Chapter 11: Qian Xiaoqi, Wait a Minute
The splendidly dressed man saw Xiaoqi’s eyes flit over and flit away, then, before a moment even passed, flitted over again, and couldn’t help chuckling. “Little Qian gongzi is that interested in this Chen?”
Qian Xiaoqi shook her head. When she turned her head away, she saw the figures of Wen Ruoshui and Lu Liu carrying a stack of things over and she hastily stood up slightly to wave to them.
Wen Ruoshui was holding two bags of puffed rice and a bag of roasted chestnuts. As she bent her waist to sit down beside Qian Xiaoqi, she said in an excited quiet voice, “There are some many delicious things to eat, Xiaoqi you should go out to see. There’s an uncle there pulling hemp candy, a really really long strip of it.”
Qian Xiaoqi took a bag of puffed rice and handed it over to the splendidly dressed man. “As compensation.”
“No need, we’ve already exchanged names so we’re already friends. Between friends, what does eating some puffed rice count for?”
Qian Xiaoqi pouted and took the puffed rice back again.
Wen Ruoshui leaned over to look past Qian Xiaoqi and the man gave Wen Ruoshui a nod with a smile. Wen Ruoshui flushed red. Tugging at Qian Xiaoqi, she asked, “Who’s that? How do you know him?”
Qian Xiaoqi swallowed a mouthful of puffed rice then replied softly, “Don’t know him.”
The book-telling Mister in front had already gotten to the part where Meng Lang was scolding him because the little fox immortal had killed that beautiful girl. Qian Xiaoqi was indignant and furiously chomped on a large handful of puffed rice as she lamented in a low voice, “Beasts ah beasts, that little fox immortal really isn’t good at judging people.”
Wen Ruoshui cast a glance at Chen Zigong, then also started to listen to the story. Half the time she didn’t quite catch the flow of the story, but seeing Xiaoqi’s expression of anger, she also followed along.
The time had already gotten to noon. The book-telling Mister clapped down the wooden block and with the words ‘as for what happens next, if you wish to find out please listen in the next section’, ended this half of the little fox immortal’s heroic tale.
Qian Xiaoqi popped the puffed rice into her mouth and stared at the book-telling Mister as she slowly chewed. Ruoshui was covering her eyes, her face flushed to the point that blood looked about to drip out. Seeing the crowd slowly disperse, she then grumbled in a low voice, “Didn’t you say they were going to tell a story? Why did you make me listen to this kind of pornographic story? How shameful!”
Qian Xiaoqi dazedly threw another handful of puffed rice into her mouth and blurted out, “It’s over, my purity has been tainted.”
Chen Zigong, hearing that, couldn’t help but give a soft laugh. Qian Xiaoqi pretended not to hear as she got up, pulled Wen Ruoshui, and walked out. Chen Zigong followed. Lu Liu glanced at him with wariness, but seeing that Qian Xiaoqi didn’t pay attention to him at all and that he didn’t seem to have any intention of walking up to start a conversation, only gave a soft ‘humph’ as she moved to guard Qian Xiaoqi’s back.
There really were a lot of delicious things on the street, not to mention all sorts of small ornaments and carvings. The delightfully odd toys made Wen Ruoshui reluctant to leave.
Wen Ruoshui stared at a small bird inside an Uncle’s hand and watched that Uncle stuck the tail of the bird between his lips. With a bulge of the cheek, that bird started to sound. Ruoshui tugged Xiaoqi with a smile, asking, “What kind of toy is that? It seems like a whistle!”
“Haha, if young lady likes it, come take a look. It doesn’t cost much.” The Uncle had sharp ears and called out to Wen Ruoshui.
Wen Ruoshui looked at the male clothing she was wearing and asked with a red-faced pout, “How come Uncle knows that I’m a girl?”
The Uncle’s eyes swept towards Qian Xiaoqi. Xiaoqi, with a ‘fuwah’, flipped open a paper fan and placed her hand on her hip before bending one leg into a cocky pose. That Uncle, upon seeing this, gave a grin and didn’t expose her. He just slightly shook his head and said, “All sorts of people are on these streets, if I didn’t hear young lady’s voice I probably wouldn’t have been able to tell either.”
Ruoshui looked with interest at the colorful toys on his booth. Looking again at a clay basin on the side, she asked with amazement, “Uncle made this himself?”
“Hehe, this toy clay whistle was fired, it was baked with flames. Young lady, look at these, these are clay goods, they don’t need to be baked. If young lady wishes for something I can immediately make it for you and the price is cheaper than those fired goods too.”
Ruoshui picked up a clay whistle and asked happily, “It really is a whistle?”
“How about it young lady?” The uncle asked with a smile.
Wen Ruoshui turned her head towards Xiaoqi and beckoned her over. While waiting for her to approach, she smiled at the uncle and said, “Make one modeled after that person, and also make one like me, and later make one like Zhuo gege. Have you seen the county magistrate of this area before? Just make one according to what he looks like.”
The uncle sat down behind the vendor’s booth and started to mold the clay while asking with a smile, “You guys are family of Official Song?”
Wen Ruoshui proudly nodded. “Uncle make it properly, if it’s alike then we’ll pay more for it.”
Qian Xiaoqi casually grabbed a toy clay whistle to give it a blow. Her pearl eyes swirled around and caught sight of a little red horse to the side. It was a fired good as well and was much more delicate than the clay good next to it. The paint also didn’t have protruding small lumps. Its long neck was even decorated with three white and yellow little flowers which started from behind the ears and extended onto its stomach. The little horse had its mouth wide open, large bead button eyes, and an extremely handsome black mane on its head. Although the neck was thicker than its body and the four limbs were likewise a bit overly exaggerated and tiny, looking at it gave people a cute, naughty impression.
Xiaoqi stared at the little horse for a while, blinked and reached out to grab, but a distinctly jointed hand had already picked up that little red horse a step ahead of her. Xiaoqi’s line of sight followed that little horse to the person that picked it up. Unexpectedly, it was Chen Zigong who she had encountered in the large teahouse.
Xiaoqi pointed at the little red horse in his hand, fluttering her eyelashes.
Chen Zigong glanced at the clay toy in his hand and said with a smile, “Xiaoqi also took a fancy to this clay toy?”
Xiaoqi slightly narrowed her eyes. This guy’s way of addressing her already went from little gongzi to little Qian gongzi, and now it’s been switched to Xiaoqi. To not utter a word does not mean that she agreed, eating two handfuls of his puffed rice doesn’t mean he can just take small advantages of her. This kind of bewitching peach blossom male is the most unreasonable. Right now he’ll call her Xiaoqi, next step will definitely be calling her Qi er1 and the next next step will definitely be having “candid” mmeetings, just like the peach blossom enchantress’s personality in that pinshu 《Peach Flower Top Scorer》.
(1) 儿 – “er” means boy but can when added on to a name is a way of endearment and is gender neutral
评书 – “pingshu” is a folk art where a single performer narrates stories from history or fiction
It isn’t indicated whether the ‘enchantress’ is male or female, I think it’s probably male. As for Top Scorer, in ancient China, the best job was to be an official in the imperial palace and you had to take exams for that.
Chen Zigong raised his eyebrow and asked with a smile, “What is Xiaoqi thinking about?”
Qian Xiaoqi folded over one of her arms then used the fan to prop up her chin. Her eyes slightly turned as she spoke, “Chen gongzi?”
The corner of Chen Zigong’s mouth twitched. “Where did those words stem from?”
“Why do you keep following us bunch of guys? Though our appearances are distinguished, casual, elegant, and a little bit gentle like jade, we are still authentic men. In the future I still want to get myself a little wife! Chen gongzi, please stop following us to avoid causing us to attract rumors of being homosexual and snapping off this one’s great marriage destiny.”
Chen Zigong wavered between laughter and tears as he lifted his hand to take out a piece of silver and dropped it onto the booth.
“What are you doing!” Qian Xiaoqi picked up the silver and flung it back to Chen Zigong. “Don’t you know first come, first served? It was I who took a fancy to this little red horse first.”
“Haha, Xiaoqi seems to have forgotten about eating my puffed rice earlier.”
Xiaoqi’s neck turned a bit weak, but that was only for a moment. That soft moment passed and she pulled her neck even straighter as she said, “I wanted to repay you but you didn’t accept. Then again, you were the one that said between friends, what does eating some puffed rice count for?”
“That’s right, since we’re friends, what does yielding some clay toy count for?” Chen Zigong teased with a smile.
Ha, as expected, not only was he a peach blossom male, his personality was no good either, Xiaoqi muttered to herself. Just as she was about to mouth back, her gaze caught the sight of someone who, not far away, was holding something and slowly approaching. She hastily shook open the fan to hide her face.
Chen Zigong was curious. He was originally waiting to see her panic wiith a flushed face and protest coquettishly. However, the protest didn’t come. Instead, he saw her toss her hand and with a ‘fuwah’ her entire face was covered. Chen Zigong turned around suspiciously to look behind his back, but pedestrians were walking around, there was nothing out of place.
Qian Xiaoqi tugged Wen Ruoshui’s sleeve and said in a low voice, “Official Song is here.”
“Ah? Where?” Wen Ruoshui turned around to look but was pulled back by Xiaoqi with one tug.
“Are you looking to be scolded? If Official Song found out we came out like this we’ll definitely be punished.”
Wen Ruoshui stuck out her tongue and raised her hand to shift the fan in Qian Xiaoqi’s hand closer to herself. Then she asked in a low voice, “Then we can’t talk with Zhuo gege?”
Qian Xiaoqi rolled her eyes in a wide, wide circle.
“Fine, fine, if we can’t talk we won’t talk.” Ruoshui pouted then looked towards the clay figure in the Uncle’s hand whose basic shape was already formed.
That was one, hands on hips, one leg bent, pretty gongzi boy. The other hand was even gripping a fan with its chin slightly tilted upwards. The entire look gave the impression of haughty mischievousness. Ruoshui’s lips smoothed as she laughed softly. “Look, this is your appearance, a strange rare person.”
Qian Xiaoqi sneakily peeked over Chen Zigong. However, to her surprise, she didn’t see Song Liangzhuo’s figure.
“Uncle, hurry and make me one too. Uncle’s craftsmanship is so good,” Wen Ruoshui urged with a smile.
Qian Xiaoqi’s eyes swept back and forth over, passing over Chen Zigong’s body for half a day, yet still couldn’t find Song Liangzhuo’s figure. She inwardly gave a sigh of relief and hoped that it was just her eyes seeing things. Then she poked Wen Ruoshui and said, “Why aren’t you scared of Song Liangzhuo?”
“What’s there to be scared of? Zhuo gege never yells at me. Moreover, Xiaoqi, it was you that dragged me out.”
“Humph, you heartless girl, and you even spent my money to buy things.”
“You’re the one who let me spend it!”
Standing behind the two, Lu Liu’s eyes turned red. Seeing Song Liangzhuo’s ice cold expressionless face, she didn’t dare to open her mouth to warn.
Qian Xiaoqi became gloomy. Turning her head towards the little red horse in Chen Zigong’s hand, she said, “Give it back to me, if you like it look for other ones.”
Chen Zigong smiled. “Didn’t Xiaoqi say it’d be gifted to me?”
Aren’t the contents of this day too horrible? Why did she have to encounter such a person the moment she went out!? Xiaoqi reached out, wanting to pry the small red horse out of Chen Zigong’s hand when another hand reached out to tug her back.
Xiaoqi was truly a bit annoyed. Altogether today, how many times has she reached out? One time someone else snatched it first, one time she was dragged back by someone else! Xiaoqi fiercely turned around with puffed cheeks. Upon seeing Song Liangzhuo’s dark expression, she deflated with a ‘whoosh’ .
Xiaoqi lowered her head and tugged at her hand which was being grabbed by someone else, but that hand was like an iron grasp; it was not tight but also hard to shake off. Xiaoqi lifted her head to glance at Song Liangzhuo, but before she could speak she heard Wen Ruoshui’s pleasantly surprised voice. “Zhuo gege, you returned really early today! Zhuo gege, come look at this with me, this clay toy is really amusing!”
Xiaoqi was angry to the point that her eyes had scrunched together. To roam around in the streets isn’t much, but they were in male outfits. They didn’t bring even a single male servant and Wen Ruoshui was still acting this high-spirited. It would be strange if Song Liangzhuo didn’t get angry!
But Song Liangzhuo unexpectedly really didn’t get angry. He even spoke with a slight smile, “This is molding a clay figure?”
Qian Xiaoqi looked over with her mouth gaped in astonishment.
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira
Thank god the book-telling didn’t continue in detail. That line XQ says, I think ‘beasts’ refers to the lecherous Meng Lang and she’s lamenting that the little fox spirit can’t see Meng Lang’s terrible personality and still serves him even though Meng Lang always fall for the trickery of others and punishes the little fox spirit believing that the spirit killed innocents rather than monsters that were aiming for Meng Lang’s life.