Chapter 4: Qian Xiaoqi, Wait
Qian Xiaoqi slept all night, but when she woke up her entire body still ached. As usual, she stretched her body with her eyes still closed. Only after the fact did she recall that she was sleeping on the table.
Qian Xiaoqi hurriedly curled her arms and legs back as she opened her eyes. Staring at the pillow in front of her, she had some trouble reacting.
She doesn’t have the habit of looking for a man in the middle of the night at all! Great blue skies ah, this time she won’t be able to clear things up by talking!
Qian Xiaoqi looked left and right. Immediately she felt that her entire body – up and down and everywhere – ached. As she thought more and more about it, she felt like crying.
That evil pervert had definitely taken advantage of the time she was asleep to sleep with her. Who was it that said so before? Once you sleep together your entire body will hurt! As expected, he was a beast ah, a beast!
Qian Xiaoqi muttered through a stuffy nose as her body shook from sobs. Lu Liu, who came in after hearing the noise, was shocked. She guessed that it was definitely because they had consummated their marriage, and immediately smiled brilliantly as she approached while coaxing gently, “Miss is awake la? Guye has gone to the government office. Miss, don’t feel sad, all girls experience this!”
Lu Liu was delighted. “This time let’s see what that Miss Ruoshui has to be delighted about. I just said so, didn’t I? Guye does like Miss.”
Lu Liu smiled as she lifted the blanket on top of Qian Xiaoqi, wanting to get the chastity cloth. That cloth must be put away carefully. Only then would she be able to give the Song family a proper account when they return.
Qian Xiaoqi pulled the blanket and refused to let go. Lu Liu switched to a different direction and pulled it open from the side closer to the bottom. Seeing that Xiaoqi was still properly dressed, she became a bit unhappy.
“Miss didn’t take off your clothes when you went to sleep?”
Qian Xiaoqi tearfully looked down. She was pleasantly surprised when she saw that she was still wearing the clothes she’d worn yesterday and she immediately became lively again.
Qian Xiaoqi wiped her face and sat up. Feeling the texture of her skirt happily, she turned around and said to Lu Liu, “Does that mean nothing happened?”
“Uh-huh.” Lu Liu became deflated as she cast the blanket aside. “Is Miss getting up or not?”
“Getting up!” Qian Xiaoqi sucked in her snot. “I’m already hungry.”
Qian Xiaoqi jumped off the bed. Just as she picked up a handkerchief to wipe her nose, Wen Ruoshui came in with a sour face. Glaring at Qian Xiaoqi, she interrogated, “What did you and Zhou gege do?”
“What can guye and Miss do at night in their own room? Miss Ruoshui’s question sure is strange!” Lu Liu curled her lips as she deliberately gave a vague reply.
Wen Ruoshui flushed red and said angrily, “Was it you that forced him? You really don’t know any shame!”
“You, you’re the one that doesn’t know shame!” Qian Xiaoqi was stunned and had just snapped back to her senses. The moment she heard ‘don’t know any shame’ she got angry.
“Humph! You forced Zhou gege to do that kind of thing with you. If it’s not that you don’t know shame, what else would it be?”
Lu Liu lifted her brows as she interjected, “It’s that no matter what it is, it’s guye who is happy to do it with Miss. For Miss Ruoshui to ask things like this, it’s that that’s truly that, you know?”
“How am I that?!” Ruoshui was so infuriated that her face was completely red.
“Ah, so noisy! I haven’t even had breakfast yet!” Qian Xiaoqi jumped between Lu Liu and Wen Ruoshui and said angrily, “Can’t we argue after eating?”
Wen Ruoshui and Lu Liu simultaneously turned their backs on each other and humphed. Qian Xiaoqi rubbed her forehead. In a good mood, she speedily washed her face and brushed her teeth, then happily sat at the table waiting for Lu Liu to bring the food.
Lu Liu wore a frustrated expression at having to back down as she unwillingly left the room.
Wen Ruoshui arrogantly lifted her chin as she sat down opposite Qian Xiaoqi. Giving a humph, she said, “What are you so happy with? So what if something happened between Zhou gege and you? Uncle Song and Auntie still won’t allow you to enter the household!”
Qian Xiaoqi was in a good mood, so she nodded. “How long is Miss Ruoshui staying here?”
“Humph! Even if you want to chase me out it’s useless. This is Zhou gege’s house, Zhou gege won’t chase me out.”
“That’s not it.” Qian Xiaoqi hurriedly waved her hand. “After a couple days, I’ll go home and explain things clearly to my parents. I won’t live with your Zhou gege anymore, you can just take him.”
Wen Ruoshui was shocked. “Are you telling the truth?”
“It’s the truth!” Qian Xiaoqi wrinkled her nose as she thought, a man who hits people isn’t a good man, it’s someone you won’t be able to rely on your entire lifetime. Who was it that told her this?
“You,” Wen Ruoshui become suspicious. “Didn’t you like Zhou gege a lot in the past?”
Qian Xiaoqi curled her lips. “He doesn’t like me. Didn’t he hit me because of you? Then I’ll just go back!”
Wen Ruoshui felt a bit guilt-stricken now. She uncomfortably twisted her body as she said in a quiet voice, “That um, back then the anger rushed to my head. You, but you also didn’t get injured, right? Zhou gege even especially found an ointment for you.”
Qian Xiaoqi was a bit puzzled as she looked at Wen Ruoshui. “Didn’t you want to be together with your Zhou gege? You should be happy that I’m leaving.”
“Oh!” Wen Ruoshui nodded. “Then you can leave.”
Qian Xiaoqi choked on a mouthful of saliva. After thinking a bit, she said, “There’s probably still a lot of fun places to play in Tongxu. Once I return to the Qian family and get used to the area again, you can look for me to play together. I’ll also bring you out to stroll around.”
Wen Ruoshui became even more uncomfortable. Pouting with a red face, she said, “Who, who would want to look for you to go play?”
Wen Ruoshui glanced at Qian Xiaoqi. “That um, if you get your marriage annulled it won’t be easy to marry again. You should think it through properly.”
“Nothing happened between him and I, why would it be hard to remarry? Eh? What are we talking about this for? It sounds so strange.”
Wen Ruoshui twisted her sleeve as she thought, that, it’s you that wants to leave yourself. No one’s forcing you. If you leave, don’t blame me for stealing Zhou gege away ah.
Breakfast was also very plentiful with many dishes but Qian Xiaoqi had developed a disgust towards lard. Thus, other than that dish of red braised pork, she ate everything up cleanly. Wen Ruoshui propped up her cheek as she watched Qian Xiaoqi eat. Tracing her finger on the table, she spoke gloomily, “You ah, isn’t your family rich? How come you don’t have the slightest trace of the dignity of a young miss? You were definitely spoiled rotten by your family. Haa, Zhou gege’s life sure is tough!”
Wen Ruoshui had just said this when she realized that whether Qian Xiaoqi was dignified or not wouldn’t have a copper coin’s relationship with her Zhou gege in the future, so she changed her words and said, “Your future husband’s life sure is tough.”
Relationships between girls were rather easy to set up, especially after Qian Xiaoqi formed a united front with Wen Ruoshui. Wen Ruoshui didn’t pick on Xiaoqi incessantly anymore and instead, they started chatting about endless topics.
“And then?” Qian Xiaoqi was still cracking melon seeds as before. Within the little circle she made with her two arms, there was already a small pile of melon seed kernels.
“And then I started going to Zhou gege’s house to play a lot. Zhou gege is seriously talented. He would often go horse riding with my big brother and he’s also good at composing verse. Uncle Song is really proud of him. In reality, Zhou gege didn’t have to get the top score then start from a little seventh-ranked official, but Zhou gege had aspirations; he said he wanted to rely on himself to build up his own position. After that, he went and participated in the imperial examinations. I just knew that Zhou gege would become the top scorer and he really did.” Wen Ruoshui had on a face of adoration. “Haa, Zhou gege seriously is amazing yah!”
Qian Xiaoqi couldn’t quite endure her expression that was smiling so much her eyes had curved into threads. Drawing the melon seeds towards herself, Qian Xiaoqi shifted backward a little.
“Hey, did you know? Actually, Zhou gege likes the type of girl that’s gentle as water. One who can exchange verses and poems with him would be the best. Zhou gege probably really likes the type of girl that’s like that verse: ‘charming eyes with bashfulness lower, red lips with smiles part’.”
Wen Ruoshui rubbed her chin as she slightly lowered her eyes and murmured,
“The river banks of Luo doubts in reply to snow*, the Wushan was like dawn clouds.
Collapse of the state can be seen at present*, collapse of the nation was once heard*.
Charming eyes with bashfulness lower, red lips with smiles part.
Wind sweeps and lifts said belt*, sun shines on pomegranate dress.
1 Describes the girl to be like the Nymph of the Luo River and have skin that triumphs over the purity of snow, and likens her to the Goddess of Wushan, to be even more spirited and beautiful than the dawn clouds
2 Hearing one laugh from her is enough to ruin and overturn the state, another laugh could collapse the nation. Poem questions how to obtain such fortune in order to be able to personally experience this oneself*
3 Embarrassed from seeing someone coming, her eyes are filled with wandering ripples as she lowers her gaze. Slightly parting her vermilion lips, her dimpled smile dazzles.
4 A light breeze gently sweeps and the jade belt lightly dances in the wind. The brilliant sunlight bathes the slim and graceful figure in the red dress.
Translated from Baidu, but all the parts with an * signify my ???. This poem isn’t straightforward at all… well, it basically praises beauty. But the word choices are so ‘poetic’ I can’t make sense of them and I also couldn’t find any more websites giving a more detailed explanation which broke down the meanings of the words like they did for other poems. For example, the 2nd to last phrase, translated literally would be ‘wind sweeps ( a word referring to various flowering plants) (word that’s the second part of the word grape) belt’…??? Anyways, in the comments I have links to the goddesses that are mentioned in the poem.
Haa!” Wen Ruoshui gave a soft, dreamy sigh, “How beautiful of a beauty must one be in order to have as much charm as those celestials? Just like the Nymph of the Luo River with skin that triumphs snow, to be like the Goddess of Wushan, more spirited and beautiful than the dawn clouds. And can even collapse a state with one laugh and collapse the nation with another laugh. To be bashful upon seeing someone coming and have your eyes filled with wandering ripples and even lower your eyes, then lightly part vermilion lips with a dazzling smile.”
Lol, only after I spend an hour researching the previous part did I move on to this next paragraph. Funny thing is, in the Chinese raws, the words were exactly the same as the words in Baidu. But Ruoshui does a little less explaining, so the author probably referred to Baidu when writing this~
Wen Ruoshui softly shook her head and lowered her eyes, engrossed in thinking. Then she gently lifted her head again. When she looked towards Xiaoqi, her eyes were filled with wandering ripples and bits of glistening teardrops; her appearance was completely that of a beautiful, weak, delicate willow that must be supported in the wind. Her vermilion lips slowly parted and the smile on her face was also very carefully and gradually revealed.
Qian Xiaoqi’s expression was completely as if she was looking at someone mental. Her face was scrunched up as she stared dumbly for half the day before she finally got up enough strength to make a retching sound.
Wen Ruoshui’s beauty-like attitude was washed away without a trace by the waves of irritation caused by Qian Xiaoqi’s one retching sound. Wen Ruoshui gave a light humph. “It’s true that you don’t possess those good looks.”
Qian Xiaoqi stuck out her tongue. “You’ve already said that they’re celestials. How could there be beauties like that in the mortal world? Moreover, even if there were, they wouldn’t take a fancy to Official Song ah. Seventh rank!”
Qian Xiaoqi pinched her little finger and shook it. “Seventh rank! Sesame! Have you seen sesame before? It’s a seed that’s even smaller than a mung bean. Seventh rank is a sesame official(also an actual term for a low ranking official) ne!”
Wen Ruoshui pouted. “Power!*”
But what Wen Ruoshui really means is probably ‘Snob!’. The word, 势力(shi4li), has meanings of political influence and power, but one of its meanings is based on the fact that it’s a homophone to another word, 势利(shi4li4), which means snobbish. Or~~ Author or transcriber’s typo?
Qian Xiaoqi carefully wrapped up the shelled melons seeds in her handkerchief before folding it and squeezing it into her sleeve. Wen Ruoshui knitted her brows. “Aren’t there still plenty of melon seed kernels on that plate? Why are you acting as if you’ve never seen this kind of food before?”
“Those are ones cracked by other people, not cracked by myself. Cracking melon seeds is cracking melons seeds. Only when you crack it yourself is it called cracking melons seeds. I don’t know how much spit got on the ones other people cracked and I don’t even know which old man it was that did the cracking.”
Wen Ruoshui looked at the melon seed kernels in the palm of her hand and swallowed with difficulty. She threw the melon seed kernels back onto the plate, embarrassed.
Qian Xiaoqi passed these days quite content. There was one additional person to accompany her in bickering, so with much noise and racket, another day passed just like that.
Dinner was still eaten together by those three people. Lu Liu was sent to the kitchen as before by Qian Xiaoqi to scramble to snatch food to eat.
Qian Xiaoqi looked at that bowl of red braised pork and her brows knitted. “This meat can’t be reheated like this; it’ll get smelly. It’s such hot weather.”
Song Liangzhuo looked at the bowl of red braised pork* and gave a slight cough. “This was freshly made this afternoon. The situation of the fu isn’t so bad as to have to eat leftover food.”
Another possible typo that’s even more confusing because it would give such a drastically different meaning depending on whether it’s a typo or not. Qian Xiaoqi looked at 那碗(wan3, means bowl)紅燒肉(that bowl of red braised pork), but Song Liangzhuo looked at 那晚(wan3, means night)紅燒肉(that red braised pork from last night)?? However, since they’re exact homophones, the phrases are identical, and Song Liangzhuo doesn’t seem to be the type to lie, I think it’s a typo and Song Liangzhuo was simply looking at the bowl of red braised pork that wasn’t a leftover from last night.
“Oh.” Qian Xiaoqi aimed a glance at Song Liangzhuo and warned with good intentions. “I’m just worried that everyone would get diarrhea.”
Wen Ruoshui put down her chopsticks and pouted, unwilling to eat anymore. Qian Xiaoqi was originally going to ask her what was wrong, but afterward, she felt that it should be Official Song who expressed concern so she immersed herself in eating alone.
Song Liangzhuo’s chopsticks moved around in a circle over the side dishes, but upon seeing Wen Ruoshui’s expression that seemed as if she was looking at something dirty, he also lost his appetite. So he just gripped his chopsticks like that as he watched Qian Xiaoqi eat.
Qian Xiaoqi lifted her head to glance at the two of them. She didn’t understand why the two had stopped their chopsticks together with such coordination. Without her noticing, her heart felt a bit gloomy from seeing this. Qian Xiaoqi gave a light humph. “Official Song, I’m going home tomorrow.”
“Oh, I’ll accompany you.”
“No need. Official Song should just keep busy with your own affairs. I’ll go back by myself.”
“I’m not busy.”
Qian Xiaoqi looked at Song Liangzhuo as if she was looking at a ghost. Just as she was about to continue, Song Liangzhuo said, “It just so happens that I have to look for Father-in-Law to talk about a matter.”
Liar! Qian Xiaoqi silently mumbled to herself. He clearly had business himself, yet he wanted to act like a good husband that was accompanying her back. This kind of man was the most unreliable. Who was it that said this? Qian Xiaoqi was a bit at a loss.
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira, Proofread by Ocelot
So, if you’ve read the original translations, you can see that the actual scenario is quite different and Wen Ruoshui starts getting along with Xiaoqi from chapter 4. When I first translated her dialogue (in chapter 9, I think) it seemed weirdly childish to me due to the mean impression of her that I was given when reading Trungtnguyen’s translations, but now with all the connotations and details filled in, I think Ruoshui isn’t that mean and spiteful of a character. After all, at least she didn’t scheme to injure Xiaoqi in some way such as pushing Xiaoqi down the well and she did feel guilty after finding out that Song Liangzhuo hit Xiaoqi due to her scheme. And~ other stuff too but that’d be spoiling for the readers who are at this point.