During the next few days, Qing Qiao's days at Mister Qi's residence were very peaceful. Every day and every meal, she watched Prince Shao Yi being as picky with his food as before.
She had wondered why Shao Yi hadn't died from starvation yet, so she was relieved after finding out the twin teenage girls brought Shao Yi daily tonics. As it turns out, although Crown Prince Shao Yi ate very little each day, he didn't skip drinking all kinds of tonics that were meticulously prepared by doctors. So, although he was thin, he wouldn't starve to death. At most, he would suffer malnutrition.
She couldn't help secretly thinking, so this brat wasn't intentionally torturing himself. He was probably acting out a daily, extravagant show of being so picky with his food for someone to see.
During this lunch, sixty-five dishes had been announced, but Shao Yi still hadn't picked up his chopsticks. The servants started to panic.
Qing Qiao had already become apathetic. On the side, she secretly yawned.
"Chun Jiao, come here."
Suddenly, she heard someone calling her. When she turned her head to look, the crown prince was looking at her with a smile. "What... Why?"
His indescribable and wonderful smile terrified her. One by one, goose bumps rose on her skin.
"Come here." The crown prince gestured at her. "Come here and look."
In front of him, she saw servant number sixty-six holding a bowl of swallow's nest with rock sugar and trembling with fear.
"... This soup’s coloration is sparking and translucent and its smell assails the nose. Its truly a first-class bowl of swallow's nest!" Qing Qiao looked at the bowl, then she looked at Shao Yi. She sighed and said, "It's such a good item. Sir, please don't waste natural resources recklessly. Just drink a few spoonfuls!”
Shao Yi raised his head and pouted playfully, "Okay, I'll eat if you feed me."
Something large crashed down from His Highness’ words.
On the side, there was absolute silence.
Qing Qiao picked up the bowl, scooped a spoonful of swallow's nest, and slowly brought it to Shao Yi. "Ahhh" She said in an incomparably gentle tone that was used to coax a child.
Shao Yi faintly smiled, obediently opened his mouth, and held the spoon in his mouth.
"Is it yummy?" Qing Qiao's eyes were so soft that they could choke out water.
Shao Yi nodded and swallowed the swallow's nest soup. With the spoon still in his mouth, he said, "... I want more."
Ah ah ah!
Sir ate something! Sir ate something! Sir took the initiative to request food!
Over a hundred servants cried tears of joy. Blue-robed Eunuch Qu's reaction was even more extreme. He covered his face with his handkerchief and quietly sobbed, "I didn't expect... that I would live to see a day that Sir would be willing to eat..."
After Qing Qiao finished feeding him a bowl of swallow's nest soup, Shao Yi waved his hand and said, "I'm full. Don't want to eat anymore. All of you can leave."
Then, he pointed at servant number sixty-six, "You, go to the account office to receive your reward of two thousand silver." Then he turned his head to Eunuch Qu and said, "Remember this, reward the cook that made the swallow's nest two thousand gold."
Wow! The servants were effervescing. The project's bonus doubled!
Servant number sixty-six trembled and kneeled down on the ground. He was so excited that he couldn't even speak properly. "Thank… Thank... Thank you Sir. Sir..."
Shao Yi faintly smiled, "You don't have to thank me. You should thank Miss Du Chun Jiao. If she wasn't here, no matter what you brought, I wouldn't be able to eat it."
Everyone silently contemplated. En, they will remember that this girl is Du Chun Jiao. In the future, they would have to fawn and curry favor with her.
After the food was taken away, the twin teenage girls came forward to wash Shao Yi's hand. One of them intentionally or unintentionally looked at Qing Qiao. Her gaze felt like a needle.
Faced with this baseless glare, Qing Qiao had mixed feelings.
The happy part was that this story was finally following the proper storyline of a transmigration novel. She wouldn't have to continue being caught unprepared. The worrisome part was that if the current situation continued, there would soon be a typical scene of a jealous female character maliciously framing her for a crime!
Just as she was full of these thoughts, she suddenly heard one of the twin teenage girls say, "Sir, how did you hand get injured?"
Ah? It can't be that she was going to be framed for something so quickly, right? She hadn't even prepared herself for battle yet!
Qing Qiao hurriedly extended her head out and saw that there was a shallow, red mark on Shao Yu's right arm.
"It's fine." Shao Yi downplayed the severity of his wound, "Yesterday, I was studying martial arts with shifu. There was a surprise attack from a bandit and I accidentally got injured."
"Who's that powerful?" The teenage girls' flower-like faces immediately changed color, "They actually came close to Sir with Taifu Song protecting you!"
(T/N: Taifu is the title of an official that tutors the crown prince and has other responsibilities.)
"... Taifu said that person's martial art skills were very strange. He couldn't tell what Sect that person was from." Shao Yi lazily stretched his waist and carelessly said, "But I remember that person said he came here to demand for a servant girl called “Ding Ding”. Do you know who has that name in this residence?"
The twin teenage girls looked at each other, shook their head, and one said, "We've never heard of this name." Then, she added the words, "This servant will immediately go and find her."
Shao Yi made a sound of disapproval, closed his eyes, and let the teenage girls finish wiping his hands.
"Ding Ding?" He thought for a moment, then he suddenly opened his eyes, "Why is this name so laughable?"
(T/N: Du Chun Jiao is also very ridiculous name. A literal translation would be stopping lovable/pampered spring.)
That night, Mister Qi heard the anecdote about what happened during the day. He was overjoyed at the unexpected good news and requested that Qing Qiao personally serve Shao Yi and follow him closely.
On the next day, Shao Yi went up the mountain to study martial arts. Qing Qiao took along a basket of snacks as she followed him.
Qing Qiao wasn't the slightest bit interested in martial arts. She had already seen plenty of 90's Hong Kong wuxia movies with people jumping on roofs and over walls. She had also seen many 20th century domestic films with digital special effects.
She had already seen Bei Ming Shen Gong's and Jiu Yin Zhen Jing's flying and flipping moves so many times and was already become apathetic to seeing it. So, what was so rare and special about seeing a cute, young boy brandishing around a sword around?
(T/N: Bei Ming Gong is a martial arts skill that appeared in "Dragon". This is one of Jin Yong's books. Jiu Yin Zhen Jing is a famous martial skill that appears in Jin Yong's "Condor Trilogy".)
Without any worries, she sat down inside the mountain cottage. Bite by bite, she ate the snacks.
Perhaps, she would soon be able to fatten up the crown prince, obtain the Emperor's spirit, find the other two items, and return home.
Suddenly she heard the sound of shouting and fighting outside the cottage. She felt something was wrong, opened the door to look, and couldn't help feeling gobsmacked.
It was chaos outside. The cottage and Shao Yi was completely surrounded by many white-robed men that were taking advantage of situation with their superior numbers.
Their leader was a ruffian man with a pair of peach eyes. She saw him fighting with Taifu. Then, he heartedly laughed and said, "Younger sister Ding Ding, your dear brother came here to look for you. Why aren't you coming out to meet me?!"
Behind him, the land was covered with yellow banners with a cloud pattern. The banners fluttered in the cold wind. She saw the word "Dang" written in a bold, cursive calligraphy in black ink on each banner. They looked threatening.
Qing Qiao quickly closed the door, leaned against the wall, and looked up while silently crying.
I knew it.
The author never has good intentions. From now on, I'll never have any delusions about her.
(T/N: Hmm… What do you think Shao Yi was plotting? Why did he suddenly change his treatment of Qing Qiao?)