Duan Yu smiled as he held QingQiao’s hand. They walked into the inn.
“Subordinate greets Prince!” Several, expressionless shadow guards flocked around them to escort them to a private room.
In the corner, ZhangGui was astonished. He didn’t know where and how these black-robed mean appeared.
Alas, there were black-robed guards everywhere. It’s only that you don’t expect this, so you don’t see them.
(T/N: Imagine the shadow guards eavesdropping on Duan Yu and Qing Qiao’s conversation while they were in the forest.)
They were seated. Tea was brought to their room.
“… I prepared a small gift for you.” With a pampering expression, Duan Yu said to QingQiao, “Are you prepared? Don’t be too surprised.”
QingQiao silently thought. She was person who had read many romance novels. What rare thing hasn’t she seen? Is he going to give her a jade, flower hairpin that would attract butterflies and bumblebees, or an ice that could keep her body youthful for a thousand years? Or a “custom-tailored love shackle” mentioned in that sadomasochistic book series? In her time period, the male lead would even give the imperial jade seal to the main character to see her smile. There is nothing that he could give that would surprise her.
So, the atmosphere was neutral and indifferent. And, she only calmly smiled.
Duan Yu waved his hand slightly at the people near them.
A black-robed man saw the order. He quickly cleared his throat.
He shouted in a distorted tone that had been deliberately stretched, “Come – here – serve – plain boiled pork – with – garlic sauce!”
A plate of fragrant, plain boiled pork with garlic sauce was brought to QingQiao. The person carefully carried the plate as if he was holding seven stars to be offered in worship to the moon.
“Prince… Prince, this is what you’re giving Little Qiao?” After a while, QingQiao finally closed her mouth.
“Try some,” Duan Yu complacently smiled without answering.
Fine, you’re ruthless enough. You succeeded in shocking me.
QingQiao took a pair of chopsticks to sulkily pick up a piece to eat. She felt very resentful.
This prince, couldn’t you have given me something more traditional? You should have shown me an exotic treasure that would have opened my eyes. Golden hairpin, jade pendant, or night pearl would have all been okay. I might not be as surprised as I am now. But, you carried me to this distant, desolated countryside to give me a plate of meat. What were you thinking?!
“… Is it tasty?” Duan Yu turned his head to look at her. His eyes were like two stars.
“… Tasty.” At this time, QingQiao was muddleheaded and answered without thinking.
“Is this the most delicious food you’ve eaten?”
“… It’s the most delicious food I’ve eaten.” When you’re heartbroken, it doesn’t make a difference what you eat.
“Just as expected, it’s him!” In high spirits, Duan Yu clapped his hand against the wall and laughed loudly. “I finally found him! Haha ha.”
“Eh?” QingQiao numbly looked at him. Is he convulsing? It doesn’t seem like it.
“Little Qiao, do you know who cooked this plain boiled pork with garlic sauce?” Duan Yu stopped laughing to look at her profoundly.
“Wasn’t it by this inn’s cook?” QingQiao was still muddleheaded.
“Humph! How could I feed common food to Little Qiao?” Duan mysteriously said into her ear, “The person who prepared this dish, he is the person that you were yearning to see. The legendary cooking master, Hero Qiao Feng!”
“Prince… prince… prince… prince, are you joking?” The half bite of meat in QingQiao’s mouth fell out. She was stunned.
“When has this prince ever played a joke on Little Qiao?” Duan Yu slightly narrowed his eyes and his smile started to look devilish.
QingQiao fake laughed three times. Her heart secretly whispered, “Impossible. How could he find Qiao Feng? He’s a liar.”
“Does Little Qiao not believe me?” Duan Yu probably expected that she would have this reaction. He waved his hand at the servant and said, “Bring him here.”
The black-robed man used the same distorted tone that had been deliberately stretched to shout, “Bring – Qiao – Feng!”
Like a person that was abruptly woken up in the middle of night and was trying to quietly put on his clothes without waking anyone else while being muddled and rushed, this person’s blue shoes appeared in front of QingQiao. (T/N: I think this meant he flew or jumped down from the roof, so the first thing she saw was his shoes.)
This legendary cooking master was the apex representative of plain boiled pork with garlic sauce. Hero Qiao Feng was finally here.
“Western Region’s Chef Qiao Feng greets the prince and Miss Gu.” Qiao Feng greeted them with a deep bow. His attitude was polite and modest.
Duan Yu’s casually acknowledged him by nodding his head.
“Little Qiao, why aren’t you greeting Hero Qiao Feng? This prince had dispatched four hundred elite black-robed guards to search through one hundred thirty-six municipals in order to find him. It really wasn’t easy!”
QingQiao fixed her gaze on Qiao Feng. Her mouth had the outline of a full “O” shape.
And a loach-like mustache. This cartoon character that had fell from the sky. He looked 99% like a child’s scribbling of ‘Old Man Ding’. He could have been cast from the same mold. This wasn’t easy!
Without thinking, QingQiao blurted out, “He isn’t Qiao Feng!”
“Oh?” Duan Yu glanced at her. His composure didn’t change. “Does this mean that little Qiao has seen Qiao Feng before?”
“… I haven’t seen him.” She was somewhat vexed, “But I know that he definitely couldn’t be Qiao Feng. He’s a liar.”
“Little Qiao, since you haven’t seen him, how do you know this person is a liar?” Duan Yu picked up a cup and slowly exhaled. He was calm and collected.
After QingQiao wracked her brains, she finally found a reason, “… He… his chest doesn’t have a wolf head!”
But, Duan Yu unhurriedly started to smile. His strange smile was as if he was a victorious winner that was compassionately overlooking all living things under Heaven and Earth.
“Qiao Feng, take off your clothes for Miss Gu to see.”
And so, “Qiao Feng” nodded his head. In two or three seconds, he removed the clothes on his upper body.
On his gleaming, sweaty chest, there was an impressively huge wolf head tattoo that was fiendish and ferocious-looking.
Qiao Feng. The well-known Qiao Feng that was Khitan. He was the chief of the Beggars’ Sect, which was the top ranked sect. He was unlikely to encounter a rival in the martial arts world.
(T/N: Qiao Feng is a character from the wuxia novel and drama ‘Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils’ and Khitan was an ethnic group in ancient China. It was a branch of the Eastern Hu people that inhabited the valley of the Xar Murun River in the upper reaches of the Liao River.)
He was a broad-minded, brave, and righteous person who attached importance to relationships and supported virtuous causes. He was a rarely seen hero with an indomitable spirit. And the symbol of his tragic relationship with his clan was that ferocious wolf head.
“He… he…” QingQiao was shocked to the point that shouldn’t finish her sentence.
How could this be true? How could there really be a Qiao Ming Feng? A man with a wolf head tattoo on his chest and was good at cooking plain boiled pork with garlic sauce. That was all just nonsense that she casually said. Could it be that space and time was broken? Or could there really be such a coincidence in this world?
“He is real. Did seeing him cause little Qiao to be dumfounded?” Duan Yu dubiously looked at her with a fake smile. “Isn’t this the person you’ve been yearning to see?”
QingQiao started to shake head, and then nodded. She was somewhat lost.
She thought of Felix Wong and Hu Jun (names of actors who had roles in the ‘Condor Trilogy’). She thought of that novel’s tall character that had a level of loyalty that reached up to the sky.
When she was in college, she had passionately declared and solemnly vowed to her roommate, “Who cares about Yang Guo (main character of ‘The Return of the Condor Heroes’) or Guo Jing (main character of ‘The Legend of the Condor Heroes’)? I only like the tragic heroism of Qiao Feng!”
But now, she looked at this ridiculous, flesh version of ‘Old Man Ding’…
She was speechless. She could only questioned the heavens while two lines of tears dripped from her eyes.
Although she struggled to think of an idea, she finally bowed her head to acknowledge that she had lost, “Hero Qiao… fine.”
Her heart was full of guilt. Wu wu. She apologized to Jin Yong’s fans. If I knew my words would come true, even if I were beaten to death, I wouldn’t have said Hero Qiao was famous for cooking plain boiled pork with garlic sauce.
(T/N: Jin Yong is the novelist that wrote the ‘Condor Trilogy’ and ‘Demi-Gods and Semi-Devils’)
“Uh… Miss Gu, you yearned for a long time to eat my renowned dish. To come here to cook for you, my chummy friend, it is also my heartfelt wish,” Qiao Feng rubbed his meaty hand. His big mouth laughed happily.
QingQiao looked at his laughing face. It was a spectacle too horrible to endure. She wanted to die.
“Yi, little Qiao doesn’t look too happy. Do you not like the present this prince has given you?” Duan Yu looked at her. His eyes were bright and shiny with evil mirth.
“What? I’m just startled,” QingQiao dispiritedly whispered.
“Oh, why were you startled?”
“I didn’t expect that Hero Qiao would be so elegant, unconventional, and handsome. A Casanova…”