(translated by xia0xiao1mei)
(edited by anniaxx)
Having stayed in the Capital for five days straight, Pang Wan and separate teams of the sect’s people had practically gone around all the major restaurants and teahouses, but have not spotted sight of Nan Yi. The people of Bai Yue Sect are all looking distressed with dark clouds looming over their faces, only He Qing Lu is feeling at peace all day.
Seeing the appointed time of a month is drawing nearer and nearer, he is even taking it upon himself to begin planning the wedding.
——he has never asked about this matter about Nan Yi, on one hand, he cannot wait for this person to stay away from Pang Wan, the further the better, on the other hand, it is more due to the reason that Pang Wan has never requested any help from him herself. He is the typical “if you need anything then say it, if you say nothing, how am I supposed to know what you want?” type of person.
When the seventh day came, Pang Wan finally could not resist inviting He Qing Lu over from the estate, in the Capital’s best restaurant, a whole table of the most expensive dishes is laid out.
“Don’t know how much is the charge for your honoured residence to take on a missing person case?” She dismisses her entourage, and solemnly looks at the gentleman with a golden coronet in hair, currently drinking his tea.
Ah Zhuo was in the middle of drinking soup, and couldn’t refrain from spitting it out with a sound of “pu”, her entire face going red.
He Qing Lu smiles, placing down the cup in hand: “We rarely take on unchallenging cases as such.”
Pang Wan knows he is mocking her subordinates for being incapable, refusing to get annoyed, she swallows back her anger as she says: “Gentleman, the Capital isn’t within Bai Yue Sect’s territory, with the many eyes and ears of the righteous sects, we do not dare to act rashly, if I may request of Gentleman to give us a helping hand, with clear cut payment of remuneration, will that be alright?”
She truly is suffocated into unable to find any other ways, and can only turn to the power of the Solitary Palace.
He Qing Lu thinks for a moment, deeply gazing at her as he says: “Then you must agree to my one condition.”
Pang Wan is surprised: “What condition?”
He Qing Lu lowers his lashes: “I’ll tell you when I think of it.”
And so the two of them had their heads huddled together, Pang Wan clearly describes special characteristics of Nan Yi’s appearance and talks about the likeliness of him being in disguise, He Qing Lu having carefully listened to all this, writes a few things down on a piece of parchment paper, and orders Jin Di Luo to send it away.
“Wait for news from me after seven days.” He gives Pang Wan’s hand a pat.
Pang Wan lets out a long sigh of relief, and quickly takes her chopsticks to pick up a piece of drunken chicken and places it into He Qing Lu’s bowl: “Eat more, eat more.”
This scene is silently taken into the eyes of another person from afar.
“Why is Supreme Chief not eating? Could it be the dishes of this Wang Xiang Restaurant doesn’t match your taste?”
Sect Leader Xu Rong of Heng Shan looks on in surprise at the man in purple besides him.
The man in purple withdraws his line of sight from afar, smiling: “How could that be? The dishes here are the best within the entire city, I even miss it when I’ve not eaten here for a few days.”
“Ho-ho, Supreme Chief should eat a little more, wait until half a month later when we go offer sacrifices to the heaven on Mount Kunlun, these dishes cannot be eaten then.” Xu Rong picks up a piece of grilled deer meat for the man in purple, “Now that the evil sect has been defeated, Kunlun and Shaolin has also officially sent invitations, Supreme Chief has finally unified the Wu Lin, a gratifying achievement to be congratulated!”
The man in purple smiles but does not speak.
With a sound of “qiang-qiang”, someone is knocking a gong in the sky well. (Sky well or tiān jǐng / refers to the small open roof area in the middle of ancient Chinese buildings, like a mini courtyard, as seen in the two pictures)
“It’s starting, it’s starting.” Xu Rong’s face reveals a look of excitement, turning to explain to the other people on the table, “This Wang Xiang Restaurant’s storytelling is the best to listen to.”
Everyone hears this and all sticks their head out one after another.
All that can be seen is the storyteller play a few notes of the three-stringed lute in the sky well, rising and falling in cadence as he sings out: “Today we shall talk about the sieging of the evil sect ——”
From the glib mouth of the storyteller, the story about the sieging of the evil sect can be said to be heart-stirring with many twists and turns, the Supreme Chief of Wu Lin, Gu Xi Ju, is portrayed as a spiritual leader with profound martial arts and talents, not only unrivalled in martial arts, but even more so holds great foresight, time and time again, he sees through Sect Leader Zuo Huai An’s dirty schemes, tempering with justice and mercy, in the end, he succeeds in breaking down the evil sect’s inner forces.
“All thanks to Supreme Chief, Bai Yue Sect has since gotten no chance to recover again.” That storyteller uses such a sentence to close his statement.
Pang Wan listens to this from the second floor’s private room, her nostrils flaring with anger, she has never thought someone is able to confuse matters of black and white, good and evil, in such a bold and direct manner, and is even able to win thunderous applause and cheers!
Unable to supress the anger, she grabs a handful of peanuts and smashingly throws it down on the storyteller, face filled with anger as she scolds: “This fellow is running around telling lies everywhere, watch out to not die without any descendants!”
The storyteller has just spoken to an enthusiastic state, when he unexpectedly has peanuts crashing down right on his face, he raises his head to yell out: “Where did this little hoof came from? So impertinent!”
Pang Wan’s face had gone raging red, she leans her body over the railing to continue shouting: “Stooge! Gu Xi Ju’s stooge! How much money did you receive to help speak good words about him? You’re going against your own conscience!”
She still wanted to shout more, but one arm comes out from behind, wrapping around her waist.
He Qing Lu pulls her back with a stone cold face, at the same time, undoing the brocade curtains by the doors to cover her appearance.
“Jin Di Luo.” He orders, Jin Di Luo immediately takes out a load of money from his chest, and scatters it down the sky well, downstairs is thrown into an uproar with people yelling as they fight for the money, diverting away everyone’s attention.
“Let’s go.” He Qing Lu clamps the still sulking Pang Wan, and gently leaps out of Wang Xiang Restaurant.
Having sat in the horse carriage for a while, Pang Wan cheeks were still puffed up, even her eyes are filled with sparkling tears.
He Qing Lu furrows his brows as he pulls her into his embrace, reprehending: “Do you know you did wrong?”
Of course Pang Wan knows she was acted too impulsively just now, but no matter how she thinks about it, she just cannot swallow down the anger in her heart —— on what basis could such a deeply scheming villain still be able to win such great reputation?
“I will tear apart that person’s mouth, how could he mislead the public’s opinion like this?” She glumly says.
“Controlling the public opinion is something that those in power must do, so why should you bother yourself with butting heads with him?” Yet He Qing Lu appears indifferent as though this is commonly seen, “Since this time you have come out in order to find your senior brother’s whereabouts, you shouldn’t add further complications.
Pang Wan thinks that his lecturing is right, thus shrinking into the corner, dejected.
However, the branches coming from this situation has still grown out.
Along the way, the carriage was suddenly blocked by a footboy, saying he was instructed by his master to give the lady in the carriage a painting.
When Pang Wan lifts the curtains and accepts the painting, she couldn’t help her hand trembling a little.
The painting is precisely a young lady in white dancing, with graceful posture and light steps, long ribbons spreading in all four directions, just like a fairy walking on ripples. Just that for some unknown reason, the young lady’s left chest had a hole burnt into it with incense, exceptionally unexpected, at first glance, it looks just like the heart had been cut out.
“What has your family’s master got to say?” Her face had already turned pale, voice still striving to maintain its calm.
The footboy bows towards her, respectfully saying: “Our family’s master advises lady to listen to an old saying, things can be thoughtlessly eaten, but words cannot be thoughtlessly spoken.” Speaking up to here, he pauses, glancing inside the horse carriage, then continues, “Also, some things also cannot be thoughtlessly done, if not our family’s master will not be happy.”
Basically an undisguised threat.
Pang Wan is so angry, she instead laughs, scrunching up the painting into her palm, she grits her teeth and says: “Tell your family’s master, I shall ensure he will wholeheartedly be unhappy this one time.”
The footboy bends into a bow, saying: “Yes, I will.” Turning around, he disappears amongst the heavy streams of horses and carriages.
Having just let the curtains down, the painting in hand had been snatched away. He Qing Lu spreads open that crumpled painting, his expression instantly changes.
“This painting is of you?” His voice somewhat stiffens, “Why are you wearing so little? Why are you so……exposed? Where is this place?”
Pang Wan looks back, letting out a long long sigh.
The horse carriage stops at the doors for a long time, the maid Ah Xiang was just about to go forward in greeting, but sees the curtain get thrown aside with a sound of “hua-la”, the gentleman of their house steps out with a sudden stride.
His entire person overflowing with a frosty air just like a thousand-year ice mountain, causing those who step even one step closer to immediately have goosebumps running up their arms.
“Gentleman……” Ah Xiang had just wanted to speak up to pay her regards, but sees Gentleman throw back his sleeve and throw off all the maids, entering the main doors all alone.
“Young Miss……” She was at complete loss, and could only cautiously look at the young lady closely following after him.
The latter gives her a “settle down, don’t worry” smile.
With a sound of “peng”, He Qing Lu enters the study room with a toss of his sleeves, facing the tightly shut doors with not a trace of a gap, Pang Wan cannot help smiling bitterly.
She knows he is really angry.
“Gentleman, listen to me, I was in a state of infatuation at the time, I didn’t think things through, hence why I would do such a foolish thing, should I get another chance, I will definitely not like him……” She pastes herself against the door, quietly asking for mercy, hoping to quell the angry flames inside, “All of this are matters of the past, why should you be bothered by it?”
However, no replies are sounded from inside the room.
Pang Wan repeatedly persuades him at the door for a good while, but in the end, does not see He Qing Lu come to open the doors.
Sleepy and tired, she could only bitterly withdraw.
Another five days passes just like this, He Qing Lu acts as though he had eaten weights, steeling his heart as he stays inside his own study room, not taking a single step out. Pang Wan fundamentally couldn’t find any opportunities to go see him, her heart growing increasingly anxious.
No, perhaps she had thought —— with He Qing Lu’s perfectionist personality, how could he possibly be willing to accept a foolish woman who had once devoted their life to another man, hence why she had endured not mentioning the source of the scar on her chest.
She cannot not admit, back then, towards the accidental happening of becoming He Qing Lu’s wife-to-be, she had more or less been a little calculating —— although she did not intend on using the Solitary Palace’s forces, but speaking in terms of her own selfish reasons, she still felt that having his protection is a good thing that is rare to come by, hence why she was willing to play this “wife-to-be” game.
But to this day, afraid that the other person is no longer willing to continue this “game”.
Pang Wan is unable to predict when these raging flames of He Qing Lu’s will burn on for before it finally extinguishes, and can only guard the doors in waiting every day, hoping that Gentleman will come out to look at her.
The more she waits, the more she panics.
She’s afraid Gentleman really wouldn’t care about her anymore, she’s afraid he will chase her away the moment he leaves the doors.
She does not understand, exactly she is afraid of losing the protection of the He family, or afraid that from now on, Gentleman will never hold her in his eyes ever again?
Deep down, her heart is vastly clouded.
In the Capital, Misty Wave Manor.
“You said she stood guard at the doors for six whole days, waiting for that gentleman to come out?”
Gu Xi Ju’s long brows twitches, looking surprised at the spy in black below his seat.
“Precisely, every day she will stand guard for eight full hours, but will not speak, just sitting there on a little folding stool, seeming to thinking about things.”
The spy in black respectfully reports.
“Oh?” Gu Xi Ju nods, lowering his eyelids, he says: “Have you managed to uncover that gentleman’s background?”
The spy’s face reveals a look of difficulty: “Only know the gentleman’s surname is He, don’t know what he does for a living, his family is quite well off.”
“That mysterious?” Gu Xi Ju lightly mocks, “There’s actually things that you, Shadow Wu Peng, cannot find out?”
The spy in black hurriedly lowers himself to the ground: “Supreme Chief must be joking, that gentleman seems to have quite the backing, please give me a few more days of time limit, Wu Peng will definitely get to the bottom of it.”
Gu Xi Ju nods, then says: “Then the reason she had come to the Capital, did you find that out?”
“Bai Yue Sheng Gu has come to track down Young Master Zuo Nan Yi’s whereabouts.” The spy in black answers very quickly this time, “It is said that she spent a fortune to request the Solitary Palace to take on this deal, tomorrow is thus the agreed time to obtain the information.”
Gu Xi Ju’s eyes sparkles, sounding a laugh from his nose: “She sure isn’t willing to give up.”
Then he raises the white porcelain teacup, raising his head to look at the round moon outside the window, seeming to unintentionally ask: “Wu Peng, should the cat you raised with your blood and sweat, suddenly left you for another person, what would be the best thing to do?”
The spy in black freezes, then with both eyes sparkling he says: “Naturally, I would catch it back and practice stricter discipline.”
Hearing this, Gu Xi Ju silently curls up the corners of his eyes.
 Little hoof or xiǎo tí zi / 小蹄子 is a derogatory swear word that refers to women, stemming from the practice of foot binding.