Early summer was always a wonderful time.
The wind was gently blowing. The insects were quietly droning. The scenery was charming and gentle under the golden light.
The sun looked at the handsome man near a window frame and couldn’t resist sighing.
Even a god couldn’t match this man’s peerless good looks and poise. At the moment, he was whispering into a young girl’s ear. The young girl seemed to be amused from his words. When she turned around to make a move to playfully hit him, he used both of his hands to stop her from moving and hugged her closer to his chest.
They looked like two people who only interested in their own little world.
Looking at their honey-sweet and tender sentiments towards each other, even the air around them was sweet. So, this was the mortal man that my moon brother was in love with. He was outstanding and brilliant as expected… but it looked like his heart already belonged to someone. And these two looked so intimate. Moon brother, your dream of him writing a love poem for you would be impossible to achieve…
The sun shook his head and looked away.
“Are you finally not annoyed with me?” Duan Yu softly asked and looked at the beauty in his arms.
QingQiao blushed and lowered her eyes without saying anything.
“… How about I take you out to look around?” Duan Yu murmured. His hands caressed her peach-like cheeks. His eyes were hazy as if he were intoxicated.
QingQiao tilted her head to look at their entangled and ambiguous shadows on the ground, “… I want to visit the prince’s residence. You said you would give me something as part of your apology…”
Duan Yu couldn’t resist laughing. His hand tightened around her a bit, “So, you’re also greedy. Okay, I’ll take you there now.”
QingQiao held back her irritation and playfully pouted instead.
Duan Yu laughed louder.
What am I doing?
QingQiao looked at the man in front of her. His laughter was incomparably joyful and delightful. Her heart suddenly ached because of her sin of ill will.
For my personal benefit, I’m using my beauty to deceive another person of his feelings. Truly, I’m letting down my country and its people…
But, I’m also innocent. Without rhyme or reason, I came to this uncivilized world. My only wish is to return home. I don’t want to remain here. Only…
She opened her eyes that could distinguish between right and wrong and silently looked at Duan Yu.
You won’t like me. You just think I’m amusing. In your life, there will never be the word “love”. Your doting and indulgence of me is probably only a momentary whim. And, when I’m not here in the future, there will be many people that love you, like you, and fawn over you. You simply won’t care about my disappearance, right?
But no matter what, I’m still using you.
She closed her eyes and gently moved closer to Duan Yu’s chest.
“I’m sorry,” she very quietly and sincerely said.
Duan Yu’s body jolted and the smile on his face gradually disappeared.
He kept holding QingQiao, but in an area that she couldn’t see, a biting cold madness grew. That icy cold penetrated the bones and would catch a person unaware.
It was early summer in May.
During this time, the sun would always enjoy himself. He didn’t need to use too much energy and would occasionally be able to slack off.
He slightly scattered some sunlight and closed his eyes to nap.
On this golden day, there were a man and woman harboring ulterior motives.
Humans ah, heh heh, always so amusing.
The little wind whooshed. The horse slowly chased.
QingQiao lay down on the window frame and curiously looked around to evaluate.
Duan Yu’s carriage was large, but cozy. The inside of the carriage was in dark hues and looked simple and elegant.
“Hey, why don’t you have a fox or tiger skin spread out?” She asked Duan Yu with a smile. Those transmigration books all said that a beautiful man must have a super luxurious carriage. Where was the skinned white tiger or snow fox fur that would be carelessly tossed into the carriage? In any case, anything could be used as a seating cover as long as it was expensive.
“It’s summer right now.” Duan Yu’s warm fondness from a moment ago had already changed. He only looked at her indifferently now.
“Eh, how come your carriage only had a couch? What about a tea table? A chessboard? A guzheng? Various luxurious furniture?”
(T/N: Guzheng is a Chinese musical string instrument.)
“Too heavy. It would slow me down if I had to flee.”
“Oh right, why isn’t your carriage all white like your clothes?”
“Because sometimes there will be other people sitting in the carriage.” He paused and then meaningfully looked at her, “Other people, they will always be a bit dirty.”
QingQiao imagined strangling this abnormal person to death.
QingQiao stopped talking and fiercely glared at Duan Yu for a moment. She puffed out her cheeks and looked at scenery.
A soft cloak covered her. It stuck to her face and wrapped up her entire body.
“Your body isn’t well. You can’t catch a cold.” It was still that cold tone of voice and it carried a bit of an order, “Don’t let the wind blow on you so much.”
QingQiao twitched her lips. She didn’t continue to look at him. Her expression showed her resentment.
Ah this prince, his face changing was faster than flipping the pages of a book. Where did the sweet speech and honeyed words that he said in Gu residence go? Ai, as the saying goes, accompanying an emperor was like accompanying a tiger. From the way she saw it, a prince was almost the same as an emperor. After all, they were both born from the same mother…
The carriage had quickly stopped.
In a slightly stiff voice, the driver said, “Prince, we arrived at the wangfu(prince’s residence).”
This… was the prince’s residence?
*sound of cackling*
Gu QingQiao felt as if a crow had flown over her head.
She looked at the magnificently and elegantly dressed Duan Yu, then she looked at the shabby courtyard that only had three rooms and only one and half rooms looked okay. She couldn’t connect the two things for a long time.
A door that had been worn down by years of without repair, a moss covered well, window paper that would have fallen apart if she touched it once, and a guard dog that was so thin that only its bones were left…
Her gorgeous illusion had been completely destroyed by reality.
… Prince! Who would have thought you were so poor? This prince’s estate, it couldn’t even match half of Gu family’s reception pavilion. Could it be that all of your money was spent to raise crow men (T/N: black robed guards)?
Ai, if she thought about it, this does make sense. You’re always so extravagant and ostentatious for the sake of your reputation. The arrow that you shot at me that time was even made of gold. Such extravagance and waste. You must have used up your wealth. Your concern for your reputation has resulted into such a condition. This is tragic enough to scare people…
“How is it?” Duan Yu didn’t seem to consider this shameful. Instead, he was faintly smiling at her.
“Very… pocket-sized.” She considered for a long time and finally thought of an adjective that wouldn’t be contrary to her conscience or hurt his feelings.
“As long as you like it, it’s good.” Duan Yu was very satisfied with her reaction, “Take whatever appeals to you from this residence. Don’t need to be polite.”
What can I take?
QingQiao looked at him with incomparable resentment Her intestines had almost turned green from regret. Only a fated and respectable person could wear the emperor’s spirit. Since you live in a shack that’s offensive to the whole of society, you won’t have the thing that I’m looking for. His grandmother, I used my beauty for nothing.
“Are you not saying anything because you’re too surprised?” Duan Yu turned his head to look at her eyes. His shining eyes were full of inquisitiveness.
… There’s still a chance.” She loyally patted Duan Yu’s shoulder, “… Although you’re a bit poor right now, if you stop your bad habit of extravagance, sell Zuo Qing, disband your crow men, and beg your emperor brother, you’ll be able to survive the second half of your life…”
Duan Yu folded his arms. He looked at her with his phoenix eyes and a strange smile.
“… It’s not frightening if someone makes a mistake. It’s only bad if they don’t learn from their mistakes and repent. If you don’t mind, I can tell my daddy to send my dowry earlier to you, so that you can use it for necessary expenses…” QingQiao compassionate heart started to spread unchecked, “Just treat as a little compensation from me to you…”
Duan Yu’s complexion abruptly changed. He firmly grabbed her wrist. His eyes were ambitious and aggressive, “What are you compensating me for?”
QingQiao froze in place. She didn’t know why Duan Yu had such a dramatic change in attitude again.
“You two! What are you doing in my courtyard?” Suddenly, a tanned man rushed out. His face was full of tension and vigilance.
QingQiao raised her head to look at Duan Yu. She was doing her best to keep calm, “May, I ask… Is this not your home?”
“This isn’t my home.” Duan Yu had already returned to being expressionless.
“You… You clearly said this was the prince’s residence?! Gu QingQiao expressed her anger, “You actually lied to me! You fucker!”
Duan Yu quietly harrumphed and disdainfully snubbed her a response.
“What’s your name?” He raised his chin at the tanned man.
“… Wang, Wang Fugui.” The tanned man felt sudden unprecedented pressure surrounding him and stuttered when he spoke.
(T/N: Just in case it’s not clear, prince’s residence is wang fu in Mandarin. This person’s last name is Wang, so his home would also be called wang fu. Fu means residence in Mandarin.)
Duan Yu received a satisfactory answer. Smiling in anticipation, he looked at QingQiao, “How did I lie to you? Little Qiao, judge whether this is right or wrong.”
His widening smile became more and more beautiful, “This house is owned by someone with the surname Wang. Could this place be called something other than Wang Fu? En?”
I want to cut someone, but I don’t have a knife.
I want to poison someone, but I don’t have poison.
Underneath the bright and radiant sunlight of early summer, Gu QingQiao was bathed in Prince Duan’s touching smile. She now understood in advance what “The mournful cold wind is blowing, the snow flutters” meant.
(T/N: This is the title of the opening song from a 1991 Taiwanese drama “Fox Volant of the Snowy Mountain” that was adapted from yet another one of Jin Yong’s novels. The song lyrics talk about this person traveling alone in the snow as he pursues his dream and wonders when will he finally accomplish it.)
She glanced at Duan Yu, then she gritted her teeth and pushed down her anger. As a transmigrated, modern person, no matter what, she couldn’t admit that a fossil had just tricked her.
“… What does Little Qiao think? Did I lie to you? Did I?” At her side, the hateful Duan Yu was pursuing this.
“Enough!” QingQiao waved her hand, took a deep breath, and raised her head to solemnly say to Duan Yu, “The Prince didn’t lie to me. It was Little Qiao that thought too much.”
Duan Yu hastily nodded. He was in a good mood from occupying the higher ground.
QingQiao didn’t continue speaking. Her arms were crossed against her chest as she walked with heavy strides towards the carriage…
“How would Little Qiao evaluate wangfu?” Duan Yu followed behind her and jubilantly asked.
“… It’s very good. Very formidable.” QingQiao’s eyes were red. Each word was gritted out.
The little wind whooshed. The horse slowly chased.
The carriage slowly moved forward.
At this time, Gu QingQiao had completely lost her spirit. She was lying down on the couch by herself. Her body was like a corpse.
There was only the sound of carriage wheels’ turning.
The carriage was too quiet. It was so quiet that a certain person finally couldn’t continue just sitting. He put down the book in his hand and looked towards her.
“Annoyed at me, en?” – Gentle.
“How can you be so petty? You lived a life of luxury from childhood. Could you really be missing some rare thing from my house?” – Cutely spoiled
“Aiya, I was only teasing you a bit. It’s not like you haven’t fooled me in the past.” – Threatening
“Fine, I’ll take your around the real Prince’s residence. Whatever you want, I’ll give you.” – Helpless surrender.
The corpse moved a little bit, then stiffened again.
“Be good.” Duan Yu couldn’t resist smiling as he looked at her current state. He increased his kind words to coax her, “Open the curtains to look first. It’s not the road to Gu’s residence outside. We’ll be there soon.”
The corpse saw the carp jumping (for the bait), and there was sudden movement from the corpse.
Prince Duan’s residence was very big. It was much bigger than Gu’s residence. At the very least, Gu’s residence didn’t have a blue lake with an end that couldn’t be seen.
It was as vast as the sea, but it was bluer and more beautiful than the sea.
Qing Qiao sat in a pavilion located at the center of the lake. There was mist covered water extending into the distance. She was a little stunned.
She had known that Duan Yu was rich and knew that he was extravagant. But, she didn’t anticipate he was actually this wealthy and that he liked to… burn money.
White marble pavement, luminousness night pearls as corner lanterns, and dazzling pure gold entrance gate… She counted the things she had seen on the way here. Her eyes had almost become blind.
For example, in her current location at the pavilion that was at the center of the lake, the main part of the pavilion was built with crystals blocks and the four pillars were decorated with every kind of gem. Clearly, these were all just vulgar, shining gems, but when they were piled up together, there was an unspeakable sense of arrogance, as if letting someone even touch them once would be disrespecting them.
Even this building was as extravagant as its owner. It really made a person feel indignant.
“What are you thinking about?” Duan Yu picked up a pastry to add to her small dish. He faintly smiled.
“I’m considering a very serious question.” QingQiao turned her head. Her big eyes gleamed. Her faced had a never before seen gravity.
“What is it?” Affected by her, Duan Yu frowned and sat more alertly.
“Have you embezzled the government’s money?”
“Does little Qiao not like Prince Duan’s residence?” Duan Yu’s face twitched.
“There’s too much burning! (T/N: too wasteful of money)” She waved her hands, “How is this a place for humans to live? It’s more like a temple for worshipping Buddha!”
Duan Yu sipped his tea, “What’s little Qiao’s ideal residence? What does it look like?”
“Do you really want to hear?” She laughed blackly, “My dream house can only remain a dream. It can’t be built.”
“There’s no harm in speaking.” Duan Yu remained calm and collected as he looked at her seriously, “Perhaps, this prince could use his power to provide a meager contribution.”
“Then I’ll say it. You’re not allowed to laugh.”
QingQiao supported her check with her hand. Her eyes started to emit pink dream bubbles.
“I want a house like this. The roof is made of almond candy. The chimney is made of roasted pork rolls. The bed is made of honeyed red dates. The chairs are made of glutinous rice balls with red bean paste. The windows have chicken legs with spicy peanut sauce. The pillows are made of shrimp dumplings.
The clouds in the sky are made of cotton candy. The stones on the ground are made of braised red pork. The rain is made of raisin. The snow is made of lollipops. Outside the house, you can see little steamed dumplings everywhere. The river is chicken and preserved egg congee.
Oh right, all the things that swim in the river and fly in the sky are already steamed, braised, stir-fry, and simmered, whatever cooking method you want, there will be. If I hum a moment, they’ll stand in a line to jump into my mouth…”
The young girl was still happily thinking. The person on the other side of the table had already completely turned into stone…
(T/N: Did anyone else feel as speechless as Duan Yu after listening to QingQiao describe her dream house? I thought the furniture part was already nonsensical enough, but once she started talking about cotton candy clouds… how does she come up with this?)