Chapter 399 - Always A Tael More
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The veiled lady hooked her svelte form around the cloth before gliding down to the marble floor of the round stage. The curtains concealing the stage were simultaneously drawn open, revealing the lady and her fluttering green gauze dress. The movement of her clothing gave the impression that she had brought the wind with her; a fairy descending to the mortal world. Underneath the face veil, that barely visible face held the aura of Xi Shi. [1.Xi Shi was one of the renowned Four Beauties of ancient China. She was said to have lived during the end of the Spring and Autumn period in Zhuji, the capital of the ancient State of Yue. Her full name was Shi Yiguang. ]No wonder so many men were crazy about her. Even as a woman, Ji Yunshu could not help but admire her.
When Jing Rong realised that Ji Yunshu was staring at Yu’in, he said, “It’s merely skin-deep. To this Prince, she’s nothing compared to someone I know.”
She gave him a side-eye, “It may only be skin-deep, but aren’t all the men obsessed with the appearance?”
“I think you missed the main point.”
“This Prince said, she’s nothing compared to someone I know.” Jing Rong spoke with a firmer tone, emphasizing his statement. Ji Yunshu was not a stupid person. Of course she understood. This was the same line Fu Erkang had said to Yongqi in My Fair Princess. [2. My Fair Princess, also known as Return of the Pearl Princess or Princess Returning Pearl (Chinese: 還珠格格), is a 1998–1999 television costume drama jointly produced in Taiwan and Hunan Broadcasting System in Mainland China.]
However, she was not in the mood to engage in sweet talk, instead turning her gaze back to the stage. Mother Bao was presenting Yu’in to the crowd with an assortment of compliments.
“Everyone here knows how good Yu’in’s dancing is. I, Mother Bao, am most reluctant to let go of my favorite Yu’in. Thus, gentlemen, please seize this rare opportunity; the highest bidder will win.”
Just as she finished, someone shouted, “I will pay a hundred taels!”
What? A hundred taels? You want to buy Yu’in with a hundred taels? Are you here to host a stand-up comedy? Madam Bao rolled her eyes at that man in disdain, directly reprimanding him, “I say, Young Master Zhao, our Yu’in is definitely worth more than a hundred taels. If you cannot afford it, please leave as soon as possible.” Commotion started among the people present. All of them regarded the man with disdain and ridicule.
“Hurry up and give that one hundred taels to beggars. Don’t embarrass yourself here.”
“Don’t come here if you can’t pay.”
“Poor kid, you’re not compatible with our Yu’in. She’s mine.”
The criticising voices swelled like a huge wave. Ji Yunshu was at a loss of words hearing all of the negativity. Mystified, she asked Jing Rong, “Do all men act like this?”
“It’s not ‘all men’, it’s just them. The Prince is different from those evildoers.”
“...” Ji Yunshu pretended that she never asked anything.
At this moment, people down there started bidding again.
“I offer one thousand taels.”
“One thousand and five hundred taels.”
“Two thousand taels.”
“Two thousand and five hundred taels.”
“Three thousand taels.”
“Seven thousand taels.” The bidding price suddenly jumped.
Hearing the offer for seven thousand taels, everyone downstairs lifted their heads to look at the second floor. Young Master Zhang, who put in the bid was sitting at the table beside Ji Yunshu with his legs crossed. He conceitedly scanned through the people below before turning his lascivious gaze towards Yu’in. Rubbing his hands and licking his lips, he looked as if he wished to pounce her instantly.
When Mother Bao heard the number, she covered her mouth with her fan and her eyes shone. “Seven thousand taels, Young Master Zhang bid with seven thousand taels. Can anyone go any higher?”
At this, everyone nervously began to count in their minds, calculating whether they had enough in their hoard to be able to pay more than seven thousand taels. Eventually, all of the people exhaled in disappointment. All of them had made a wasted trip!
All of sudden…
“Seven thousand and one taels.”
What? Attracted by the voice, everyone looked up and their gaze landed on Ji Yunshu who was seated at the second floor. One tael more?
This… Jing Rong kicked Ji Yunshu under the table, “What are you up to?”
She stroked her fake moustache. “Helping Miss Yu’in to redeem herself!”
“Look at me, do I look like someone who has seven thousand and one taels? If I am to pay one tael, then I am still capable.”
“I’m bidding for you! Miss Yu’in is as beautiful as a fairy. If you marry her, even if you treat her as a vase, you could derive pleasure just from looking at her.”
Jing Rong’s face turned sour. Irritated, he hissed, “Ji Yunshu, this Prince will remember this. When it’s time, you’ll pay for this in bed.”
Eww! She was dumbstruck.
At this moment, Young Master Zhang from the next table got anxious. He got up from his stool and shouted, “Seven thousand and one hundred taels.”
“Seven thousand one hundred and one taels.” Ji Yunshu yelled.
“Seven thousand and two hundred taels.”
“Seven thousand two hundred and one taels.”
Always a tael more.
Young Master Zhang was on the verge of falling apart. He charged towards Ji Yunshu and smacked the table. “Rascal, you are challenging me!”
“Young Master, didn’t Mother Bao just say? The highest bidder wins. First, I didn’t use your silver. Second, I didn’t force you to fight with me. It’s a fair competition between us, with neither side owing the other.” She shrugged.
“You’re obviously doing it on purpose. You bid a tael higher than me. If you’re capable, offer ten thousand taels.”
“Young Master Zhang, it’s better for you to return to your seat. You and I will bid fairly. However, I have nothing but money. No matter what price you bid, I’ll always bid a tael more than you.” Ji Yunshu sneered as she raised a single finger.
“You…” Young Master Zhang could not hold his anger anymore. He clenched his fist and was about to start swinging. But when he had barely lifted his fist, it was immediately grasped by Jing Rong, and twisted backwards around his own neck. It was so painful that Young Master Zhang’s face crumpled in agony, and he involuntarily landed with one knee on the floor.
“Ow, ow, ow…” His tears streamed down his cheeks.
The iciness was shown between Jing Rong’s brows was about to erupt. He said, “You dare to touch my person? You’re trying to court death.”
“You… Who are you? Do you know who am I? I’m…I'm Zhang Zhongyi. My father is Zhang Qidong, the general from the Ministry of War.”
“So it’s Zhang Qidong, the general from Ministry of War. I was wondering who was capable of raising such a dog like you.” His tongue was unmercilessly poisonous.
Zhang Zhongyi was exasperated and hurt. His other hand pointed at Jing Rong, “How dare you insult my father? You don’t want to live anymore?”
Jing Rong looked at him in disdain and increased the strength of his grip. His expression grew even colder. He hissed, “That old geezer Zhang Qidong stole from the government and violated the law, abusing his power to accept bribes. You better inform your dad to return all the money he has taken. He should enjoy his last days of freedom. A month later, the Ministry of Personnel will submit the list of corrupt officials. The first one to be punished will be your dad, Zhang Qidong.” As he finished his sentence, he threw Zhang Zhongyi heavily on the ground!
Young Master Zhang was absolutely dumbfounded, “Who… Who are you?”
“You don’t deserve to know. Anyway, the things your dad has done will definitely be investigated by the Ministry of Personnel.”
Young Master Zhang sat on the floor with glassy eyes, his forehead covered in cold sweat.
“How? Are you still bidding?”
Bid my ass! His dad is losing his power, how can he pay seven thousand taels or more now?
Everyone else was bickering, but no one else made another bid.
Seeing that the atmosphere was turning sour, Mother Bao hurriedly ordered someone to carry Young Master Zhang down from second floor and back to his residence. “It’s done, it’s done. The deal is sealed with Young Master Liang from upstairs who bid seven thousand, two hundred and one taels. From now on, Yu’in belongs to the Liang Family.” Mother Bao said. Everyone thought it was a pity. They were envious and jealous.
Yu’in, who had not spoken a word, lifted her head and looked at Ji Yunshu, then bowed slightly in acknowledgement. Ji Yunshu smiled at her, then walked to Jing Rong’s side, “Congratulations, she’s yours.”
“Miss Yu’in is now yours.”
Jing Rong clenched his teeth.
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