Only after watching Pei Shu leave, did Chu Yu depressingly remember that she didn’t know where she now was at all. She had been so nervous that she forgot to memorize the way, and now she was probably lost.
She looked around and randomly chose a direction to try to find her way back, but a figure suddenly appeared beside her. The figure was absolutely silent and undetectable, materializing as if a ghost. If not for such things happening before at the Princess’ Palace, Chu Yu would probably be screaming now.
Of course, the person was Yue Jiefei, who had been accidentally separated from Chu Yu. He looked in the direction that Pei Shu left, and said: “Princess, do you not want to bring that person back?”
Chu Yu was just about to instinctively ask why she would bring him back, but before the words came out of her mouth she suddenly understood: the Princess of Shanyin probably made Yue Jiefei do things like this many times, seeing attractive males on the streets then letting Yue Jiefei hit them unconscious and take them back to the palace. Now that she thought about it, Pei Shu was pretty good-looking, just that under the comparison of all those in the Princess’ Palace, he could only be said as average.
Good and bad only come under comparison. Only now did Chu Yu realize how good the quality of the men the Princess of Shanyin collected was, but she let more than half of them go so quickly. If, she was saying if, if the Princess of Shanyin had a spirit, maybe that spirit would die again out of anger at her.
“No need……” Accompanied by a sigh in her heart, Chu Yu said lightly, then suddenly remembered, “Why did you not help me escape when I was running away?” Looking at Yue Jiefei, he didn’t seem to be separated from her like she expected, but instead was following behind her this whole time. Why did he not extend a helping hand and save her; did he intentionally wanted to see her be a joke?
Yue Jiefei was surprised: “Princess, did you not like that?”
Chu Yu was wordless.
So it was because she didn’t order, therefore Yue Jiefei thought she was enjoying the pleasure of being chased by. At this time there really were noble young men who had such a hobby; being admired and chased by so many people, was a very big glory. The extremists even compared who had more people chasing behind them.
The two chose a quiet little path back to the Princess’ Palace. When they passed by an alley, Chu Yu heard a woman’s scolding voice sound from the alley: “If you two still don’t obey me, I’ll let the bad princess capture you and take you away!”
The bad princess?
Something moved in Chu Yu’s heart. She involuntarily stopped her steps, and glanced towards the alley; between two lines of disorderly wooden houses, a sturdy woman held a dishrag that one couldn’t tell what its original color was with one hand, and had her other hand on her hip as she scolded the two children beside her.
The children were a boy and a girl, dirty like they had just rolled around on the ground. Both were about six or seven years old; hearing these words, the boy immediately became obedient, trembling and instantly becoming still. But the girl still wouldn’t become obedient, instead refuting with her immature voice: “I’m not afraid at all, the bad princess only captures boys, she doesn’t capture girls.”
The bad princess in their mouths……
Chu Yu had a very bad feeling rising up in her chest. She subconsciously glanced towards Yue Jiefei, who returned a very sure glance: yes, they are talking about you.
Chu Yu felt very depressed, saying to herself, sigh, the Princess of Shanyin really has a bad name; even peasant women used her as the big bad wolf to scare little children. Good thing she didn’t tell Pei Shu her true name, or else he’d probably have run away faster than a hare.
But speaking back, even if she was going to capture men, it should be at least those of Rong Zhi or Huan Yuan’s level. Will she ever target a raggedy and dirty little kid like this?
Seeing that she wasn’t able to scare the girl, the woman immediately changed her expression, and scolded: “The bad princess doesn’t capture girls, but the demon sorcerer does. Be careful that he will capture both of you; then he’d get a pair of boy and girl.”
Hearing this, the little girl seemed to be very frightened, and also became obedient.
Chu Yu’s eyes brightened, thinking that there’s actually someone even more notorious than her. Didn’t know what kind of figure that demon sorcerer was, or what remarkable things he has done, that he could frighten children even more than her name?
With questions in her heart, Chu Yu returned to the Princess’ Palace, ending this travel of a fine start and a bad finish.
Chu Yu stood at the door of Snow Shower Garden. This was her second time here; last time was when she wandered around and saw Huan Yuan and Jiang Yan meeting each other, but this time, she was here to do some last-minute cramming.
Although she had the essence and knowledge of more than a thousand years in her brain, Chu Yu wasn’t planning to rely on this entirely.
Literature; due to the difference in time periods, there would also be a difference between the angle and perspective of enjoyment. For say, if she wrote a Yuan song1 at the poetry banquet, or maybe even modern prose poetry, probably no one would enjoy it. Therefore her utmost priority now was to learn more about the trends and popular styles in contemporary poetry circles. People say when you sharpen your spear right before battle, even if it doesn’t shine, it would still be bright; at least she would be able to pretend she’s some expert and put on a show.
When she learned that the largest collection of books was in Rong Zhi’s Snow Shower Garden, Chu Yu debated in her heart whether she should come, and unconsciously walked here while she was still debating. Standing at the entrance, she hesitated.
She was a little afraid to see Rong Zhi.
The situation a few days ago still replayed in her mind clearly. As she finished dealing with the others in the palace, and turned to ask him whether he wanted to leave, the youth whose expression was so elegant it seemed unreachable, gazed at her with his bottomless and profound irises; he seemed to be smiling, but seemed to be not smiling too, as he slowly said:
“There is a beauty, whom I cannot forget after seeing her. Just one day not seeing her, and I miss her so much I could go crazy.
I’m like the male phoenix soaring in the skies, searching everywhere across the earth for the female phoenix. Unfortunately, the beauty doesn’t live close to me.
I use the melody of the Chinese zither to replace the love in my heart, to express my emotions and feelings. When can you promise to marry me, and comfort all my tos and fros to see you?
I wish my virtues could match yours, so we could hold hands and be together. This feeling of not knowing whether we could fly freely together, is making me sink deep in melancholy and killing me.”
This was the song “Feng Qiu Huang”2 , which was used to pay court to a lady. Summarized, it basically says a person saw a beautiful girl, fell deeply in love with her, and wishes to marry her and be together with her.
Chu Yu couldn’t help but frown. Just what did Rong Zhi mean? Was he using this song to express his love for the Princess of Shanyin? But what was there about the Princess of Shanyin that was worth loving? Or, was he like Liu Se and Mo Xiang, just fawning on the princess and trying to gain favor? But if he was like that, how could the expression in his eyes be so graceful and elegant?
His appearance was obviously not the top; not to mention Liu Se and Mo Xiang, just among the male concubines she sent away, there were seven or eight better-looking than him. The only difference he had from them was that elegant and unreachable expression, free from all the others, neither resistant, nor fawning.
Was this the reason the Princess of Shanyin favored him over all the others?
Suddenly, Chu Yu realized, that she feared Rong Zhi the most in her heart, more than anyone else she saw or met since her rebirth. Whether it were the toady and fawning Liu Se and Mo Xiang, the haughty but forbearing Huan Yuan, the strong but consequently easy to break Jiang Yan, or the snob Shen Guangzuo that jumped sides, all these people had at least one aspect of them that could be seen through. As long as one had something he wanted, it wouldn’t be difficult to find his weakness. But Rong Zhi was different; he seemed like he didn’t need anything, didn’t care about anything, didn’t even want freedom……
It wouldn’t be strange if Rong Zhi was an idiot who knew nothing, wanted nothing and wasted his days. But his thoughts were so keen and thorough, and he dealt with matters so perfectly and orderly; even Huan Yuan had wanted to have a good relationship with him. How could a person like this, be willing to spend his life as such an awkward position in the palace of a princess with such a bad reputation?
But recalling that “Feng Qiu Huang” again, Chu Yu had an unbelievable sense of absurdity: Rong Zhi, could he really be in love with the Princess of Shanyin? No one would want to believe that. Or, did this “Feng Qiu Huang”, have some other deep meaning in it?
Aware that she had been standing by the entrance for too long, Chu Yu pursed her lips, pushed open the door, and stepped into the garden.
Among the refreshing air in the garden, under a buttonwood tree, on top of the bluestone platform, sat and leaned a leisure figure.
Rong Zhi’s white clothing spread across the stone platform like clouds. A bamboo scroll was set beside, and he leaned on the buttonwood, his usually profound and bottomless eyes closed. His sleeping position seemed completely unguarded.
Chu Yu thought for a while, then softened her steps and walked towards the pavilion behind the woods. But when she passed by Rong Zhi, she stepped on something, and instantly the crisp sound of stones colliding sounded in the woods. Startled, before Chu Yu could make another move, Rong Zhi had already awoken.
“Ah, it’s the princess.” Rong Zhi rubbed his sleepy eyes lazily. He didn’t stand up or salute when he saw it was Chu Yu, instead just smiled: “Does the Princess need anything, coming to my place?”
After a slight hesitation, Chu Yu blurted out, “I want to borrow some poetry collections to read.”
Rong Zhi was a little surprised, and looked at her with an inexplicable expression, “I remember, that the Princess seemed to not like reading poetry or literature before.”
In that moment, the springtime and verdant garden felt somewhat chilly under all the unspoken words.
Not even blinking an eye, Chu Yu said casually, “I want to read them now, is that not okay?” She knew that Rong Zhi had already started suspecting, but as long as she didn’t leave definite evidence, there was nothing to be nervous or afraid of.
After a short period of silence, Rong Zhi smiled: “Just that if the Princess wants to look for them herself, it might be not too easy. Rather, the Princess should let me help her.”
Coming to Snow Shower Garden’s library, Chu Yu finally understood, what Rong Zhi meant when he said not too easy.
1. Yuan song: 元曲, a style/form of poetry popular during the Yuan Dynasty.↩
2. “Feng Qiu Huang”: 凤求凰, a song Sima Xiangru, a scholar, used to express his love to Zhuo Wenjun, a beautiful girl. After hearing this song, Zhuo Wenjun sneaked out to meet Sima Xiangru and fell for him, then eloped with him. There’s another footnote on this song in Ch.19 which I forgot to put in sry… it has some other information y’all should go check it out↩