this palace.”
Chu Xi nodded and left.
After sitting in the noblewomen’s area for a while, surrounded by a group of women, although it wasn’t as physically exhausting as the verbal battles with powerful figures, constantly listening to flattery was still exhausting.
Especially when some people were flattering with no creativity, it was dull and made people feel drowsy.
After sitting for a while, Shen Fengyue announced he was going to take a walk in the nearby woods and instructed everyone not to follow him as he wanted some time alone. Due to Empress Dowager’s clear statement, nobody dared to bother him, and Shen Fengyue was finally able to enjoy some peace and quiet for a while.
As he aimlessly walked, he was free from the strong scent of cosmetics, the flattery, and the incessant chattering of middle-aged ladies. His mind felt much lighter.
But soon, this peace was disturbed by someone without eyesight.
“Everyone else has gone hunting, why isn’t the Lord going?” he raised his eyebrows, looking at Lord Shen standing in front of him. He strongly suspected that this person had put a tracker on him and was intentionally catching him when he was wandering around alone. Otherwise, how else could one explain why he always bumped into him like this?
The Lord really had something to hide; he had always been secretly observing Empress Dowager and would immediately rush over whenever he saw someone alone to pretend that it was a coincidence.
“How lucky, my fate with the Empress Dowager is really deep. Why else would I bump into her so easily just walking around?” He lied without batting an eye, “I haven’t seen any prey yet. I think they were scared away by those annoying attendants and won’t come out. So I had to leave the attendants behind and look for prey on my own.”
“Empress Dowager, have you seen any prey around here? Please point me in the right direction,”
Empress Dowager Shen, “…”
He looked behind Lord Shen and saw that there was nothing there, not even a basket to carry the prey in.
“I haven’t seen anything, Lord. I’m afraid you might be disappointed,” he shook his head in response, and Lord Shen promptly put on a face of disappointment. However, his acting was too exaggerated, and anyone could see through it. But he still insisted on using this clumsy acting to talk to Shen Fengyue every time.
“As far as this palace can tell, Lord Shen, it seems you still need to practice your archery skills,” Shen Fengyue commented.
“Is Empress Dowager doubting this minister’s skills?”
On Shen Fengyue’s face, there was a smiling expression that seemed like a smile but not quite. He smiled but remained silent.
If you’re a man, you can’t say no to the challenge!
At this moment, a male eagle flew over across the sky, with prominent black and grey feathers with a clear silhouette as it spread its wings in the sky. Lord Shen had excellent vision and naturally saw it. He spoke to Shen Fengyue while pulling out his bow, with a smile on his lips.
“Do you know what a warrior is, Empress Dowager?”
The eagle soared through the sky, its piercing cry resounding. Shen Fengyue heard it and looked up at the eagle soaring freely in the sky, knowing what was on the man’s mind.
“Can Lord Shen shoot down this eagle?”
Lord Shen snorted coldly in his heart. Hmph, I had already said that as a man, I can’t say no to a challenge.
“I will let Empress Dowager witness my skills today.” He placed an arrow on his bow and thought for a moment before adding two more arrows from the quiver, firmly holding all three arrows in his big hand, and aiming at the eagle flying in the sky.
Three arrows were fired at once, and the eagle still didn’t know the danger that was coming. The three arrows broke through the air with a synchronized sound that startled it. When it realized the danger, it was already too late to dodge, and it fell down from the sky without any chance to avoid it.
The eagle cried in sorrow as it fell to the ground.
Shen Fengyue was amazed, and it wasn’t until Lord Shen brought back the shot eagle that he realized what had happened.
Lord Shen had actually shot down the eagle!
A sentence inexplicably flashed through his mind,
[Bend the bow to shoot the great eagle.] 1a Chinese idiom that means to have great ambition and determination to achieve a difficult goal or to take on a great challenge with unwavering courage and perseverance.
“How are my skills, Empress Dowager?” someone whispered close to his ear.
Warm breath brushed over, and Shen Fengyue unconsciously answered, “Very well.” After answering, he felt a bit strange.
“Empress Dowager, please keep this eagle for me first. Can I come to retrieve it after I finish hunting?” Lord Shen held the eagle’s neck and shook it in front of Shen Fengyue. The eagle still had three arrows stuck in its body, which swayed along with its movements, attracting attention.
The dead eagle had lost all dignity.
Shen Fengyue couldn’t refuse and agreed to take the big eagle back to the tent. The curious middle-aged noblewomen asked him many questions, and Shen Fengyue answered truthfully, which once again caused everyone to exclaim and praise Lord Shen.
News of Lord Shen shooting down the eagle leaked out and successfully reached Chu Xi’s ears.
“Is that so? He really shot it down?”
The attendant answered, “Yes, Your Majesty. It’s all true. Lord Shen shot down the eagle with three arrows at the same time.”
Upon hearing this, Chu Xi nodded, indicating that he knew, and waved his hand for the person to leave. His face was dark, and his eyes flickered with hidden light. An undercurrent surged within him, and the action of shooting arrows became even more vicious.
He remembered the spring hunt that year when he also had the ambition to shoot down an eagle in one go. However, his plan failed, and the eagle escaped unscathed, which made him the laughing stock of everyone.
He didn’t hit it back then, but now Lord Shen did.
Three arrows at the same time…
Chu Xi gritted his teeth and shot an arrow, hitting the small white rabbit that the Mother Empress wanted. However, he used too much force, causing large patches of red to stain the rabbit’s white fur.
- 1a Chinese idiom that means to have great ambition and determination to achieve a difficult goal or to take on a great challenge with unwavering courage and perseverance.