Duan Yu simply said, “Oh.” He remained calm and composed as he sneered.
With his voice slightly raised at the end, he said, “Little Qiao doesn’t need to make fun of me. This prince has been reading about astrology from childhood and has never heard of this fire star. Since you’re so intelligent, it would better if you obediently tell the truth.”
(T/N: Literal translation of Mars in Chinese is fire star.)
Without him being aware, his words had leaked out a hint of danger like a swift and sharp blade.
However, the beautiful woman was unaware of the tension. Instead, she blinked her large eyes twice and burst out in laugher.
“So you always doubted me?” She let go of the reins and leisurely walked closer to Prince Duan Yu. Qing Qiao’s face couldn’t be calmer.
“Do you suspect that I’m an impersonation?” She moved her face closer to Duan Yu. The beautiful woman craftily smiled from ear to ear, “Come, this miss will allow you to touch.”
“What are you doing?” Duan Yu was startled from her sudden action and closeness.
“Letting you touch my face so that you can feel that it’s not fake!” Qing Qiao was smiling and the tone of her voice was generous, “I know that you martial artists do this to test.”
As she said this, she grabbed Duan Yu’s hand, placed his hand on her face, and pulled her cheeks left and right. After she finished enduring that, Qing Qiao looked at this prince with her swollen cheeks. Her eyebrows were curved in a smile. “See, my face is real.”
Duan Yu didn’t speak. His bright eyes cast sidelong glances at the beautiful woman. He looked at her for so long that his gaze made her feel nervous.
Qing Qiao sighed. It seemed that she could only use her killer tactic.
“I have a birthmark!” She rolled up her sleeves to reveal a slender, white as snow arm, “Look, there are five red dots here. Shang Qing temple’s head monk, Master Kong Kong, said that this was a plum blossom that was only seen once in a hundred years. There’s no one else born with the same birthmark.”
Duan Yu indifferently glanced at the plum blossom mark. He didn’t answer for a long time, but his eyebrows squeezed out a nice-looking Chinese character “川” between them
(T/N: She means that space between his eyebrows look like this.)
Argh, he still doesn’t believe me? I see that if I can’t bear to part with the child today, I can’t catch the wolf.”
(T/N: The original idiom was “If you can’t bear to part with your shoes, you can’t a wolf.” In Ancient Chinese, the words for shoes and child were very similar. This isn’t true in modern Chinese. At some point, people started replacing or mixing up child with shoes and made the idiom a lot crueler. Anyways, this is an idiom that means if you want to achieve a certain purpose, you need to pay a price.)
Qing Qiao made the painful decision after considered it for a long time. She stomped her feet, turned around, and shouted, “Come and bring a bowl of dog blood for this miss! Also bring a barrel of manure! The smellier, the better!”
The prince finally responded and spit out these words, “”You… what are you going to do?”
“Eh? Wasn’t the prince suspecting that I was an evil spirit?” Qing Qiao took half a step back. “I’m going to sprinkle some hot blood and manure in the courtyard to clean the surrounding area and to prove my true identity!”
“… No need. Thank you for worrying, Miss Gu.”
The veins on Duan Yu forehead twitched a few time as he forcibly suppressed his annoyance.
Duan considered each word and sentence before he cryptically said, “Since little Qiao had easily entered Shang Qing Temple and received Master Kong Kong’s personal guidance, this prince has never considered that you could be heterogeneity.”
“Then what else does the prince suspect me of?” Qing Qiao rubbed her cheeks and looked at him while smiling. She couldn’t conceal her exuberant smile, “Little Qiao’s thoughts are pure and my work style is proper. I love my country and give my allegiance to the emperor. I’m this dynasty’s grade A good person. What do you think is wrong with me?”
Duan Yu’s eyes flashed. As he was about to reply, he suddenly heard a servant anxiously report, “Prince, Mister Qi is here.
“Oh?” Duan Yu raised his phoenix eyes. A slight surprise flitted across his face. Very quickly, his face smoothed out and became peaceful, “Why does he have free time today?”
After he thought about it, he immediately looked at the servant, and said words of rebuke, “It might be because you leaked out news.”
The servant didn’t dare to breath. His entire body was frozen.
Thus, Duan Yu lightly waved his hand and didn’t continue speaking about the topic.
After passing through the long winding corridor with colored glass, Qing Qiao saw a slim, light green figure at the lake pavilion. He was the important guest.
“This is Miss Gu. This is Mister Qi.” Duan Yu introduced the two of them. The introduction was brief and concise. His face showed an inexplicable displeasure.
Qing Qiao was somewhat surprised and scrutinized him for a moment, then she turned around to face the green robed man and said with good manners, “Greetings Mister Qi.”
Mister Qi looked about thirty years old. His height was average. His manner seemed refined. He casually nodded. It could be counted as returning a greeting.
Eh? Are you that important? No matter what, I’m still Prince Duan’s future wife and you’re not even saying a single word.
Mister Qi acted if she was transparent. He turned around and directly started talking to Duan Yu. The core details that they went over and over again could be summarized in ten words. Maliciously gossiping about politics and the imperial court’s secret news.
En, to be able to discuss and give pointers on matters of the country with Prince Duan, Mister Qi must have a powerful person behind him. His status wasn’t minor!
Qing Qiao inwardly hummed. Noble person noble person, if you’re not noble, who is?
*Pitter-patter sound of abacus being used*
In her mind, she took out a small abacus and secretly started to calculate, “Natal chart… Emperor’s spirit…”
(T/N: Natal chart is a map of the sky that includes the planets’ position when a person was born.)
She didn’t know what was wrong with Mister Qi, but he suddenly thought of her a moment later. “… Miss Gu? Miss Gu?”
“Ai? I’m here!” Qing Qiao hurriedly looked up and showed a practiced diplomatic expression of harmlessness and environmental friendliness underneath her long eyelashes.
“… What does Miss Gu usually like?” Mister Qi’s face was polite and his eyes were clear and bright, “This is the first time I’m meeting Miss Gu. It would be good to give you a gift for our first time meeting.”
Hey, big brother who are you? Are you Duan Yu’s dad or mom? Even if there were someone giving me a gift for the first time meeting, it wouldn’t be you!
Qing Qiao rubbed the back of her head and deliberately gave a foolish reply, “Then… I like to eat meat.”
Duan Yu sprayed out the mouthful of tea that he had just drank.
Mister Qi’s face looked as calm as before without the slightest difference, “… What type of meat does Miss Gu like to eat? This Qi luckily has a group of people that hunt for novelty. As long as Miss Gu asks, this Qi will be able to get any delicacy that Miss Gu wants.”
What nonsense. If I want to eat dragon meat, will you be able to get it?
Qing Qiao smiled sweetly, used her sleeve to hid her face, and delicately and shyly said “Pork would the good. Pork is the tastiest.”
There was suddenly a muffled gurgle behind the teacup in Duan Yu’s hand.
“Miss is a beautiful woman. Why stick to eat a food that’s filthily raised like pork?” Mister Qi shook his head with a pitying expression. “I heard that at the southern border of the country, there’s a lake that has a rare type of fish called ruo fish. These fishes grow from absorbing the world’s spiritual energy. On their back, they have a peony pattern and they only grow an inch every ten years. Is Miss Gu interested?”
Wow. They only grow an inch every ten years and they look different from other fishes. Without a doubt, these fishes are aquatic creatures that suffer from Down syndrome! En, who named the fish ruo? It’s good naming. A brilliant naming. A naming with foresight.
(T/N: Ruo usually means weak or inferior.)
Facing Duan Yu’s beautiful eyes and eyebrows, Qing Qiao’s soft voice childishly said, “No need for Mister Qi to trouble himself. Little Qiao is pork’s goddess of compassion and mercy after all and should naturally support my own business. Mister Qi, pork is the best. It strengthens and repairs the body by nourishing the yin, skin, and muscle. Pork can also be used to nourish women who have postnatal blood deficiency. There’s no food more lovable than pork.”
By this point, Duan Yu didn’t know what to say. He stiffly turned his face away from her.
Mister Qi looked at her with rapt attention for a long time and then suddely smiled, “Miss Gu is so cute.”
“Don’t feel any hesitation in saying this to me. Everyone has always said those words to me.” Qing Qiao touched her face and loudly laughed. She thought that this Mister Qi’s teeth were bright enough to be white.
Mister Qi suddenly turned around and said an inexplicable sentence to Duan Yu, “Prince, perhaps she would be able.”
Duan Yu’s face immediately froze. After he thought about it for a long time, he finally said these words with difficulty, “… No! It can be anyone else except her.” When he said these words, his eyes were gloomy. He didn’t have the slightest amount of his usual carefree noble look.
Mister Qi was stunned, and then he helplessly sighed, “Rumors have said that Prince Duan and Miss Gu’s feelings towards one another are as deep as the Butterfly Lovers. Today, this Qi could be counted as seeing it with his own eyes. The prince could reject even this Wan Shi Tong’s request because of Miss Gu.”
(T/N: Butterfly Lovers is a famous ancient Chinese tragic love story. Out of all famous lovers, why did Mister Qi pick this one? But, I might be overthinking it. Most famous Chinese love stories are tragic.)
(T/N: Wan Shi Tong as in a person who knows everything.)
Wan Wan Wan Wan Shi Tong?
Hearing the keyword appear, Qing Qiao’s ears perked up. Her body’s radar cells activated.
However, Duan Yu only showed a cold face. His body’s coldness was like the sharp edge of a spear. He clearly didn’t want to continue this topic.
Mister Qi faintly smiled. He clapped his hands to call the servants to bring up tea and didn’t mention anything related to Qing Qiao.
After lunch, Duan Yu accompanied Mister Qi to go play chess. Qing Qiao strolled around the prince’s residence by herself. She plotted how to make discreet inquiries about the Emperor’s Spirit.
When she had walked to a secluded place, she looked around for a moment. She mustered up her courage and finally shouted, “Qiao Feng! Qiao Feng! Come out quickly!”
After she shouted three times, she didn’t seeing any movement. However, a fat nameless cat at the corner opened its dignified eyes and rolled its eyes with impatience at her.
F*cking sh*t, why are you pretending to be deaf at this critical moment?
She was so angry that she stomped her feet. She gradually raised her voice as she said, “I know you’re following me! Come out quickly! If you don’t come out now, I’ll have Duan Yu change the color of the crow men’s clothing into bright red!”
After a moment of silence, a head that was trembling with fear quietly popped out from behind the top of the wall.
Qing Qiao pursed her lips with a proud expression, “This miss has a question she wants to ask you. Answer me properly. Who is Mister Qi?”
Qiao Feng’s head immediately sank down by a quarter, “I… don’t know.”
Qing Qiao opened her large eyes wider to angrily stare at him and threatened, “If you don’t say, I’ll have only the color of your clothes changed to bright red.”
“… Mister Qi is the famous Wan Shi Tong from the martial arts world. He knows everything under the sun. He’s one of the prince’s confidants.” Qiao Feng’s expression was like a wailing person at funeral. Escaping wasn’t an option, but not escaping was also bad.
“What’s his actual name? Why wouldn’t the prince tell me his real name?” Qing Qiao blinked, “Does Mister Qi really know everything?”
Qiao Feng quietly wiped away the sweat on his forehead, “Mister Qi’s name has always been a secret. This is just what this small one has heard; if you could get Mister Qi to accept your request, there’s nothing that he can’t find out.”
Qing Qiao quietly said, “Yi.”
So there was also an “Inquirer” character in this place. It was truly that the heavens never barred one’s way. If she didn’t despair, she would find a way to go home.
She expressed her thanks to god and then turned her head to ask, “What does Mister Qi want in return for finding out the information?”
Qiao Feng immediately had a sympathetic expresion in his eyes when he looked at her, “Mister Qi temperament is strange. He never accepts anyone’s request. All along, this only happens when he’s happy and asks someone of his own initiative if they have a request they want him to fulfill.”
Qing Qiao was so angry with herself that her blood flowed in the opposite direction. She almost fainted.
No wonder when Mister Qi had asked her what first meeting gift she wanted, Duan Yu’s reaction was so huge. As it turns out, it was because she had wasted a once in a blue moon opportunity!
Wu wu (sound of crying)
Prince, you don’t need to be angry! I know I was wrong! Let me strangle myself to death first!
Holding her damaged delicate heart, Qing Qiao falteringly asked her last question, “… Do you think that Mister Qi would make the offer to do something for a person twice?”
Before Qiao Feng had the chance to speak, a sonorous voice traveled to them from a nearby place.
“Ah Qiao is so obedient. Why don’t you ask me this question?”