Chapter 443 - Flower War

“Articles for daily use should be used in order to get their true value. Isn’t that right?” Yu Xiaocao took the handmade soap and gently wet it with some water before rubbing it on He Wanning’s hands.

He Wanning slowly rubbed her two hands together and a white bubbly foam quickly appeared. She grinned, “Just from the bubbles alone I can tell that this soap is better than the one from Full Spring Fragrance. Furthermore, the smell of the soap is very good. Although Full Spring Fragrance’s soap has some added fragrance in it, it still can’t completely get rid of the scent of lye. Younger Sister, your handmade soap has the slightly sweet smell of cow’s milk and has no weird odors. After comparing the two, I can tell your soap is much better!”

She gently rinsed off the foam from her hands and then wiped her hands dry with a handkerchief. A look of pleasant surprise appeared on her face as she exclaimed, “Wow! My hands are so soft and slippery! It’s not like how they feel after I use Full Spring Fragrance’s soap; they usually feel dry and astringent. Xueyan, feel my hands! Aren’t they soft and smooth now…”

“Your hands? You always use them to hold onto swords or boxing. They’re so hard that they feel like steel claws, how could they possibly feel soft?” From the tone of Yuan Xueyan’s voice, everyone could tell that these two beauties had a good relationship with each other and were quite close!

He Wanning glared at her and groused, “I was telling you to feel the skin on my hands to see if they feel soft and smooth! You ah! If you don’t insult me a couple of times every day, then you probably don’t feel right. Isn’t that so?”  Yuan Xueyan had a clearly reluctant expression on her face as she reached out to feel the other girl’s hands. Suddenly, under the expectant gaze of He Wanning, she let out a noise in surprise and then carefully felt the skin on He Wanning’s hands again. A thoughtful expression appeared on her face. 

“Are you done touching me? I’m starting to get goosebumps from your constant touching! If I didn’t have a good understanding of you, then I would start thinking that you have lesbian tendencies ah!” He Wanning pulled her hand out of Yuan Xueyan’s hands and forcefully rubbed it.

“Your Royal Highness, may I feel your hands too?” Yuan Xueyan noticed that Royal Princess Minglan had already washed her hands with the handmade aloe vera soap and proposed a question.

Royal Princess Minglan felt the skin on her hands and then felt the skin on her face. She discovered that her hands had become much more hydrated and soft compared to before. After hearing the other girl’s request, she moved her hands to allow Yuan Xueyan to feel them. She noticed that the other girl was lost in thought after feeling her hands and asked, “What’s wrong? Is there a problem?”

Yuan Xueyan liked to make her own cosmetics at home and the products she made were not in any way inferior to the famous brand, Full Spring Fragrance. The duck-egg powder she made could improve the coloring of one’s skin and it looked more natural on a person’s face. The maidens who had a good relationship with her all shamelessly thought up ways to ask her to give them a box of powder. If this handmade soap could earn her recognition, then it was absolutely a stellar product.

“Who would have thought such a small piece of soap could have the ability to keep moisture in the skin and smooth it out. Furthermore, its effect is instantaneous. This is something that even I can’t come up with.” Yuan Xueyan gave a very favorable review of this handmade soap in front of everyone, which made this product recognized by all of them.

Yu Xiaocao felt like it was time to be modest at this point and humbly said, “In actuality, keeping the skin hydrated not only requires the use of external cosmetics but it’s also important to treat it from within. Every morning, having a cup of warm water can replenish all of the water lost from your body overnight. Eating more fruits and vegetables is good not only for the skin but also for the rest of the body. Furthermore, one can frequently use thin slices of cucumber placed on the face to help maintain skin hydration. If you want to brighten the skin, then you can mix some tomato juice with honey together and use it as a mask on the skin. However, you should probably test it out on a small patch of skin first to see if you have an allergic reaction…”

What a joke, she remembered all of the little secrets and methods that were well-known in modern times to treat the skin. In this era, where there was a dearth of information about this, her little bit of knowledge was more than enough to impress the other young maidens. As expected, a portion of the young ladies’ eyes started shining with an admiring light. The rest of them pretended to be calm and not interested, but it was obvious that all of them had their ears perked up to hear everything.

A flower war party had almost become a discussion in swapping skincare secrets. Luckily, Royal Princess Minglan didn't forget the purpose of her banquet. Although she was a bit reluctant to change the subject, the ‘flower war party’ was now in full session.

Li Meirou was quite upset that Yu Xiaocao had gotten the attention of everyone else earlier. In addition, the other girl had already revealed her ‘Two Qiaos’ chrysanthemum flower and had an additional two pots of flowers with her. She couldn’t help but sourly remark, “There are some people here who are obviously inexperienced! Everyone only brought one pot of flowers over for this flower war party. She, on the other hand, brought over three pots! It’s not like she can win by bringing more flowers along!”

One of the girls next to her lightly pulled at her sleeve. Earlier, everyone's impression of Yu Xiaocao had clearly changed and she had observed all of that. All of the maidens here desperately wanted to get their hands on some handmade soap like the ones that He Wanning and Royal Princess Minglan had tried. Who didn't want to use some handmade soap that could nourish and brighten their skin? Jumping out at this time to cause trouble for the inventor of the soaps was truly a stupid thing to do.

This young maiden usually had a good relationship with Li Meirou, which was the reason why she was reminding her. Furthermore, she helped her to soften her earlier remarks, “This is the first time that Miss Yu has attended a flower war party. It’s likely that she didn’t understand the rules before she came.”

“Just whose side are you on anyway? You’re only eyeing her handmade soaps, which is why you’re saying a few flattering words, right? You just want something from her. Wang Qiuyue, I never thought you were this kind of person!!” Unfortunately, Li Meirou wasn’t grateful and even snapped at her in a sarcastic manner.

Wang Qiuyue was so antagonized by her manner that her face turned white. She turned her back to the other girl and decided to ignore this person who was clearly too stupid to recognize good from bad. In the past, she thought Li Meirou was only slightly arrogant but she never knew that she was such a stubborn and dislikable person! Usually the other girl treated her fine but the one time things weren’t going her way, she decided to bite off the head of a well-meaning person. It was better to stay far away from such a person!

When the other maidens saw that she even verbally abused Wang Qiuyue, who was the young lady who had the best relationship with her, they promptly decided to forgo trying to smooth things over.

The more Li Meirou dug a hole for herself, the happier Yu Xiaocao felt. She looked at the three pots of flowers that she brought and spoke to Royal Princess Minglan, “I didn’t bring all three along to compete in the flower wars. This pot of ‘Two Qiaos’ is my gift to the hostess for inviting me. This pot of ‘Cinnabar Purple’ camellia is for the opening act of the flower war. As for this last pot of orchids, that’s the pot that I will be using to compete in this banquet.”

Li Meirou snorted disdainfully, “You certainly know how to smooth things over. Truly someone who refuses to admit a mistake! I, this young lady, shouldn’t have bothered speaking earlier. When you lose face later on, then we can all laugh at you!”

Yu Xiaocao decided to not lower herself to the level of someone who had no brains to speak of in order to avoid getting contaminated by the other girl’s stupidity. A maiden dressed in purple, who feverishly adored camellias, slowly got closer and remarked with an expression full of surprise, “Is this the famed ‘Cinnabar Purple’ camellia from Dali Bai? Their most famous variant? It really is, it really is! The color of these flowers is almost an inky dark purple and I heard that this type of camellia is the one with the most pigmented flowers. It’s gorgeous without being overwhelming, stately without being crude...this camellia, did you also find it in that ravine in the mountain?”

The burning gazes of all of the maidens fell onto Yu Xiaocao. If she also stated that this camellia was found in the mountain ravine, she was pretty sure that they would all throw a tantrum and insist on going there. Yu Xiaocao hurriedly stated, “This pot of ‘Cinnabar Purple’ camellia was given to me as a reward from Princess Consort Jing.”

The purple-clothed maiden muttered, “No wonder. Everyone knows that Princess Consort Jing loves camellias. Imperial Prince Jing and her three sons travel all throughout the country to find rare and beautiful varieties for her. Other than Lady Feng, no one else besides her would be able to have a precious specimen like this.”

Lin Weiyu, who was one of the ‘four talented girls of the capital’, had a spark flash through her eyes and a friendly smile appeared on her face, “Princess Consort Jing adores her camellias the most. Younger Sister Yu, you must have done something great in order to have her personally give you one of her beloved camellia flowers! I heard that Princess Consort Jing’s health had improved immensely in Tanggu Town after encountering a famous doctor who healed her body. Younger Sister Yu is from Tanggu and also has good medicinal skills. Are you somehow related to this famous doctor, Younger Sister Yu?”

Yu Xiaocao glanced at the other girl and gave her a small smile, “No famed medicinal skills here. I only coincidentally encountered a few prescriptions that are good for nourishing the body that were able to improve Princess Consort Jing’s health! However, this reward wasn’t given to me at random. Princess Consort Jing’s camellia had gotten infested with wood maggots and I managed to fix it, which is how I got this pot of ‘Cinnabar Purple’ camellia. I merely tried to graft it onto an ordinary camellia and didn’t expect it to actually work!”

The eyes of the purple-clothed maiden lit up, “Are you saying that you used a branch of ‘Cinnabar Purple’ camellia and grafted it onto another camellia successfully? And now it’s growing well? Then...doesn't that mean, as long as I’m able to get ahold of a branch of an expensive and precious camellia, you’ll be able to grow it into a full plant?”

Yu Xiaocao naturally wouldn’t make such a claim. Otherwise, in the future, everyone would be clamouring for her to raise plants for them. Where would she find the time to do so? Thus, she hurriedly explained, “This pot of ‘Cinnabar Purple’ camellia only happened because this method coincidentally worked. If you wanted me to grow other ones, I really don’t know where I would start!”

The purple-clothed maiden was a bit disappointed. However, she persisted in insisting, “Since you know how to treat the ailments of camellia flowers, that means you also have a good handle on how to raise plants. When spring comes, my family will be having a flower banquet, so please, Miss Yu, show up.”  

“Of course, of course! It would be my honor!” Yu Xiaocao metaphorically wiped away a bit of non-existent sweat from her face. Interacting with these obsessed young maidens was truly more tiring than she had thought!

In order to make sure the outcome of the flower war party was fair, Royal Princess Minglan had especially invited a person famed for her gardening knowledge. In fact, she was on the level of Princess Consort Jing and Lady Feng and was considered an esteemed guest by both of them. She never had any issues answering any difficult questions about different flora.

Every young noble maiden, in order to gain some reputation at this flower battle, had also put in a lot of effort in finding good specimens for this party. However, rare and precious specimens could only be sought and not obtained. The ordinary varieties were a dime a dozen. As for any true rare flowers, there really weren’t any. 

The young maidens all brought along beautiful pots of flowers along. There were sumptuous and gorgeous peonies, elegant and stately chrysanthemums, delicate and adorable camellias, and refined and graceful orchids...it was truly an astonishing sight. To be able to get so many flowers in such a season, it made it seem like that atmosphere in this warm room had abruptly changed seasons. It looked like spring was in full bloom here.   

There was a lot of variety of flowers. In the peonies section, there was the ‘Pea Green’ peony that had sparkling and translucent petals as adorable as jade. Then there was a variety that had thick layers of snowy white petals called ‘Bright Jade’ and a variety that had light purple petals that was called ‘Lightly Tinted Jade Pavillion’...there was also quite a bit of chrysanthemums in this room. Aromatic Gilt, Purple Dragon Curled in Snow, Precious Jade Phoenix, A Thousand Birds, Rouge Stained Snow...these were just the names of some of the chrysanthemums present. 

However, there wasn’t a lot of variety of camellias present as the room only held the variants that were commonly seen. A few pots of orchids were available and their rarity was decent. Some of their names were: Heavenly Jade Snow, Green-scented Jade, and Great Silk Snow. Despite that, she had seen all of these orchid variants in the greenhouse at the Fang Residence.

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Myst's Thoughts

duck-egg powder

Sanguine’s Thoughts: Too many names of flowers.

Translator: Sanguine