Let Me Pursue You – Chapter 12
Chapter 12 Chang’an West Market
Lu Shi Qing left Zichen Palace with sullen face, followed Yuan Ci Xian without saying a word all the way to the spacious palace road, then saw her suddenly stop, turned around and asked with a smile: “Assistant Minister Lu, where are we going?”
He raised his eyelids “As County Princess pleased.”
Yuan Ci Xian pondered for a while: “Then, how about going to your house? I’m the most pleased.”
Seeing that his eyes were a little cold, she quickly said: “I’m just kidding.” After that, she continued to move forward.
Lu Shi Qing followed, and after a while saw her stop again, turned her head and leaned her face to his ear, and asked in a low voice: “Assistant Minister Lu, I have a question. I have wanted to ask you for a long time, but I have never had a chance—there are rumors outside that you are not good with women and like men, is it true or not?”
If it’s true, tell her in advance, so she would not waste her effort.
Lu Shi Qing tilted his head, wanted to stab her with his eyes, but saw her chin was about to touch his shoulder, and said with restraint: “County Princess, your makeup seems to be falling off to my shoulder.”
He was used to talking poisonously, and wanted to deliberately say something ugly to let her behave, but unexpectedly her face was thicker than the wall, and instead of retreating, she froze for a moment, then smiled and said: “Oh, I’m sorry, I’ll clean it up for you.”
Then, symbolically blew the unseen white dust on his shoulder a few times.
These few breaths accurately sprayed on Lu Shi Qing’s earlobe. His pupils shrank, he shuddered from the itch, and subconsciously took a step away, looking embarrassed.
Yuan Ci Xian was taken aback. She was unwilling to be beaten by his words, so she did those shameless things, but the effect was so unexpected. She raised her eyes and stared at the suspicious blush at the base of his ear, and suddenly felt that he didn’t have to answer.
She knew the answer.
She clapped her hands in a good mood: “It’s clean, Assistant Minister Lu, let’s go.”
Yuan Ci Xian said that she wanted to go to the West Market.
In the history of Great Zhou, there was an emperor who stipulated that officials above fifth rank were not allowed to enter the market in order to prevent collusion between officials and businessmen. Later, the rules were loosened overtime, and now there were no such explicit regulations. It was just any official who often went to the market, could still be accused by some people with ulterior motive, and might still attract suspicion.
Although Lu Shi Qing was young, he had accumulated a lot of political enemies. He couldn’t help suspecting that Yuan Ci Xian was trying to play some trick.
Of course, he was not actually afraid.
The West City of Chang’an was quite prosperous, with rows of shops and rare goods. The streets were bustling with people and traffic, in addition to ordinary people, there were also many business travellers, including foreign visitors from afar.
Yuan Ci Xian had not been here for seven years.
When they were already near, she saw a caravan parked in front of the street gate, and was stopped by a young gatekeeper from entering. The leading man was negotiating with him, with an expression of displeasure between his words.
This gatekeeper was also young and vigorous, insisted on opening the box to inspect the goods.
The two sides were in a stalemate, and the road was blocked. Impatient with waiting, she stopped the carriage and told the maid to stay here, and walked forward first, drilled into the crowd like a fish swimming.
Lu Shi Qing was sitting in a carriage behind, and when he saw this, he followed her down, walked behind her, and struggled to avoid left and right so as not to bump into people pushing and crowding around.
When the two arrived near the street gate, the stalemate in the front ended.
An old official rushed over and smacked the young man’s head: “You dare to stop the people of Wuxing’s Ji family! Can you afford to delay the nobleman’s business?”
Yuan Ci Xian who listened to this, turned around, and asked curiously: “Assistant Minister Lu, what is the origin of Wuxing’s Ji family?”
Lu Shi Qing turned sideways to avoid a sweaty peddler, and took the time to answer her: “A famous silk business in Jiangnan, which once produced rare treasures as tribute to the palace, and its reputation in Chang’an is good.”
He was absent-minded when he said this, and he didn’t look at Yuan Ci Xian, his eyes kept falling on the caravan’s goods.
She looked at him, then at the group of people, and asked strangely: “Do you like the silk of the Ji family so much?”
Lu Shi Qing withdrew his gaze and didn’t answer.
Yuan Ci Xian didn’t pay much attention to it, continued to walk, and made a detour until they reached a snack shop. On the plaque of the shop, there were several flamboyant big characters written: Xiaoji Wonton.
She stepped into the door of the shop first, chose a small square table by the window and sat down, waved to Lu Shi Qing who was standing still, motioned for him to sit opposite her, then called the waiter and ordered two bowls of wontons.
Lu Shi Qing stepped forward, looked down at the bench in front of him, but did not move for a long time.
Seeing this, Yuan Ci Xian took out a brocade handkerchief from her sleeve, got up and wiped his stool, and then said, “Assistant Minister Lu, please sit?”
He glanced at her indifferently, probably not believe that her handkerchief was very clean, but he finally resisted and sat down.
Yuan Ci Xian put away the handkerchief and returned to her seat.
When the two bowls of wontons were served, Lu Shi Qing looked down, and frowned, “I…”
Before he could finish speaking, he was interrupted: “I know you don’t want to eat it.” Yuan Ci Xian smiled and glanced at many costumers on all sides, “I want to eat two bowls but I’m embarrassed, can you cover it up for me?”
Lu Shi Qing said nothing, glanced at the two bowls of wontons on the table with disgust, then turned his head out of the window.
Yuan Ci Xian put her head down and started eating.
The white porcelain bowl was filled with chopped green onions, the aroma assailed the nostrils, the wonton skin was smooth and tender, and the meat filling was fat but not greasy. She ate heartily one mouthful at a time, and soon emptied a bowl, not even a drop of soup was left, and without saying a word, she quickly put the empty bowl in front of Lu Shi Qing, swapped with his bowl, the series of actions was very natural and very smooth.
Lu Shi Qing didn’t bother to speak, just pretended he didn’t see it, and continued to look out the window, watching a dim sum shop guy steaming steamed buns.
He had been in Chang’an for many years, but in order to avoid suspicion he seldom came to West Market, never idly look at such a scene, and now he just used it to pass the time.
A tray of steamed buns came out of the bamboo steamer, filled with hot air, and each snow-white ball could be vaguely seen lying on the tray cloth, looking soft and tender from afar.
While Lu Shi Qing was looking at the steamed buns, Yuan Ci Xian was looking at him. Her belly was slightly full, and she ate the second bowl much slower, so she just looked at him while she had nothing to do.
The noble ladies of Great Zhou were very critical when looking at men, their faces should be handsome but not effeminate, their bodies should be tall and strong but not rough.
Looking at the person opposite, his face was like a crown jade, his lips were like smeared with vermilion, but his facial features were deep, sharp and angular. His body was solid, but by no means burly and thick, on the contrary, he was as slender as if he had been tailored. Especially the narrow waist in the middle, pinched by the gold and jade belt, it looked quite muscular.
To be fair, Yuan Ci Xian felt that Lu Shi Qing’s outer appearance satisfied all the fantasies of the young ladies in Chang’an.
As for her, anyway, it’s quite a meal.
When Lu Shi Qing looked away from the bun shop, he happened to catch a glimpse of Yuan Ci Xian’s eyes.
She actually drinking soup while staring at his waist… wait, staring at his waist?
A string in his head made a “buzzing” sound, the whole person was stupefied. It felt like ants were slowly crawling across his lower abdomen, itchy and numb, his scalp was about to explode, and he couldn’t help but straighten his chest and stomach, sitting upright. After he done it, he felt that it was wrong, and wanted to cover it up, but because he had nothing at hand, he had no choice but to stare at her.
Yuan Ci Xian was totally unaware, and stared at his waist while chewing with relish.
Lu Shi Qing couldn’t bear it anymore and said: “Dare to ask County Princess, are you eating wontons or…”
or… eating him!
Yuan Ci Xian really didn’t notice the sullen look in his eyes, and was taken aback by his yelling, half a wonton hung on her mouth.
Luckily her aptitude was good so she didn’t choke. Under his scorching gaze, she slowly stuffed the half wonton into her mouth, chewed, swallowed, pointed to herself and asked, “I… don’t look like I’m eating a wonton?”
Lu Shi Qing choked, and was about to speak, when he suddenly heard a voice not far behind him: “…Yes, my old lady wants a bowl of wontons, please put more green onions.”
He froze all over, subconsciously look back.
Yuan Ci Xian didn’t understand, so she followed looking over. The so-called “Old Lady” over there sensed their gazes and was also puzzled, then she raised her head.
The six eyes were facing each other.
The person who came was none other than Xuan shi.
Yes, Lu Shi Qing remembered. This Xiaoji Wonton was a time-honored brand in Chang’an. It was once praised by the late emperor. Not only the ordinary people, but also many nobles loved its taste. From time to time, many honorable people came here, or hired the master to come to the house. His mother was also a frequent visitor of the shop.
His expression suddenly became subtle. Xuan shi’s expression on the other side was also very complicated, first shocked, then suddenly realized, and then showed a little… excitement?
Excited about what?
Yuan Ci Xian was at a loss. After trying to figure out the looks of the two of them, she finally came to her senses.
Lu Shi Qing glanced at Yuan Ci Xian, got up and walked towards Xuan shi, and said in a low voice: “Mother, if you want to eat wontons, just ask someone to come over, why do you still…?”
Xuan shi came to buy autumn clothes for him, then stopped by here to have a bowl of wontons after she finished. But she had no intention of answering him at the moment. Seeing him stubbornly blocking Yuan Ci Xian in front of her, she waved her hand to signal him not to be an eyesore, and said, “Go away, what are you doing blocking Mother!”
Lu Shi Qing said with a headache: “Don’t misunderstand …”
Before he finished speaking, he heard a crisp voice behind him: “Old Lady Lu, are you looking for me?” Yuan Ci Xian poked her head out from behind him, and looked at Xuan shi with a smile.
Lu Shi Qing moved a step and blocked her again: “Mother, you go back to the house first.”
Yuan Ci Xian got up, walked around him and came to Xuan shi: “Old Lady Lu, you probably don’t recognize me, I am Yuan family’s Ci Xian.”
She introduced herself without any airs. Xuan shi‘s eyes lit up when she saw the person, nodded and said, “This old woman have seen Lancang County Princess.”
She waved her hand: “You can just call me Ci Xian.” Then she stretched out her hand and said with a smile, “You want to sit with me and Assistant Minister Lu?”
Xuan shi nodded, and glanced at her son who was treated as air: “This old woman will not be polite.”
She followed Yuan Ci Xian, sat down on the bench, glanced at the empty bowl on the table, seemed astonished, and looked back at her son.
Of course Lu Shi Qing knew what she was wondering about, he had never used bowls and chopsticks outside, so naturally it was impossible to make an exception because of Yuan Ci Xian. He hurried forward and explained: “It’s not… Mother, these are…”
“Assistant Minister Lu accompanied me to walk around the streets, and was very hungry.” Yuan Ci Xian got ahead to invert the black and white.
Lu Shi Qing gritted his back molars and looked at her, knowing that she was embarrassed to eat two bowls of wontons in one breath. So he endured it and didn’t expose her, took a deep breath, turned his head away and stop talking.
Xuan shi looked at his son, and then at Yuan Ci Xian, the smile on her face getting bigger.
Yuan Ci Xian didn’t move her chopsticks first, and waited for Xuan shi‘s wontons to be served before she said to her, “Old Lady Lu, you also like green onions?”
Lu Shi Qing glanced at her unkindly. It’s almost too obvious. She finished coaxing Emperor Huining with her clever mouth, and was she going to coax his mother too?
Unfortunately Xian shi was also the same as Emperor Huining, didn’t realize that she deliberately struck up a conversation, and nodded with a smile: “Yes, this soup must be mixed with chopped green onions to be fragrant.”
Yuan Ci Xian wrinkled her nose, as if she was sniffing something, and then asked: “But you don’t seem to eat ginger?”
Xuan shi was a little surprised: “How does County Princess know?”
“I can smell it, there is no ginger in your wonton stuffing.”
Lu Shi Qing turned his head, looked down at the bowl of wontons, and frowned. Xuan shi indeed didn’t like ginger, but this wonton wrapper was wrapped tightly, the smell of chopped green onion was also strong, and she didn’t come close to smell it, so how could she smell what was missing in the stuffing?
Could it be that she secretly checked his mother.
Xuan shi laughed: “County Princess is really good.”
Yuan Ci Xian smiled back at her: “Please eat it while it’s hot.” After that, afraid the other person would feel restrained, she moved her chopsticks first.
Lu Shi Qing sat silently on the side, waiting for the two of them to eat up the wontons, and said goodbye eagerly, then said: “Mother, son still have some official errand, so cannot send you back to the house.”
When he said the word “official errand”, he took a hard look at Yuan Ci Xian.
But Xuan shi didn’t seem to understand, instead looked gratifiedly at her son, her face seemed to say “Mother also an experienced person, I’m totally understand”.
Lu Shi Qing sent her away while holding his forehead, then looked back to see Yuan Ci Xian looking at him with a smile, his face looked impatient.
But she didn’t care and said: “Assistant Minister Lu, I’m so full, can you go shopping with me?”
He wanted to say that she ate a whole twenty-four wontons, how could she not full? But due to His Majesty’s order, he still endured it, motioned for her step out first, and then followed.
TN: eat wonton or him? hmm… both!