So the rapist was first mentioned in the previous chapter. I’d just like to add that although it makes more sense for the words Yīn mó / 阴魔 to mean a woman’s worst demon (or nightmare)…the literal translation would be the female demon (as in a demon who feeds on females) but I’m afraid people would get mixed up thinking he’s a female so I’ll be sticking to the less formal and probably less appropriate way of calling him the rapist. Just bear in mind, these characters in the novel are rather dignified people, they don’t just outright call him rapist like that hahaha
CHAPTER THREE (PART 1)
When the horse carriage comes to a stop, they were already inside Mount Zhong Yi Manor.
Because they were inside the carriage throughout the trip, Qu Qing Yin was unclear of the specific route that led them through Dan Xia Valley.
Within the Wu Lin, Dan Xia Valley has always been a remotely mysterious place of existence. It is said that one generation’s master had become a government official, entitled Prince of Zhong Yi, thus establishing the Mount Zhong Yi Manor. His descendants has since retreated to the Jiang Hu, becoming one of Wu Lin’s powerhouses.
The master of the manor is not particularly active in Jiang Hu matters, but when something big happens in the Jiang Hu, then the people of Mount Zhong Yi Manor would definitely step forward. Just like with this whole ordeal caused by the rapist, Mount Zhong Yi Manor would organise a gathering for pugilists to join forces in order to rid evil, they are even in charge of the reward money.
The pugilists of Jiang Hu’s chivalry is granted, but even pugilists need to eat and sleep, and these all require the spending of money.
Moreover, Mount Zhong Yi Manor has already implied that you need only to eradicate this rapist. Whether you’re a sect or cult, or even an individual for that matter, you can receive a bounty of two hundred thousand taels of silver, this is no small sum, for many blood-stained Jiang Hu people, this is a high price that they would not have even dare to think of.
That is why, the amount of Jiang Hu people coming to this gathering is more than the amount carps in the river. Like Liu Feng says, there is a complex web of people, as the convenor of this gathering, Mount Zhong Yi Manor would naturally have to invite some people to stay at the manor, but the necessary precautions has to be done.
Qu Qing Yin had only casually looked around the place, she did not look in too deep, after all guests should keep to the rules of conduct of being guests.
“Ah, this place is still the same.” Stepping down from the carriage, stretching as he looks around, Liu Feng speaks with a smile.
The envoy understandingly says, “This courtyard is the same place gentleman had stayed at last time.”
“I know, it’s not bad here.” The second half of his sentence was directed towards Qu Qing Yin.
Qu Qing Yin nods a little, “It’s excellent.” Looks like his relationship with Mount Zhong Yi Manor is also great. For the manor to specifically prepare a whole yard for him, he must be special.
“It’s getting late, we shall no longer disturb you two rest. We shall take our leave now.”
“Go go, here I am familiar with, no need for you to attend to us.”
“Gentleman and lady, please help yourselves.” The envoy finishes and leads the other attendants away.
Liu Feng heads towards the main house, speaking as he walks, “Pick a room in this yard, I believe they had cleaned them all.”
“Then I shall go and rest.” Qu Qing Yin does not wish to be alone with him, taking the opportunity to escape. “Right, see you tomorrow.”
“See you tomorrow.”
Qu Qing Yin heads towards the opposite wing. The rooms are not too extravagant, but clear consideration on the furnishing of table and chairs can be seen, although not every little thing is a treasure in itself, all have their individually nice quality, ordinary people would not even be able to afford it.
Qu Qing Yin has even found that the Mount Zhong Yi Manor has even considerately prepared two sets of new clothes for her, completed with hair accessories.
Moving into the inner chamber, the water filling the tub steaming.
Qu Qing Yin cannot help but laugh, rushing here through consecutive days, she really does need a tub of hot water.
This Mount Zhong Yi Manor sure lives up to their number one manor reputation, to have already received the news whilst they were on the road, making it so that once they arrive at this manor, everything would have already been prepared, this way the guests can truly feel at home.
Qu Qing Yin takes out her hair accessories, undresses from her clothes, and soaks into the hot water, comfortably taking a bath, and then changes into the clothing prepared by the manor.
Using a towel to slowly drain the water from her long wet locks, she sits in front of the dressing table mirror and carefully smooth through her hair with a black comb.
To have this fascinatingly translucent, bronze mirror reflect her face, causes her to fall into a little trance.
This time’s outing is rather lengthy, she has not been able to leisurely pamper herself like this for such a long time.
Shi Fu once said, girls are like flowers, which requires watering and trimming, not necessarily for her own content, but also necessarily for her own content.
Qu Qing Yin juts out her lips, if Shi Fu was still alive, he would definitely despise her sloppiness, but running around all day, where does one get the spare time to attend to these matters? Can’t have her dressed like a refined lady whilst hunting down fugitives right? She takes out the scented sachet that she always keeps with her and from it, takes out a round jade box, opening the box to scoop out a transparent paste onto her palm, evenly rubbing it in circular movements on her face, and then puts the box away.
The jade coloured cream quickly sinks into the skin, touching it now, she can already feel the difference from the rough feeling before.
At this moment, Qu Qing Yin again recalls Shi Fu’s reprimanding words——one who is not naturally beautiful, must pay attention to self-grooming, if not you’d become an old bead by the time you marry.
Pei! Pei! Pei! Shi Fu really is most spiteful! Since young has always been constantly nagging at her ears, talking as though talking is his profession. Also when it comes to self-grooming, he knows more than women do, causing her to always feel as though Shi Fu was born the wrong sex.
Qu Qing Yin keeps thinking, after bathing she had originally felt sleepy but the feeling had completely disappeared, stroking her hair, forget it, might as well go out into the courtyard and enjoy the air. She opens the door and steps out, un-coincidentally seeing a jar of wine sat on top of the stone table in the middle of the courtyard where Liu Feng drinks alone.
“Lady can’t sleep?” Because his mind was filled with her, his heart was a mess and therefore wasn’t able to sleep, but what is her reason? Subconsciously, in Liu Feng’s heart, a trace of sanguine expectancy blossoms.
“Hair’s still wet, I came out to leave it to air dry.” She casually walks over, sitting down by the stone table, “Didn’t you say you drank too much, why you drinking again?”
Her long loose hair added a slight touch of childlike quality just like that of a young girl, the wind brings along a hint of fragrance, faint but nice, Liu Feng looks at her, never seen her with blusher on, how could her body suddenly carry this type of scent?
Qu Qing Yin thought he was looking at the outfit she’s wearing, laughing she says, “The manor prepared it, the size is just about right, so thoughtful.”
Liu Feng lowers his head and laughs, “This outfit really suits you.”
“Compared to my original one, this is much better.” She was speaking of the clothing material.
“The main reason is because lady is pretty, that’s why it seems like the clothes are better.” He was pointing to her appearance.
Qu Qing Yin’s cheeks lit up with a tinge of red, not used to having people praise her upfront, plus his eyes are looking too passionate.
The playfulness in Liu Feng’s eyes deepens, “Don’t know if it’s a problem to ask for lady’s age?”
“If that is so, I am a few years older than lady, how about you start calling me [Older] Brother always Hero here Hero there, only addressing me based on an identity label, it’ll be a waste of our meeting.”
Qu Qing Yin hesitated, this addressment is too intimate.
“Could it be, I’m unworthy of lady’s addressment of ‘Brother Liu’?” He looks at her with a seeming smile, purposely trying to push her.
“I’m afraid that I am the unworthy one.” She laughs, then generously calls out, “Brother Liu,” It is just an addressment, must she be so calculative.
Liu Feng heartily laughs out loud, downing a few mouthfuls of wine, wiping his mouth, he says, “Refreshingly direct.”
Under the moon, amongst the cool breeze, by the stone table, a handsome and unrestraint man, a beautifully refined and graceful girl, like a scene from a timeless painting, allowing people to look at the scene as though time has stopped.
Morning at Dan Xia Valley was really smooth going, in the distance, the mountain mist hazily makes the whole mountain manor look as though it is located in the middle of fairy wonderland.
As Liu Feng steps out of his room he looks up and catches sight of the shadow in the courtyard, she is still wearing the purple outfit from last night, her long hair simply put up into a bun, embellished with only a few hair ornaments, a simple yet fresh look.
Delicate and graceful, that is the impression she gives off, she is nothing like a guest of the hot blooded Jiang Hu, and instead holds the charms of a polished lady from a noble family.
“What are you looking at?”
Qu Qing Yin turns around, quickly nodding her head, and says, “The view is not bad here.”
“You like it?”
“With such nice scenery, why wouldn’t I like it?”
“That is true, did you have a nice rest last night?”
“This place makes you feel at home, it is only reasonable.”
Liu Feng laughs, “Looks like Manor Master Guan will have to thank you for this high praise of yours.”
“The truth is clear.”
“I almost forgot, you love speaking the truth the most.”
Qu Qing Yin lights up with a smile, fresh and gentle as though it can melt the heart of others.
The colour in his eyes darkens, playfully asking, “Then when do you not speak the truth?”
Qu Qing Yin laughingly replies, “When speaking the truth it is fine to tell you, when not speaking the truth who would tell you that?”
Hearing that Liu Feng could not help but to let out a big laugh.
“Hero Liu, lady Qu, you’re both up. Just in time, breakfast is ready.”
The envoy assigned was conveniently the same one, behind him were two female attendants carrying two sets of food containers. “Are you both eating together?”
Qu Qing Yin raises her eyebrows at the envoy’s words.
Liu Feng remains poised and says, “Just leave it on the stone table, I and lady Qu just happen to have something to discuss.”
Qu Qing Yin looks at him, since when did they become so close for him to directly speak up for her?
The envoy and female attendants places the dishes down and then withdraws with good grace.
Liu Feng sits down by the stone table first, then waves Qu Qing Yin over, “Quickly come eat whilst it’s hot, I reckon the manor would be bustling with energy soon.”
She ponders a little, then makes her way over, quietly picking up her chopsticks to eat.
Both people were peaceful, but when they were halfway through eating, they could hear a burst of laugher from outside, the owner of the laugh continues to laugh as he walks into the courtyard.
“I heard that [Younger] Brother Liu got here last night, and was even accompanied by a beauty. Old Zhang I definitely had to check out what kind of heavenly beauty had caught the eye of Brother you.”
Liu Feng places down his chopsticks, smiling as he greets the newcomer with a fist holding greeting, “[Older] Brother Zhang, have you been well?” “Good, I’ve been great. Brother you’re not looking so bad either.” Zhang Shan says as he casts Qu Qing Yin at the side a look, laughing as he pats Liu Feng’s shoulder, “Not bad not bad, Brother you have good eyes, one look can see that she’s gentle and graceful.”
“This is Qi Shi Er Lian Huan Wu’s Zong Piao Ba Zi, Zhang Shan.” Liu Feng introduces to her.
(Qī shí’ Èr Lián Huán Wù / 七十二连环坞 (72 Serial Docks) – a sect that has great influence within the Jiang Hu; Zǒng Piáo Bǎ Zi / 总瓢靶子 refers to someone who manages to gets all the scoops as in the exclusive news, pretty much the king of scoops)
Qu Qing Yin curtly delivers a fist holding greeting, “I’ve long heard of your Zong Piao Ba Zi reputation, witnessing it today, you truly live up to the name.”
Zhang Shan waves his hand, “What Zong Piao Ba Zi, calling me [Older] Brother Zhang shall be fine.”
Qu Qing Yin did not feel comfortable with this, but knew that in an event like this, it is not good to refuse to give people face, and so quietly speaks, “Brother Zhang.”
Liu Feng quietly laughs, he had already realised, under normal circumstances she would not make it difficult for others, unless that person has messed with her. This can be regarded as her little missy temper, when unprovoked she will not make others dislike her.
“Now that’s right.” Zhang Shan laughs out loud. “[Younger] Sister how should I address you?”
“Qu, Qu as in melody/tune.”
“So it is the Sister of the Qu family. If you have time, do drop by with Brother Liu at our Qi Shi Er Lian Huan Wu as guests.”
“Sister is also of the Jiang Hu, have you made a name for yourself yet?” Zhang Shan just says whatever comes to mind, bearing no doubts, nor does he care who you are.
Qu Qing Yin does not directly say it.
Liu Feng laughs out loud, chipping in to help her out, “Has Brother eaten? Sit down and eat with us.”
“You guys go ahead, I have already eaten. Just couldn’t wait to see Brother you, and so came so early, this is no coincidence, looks like I have interrupted you two eating.” Zhang Shan reaches out to knock himself on the head, feeling apologetic.
She is still wearing a smile on her face, did not even sass out half a word.
Liu Feng says, “It’s nothing it’s nothing, I was pretty much done eating myself, let us go in to talk.” He looks towards his side, “Qing Yin, you take your time eating.”
“Right right, Sister, you take your time, I haven’t seen Brother Liu for such a long time, we’ll go inside to have a little chat.”
“Alright.” She was still faintly smiling as she replied.
Watching as they both enter the room, Qu Qing Yin slightly purses her lips.
Up to now, things have not been going according to plan. If it carries on like this, this won’t be good!
She looks at the food on the stone table, sighing in her heart, now she really has no appetite.
After them, Qu Qing Yin also leaves the stone table, she does not go to find the other two, but instead steps out of the courtyard. The manor’s guards were generally spread out ten steps between one another, maintaining a high level of vigilance, because many of the rapist’s listed targets have already arrived at the manor, for a precaution of the worst case scenario, this is the necessary measure to take.
At this time, the amount of Jiang Hu people entering the manor has gradually rose, walking around the manor would naturally mean running into some people. There are some Qu Qing Yin knows of, also some she has seen before, but a huge number of people she does not know, those people naturally does not know her either.
“Lady Qu, are you alright?” The manor’s envoy comes up greeting her.
Qu Qing Yin smiles and nods, “I’m good.”
“Is lady going somewhere? If needed I can send for someone to escort lady.”
“No need. I just want to go out and have a look around.”
“Then it is still better to have two guards go with you. That way when gentleman Liu asks, I can reply at ease.”
“I’ll have to trouble envoy then.” Qu Qing Yin could only accept the envoy’s good intentions, because from what she sees, if she doesn’t accept it, she reckons she wouldn’t even be able to leave this place.
“It’s nothing it’s nothing, you are a friend of gentleman Liu, which makes you a precious guest of our manor, naturally we have to attend to you well.” The envoy waves over two nearby guards, “You, and you, you two accompany lady Qu out, be sure to protect her well.”
So we now know for sure that Qing Yin’s Shi Fu, who has been mentioned on many occasions now (and many more to come XD), has indeed already passed away T_T. I mean I had pretty much already guessed it but it still saddens me to have my suspicions confirmed T_T Although he has only been mentioned here and there, his words of wisdom (that we hear from Qing Yin) just makes people feel affectionately attached to this character who we never even met…or is that just me??? And from the way Qing Yin speaks of him, we can definitely tell that she got her wits and sass from him. He seems like such a lovable and funny character. It’s just such a shame 😦
On a side note, another character has appeared. And I swear I end up liking Liu Feng’s friends better than I like him hahaha. He may attract annoying females but his male friends all have such a great quirky charm to them 😄
Also special thanks to flayfuldesigns for her reminder. I’ve touched up upon the pingyin in the footnotes. They’re a lot more consistent and should be easier to read/understand now haha. Sorry for some confusion caused by my previously very inconsistent footnotes. I also noticed that I quite often mix up present tense with past tense in my writing they should have already been corrected when I did my proofreading though haha. But I just like to say please don’t be shy if you spot any grammar, punctuation or any other errors, just drop a mention and I’ll happily correct them 🙂
[Additional note: For those who are trying/or wanting to learn Chinese (Mandarin). When you first start learning to read pingyin it’s easier if you use your finger to draw out the tone lines (lines above the letters e.g. – Xiōng – see the line above the o?) as you speak the word. That way, you are more likely to say the word fluently by adjusting your tone to follow your finger movement.
I hope I’m making sense here haha
P.S – I’m a Cantonese speaker but I was taught a sufficient amount of Mandarin. And I still use this method to this day, although I only draw out the lines in my head now XD]