Chapter 24: Official Song, a Rogue
Mrs. Mei, like before, didn’t have Xiao Qi stay for lunch and prepared steam buns and slowly simmered pork elbow soup, then had the carriage directly send Xiao Qi to Concave Village while Lu Liu carried a chest of books back to Song fu.
Xiao Qi was very excited, it was that entire body’s pores felt keyed up type of excitement. Since leaving Qian fu Xiao Qi had already wiped away her sweat two times. When Xiao Qi once again lifted her hand to wipe her sweat, she giggled with a ‘hehe’ and fished out the booklet again from her chest to carefully take a look.
Calling it a picture booklet, wasn’t false at all.
Half a foot or so of hemp paper was stapled into a small booklet. Inside were carefully drawn models of dams, floodgates, and the main points of the methods to control floods were transcribed. The last page was folded up, when unfolded it was a sheet four times as large. It was a picture, to the side of the mud dam were square pits built with stone, just like what Xiao Qi talked about before. What made people most unable to shift their eyes away were the continuous rows of rich peach flowers along the two sides of the dam, the two rows of pink that seemed to extend endlessly into the distance.
In the drawing were the vague back figures of a guy and a girl. The peach flowers were drawn hazily, the figures were also hazy, but their clasped hands were very clear. Xiao Qi thought, this is definitely her dream, what an exceptionally beautiful dream ah. Regardless of who the man in the painting is, she must definitely stand on a dam as beautiful as this and enjoy the feeling of being like a floating immortal. Hehe, it really resembles the peach flower fairy from the folklores!
Think about it, standing on the dam, in front a mist of flower petals, separating you from that torrential river water. People will no longer have to fear floods striking and in the fall can even come to pick honey peaches. Waah, it’s paradise on earth! Helping Official Song build the dam will fulfill her own dream and she could also confidently go home to be the Third Miss, it’s two birds with one stone.
Xiao Qi giddily and lightheadedly got down from the carriage, standing still to first change this wilderness into the scene in the drawing. She faced the scene, showing off her good looks shamelessly for a while, before taking several small quick steps as befitting a wise and virtuous lady and walking a few steps forward.
Xiao Qi wanted to find a place to sit, but unfortunately, it had recently just rained so the grass was moist, drops of water could even be seen on the glass blades.
When Song Liang Zhuo walked over Xiao Qi was still smiling foolishly, her eyes were hazy and swayed a little. Song Liang Zhuo lifted his brows, puzzled, then took the jar from her hand and walked towards the tree.
“What did you bring today?”
“Crystal pork elbow.” Xiao Qi touched her chest excited and said with a smile: “I found something good.”
“Oh?” Song Liang Zhuo’s lips hooked: “What?”
Xiao Qi paused, tilted her head, then stuck out her tongue: “I’ll give it to you, but the money that’s left is gone. I had my dad change it into stone materials and send it over.”
Xiao Qi didn’t wait for Song Liang Zhuo to reply and said with a taut face: “You can’t get mad at me, ok? And, once the plan succeeds I’m going home. You must keep your word.”
Song Liang Zhuo slightly knitted his brows and didn’t speak.
Xiao Qi sat down on the folding stool underneath the tree, fished out the booklet from her chest and handed it over like she was presenting a treasure. Song Liang Zhuo put down the jar and sat facing her, took it and flipped through it casually. The disbelief in his eyes slowly turned into pleasant surprise.
“Deepening the river, building the dam, installing a waterway lock? And, it was drawn by you?” Song Liang Zhuo smiled and looked up.
Xiao Qi rubbed her eyes and turned her head slightly to avoid Song Liang Zhuo’s uncomfortable gaze. She held back for a moment, then couldn’t resist laughing and delightedly lifted her chin, saying: “I drew it. Official Song, look at the last one. If in a few years it’s like that how great would that be? Hehe, when that time come, I and my family’s husband……”
Xiao Qi glanced at Song Liang Zhuo and bashfully covered her mouth as she smiled: “Then that, wouldn’t that be great?”
Song Liang Zhuo bowed his head silent for a while, then nodded and started eating. Xiao Qi was like a child that didn’t get her candy and pouted, grumbling for half the day before saying unhappily: “Just that?”
Song Liang Zhuo lifted his head, but there was no smile. Xiao Qi saw that he returned to an expressionless face and felt something wasn’t quite right. It wasn’t quite right and she started to get nervous.
Xiao Qi studied her fingers. Song Liang Zhuo gave a soft sigh, then hooked the corners of his mouth: “Xiao Qi did very well. Did Xiao Qi start collecting it from before?”
Xiao Qi blinked, then pouted: “Y, yeah. Lu Liu said so.”
“It was Advisor Lu that told you?”
“Huh? No, I don’t know. Why?”
Song Liang Zhuo put down his chopsticks and lifted his hand to rub the top of Xiao Qi’s head. Xiao Qi shivered and goosebumps rose along her entire body, terrifying!
Song Liang Zhuo spoke gently: “Is Xiao Qi afraid of me?”
Xiao Qi shot a glance at Song Liang Zhuo, frowned and thought for a moment before saying: “I don’t know. It’s just, it’s just strange.”
“Xiao Qi, don’t be afraid of me.”
Xiao Qi nodded, seeing that though he was expressionless, he also didn’t show any anger, then smiled: “I want to build the dam with you.”
“Why?” Song Liang Zhuo faintly smiled.
“No particular reason. I just like.”
Song Liang Zhuo nodded: “Alright. After tomorrow I have to deal with some matters at the government office for a few days. After I finish I’ll bring you here.”
Song Liang Zhuo handed a bowl over: “Xiao Qi hasn’t had lunch yet either, right? You should eat too.”
Xiao Qi looked at the chubby pork shoulder meat, shook her head and grabbed a chopped onion flatbread: “I don’t eat pork.”
Song Liang Zhuo’s brows lightly lifted, then he picked a piece of chinese yam over. Xiao Qi shook her head: “There’s pork oil!”
Song Liang Zhuo broke off half a piece of steamed bun, wiped off the oil, then carried it over. Xiao Qi looked at Song Liang Zhuo, her two cheeks suddenly reddened into one. Xiao Qi lifted her chopsticks and ate it, then hung her head for a long while before speaking gloomily: “I really don’t want to be the Official’s wife. Official Song also shouldn’t, shouldn’t be good to me. I know you don’t like me. Right now I, I also, also don’t……”
Xiao Qi lifted her head with the rims of her eyes red. Song Liang Zhuo stared at Xiao Qi for a moment, then shook his head: “Nothing. Xiao Qi, don’t overthink it. We’ll talk about this later.”
“Oh.” But, what will we talk about? Xiao Qi responded. The hand that was holding the flatbread for some reason shook a little, her eyes also smarted even more.
Seriously! Xiao Qi bit her lips and held back the tears as she whispered softly: “Talk then just talk. Wasn’t I just about to say that I didn’t like him? Good for nothing ah!”
Xiao Qi gloomily ate her flatbread and the chinese yams that Song Liang Zhuo picked for her, from start to finish didn’t say a word. Song Liang Zhuo also seemed to be thinking about something and also didn’t deliberately raise a topic. He just picked chinese yams to feed Xiao Qi who was depressed to the point that she didn’t seem like herself until she finished eating the flatbread before starting to eat.
“Da ren.” A yellow oriole-like voice interrupted Song Liang Zhuo’s puzzlings and also pulled Xiao Qi who was daydreaming back.
Xiao Qi lifted her head, confused, and glanced at Cai Yun who had switched to another way of dressing, then pouted and lowered her head. Cai Yun took a look at Xiao Qi, then shyly smiled at Song Liang Zhuo: “Da ren, Cai Yun prepared pickled vegetables but da ren isn’t going to the village for lunch. This dish……”
Cai Yun’s sentence paused at the perfect moment and waited for Song Liang Zhuo to nod. Song Liang Zhuo shook his head and said: “I thank lady Cai Yun for your kindness, but my wife has already brought food.”
Cai Yun’s willow brows slightly creased and she pursed her lips, saying: “Cai Yun has already brought it over, da ren, take a look?”
Song Liang Zhuo sighed and turned around to say to Xiao Qi: “Fu ren, look at this dish. Do you like it?”
夫人 – “fu ren” madam, way of saying wife, but also refers to their status as mistress of the house. When Xiao Qi moans that she doesn’t want to be Song Liang Zhuo’s wife, it’s actually saying she’s not interested in the position of being Song Liang Zhuo’s furen. And when it says to act befitting of being a official’s wife, it also uses this term as the main wife is like the face of the family.
Xiao Qi actually poked her head out and looked inside the food container and saw that it was celtuce, each strip emerald green and glossy, just the look of it was appetizing. Xiao Qi nodded: “It’s really good ah.”
Song Liang Zhuo took the food container and poured the dish out, then returned the food container and spoke to Xiao Qi: “Since fu ren likes, then you should thank lady Cai Yun for her kindness.”
Xiao Qi blinked, then nodded with an “oh”. Turning around, she saw that Song Liang Zhuo was still looking at her so she added another line: “Thank you lady.”
Cai Yun couldn’t stay any longer so she courtesied with a flushed face and returned to the village with her head hung down.
The celtuce was indeed appetizing. Xiao Qi borrowed the chopsticks and ate several mouthfuls before returning the chopsticks. Song Liang Zhuo smiled: “Xiao Qi likes to eat this?”
Xiao Qi nodded then hugged her knees again and lowered her chin on top of them, looking towards that short little dam. Song Liang Zhuo softly sighed. Unexpectedly there was also a sort of unexplainable panicky feeling that was faintly growing.
Who she wants to be good to was actually pure to this degree. Just this thin booklet, don’t know how much of her attention it used up. Afraid that the things she did was far more than just this. That pair in the painting should be him and her, it’s probably her wish.
Song Liang Zhuo saw Xiao Qi’s expression seemed a bit dazed. She’s only a seventeen year old little lady, perhaps those few nights sleeping on the same bed was to her, no different from eating a few mouthfuls of bok choy.
Perhaps, it is time to properly talk about it.
Credits: Sponsored by Josephine Foong, Translated by Chiyomira, Edited by Sonia
Let’s thank our sponsor Josephine! And the last 4 paragraphs are from SLZ’s perspective! I don’t know if I managed to convey all of it clearly, if there’s any questions ask! Or you can comment your interpretation and I’ll compare it against the text and tell you how close it is. 🙂