Chapter 74: The Birthday Party
Atlas Studios Atlas Studios
The Zhou family was a political family in the capital city well known to the public, and Old Mr. Zhou was a prominent leader in the Central Government Agency. Zhou Tianyu’s father held a key position in the Central Government Agency as well, and her mother was the Minister of Education. Being the eldest daughter in the Zhou family, Zhou Tianyu naturally became the center of attention in the public’s eyes.
When Zhou Tianyu invited Wen Xinya earlier, she mentioned that it would be a mini-birthday party. When Wen Xinya arrived at the venue, she realized it was actually a small-scale banquet.
At the banquet, many young men and women of their similar age groups from the circle was invited, forming a somewhat relaxed atmosphere.
Wen Xinya quickly spotted Zhou Tianyu in the crowd. She was wearing a light purple gown that revealed one side of her shoulders as she shuttled between the crowd and interacted with her guests with a glass of red wine in her hand. Those in conversation with her were trying to please her, but she maintained her smile and exuded a gracious disposition. She looked graceful and presentable, definitely worthy of the title of “Princess of the Zhou Family.”
Zhou Tianyu finally saw Wen Xinya standing not too far from her and walked up to her with a smile. “You should have let me known that you’ve arrived!”
Zhou Tianyu looked at Wen Xinya from head to toe. Wearing a pastel green skirt, like a lotus growing its first bud, she had grown into a fine, young lady. She was wearing the red ear stud as usual, with a pair of black and white longer earrings dangling from her ears. She had no other accessories except these. It was not too formal, but she looked presentable.
Wen Xinya laughed. “I wanted to admire the Princess of the Zhou Family’s halo from a distance.”
“Hey girl, are you asking for a fight?” Zhou Tianyu stretched her hands, pretending that she was going to tickle Wen Xinya at her armpit.
Wen Xinya laughed and took a step back, grasping her arms tightly. “Today, you’re at the center of the spotlight. Do not blame me if you disgrace yourself.”
Zhou Tianyu pouted. “All of the invited guests are in the same age group as me. Take a look at them, they are all behaving appropriately, but they will all reveal their true selves after a glass of wine or two. There’s nothing wrong for a little rowdy behavior.”
Wen Xinya took a quick glance around the ballroom and stared at her. “Someone has told me that this is just a mini-birthday party. You almost got me into an embarrassment for being underdressed for this event.”
Zhou Tianyu chuckled and snatched the present from Wen Xinya’s hands. “I have not had any birthday parties in recent years. This event was organized by my mother. Look at this, I didn’t expect a birthday party to turn into a banquet. I don’t like it either.” She then focused her attention on Wen Xinya’s present. “What birthday present did you get for me? Let me open it right now.”
Only an intimate friend would open a birthday present in front of you. Zhou Tianyu’s gesture warmed Wen Xinya’s heart. “There’s no need to ask me, you are going to open it anyway.”
Zhou Tianyu held the beautifully wrapped box in her hands and started to unwrap it. As soon as she removed the wrapper, it revealed an exquisitely engraved box emitting a woody fragrance. When she opened the box, she saw the rims of a wooden scroll with the light musky smell of ink. She liked the smell.
“This is…” Zhou Tianyu’s hands trembled, excited.
“It’s exactly what you are thinking it is,” replied Wen Xinya with a smile.
Zhou Tianyu handed the box over to Wen Xinya. Then, she cautiously removed the scroll from the box and opened it with care. She could recognize that it was Old Mr. Mo’s Yan-Style calligraphy. He had written a chapter from the book — Perseverance by Quan Wengong from the Tang Dynasty. It was a motivational article aimed to educate mankind to remember their origins and show gratitude to the efforts of the forefathers who paved the way. It also reminded them of the importance of self-motivation, perseverance, and resiliency toward hardships.
Wen Xinya started reading a small paragraph. “The descendant shall be reminded of the ancestors’ efforts. The successor shall remember the forefathers’ hardships. He who perseveres against difficulties will achieve his goals. Proceed with caution, work towards your ambition… If you have done your best, you will let no one down. The ancestors paved the way, the descendants enjoy the fruits of labor. Continue the spirit of perseverance and the establishments will last for many generations to come!”
Zhou Tianyu was admiring the brush strokes of the Yan-Style calligraphy on the wooden scroll. Every stroke represented power and strength, looking strong and majestic. She was mesmerized by every single word.
“Xinya, thank you! This is the best present I have ever received.” Zhou Tianyu felt extremely touched and gave Wen Xinya a hug to show her appreciation.
Wen Xinya smiled. “Grampy was happy to hear that you are into Yan-Style calligraphy. He has asked you to visit him whenever you are free to pick up a few tips from him. You know that I am learning Liu-style calligraphy instead. That made Grampy disappointed.”
Zhou Tianyu was elated. “It’s a blessing to be able to learn from Old Mr. Mo.”
Wen Xinya pretended to be unhappy with the intention to tease her. “It’s your blessing that you have got to know me.”
Zhou Tianyu smiled. “Yes, of course! My dear Missus Wen, may I then have the pleasure to invite you to cut the cake with me?”
“I’d rather not cut the cake. Look! That person has been busy entertaining the guests on your behalf. He should have the pleasure to cut the cake with you.” Wen Xinya signaled her to look at Gu Junlin, who was talking to the guests at a short distance away from them.
Zhou Tianyu looked as if she did not mind, and mumbled. “If I didn’t get him to do the job, it would be a waste of his attention-seeking looks, wouldn’t it?”
Wen Xinya burst out laughing. “I can smell jealousy in the air!” Though Gu Junlin had a charming appearance and was always attracting attention from the opposite gender, he had good self-discipline. He always stayed in Zhou Tianyu’s presence.
Zhou Tianyu pretended she did not understand what Wen Xinya meant. She sniffed and replied, “I could not smell anything else other than wine and food.”
Wen Xinya felt sorry for Gu Junlin. “Gu Junlin is really pitiful, isn’t he?”
“Spat!” Zhou Tianyu put up a disgusted look. “Why is he pitiful? He should feel honored to be able to serve me.”
Wen Xinya gave her a nudge. “Alright… Go ahead and keep your guests company. I won’t mind if you leave me alone.”
Zhou Tianyu rolled the wooden scroll carefully and kept it into the box. She then left Wen Xinya to speak with other guests.
Right at this moment, Gu Junlin walked over with a glass of red wine. “Xu-er and Han Mofeng have not arrived yet, and Ling Qingxuan is hanging around with the other ladies. So, Tianyu has specifically sent me to accompany you.”
Wen Xinya could not help but laugh. “What a tragedy that you have to sacrifice yourself!”
Gu Junlin replied, “Not at all. It’s not a tragedy at all. It is my honor to be able to accompany a beauty like you.”
“I’m glad you realize that.” Wen Xinya quickly glanced at Zhou Tianyu and then looked back to him. He could detect a threat in her tone.
Gu Junlin smiled bitterly. Even an outsider was aware of his feelings toward Tianyu except herself, who only treated him as a buddy. They had been childhood friends and grew up together. However, Zhou Tianyu treated this relationship only as brotherly love. Surprisingly, Wen Xinya was the one who understood how he felt.
“Tianyu will be learning Yan-Style calligraphy from my Grampy soon. Why don’t you join her?” Wen Xinya winked at him and then walked into the ballroom.
Gu Junlin’s feelings for Zhou Tianyu were undeniable. As long as Zhou Tianyu was around, he would not set his eyes upon anyone else. He only showed affection towards Zhou Tianyu, though they were always bickering with each other. Wen Xinya was touched by his faithfulness and had decided to help him win Zhou Tianyu’s heart.
Gu Junlin was over the moon and gratefully said, “Xinya, thank you so much!”