T/N: Thank you patrons for sponsoring this extra chapter!
Title: ChongFei Manual
Chapter: 050 out of 171
The stall selling fried sweet rice dumplings wasn’t far away. While Yang Zhen was paying for the bag of snacks, Zhao Liuli was impatiently using a bamboo skewer to deliver the snack into her mouth. Yang Zhen immediately stopped her action. He took the bamboo skewer from her and blew on it to cool it off before handing it back to her. The habitually silent young man’s features were grave and stern, but he was very gentle as he fed Zhao Liuli. He watched Liuli eat a mouthful of the snack and her subsequent satisfied expression. The corners of his mouth couldn’t help curving up slightly.
In addition to the fried sweet rice dumplings, there were many other snacks being sold on the street. Zhao Lilui couldn’t tear herself away to go back. She dragged Yang Zhen along to look at this and that place. In the end, she stopped in front of a snack vendor that was selling rose mirror pastry. There was a gluttonous expression on her face.
Mirror pastry was a round, sticky, and white pastry made by steaming glutinous rice flour and sprinkling toppings like sesame, peanuts, rose petals, and/or jam on top. It was also decorated with a ripe cherry at the center. It looked good and tasted good. Zhao Liuli saw that other girls were all buying this snack. She couldn’t resist pulling on Yang Zhen’s sleeve and said, “Older brother Yang Zhen, I want to eat this too.”
(Below is a picture of rose mirror pastry. It’s called mirror pastry because the pastry is shaped like a small round mirror.)
Yang Zhen took out five coins from his sleeve and purchased two pastries. One was hawthorn flavor and the other was cherry flavor. Zhao Liuli happily took both of them, but was reluctant to eat them. She looked left and right and said, "I want to give one to Ah Luo."
Yang Zhen saw that her small face had become glossy and rosy from excitement and said in low voice, "You should eat it yourself. His highness Prince Jing will buy more for fourth miss."
Soon after Yang Zhen's reminder, Zhao Liuli smiled and handed one of the skewers to Yang Zhen, "This is for you!" Her emptied hand very naturally held his big hand to lead him towards another snack vendor's stall.
Yang Zhen tall figure was slightly stiff, but he didn't take his hand away. He allowed her small soft hand that seemed boneless to keep holding his. They weaved left and right through the crowded marketplace.
On the other side, Wei Luo had disappeared in the time it would take to blink once. Zhao Jie's eyes had become cold. He looked around in every direction and didn't see any traces of Wei Luo. He called for Zhu Geng to come forward and asked, "Where's Ah Luo?"
Zhu Geng pointed in the direction that she had walked. There were many people in that direction. A moment of inattention and he had lost sight of her. "Fourth miss went in that direction. Yang Hao is following her. Don't worry prince."
When Gao Dan Yang heard him saying the two words "Ah Luo", the smile on her face immediately wavered. Ah Luo? Was it Duke Ying's family's Wei Luo?
So many years had passed since Wei Luo was a child. Did he still favor her like before? Back then, he had treated her excessively good. Calculating the time, that little girl was now thirteen years old. And Zhao Jie had taken her outside to stroll around together. What exactly did this mean?
This translation belongs to FuyuNeko. Please read from the original source, mew.
The more that Gao Dan Yang thought about this, the more she felt a sense of crisis. Zhao Jie was twenty-two years old and nine years older than Wei Luo. If he really wanted to obtain that little girl, it wasn't impossible... If that happened, what would she do? Gao Dan Yang uneasily thought. She had waited four years for him since she was sixteen years old. She had already wasted her youth and had become an old maid. Duke Zhen had rejected countless marriage proposals for her because of Zhao Jie. She had originally thought that after he had returned from Binzhou, it would be time to discuss their marriage. She hadn't expected that he would be with Wei Luo. Where was she in his heart?
Gao Dan Yang tightly clutched the silk handkerchief in her hands. She pretended to carelessly ask Zhao Jie, "So, older cousin Jing is out with Duke Ying's family's fourth miss? Could it be that I saw fourth miss before instead of Liuli?”
Zhao Jie finally looked at her, but he didn't answer her. Instead he asked, "Don’t you have other things to do?"
Gao Dan Yang was blocked from asking further. She embarrassedly said, "I... " She pointed towards the cosmetic store in front of them, "I'm going to visit that store with Qing Yang."
Gao Qing Yang was also thirteen years old this year. The young girl looked sweet and charming. She didn't have any interest towards her older sister and Zhao Jie's emotional drama. She was currently fiddling with the nearby vendors' stalls' bottles and jars.
Zhao Jie slightly waved his hand. He didn't give her opportunity to continue talking, "Go then. I still have other things to do with Liuli. It would be inconvenient to keep talking. If there's other words you want to say, we’ll talk another day."
Hearing that Zhao Liuli was also with them, Gao Dan Yang immediately relaxed. It would be fine as long as he wasn't spending time with only Wei Luo. Who didn't know that Zhao Liuli had a good relationship with Wei Luo? Since it was rare for Zhao Liuli to leave the palace, she would definitely invite Wei Luo out too. Zhao Jie was only accompanying them as a way to keep them safe. She slightly smiled. Her smiling face had relaxed, "Older cousin Jing, you're busy with your own things. You don't need to be concerned about Qing Yang and me. We'll go straight home after visiting that cosmetic store."
After she said this, she pulled Gao Qing Yang and walked past him.
After sending away those two, Zhao Jie walked in the direction that Zhu Geng had pointed.
Zhao Liuli had Yang Zhen protecting her. He wasn't worried about anything happening to her. It would be fine as long as they went back to the palace before the sun disappeared behind the mountains. His top priority was finding Wei Luo.
He didn't know why that little girl had walked away so fast. He had only looked away for a moment before she disappeared. There were all sorts of people on both sides of the street. After he walked a distance, he finally saw her at the intersection of two streets. She was in the middle of the crowd of people. Her figure wasn't the most obvious, but he recognized her in a single glance. She was staring at a man in front of her. The man was wearing loose clothing without shoes and had disheveled hair. He was crouched down at a corner drinking wine.
Zhao Jie could tell that the man had taken five minerals powder just from looking at him.
Zhao Jie's eyes deepened. He increased his walking speed.
Wei Luo wasn't far away. Her emotions were complicated as she looked at that man. She thought about her previous life's Chang Hong. Chang Hong had also become like this in the end because of Li Song. He had spent his days in a drunken stupor and being muddleheaded. Everyone had pointed at him and ridiculed him. She definitely couldn't let Wei Chang Hong make the same mistake again. He should have a better future and marry a fair and considerate bride instead of being ruined at the hands of that pair of siblings, Li Xiang and Li Song!
She couldn't help pursing her lips, but the rest of her face didn't change. Her turbulent feelings were hidden.
She was about to turn around and leave, but a carriage to the front of her suddenly lost control. It was swerving around recklessly and heading towards her. The panicking driver shouted for the people on the streets to get out of the way. The carriage knocked over a nearby stall that was selling pastries made of peas. One after another, everyone retreated. She wanted to move to the side, but that carriage’s horse loudly neighed and was rushing directly towards her!
She opened her eyes wider in surprise. She didn't have time to move before a figure appeared in front of her, leaned over, wrapped his hand around her waist, and safely moved her to the corner of a wall.
The man's embrace was warm and his arm was powerful. He was tightly holding her entire body close to himself. She blinked. He was using too much strength to hold her and she couldn't move at all. She could only turn her eyes to look at him and asked, "Big brother?"
Zhao Jie's hand was on her waist. He rested his chin on her head without saying anything.
This translation belongs to FuyuNeko. Please read from the original source, mew.
The carriage's out-of-control horse had been subdued by Zhu Geng and was obediently stopped behind them. The driver was repeatedly expressing his thank to Zhu Geng. Zhu Geng waved his hand and said it wasn't necessary. His gaze fell on the two embracing people in the corner.
Quite a while later, Zhao Jie slowly loosen his hold on her. He was still leaning over and was very close to her forehead when he asked, "Why did you leave without saying anything. Just a moment ago, it was so dangerous. If I didn't appear, you would have been injured."
The emotion in his eyes was too direct. She retreated without thinking. Unfortunately, a wall was behind her. She couldn't move back. She could only face his anger. "If big brother didn't come, I could have gotten out of the way by myself..."
When the carriage was rushing towards her, she had originally wanted to evade it by moving to the side. But, because he had rushed over and tightly hugged her, she hadn't been able to move.
Was she blaming him for not minding his own business?
Zhao Jie watched her little face closely. When he looked at her face so closely, it made him feel even more infatuated. Her thick and long eyelashes gently fluttered and touched his nose as if it were a tiny invisible hand. It constantly teased his heart that had been as dry as an ancient well.
As he looked at her, his heart softened for no apparent reason. He straightened up. His line of sight fell on her bright red lips. His eyes gradually darkened. He wanted to know what she would taste like if he bit her lips. He couldn't keep looking. If he kept looking, he would poisoned into addiction like that man who taken five minerals powder and would be unable to separate from her for even a moment.
He looked away from her, "What were you look at before?"
Wei Luo burrowed out of his embrace and looked at that nearby man again. "The weather hasn't warmed up yet. Why is he barefoot? Big brother, isn't he cold?"
Zhao Jie didn't follow her line of sight. Instead, he raised his hand to rub away the dust on her little face. "He's been poisoned by five minerals powder and needs to bare his feet to cool down.
Wei Luo looked up at him, "What's five minerals powder?”
Five minerals powder was ... when a man didn't have enough strength, using this would temporarily increase his physical strength and satisfy the needs of his body. It would also cause hallucinations. Although this drug could bring a person temporary happiness, it was poisonous. If it were used for a long period of time, a person would become addicted. In the end, the soul would leave the withered body and living would be worse than dying.
Of course, Zhao Jie wouldn't tell her these things. He rubbed her cheeks and said, "It's a type of poisonous drug."
In a voice that seemed to only have a hazy notion of understanding, Wei Luo said, "Oh." She suddenly thought of something else. She looked behind him, "Weren't you with older sister Gao? Why did she leave?"
Zhao Jie didn't want to continue this topic, so he simply said, "She had other things to do, so she left first."
Wei Luo didn't continue asking.
The two of them went back together and planned to meet back up with Liuli.
Not long after, a person came out from behind a doorway and stood there. Gao Dan Yang's heart felt as if bottles of many flavors (emotions) had fallen over. She couldn’t put into words what she was feeling. By chance, she had seen the moment when Zhao Jie hugged Wei Luo. He had hugged that little girl so closely with an anxious expression in his eyes as if he was holding a treasure.
When had Zhao Jie ever been this nervous about someone else?
If you said there was nothing between those two, who would believe you?
The author has something to say:
Zhao Jie: En, I don't believe it either.