Chapter 436 - It's As Real As It Gets
Original and most updated translations are from volare. Please don't read elsewhere and stop supporting theft.
“Understood, we’ll prepare that immediately for you young masters.” Sanniang turned to the waiter. “Why are you still standing here? Bring our guests upstairs - make sure everything’s in place.”
“Yes ma’am!” The waiter answered, throwing his towel over his shoulder. “Young masters, this way to the second floor.”
Jing Rong headed up after him with Ji Yunshu close behind. However, she was blocked by the curvaceous Sanniang on her way up; she narrowed her eyes seductively at Ji Yunshu, cosying up as she remarked, “This young master… smells nice.” She wrinkled her nose and even licked her lips!
Ji Yunshu felt a cold chill run down her spine. She circled around and hurried upstairs, leaving Sanniang to stare after her with a smile on her face. Mo Ruo stopped next to Sanniang unexpectedly, eyeing her from head to toe. Sanniang was elated, uninhibitedly placing her hands on Mo Ruo’s shoulders. “Has this young master taken a liking to Sanniang?”
Mo Ruo laughed, “Miss, I think your body’s weak. Your limbs look normal but you’re actually losing strength, and your eyes - they’re cloudy, unfocused, all these point to symptoms of a weak constitution.”
“Young master sure loves to joke.”
Mo Ruo swerved away from her clutches. “It’s no joke.”
Sanniang almost fell, but she was not troubled. Instead, her smile grew wider. “Looks like the young master is curious about me.”
“Wrong. You’re not this young master’s type. I just think… that the wine on your body is quite fragrant.” He stepped upstairs.
Sanniang was not insulted, instead shouting at Mo Ruo, who was already upstairs, “If the young master finds the wine fragrant, why not challenge this Sanniang? If you win, I promise you’ll be well rewarded!”
She was calling out after nobody.
Just moments later, Zhao Huai and his men, then the opera troupe, entered the inn, filling it up in a heartbeat. Sanniang made her way behind the counter as she totalled up her potential earnings with her abacus, fanning herself with her other hand - she looked quite charming.
The waiter had finished his task and he squeezed right up next to her. “Sanniang, what is with today? There’re so many great targets present - those men who just went upstairs had so many trunks that might be filled with treasure; should we…”
He felt a thud on his head; Sanniang whacked him right side up with her fan and glared at him, “Do as you’re told. Don’t cause any unnecessary trouble.”
The waiter was surprised. “Sanniang - those people are goldmines, you wouldn’t have any reason to leave them alone!”
“Are you dumb?” She lifted her fingers off her abacus, pointing towards the second floor, “Didn’t you see for yourself that those people are not to be messed with? The first batch of customers were all highly skilled in martial arts; no matter how quick we are, we are no match for their swords. The second batch of customers all look feral, ferocious - they might not be as skilled as the first group, but they’re all uncouth men, maybe even those from the hidden gangs. Do you even dare to go near them?”
I don’t dare, but - “Sanniang, what about the last group? The old ones are too old, the young ones are very young - I doubt they have much skill. What’s more, they have so many trunks - if we open just one or two, it’ll be enough to feed us for several months.”
Thud! He got another hit from Sanniang, “I’m warning you - don’t you dare do anything tonight. I’d rather we give this fortune up than bring misfortune to us. There are martial arts experts scattered throughout this inn - if you really cause any trouble, I can’t help you.”
The waiter felt cheated of his potential wealth, but as he glanced upstairs, he saw Jing Rong’s guards at every corner and every turn, staring down at him. The waiter gulped and slinked away. “I’ll get them to prepare the dishes.”
As he returned with a laden, sumptuous-looking tray, he was stopped by Sanniang. “I’ll send these dishes upstairs.” She grabbed the tray from him and swayed up to the second floor.
Upstairs, in Jing Rong’s room.
“Your Highness, we are a day’s journey away from Anfu County - should we inform the Anfu County Magistrate?” Lang Po asked.
“There’s no need.” Jing Rong replied curtly, “We’re only passing through; I don’t intend to stay long.”
Jing Rong poured himself a cup of water. He remembered something as he took a sip. “Is Liu Zhiliang still the Anfu County Magistrate?”
Lang Po answered, “Yes, it’s still him.”
“Interesting.” Jing Rong smirked.
“When Liu Zhiliang first bought his way into the imperial court, Your Highness helped him squash those rumours, even asking the Ministry of Rites to send him to Anfu on account of his upright character. He’s been an official for several years now, and I’ve heard that he’s governed Anfu quite well. The people there only have praise for him - Your Highness’s decision to help him back then has proven right.” Lang Po said.
Jing Rong’s smirk was still on his face. He stared at the flickering candlelight before him as he recounted, “Liu Zhiliang may not be an especially learned scholar, failing even the county examinations for over ten years, but he does indeed have the smarts and countless tricks up his sleeves. Men like him are best suited to be officials - nobody can try to get past them, whether they are good or bad people. It is to his credit that Anfu has been peaceful for so many years.”
“Your Highness is right.”
“This Anfu is neither a big nor small county. The imperial government has tried to promote him more than once, but the fellow has refused time and again, preferring to remain in Anfu where he rules as king of the mountain.”
“Then, Your Highness, should we really not inform him of our arrival?” Lang Po wanted to confirm once more.
Lang Po knew it was time to keep quiet, so he ceased questioning. Sanniang was passing by and overheard their conversation through the closed doors.
Your Highness? Sanniang shuddered; just as thieves were afraid of the law, Sanniang was no different, especially since it was a Prince inside. She skipped their room and knocked on the next one, only to find it unlocked! She pushed the doors inwards and stepped in, to see Mo Ruo lying on the bed like a lifeless corpse.
She smiled, “Young Master, here are the dishes you requested. Should I leave them on the table? Or…” She brought the tray towards the bed.
Mo Ruo opened his eyes slowly, eyed her, and scoffed, “Just get me a jug of wine.” He propped himself up from the bed with difficulty, only to realise that he was already holding one himself.
“Looks like the young master loves his wine.”
“I don’t love it; it’s a habit.”
Sanniang gave him a flirtatious smile, “If so, why not have a few cups with this Sanniang?”
“Do you have wine?”
“Is it any good?”
“We have Shaoxing wine of the finest quality.”
Call and answer; Mo Ruo’s inner alcoholic was awoken. He got up and headed to the table by the bed, rapping his fingers on it as he called out, “Then serve it.”
Sanniang placed the tray aside, walking toward the corridor. At her order, a waiter immediately carried several urns of the best Shaoxing wine upstairs. “Does the young master wish to have it with a bowl, or straight from the urn?”
“Whichever Is fine.”
“Then… how much are you betting?” Sanniang’s eyes shone greedily.
Mo Ruo had spent enough time in the world to know the rules. He unfastened a jade pendant from his waistband and threw it down onto the table. “If you win, this jade pendant’s yours.”
Sanniang was going to pick it up to evaluate it herself when Mo Ruo pinned it down with his cup, smirking. “It’s as real as it gets.”
“The young master has such a glib tongue.” Sanniang continued, “Since the young master is betting his jade pendant, then I…”
“There’s no need. If you win, it’s yours; if you lose… it’s also yours.”
“Hmm, why make such an irresistible offer?”
ChouFleur Rants Corner
Hmm suspicious...What's MR thinking? And you know the inn is gonna dig themselves a grave at this rate :/
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