Chapter 99: Never Fool Around With A Friend's Wife
Does this mean that we could be together for a little while longer? Song Jiaoyue was elated the moment he heard her words. “If that's the case… W-why don't we find a place where there's n-nobody around? We might be discovered if we stay here.”
Song Jiaoyue felt a little guilty after he’d voiced his suggestion. Yet, Bai Xiangxiu suddenly patted her own head as though she had just been enlightened by his words. “Why didn’t I think of that? Right. Where should we go? I’m not too familiar with the outside world.”
Most women from the rear court were never expected to leave their home, living a life that was as sheltered as possible. So, it wasn’t strange that she was unfamiliar with the outside world.
Naturally, Song Jiaoyue took on the role of a tour guide and thought of showing her a nice and elegant place. Since Bai Xiangxiu is an educated person as well, how about that place? Elated at the thought of going there with her, he said, “You should put on your hat and veil before we depart.”
“Ah. Sure.” Bai Xiangxiu wasn’t even the least bit suspicious of him. If she knew that he had said that with the motive of spending more time with her, the current her probably would’ve yanked on his sleeve to say, “Get me out of the prince’s manor! Please!”
Unfortunately, she was completely oblivious to his feelings. She thought that the male supporting character was just only trying to look out for a weak girl like her. So, she followed him with clear eyes and a head held high. It was not long before she saw him walk into a shop to hire a sedan chair for her.
“I can walk on my own feet.” Although she’d just run all the way here, her current body wasn’t too tired out yet. Is it really fine for me to be in the sedan chair while he has to walk all the way there?
“How about hiring a horse carriage instead?” Bai Xiangxiu asked, a bit shy.
“Haha. There’s no need for that.” Song Jiaoyue laughed as he covered his mouth with a fan. Why would I need a carriage when it’s only a few streets away? This lady is being so cute right now.
“Actually, I don’t need a sedan chair either. Walking has benefits in its own way.”
“It’s quite crowded here. I don’t want anyone to knock into you.” Song Jiaoyue’s pageboys had caught up to him as they were chatting. He turned to them, his voice stern, “I have no need for any of you to wait upon me now. Go do whatever you should be doing instead.”
The pageboys couldn’t help but let their dismay show on their faces at these words. How could they not wait upon their master? It was them who had to bear responsibility and face punishment if anything were to happen to him! “Eldest young master. The capital city is fraught with danger. How about…”
“Go. Away!” Song Jiaoyue growled. However, realizing that Bai Xiangxiu could still hear him from within the sedan chair, he coughed quietly. “What danger could I possibly face? Hurry on back! Both of you!”
Although his manner of speech was still very gentle, his glare was actually diametrically opposite. The pageboys were shocked at this disconnect between his words and face. However, after they saw the sedan chair sitting by the roadside, they seemed to finally understand why their master was acting that way. He was having a date with a beauty. No wonder they’d offended him when they’d offered to serve him. A quick glance at each other solidified their decision; they would leave. They couldn’t afford to offend the eldest young master of the house.
And so, Song Jiaoyue warmly welcomed his precious alone time with Bai Xiangxiu. Better yet, Bai Xiangxiu wouldn’t even suspect his motives for chasing the page boys away because she was here in secret. He naturally had to make sure to limit witnesses.
As a matter of fact, that was exactly what Bai Xiangxiu had thought as the reason for sending off the pageboys. She even felt touched by his gesture. Unbeknownst to her, Song Jiaoyue was actually treating this rendezvous as a bonafide date. Completely oblivious, she followed him in happy spirits all the way from his backyard to a place called Beimo Pavilion. [1. The team had a quick chat about translating Beimo, as it’s part of a longer name that’s translated as “A Portrait of Jianghu: Mourning Toast”. Hence, Mourning Toast Pavilion. However, we felt that the Bush Army might die laughing.
The editor couldn’t resist the following suggestions for a tagline: Mourning Toast Pavilion: Bread to Literally DIE for; ‘Mourning Toast Pavilion: Come to grieve, leave with a croissant’; Mourning Toast Pavilion: Our bread is salted with REAL TEARS!; Mourning Toast Pavilion: Morning pick-me-ups aren’t the same without croissants with a free coffin on the side.. Okay, he’s done. That was fun.]
The pavilion had been built within a beautifully arranged, elegant environment, a late autumn style that held its own unique appeal. Row after row of red maples dotted the courtyard as a field of chrysanthemums blended together to create a sight to behold. Unlike the norm, rooms in this pavilion weren’t cramped together, and instead left ample distance between them.
The room they had been assigned to was very spacious. The scholar’s four treasures  had been neatly left for use atop a writing desk. Off to the side sat the zither, chessboard, calligraphy pieces and paintings. Guests could admire the paintings, or create poems and other works of art as they enjoyed their meal.
The entire place had been designed with an eye for the customers. The service also reflected that, as the waiters never interrupted their guests, only asking what dishes one abstained from. The head manager would then create their menu at his discretion using the wide variety of dishes he had available. The meal would then be quietly served in the outer hall without notifying the customer to avoid disturbances.
Bai Xiangxiu didn’t expect that the capital would actually have such a place like this. The owner of this place was truly business savvy. Or rather, it seemed as if he was equipped with modern thinking and management skills. That might have been why he had been able to turn a normal tavern business into something as unique as this.
However, this place was most likely expensive. “This is such a nice place. It must be very expensive, right?”
Song Jiaoyue hadn’t expected that she would care about such a thing. After taking a sip of his tea, he nonchalantly said, “It’s not all that expensive. Only 100 taels of silver.”
Bang! Bai Xiangxiu smacked the table agitatedly. “What?! 100 taels?! Such an exorbitant price! All I get is 10 taels of silver every month. The boss here must be laughing all the way to the bank, no?” After she finished speaking, she muttered to herself. “My entire fortune could only pay for two meals in this place. What a frightening place.”
I thought that 200 taels of silver was already quite a fortune, but to think it was actually just peanuts in the outside world! Luckily the male lead gives me some money and gifts every now and then. Otherwise, with the pitiful amount of money I have, wouldn’t I die of hunger out on the streets if anything were to happen?!
Song Jiaoyue was stunned. He could clearly hear what she had muttered, and he couldn’t help but feel both amused and sorry for her. He didn’t expect that someone who had been put in charge of all the affairs of the estate would only have such a paltry amount of silver on hand. But how could he know that Bai Xiangxiu was only talking about the little stash of money she had inherited from the original owner of the body? If she were to add in the amount of money that the male lead have given her, she was actually quite wealthy.
However, despite her wealth, she still didn’t really dare to use any of the money she’d received from the male lead. She only accepted the money and put it aside without ever touching any of it.
Song Jiaoyue wanted to take out some of his money to give to her. However, just as he reached into his sleeves, he couldn’t help but feel that he was being too brash if he tried to do such a thing. After all, he didn’t really have any excuses to give money to her. Without much of a choice, he sighed inwardly and took his hands out from his sleeves. “The dishes here are actually quite tasty. Don’t be shy and have a taste. After all, we have until late afternoon.”
Bai Xiangxiu nodded her head and said, “An opportunity like this doesn’t come by very often. I mustn’t leave even a single scrap of food behind.”
The food here is too expensive. I must eat a lot to get his money’s worth.
Song Jiaoyue couldn’t stop himself from cracking up at her serious attitude towards the whole thing.
However, when a good looking man like him laughed so openly, he became alarmingly attractive. So much so that Bai Xiangxiu was caught in a daze when she turned to see him laugh. However, with a sudden realization that she might’ve been staring at him for too long, she awkwardly tilted her head downwards to look at the ground.
But how would Song Jiaoyue not see through her shyness? He couldn’t stop the passion in his heart from igniting into a blaze. Does she still have feelings for me? Then would it possible for me to…
No. So what if she has feelings for me? She is still my friend’s concubine. Since Long Heng treats her differently, wouldn’t it be like fooling around with his wife if I were to actually ask him to give Bai Xiangxiu to me? He clenched his fists and changed the topic of conversation. “I have a question. What opinion do you have of this painting?”
Song Jiaoyue stood up and brought her to a painting. It was one of tall mountains and flowing rivers, and even had some traces of a majestic feel to it.
“This painting…” Bai Xiangxiu was depressed. She was positively clueless about paintings! Her knowledge was only limited to drawing flowers, grass and people. The only reason she’d learned how to draw in the first place was because she wanted to paint bonsai trees. She’d also only learned how to sketch people when she went to art school for a month and happened to take a sketching class.
Therefore, how would she be knowledgeable about paintings that depicted scenery? She only nodded her head and said, “The painting is really very well done. I’m afraid that a scenery such as this could only exist in a painting!”
Unexpectedly, her words reflected the same exact opinion that Song Jiaoyue had just thought. He couldn’t help but furrow his brow as he became a little agitated. Is she… truly his soulmate?
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