Chapter 142 The arena (2)
When Xia Yun Xi arrived, Feng Cang and Murong Qi Qi were already at the famous restaurant of the capital 'White Cloud Restaurant'. Today, because of the arrival of Nan Lin wang1 and princess Zhen Guo, this White Cloud Restaurant was very lively.
Although everyone had seen Feng Cang many times, but no one had ever seen this legendary princess Zhen Guo.
Ever since Murong Qi Qi came to Bei Zhou, she had been hidden by Feng Cang in the wangfu.2 Aside from going to the palace, meeting some royals and nobles, the citizens of this capital didn't have any opportunities to see Murong Qi Qi. Moreover, the appearance of Murong Qi Qi, after she took down the Water Moon Mirror, had been rumored to be extremely brilliant. Their hearts had long itched to see the now number one beauty of the world.
Now, Nan Lin wang had brought princess Zhen Guo along and appeared at White Cloud Restaurant. This was simply explosive news. Not a while later, this news got out. Many people came after hearing the news, making White Cloud Restaurant become very crowded and packed. All had come to see the elegant bearing of this number one beauty of the capital.
"Tsk, tsk, cousin-in-law, today White Cloud Restaurant certainly earned a lot. You say, should we let the boss treat our meals?" Wanyan Kang leaned on the window of the second floor. The room they were in faced the arena of the restaurant below.
"A prince being so stingy!" Wanyan Kang's words let Su Mei berate him lightly. "Our miss isn't as stingy as you!"
"This is not stingy, alright! Living at home is all about meticulous planning and careful accounting!"
Looking at Wanyan Kang and Su Mei bicker, Murong Qi Qi was in a very good mood. She nestled in Feng Cang's arms, "Cang, tell me, don't they look like a quarrelsome but loving couple?"
"Very much like!" Feng Cang nodded and fed Murong Qi Qi the dim sum in his hand.
"Ah Kang, do you like our Su Mei? If you like her, then come ask for her hand. I'll betroth Su Mei to you!" Murong Qi Qi ate the dim sum in small bites, but her eyes swept over Su Mei and Wanyan Kang. The more she looked, the more she felt that their features had the similarity of an old couple. They're really a pair of living treasures.
"Cousin-in-law, do you mean it? What do I need to ask for her hand? I'll go prepare!"
"Miss, I don't want to marry this skirt-chaser! I want to accompany miss!"
The two opened their mouths at the same time, but the words they said were in contrast of each other. After Murong Qi Qi heard that, she pretended to frown, "Ay, what to do? I was thinking to marry Su Mei off sooner, but Su Mei isn't willing. Then forget about it! It seemed that ah Kang didn't put his efforts in the right place, ah! After so long, he still didn't get the beauty's heart!"
Murong Qi Qi's teasing made Wanyan Kang anxious. He immediately grabbed Su Mei's hand, "Little Mei er,3 where do I look like a skirt-chaser? In my wangfu, there isn't even one woman! If you don't believe me, you can go search!"
"Search, your head!" Wanyan Kang's words were so straightforward, making Su Mei blush. She took her hand out of his. A chestnut knocked on Wanyan Kang's head. "Anyway, I won't marry. I would like to accompany miss more!"
Su Mei and Wanyan Kang's relationship was so good, making Su Yue a bit envious. Su Mei's major turning point of lifelong import was already determined, then what about herself? Thinking till here, in front of Su Yue's eyes appeared Nalan Xin's shadow. Ever since she got to know that Nalan Xin had followed her, Su Yue didn't show Nalan Xin any good expressions. However, that man seemed to have a strong spirit. The more defeated he was, the more courageous he became. Every time he would come to her full of smiles, but was always left coldly by her at a side. Even then, Nalan Xin still didn't get angry.Major turning point of lifelong import: usually referring to marriage, since it's the biggest event in life
It was just, soon afterwards, she remembered the real reason why Nalan Xin had approached her, which was to investigate Guanghua gongzi.4 He had just been using her. This let Su Yue's heart get a knot, which she was unable to untie.
The group of people were still talking when Ruyi came in, "Wangye, Dong Lu's princess came. She wants to see you!"
"She came so quickly!" After hearing Ruyi, Murong Qi Qi's mouth, which had originally showed her good mood, immediately pouted, "She came a lot faster than I expected!"
"Decline her, say I don't have time…," Feng Cang's expression didn't change. He faintly declined Xia Yun Xi.
He didn't even want the slightest inappropriateness to provoke Murong Qi Qi into having other ideas. Now, in his heart, the most important person was Murong Qi Qi. Others, what did it matter if they were a princess or what, in his eyes, they were just fleeting clouds!
"Yes!" Although Ruyi knew this result, but he still had to come and settle it. When Ruyi went out and declined Xia Yun Xi, saying that wangye didn't have time, a thin layer of mist appeared in Xia Yun Xi's eyes.
"Why doesn't wangye want to see me?"
This question of Xia Yun Xi was a bit awkward for Ruyi. Could it be to tell her, I'm sorry, please return?! Our wangye wouldn't be interested in anyone other than wangfei.5 You should give up on this!
If it was Ji Xiang, she would've absolutely said this. However, Ruyi couldn't say such words. Besides, tears were already rolling in this princess' eyes in front of him, making it appear like he had bullied her. This made Ruyi somewhat not know what to do. So, he simply didn't speak.
Xia Yun Xi didn't make things difficult because of Ruyi's silence. Ruyi was only someone who ran errands. He only conveyed Feng Cang's meaning. However, Xia Yun Xi didn't want to give up like this. She travelled all the way from Dong Lu for Feng Cang. If she gave up just because the other party had rejected her twice, then this love was not very firm.
Now, getting Feng Cang's attention was what Xia Yun Xi wanted to do the most. As she thought about it, Xia Yun Xi saw White Cloud Restaurant's arena on the first floor. On the banner above it was written 'arena'.
"Arena?" Xia Yun Xi was somewhat surprised. She immediately let Hong Ye go inquire what it was used for.
A short while later, Hong Ye returned to Xia Yun Xi's side.
"Miss, although White Cloud Restaurant is a restaurant, but the most famous thing here is the arena on the first floor. No matter what kind of identity, what kind of status, what kind of wealth, everyone could perform at the arena in White Cloud Restaurant. Poetic songs or the four arts (zither, Go, calligraphy, painting); anything can be done!"
"When challenging a party, you can name the challenger. However, before that, you have to show your talent and get the public recognition. Only then, can you pick the opponent. The challenged party, unless he/she admits defeat on the spot, otherwise he/she can't refuse. As for the judges, they're White Cloud Restaurant's guests. Whoever gets the most applause and shouts is the victorious party!"
In a few words, Hong Ye listed all the characteristics of White Cloud Restaurant's arena.
Battle on the arena? Challenge? This was a very novel thing. Seeing this arena, Xia Yun Xi suddenly felt that this was an opportunity. She needed to attract Feng Cang's attention and also tell the whole Yan capital that Feng Cang was the man she had set her eyes on. He would be her, Xia Yun Xi's prince consort!
Xia Yun Xi whispered a few words in Hong Ye's ears. Hong Ye opened her eyes widely. She looked shocked at Xia Yun Xi, "Princess, do you really want to perform at the arena? You're a daughter of the noblest family, ah!"In ancient times, daughters of prominent families don't perform for outsiders. That is the work of prostitutes and dancers.
"Hong Ye, he refused to see me. If I don't do this, how could I attract his attention?! He forced me to this! I have to challenge princess Zhen Guo. He's Feng Qi Qi's big brother. Naturally, he would pay attention to the arena and would also pay attention to me. Like that, I would have the opportunity to see him!"
Her princess's obsession with Feng Cang made Hong Ye very helpless. Since she was at Xia Yun Xi's side, the thing she heard most every day was the name 'Feng Cang'. Xia Yun Xi simply was completely obsessed with Feng Cang!
Xia Yun Xi was set on this idea. She wouldn't listen to anyone's dissuasion. She stood upright on the arena and hit the drum. With the sound of the drum, the guests of White Cloud Restaurant knew that someone wanted to perform on the arena again. When everyone saw the beautiful girl, they were a bit surprised. It's actually a woman who wanted to perform on the arena? This was a new thing, ah!
"Who is that woman? She's so beautiful!" The one who wanted to perform was a woman. Besides, it was a beautiful woman. This was big news. Immediately, everyone's eyes concentrated on Xia Yun Xi.
Seeing the eyes of the audience downstairs, Xia Yun Xi knew that she had won this bet. In these times, were would there be women who showed their faces in public? Today, she threw everything out and stood here. Everything was for Feng Cang! She wouldn't give up easily!
Had to say, what Xia Yun Xi wore today was very likeable. A plain white dress, plus those blue stars in her hair coupled with that demure and charming small face, which made everyone couldn't help but fall in love with upon seeing her. All of these people couldn't help but want to take her in their arms and protect her.
"Your Majesty, the woman on the arena is Dong Lu's princess…Xia Yun Xi. It’s said that she chased after Feng Cang to this place…"
At a side, Fu Er stood by Ming Yue Cheng's side and carefully served him. After Ming Yue Cheng returned to the country, he rewarded the very loyal Fu Er heavily. Now, Fu Er had been serving Ming Yue Cheng left and right.
Within the first moments of Feng Cang's return, Ming Yue Cheng got this news. Knowing that he (FC) had brought Murong Qi Qi over, Ming Yue Cheng also arrived at White Cloud Restaurant. It was just, he had come late and didn't see Murong Qi Qi. Outside of Feng Cang's room, there were people guarding the door. Ming Yue Cheng found a place to sit down and drink.
"Xia Yun Xi? Haha…" Ming Yue Cheng drank wine. His mouth revealed a perfect smile. "Just don't know who’s the person she picked!"
Ming Yue Cheng was at White Cloud Restaurant. Very coincidentally, Wanyan Yi was also there. Since Feng Cang and Murong Qi Qi had returned to the capital, he let people watch every movement of Nan Lin wangfu.
Feng Cang had accompanied Murong Qi Qi to White Cloud Restaurant. After he got this news, he’d immediately rushed there. However, he stayed at another room. He would like to see what kind of trick Feng Cang was playing. This time, he came and actually saw Dong Lu's princess Yun, Xia Yun Xi.
Don't know why, but after seeing Xia Yun Xi for the first time, Wanyan Yi's heart suddenly jumped 'bang, bang' quickly. Although, having seen many beauties including Murong Qi Qi, such a peerless woman, but only when seeing Xia Yun Xi would his heartbeat accelerate. His face also got red.
This woman was weak as the orchids in the wind. Clean, delicate, lovely and very moving. Dressed in a white dress, she was pure like snowflakes. Yun Xi, Yun Xi. She was really holy like a cloud. Looking at her, she would make people cherish her.云惜 (yúnxī): yun = cloud, xi=cherish
Although Murong Qi Qi was more beautiful than Xia Yun Xi, but Wanyan Yi had always felt that in Murong Qi Qi's clear eyes hid things called arrogance and obstinate. He didn't like that. A woman need to act like a woman. Being like Xia Yun Xi was very good!
All Xia Yun Xi thought of and wanted was Feng Cang. She wanted to attract Feng Cang's attention, but she didn't think that the one she would attract was Wanyan Yi.
"This little girl is just a newcomer, asking everyone to look after me!" Xia Yun Xi's voice was very soft. It was soft as wind and a bit warm. When it blew, it made people's heart itch. She bowed slightly and earned points for her impression.
"Today, this little girl wants to challenge one person. But according to the rules of White Cloud Restaurant, before challenging, one must show their talents first. This little girl doesn't have many abilities. This little girl barely learned the zither for a few years. Please, forgive this little girl and don't laugh at this little girl!"
Xia Yun Xi repeatedly said 'little girl', coupled with her feminine image, she soon got many people's favorable impression. Many people applauded to support her. There were also people who whistled. The whole scene suddenly livened up.
Presumably, he must have seen her! Xia Yun Xi raised her head and looked towards the upper rooms. Feng Cang must be there. He should be able to see her.
When the boss let people bring a zither up, Xia Yun Xi gently bowed to the crowd. Then, she sat in front of the zither. Her gestures and posture added more to the curiosity of the identity of this beauty.
Xia Yun Xi's slender and jade like fingers moved over the strings. A song
"Tsk, tsk…" Upstairs, Murong Qi Qi's body was surrounded by a thin layer of jealousy. She didn't expect that Xia Yun Xi would pursue Feng Cang to this point. Longing for the youth's return? Was the person she longed for Feng Cang?
"Cang, what to do? She's already like this! Ay…," Murong Qi Qi gave a long sigh. "Putting down the identity of a country's princess and actually do to this step is not easy, ah!"
"Those who’d imagined that their love was reciprocated don't deserve pity." Feng Cang frowned slightly. His gaze swept once over Xia Yun Xi. Then he retrieved it. This woman, it seems that putting on artificial airs had already permeated deep into her bones. She was completely not as natural as his Qing Qing. The hidden resentment in this song was no different to a resenting wife.
"Longing for the youth's return?" Downstairs, after Ming Yue Cheng heard this song, he almost choked on the wine in his mouth. He had long heard that Dong Lu's citizens were very open-minded. He didn't expect that the still not married princess would be able to pursue a man to this point. Really, not easy.
It was just, when seeing Xia Yun Xi's pair of eyes that was full of affection and grief, Ming Yue Cheng couldn't help but sneer.
At this moment, his mind thought about that proud woman playing the zither on the boat. Then, that one glance let that woman become imprinted in his heart. Under the sky, presumably there wouldn't be a woman who could compare to Murong Qi Qi's lofty passion!
Although Ming Yue Cheng couldn't take a fancy to Xia Yun Xi, but that didn't mean she didn't have a market. For example, Wanyan Yi, at this time, had been charmed by Xia Yun Xi that he hovered between life and death. If it wasn't because he was in a public place, he would certainly have gone forward, taken Xia Yun Xi in his arms and smoothed away the melancholy between her eyebrows. How could such a girl not let people cherish and love her?!
In Wanyan Yi's eyes, Feng Cang was absolutely not worthy of Xia Yun Xi. Putting aside her identity of princess and the Dong Lu behind her, just her as a person would let people's hearts ache for her and love her!
Xia Yun Xi put all the longing she had for the past ten years into the sound of the zither and conveyed it.
She believed that in this world, there wouldn't be anyone who loved Feng Cang more than her and would be concerned about Feng Cang's every move more than her. Although, the nine marriages of Feng Cang ended in failures and there were so many rumors about Feng Cang, but she wasn't afraid! She believed that Feng Cang wasn't the demon from the rumors. She also believed that only she was the most suitable for Feng Cang.
"This woman is really nauseating!" Wanyan Kang touched the layer of goose bumps on his body. Indeed, when playing the zither, it was necessary to be full of affection. However, the zither sound of this woman was too arousing of the sympathy and too grieving, making the whole body of the people who listened to it uncomfortable. It was like the whole world owed her.
"Ha…," After Murong Qi Qi heard Wanyan Kang's sentence, she laughed once. Don't know when a petal appeared in hands.
Not waiting for Wanyan Kang to understand, the petal in Murong Qi Qi's hand already rapidly flew towards Xia Yun Xi. Just when Wanyan Kang thought that Murong Qi Qi would destroy the zither and let Xia Yun Xi unbale to continue playing, the petal fell on the string.
"Woong…," sounded. The string didn't break, but the sound was destroyed. The originally gentle sound, because of this grim sound, it changed taste. It was like a lovable woman with a duck like voice, blotting the landscape.
"Cousin in law, awesome!" Just a petal, she was able to control to such a point. It was really rare in this world.
Wanyan Kang couldn't help but open his eyes. The way he looked at Murong Qi Qi became different again. That strength, if it was one point more, the string would be broken; if it was one point less, the petal would float down and wouldn't made a sound. How long did one need to train to achieve such a state, ah?!
That Murong Qi Qi couldn't stay calm made Feng Cang very happy. The jealousy of this little woman was really powerful, but he liked it.
"I don't like listening to a resenting wife's song. It would affect the mood!"
Murong Qi Qi explained like that. Originally, she thought that Xia Yun Xi would give up playing because of the broken sound, she didn't expect that she (XYX) was a cockroach that was unable to be beaten to death. It was like she wasn't affected and continue to adhere, making Murong Qi Qi couldn't help but 'have a whole new level of respect' for this Dong Lu's princess.
It seemed that this woman was different from the previous butterflies. She was somewhat difficult to deal with!
Although the petal breaking the sound really made Xia Yun Xi become dazed, but it didn't affect her determination. Instead, it let her be very happy.
From where the petal had come from, it should have been Feng Cang's room. Who was the one who shot it? Could it be Feng Cang? Then, did this mean that he had heard her zither? Did this mean that she was one step closer to him?
If Murong Qi Qi knew that her shot would enhance Xia Yun Xi's fighting spirit, she would regret being impulsive because of jealousy.
After the ending of the song, Xia Yun Xi won a thunderous applause. There were three reasons why people applauded for her. One, because her own image made the men, who had come to drink tea, raise the desire to protect her. Two, because her zither sound was completely mournful and very moving. Three, the insistence she showed when facing a problem. The insistence she showed made people feel more tenderness for this beautiful girl.
"Thank you! So, did I pass?"
Xia Yun Xi's question just fell, when someone shouted, "Passed! Who does miss want to challenge?"
This question came very timely. Xia Yun Xi was just waiting for someone to ask.
"The person this little girl wants to challenge is princess Zhen Guo…Feng Qi Qi!"
Upstairs, after Murong Qi Qi heard Xia Yun Xi's voice, she laughed. How come every rival she’d encountered would pick on her so directly? Why didn't they look for Feng Cang, this involved party?
Wang/wangye: prince of first rank ↩ Wangfu: residence of the prince of first rank ↩ Er: term of endearment ↩ Gongzi: young master ↩ Wangfei: main wife/consort of the prince of first rank ↩