Book 1: Winds Begin to Blow in Tai Yuan
Chapter 25 – Many Thanks for Waiting On Me
The whole restaurant’s crowd all turned their heads, then let out “wow” sounds.
Ya Lanzhu’s large eyes turned towards that direction, and then dangerously narrowed.
Yao Xun gaped in shock, for a time not able to react. Because his mouth was open for too long, a dribble of saliva dripped down with a splat. Yao Xun quickly shut his mouth, looked around to make sure no one was paying attention to him, then hurriedly embarrassedly wiped his mouth. Executing a “self-preservation” action, he shrunk back and slipped away.
Yet Zhan Bei Ye, from beginning to end, never looked back.
He was randomly pointing anyways – back then when rushing into the restaurant he happened to catch a brief glimpse of faint red clothing above him, definitely a woman. As long as it was a woman he was set, it didn’t matter who she was.
As for whether that unlucky woman whom he appointed, would meet with some kind of trouble, he didn’t care at all.
Meng Fuyao froze in the middle of the stairway, hand grasping the stair railings, smiling awkwardly.
The feeling of being pierced by so many fixed stares with unknown meanings, was as expected, not very comfortable.
Zhan Bei Ye, you bastard, what are you doing randomly pointing in open daylight.
Ya Lanzhu’s eye daggers flew out, sizing Meng Fuyao up like she was scraping flesh from bone. Today Fuyao didn’t wear any of that unflattering makeup, only smearing some ginger juice to give herself faint yellow facial color, but her features were still outstanding. After looking for a while Ya Lanzhu curled her lips saying, “You’re kidding me right, this is clearly a jaundiced sick person.”
Zhan Bei Ye crossed his arms and leaned against the wall, replying, “And so what? As long as I like her.”
“I’ll kill her!”
“Kill her, and you’ll still be number two, second wife.”
Ya Lanzhu hopped up, and with a twist of her slender waist and a brandishing of her arm, she instantly pulled out from her back a small waist knife, embedded with multicolored shells. “Huo huo huo” she swiftly danced out a sword flurry, the snow bright knife tip reflecting the sunlight, dangerously glittering.
Pointing the knife towards Zhan Bei Ye, she yelled, “Go! Kill your first! Shift the position to me!”
“Hey, who are you calling his first?”
The clear voice of a woman suddenly traveled over. With a “shua” sound the people present turned their eyes to the middle of staircase again, seeing Meng Fuyao leaning over on the railings, her expression normal, currently overlooking those two below.
“En?” Only now did Zhan Bei Ye finally turned around, sweeping Meng Fuyao with an eye. However this look was only a brief passing, without any interest.
“You’re lying?” Ya Lanzhu stared at Meng Fuyao intently, her eyes shining.
Fuyao crisply snapped her fingers, looking back at the Ya Lanzhu full of murderous intent. “Nope.”
This time, Zhan Bei Ye closely studied her with an eye.
Ya Lanzhu opened her mouth, “Ah?”
“I think he pretends I am his first,” Meng Fuyao sighed, “but that is only his one-sided affection. This lady has long had someone else in my heart, how could I like this boorish fellow?”
Zhan Bei Ye’s face darkened like the bottom of a pan. Ya Lanzhu’s eyes showed great surprise.
“Some things just can’t be forced.” Fuyao clapped her hands. “This nobleman, although your looks are just passable, your attitude doesn’t fit my taste. Girls should be protected and valued. With this type of public declaration of your love for me, in front of all these people, tell me how am I supposed to marry someone later?”
Without looking at the almost fuming Zhan Bei Ye, she sincerely went to encourage Ya Lanzhu. “Zhu zhu, my hometown has a phrase, strong men fear clingy woman. Don’t care about what he says, only care about what you do yourself. Go, the revolution has not yet succeeded, comrades still have to work diligently!”
With an affirmative “heave-ho!” sound, Ya Lanzhu obediently rushed forwards.
With a choking sound, Zhan Bei Ye pulled out his knife.
With a clamoring sound, the crowd of people all excitedly hid behind the tables.
With a relieved “whew” sound, Meng Fuyao took advantage of the chaos to vanish up the stairs ——-
“Go, pack up the bags, we’re going.” The moment Meng Fuyao walked in the doors she ordered Yao Xun. “Quickly.”
“Miss Meng didn’t you resolve that situation already?” Yao Xun was stunned.
“Who knows what might happen later. While Zhan Bei Ye and that girl are entangled we should quickly leave.” Fuyao agilely packed her stuff, while Yao Xun shook his head and said, “This time you have offended that Zhan Bei Ye. I truly don’t know what you were thinking.”
Meng Fuyao paused, strangely looking at him. “Don’t you know that woman are harder to shake off than men? As for men, their tolerance is always going to be relatively larger. In that situation just now, even if I infuriated Zhan Bei Ye to death, I still couldn’t let that girl target me, or else I’d never have peaceful days again.”
With a couple stuffing movements she had already put her cloth bag on her shoulder, and after pushing open the window she jumped down.
Jumping into a hard, solid embrace.
Hissing, Meng Fuyao rubbed her head saying, “Whose muscles are built so tough, they’re almost like steel.” At the same time she lifted her head while ingratiatingly smiling at the owner of the muscles, “Sorry to bother you, can I pass through?”
Above her at a very high angle, the man with flying black hair used his pupils that were even darker than his hair to overlook her from above, his lips narrowed like a thin blade.
Meng Fuyao’s heart thumped. Helplessly she thought, in this world there was a type of person who, no matter what, always tried to be one step ahead of everyone. Who knew that if it came time to die, would they still try to be ahead of everyone else?
Zhan Bei Ye’s pitch black eyes stared at her unmovingly. Suddenly, he removed a small water container from his waist, and dumped it on Fuyao’s face with “hua la la” sounds.
“Hey hey what are you doing? Eeck …” Caught by surprise, Meng Fuyao had water poured all over her head and face. Immediately furious, she stretched a palm to slap away Zhan Bei Ye’s hand. With a closing of Zhan Bei Ye’s two fingers, they clamped around her wrist like iron pliers, and following that he extended his palm to haphazardly rub her face without the slightest bit of tenderness.
Meng Fuyao angrily shouted, “Hey, are your hands clean? Hey, don’t touch my mouth, hey …”
Zhan Bei Ye stopped his hand all of a sudden.
In front of his eyes was a sixteen or seventeen year old girl. The clear water had washed away that layer of yellow ginger makeup, and a bright and smooth white like mutton jade gradually blossomed out. On the white was a faint sheen of pink, as if dawn light was shining on snow. Her eyes were pure and clear like the moon shining on a cold river, while her two slender yet handsome eyebrows flew and soared upwards, like a fluttering ribbon in the palm of the Nine Heavens Fairy.
In that instant of eyes meeting, on her cheeks rose up the bright redness of anger, but the radiance of her eyes became even brighter, resplendent like the starry sky. It burned so brightly that even Zhan Bei Ye was startled, only feeling that this girl’s gaze contained a dignified majesty within it. Subconsciously, he loosened his hand.
After loosening he instantly realized his error, and stretched his long hand out to try to grab her again. That grab clutched on her waist. When his hand contacted, he only felt that this soft waist had the power and flexibility of a woman who trained in martial arts. Yet it was also so thin that it stunned him, making one, even when their hand had clearly touched her, can’t help but feel shock in their heart.
With this action his thoughts became a little uncollected, and as a result, he felt a slipperiness underneath his hand. Something trembled, and instantly twisted upwards with a sound.
Zhan Bei Ye had went through many battles, and his reactions were naturally first-rate. Instinctively he cut out with his palm.
This slice landed on softness, while in mid-air a dark, long shadow swayed. The slim dai colored figure swung out using the long whip that stretched out from her waist, and with a back flip she leaped onto the other corner of the building. Dangerously standing on top of the eave corner’s dragon beast, she turned her eyes back to smile at him.
Within the smile was held a bright moon, a clear breeze.
Then she shot away like lightning, not giving him a second glance, while at the same time waving her hand very casually.
“Many thanks to your Excellency to waiting on this lady and helping her wash her face. To collect your reward money please ask that person behind you.”
Zhan Bei Ye started and unthinkingly turned back his head, only seeing the back of Yao Xun, who vanished in a flash from the window on the other building.
Luring the tiger from its mountain?
Zhan Bei Ye didn’t fall for her trick, immediately turning back to look for Meng Fuyao. Unfortunately, she had already leapt far away. Carrying her small wrap bag, she rose and fell as if dancing on duckweed and treading on water, disappearing like a shooting star amidst the ocean of roofs and eaves.
The lonely winds blew. The man with fluttering black robes didn’t move for a long time. The rooftops tonight didn’t have any of the moon’s glow, making it difficult for one to notice that shadowy existence. He gradually melded into the darkness, then had his figure outlined by the white light of dawn breaking.
The first drop of early morning dew fell on the tip of his brow. Lightly lifting his hand to brush it, he inspected it in his palm as if he had never seen something like it before. That tiny dew drop rolled in the middle of his hand, clear and bright like the eyes of the girl last night.
The daybreak shot out, and red clouds spread for ten thousand zhang. Under a sky full of glorious color, the man tilted back his head, and suddenly laughed ———
Carrying her cloth bag Meng Fuyao ran out three li, finally meeting with Yao Xun at a rundown temple in the south side of the city. When Fuyao asked about Ya Lanzhu’s background, Yao Xun bitterly smiled. “You should know that our Lifting Wind Nation does not have a ruling emperor. Controlling Lifting Wind are the three great tribes, of which the Fa Qiang tribe’s power is the greatest. The center of Lifting Wind, the Great Wind City, is the seat of the Fa Qiang. Ya Lanzhu is the Fa Qiang tribe leader’s daughter, and her status in Lifting Wind is probably comparable to an Imperial Princess of Tai Yuan.”
“No wonder you feared her like she was a tiger.” Fuyao rocked back and forth while sitting cross-legged, biting a strand of grass in her mouth while teasing Yao Xun. “Big gang boss, your courage sure is small, you’re even afraid of this little girl.”
“I’m not afraid of her.” Yao Xun flushed and angrily said, “I’m just not willing to be controlled by sorcery. Of the three great tribes of Lifting Wind the Fa Qiang are the best at witchcraft, and I’ve heard that even if a strand of hair landed in those women’s hands, it would be controlled by them. Especially those Fa Qiang witches of blood descent, their positions are even higher than the tribe leader. Furthermore, just a twitch of their eyes can sentence someone to death – the scary thing isn’t the death, rumors say they have even more eccentric and twisted methods! Tell me, we’re perfectly fine as we are, why should we go offend these types of people?”
“Oh.” Meng Fuyao smiled, yet she rolled her eyes. Yao Xun knitted his brows watching her. “Hey, it can’t be that even after I’ve explained so clearly, you are still thinking of some devious plot?”
Fuyao bit on her grass without replying, then suddenly said, “Hey, how did that Ya Lanzhu get entangled with Zhan Bei Ye? These two are very distant and unrelated.”
“How should I know?” Yao Xun scratched his head and wondered, “I did seem to hear something about Ya Lanzhu being betrothed to Nemesis Dynasty’s Sixth Prince Zhan Bei Heng, how did she match up with this Fifth Prince Zhan Bei Ye whose grandmother wouldn’t kiss and uncle wouldn’t love? Truly strange …”
“Grandmother wouldn’t kiss and uncle wouldn’t love?” Meng Fuyao tilted her head. “What, Zhan Bei Ye isn’t favored?”
“Not just merely unfavored,” Yao Xun twitched his mouth, “his status can’t even be compared to a regular prince’s. Back then when the two behind him, Sixth and Seventh Prince, were granted the title of Prince, he still hadn’t been granted it yet. It was his maternal grandfather, Grandmaster Old Zhou of the previous dynasty, who had to weep and prostrate himself in front of the Jade Stairs to petition three times, before Bei Ye was grudgingly given the title of Prince. His bestowed territory was actually in the Geya Desert of Nemesis and bordering the Moluo tribe of the western regions. The whole land wasn’t larger than four hundred li, with desolate mountains and bad water, as well as being occasionally raided. Zhan Bei Ye has some ability, though, and within three years he had constructed military outposts at the border passes, set up a Black Wind troop in the desert to control trade and travel, and expanded the limits of his fief by 1500 li. Ever since then, those Moluo troops no longer had ways to invade the territory’s cities. He also reclaimed wasteland and recruited commoners to cultivate the land – in the past every hu of millet and wheat from the Geya regions was worth several thousand coins, but later a bolt of fine silk could be exchanged for tens of hu of grain, stockpiling military food reserves that could last for many decades. After he governed Geya to prosperity, his older brother then became unsettled and abruptly transferred him back to the imperial capital, putting him under his watch. A dignified Prince was actually made to oversee a passage command division, every day sitting in the hall watching people check command tokens, tut tut …”
“I asked you one sentence and then you said so much.” Meng Fuyao frowned. “Was it your paternal or maternal uncle, who liked to waste saliva this much.”
“Isn’t what I’m doing just feeling pity for that heroic character? Everyone in Nemesis knows Zhan Bei Ye is both a literary and martial genius, better than that Emperor big brother of his, that only knows how to play politics, by who knows how many times. Unfortunately the identity of Bei Ye’s mother was special, a disgraced Empress from the previous Emperor’s reign, who once was even part of an assassination attempt on the old Emperor. Both mother and son are out of favor, and this will hang over Zhan Bei Ye for the rest of his life, ai … the intrigues of the royal family are difficult to explain in just a few words …”
Meng Fuyao’s two arms hugged her knees, while she lightly said, “Royal families have always been the dirtiest places in the world. If you want to continue to live, you either have to become dirty yourself, or use blood to wash away the dirtiness. There is no other way.”
She casually spoke, yet had no idea that behind a tree outside the temple, a human figure suddenly trembled a little.
“Your words are true, and even made me think of a certain phrase.” Yao Xun’s eyes lit up and his interest peaked, while he chanted, “‘A flood dragon trapped by limits, will only be for a time. Once there is a chance, it inevitably will soar up …'”
He had not yet finished his recital, before Meng Fuyao was already dazed and sleepy.
Yao Xun furiously slapped the table with “pa pa” sounds. “Hey, wake up you, do these words not boil your blood hot when you hear them? Do your arteries and meridians not explosively open? Does your enthusiasm not surge up? These are the words that Crown Prince Wuji once said, Crown Prince Wuji …”
“So noisy …” Fuyao waved her hand. “What does Crown Prince Wuji have to do with me? Can I eat him? Can I use him? Can he be a blanket for me?”
“This woman, so unappreciative of elegance.” Yao Xun’s face held contempt as he looked at her. “Zhangsun Wuji’s name can move the whole world, normal girls all squeal when they hear his name, I’ve never seen someone like you who can even sleep!”
Meng Fuyao lazily cracked open her eyes, scoffed, and pointed at her nose.
“Compared with those normal woman who can only squeal, I would rather be a perverse woman who can also kill people”
Closing her eyes, she slothfully flipped over, as if getting ready to sleep. Suddenly, however, she used her hand to slap the table, and her entire body shot out of the temple like an arrow. In mid-air, the long whip at her waist had already swung out in a black colored arc, and with a sharp wind sound it immediately circled towards the back of the tree.
At the same time, Yao Xun’s skinny and narrow body also immediately swayed, and in a blink he vanished from his original position. In the next moment he had already slipped thirty zhang away.
Still in the air, Fuyao turned her head in shock, thinking that this person’s cowardice was truly shameless. Not only was he just as good as her in pretending, he was even so dishonorable as to immediately run when seeing the enemy.
In this second of inattention, the accuracy of her attack became slightly off. The person behind the tree gave a cold snort, and with a casual stomp, Meng Fuyao’s long whip was instantly pinned down under his feet.
Lowering her head to see that pair of black boots with fire-colored trim, Fuyao grinned a little. With a sudden loosening of her hand she turned and desperately sprinted away, not even wanting her whip anymore.
Before she was even able to run out a couple steps, her back collar was mercilessly pulled tight. Fuyao’s movements didn’t catch up yet, so she ran a couple steps in place, making that person above her head laugh with a “ha ha” sound. Then in a rough motion he forced her to kneel down on the ground.
Meng Fuyao bitterly shouted at him. “What are you doing always following me, idiot? Begging for food?”
“Your words sure aren’t pleasant.” Zhan Bei Ye frowned while looking at her. “With such crudeness, how will you be my female date for attending the palace feast?”
“You’re the one whose crude!” Meng Fuyao hardened her heart to act unreasonably bratty. She remembered that the moment Zhan Bei Ye saw the rude and forceful Ya Lanzhu he ran, and most likely he didn’t like girls with tough attitudes. Thus she might as well increase her rudeness to the next level. “You’re whole family is crude!”
“Your words are right,” Zhan Bei Ye laughed. This person’s laugh wasn’t like Yuan Zhaoxu’s natural elegance, but instead was dazzling like sunlight directly shining on her face. “Besides myself, my whole family truly is crude.”
The tip of his foot kicked up that long whip from the ground, and with a couple pulls he tied up Meng Fuyao. Lifting her up in one hand, he even weighed her while doing so.
“Not too bad, not heavy.”
“Hey what are you doing!” Carried in his hand, she swung this way and that while eating a mouthful of dirt.
“Going to attend the birthday feast of the Tai Yuan Emperor of course, at the same time pursuing you.” Zhan Bei Ye exhaled a breath of air. “Ever since this prince was born, I have never been refused, and have never been defeated. Naturally I can’t let you be the first one.”
With a flip of his hand, the Meng Fuyao who was wrapped up like a Zongzi was easily flipped in front, her body inverted with her large eyes opposite his.
Whereupon the jittery, dazed Meng Fuyao with her head under her heels in what she considered the strangest position of her life, heard what she considered the strangest confession of her life.
“Listen, woman.” Zhan Bei Ye’s teeth shone so bright that Meng Fuyao couldn’t help but shut her eyes.
“I am going to conquer you.”Footnotes It is common to refer to someone endearingly by calling them by a shortened nickname made from repeating a character from their names, such as Zhu zhu. Famous quote by Sun Yat-sen, a Chinese Nationalist revolutionary considered to be “father of modern China”. Chinese proverb which means enticing one’s opponent to leave their vantage ground Saying that means unloved by their family Previous dynasty refers to the reign of the previous Emperor, most likely the current emperor’s father. Here the title “Prince” and the names “Third Prince” or “Seventh Prince” are different, the former is a noble title that needs to be granted by the Emperor, the latter ones are names that are given to the sons of the Emperor. Sons of the Emperor are not necessarily granted these noble titles, but generally will be. hu, “斛”, a measurement of dry grains Asking if his loquaciousness runs in the family Zongzi, “粽子”, called rice dumplings in English. They taste really good in my experience. Link: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zongzi