Chapter 14 – The Empress (1)
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Miss Mary Sue was indeed a Mary Sue. She’d already became acquainted with the fifth prince in just a matter of days! It was all so surreal that Su Xin thought that her eyes were playing tricks on her, but He Yunshu’s too tight embrace told her that everything was indisputably real.
That female lead halo is shining too brightly, ah!
She could hardly breathe from He Yunshu squishing the life out of her, but Su Xin didn’t mind. It turns out, she also missed the company of Miss Mary Sue and she returned the embrace just as tight as she could.
“Do you two know each other?” Yu Hongliang who was tossed in the corner like a third party, broke the moment and playfully winked at He Yunshu as if to imply something mischievous.
“Go, go, shoo! This one you cannot touch.” He Yunshu glowered at him, knowing that the fifth prince in front of her was a playboy by nature.
She thought that her friend is such a good cabbage that must not be so casually eaten by a pig. But Yu Hongliang turned a deaf ear to this, Xue Yao had already piqued his interest. It was too late to play indifferent now.
“Why, your friend?” Yu Hongliang raised his eyebrows in bewilderment. He didn’t expect He Yunshu to befriend a civilian from outside the capital. It was unorthodox.
He looked at Xue Yao sharply. Born in the imperial household where politics is a common routine, Yu Hongliang was an ace in assessing people. For him, Xue Yao was innately gorgeous in a pleasant, exotic way. He could also see that she keeps herself well-put.
Yet, what bothered him was her bearing, the way she walked, her gestures—it all looked she was trained.
However, as subdued as she was, Yu Hongliang could still tell that she was not a person of nobility. There were still some differences between her and the bearing of an unmarried daughter from a noble family. Of course he knew this, he’d been in the company of some after all and would naturally have a keen eye for these matters.
The scrutiny didn’t escape Su Xin’s observant eyes. She suppressed her dark aura defensively, just like how she always did. She wouldn’t allow this calculating man to spill what she truly was inside. Under the innocent face, was a cold personality and a gnawing bloodlust which kept everyone at bay.
In this case, she was truly no different to Qu Feiqing. Though she was no domineering oppressor of a ruler, she was ruthless and unchaste. She was not as harmless and good as what He Yunshu thought of her. One mistake and this carefully built up facade of her will crumble into dust and probably send He Yunshu as far away as possible from her. No, she wouldn’t let it happen. She couldn’t afford to lose her and also possible jeopardize her mission.
Whether it’s Su Xin or Xue Yao, there is not a trace of a noble aura. Su Xin was an uncultured loner who spent her youth in the company of firearms, bombs and bullets. Xue Yao wasn’t any better either. The brothel was her childhood. Immorality surrounded her, and she was brought up in the ways of a courtesan for the sake of honing her according to the likings of others. The poor child was thoroughly brainwashed to please anyone, cursing the life that was given to her. Else, why would she sell her soul to the system just for the sake of being called the most beautiful?
“Yes, this is my friend. So don’t make a fool out of yourself.” He Yunshu clung to Su Xin’s arm dotingly, her stance protective.
She blocked Xue Yao out of the prince’s sight and asked, “Xue Yao, are you making progress on what you wanted to do?”
Fortunately, He Yunshu had recently progressed in her mission. Although the people in her residence—especially the jealous, scheming concubines—did their hardest to make things difficult for her, all their schemings was to no avail. He Yunshu remained undeterred and eventually established her foothold in the family and seized control in that unruly place.
She accidentally met the fifth prince who was a known philanderer. She found his reputation hilarious and in no time, they unexpectedly became good friends.
“Not yet.” Su Xin shook her head with a look of disappointment. She was really not making any progress. Not until today.
“What’s the matter?” Yu Hongliang inquisitively asked. He was blatantly eavesdropping at the back of He Yunshu.
“It’s to participate in the Banquet of the Four Countries.”
Yu Hongliang’s former curiosity was replaced with a dark expression. He deeply looked at Su Xin, sizing her up.
“Not a daughter from a good family?” Yu Hongliang’s voice was full of scorn. A clear contrast of his genteel voice from before.
“I am a type of courtesan called qing guan1. I came to the capital to redeem myself.” Su Xin said flatly, not feeling the least embarrassed for having no shame.
Yu Hongliang was astounded and looked at He Yunshu with disbelief. He called He Yunshu an idiot sometimes but it was only a jest. He never once meant it. But now, he didn’t know what to think of her. She was foolish to sympathize with people who used her for such blatant schemes.
“Silly idiot, don’t let people take advantage of you. You should sell this person for a hefty price.” Yu Hongliang said with a cruel smile. In his eyes, Su Xin has become a scheming woman who wants to use He Yunshu as a pedal for her own benefit.
He had seen these types of women before; a common occurrence in his life courtesy of living in the Imperial palace. And he detested them, especially those who took advantage of innocent, gullible people. Yu Hongliang may call He Yunshu a little idiot. But it was a love-and-hate relationship—he definitely cared for her more than he’d care to admit.
- lit. Trans is Qing guan (清倌) a woman who only sells art and does not sell her body. Not only do they have an elegant and refined appearance, they can also can read and write poetry and paint. T/N: I couldn’t find a suitable english word with for this, as it is different from a geisha (艺妓). If anyone knows what type of courtesans they are called, please do tell. I’m not really good with Chinese history.