Chapter 25: Smiling on the Face, Laughing in the Heart
It wasn’t convenient to walk the city streets at night because of the city’s curfew. If Gu Nan chose to regardless, officers and guards would inevitably stop her and ask all sorts of troublesome questions.
Currently, there were very few people on the streets. The avenues outside were unlit and particularly dark.
In contrast, there was a particular building that remained lively and shone in the dark surroundings.
Dongzhan Pavilion was an official establishment and very famous also. Even the city guards didn’t dare to say anything.
Night and day really made no difference for the Dongzhan Pavilion, rather it’s maybe even more lively at night. Guests will often stay, playing and drinking, until sunrise.
Gu Nan was sitting in the rather vacant hall, anxiously contemplating about some things.
I’m finished. By now, I’ll be dead meat when I get back!
The moment she goes back to the manor, she’ll have to bear the wrath of the Warring States’ “God of War.”
“Ughh.” The mere thought of it sent chills up her spine.
She sat at the table, immensely remorseful. If only she wasn’t so greedy for free wine; if only she didn’t go with that shady Yiren fellow. But now, whether she goes back or not, she can’t escape punishment.
There was this one instance, where she fell asleep from boredom when studying military literature. Bai Qi then ordered Xiao Lu to punish her with twenty paddles.
It’s not like those twenty strikes will be light because Xiao Lu’s a girl either. As a servant in a general’s manor, Xiao Lu’s strength is naturally much higher than the average man, albeit less than Gu Nan. But regardless, Gu Nan was left in a wretched state for a while afterward.
When the heavy paddle strikes the butt, it’s not just the noise that’s frightening.
As for escaping punishment, she didn’t even consider such an absurd possibility.
But maybe if she heads back quickly…
Gu Nan subtly glanced to the female servant sitting beside her. But of course, the servant girl noticed this because she was adamantly staring back.
She said hesitatingly, “Young Master, you cannot leave. You are Miss Painting Fairy’s first-ever guest. If you so quickly leave, who knows what kind of baseless rumors would spread. Miss Painting Fairy would have her reputation devastated.”
Originally, Gu Nan was ready to casually sneak out, but just as she got to the door, a servant girl blocked her way.
The day has already ended, and it’s become like this…
The girl’s been sitting there, and no matter what Gu Nan says, she wouldn’t budge.
“Fine, I won’t go, I won’t go.” Gu Nan said, wiping the sweat off her forehead.
This Painting Fairy sure is popular. Some people would so to such lengths for her. How annoying!
After sitting for an indiscriminately long time, another servant girl walked down. She bowed and said, “Young Master Gu, Miss Painting Fairy has finished changing. Please, Young Master, this way.”
So they won’t let me run now, right? Her mouth twitching, she lifted her arms to return the greeting. “I must trouble you.”
Gu Nan slowly stood up and followed this girl upstairs.
Seeing that black-robed figure walk upstairs, the girl that remained sitting sighed in relief.
The Dongzhan Pavilion is a four-story building with bright lanterns and lights. It was painted and decorated in layers of red, making for a very beautiful building.
Painting Fairy’s room is in the middle of the fourth floor.
The girl halted at a set of doors and carefully opened them, glancing at Gu Nan to quickly enter. Afterward, the girl closed the doors behind Gu Nan and retreated.
Near the entrance was an incense burner, which filled the area with a subtle scent.
The smell wasn’t the heavy type but instead seemed rather light. It felt quite comfortable, like the intimate, quiet fragrance of a female’s embrace.
The decor and furnishings were all of remarkable beauty. Although they were not luxurious, they held an obvious elegance and grace.
Slowly walking through a small door, Gu Nan encountered a short table with two soft cushions for seating.
On the table was a jar of wine, the aroma of which she could smell from far away. It must be a rare wine of exceptional craft.
Gu Nan’s eyes lit up, and her mouth started to water. Quickly, the temptation overwhelmed her, and she rushed up and to taste this new drink.
“Young Master Gu, good wine?” A soft, enchanting voice asked from behind her.
The hair on the back of her neck stood up, and Gu Nan stiffly turned to head to meet the host of tonight’s event.
Behind her, a graceful woman stood a few steps away.
This time, there was no veil over her, and her delicate face was completely exposed.
It was the kind of face with its own natural charm. A small mole at the corner of an eye complemented her genuine attractiveness.
A faint smile would perk the desires of men.
She was covered by a layer of lightweight clothes, highlighting her enchanting figure.
With only a few glances, Gu Nan felt her nose burning again, and she quickly turned her head and pretended to continue drinking.
Painting Fairy felt inwardly shocked by Gu Nan’s response. She thought that Young Master Gu would have a significant reaction, whether that be immodest or frivolous. But, she ever expected him to be shy.
This Young Master is indeed an interesting person.
Her face unconsciously smiled a bit more genuinely at this thought. Feigning ignorance, she elegantly sat herself down at the other cushion. “Is this Young Master Gu’s first visit here?”
“Um, um.” As the Painting Fairy sat down, Gu Nan could smell a uniquely alluring fragrance and felt the temperature rise around her. Her cheeks felt hotter and hotter. She nodded absentmindedly. “Pr, pretty much.”
Painting Fairy found her guest’s actions a bit humorous. How do you ‘pretty much’ go to a brothel?
“I heard Young Master Gu’s words this afternoon and was rather fascinated by your literary grace. I had expected for you to be a playboy, a flower picker perhaps. But, I didn’t expect it to be like this.”
Painting Fairy’s voice was full of charm, but it only made Gu Nan more embarrassed.
“Wha—, what do you mean, ‘it to be like this?'” Gu Nan’s face was already red to the top of her ears. Although she retorted, her voice was like a mosquito in volume and thoroughly unconvincing.
Covering her mouth from the small smile that escaped it, the Painting Fairy resumed her dignified stance. She gently picked up a cup of wine. “In this place of flowers and willows [TL: brothel], I have nothing to entertain Young Master Gu besides this poor wine. I only hope that you don’t dislike it.”
“I was originally an alcoholic; if there is wine, I’m content.” Gu Nan laughed thinly as she gulped down another cup. It is certainly a fine wine.
The Painting Fairly looked at Gu Nan, somewhat squinting. “Young Master Gu is very different compared to earlier.”
Gu Nan put down the empty cup. She still wasn’t sure if it was wine-induced bravery or the restlessness that the wine brought, but she replied, “You are also very different from earlier.”
“Hm? What would you say was different?” The Painting Fairy blinked and asked.
Gu Nan licked her lips, savoring the delicious wine again. “This afternoon, although Painting Fairy was charming, your eyes clearly had no such emotion. But now, you are much more spirited.”
The Painting Fairy laughed and once more lifted her arm to cover her smile. “Young Master Gu is truly different from others.”