Chapter 22: Chasing a Man Down the Street
Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
Meng Fuyao quietly observed the curtained sedan, and then the rather absent-minded horseman to her right.
‘Are you still able to show your little poodle off to the public, Yan Jingchen?’
With no more care left to give, Meng Fuyao returned to her inn without throwing them another glance. The inn and winehouse were connected, and when she passed through the winehouse, a loud discussion between diners caught her attention.
“Have you heard? The Pei Family’s been launching spiteful attacks at the Yun Family. There’s no more civility to speak out, in and outside of court. A few days back, they secretly sent people to smash 3 money farms, 5 pawn shops and 7 silk factories belonging to the Yun Family; the farmstead in Yunchuan City has wound down, and it was said that the Pei Family was behind it. They had thrown silvers at the farmer and even established ties with a bunch of people to throw accusations around. Tsk, tsk, how fierce!”
“Haven’t these two families been quietly battling for years now? Why the sudden uproar?”
“Heard it was the Yun Family who did them dirty first. Not sure about the details…”
“Ah! Would the Yun Family remain passive, though?”
“The Yun Family isn’t doing as great as before. Initially, Old Sir Yun was in charge of all palace affairs since he was His Majesty’s dearest right-hand man. A pity… he had offended the wrong people and started losing control, and was eventually left to take care of the palace’s mailroom, which is a rarely visited place.”
“Who did he offend?”
Silence fell over the table at this point as someone brought a finger up to his mouth.
In response to the tacit understanding between the diners, Fuyao smiled.
‘Some of this news is pretty accurate,’ she laughed inwardly.
She navigated through the crowd, ready to return to her room when a commotion broke out outside by the time she reached the stairs.
A high screech followed after, and despite it coming from afar, it was loud enough to drown the din within the winehouse.
“Hey, don’t go! Hey!”
Customers in the winehouse turned their heads in time to catch a black, dragon-like whirlwind, filled with smoke and dust, sweeping across the long street outside and taking everyone and everything down along its path. Food from road-stalls rolled all over the ground and before Yao Xun could even start on his noodle soup, he, too, got knocked away. He flailed his arms in an attempt to steady himself when a huge gust swept a silver ingot right into his widely-opened mouth, forcing him to swallow whatever wrath he was about to unleash.
Yao Xun reached in for the ingot but had trouble getting it out due to its size. With some effort he finally loosened it a little, when another whirlwind, rainbow-colored this time, howled from behind him, slamming onto his back and ejecting a slimy ingot and half a tooth from his mouth. Dazed and sprawled out, head down, on the ground, Yao Xun crawled to his feet and saw that the rainbow whirlwind had already trampled all over the buns and eggs, and was making chase while shouting, “Hey! Don’t run!”
Despite her shouts, the black whirlwind continued on its way, spinning toward the winehouse. In fear of getting flattened, diners shot toward respective corners like cannons to dodge it. Seconds later, the whirlwind banged through the door and stopped right in the middle of the restaurant.
His drifting black hair and robe came to a rest the moment he halted. Gone was the ferocity from before and there stood a noble and refined looking man with a solid presence.
The rainbow whirlwind arrived soon after. She stopped the door and giggled, summoning a long bench over and stuffing it between the door and its frame. She then sat on the bench, as if to prevent the man in black from escaping.
Sunlight entered through the entrance, illuminating the lady’s beautiful outline and attracting looks from the diners in front. At the same time, the colors on her body were glowing so brightly that they were forced to squint their eyes. Sighs filled the room.
No one had ever seen such a colorful person.
She had on a peach-colored top and red skirt, which was lifted and clipped onto her waist, revealing her rainbow-colored inner pants – one side green and the other purple. She also had on a golden pair of shoes, quite unlike Taiyuan’s fashion. The tip of her shoes pointed upward and was decorated with a red and green crystal, one on each side. They were the size of a thumb and were absolutely dazzling.
The lady appeared not to be of marriageable age yet. On her tiny, egg-shaped face was a high nose, glossy red lips, a pair of brown eyes and skin as translucent and clear as honey. While young, she was obviously a beauty, and while less delicate and fair as Taiyuan girls, she stood out with an infectious and breeze-like energy.
Her hair, an exotic mix of brown and red, was plaited instead of bunned and was accessorized with all kinds of strangely-shaped bells. She looked, unabashedly, in front and flashed a proud smile.
Of course, she was smiling at the man dressed in black, with scarlet outlines, embroidered robe.
“I’ve caught you now. Am I a sea beast from E Ocean? Why are you running so fast?”
The man knitted his brow, groaning, “Are you still a lady, Ya Lanzhu? Chasing me down the street like that.”
The moment he turned around his prominent features were revealed. His dark brows and eyes, along with his well-contoured profile, added to the robustness of his overall look and commanding presence.
His eyes swept across the restaurant like a heavy knife blade, or even a potent lightning bolt, channeled from the forces of heaven and earth, that could easily split the sky.
Standing by the staircase, Meng Fuyao inhaled deeply.
She recognized the man – Zhan Beiye.
Having been too busy fighting in the forest that night, Zhan Beiye hadn’t taken notice of Meng Fuyao. On the other hand, the latter had taken in all that she could. He had an appearance so distinct and eye-grabbing that it was impossible for her not to recognize him now that the sun was shining down on him.
She had almost wanted to flee upon identifying him, but because the hall was dead quiet, she could only remain still to avoid drawing attention to herself.
“Why are you running?”
“Why are you chasing?”
“I like it!”
“I’m practicing footwork!”
“Pfff–” Someone let out a stifled laugh in reaction to their speedy squabble, triggering a death glare, which was made more terrifying by her exquisite yet blade-like brows, from the young lady.
Nevertheless, as she was still too young, she appeared more adorable than murderous.
Finding it funny, other diners chimed in, “Hey, little lady, there must be a reason why you like chasing him.”
“Yeah. In Taiyuan, this is the first time a lady’s chasing after a man.”
“Yes, I shall be the first, then,” she declared arrogantly, raising her chin up. “‘Go for the best, if you’re going for anyone because those behind are all lousy melons,’ my father always says.” She pointed at Zhan Beiye, laughing, “It’s him I’m going after. I want him to be my man.”
Her confidence left everyone in a brief state of shock and then a fit of laughter. Diners at the back squeezed forward to get a clearer view of the unconventionally assertive lady and also the lucky man.
Meng Fuyao awed at the good compatibility between this bickering pair when she caught a glimpse of Yao Xun, sneaking into the winehouse. She made a gesture, which Yao Xun noticed, and saw his expression change instantly while shaking his head.
Meng Fuyao stared blankly at the girl. She appeared to be a Fufeng citizen, and Meng Fuyao had wanted Yao Xun to check if she had a medal on her. Yet, he seemed afraid of her and dared not make any move.
After some thought, Meng Fuyao waited for a suitable time to withdraw. Getting restless and annoyed by the chasing game, Zhan Beiye spoke up, “Ya Lanzhu, has your father also mentioned that you have to be a man’s, first woman?”
“Great,” Zhan Beiye gave a crafty smile. With this handsome smile, his intimidating aura was momentarily swept away, revealing a more humane and warm disposition.
“Someone’s already claimed first place. You’re late.”
“Who?” Ya Lanzhu opened her eyes wide and jumped onto the bench, pulling up her sleeves. “Who is it? Who?”
Not turning around, Zhan Beiye casually drew a circle in midair, which ultimately landed on a certain spot.
Everyone in the winehouse, including Ya Lanzhu, turned their heads simultaneously, before hearing a crash.
Ya Lanzhu narrowed her eyes dangerously.
Yao Xun’s jaw dropped, and he couldn’t snap out of it even after a long time. Because his mouth was opened for too long, saliva had started dripping down. When he had finally mustered the strength to close his jaw, he took the chance when no one was looking to wipe his mouth clean as well. He then presented a “good luck” gesture before slipping past her.
Through all that, Zhan Beiye never once turned around.
He had pointed his finger just any old how with a sole intention of picking a female. While entering the restaurant he had already spotted a light red-colored piece of clothing and was immediately certain that it belonged to a woman.
Who that unlucky woman was wasn’t any concern of his.
Meng Fuyao stood awkwardly by the stairs while holding onto the railing and giving an embarrassed smile.
Of course, it was understandably discomforting for her to be stared at by a bunch of strangers.
‘Zhan Beiye, you bastard, pointing your finger so carelessly in broad daylight.’
Ya Lanzhu sized Meng Fuyao up with dart-like eyes. Meng Fuyao had no ugly makeup on that day. All she had done was smear a little ginger juice onto her face, giving it a slight yellow hue. Her brows stood out, nevertheless, and Ya Lanzhu sniggered after a pause, “Are you kidding’ me? She’s clearly suffering from tuberculosis.”
Zhan Beiye crossed his arms and leaned against the wall. “So? I like it.”
“I’ll kill her.”
“You’ll still be in second place.”
Ya Lanzhu bounced up with a twist of her slender waist and a swing of her arm, retrieving a small knife with rainbow-colored handle from her back and brandishing it. With the sunlight reflecting off it, the tip of the knife appeared exceptionally brilliant.
She pointed it toward Zhan Beiye, yelling, “Go, kill that number 1 of yours and I’ll take over.”
“Eh, who’s his number 1?” A clear voice sounded from the stairway, reclaiming the audience’s glances. This time, Meng Fuyao was leaning over the railing and looking at them with raised brows.