Let Me Pursue You – Chapter 13
Chapter 13 Exploring the Countryside At Night
In the West Market there were manymerchants, gold and silver jewelry, countless new playthings, the whole journey Yuan Ci Xian was stopping here stopping there. At first, she chatted with Lu Shi Qing from time to time, taking the opportunity to gain a good impression. Later, she only remembered to gather exotic treasures, and casually passing over all kind of objects to the back, forgetting for a moment that this person was likely to be the future Imperial Teacher.
An hour later, when Yuan Ci Xian came back to her senses, Lu Shi Qing’s hands were already full, and even the crook of his arms were hung several strings of red and emerald gems. His long phoenix eyes narrowed slightly, showing that he was trying his best to endure.
Because Lu Shi Qing didn’t have time to change his official uniform, the passers-by on all sides casted astonish glances — this young lady is so amazing, she actually using such a big official as her attendant!
Yuan Ci Xian looked at them, and then at the gilded four-curved silver bowl in her hand, thinking that Lu Shi Qing might just put her head on it and leave, so she gave up the plan to have it.
She leaned in front of him, showed some flattering smiles, took some of the items out of his hands, and then put the gems on the crook of his left and right arms back to a uniform color and position, and then raised her head and said: “Assistant Minister Lu, let’s go home. I’ll find a shop to store these items, and then send someone to pick them up later.”
Lu Shi Qing waited patiently for her to place these bits and pieces, and after finishing, he couldn’t wait to part ways with her immediately, then walked towards street gate for a while. When passing through rows of silk fabrics, he stopped and said: “Lu still has some important things to do, County Princess, please go back first.”
Yuan Ci Xian turned around and saw him stopping in front of a silk shop called “Jinxiu Zhuang”. The word “Ji” was written on the signboard at the door.
Recalling the way he looked at the Ji family’s caravan before, she pointed to the plaque: “If what you said is to visit this shop, I also want to go and have a look.”
Lu Shi Qing sighed, did not say yes, only turned his head and crossed the doorstep first.
Yuan Ci Xian smiled and followed.
At this time, there were not many customers in the shop, but the shop assistants were all there, working together to move the big wooden box, busy back and forth. Looking at it, it seemed they were placing the batch of goods that had just arrived.
Seeing Lu Shi Qing’s attire, the shopkeeper knew that it was a nobleman who came, so he quickly put aside the chores at hand, handed the account book to the accountant, and bowed to greet him: “This honorable husband is…” in the middle of his words, he noticed Yuan Ci Xian’s unmarried women’s hair bun, quickly changed his words, “The young lady behind you come to buy clothes?”
Lu Shi Qing didn’t break the stage, looked back at Yuan Ci Xian, and said to the shopkeeper lightly: “Just take the new silk that come to the store today and pick it out.”
The shopkeeper’s face was embarrassed: “Master, it’s really unfortunate, this batch of silks has been reserved by a group of Hu merchants…”
Lu Shi Qing twitched the corner of his mouth: “If I offer three times the price, are you willing to sell it to me?”
As soon as he said this, the expressions of the people around immediately became vigilant.
The shopkeeper choked, his eyes flickered a few times, and then said with a bitter face: “Master, it’s not that this little one doesn’t want to, it’s just in business matter, there’s first come first served principle.”
Lu Shi Qing smiled: “In that case, I won’t make thing difficult for the shopkeeper.”
But Yuan Ci Xian stepped forward suddenly: “But I want to make thing difficult, what should I do?”
Lu Shi Qing glanced at her.
She glanced back at him, then said with a smile to the shopkeeper: “Shopkeeper, this first-come-first-served argument of course is up to you, but I have come all the way here, my legs are sore, and your assistants dangled it in front of me with such fanfare. If I can’t look at the silk in the box to feast my eyes, it will really make my heart itch. I’ll just take a quick look, and it won’t hinder your business, right?”
The shopkeeper was already old and his hair was gray, but Yuan Ci Xian’s cute smiles was exactly the same as the ones she used to show to Lu Shi Qing.
Lu Shi Qing suddenly felt that her chattering was especially noisy, so he turned around and left without saying goodbye.
Yuan Ci Xian said “Hey”, anxiously grabbed his sleeve: “You are not allowed to go!” Then she lowered her voice, “The errand assigned by His Majesty will not be finish until I say so.”
He frowned then looked at the sleeves that were wrinkled by her tugging, shook her hand away, took a deep breath, and stood on the spot with his hands behind his back.
Yuan Ci Xian didn’t care much about his impoliteness, and continued to grind the shopkeeper until the old man was sweating, nodded and bowed while saying: “Yes, yes! Please wait a moment, Young Lady, this little one will arrange it for you.”
She turned her head and glanced at the two shop assistants who happened to be coming this way, her eyes fell on the two people’s strenuous steps, she pointed to the wooden box in their hands and said: “There is no need for the shopkeeper to arrange, I will just take a look at this box.”
The shopkeeper smiled apologetically, beckoning the two of them. The two shop assistants looked at each other, then worked together to bring the box, and carefully placed it on the ground.
The moment the box fell to the ground, Yuan Ci Xian slightly leaned one of her ears.
Unexpectedly, as soon as the shopkeeper opened the box, someone rushed over from the back and whispered in his ear: “Shopkeeper, the Hu merchant has arrived and is in a hurry to see the goods.”
Yuan Ci Xian listened to this sentence, she glanced into the half-open box.
The shopkeeper turned around and closed the box, wiping off his sweat: “Young Lady, I’m really sorry, the merchants are here… You see, how about…”
“Why don’t I come back next time.” She smiled, saying it as if she was not persistent before.
Seeing that she had finished looking, Lu Shi Qing walked away.
Yuan Ci Xian didn’t know why he made such a face, trotted a few steps to follow and said, “Assistant Minister Lu, wait a minute.”
He stopped and looked back at her.
She didn’t seem to have any other plan, told him to wait here, then went across the street, and when she came back, she had two oil-paper bags in her hand, and handed one of them to him, saying: “You didn’t have lunch today, I’ll give you this flatbread to pad your stomach on the way back.”
Seeing that he seemed to be refusing, she immediately said, “Whether you eat or not is up to you, but whether I give it or not is my courtesy.”
Lu Shi Qing glanced down, still said: “No need.”
She had no choice but to bring out Emperor Huining again: “Take it, then you can report back.”
He frowned and took the oil-paper bag: “Well then, I’ll take my leave.” With that, he left her alone and walked to the street gate.
Looking at his back, Yuan Ci Xian curled her lips, and when she returned to Yuan Mansion, she hurriedly ordered Shi Cui to help her change into plain clothes.
Shi Cui glanced at the sky outside, and while untying her cumbersome dress, she said worriedly: “Young Lady, you just came back and want to go out again? In less than an hour, the sun will set.”
She nodded indifferently: “Assistant Minister Lu seems to be investigating some case, I’ll go and have a look. If you’re worried, just come with me.”
Yuan Ci Xian probably guessed there was something fishy with Wuxing’s Ji family’s silks.
Just now at Jinxiu Zhuang she took a quick glance, she checked the depth of the box with her eyes, and didn’t feel that such a number of silks could make the guys who moved the box struggle like that. Comparing the outer height of the box, she felt that there might be a secret layer hidden underneath.
Recalling the extra careful action of the man when putting down the box, and the crisp sound when the box hit the ground, she thought it might contain something similar to copper or iron.
Of course, apart from this, what was more important was Lu Shi Qing’s attitude.
She didn’t care what kind of fishy thing this silk company had. She wanted to know what Lu Shi Qing checked it for. If she guessed correctly, he would probably go to find out next.
Shi Cui said: “Of course this maid will go with you. But afraid Master will be angry if he finds out.”
“What are you afraid of? I’ll just leave a note.” Yuan Ci Xian carelessly pulled out a head ornament and asked, “Is that bag of flatbread done?”
The two bags of flatbread she bought were coated with some rare sauces, which had a unique and strong taste. If Lu Shi Qing carried it back to the carriage, there would be some traces to follow.
Shi Cui nodded: “Jian Zhi has taken Xiao Hei to sniff, and follow along the route from the West Market, if it goes well, we should be able to find Assistant Minister Lu by following the smell. You can wait at ease.”
After the news came back from Jian Zhi, telling the whereabouts of the flatbread, Yuan Ci Xian slipped out of the mansion with Shi Cui.
But she eventually saw the oil-paper bag in a bush not far from Xishifang Gate.
Yuan Ci Xian looked down at the black dog with its mouth full of sauce, and choked with anger.
This Lu Shi Qing really… doesn’t know what’s good or bad, doesn’t know how to appreciate kindness, doesn’t understand a woman’s heart!
Jian Zhi on the side looked embarrassed: “Young Lady, can only find out until here, it’s this maid’s fault.”
She shook her head, looking at the sky in dismay, if she knew it, she would have taken a risk and followed him directly.
Shi Cui said: “Young Lady, since Assistant Minister Lu is on guard, we probably won’t be able to keep up, so it’s better to go back to the mansion. If it’s late, Master would be worried.”
Yuan Ci Xian nodded, turned around and was about to get into the carriage when she saw a caravan came out from Xishifang Gate.
It was a group of foreigners in brightly colored clothes, which looked like. The camel riders in front were all tall men, and at the end of the team, there were a few veiled girls who looked like maids.
The mules and horses pulled up a cart full of goods, and there were a few sandalwood wooden boxes inside that were very familiar. The emblem of Wuxing’s Ji family was engraved on the corners of the box. It was the same batch that Yuan Ci Xian had seen in Jinxiu Zhuang.
Many hours had passed since the shop assistant said “Hu merchants are here”, but she didn’t find it strange. Thinking about it, the shopkeeper didn’t intend to show her the goods at all, but just asked the shop assistant to put on a show as an excuse. The real Hu merchants should have arrived later.
Yuan Ci Xian sighed with a smile.
Lu Shi Qing oh Lu Shi Qing, man’s calculations are not as good as heaven’s calculation.
After a stick of incense, Yuan Ci Xian and Shi Cui mixed into the Huihu caravan, Jian Zhi was stay behind to settle the two maids who were knocked out and deal with the aftermath.
The twilight was dim, and the bloody sun hung high in the sky.
The meandering caravan departs from the Jin Guan Gate and slowly headed west. Yuan Ci Xian covered her face with a tulle, and walked to an inconspicuous position at the end of the team. The men with high noses and deep eyes at the front sang along with the crisp camel bells. As for what they were singing, she couldn’t understand. It was probably Huihu language.
Everyone took the ordinary road at first, but when they were far away from the city gate, they changed path and went to a remote area with many twists and turns. Yuan Ci Xian once marched with his father, so this journey was not difficult.
When it was dark, the caravan settled in a slum in the countryside.
The houses in this area were low and dense, and they were all simple mudbrick houses. After the Huihu arrived, they moved the goods one by one and transported them to a cottage.
Yuan Ci Xian followed the rest of the maids to fish in troubled waters, built a fire to boil water in front of a mudbrick house, and waited until a few leading men relaxed their vigilance, sat by the fire playing and singing, drinking and roasting meat. She then signaled Shi Cui to let her stay here, and then quietly went around to the back of the house.
She had roughly noted down the location of the cottage just now, she looked up and found the right place, avoided the guards in front of the door, stooped to a half-opened rear window, tied the obstructing skirt into knots on her calf, and just about to jump in when something licked her ankle.
This touch felt hot and humid, and it was still so thick that her scalp went numb and she was about to jump up, but when she turned around, she saw that it was Xiao Hei.
He was sticking out his big tongue, looking up at her very cheekily.
“…” Why did this silly dog follow!
Yuan Ci Xian swallowed a mouthful of saliva to suppress the shock, actually realized that a scary dog could indeed scare people to death. She gave it a booing gesture, then pointed down, signaling it to stay here and not run around, and whether it understood or not, she turned around and jumped into the room.
Unexpectedly, before her feet hit the ground, she was flip over by a pair of hands that came out of nowhere, causing her to spin around for a while.
TN: I don’t know whether Xiao Hei (which means little black) is a girl or a boy.