(translated by anniaxx)
(edited by xia0xiao1mei)
A Meal Under the Flowers
He Qing Lu slept for two entire days and two entire nights.
When he woke up, maids have already prepared bath and clean clothes for him, after he got ready, the maids then lead him to the floral hall.
Although it is winter right now, the southern frontier is a rather warm highland with strong sunlight, cactus and camellia flowers blooming in the floral hall, their brilliance and spectacular colors creating a lively atmosphere.
Pang Wan is sitting by the stone table that is full of delicious dishes, smiling at him.
The temperature in the hall is warm, she is wearing a peach-pink long robe, a long snow-white silk skirt, sitting there full of grace and quietude, appearing like an appropriate and virtuous little wife.
“You’re here, are you hungry? Taste what I have prepared for you.”
She stands up and diligently places food in his plate, having closely accompanied him for several months before, she has already remembered what he generally likes to eat.
He Qing Lu does not say anything, directly holding up the bowl with white rice in front of him.
However, the bowl is immediately taken away, and replaced with a bowl of hot rice congee.
“You have not eaten a single grain of rice for two days, you should eat something easily-digestible first.” Pang Wan decides for him and puts a spoon in the bowl.
Under the sun’s radiance, her cheeks are still that tender, like a hibiscus bud about to bloom, embroidered with several drops of morning dew.
He Qing Lu falls into a daze.
“Did you cook all this?” He asks in a soft voice.
“No, I asked the cook to cook them.” Pang Wan gives him an honest smile, purposely ignoring the disappointment in his eyes, “This congee has shrimp and scallops in it, very very tasty, you need to have another bowl.”
——is he kidding? How can her cooking skill be accepted in the strict eyes of this noble gentleman who wants the most delicate food and the finest meat? She was raised to be a Sheng Gu, not a cook!
He Qing Lu silently puts down the bowl.
“Why didn’t you cook?” His voice actually has some criticizing tone in it.
Pang Wan almost choked on the pickle radish in her mouth.
——as long as this person has woken up, his “young master temper” immediately comes back.
She thinks for a moment, then swallows the radish, pointing at the drunken chicken in wine dish on the table and says, “I selected this chicken myself.” Then pointing at the goji dove soup, “Inside this clay pot is actually my favorite ‘Xiao Bai’!” She says this lie without any change of color on her face nor any change in the pace of her breath.
He Qing Lu still does not hold up the bowl.
“Then, I will cook noodle for you tonight, okay?” Pang Wan could only force herself to make this promise.
Only then did He Qing Lu sounds an almost unnoticeable “en”, holding up the bowl.
While he is eating, Pang Wan then quietly takes out a plate of honey tangerine and carefully peels them.
Waiting until He Qing Lu finishes eating his last bite, she places a piece of tangerine near his lips as if she is presenting a treasure: “Eat one piece?” Her long eyelashes shaking like little fans, the light of hope in her eyes shining.
He Qing Lu frowns, gently biting down on the tangerine with an extremely unwilling look.
Pang Wan assumes that he is disgusted by her hand, so hurries up and tries to put the tangerine in his hand, “It’s super sweet, it took me a long time to select it.”
Yet He Qing Lu does not take it.
Pang Wan thinks that he doesn’t want to eat, so could only peel off a piece and put in her own mouth, but sees an angry look sweeping towards her.
Pang Wan can’t figure out what he is angry about, so puts down the tangerine and tiredly stares at him.
“Your hands have the smell of fried chicken.” Gentleman He finally opens his royal mouth and bestow this one sentence.
Pang Wan knows that his germophobia is breaking out again, and immediately orders the maid to bring clean water to wash her hands, then peels another tangerine and gives it him.
Yet He Qing Lu is unsatisfied and opens his mouth.
Pang Wan sighs in her heart that “gentlemen are hard to please”, while at the same time, peeling off another piece and places it into his mouth.
After he finished eating an entire tangerine, the furrows on He Qing Lu’s forehead has finally unfolded.
Seeing the interaction between this golden couple, the maids behind them all find it extremely interesting, all of them unable to help but to cover their mouths to hide their laughs.
So when Zuo Huan An enters the floral hall, this is the happy and harmonic scene that he sees.
The maids all kneel and salute him, Pang Wan also quickly stands up behind the table.
Only He Qing Lu is still sitting in his original spot, continuing to drink his tea.
Pang Wan originally thought he does not know who the person that had just arrive is, and immediately tugs at his sleeve, who knew he is acutally not moving on purpose——from the bottom of his heart, he despises this middle aged man who wanted to marry Pang Wan off to Nan Yi.
Pang Wan is so angry that she stomps on his foot, only then does he stand up with a straight face.
“Wan Wan, who is this?”
Zuo Huai An studies He Qing Lu from head to toe, his rich experience over the years tells him that this young man must be exceptional compared to his peers, so his speaking tone can barely pass of as polite.
Pang Wan opens her mouth wanting to speak up, yet anxiously closes it again, unconsciously glancing at He Qing Lu.
——she does not dare to directly saying He Qing Lu’s identity, if she lets Sect Leader know of his identity as the Solitary Palace’s Young Master, then he would probably be forced into this violent and ruthless war.
“I am her husband-to-be.” Who knew He Qing Lu would hold up Pang Wan’s hand, and calmly finds an answer for himself.
“Nonsense!”Zuo Huai An has been out for two days yet still did not mannage to find a trace of Nan Yi, he was already angry and irritated, now hearing He Qing Lu’s provocative answer, he immediately grabs a teacup and throws i towards him, “What kind of a thing are you considered?! To dare to mess around with my daughter!”
Pang Wan’s heart shakes inside of her, thinking to herself “so I truly am Sect Leader’s biological daughter”.
He Qing Lu waves his hand and easily catches the teacup, then slowly places it on the stone table.
“Coming here this time, I want to tell Sect Leader, I want to take your daughter away with me, on what conditions, it’s up to you to decide whatever you want.”
He stands under the shades of flower vines, as strong as a green pinewood, calm and absolute.
Pang Wan’s mouth open wide enough for even an ostrich egg to fit in it.
——throwing everything related to Bai Yue Sect behind and leaving faraway with He Qing Lu, not even in her dreams, did she ever think about this before.
All that can be heard is a sound of “zheng”, Zuo Huai An, whose anger has grown to the point of exploding, has already drawn out the sword by his side.
Upon seeing someone’s life at risk, Pang Wan rushes forward and grabs onto Zuo Huai An’s hands, sounding a crisp call: “Father!”
Zuo Huai An’s body shakes when he hears what she said, he turns his head, gazing at Pang Wan with complication in his eyes.
“Father, please do not be angry, he just woke up so his brain is all messed up right now, please don’t hurt him.”
Pang Wan has no time to care about other things; she holds onto Zuo Huai An’s arms like a little pampered girl.
Hearing her say that his brain is messed up, He Qing Lu couldn’t resist putting on an unhappy face.
Yet Zuo Huai An sighs, and puts down the long sword in his hand.
Pang Wan sees the situation has improved so immediately goes to the next step, quickly sending a meaningful glance to the maid to tell her to comfort the “Great Gentleman He” while she holds onto Zuo Huai An’s hands and leaves the room.
Zuo Huai An and the previous Sheng Gu’s story, is truly a common plot in the land of Mary Sue.
One is Sheng Gu, the other is Young Master, a pair of childhood friends with no secrets in between, their relationship should have naturally been fine, until Zuo Huai An went down the mountains to gain real world experience and saved a fairy-like beautiful girl, then their potential marriage was all ruined.
Sheng Gu was extremely angry, so she locked herself in a cave and put all her focus on practicing martial arts, when she came out of seclusion, that beauty was already pregnant with Zuo Huai An’s child, so those two naturally got married.
Sheng Gu’s heart grew cold, after a year, she found a husband-to-be by holding a martial art contest in the sect, under Sect Leader’s arrangements, the two of them then had their wedding day set on an auspicious day. But the closer to the wedding date, the more anxious Zuo Huai An was, because he realized that the person who he truly loves is still Sheng Gu, he was afraid to lose her, afraid that she would like someone else other than himself.
After a short period of time, Zuo Huai An succeeded as the new Sect Leader after his father, he then forcefully made Sheng Gu stay by his side with coercion.
Sheng Gu became pregnant with his child, feeling that she has no right to face her husband and Sect Leader Madam, so she brought her daughter and escaped in a dark and windy night.
Zuo Huai An loses his love, then finds out that his wife was actually a “lady of easy virtue” and has already cheated on him with someone else, that child is not even his child, at that moment he was furious, sentencing the adulterous couple to death, the husband of Sheng Gu also left without bidding farewell.
However, the idea of marrying anyone else never emerged in his heart anymore, hence raising the child to grow up as the young master, that child is Nan Yi.
All those years, he has sent people to search for Sheng Gu and his daughter’s whereabouts, and finally found Pang Wan after ten years. But he could not possibly speak of the shameful matter between him and Sheng Gu, and could only welcome back his daughter in the name of selecting a new Sheng Gu.
Pang Wan quietly listens to Zuo Huai An telling his past memories, her heart full of pain and sorrow.
But most of the pain, is for Nan Yi.
Even though her world has subverted, it was only just uncle turning into father, but Nan Yi’s world has completely collapsed——father becoming the enemy who killed his mother, his Young Master position turning into some bastard without a name.
“Father, let’s find Senior Brother back.” She begs Zuo Huai An, “I already have no inner energy, I need to start over from the beginning, Bai Yue Sect cannot go on without any successor.”
Zuo Huai An nods, he too, had naturally planned for this deep down in his heart——watching these two children since they were little, he is certain that Pang Wan does not fit the position of Sect Leader, therefore he has always focused on training Nan Yi as the successor, moreover, wanting Pang Wan and Nan Yi to marry as soon as possible after he came out of seclusion, is because, he too does not have a lot of time left.
But the last sentence shall not be said to Pang Wan, so he just smiles and caresses her head, a spark of shinning tear in his eyes.
“Wan Wan, did you know? You look so much like your mother, as if you two were made out of the same mold.”
He sighs, straightly staring at Pang Wan, “I have always regretted not treasuring her when we were young, I deserve all the consequences.”
“Father originally thought you like Nan Yi, so wanted your wish to come true, didn’t know you would actually also bring back a husband-to-be after leaving the mountains……” He gazes at Pang Wan, “Tell Father, do you really like him?”
Pang Wan pauses.
“Sheng Gu, that Gentleman He said he is hungry, asking you to go back and cook noodles for him!”
The maid’s voice sounds from outside the window, clearly trying very hard to suppress her urge to laugh.
“This little brat……” Zuo Huai An grits his teeth and draws out the sword at his waist.
Pang Wan wants to be angry but also wants to laugh, quickly pressing against Zuo Huai An’s hand and tenderly says: “Father, don’t be angry, he ran seven days and seven nights without rest for me, cooking a bowl of noodles for him is something I ought to do.”
Naturally, Zuo Huai An had also heard that a young man broke into the wedding court at night, his heart softens, yet also becomes sour: “You have never cooked……”
“I’ll cook two bowls of noodles, one for Father, and one for him, okay?” Pang Wan smilingly looks at him.
Only then does Zuo Huai An relax his tense face.
Seeing the young lady pushing open the door, her figure melting into the light of the half tilted sunset, Zuo Huai An gently squints his eyes.
Even if he needs to exhaust his last breath, he still needs to save Bai Yue Sect’s foundation, allowing his daughter to continue living a life without worries and troubles.
No matter who wants to destroy this happiness, he definitely won’t allow it.
 Hosting a martial art contest to look for a husband-to-be is very common in ancient China. Whoever wins the lady will get the right to marry her.