Chapter 21 – I’m Not Retarded (1)
Su Xin had clear instructions from Fourteen regarding the measures that can be taken for her mission.
Qu Feiqing must say Xue Yao is the most beautiful. Su Xin thought hard about it and later found a loophole regarding this: she could ask an ambiguous question, it could take any version whichever Su Xin sees fit, but its essence should stick to the main point of her mission. Fourteen made it clear that the client’s words didn’t say that Su Xin specifically had to be the most beautiful, but rather, acknowledged by the number one beauty as the most beautiful.
Su Xin’s rationale was, if Qu Feiqing was to acknowledge she was beautiful, then doesn’t that make her first in place with the first beauty acknowledging her beauty?
Hearing this, Su Xin’s mind worked like sherlock.
From what she understood, her mission was just a game of words! As long as Qu Feiqing uttered the magic words “You are beautiful”, whether genuine or sarcastic, she could still call it mission success.
That is why, as the banquet came to an end, Su Xin didn’t waste any more time. She dressed in her most revealing clothes, taking care to bring out her ravishing beauty, and headed towards the side of the street where the emperor’s carriage would pass.
This was a loophole she was willing to take a chance of. Fourteen was quick to tell her although it was an ingenious idea, she must also take note of the system’s rules.
[Dear Host, please bear in mind, if it’s convenient for you, then it’s also convenient for us. It’s certainly not disadvantageous for me if you wanted to finish the task in this manner. We have already made it clear to the client before that they will sign the contract only after they’ve understood what’s written on it. And one condition stated is, the host must not destroy the world order while undertaking this mission.]
Regardless of the means used, as long as it can accomplish the task, it will suffice. But the Fate Trading System has strictly imposed this last policy as to not break the equilibrium of the world.
Despite not breaking any rules, Su Xin’s bold, shortcut attempt not only failed, but it gave out an embarrassing scene.
[Host you are… very straightforward.]
Even Fourteen didn’t see this coming. He didn’t expect for his host to be so direct. For the first time, he was out of words and he fell into a stupefied silence.
With her heart racing, Su Xin gawked at the emperor while she thought of ways to fix the mess she caused. Qu Feiqing’s eyebrows was slightly raised, she looked at Su Xin like she was the biggest lunatic she’d ever met.
Out of nowhere, Qu Feiqing stretched out her hand and wiped the petal painted on the corner of Su Xin’s eye.
Just like that, Su Xin’s spirit was dampened and confidence was buried six feet under mud. Not only did the emperor refuse to say that she was beautiful, she also called her face embellishment ugly!
Not far away, the palace maids appeared very quiet and unmoving and their attention was deeply focused on the ground[note] 目不斜视 (mù bù xié shì) not to glance sideways (idiom)[/note], as if it was the most interesting thing.
Caught in the same stupor, Su Xin was also driven to silence, her mind in shambles.
Qu Feiqing on the other hand was full of questions regarding the woman before her who was boldly dressed in a gown that leaves little to the imagination, but countenance meek and docile as though of a mouse.
She remembered the sinister smile Su Xin threw in her direction not too long ago. She suddenly had a strong urge to unveil this woman’s mask, to see her erupt into something more dazzling in her eyes.
Swabbing her ink tainted finger on her gown, Qu Feiqing formed this mission in her head. She had always loved the chase.
“Why are you here?”
“This servant was waiting for her Highness.”
“Waiting for this emperor[note] 寡人 (guǎ rén) – I (first person pronoun used by royalty or nobility)[/note]?” Qu Fei asked, despite knowing the answer. Was she waiting for this strong, lonesome monarch, taking vulnerability of her loneliness?
“Yes.” Su Xin said, almost a whisper.
Qu Feiqing’s eyes were cold as she looked at Su Xin. “Why?”
Su Xin took a deep breath, feigned sincerity and looked up at Qu Feiqing’s beautiful face.
“Xue Yao wanted to see up close what the first beauty of the four countries looks like.”
If someone other than Su Xin had said it, the words would have sounded provocative, presumptuous even. But Su Xin delivered it earnestly and was able to stick to her demure character as the naive Xue Yao. It made the people around her hear it as coy words coming out from her mouth.
“Are you courting death?” Qu Feiqing asked her imposingly, unfazed by Su Xin’s coquettish manner. But the latter seemed to not hear any word she had said.
Su Xin was struck by Qu Feiqing’s beauty and stood frozen in her place. At this close distance, she could see well the perfection of the emperor’s face; it looked ethereal, sculpted according to god’s liking.
Beautiful and noble, Qu Feiqing could be compared to an extravagant, garishly red Cassia Roxburghii—a very precious flower in the continent. It stood out from the common flowers due to its fragrance and distinct color. Aside from that, it is also used for ancient medicinal remedies.
(T/N: Red cassia( Cassia Roxburghii) is a graceful tree with spreading, drooping branches appearing to be overweighted by its wealth of clustering orange-red blossoms. Picture below.)
But what makes the flower peculiar is its antagonistic nature. It is quite territorial, thus it cannot be planted along with other plants, or else, those plants would not survive. The growing conditions are even more delicate, but once it fully blooms, everything would look dull against its vivid colors.
“Well?” Qu Feiqing’s sultry voice brought Su Xin back to earth.
Su Xin shook her head. She took too long to answer, and by the time her mind was able to escape from her trance, she was only able to give a nimble shake of her head.
“Aren’t you afraid?”
Qu Feiqing moved closer to Su Xin, almost within a hairbreadth, her face devoid of any warmth. Her eyes shone bright in a cruel manner. Perhaps Qu Feiqing wanted Su Xin to see what kind of cold person she was, but all Su Xin could see was the terrible emptiness inside reflected from those dark, beady eyes.
Qu Feiqing was an iron king who brought upon bloodshed.
She committed patricide at an early age; she killed her older brother and imprisoned her younger brother. All this she had done while relying on her extraordinary wisdom and apathy, quite uncommon for someone her age.
A woman who ascended the throne—it was a great violation of the natural order of things. But what could the officials have possibly done against it? They could only watch in horror as Qu Feiqing ruthlessly eliminated all the other potential candidates to the throne, leaving her the sole choice for the dragon seat.
The country couldn’t fend for itself, it needed a ruler. And a ruler she became.
She was an emperor strict in passing laws and regulations; if a policy isn’t properly implemented, to Qu Feiqing it doesn’t matter whose heads will roll. If a government official cannot comply to his measly job, then what is the use of keeping him around like a useless, parasitic leech feeding of the country’s money?
In dealing with governance, despite being a merciless person, she was not a tyrant. If she finds out her officials are dealing in corruption, everyone in his family is killed without exception.
Her reputation became tarnished because of her bloody ways in dealing with conflict, but Qu Feiqing did not care for this. What matters is the country’s economy thrived and the common people were content of the status quo.