Book 1: Winds Begin to Blow in Tai Yuan
Chapter 24 – On the Streets, Chasing After a Man
“Wow, this contemptible person, embroidered skin with a rotted grass heart. Why did I even like him back then?”
Meng Fuyao muttered while she walked back, a little depressed that her past taste in men seemed to have been not very good.
She thought back to the Yan Jingchen when she first met him. Gentle and dignified, even though he was too focused on excelling and honor, because he was the successor of his clan and was raised like so from when he was little, it couldn’t be blamed on him.
But now he actually thought of this kind of stupid idea, that truly humiliated both Meng Fuyao and Pei Yuan. The more Fuyao thought about it the more she choked back the tears in her eyes, speechlessly pitying him.
That night Meng Fuyao cultivated her arts, the “Breaking Nine Heavens” technique circulating around her in the air. The green jade glow surrounded her, soaking her features warmly and smoothly like water, while in the jade light Meng Fuyao pondered. Recalling those so-called hardships Yan Jingchen talked about during the day, she couldn’t help but coldly chuckle.
The next day, Qi Xunyi’s carriages also returned, showing off the whole way. Filled with song and dance, occasionally the voices of woman that sounded like swallows or nightingales could be heard. Stringed and bamboo instruments as well as pipa music drifted through the whole street. It was a surreal and romantic scene, and the pedestrians all took sidelong glances.
Standing at the side of the streets while eating some noodles, Meng Fuyao was squeezed in the crowd watching that absurd prince’s liveliness. Her eyes slowly slid past those carriages laden with entertainers and dancers, silently smiling.
When she saw that royal sedan chair in the middle of the procession, however, her smile lessened by a couple degrees. That was Pei Yuan’s sedan chair.
On the right side of the royal sedan, a white handsome steed was accompanying by the chair’s side. Initially Fuyao didn’t notice, but after a glance her eyes immediately revealed a trace of derision.
On top of the horse, who else could it be but Yan Jingchen?
How eagerly hospitable. Who knew how many li he had to travel in order to receive his future bride, the Grand Princess Pei?
These few days she had already become clear on Pei Yuan’s true status – Imperial Princess Yi Anchang and the great general Pei Shixun’s pampered daughter. Pei Shixun’s younger sister had long ago entered the palace as an imperial concubine, who was now Qi Xunyi’s mother Concubine Lin. Thus, Pei Yuan was conferred upon the title of princess, the imperial family calling her Princess Pei. Since Imperial Princess Yi An only had this one daughter, she was very favored and spoiled.
Fuyao silently watched that heavily veiled and draped sedan chair.
Then she looked to the side, at the Yan Jingchen who looked quite absent-minded.
Yan Jingchen, will your luxury doggy still be able to be brought out anymore?
Without interest in further watching those two, Meng Fuyao returned to her inn without turning her head. This inn was connected together with its restaurant, and while passing by the restaurant, she heard a table of diners currently engaged in a loud conversation.
“Did you hear? The Pei family has recently started to wantonly attack the Yun family, completely breaking off any pretenses both at the royal court and outside it. Just in the past few days, they had already dispatched people to crush three banks, five pawnshops and seven silk factories belonging to the Yun family, and even Yunchuan city’s farm estate had tenants breaking off rent agreements! Rumors say that it was Pei family who provided the silvers to buy them off, even gathering a bunch of people to complain in front of the Emperor! Tut tut, they sure are stirring up a huge racket!”
“Didn’t these two families overtly and covertly struggle against each other for many years, never creating much of a turbulence? How come they suddenly engaged in this kind of clash?”
“I heard it was Yun family that secretly made the first move, although what it was I’m not sure …”
“Ah! Be as it may, why are the Yuns just taking the beating and not striking back?”
“The Yun family of the recent years is already much different from the past. Patriarch Yun originally controlled all of the palace’s general affairs, that is the closest position by His Majesty’s side! Pity … he offended someone, and the scope of affairs he regulates has gotten smaller and smaller. In the end he actually only oversees a letter palace, and that’s even a cold palace at that.”
“Who did he offend?”
That person boastingly gossiping in the crowd suddenly turned silent, and used his finger to point to the sky without speaking.
The crowd of people revealed understanding looks.
Meng Fuyao smiled a little, thinking that the information of city gossips, actually was pretty accurate.
She pushed her way through the crowds, wanting to go upstairs and return to her room. Unexpectedly, just when she reached half-way up the stairs, she suddenly heard a huge ruckus come from outside.
Then, a girl’s piercing voice traveled from far away. The source was still a distance away, but it still was able to cut through all of the hustle and bustle of the inn.
“Hey, stop running! Hey!”
The people in the restaurant all turned their heads, seeing a streak like both a black dragon and a whirlwind rush over from the other end of the street. Bringing with it a whole sky of smoke and dust, in its path the people on the street were hit flying, horses flipped over, and the mantou and eggs from street-side food stalls tumbled all over the ground. Yao Xun, who was eating noodles at a stall, didn’t even have time to swallow one mouthful before he was collided flying. He angrily tried to grab, but that whirlwind shot out a silver ingot with a “pa” sound, directly lodging itself into Yao Xun’s open mouth and choking out his furious yell.
Yao Xun hurriedly used his hand to scrabble at the silver ingot, but it was too big and was stuck in his throat, unable to be pulled out immediately. Just when he managed with great difficulty to loosen it a little, with a “hu la” sound yet another whirlwind, this one rainbow colored, suddenly burst past. With a “peng” it impacted his body, instantly dislodging the silver ingot out from his mouth. Bringing with it specks of saliva and half a piece of tooth, the silver heavily fell to the ground in a bang. Yao Xun clambered back up dazed and delirious, seeing that the rainbow whirlwind had already sprinted far away over the mantou and eggs on the ground, all the while clamoring, “Hey! Don’t run!”
Hearing her yell, the black tornado in front didn’t even pause, directly rushing towards the restaurant. Discovering the person shooting towards them like an artillery shell, the restaurant customers, afraid of being flattened themselves, frantically jumped up and scattered to the sides. Afterwards, they saw that streak of roiling winds blast through the doors in a “whoosh” sound, stopping in the middle of the restaurant.
He stood firmly, his billowing dark hair and black clothes neatly drifting down. In a blink, the savage hurricane from before had transformed into a calm pool, a lofty mountain – when flying he was a blast of turbulence, when still he was a steady boulder.
He had just stood still, when that multicolored whirlwind followed and arrived, grinning while standing in the door entrance. She first made a movement of her hand, pulling a long wooden bench to soar over through the air towards her. Wedging the bench in the middle of the entrance, she then sat down on the bench herself, as if she was scared of that person in front escaping and took initiative to first block off the exit.
Sunlight beamed through the completely opened entrance doors, illuminating the girl in the light with vivid clarity, and drawing the gazes of all the restaurant guests. Yet, the flagrantly brilliant colors on her body attacked their eyes and made them squint, then sigh with shock.
They had truly never seen someone who could have so many colors on their body!
A peach colored jacket, and a crimson skirt that was lifted up and tied at the waist, revealing pants that were actually multicolored – one pant leg was green and the other purple. Her boots were golden and not the type found in Tai Yuan, with the tip slightly raised upwards. Ruby and emerald jewels hung down, each one as big as a thumb, so bright they dazzled.
The girl looked like she had not yet reached the age to put up her hair with a hairpin. She had a delicate face, a slightly raised nose, brightly lustrous lips, and her two pupils were faintly brown, matching well with her glittering, honey-toned skin. Despite her youthful age, one could see the makings of a future beauty. However, she was not like the slim and pale woman of Tai Yuan, but instead had an unrestrained aura that flowed with some of the freshness of a sea breeze.
Her hair was strangely a slight reddish-brown color, and was not bundled up into a knot, but tied into seven or eight braids from which mysterious and odd ornaments haphazardly hung. Even seeing the astonished gazes of everyone looking over, she was still not embarrassed, instead smugly raising her head and giving out a laugh.
She was laughing at the man wearing red-trimmed black robes in the center of the room.
“I’ve finally managed to catch you. Hey, I’m not a sea monster from the Eh sea, what are you doing running so fast?”
The man frowned while looking back with his head, then angrily harrumphed, “Ya Lanzhu, are you still a woman? Chasing after a man so openly on the streets!”
With the turn of his head, the crowd also got a clear view of his appearance. This person’s facial features were deeply cut, his eyes and brows completely black. At first glance it seemed that his edges were too hard and tough, but after seeing the sharp and brutal aura that surrounded him, it seemed like his face suited him perfectly.
When his gaze swept out, all the people felt as if they were being slammed by the surface of a deep dark blade, or as if the sky and earth collided, and a savage thunderbolt coiled in mid-air while shooting through the nine heavens, its sharpness bringing immense pressure.
In the middle of the stairs, Meng Fuyao softly inhaled a breath of air.
This person, she knew.
Zhan Bei Ye.
That day in the deep night woods, Zhan Bei Ye was busy fighting with this person and that person, and so completely didn’t notice Meng Fuyao. However, Fuyao had an approximate recognition of him. This person’s appearance was already very distinctive, the type that would carve its shape into one’s eyes line by line. With him once again appearing, this time in the sunlight, it would be difficult for Meng Fuyao not to recognize him.
Seeing Zhan Bei Ye, Fuyao immediately wanted to escape. Unfortunately, the whole room at this time was in a state of stillness and silence, and so her one person’s movements would actually become more noticeable. The only thing she could do was to restrain herself and stay still.
The conversation below continued.
“Hey, why are you running!”
“Why are you chasing!”
“I like to chase!”
“I’m practicing Qinggong!”
With a “pu chi” sound, someone hearing this rapid exchange couldn’t hold back their laughter, and the girl’s large eyes immediately pierced over in hostility. Her eyebrows looked very heroic in nature, their ends like a blade’s edge, but were at the same time slim and delicate, like two streaks of elegant little knives.
It was a pity, though, that her age was too young- the murderous glare she sent out only turned into cuteness.
Seeing this the restaurant guests all laughed, and couldn’t help but converse. “Hey lady, even if you like to chase, you still need a reason for it.”
“That’s right, here in Tai Yuan, this is the first time a girl has chased a guy!”
“I am the first one!” That kid proudly raised her chin. “My pop said, if I fight I have to fight for the first one, the ones that follow are all crooked melons and split dates!” She extended her hand to point at Zhan Bei Ye, coldly laughing. “The one I want to chase is him! I want him to be my man!”
The sound of her voice faded, while the whole restaurant fell into a shocked pause. Then, with a burst of noise, the building was engulfed in laughter. Those guests at the back crowded forward, wanting to see clearly this world-shocking girl in a restaurant in Yanjing who openly wanted a man, at the same time looking at that lucky guy who had such fortune with woman.
Meng Fuyao faintly smiled, thinking that this girl seemed like a perfect match for Zhan Bei Ye. Turning her gaze, she saw Yao Xun sneakily flash in the inn. She made a gesture to him, but Yao Xun’s expression suddenly changed, and he shook his head.
Fuyao was surprised. She saw that the kid seemed to be a person from Lifting Wind Nation and wanted Yao Xun to furtively check if she had a passage seal. Who could have guessed that Yao Xun actually looked like he feared the kid, and didn’t dare to move against her.
Thinking a little, Meng Fuyao wanted to take advantage of the movements of the crowd to withdraw up the stairs. Unexpectedly, Zhan Bei Ye also seemed fed up with this game of chase, and suddenly said, “Ya Lanzhu, didn’t your pop tell you, a woman has to be a man’s first?”
“That’s very good.” Zhan Bei Ye craftily smiled. In his smile, that blade-like sharp aura was lessened, and he actually showed a bit of down-to-earth warmth, like a handsome young man.
“The position of my first has already been taken. You’re too late.”
“Who?” Ya Lanzhu widened her eyes, with a leap springing up from the bench and starting to smooth out her sleeves. “Who? Who?”
Without even turning his head, Zhan Bei Ye’s arm carelessly drew an arc in the air, finally landing in a certain direction.
1. Sweet on the outside, rotten on the inside, a poisoned chalice
2. Pipa, “琵琶”, is a Chinese lute. Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6-eQ2h_cKI
3. Like small carriages carried by people, when a bride is going to get married she usually is inside one that is red colored and veiled, to prevent her husband from seeing her until the wedding night. This is also why Yan Jingchen has no idea Pei Yuan was injured. Picture:
4. Imperial Princess “公主” and Princess “郡主” are different titles. Imperial Princess is at a higher level, and only a direct relation with a state’s Emperor, like father and formal daughter, would be called Imperial Princess. A princess would be a step more distant, like a daughter born of a concubine or a prince’s daughter.
5. The Imperial Palace separates various administrative powers into smaller “palaces”. A “cold palace” means that it is neglected or forgotten by the Emperor, consequently not holding much power.
6. In Ancient China, girls would bundle their hair up and stick a pin to put it in place once they were 15 years old. This would signify they had come of age, kind of like a Quinceañera in Spanish speaking countries. Picture:
7. Ya Lanzhu, “雅兰珠”, Ya is her surname which means elegance, Lan means orchid, and Zhu means pearl
Translator Note: Check out the Pictures tab at the top menu for some fanart and pictures from the upcoming drama of this novel!