Chapter 24: Not at Home for the Night, Best tell the Parents
No one continued writing, and no one presented any more poems. After Young Master Gu’s poem, they all concluded that it surpassed theirs in all aspects.
It was a poem of deep love.
Behind the platform and the soft gauze sheet, the Painting Fairy sat, not sure what to say. The cool wind from the distant window traveled all the way to her withdrawn room.
But regardless, she never expected to hear such a poem here. She never expected that this young master, calmly staring out the window, would say winter is like spring. But still, such things are not necessarily good.
A talented scholar, yes, but getting involved with me would only dirty his name.
‘I do not mind that my clothes are getting looser. My lover is worthy of desire but no regret.’
She’s never heard of such a direct love poem, and her cheeks were tinged with red.
But then her smile turned a bit wry.
The painful laughter he describes, it’s like drinking bitter wine.
This young master is a talent, it can make anyone turn to look. But for using this talent and love, it’s rather useless. As part of the Dongzhan Pavillion, the fate between the two can only be through evening ventures.
Thinking of this, as the Painting Fairy looked up towards Young Master Gu, her eyes showed a clear sense of apology.
Young Master Gu was still sitting there, the wine cup halted to his lips. His expression though seemed depressed and anxious (in fact, he had a stupid expression).
Perhaps he already understands.
After a long time, the charming voice spread itself over the hall once more.
“It is indeed a very beautiful poem. Today’s poetry will conclude here… Young Master Gu, this Painting Fairy will wait for you.”
After saying those brief words, she departed.
The poetry opening concluded hastily, but no one felt disappointed.
A young scholar patted his knee and stood up with a sigh.
Although he may not have obtained the favor of the Painting Fairy, to witness the creation of a classic and wonderful poem, it was also a blessing.
It’s a pity though, that Young Master Gu and Painting Fairy.
The identities of the two doom them to be apart.
Looking a bit into the distance, the scholar saw that figure sitting still by the window.
The scholar sighed. Pity to the scholar, and pity to the beauty.
Shaking his head, he walked out of the door.
Most of the people who left the room also had similar thoughts. There were some that wanted to have a friendly chat with Gu Nan, but after thinking about it, silently left with sighs of pity.
No one noticed, however, that Gu Nan was truly shocked at the developments and still caught in a stupor.
She still couldn’t figure out what happened. Was she drunk?
It was clearly a poem for Zhao Yiren. How did it become her’s? Why was she picked by the Painting Fairy?
Visiting a brothel is already enough to have master break her legs.
If she doesn’t return to the manor quickly, getting beat to death isn’t out of the question!
Oi, Oi! It’s a mistake. Definitely!
Gu Nan could feel a cold sweat condensing on her forehead.
Her distressed face turned to Zhao Yiren with a smile on the verge of crying. “Brother Zhao, is this…”
But who would’ve guessed that he looked at her and only reached to pat her shoulder reassuringly.
“This brother can only do so much. Brother Gu, you disregarded your reputation and so vividly expressed your feelings to Miss Painting Fairy. Did you think of your position as a future scholar of Xianyang?”
After a long sigh, he slowly said, “You are a literary talent rarely found in the world. I am lucky to know you and am glad to have drunk with you. It’s a pity that this brother still doesn’t wield that much authority. If I did, I would surely arrange for a better fate with you and Painting Fairy. Alas, the present is much crueler.”
Gu Nan’s eye was twitching. What are you talking about?
But Zhao Yiren didn’t elaborate. Picking up the wine jar in front of him, he began to drink in large quantities.
Looking at the emptied jar, he felt stunned.
‘I’d drown in wine as parting grief. One sings with wine in hand, but strained mirth brings no comfort.’
So that’s what it means.
Smiling back at Gu Nan, he felt like getting to know such a wonderful person made this a very worthwhile trip.
“Brother Gu, this brother’s name is also Ying Yiren. If you ever need anything in the future, you can go to the Chengzhang Manor to find me.”
“It’s not tha…” Gu Nan still wanted to say something, but that chance never came.
She was interrupted by him again. “Brother Gu, this is just the way of the world. Don’t get too distressed over it.”
After that, he got up and smiled, walking away slowly.
Only Gu Nan was left behind. Her confusion still etched on her face.
However, Gu Nan actually ignored the most important words Yiren said.
Surprisingly, this name wasn’t too prominent among the Warring States period, but this name represents an extremely important identity.
He is officially Ying Yiren, later renamed Zichu, eventually King Zhuangxiang of Qin, and father of Qin Shihuang.
Of course, for her, all of this is unimportant right now, there are more pressing matters this evening.
It was getting late, and the winter winds carried its chill through the open streets and houses.
In Wu’an Manor, Xiao Lu placed the last of the dishes on the table. Bai Qi and Wei Lan were sitting together. Although the bowls were placed before them, their chopsticks remained unmoving.
Bai Qi frowned and looked at Xiao Lu. “Where’s that girl, it’s so late and she’s hasn’t shown herself. Is she not eating?”
But before Xiao Lu could process the question, Wei Lan interjected with matters of her own.
“I heard from Xiao Lu that you want to bring Nan’er to Changping. Do you want Nan’er to die with you? How dangerous is Changping, surely you know?”
Bai Qi’s beard trembled somewhat angrily but quelled his thoughts. For a while, he didn’t dare say a word. But as he bowed his head, he mumbled, “What would a woman know?…”
Wei Lan glared at Bai Qi; but in a rare instance, she didn’t drag him out of the room by his ears.
She wasn’t a stupid woman. Naturally, she understands his thoughts and his stubbornness to his decisions.
Bai Qi normally relents quite a bit of authority to her, but when he makes up his mind, not even she can change it.
Wei Lan sat at the table and sighed again. She reached out and patted the back of Bai Qi’s hand. She knew just how much pressure he’s been going through the past couple of days.
Bai Qi didn’t dare look back, simply because he owed her too much. But still, he put his hand on top of her’s and said, “Thank you, Madam.”
Wei Lan rolled her eyes. “I have been unlucky in my life, and you’re already so old. It’s unavoidable that we’d be implicated, but I already told you, Nan’er and Zhong’er are not to be involved. Or else, I’ll tear your ears off.”
“For my duty.” Bai Qi started to nod and said bitterly, “If one day the king wants to kill me, I will make sure you live.”
“Protect what? Just keep your old face and Nan’er and Zhong’er.” Don’t forget, if you’re dead, what’s the point of me staying?” Wei Lan snorted but continued to pat his hand.
“Madam and Lord are both good people, nothing will happen.” Xiao Lu couldn’t understand what the old couple was saying, but hearing something about death, she started to panic.
“Good people.” Bai Qi smiled and shook his head lightly.
Wei Lan remembered some business and turned to Xiao Lu. “Xiao Lu, is she still sleeping in her room today? Call her up, she’ll get hungry eventually.”
Gu Nan often slept for long periods of time, and it wasn’t uncommon for her to forget to eat. Wei Lan habitually thought of this after Bai Qi mentioned it to her, but since it was quite common, she wasn’t too concerned.
Xiao Lu thought about it and shook her head. Somewhat hesitatingly, she said, “Madam, Miss isn’t in her room. I don’t know where Miss went, except she left in the afternoon.”
“Left in the afternoon?”