Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
Teng Zijing never would have imagined that the Count’s assignment would be completed so smoothly this time — he had originally thought that, since young master Fan Xian didn’t have a reputation worthy of respect, he would be extremely reluctant to come to the capital and contend with the Count’s second wife, and therefore must be trying his best to stay in Danzhou Harbor — the fact that this young master had agreed to the Count’s request without complaint was beyond expectations.
That morning, he found out that the Countess had decided to stay in Danzhou Harbor. He didn’t mind, however, because all he needed was for that lowly young master to go back to the capital. Since the Countess liked to be by the sea, she could stay there and live out her remaining years. In any event, the Count had not requested that everybody in the Danzhou estate move back to the capital.
At the front gate of the estate, a black carriage was waiting. It was pulled by three horses and there was a blue cushion at the driver’s seat. The contrast between the blue and the black was rather striking. Surrounding the carriage was a huge crowd of Danzhou residents, drawn by the spectacle. After some gossiping, they found out the young master of the Fan household was moving back to the capital that day.
As with all humans, the residents of Danzhou Harbor had their shortcomings - being envious or sharp-tongued. Even so, all of them had developed some sentiments towards the little Fan child. After all, for over ten years, they watched this young master — who certainly did not act like one — stroll down the streets or shout from the rooftops. Now, hearing the news that he was leaving for the flourishing capital, they figured it was unlikely he would return. This caused some sobbing in the crowd.
The crowd waited outside the Count’s estate, waiting for Fan Xian to step out for the last time.
They waited for a long time, but the charming face with its perpetual gentle smile never appeared.
The backyard was a mess. Fan Xian leaned against a column, smiling as he watched the maidservants rushing about. One of them shouted, "Toothbrush, forgot the toothbrush." They ended up spending even more time looking for it.
After coming to this world, Fan Xian hadn’t come up with any major inventions. One of the minor things he came up with was a more comfortable toothbrush which used boar bristles instead of the conventional horsetail ones. He also made a softer pillow, replacing the hard pillows with cotton ones. And finally, he made a showerhead which he hung up behind the bedroom.
There were many others, but from the way things were going, he could only bring a few of them back to the capital.
After quite some time, when the carriage was completely stuffed by the last few bags, Fan Xian finally walked out slowly. He was smiling brightly and supporting the Countess as they walked.
Fan Xian greeted the people around him and wasn’t surprised to see Sisi in the crowd. Her eyes were a little swollen; Fan Xian recalled her crying last night.
Today, as an exception, he wore a changshan. Lifting the front lapel, he knelt and kowtowed to the Countess.
After standing up, Fan Xian, going completely against the customs of this world, hugged the old woman tightly and firmly kissed her wrinkled forehead. He then said lightly, "Grandma, please find a good family for Sisi to marry into; at least a family like Dong’er’s."
All of the estate’s servants acted like they didn’t see the young master causing trouble.
ess was surprised too. She never thought her typically well-behaved grandson would make such a scene. She knocked him on the head and said, "Why are you trying to stir things up? Of course I’ll handle it."
Scanning the familiar faces before him, Fan Xian made a gesture of respect by saluting everyone. Smiling, he said, "Thanks for putting up with me all these years."
The servants dared not accept Fan Xian’s courtesy and hurriedly found something to do.
Suddenly, the Countess smiled. "Go. Don’t make your father wait. As for Sisi… if you eventually feel comfortable living in the capital, I’ll send her over to you."
Fan Xian was startled for a moment. Before he could say something, he was already in the carriage in a confused state. With the sound of the wheels turning, the carriage slowly made its way out of Danzhou Harbor.
It was a bright and clear day. The silky white clouds floated across the blue sky. It was an exceptionally beautiful scene.
The carriage passed by the closed general store and passed far beyond the tofu stand. Lifting the curtain, Fan Xian looked towards the young woman running the tofu stand and her little daughter, who was now old enough to run around. Smiling slightly, he sat back down.
Under his seat was an ancient, black leather box.
In Danzhou Harbor, that struggling general store finally closed down for good. The city residents casually mentioned it, fearing the blind shop owner would end up old and poor, and offered their sympathy. Shortly afterwards, the topic switched back to young master Fan, who had just left the city. They were guessing that the Count had called his illegitimate son to the capital to assign him a position.
Presently, Fan Xian was lying in the spacious carriage. His carriage was in the middle of the traveling caravan. Inside, Fan Xian had laid his blanket down so that its softness could absorb some impact from the bumpy road. Of course, he also wanted to learn the real reason why his father wanted him in the capital, so he invited Teng Zijing, who was leading the guards, inside for a chat.
Teng Zijing sat on the other side of the carriage with a dark expression; he didn’t know where to put his feet, as he feared he would dirty the snow-white blanket. He felt uncomfortable — in his eyes, this young master was just another prodigal son, no better than the other young master in the capital.
Fan Xian comfortably stretched. He squinted at the middle-aged man, who obviously possessed significant strength, and asked, "Mr. Teng, since we’ve already traveled so far from Danzhou Harbor, can you tell me why my father is summoning me to the capital?"
Teng Zijing was somewhat hesitant, as if there were some things he should not say.
Smiling, Fan Xian’s eyes were sparkling clear. He said in a gentle voice, "You know my background. It’s no wonder you’re being cautious."
Teng Zijing squeezed out a smile in return, and respectfully answered, "Try not to look too much into it. The Count wants you to come to the capital in order to prepare you for your future."
Fan Xian waved his hand and shook his head. "There are only the two of us here; no need to beat around the bush." He suddenly laughed. "If you don’t tell me, perhaps I’ll jump out of the carriage and run away."
Teng Zijing laughed. "You’re quite the comedian, my lord."
Before Teng Zijing could finish, Fan Xian stated coldly, "There are times when I don’t like telling jokes."
Teng Zijing’s heart skipped a beat as he wondered if Fan Xian was serious. "If you really didn’t want to go to the capital, everyone would understand. So why didn’t you speak out against it back in Danzhou Harbor, in front of the Countess?" Looking at the handsome youth, Teng Zijing started to realize Fan Xian wasn’t as simple as he had thought.
Of course, Fan Xian wouldn’t actually run away. Even though he figured that nothing good could be waiting for him in the capital, having lived a wealthy and leisurely life these past years, he lost his adventurous spirit a long time ago. A difficult, destitute life would not suit him.
He had come to this world to indulge himself.
At the same time, he wanted to see what the capital was like, which was why he had no intention of refusing when Count Sinan sent people to take him there. But that didn’t mean he wasn’t curious about what was being hidden from him.
After a long period of quiet, Teng Zijing could no longer endure the cold silence within the carriage. "My lord," he began, "in truth, the Count has arranged a marriage for you in the capital."
Fan Xian looked at him for a long while before finally asking, "Marriage?"