That day, it would have been too much of a rush to return to the capital before nighttime. So, they stayed overnight at the Buddhist temple. Great Master Kong Kong had dispatched a disciple to prepare and help them settle in a scenic side room. The dispatched disciple was the young monk that had opened the gate door during the day. He was twenty-three years old. He hadn’t lost his childish nature, but his attitude towards QingQiao had changed. His previous arrogant behavior had disappeared. He became considerate and asked about her health.
Looking at the young monk in front of them being extremely deferential, QingQiao couldn’t help jesting, “Little shifu treated us so nicely.” Oh, even you have times when you kiss up to someone.
Dong Xi snorted. Her heart held grudges over his previous haughtiness.
The young monk didn’t respond.
After he had brought them to the side room and was about to leave, he turned around to say, “Miss Gu, it was my master that said to treat you better. He said that if later you still have that idea, please remember to be merciful to the people here. After all, they are innocent.” He left after he finished speaking.
This time, it was QingQiao that was surprised.
“Miss, what did that baldy mean?” Dong Xi came closer. Her face showed her confusion.
“… I think they read a comprehensive collection of time traveling books. Those books were full of keywords like ‘goddess’, ‘heaven’s disagreement, ‘celestial maiden’, and descendant of gods’. These books talk about a tragic story of a strange girl enduring a predestined fate of countless beautiful men pursuing her, which triggers a world catastrophe,” Miss murmured.
“Wow,” Dong Xi’s head felt foggy after listening. She could only do this as a gesture of goodwill.
Inside the side room at night.
Dong Xi was lightly snoring next to her, but QingQiao couldn’t fall asleep. Emperor’s spirit. What is the emperor’s spirit? How could she obtain it? Does she have to suffer for another five years? No. She can’t keep delaying. Great Master Kong Kong has already passed the age of seventy. He could die at any moment. Before he’s gone, she must find the ‘Earth’ and ‘Person’ items. Her eyebrows furrowed under the moonlight. Her white hands clenched and loosened, then clenched and loosened.
(T/N: I wonder why she doesn’t ask him to describe those items now so she doesn’t have to come back later or worry about him passing away before she finds those items.)
After a long time, she put on her outer robe and went left the room. Five years ago, her favorite place was Shang temple’s roof.
Stop! Please don’t ask why every girl who time traveled liked to climb roofs. QingQiao doesn’t know how. Her athletic ability wasn’t any different than an ordinary person’s. She was maybe even weaker. She wasn’t remotely attracted to those roofs’ full of tiles. She didn’t even want to go her apartment’s flat roof when she had the modern world’s high-rise apartment’s elevator. Why would she climb a roof in Ancient China for fun?
This translation belongs to fuyuneko. Mew.
At that time, she only climbed the roof because there was a nearby ladder. Great Master Kong Kong was a very talented person. He designed every building the Shang temple. The roof was like an astronomy observatory. There was also an incline on the roof for someone to rest. Great Master wasn’t a mortal. He was a Daoist immortal. And immortals always liked to make strange things.
Five years later, she was back in this side hall’s roof. The scenery was still beautiful as before. It was beautiful enough to make someone feel suffocated.
“Great Master Kong Kong, you truly picked a nice space.” QingQiao lay down on the incline while she mumbled to herself. Looking up, she filled her eyes with starry sky. The stars looked close enough to touch. The Jade River was like a moving piece of brocade. Its gleam was clear and crystalline. "I long to ride the wind to return to Heaven, but I fear the Moon palace and the lofty days of coldness."
(T/N: The last sentence is part of a poem. One interpretation is that it’s about someone wanting to go back to his or her previous home, but feeling hesitant about leaving the current place. Another interpretation is that it’s about an official that wants to go back to his old position, but worries about failing once he’s there.)
Although it was trite, she couldn’t help saying these words, “When can QingQiao return?” Suddenly, she heard a captivating sound. It was an empty dream in this vast world. When she turned around, there was person behind her. It was dark and graceful; it was a beast of the night.
The expression on QingQiao’s face could only be described with one word. Jiong.
(T/N: Jiong is this emoticon囧.)
She started to sit up while trembling, “How could you be here?”
The person came closer and sat down next to her with a strange smile. “If I say I missed you and came here just to see you, would you believe me?”
QingQiao rolled her eyes, “Didn’t you go to the Southern borders? Lu ZiZheng, what are you plotting now?”
He closed his eyes and comfortably said, “Hearing ‘ZiZheng’ would feel more affectionate.”
Under the clear, bright moon, this man’s appearance was astonishing as if he had absorbed heaven’s brilliance or as if he were a faraway cloud. Although everyone said that Prince Duan Yu was a god’s reincarnation, they didn’t know that there was a person that resembled a fairy immortal. (T/N: So fairy immortal > god in terms of beauty?)
If one day he knew that I only saved him for the nine surd bells, what expression would he reveal? QingQiao looked at this peacock (narcissistic person). She had dreamed of choking him to death countless times and had a moment of absentmindedness.
Lu ZiZheng opened his eyes after not hearing a response, “What? Have you become dumbstruck by looking at me? Am I that beautiful?”
With a bit of loathing, QingQiao glared at him. Don’t be so arrogant. A demon will always be a demon. An old dog couldn’t learn new tricks.
But ZiZheng wouldn’t give up. He seized her head to directly at him and continued to ask, “Am I very beautiful?”
Their eyes met. His eyes stared at hers. QingQiao sighed and kindly reminded him, “Didn’t you say you disliked other people talking about your appearance?”
“Little Qiao is different.” ZiZheng gently huffed. His breath smelled like night orchids. “Tell me. Who looks better? Me or Duan Yu?”
Childish! QingQiao wanted to be angry, but in front of those rarely clear eyes, she gritted her teeth and said, “You.”
The world held its breath. Time stopped.
“Little Qiao is smart. You know how to make me happy,” Lu ZiZheng smiled with satisfaction. His smile was bright like spring sunshine.
Even QingQiao, who was previously disdainful of his beauty, felt swayed by his smile. Her heart secretly skipped a beat.
And then, they were both without words. They lied down to rest on the roof.
“… Hey, why do you always visit me during the middle of the night?”
“Why? Maybe because of habit.”
(T/N: I wonder how often ZiZheng visited QingQiao during the past three years.)
“If, I’m saying if. If I had said that Duan Yu looks better, would you feel sad?”
“Sad? I wouldn’t feel sad. I would only scar his face, break his legs, castrate him, and then sell him to a brothel. Basically, I want him unable to live or die.
“… Nothing. Continue smiling.” After these endless nights of oppression, how could she sleep easily?
When she opened her eyes next morning, QingQiao found herself in the side room. A quilt covered her. Dong Xi was still sleeping soundly. Lu ZiZheng had disappeared. QingQiao sat up and rubbed her neck. It felt a bit achy. Ancient China’s pillows were so hard. She sighed. She missed her modern home’s fluffy, eiderdown pillows. She could only groan while rubbing her neck.
After a long of time of unproductively pouring out her sufferings, she vaguely thought of Lu ZiZheng’s words last night.
“… As for those people who attacked you, don’t worry… I will deal with them… but, at the moment, I can’t take their lives… but be at ease…be patient… soon…”
She shook her head, and then left the bed to wash her face. See, as expected, the attack was because of that demon. Those assassins had a red spot between their eyebrows. They attacked fiercely and clearly wanted her life. She wanted to be angry, but she was the one who accepted his bracelet. As the saying goes, the mouth that has been fed by others is soft, the hand that has received doesn’t reach. She felt like she owed him and could only carefully protect her life.
(T/N: The saying means that if you accepted presents from someone or benefited from someone’s actions, even if they’re wrong, you shouldn’t complain about their shortcomings or try to control their actions.)
She looked outside. Her eyes were filled with brilliant sunlight. Today is a good day. E mi tuo fo (prayer/saying Buddha’s name). She put her palms together in prayer. Thank you for your blessings.
After Dong Xi finished packing, they walked to the temple’s main building. The grass underneath them was lush and verdant. The sky was blue and clear.
QingQiao rarely felt this happy. She felt inspired to sing.
“Sunlight ~ radiantly golden, the rooster calls out three times,
Flowers ~ wake up, birds are busy grooming,
Little magpies build new homes,
Little bees gather pollen for honey.
What does a happy life require?
It requires hard work!”
(T/N: These lyrics are part of a children’s song.)
Unfortunately, after she had only sung half the song, she stopped. She couldn’t breath. She was frozen in place.
A group of sweaty, golden horses had stopped at the temple’s entrance. On one of the horses, there was a handsome white-robed nobility. He was looking at her. The corner of his mouth was smiling. His smile was more radiant than dawn.
Dong Xi pointed at the entrance and stuttered, “Prince…prince…prince…Prince Duan Yu.” She usually rarely stuttered.
After she dryly laughed three times, QingQiao forced herself to ask, “… What a coincidence. Did Prince Duan Yu also come here to burn incense to worship Buddha?”
“No, this prince came here for you,” Duan Yu shook his head. He looked at her from head to feet. His phoenix eyes slanted to look at her, making his gaze more obvious.
A cold wind blew by. Everything was silent.
QingQiao felt as if needles were piercing her. Dangerous person. This is a dangerous person. Her body felt alarmed. She quickly smiled in an effort to flatter him, “… The prince is joking. We had seen each other at the start of the month and our homes are closed to each other. If you had something to say, you could have sent a messenger. Why would you personally come look for me?…”
Duan Yu looked at her without saying anything. After a moment, he pointed his sword at her. His movement was as quick as lightening.
OMG! Does he want to kill me? QingQiao was completely lost in her thoughts. She quickly went through her memories. Had she done anything wrong in front of Duan Yu? After she thought about it, other than silently cursing at him, she hadn’t done anything. It couldn’t be because of last night? No way. Little Duan, even though I said your appearance was less than a demon’s, you shouldn’t come here to kill me! Let’s not first discuss whether those words were sincere. The crucial point is that those crows enjoyed gossiping too much. They reported such trivial news. So immature…
One part resentful and one part scared, QingQiao’s black eyes started crying. Her tears were about to slide down.
Duan Yu didn’t respond to her tears and instead started grinning. He hooked QingQiao’s collar with the back of the sword, and then he used the sword to bring her in front of the horse. Then, he proceeded to stoop down to bring QingQiao onto the horse and embraced her.
“Little Qiao, if I said one day without seeing you felt like three autumns, so I longed for you and came to search for you. Would you be happy?” Duan Yu felt perfectly satisfied holding onto this beauty. He held her head close to his. It was an intimate image.
QingQiao’s eyes glazed over. Her limbs were limp. She felt like she had been struck by lightning. She wanted to faint.