Chapter 15: Xiaoqi, Don’t Go Past the Walls
Qian Xiaoqi got up early in the morning and even rummaged through the treasure chest to fish out a broad-brimmed hat. Song Liangzhuo was disturbed awake from the sound of her moving back and forth. Looking out the window at the dawn sky which was just turning white, he felt a bit helplessly irked.
Xiaoqi stuck her head out. Seeing that Song Liangzhuo was already awake, she hastily put on the white gauze hat for him to look at and even twirled in a circle as she asked with a smile, “How is it? This way a parasol isn’t necessary and my hands can be used to hold other things.”
“Good.” Song Liangzhuo rubbed his forehead. “What else do you want to take?”
“If there’s any wild fruits or flowers I can pick them!”
“At this time of the year, where would there be wild fruits?”
Xiao Qi blinked. “That’s true.” An instant later she laughed again. “Then just treat it as an accessory hat to wear. As long as it looks nice.”
Song Liangzhuo laid down again and said gently, “Waking up so early, be careful that you don’t complain about being tired when you arrive.”
“How could I be tired when we’re going out to play?”
Xiaoqi hid behind the curtain and changed into a cool cotton garment. The outer layer was a light purple gauze and inside was white embroidered bloomers. If the skirt got in the way, she could probably directly lift it up. Xiaoqi twirled in a circle, satisfied, then ran to the outer room. “Why is Official Song still sleeping? Hurry up!”
“The rest of them haven’t woken up yet. Moreover, we still have to eat breakfast before heading out.”
Xiaoqi ran to the door and took a look. Then she said with an agreeable smile, “Why don’t we head out first? Just have them follow soon. Or you can just throw me there first and then come back to get them?”
Song Liangzhuo slightly wrinkled his brows as he looked towards Xiaoqi who was filled with excitement. “You’re in this much of a hurry?”
Xiaoqi kicked the ground. “I’ve been bored for a long time.”
Song Liangzhuo thought back to the past two years in which she waited in front of the government office gates early in the morning every day and his heart warmed. He smiled mildly. “That’s fine too. We can eat breakfast outside on the way.”
Xiaoqi hurriedly called Lu Liu to come in to help do her hair. While she washed her face, she didn’t forget to say, “I want to eat the deep-fried breadstick on the east street of Qian fu.”
“Are you going back to your maternal home or going out to play?”
Qian Xiaoqi shot a glance at Song Liangzhuo who seemed to be slightly off but still expressionless, then swalloed. “Fine, I won’t eat. When I get home I’ll make it for it myself.”
Song Liangzhuo rubbed his forehead and also washed his face.
Only the top of Xiaoqi’s hair was combed back and loosely pulled behind her head into a luxuriant bun, the rest of her hair was scattered over her shoulders. Her appearance seemed a bit mischievous and a bit laid-back, it really suited her personality and also showed the intention to go out to play.
Song Liangzhuo unhurriedly brushed his teeth. Seeing her curved eyes staring at him, he laughed inside and calmly called again for the manservant to prepare a bamboo hat before lifting his feet to walk outside. Xiaoqi ran to catch up. Seeing the bamboo hat in his hand, she reached out to touch it. “Can I wear this for a while?”
“Don’t you have a hat?”
“The two are not the same ah!”
Xiaoqi saw that Song Liangzhuo didn’t reply and reached out to give a tug. Then she gave another tug, and another until Song Liangzhuo loosened his grip and she grabbed it, laughing. She examined it, tried wearing it, then muttered, “I wonder who wore it before. It looks so familiar.”
Who else could it be? And who was it that always ran to the government office entrance to gift a bamboo hat during rainy days? She doesn’t have even the slightest bit of modesty that a girl should have.
So basically, QXQ lost her memory, but it was her that gave SLZ this hat. SLZ still doesn’t know that QXQ lost her memory so he thinks she’s boasting about giving him the hat.
Xiaoqi rubbed the bamboo hat and pouted. “Official Song, you sure treat yourself well. This bamboo hat was made using spotted bamboo and even uses carapace. No wonder I thought it looked nice!”
Exact type of spotted bamboo is Phyllostachys bambusoides f. lacrima-deae
Xiaoqi shook and cried out in surprise, “And, and it has even been soaked in a mental alertness boosting scent? Aiyah! Official Song is so extravagant. You can’t bear to even give Ha Pi a mouthful of meat yet you wear something so luxurious. Tsk, tsk. Corrupt, corrupt!”
Song Liangzhuo watched as the comments Xiaoqi made became more and more unreasonable. He reached out to take the bamboo hat back and stepped up the footstool to entered the carriage.
“Hey, Official Song!” Xiaoqi followed and climbed up as well. Just as she sat down, her stomach gave a rumble of a growl.
“Ah, it thundered.” Xiaoqi covered her stomach and contracted it a little. She shot a glance at Song Liangzhuo and asked, “Official Song, what are we going to eat?”
Song Liangzhuo closed his eyes. After half the day, he finally replied, “Eat something edible.”
Xiaoqi spat. Who doesn’t know to eat something edible ah? If it’s not edible she definitely wouldn’t eat it! Qian Xiaoqi shot a glare at Song Liangzhuo who was resting with his eyes closed. She rubbed her stomach and also yawned.
The carriage swayed out for a period of time and Song Liangzhuo stopped hearing the sound of Xiaoqi muttering. Finding it strange, he opened his eyes and saw that she had cleverly positioned so that she could take a nap on the padded cushion side of the carriage.
Seriously, say go and you go! You can even sleep like this!?
The Chinese saying is ‘think go and you go’ which means you act on impulse. The author probably changed it a little to emphasize QXQ’s selfishness on demanding SLZ walk up and take her out, then falling asleep herself, lol.
Song Liangzhuo shook his head helplessly and lifted the curtain to tell the coachman to take a detour to the east street of Qian fu.
Qian Xiaoqi was woken up by the noise from her own stomach. She opened her eyes to see Song Liangzhuo looking at her with a strange gaze. Xiaoqi wiped the corner of her mouth and asked, puzzled, “What is it?”
Song Liangzhuo’s forehead twitched. “Do stomachs usually growl this loud?”
“I didn’t eat my fill last night.”
“How come you never eat your fill?”
“Right!?” Xiaoqi blinked. “Say, Official Song, how come I can never eat my fill?”
Eh, if I knew would I still ask you?
Song Liangzhuo sighed and passed the deep-fried breadsticks that were tied together with thin hemp thread over. Xiaoqi took it and first gave it a sniff before smiling with delighted squinted eyes. “It’s from the street where my house is.”
Xiaoqi happily took a bite. Glancing at Song Liangzhuo, she took out one stick and passed it over. “You eat too.”
Song Liangzhuo shook his head. “I already ate.”
Xiao Qi glanced at Song Liangzhuo whose mouth was completely clean and asked, ‘What did you eat?”
“Why do you like eating steamed buns?” Xiaoqi wrinkled her brows with horrid disgust.
Song Liangzhuo, upon seeing this expression of hers, suddenly felt that his heart was full. His lips smoothed into a smile as he asked, “What’s wrong with steamed buns?”
“I don’t like things with stuffing, who knows what kind of things they wrap inside. Urgh, filthy.”
Song Liangzhuo rubbed his head and sighed. No wonder she kept bringing fried breadsticks and soy milk everyday for two years like it was just one day. They ate to the point that even Advisor Lu frowned.
This is unclear who is doing the eating. Either SLZ ate 2 years worth of fried breadsticks, or everyone at the governmental office shared the food.
The carriage gradually came to a stop and Xiaoqi hurriedly finished eating the last half stick. Taking out a handkerchief to wipe her hands, she spoke with her mouth still stuffed, “Have we arrived? What kind of scenery? “
Song Liangzhuo pulled back Xiaoqi who was heading out and passed a small jar of soy milk over. Xiaoqi had a bit too much stuffed in her mouth. She chewed for a long time but still couldn’t make any room and even retched from choking.
Song Liangzhuo frowned as he lifted open the carriage window. “Spit it out!”
Xiaoqi shook her head and chewed for another while, then lifted up the jar and drank a couple mouthfuls. Afterwards, she even opened her mouth to let Song Liang Zhuo see her completely empty mouth and said with smiling eyes, “Can’t suffocate me.”
Song Liangzhuo felt his temples pulse again and lifted his hand to rub it. When he lifted his head again, Xiaoqi had already rushed out like a gust of wind.
“Ah ~~~~” A voice cried.
“Official Song!” A voice grumbled.
“Th-this. Where is this!?” A voice demanded.
Song Liangzhuo slowly and unhurriedly got off the carriage. Looking at the desolate expanse in front of him he took a deep breath, then slowly let it out. With the corners of his mouth hooked, he said, “The yellow river shallows, how is it? Isn’t it expansive?”
Xiaoqi looked at the countless meters wide beach in front of her and said with a bitter face, “Are we here to play with sand?”
Official Song nodded.
“I don’t like it here.” Qian Xiaoqi pouted. “There’s nothing here at all.”
Song Liangzhuo put on the bamboo hat, then took off his cloth shoes and set them to the side, He took a few steps forward as he said to Xiaoqi, “Xiao Qi, come and try it. It’s nice and cool, not bad.”
Qian Xiaoqi’s lips twitched. She looked at the shallow and extremely yellow water in the river bank with a frown. “Didn’t this river use to be very wide?”
“It hasn’t rained for a long time this year, right?”
Xiaoqi puffed her cheeks and lifted herself onto her tiptoes to see the slightly black things inside the yellow river more clearly. She asked with her brows creased, “What is that?”
Song Liangzhuo looked where Xiaoqi was pointed and gave a soft ‘eh’? Walking closer, he then turned back and said, “Xiaoqi, hurry and come. It’s yellow river fish flow!”
In around June 6th of each year, there’ll be a huge flow of fish on the yellow river. The ‘fish flow’ usually consists of yellow river carps and occasionally some turtles. It’d be so densely packed to the point that some of them are drifting upside-down or sideways. Apparently the fish are really lively so they jump and it’s a spectacular sight.
Xiaoqi hurriedly kicked off her shoes, took off her socks, and lifted her skirt to run over.
A pitch black area in the shallow river water exposed only the sight of multiple black fish spines. Xiaoqi ran to the waterside but didn’t dare to jump in so she lifted her skirt and ran back. As she hopped with excitement, she said, “Official Song, hurry and catch it. Hurry hurry! In a bit they’ll all be gone!”
Song Liangzhuo turned around and waved the coachman over, calling loudly, “There’s yellow river carp. Uncle Wang should also come and catch some!”
Xiaoqi hauled down his hand and said angrily, “If other people catches it we won’t have any.”
The corners of Song Liangzhuo’s mouth curved. “It’s but an incense’s worth of time and effort. This river shoal is definitely full of people. Whoever that catches some here doesn’t count as catching it?”
Xiaoqi blinked. Song Liangzhuo continued, “Every year around the beginning of June when the yellow river is beginning to swell, there’ll be a fish flow. This time seemed to have been a couple days early, wonder if it’s a good sign.”
At that side, Uncle Wang had already finished tying up the horse and was heading over with his bamboo hat. Upon seeing this, Xiaoqi hurriedly pushed Song Liangzhuo. “Hurry up, in a while everyone will arrive. How will we catch some then?”
Song Liangzhuo shook his head, then lifted his legs and entered the river. Of the fish, there were big ones and small ones. Even though their spines were exposed, trying to catch them by hand was not an easy task. Song Liangzhuo clasped his hands several times but the slippery fishes still slide their way out.
However, Uncle Wang was able to swiftly fling out two. Xiaoqi anxiously stomped her feet, saying angrily, “You should hurry up. Look at him, he’s already caught two!”
Uncle Wang heard and said with a smile, “If Madam likes it then you can just take them. Da ren probably hasn’t entered the water before. Although it looks like there’s a lot of fish, they’re still in the water and are also extremely spirited.”
“I don’t want yours!” Qian Xiaoqi turned around and saw that in the distance there were already people entering the water. Hence, she gestured agitatedly as she said, “Official Song, do this. Swing it outwards like this. Look at how Uncle Wang catches it!”
Song Liangzhuo watched Xiaoqi gesture with her waist bent on the river shore and laughed softly. “Go find something to hold the fish so that the fish flipped ashore in a while don’t end up sliding back into the water.”
“Ok!” Xiaoqi turned in a circle. This motion evidently reminded Song Liangzhuo of Ha Pi who liked to circle around twice before lying down, as he couldn’t help but laugh again.
Uncle Wang, seeing Xiaoqi’s appearance, also laughed before he shouted, “There’s some coarse cloth stuffed under the cushions in the carriage. Madam can take that to use.”
Xiaoqi hurriedly ran back, poked her toes through her shoes, and climbed onto the carriage.
Song Liangzhuo worriedly watched Xiaoqi’s silhouette until he saw her crawl out butt-first from the carriage. Then he gave a light laugh and stooped down to continue catching fish.
Song Liangzhuo, as expected, didn’t let Xiaoqi down. By the time she ran over dragging a rag behind her, he had already splashed out a skinny little carp. Xiaoqi didn’t avoid it either. On the shore she tied the four corners of the rag together, then pinched the tail of the little fish and threw it in. Afterwards, her sparkling eyes locked onto Song Liangzhuo again.
Song Liangzhuo gave a light cough. “Help collect Uncle Wang’s too.”
Xiaoqi was a bit unwilling and pouted without moving while looking at the six large fishes on Uncle Wang’s side. Song Liangzhuo felt it was funny and gestured with his chin, saying, “In a bit other people will definitely take them. If you collect them, Uncle Wang can even give you one.”
Xiaoqi was evidently still a bit unwilling. She has never wanted other people’s things before.
No matter how good it is, if it’s not hers then she doesn’t want to touch. But when she turned around and saw that people were heading this way, she decided that Uncle Wang was still closer to her than other people. Still pouting unwillingly, Xiaoqi said, “Uncle Wang, I’ll help you collect them first. I don’t want yours, I remember what my fish looks like.”
Uncle Wang laughed heartily. “Then I must thank Madam.”
Xiaoqi uncomfortably curled her lips and closely examined each fish before throwing them into the cloth bag.
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira, Edited by Sonia