Inappropriate Conversation

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I was escorted to supper after I finished my bath and groomed. I will be joining the family for dinner. The servants carried the luggage we brought on our trip along with my gowns. I was prepared to look pretty for the evening by the order of the young lord from the House of Yi…I was told.

I scrunched my nose in frustration, I don't know what my brother is thinking. There's not much I could do to attract an older man's attention. My chest remained flat, my face round from my youth and I haven't even bled yet. I was far from being a woman and I don't know how many times I could tell Yuanji that.

I was dressed in red and golden hanfu and taken to the dining room. My eyes drifted to the most familiar face on the table. Yuanji. He looked at me and smiled, he already bathed and changed. My attention pulled over to the man sitting at the center of the table. He sat erected with his back elongated. He was pure poise and elegance, he must be the main lord of this manor. I inclined my head down to him, just as I'm expected to do while he waved me in closer.

"Ah, you must be the young miss of The House of Yi. The house of beautiful lotus." He said.

I brought my eyes down, slightly hiding my face, feigning my shyness.

"This is my youngest sister, He Lian," Yuanji spoke on my behalf.

"They said the noble ladies of the house of Yi were the most sought-after women in the country." Lord Changi continued. His finger brushed his chin as he observed me further. "Tell me why is that?"

My eyes lingered on him uncertain how to answer his question. How am I supposed to know? I thought. My sisters and mother all looked normal to me.

When I continued staring at him wordlessly, he smiled and waved me in further.

"Come, let me look at you closer."

I lifted my chin and held myself high and proud. I walked just as I was instructed to do so, graceful, controlled, carrying a delicate smile.

I saw his smile spread wider, impressed, and satisfied. I moved just as he expected. His eyes never left me the entire time until I came close enough for him to get a better look.

Lord Changi examined my eyes, my lips, my hands, my fingers. "Hmmm, your family definitely have good genes. I'm not going to argue with that, but I'm afraid that's not nearly enough. Beauty must come with brain, courage, and strength. You must be beautiful, smart, courageous and strong."

"Oh, but, my little sister is quite smart and excellent in many forms of art and literature. Plus, she can shoot an arrow with excellent precision and kill anything that moves instantly." Said Yuanji proudly.

I regarded my eldest brother with an eye contact.

"Is that so?" Lord Changi murmured. "So, we have a killer in our hands then? You think you can survive on the battlefield as a woman?"

I smiled. "Only if I dressed like a man."

A chime of laughter broke out, and I looked around the table feeling proud of myself.

"Good answer." Said Mr. Changi. You don't want to be around thousands of horny men as a woman in the field. Especially as beautiful as you are. They will rape and kill you as soon as they find out."

"If they ever get close enough," I added.

He released my small hand and gestured me to the table. I walked around and took the seat beside my brother, drifting my eyes in casual greeting to the rest of the people around us.

Lady Changi sat on the other side of the table by Lord Changi's side. She sipped on her wine as if she couldn't wait for dinner to be over. Another woman sat beside her and I assumed her to be his second wife.

Silence descent for a few seconds while the servants served the meals. I met Lord Changi and his two wives and yet, I still haven't seen the infamous Jingam. I wondered whether he's home or not. It would be such a shame having traveled all the way here only to miss him.

Well, it's not as if it matters to me since the only thing I could think of the moment was getting out of this uncomfortable hanfu, but at the same time, my curiosity held me hostage. I wanted to see how he looked like, how tall he was, how proud, how smart, how dark and long his hair was, his eyes, his hands…

I dragged a long exhale trying to calm down until a man walked inside the dining room. He's an elegant young man about Yuanji's age. I had expected a prince charming to surprise me when I was treated with a mediocre man.

Perhaps, I spent too much time alone with my brothers and sisters. I'm used to looking at my beautiful siblings. Yuanji is very handsome, he turned heads and caused women to swoon and giggle when he comes around.

I witnessed maidservants gasped and lingered their longing stares at my brother soon as we arrived. Yuanji had been very humble as he pretended oblivious to the fluttering lashes of women around him.

Honestly, I don't know how he manages sometimes, he must have a side to him he never shows his family.

"Jingam, you're late." Murmured Lord Changi with a hint of irritation on the undertone of his eloquent voice.

Jingam pulled out a chair and settled in. "My apologies father, I was held up in my studies."

Lord Changi groaned. "Have you met Yuanji's little sister?" He gestured his hand to me without granting a glance.

Jingam regarded me a smile. He stood up inclining to a slight bow. "It's nice to meet you, miss He Lian. Yuanji told me many things about you."

"It's nice to meet you." I replied, "my brother said many good things about you as well."

"You know, I almost set you up with her. The house of Yi came to me not long ago offering a union of our families." Lord Changi added.

"Yes, I remember very well, father," Jingam answered and turned his gaze back to me. "It was a huge loss on my part." He regarded me politely and it took all my effort not to roll my eyes.

Lies, I hate when nobles lie. They're so bad at it, they couldn't even try to hide it.

I smiled shyly.

"Can you imagine a wife from the house of Yi?" Lord Changi murmured. "They said the women from the clan of Yi are the embodiment of an angel and demon in the same body."

Jingam turned to his father, his cheeks reddening, his expression hinted embarrassment. I'm sure there had been plenty of stories told about my family and they were all exaggerated lies. We simply trained to be better at everything, simple as that.

"Father, I'm sure it's not an appropriate conversation in front of the young miss."

Lord Changi's mouth pressed thin. "Forgive me, young miss." The Lord told me. "My inquisitiveness got the best of me."

I smiled while Yuanji's hand patted my head and leaned close to my ear. "I'm pretty sure they meant it as a compliment."

My forehead knotted, frowning at him. "I'm a child, eldest brother. I'm not stupid."

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