Chapter 12: Qian Xiaoqi, Don’t Go Past the Walls
Song Liangzhuo softly shook his head and reached out to straighten Xiaoqi’s tilted head before then turning around to speak to Chen Zigong with a smile. “May I ask what gongzi is here for?”
Xiaoqi saw the faint smile on Song Liangzhuo’s face and her stomach flopped. Xiaoqi hurriedly covered her face with her hand while silently cursing the formidable might of a pretty boy’s face.
Chen Zigong took in Song Liangzhuo’s clear show of ownership and shook his head as the corner of his mouth hooked. Coughing lightly in order to attract Qian Xiaoqi’s gaze which had been fixed on Song Liangzhuo’s face, he spoke with a faint smile, “Then this Chen will leave now. Let’s continue on another day, Xiaoqi.”
Qian Xiaoqi saw him turn around to leave and hurriedly stepped forward to chase after him. However, Song Liangzhuo pulled her back with one yank. Xiaoqi became mad and said angrily, “He took my thing!”
Song Liangzhuo, upon hearing this, lightly lifted his eyebrow. He handed the coarse cloth bag in his hand to Xiaoqi and took two steps forward, calling out, “Chen gongzi, wait a moment!”
Chen Zigong turned around and Song Liangzhuo quickly walked over. Sweeping a glance over the clay red horse toy in Chen Zigong’s hand, he asked, “Chen gongzi won’t yield it?”
Chen Zigong shook his head with a smile. “Won’t yield!”
“Haha. Then Chen gongzi should pay for it before leaving.” Song Liangzhuo casually glanced again at the clay toy in his hand.“My wife is stubborn and mischievous. However, she never casually gifts people things. It’s best to keep things clear.”
Chen Zigong faintly knitted his brow and he looked towards Xiao Qi who didn’t give off the slightest impression of being married. He shook his head, silently lamenting that it was rather a pity, and he felt for a piece of silver before throwing it towards the vendor booth Uncle’s chest.
Qian Xiaoqi strode over towards Chen Zigong with large steps when she saw him throw a piece of silver over. However, before she could get close, she was blocked by Song Liangzhuo’s arm and stopped.
“He, he took my thing,” Qian Xiaoqi complained unhappily.
“He paid money.”
“But I was the one who fancied it first!” Qian Xiaoqi felt very wronged and turned to ask the uncle, “Uncle, wasn’t I the one who fancied it first?”
The vendor booth Uncle said with a laugh, “It was magistrate’s wife who took a fancy to it first.”
Qian Xiaoqi nodded repeatedly and glared at Song Liangzhuo, fuming. With her cheeks puffed into bulges, she looked extremely adorable. Song Liangzhuo smiled as he said, “Xiaoqi, just pick a different one.” Song Liangzhuo picked up an identical black horse and passed it over. “Isn’t this one the same? Why must you have that one?”
Qian Xiaoqi widened her eyes as she looked towards Song Liangzhuo, her eyes filled with grievances and hurt. Then she turned abruptly towards the vendor booth Uncle and said fiercely, “Who is the magistrate’s wife? I am Qian Xiaoqi, the third miss of the Qian family! To hell with the magistrate’s wife!” After she finished speaking she flung the coarse cloth bag to Song Liangzhuo and ran off, enraged.
Wen Ruoshui saw Qian Xiaoqi run off and turned back to look at the clay figure with her appearance in the vendor booth Uncle’s hand, feeling a bit reluctant to leave. She asked in a soft voice, “Zhuo gege, how about we wait for this Uncle to finish making this one before going together?”
Song Liangzhuo retracted his gaze from Qian Xiaoqi’s back and gave a light nod. Lu Liu, who had been standing at the side waiting for Song Liangzhou chase after Xiaoqi, gave Wen Ruo Shui a glare before hurriedly chasing after Xiaoqi.
Song Liangzhou stood in front of the vendor booth and looked for a while before asking, “You don’t have any more of that red horse from just now?”
“I don’t. This batch only fired about ten or twenty, there’s only one of every type.” The vendor booth Uncle continued to shape the clay figure as he lifted his head to ask, “Official da ren also took a fancy to that red one?”
Song Liangzhuo gave a smile, then said, “Yes, may I ask when will be the next time you fire some?”
“Haha, isn’t this up to me? If da ren likes, one of these days I can just add an additional kiln.”
Song Liangzhuo’s gaze swept towards that clay figure with its hands on its hips and its chin arrogantly raised. He couldn’t help but curl the corners of his mouth. “Can this type of clay figure also be fired?”
“It can. With an additional layer of clay, when it’s fired it’ll look even smoother than clay goods.”
“Then fire it. You can set a time and I’ll come pick it up.”
“Official da ren is too polite, one of these days I’ll send it to your residence for you.”
“Then send it to the government office.” Song Liangzhuo fished out some pieces of silver. Seeing that the vendor booth Uncle’s hands were covered with clay, he proceeded to set it down on the booth. “This is the down payment. When the time comes you can set the price.”
The vendor booth Uncle knew that this young official never takes other people’s things for free so he didn’t try to be polite and just nodded. “This will be fired in just a few days.”
Wen Ruoshui looked at the clay figure with Xiaoqi’s appearance and said with a pout, “Then I want to fire mine too. Uncle must make it even prettier.”
Song Liangzhuo strode out. Wen Ruoshui exhorted the vendor booth Uncle again before hurriedly following. When Wen Ruoshui noticed that Song Liangzhuo was holding on to a coarse cloth bag that faintly carried the smell of blood, she asked with a frown, “What is Zhuo gege holding?”
“What’s it for?”
Wen Ruoshui’s eyes sparkled. “Is it tasty?”
“For Ha Pi to eat.”
Wen Ruoshui pouted and ran to the other side to hold Song Liangzhuo’s empty hand. Song Liangzhuo didn’t shake her off either, he just spoke gently, “I’ve already sent a letter to Uncle Wen. Presumably in a few days, someone will come.”
Wen Ruoshui unhappily hung her head. “Zhuo gege, can’t you let me play here forever?”
“An unmarried young lady.”
“Then Zhuo gege should go back with me. Xiaoqi said before that she’ll yield Zhuo gege to me.”
Song Liangzhuo frowned. “Ruoshui, how could such a big thing like marriage be treated as a game? Not to mention that I’ve already married Xiaoqi. However, even if I hadn’t married, our relationship is still only that of siblings.”
Song Liangzhuo pulled away his hand and gave Ruoshui’s head a pat as he said, “Brother Wen Mingxuan has already said that he’ll come to pick you up in a few days.”
“Zhuo gege!” The rims of Ruoshui’s eyes turned red. “Is Zhuo gege still longing for that Zixiao?”
The faint smile on Song Liangzhuo’s face dispersed and his face turned expressionless. Wen Ruoshui pursed her lips and timidly continued, “She has already entered the palace for two years, she might have even given birth to a little prince by now.”
“It has nothing to do with her.”
“Then why doesn’t Zhuo gege want me?”
Song Liangzhuo turned around to look at Wen Ruoshui’s slightly upturned face. Then, he suddenly smiled and said, “Ruoshui, I heard Brother Mingxuan say that Brother Hengzhi treats Ruoshui rather well? Brother Hengzhi’s character isn’t bad!”
Wen Ruoshui’s face darkened and she pouted. “Can a person who only knows how to irritate you all day be counted as having a good character? That guy really needs a spanking!”
Song Liangzhuo smiled and shook his head.
Xiaoqi ran for half a block but the anger in her heart didn’t increase or decrease. At the mouth of the street, she suddenly saw the man who had snatched her little red horse. The man probably also saw her as his line of sight paused for a moment. However, he acted as if he didn’t see her and turned to leave.
Qian Xiaoqi put her hands on her hips as she gasped for breath. She squinted her eyes and glared at Chen Zigong’s back for a good while. She had originally planned to furiously charge over and demand it back but thought better of it. She gave a sneer and when Chen Zigong turned around to look a second time, she dodged into a different alley and return to Song fu.
Chen Zigong had pretty much flipped through all the jade on the jade artifact booth but Qian Xiaoqi still hadn’t made it over to argue with him. Hence, Chen Zigong turned around to look again. However, where was there still even a trace of her!? Chen Zigong shook his head feeling rather regretful. Then, he saw Song Liangzhuo and Wen Ruoshui walking this way together and the corner of his mouth hooked almost imperceptibly before he turned back around and entered the crowd.
Xiaoqi rushed back to the Song fu then went to her room to change into women’s clothes before hurrying over to the kitchen to steal something tasty for Ha Pi to eat. The last few days Song Liangzhuo was not home during noon so she could feed Ha Pi however she wanted. This time though, that definitely wasn’t the case.
Xiaoqi simply got some chicken bones that weren’t scraped clean yet from Auntie Feng. Then, she ran back to the room to hide them below the bed so she could to give them to Ha Pi at night to gnaw on.
Xiaoqi had just finished preparing when Lu Liu returned, panting and out of breath. She supported her waist and gasped for half the day before saying with a bitter face, “Miss, why did you disappear halfway? You made Lu Liu look everywhere!”
Xiaoqi poured a cup of tea and passed it over to Lu Liu. Lu Liu lifted her head and drank before complaining angrily, “That Miss Ruoshui is too much, to actually hang on to guye to buy clay toys. Guye as well, why did he stick his elbow out?”
“Uh-huh, that arm is oppressively long,” Xiaoqi humphed.
Lu Liu said with a smile, “But Miss shouldn’t get angry either. Just now I saw that guye was right behind us and should almost be back too. Guye didn’t accompany Miss Ruoshui for long either.”
Xiaoqi humphed again. Lu Liu saw that Xiaoqi was still wearing her hair in a man’s bun and stood up to release it. Just as she finished combing smooth that head of long hair, Song Liangzhuo strode in. When Song Liangzhuo saw Xiaoqi aiming her wide eyes in a glare towards him with her loose hair draped over her shoulders, he went into a daze for a moment.
Women, for the most part, are all beautiful. Whether gentle and tender like Zixiao, naughty and clingy like Xiaoqi, adorable and simple like Ruoshui, dignified and virtuous like Mother, each one had their own type of beauty that waited for a person who could understand to appreciate.
Song Liangzhuo hadn’t even finished sighing when Qian Xiaoqi puffed up her cheeks and demanded, “What did you come in for? Can’t you see I’m currently changing?”
Qian Xiaoqi spoke self-confidently and righteously, and her voice even carried a faint trace of rage. Song Liangzhuo gestured at Lu Liu. He waited for her to withdraw before picking up the comb himself, wanting to comb Xiaoqi’s hair for her. However, Xiaoqi tilted her head and avoided his hand, frowning. “What are you doing?”
Song Liangzhuo handed the comb to Xiaoqi then walked slowly to the side to sit down. He asked casually, “Why didn’t you bring menservants when you headed out?”
See! Just knew it would be like this! Xiaoqi pouted and didn’t reply.
“In the future, you are the magistrate’s wife. Don’t run off like that again.”
Xiaoqi’s mouth turned down as she said, “How many times have we already talked about this? I don’t want to repeat it again. I’m Qian Xiaoqi. I’m not your wife. I have a divorce paper!”
Song Liangzhuo slightly knitted his brows. “Then, at least during the time you’re at Song fu, act like a presentable magistrate’s wife.”
Xiaoqi blinked, then nodded. “Alright, I just won’t go out in the future. You had better work faster, don’t stifle me alive in this courtyard.”
Song Liangzhuo gave a smile. “If you’re bored just tell me, I’ll take you out for a stroll.”
Xiaoqi patted the pit of her stomach and said, “Forget it, you can just accompany your Ruoshui meimei. I’d even feel a bit more at ease by myself.”
Song Liangzhuo looked straight at Qian Xiao Qi. Upon seeing that her eyes didn’t contain any traces of jealousy or affection, he dropped his eyes and said, “How many times have I already said this as well? I only think of Ruoshui as a little sister.”
Xiao Qi humphed. “Then you can go accompany your little sister, it’s all the same anyway.”
Song Liangzhuo gave a soft sigh. Lowering his head, he saw Ha Pi who had at some unknown time trotted here on those four short legs.
Ha Pi whined as he circled Song Liangzhuo’s legs and sniffed for quite a while. Perhaps the chicken blood from the chicken bits had dropped onto his shoes because Ha Pi chased his legs and wouldn’t let go. Song Liangzhuo lifted his foot to dodge twice, then Ha Pi ,with one chomp, suddenly bit onto his pants and started scrambling up.
Song Liangzhuo didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. He slightly lifted his leg and extended it towards Xiaoqi. “Take him off.”
Xiaoqi pouted and didn’t move as she leisurely gathered up her hair. Seeing Song Liangzhuo’s face turn more and more unsightly, her eyes shone with laughter. “You’re afraid of dogs? Haha, a big man being afraid of this kind of thing, aren’t you ashamed!?”
Song Liangzhuo’s complexion was slightly troubled. He gritted his teeth as he said, “I’m allergic to this thing.”
“Allergic?” Xiaoqi bent down and picked Ha Pi up. “You’re allergic to Ha Pi? Do you get a rash?”
Song Liangzhuo nodded and seeming to begrudge words like gold, he said, “Itch.”
Xiaoqi imagined Song Liangzhuo being covered with rashes. When she imagined his expression of frustration, it made her grin and laugh mischievously. Song Liangzhuo knitted his brows upon seeing Xiaoqi laugh heartlessly and the way her thoughts were wandering off. He couldn’t resist lifting a finger give her forehead a flick.
“Aiyah!” Xiaoqi rubbed her forehead and blurted out, mad, “Song Liangzhuo, you’re too much! How could you hit me!?”
Really such a child! Song Liangzhuo gave a sigh and stood up to go to the study.
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira, Edited by Sonia
I’m back!! XD With a new editor Sonia on board who will be helping out!