Volume 1 Chapter 9: Regression
The princess held the contract for Chen Nan’s enslavement in her hand. Furrowing her eyebrows, she said, “So unsightly. What kind of broken calligraphy is this? It’d look better if a spider crawled around in the dirt instead. You’re such a bad example, how could you not even learn how to write? You’re really… ai! How could our Empire of Chu produce someone like you? You’re seriously our nation’s disgrace, our ethnic degenerate.”
Fainting! Chen Nan didn’t dare rebuke her. With a wooden face, he sat down on the ground.
“You smelly thief, you really are terrible, to be brazen enough to hit me like that…” The princess’s face flushed red with shame and resentment as she spoke. She turned around and ran into the forest. She shortly returned carrying a branch with the thickness of a bowl. Towards Chen Nan, she ordered, “Lie on your stomach!”
Seeing the princess carry a thick branch that was rather disproportional to her dainty body, Chen Nan quickly turned fearful.
“Your Highness the princess… you…”
The princess rudely pressed Chen Nan against the ground. Wielding the thick branch, she gave Chen Nan three heavy spanks to his bottom.
“Ah~!” Chen Nan let out a miserable shriek. “Your Highness the princess, if you beat me so severely, how can I escort you out of this mountain?”
The princess seemed to find reason in his words. She couldn’t just carry him on her back like a flagpole and leave. After giving him two more brutal spanks, she threw the branch to the ground. In pain, Chen Nan let out another shriek. “Little demon, I only gave you a few gentle pats, you don’t have to…”
Hearing Chen Nan’s words, the princess immediately became enraged and hatefully said, “You damn guy, you still bring that up? I’ll hit hit hit hit hit hit you!”
After another round of Chen Nan’s screams, the princess threw the thick branch to the side.
“Hmph! I’ll consider it even for now. When I have the chance, I’ll properly sort you out again, you smelly thief.”
Suddenly, the princess smelled the aroma of the roasted snow fowls and couldn’t help but exclaim: “It smells so good.” She went over to the open fire and pulled out one of the sharpened wooden sticks stuck to the ground. A roasted snow fowl was hanging off of it. With a glance at the golden colour of the snow fowl, she took a soft bite.
With a bite of the glossy, aromatic snow fowl meat, she let out a sigh of praise. “It’s succulent and tender. The flavor is rich, but the fat isn’t too greasy. It really is delicious.”
Perhaps it was because she had been hungry for so long, but the princess no longer maintained her princess image. She impaled the wooden stick back into the ground and with one hand, she tore off a drumstick; with the other hand, she tore off a chicken wing. She took massive, ravenous bites, not at all like a lady.
Chen Nan grimaced in pain as he climbed up off the ground. Seeing the princess’s table manners, he swallowed a mouthful of saliva and moved forwards.
“What are you doing? Back up a bit away from me. Whenever I see you, smelly thief, I get angry,” the princess resentfully shouted at Chen Nan.
“I only want to get my snow fowl.” He moved his hands towards a snow fowl.
“Don’t touch that snow fowl.”
“You dirty bastard, since you treated me so poorly before and did all those bad things, hmph, as punishment, you have to fast for three days.”
“If it’s like that, I won’t have the strength to walk. We’re in a boundless mountain range right now, how could I burden Your Highness the princess like that?”
The princess rolled her eyes. With a ridiculing expression, she smiled. “Here, I’ll give you this, and this too.”
The princess held in her snow white hands the chicken head and the chicken butt smeared in her greasy fingerprints. Seeing the princess’s hateful smile, Chen Nan seriously wanted to disregard everything and lunge at her to pinch her cheeks—pinch them fiercely!
“Will you eat it or not? If you don’t eat it, I’ll throw it away, but you don’t get to eat anything else.” The princess gave him a wicked smile.
“I’ll eat it!” Chen Nan grinded the chicken head and butt in his teeth, as if he were ferociously tearing at the princess herself.
“Smelly thief, eat a little slower, no one is going to fight with you over it. Here, you can have this part too.” The princess giggled and tore off another chicken head and butt, handing it over to him.
“Oh, it smells so good. Its flavour is really too wonderful. You degenerate, you’re not cultured and you’re gluttonous. You don’t need to chew it with so much strength.” The princess ate as she scolded him.
Chen Nan said under his breath, “Demon, you’re still a royal princess. Take a look at yourself. You’re holding a drumstick in your left hand and a chicken wing in your right. Your little face is completely red, and oil is drooling from your mouth. It’s really—”
“You smelly thief, what are you muttering about?”
“Oh, it’s nothing.” Chen Nan didn’t want her to get the wrong idea. He shut his mouth and didn’t say anything else.
In the end, the princess handed Chen Nan the remainder of the snow fowls and said, “This princess is too merciful. Remember, you must nicely repay me and earnestly carry out my every command.”
Chen Nan was depressed, but he could only vent his anger in his mind. “Repulsive! The snow fowls were obviously prepared by me. Heaven, do you still want to play around with me? Why have you allowed me to fall into this little demon’s clutches again?”
The princess ran over to the riverbank to give her hands a wash. She returned and dried her hands off on Chen Nan.
“Wow. You smelly thief, you’re really sloppy. How can your clothes be this filthy? It sickens me to death.” With that, she ran back to the riverbank to give her hands another scrub.
Chen Nan didn’t know whether to laugh or cry.
“Smelly thief, turn around,” the princess rudely ordered. Then, she took off her shoes and socks, exposing two bright, clean, jade-like bound feet, and began wading through the water, raising bubbles. Finally, she tired of her play and took a seat on the shore, but the moment she sat down, she cried, “Ow! It hurts.”
She quickly jumped up from the shore and massaged her butt with her two small hands. She had been thrown to the ground twice by Chen Nan. At that time, all of her martial arts had been sealed by him. As a result, whenever her butt collided with the ground from the fall, it truly hurt. Even now, it still ached. Becoming embarrassed, the princess became angry and shot a fierce glance at Chen Nan. Her eyes were breathing fire.
“Wretched guy, you’re still eating? You really have an appetite!”
The princess harshly walked towards him. Chen Nan had just put the last piece of fowl meat into his mouth. For the sake of venting the fury in her heart, the princess shoved him over without so much as an explanation.
Chen Nan’s recently devastated butt immediately collided with the ground. A bloodcurdling shriek echoed through the forest. It was truly a terrifying sound to behold.
“You degenerate, you dared to treat me like that? Serves you right!”
An angel and a demon in the same body; beauty and viciousness in coexistence. The princess had the appearance of an angel, but the nature of a demon. Anyone who saw this girl that was delicate as a flower and as refined as jade would never suspect her of being a troublesome little witch.
After Chen Nan fell back into the little demon’s clutches, the journey was filled with suffering. As revenge, the princess’s actions towards Chen Nan became increasingly brutal.
After two days, the princess and Chen Nan finally left the mountain.
When the princess had entered the mountain with her party, she had brought some clothing and other personal items, but after fighting the Monolithic Snake and the battle in the forest, she had lost nearly all of her travel goods. After coming out of the mountain, the two’s clothing were ragged. Their clothes were thoroughly ripped open by thistles and brambles in the forest, but they didn’t have any other clothes to change into.
“Smelly thief, what are you looking at? Turn your head.”
The princess’s clothes weren’t completely covering her body; some of her snow white skin was exposed. Walking in front, if Chen Nan didn’t carefully lower his head or he seemed to be looking to the side, he would incur a reprimanding from the princess.
With the emergence of an obscure little town in the distance, the two of them looked at it as though it were a relic from the past. Since departing, they hadn’t seen any signs of human habitation in the mountains. Finally, they’ve arrived on land inhabited by other people. Entering the town, they looked at the various pedestrians walking about. The two of them couldn’t help but well up with cordial feelings. They felt that everyone was kind. Of course, the two of them absolutely didn’t find each other kind.
The pedestrians on the street looked on in bafflement at the youngsters dressed in ragged clothes. Chen Nan’s appearance was average and only attracted the attention of a few people, but the princess was naturally beautiful. Even though her clothes were utterly destroyed, it was hard to conceal her complexion. She attracted the attention of an overwhelming majority of people.
The two of them were unaccustomed to being watched like this by everyone and hurriedly fled into an inn. First, the princess wanted to take her pearl hair accessory and hand it over to the innkeeper and have him sell it at a pawn shop for some money. Then, she’d have him buy them some new suitable clothes.
Naturally, the royal princess’s pearl hair accessory was not some ordinary treasure. The lustre and size of it was all the best of the best. Seeing the greedy look in the innkeeper’s eyes, Chen Nan knew that this shark was definitely trying to profiteer off them. But seeing as the treasure in question was the princess’s, he felt it unnecessary to warn her.
Just as Chen Nan predicted, the innkeeper horribly ripped them off, offering them a considerably lower price than its value before leaving. The clothes he had brought them were expensive enough to scare people, but they were brightly coloured and well-fit, making the two youngsters formerly dressed in shabby clothes to look completely new.
The princess’s innate grandeur and temperament naturally began to show itself. In the time it takes to raise a hand or move a leg, her royal, majestic presence was unravelled. But whenever she faced Chen Nan, her royal temperament would vanish completely. To outsiders, she seemed to be a little fairy, but in Chen Nan’s eyes, she was a little demon who bared her fangs and brandished her claws.
When it was time for a sumptuous banquet, the two of them ate like wolves and tigers, as if they had forgotten each other’s identities and only wanted to wholeheartedly annihilate the food in front of them. Although there was an endless supply of game in the mountains, there was obviously no seasoning to use. The flavour and freshness of the game couldn’t compare to the exquisite cooking in front of them.
After enjoying their scrumptious meal, the princess gave Chen Nan a firm look, wanting to give him a punishment, but endless drowsiness took control of her instead. The thrilling experience in the mountains had left her utterly exhausted, so she could only drop the subject. After hitting over twenty acupoints on Chen Nan’s body, she felt reassured and dragged him to another room.
The princess’s body was exhausted. She lied down on her bed and fell into a sweet sleep, a satisfied smile appearing on her rosy little face. Gentle moonlight shone into the room, making her body exude a certain pureness and holiness. She was an angel exiled from heaven to the mortal world, exceptionally peaceful and incomparably cute.
Chen Nan lay stiffly straight on his bed. His body was incomparably rigid. He constantly used his ancestral profound skill to attack over twenty of his sealed acupoints, but the seals only loosened a bit. At this rate, he wasn’t even sure he’d be able to release them by dawn the next day. His ancestral profound skill was truly profound, it was just that too many of his acupoints were sealed. In the end, he gave up.
Moonlight shone into the room like rushing water. Chen Nan contemplated many things. Ten thousand years ago, his family was illustrious, and his status was glorious. Ten thousand years later, he’d somehow become the lowly prisoners of others. He forced a bitter smile at the corner of his mouth. Once upon a time, his family was illustrious, but his life was pale. He thought to himself: “Now maybe it won’t all be the same, right? But that princess is really a bit too terrorizing…”
As his train of thought trended towards the princess, he head began to feel exceptionally ice cold and insufferable. It was only then did he realize that his sleeping posture was abnormal. Chen Nan yelled in his mind, “That damn little demon, she actually… actually made the metal railing my pillow. I…” He held in the urge to curse aloud.
Early in the morning, the town was noisily clamouring. A large number of troops were rushing towards the town. The town’s residents were anxious and uneasy, suspecting a war had broken out. After all, the continent had been peaceful for many years. If no war had broken out, this border town would definitely not bear witness to such a great influx of soldiers.
Clouds of dust were kicked up as three hundred armed horsemen led the force into the town. Following them were two thousand foot soldiers. Due to the sound of people shouting and horses neighing, the town’s residents took shelter one after another. The army blockaded all the roads in town. As an officer went to question the town’s pawn shop, three hundred cavalrymen, like tigers and wolves, rushed forward, encircling the shop.
The pawn shop’s shopkeeper and two assistants hurriedly exited. Seeing that they were surrounded in all four directions by several hundred horsemen wearing ice cold plate armour and icy, thick swords, the three of them trembled all over and kneeled on the ground.
The officer and ten or so cavalrymen immediately dismounted their horses and walked over to them as they kneeled.
The officer loudly asked, “Who is the shopkeeper here?”
The pawn shop’s shopkeeper hurried to kowtow and said, “I-I… am.”
The officer said, “Don’t be afraid, we did not come here for the sake of malice. Stand up and speak.”
The shopkeeper and his two assistants nervously stood up.
“I wish to ask you something. Yesterday, did someone come and pawn off a pearl accessory of the highest quality?’
“Yes, yes, yes, indeed there was someone who pawned off a high quality pearl accessory, but that same night, I sent people to deliver it to the head shop.”
“En, who pawned it off?”
“It was the boss of our town’s Longxing Inn who pawned it, b-but it seemed like he received it from someone else. He was pawning it off in lieu of someone else.”
The officer’s eyes shone. “Oh? How do you know?”
“Because he wanted me to appraise it and had me make for him a fake receipt with a lower price.”
“Alright, bring me to Longxing Inn at once.”
The three hundred cavalrymen grandiosely rushed towards Longxing Inn. The infantry followed. Longxing Inn, from all angles, was completely surrounded. Not a single drop could trickle through. The innkeeper was very frightened and ran outside in his stupor. In a flurry, he took a step forward and said, “M-Mister Officer… is something w-wrong?”
Sitting on his horse, the officer looked like he was submerged in water. He coldly said, “Yesterday, did you pawn a high quality pearl accessory?”
“Y-yes, I… Yesterday, I indeed went to pawn off a high quality pearl accessory in place of someone else.”
“In whose place did you take to pawn it?”
“I-it was a pair of young people.”
“What kind of people were they?”
“It was a young man and a young girl. The young man was about twenty years old and looked ordinary. That girl was about sixteen or seventeen years old and was exceptionally gorgeous.”
A fierce light flashed across the officer’s eyes. He took a picture scroll from one of his subordinates and unfolded it. “Did that girl look like this?”
“Yes, it was precisely this girl.”
The officer urgently inquired, “Where are they now? Did they leave?”
Seeing the officer’s urgent manner, the innkeeper jumped back in fright and trembled. “Th-they have not left yet. They’re still resting in the rear court. Th-they probably have not woken up yet.”
As soon as he heard these words, the officer immediately dismounted his horse. With great strides, he entered the inn. About a dozen distinguished soldiers followed closely behind him. The innkeeper followed them from the rear, trembling in trepidation.
At first, there was an occasional tenant who would poke their head out of their room to take a look, but once they saw the heavily armoured soldiers, they immediately shut their door in fright, not daring to take another glance.
The innkeeper pointed. “The man is staying in that room. The girl is staying in that room beside it.”
After hearing this, the officer went directly to the girl’s room. When he arrived three meters away from the door, he stopped in place before kneeling down. He loudly cried out, “Lord of Fengning City Zhao Sheng respectfully welcomes Her Highness Princess Yu.”
The soldiers behind Zhao Sheng all kneeled as well.
Longxing Inn’s innkeeper had been foolish. He was so scared that he immediately fell onto his bottom. He never could’ve imagined that that beautiful girl was actually a royal princess. He hurriedly kneeled.
After eating in the wind and sleeping outside day after day, the princess was utterly exhausted. It was after great difficulty that she able to sleep soundly in a soft bed. Up until now, she hadn’t woken up yet. It was only when Zhao Sheng called for her three meters from her door did she bewilderedly open her eyes. She could now hear the shouts and neighs coming from outside. When she was finally able to clearly make out Zhao Sheng’s words, Zhao Sheng was already on his fourth kowtow and announcement.
The princess put on her clothes. Panting with rage, she opened the door and loudly said, “I kno~ w! Hmph, so noisy.”
Seeing the princess’s drowsy eyes and her unhappy expression, Zhao Sheng didn’t need to think twice to know not to disturb this proud woman as she got her beauty sleep. A cold sweat began to run down his forehead.
“Your Servant Zhao Sheng, under the orders of Her Highness Princess Yue, has come to respectfully welcome Your Highness.”
“Jiejie? Did my jiejie come too?”
Zhao Sheng didn’t dare raise his head. Still kneeling, he said, “Yes, Her Highness Princess Yue is outside the town.”
“Ah! Really?!” Like a child who made a mistake, the princess quickly slammed her door shut. She said to herself, “This is bad, this is bad. Father and mother must be really worried. Otherwise, they wouldn’t send jiejie to personally come find me.”
Zhao Sheng and the others didn’t dare make another sound. They silently waited outside her door.
After quite a while, the princess slowly opened her door. Now, she resumed the majestic presence of a royal princess. Her tone was indifferent. “Everyone, please rise.”
Everyone thanked her and stood up. The princess continued, “You all leave first. Gather all the troops and prepare to set off. I will return to my room to prepare.”
Seeing everyone leave the courtyard, the princess became lively again and, like a wisp of smoke, ran into Chen Nan’s room. She sloppily released his acupoints and grabbed his ear. “Degenerate, lazy pig, get up.”
“Ah~!” Chen Nan let out a miserable shriek as he suddenly leapt off the bed. He incessantly kneaded his very red left ear.
Chen Nan was depressed upon seeing the princess’s hateful smile. Because his pillow had been a metal railing the entire night, he had only just fallen asleep before being awoken by the princess.
After washing up, the two of them ate a little something that the terrified innkeeper had politely brought them.
Once they left the inn, Chen Nan jumped back in fright. Although he had heard the sounds coming from outside and knew that an army had came to receive the princess and escort her back to the palace, he didn’t expect such a great battle array. Both sides of the street were lined with soldiers. Their shining armour formed a line down the street as far as the eye could see. The middle of the street was completely void of people. The entire avenue was already under martial law. They were quietly and respectfully waiting for the princess.
Zhao Sheng had originally prepared a palanquin for the princess, but the princess waved her lily-white hands. “It’s alright. I wish to ride a horse.”
Chen Nan inwardly said, “How could a ‘terrible’ little demon like this sit smoothly and steadily on top of a horse?”
Zhao Sheng personally led the warhorse that the princess was riding. Another soldier went over to Chen Nan to lead his horse.
The princess vaulted onto the horse first, taking the lead, and leaving behind a cloud of dust. Chen Nan and the Lord of Fengning City Zhao Sheng followed closely behind. Finally, the three hundred cavalrymen, then the infantrymen, followed. This group of men and horses majestically left the little town.
The town’s residents finally exhaled, but the Longxing Inn’s innkeeper was still grumbling in complaint. Zhao Sheng had firmly punished him for his avarice, giving him a great fine. Within three days, he would have to go to the city lord’s residence and pay his fine.
Outside the town was open country. Here, two hundred horsemen were ensuring the safety of Princess Chu Yue. As the princess and others neared them, the two hundred cavalrymen, in succession, offered the princess gifts in their hands.
The distant figure of a slender, lonesome person stood calmly among the rosy clouds. From head to toe, the figure was dressed whiter than snow. Underneath the light of the rising sun, the entire person seemed to gather a layer of golden brilliance, like a fairy that had fallen from the highest of heavens to the mortal realm. The sleeves of the robe drifted in the breeze as if riding the wind.
The princess let out a shout: “Jiejie!” She rushed forward, leaving everyone else behind. When she arrived in front of Chu Yue, she promptly threw herself into her embrace.
The princess wrapped her arms around Chu Yue’s waist. Lovingly, she said, “Jiejie, I missed you to death.”
Chu Yue doted on her and patted her head. “You really are too naughty. To actually secretly slip away from the imperial palace for so long, father and mother have been worried to death.”
The princess nervously asked, “Has mother’s health improved?”
“Why are you asking this? Mother’s health has always been well.”
“Hmph! That smelly old fogey has the cheek to deceive me,” the princess shouted resentfully.
“Hehe, who? We’ve actually had our little naughty girl deceived,” Chu Yue asked, smiling.
The princess panted with rage. “Other than my teacher, that smelly old fogey, who else would dare deceive me? Hmph, smelly old fogey tricked me into coming back. He ran off to go see the qilin by himself. I’m furious! Next time I see him, I’ll definitely pull on his beard.”
Chu Yue laughed. “Don’t be so rude towards Elder Zhuge. He’s even respected by father and mother.”
“En, then I’ll pull on his beard less. Ai, right! Jiejie, how did you find me?”
“You’ve forgotten. Yesterday, you pawned off your pearl accessory. The pawn shop’s boss considered it to be a treasure and sent men to deliver overnight to the head shop in Fengning City. The head shop’s boss could make out the royal symbol on the pearl accessory and was really frightened. He hurried and reported it to the Lord of Fengning City, Zhao Sheng. Zhao Sheng had just been dispatched by me a few days ago, so I knew about this matter very quickly. Following the vine to get the melon, that’s how I found you, you naughty girl.”
Chu Yue clasped the princess’s small face. “You’ve suffered a lot outside. Let jiejie take a careful look. En, your skin has tanned a bit, and you’ve gotten a little thinner. Next time, you absolutely mustn’t run around wildly, understand?”
“En! Jiejie, next time, I won’t be able to run around anywhere. My… my imperial guards have…” The princess choked with emotion.
“Be good, don’t be so sad…”
“Annoying. I’m already sixteen, yet people still consider be as a child.” In a flash, the princess was already smiling again.
“Jiejie, let me show you something.” The princess backed away from her embrace and took out a small jade case. She very carefully opened it. Immediately, a strong fragrance wafted forth. A sparkling fiery lotus petal appeared in the small jade case.
“Ah, this is…” Chu Yue was astounded.
The princess proudly said, “Do you know of the legendary Blazing Inferno Immortal Lotus? This is the present I’ve specifically prepared for father’s sixtieth birthday.”
Chu Yue excitedly clasped her hands around the small jade box. “It’s worthy of being known as an Immortal Lotus. Just by smelling its scent, one calms down, refreshed and relaxed.”
The sparkling lotus petal was even more eye-catching than the luminescence from the rising sun. The fragrance that deeply penetrated into the heart wafted towards Chen Nan and the others. Those soldiers and that officer also praised it wonderfully.
“Ah, why does it seem like there’s a tiny bite taken out of the lotus petal?” Chu Yue smiled as she pinched the princess’s fine nose. “It must’ve been you, you little gluttonous cat. You took a bite out of it, right? Hehe.”
“Jiejie…” The princess moved her body to the side, acting coquettishly. “Don’t pinch my nose. Otherwise, it won’t be as pretty as jiejie’s.”
“And your mouth is so sweet, it seems to be smeared in honey.”
The princess looked at the Blazing Inferno Immortal Lotus and angrily said, “Originally, it was an entire petal of the Immortal Lotus. But because that degenerate Chen Nan—that despicable, shameless, vulgar, filthy, smelly thief—used tricks to capture me and seal my acupoints up, I ate a tiny bit of the Immortal Lotus to release them.”
“What?!” Chu Yue cried out in fear.
“It’s that smelly thief. I’ve already captured him.” The princess pointed at the distant Chen Nan.
“Degenerate Chen Nan, come over here.”
Hearing the princess’s shout, Chen Nan felt a headache brewing. He didn’t want to go over.
When he arrived close to Chu Yue and the princess, Chen Nan became absent-minded. From afar, he could only vaguely see Chu Yue’s peerless magnificence. Now that it was almost within his reach, her beautiful, matchless looks gave him a sense of suffocation.
Chu Yue was dressed lightly in white. Her build was slender, curvy and beautiful. There was not a single flaw on her graceful, delicate body. She had a jade-like face without the use of makeup, almond-shaped eyes, a fine nose, and perfect cherry lips—and this was just a brief account of her exceptional appearance. Autumn water is as to divine jade is as to bone; Chu Yue’s could be summarized in a single word: ‘perfection’.