Chapter 38 – Old ginger is a lot spicier than young ginger(1)
Because there was no need to go to court like this morning, eating lunch felt incomparably long. At least, in Chu Qing-Yan's eyes, it really was endless.
But, Chu Qing-Yan discovered that aristocratic nobility really ate with refined gracefulness. Just look at how Prince Ying ate, unhurriedly, with chopsticks in his right hand never touching the table the whole time and not producing a bit of sound. Unlike her, even just drinking soup, no matter how cautiously she drank it, a slight sound would be released. This made Chu Qing-Yan, who flaunted herself as a wise and virtuous lady, blush with shame.
At the same time, Chu Qing-Yan was a bit perplexed. She heard that this Prince Ying would always be outside battling all year round, protecting the border, how was it that he wasn't tainted by the brutishness and unruliness of the military?
"Is there a flower on this king's face?"
That one sentence abruptly interrupted Chu Qing-Yan's train of thoughts. Recollecting herself, her eyes once again met with Xiao Xu's pair of level, rippleless eyes. As if she was hit on target by an ice arrow, her five viscera and six bowels trembled with chills. Chu Qing-Yan hurriedly put on a smiling expression, "No. It's just that Chu Qing-Yan, seeing His Highness being so wise with god-like military skills, couldn't help but stare foolishly."
Bullshit! Disbelief was written in Xiao Xu's eyes.
Huang Yi, who stood at the side waiting to serve, heard this and restrained herself, not daring to laugh.
If these words were coming from the mouth of a jaded mature miss, then perhaps it was still somewhat trustworthy. A pity that His Highness Prince Ying still had a mask on, this kind of lie was self-evident.
Chu Qing-Yan realized it a step too late and couldn't help but spit out her tongue. She had just blurted it out all of a sudden.
Fortunately, Xiao Xu didn't snarl her on this topic for long, so Chu Qing-Yan thought that he didn't hear the mistake in her words. In fact, she didn't know that Xiao Xu thought that being serious with the little girl really lowered his elegance, thus, he let her get away with it.
After the meal, Chu Qing-Yan, with stifled misery, was ordered by Xiao Xu to come to the desk and grind ink like before.
Before this, there was already a servant dressed in light blue-colored clothing tidying up the desk. Seeing Xiao Xu bringing Chu Qing-Yan inside, she immediately made her salutations. Then, learning that Chu Qing-Yan was going to grind the ink, she immediately stepped forward to prepare the ink stones and ink sticks before withdrawing to the side.
Chu Qing-Yan caught a glimpse of that servant and her heart was slightly amazed. Such a quiet and gentle female covered with a faint scent of books. Maybe that appearance wasn't too outstanding, but just standing there motionless, it was already hard for people to ignore her.
Chu Qing-Yan once again threw a look of envy at Xiao Xu. This really was a whole room full of beauties, and it was all kinds of different types of females.
Xiao Xu ignored the peculiar look in her eyes, lifting his eyes to glance at her, "What are you doing over there, staring off blankly?"
Detecting his dissatisfaction, Chu Qing-Yan immediately ran up to obediently grind ink.
Ignoring her obedient appearance, Xiao Xu grabbed a book to read and carelessly flipped through it.
Chu Qing-Yan helplessly sighed in her heart. When will these kind of days come to an end?!
After this sequence was repeated for three days, Chu Qing-Yan felt that she really couldn't take it anymore. After another day of being woken up in the middle of night to accompany him to eat breakfast, Chu Qing-Yan decided to lay her cards on the table with him.
Consequently, Chu Qing-Yan anxiously waited for him to come back from morning court. It was almost noon when Xiao Xu calmly returned.
For this meal, Xiao Xu noticed that she was especially attentive. For example, when he returned, she praised him to be a jade tree in the wind(2), then she passionately introduced each dish and even urged him to eat a bit more. Although normally, during the meals, she would occasionally say a few words, this didn't seem like her normal obedient self.
When unusual things happened, there was certainly a ghost involved!
However, the corner of Xiao Xu's lips tugged upwards. He was actually looking forward to what she was about to do.
Chu Qing-Yan planned to completely flatter and make him happy first, and then toss out the ideas she decided on. How would she have known that before she could implement it, it was already seen through.
Having thought that she had soothed the other party's feathers to be more agreeable, while grinding ink, Chu Qing-Yan rotated her wrists and opened her mouth to say, "Your Highness, Qing-Yan has a matter she wants to talk to you about."
Xiao Xu seemed to be strongly attached to the book he was reading and responded in a flat tone, "Say it."
Chu Qing-Yan aimed a glance at him, then continued in a self-blaming tone, "Your Highness, Qing-Yan realized that if you are to keep waiting for me to eat breakfast together, it may delay your time to get to morning court. In order to save you time, Qing Yan will not be accompanying you for breakfast from now on. Otherwise, if you were to be late, and His Majesty's dragon face gets angry and blames you, wouldn't it be Qing-Yan's sin?"
While Chu Qing-Yan was saying this, she was also watching nervously for his reaction.
"Oh." This sound dragged on a bit too long, so long that it caused Chu Qing-Yan's heart to shiver, then she heard him unhurriedly say, "This king's horse is a one-in-a-thousand good foal. Journeying a thousand miles in a day is not a problem, let alone such a short distance. But you thinking this way is also considerate, from now on, letting the servants call you up half an incense stick's time earlier would suffice."
¼ of a catty pushed aside a thousand catties (3)
He directly overruled her request.
Chu Qing-Yan's heart immediately felt cold. This was simply being tortured to death ah. To move half an incense time's earlier was equivalent to her having only six hours of sleep per night? Hey, her beauty sleep, ah!
She wanted to retort, but the other party's concentration on flipping the pages of the book plainly indicated that this issue was over.
Chu Qing-Yan clenched her teeth and endured it.
If one plan fails, then come up with a new plan.
The next day.
The servant returned from Chu Qing-Yan's little courtyard panting for breath.
Xiao Xu saw that only Chu Qing-Yan's maid followed behind him and couldn't help but raise an eyebrow.
"Reporting to Your Highness, my, my family's mistress was inattentive and sprained her ankle yesterday on the road back. I'm afraid that she won't be able to see Your Highness today." Xi Ning didn't dare to make eye contact with the eerie silver-masked prince in front of her. She quivered while completing her delivery of what her mistress told her to say last night.
Xi Ning didn't understand why His Highness would call out an imperial bodyguard after telling him about Mistress's situation.
"Carry Chu family's Miss over here." Xiao Xu buttoned his hand's cuffs and said with neither color nor saltiness in his tone.
Gu Rong was slightly surprised but he still immediately responded, "As you ordered."
Xi Ning was so scared that she almost went limp on the spot. She turned to look at His Highness. Although at this moment, he was just standing there indifferently, why was it that her back felt faintly cold?
Chu Qing-Yan, who was caught in the land of dreams, was ruthlessly woken up. When she opened her sleepy and hazy eyes, what entered her vision was a hand carriage, and it was after seeing Gu Rong's smile that wasn't a smile, that she understood the situation. She almost rolled her eyes and lost consciousness.
This Xiao Xu's ghost really lingers on and won't disperse!
But it doesn't matter, she still has more stratagems.
The third day.
The servant only brought Xi Ning back just like before.
Although Xi Ning didn't approve of her mistress's practice, she still cautiously and conscientiously reported the words that her mistress had instructed her realistically, "Your Highness, yesterday, my family's master caught a cold, so she's not feeling well today."
"Not feeling well?" Xiao Xu repeated these three words.
"Yes, she has been having diarrhea since last night." Xi Ning felt that by staying at her mistress's side, her skill of lying through her teeth has simply been improving day by day.
"Oh." Xiao Xu still meaningfully dragged out this simple sound.
Chu Qing-Yan waited for Xi Ning's good news with half-closed eyes. When she saw her returning alone while gasping for air, she couldn't help but feel great joy in her heart. Looks like her plan was successful.
But she saw Xi Ning holding a bag of stuff in her hands and couldn't help but smile and ask, "What's that in your hand?"
Xi Ning gasped for breath, and with lingering fear, she said, "This is what His Highness told this servant to give to you."
Chu Qing-Yan suspiciously received it and softly opened the bag, only to discover that it was filled with green-colored little beans.
1) Old ginger is a lot spicier than young ginger: Meaning older people have more experience so they can scheme or do something better than young people.
2) Jade tree in the wind – This idiom is often used to describe a young man’s talents as well as his physical appearance.
3) ¼ of a catty pushed aside a thousand catties – A saying from the philosophy of Tai Chi fighting style. A small force could win against a large force.