Chapter 22 – I’m Not Retarded (2)
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Qu Feiqing began to circle Su Xin like a predator, the hems of her gown could be heard rustling against the rough gravel.
“Scared?” Qi Feiqing whispered from behind Su Xin, her breath tickled the exposed skin, causing small goosebumps to outbreak.
Tired of the intimidation, Su Xin faced the emperor who was older and taller than her. She had to tilt her head up at an uncomfortable angle due to the closeness.
However, Qu Feiqing’s height did not conceal Su Xin’s imposing manner. She fearlessly shed her disguise and let Qu Feiqing have a sight of her true colors.
“Now, this is more pleasing; just the way you are.” Qu Feiqing chuckled.
Master Fourteen, she is forcing me to abstain from my weak public persona as Xue Yao.
Su Xin said, wary that she might do something that would disrupt the world order.
[Appropriately shed disguise, but by all means get ahold of yourself.] Fourteen reminded.
“Do you even see what you really are?”
Older sister, can’t you perk up? I am not ugly. Su Xin wanted to have a fit, the emperor was more enthralled with her veiled unappealing nature than her charming physical attributes.
Su Xin didn’t answer right away and instead, stared at Qu Feiqing with an air of melancholy surrounding her. The emperor had already questioned her sanity. If she asked again, Qu Feiqing might lose her patience and Su Xin would be digging her own grave in no time.
How could a well-known first beauty willingly admit that she looked less beautiful than the woman before her?
Clear as broad daylight, Qu Feiqing was more beautiful than Su Xin. If the two were engaged in a beauty competition, the jury would have an easy time distinguishing the victor without doubting the authenticity of their beauty. This was ancient china, plastic surgery was nothing but a figment of imagination.
Qu Feiqing continued to put pressure on Su Xin with her penetrating gaze that drilled holes on the girl’s face. She knew that the girl wanted something from her, but she was not certain what it was.
“I’m just a commoner, a courtesan even. I came here to redeem myself.”
It sounded like a good story to Qu Feiqing, who thought that it was more worthy of listening to than the tragic dramas her entertainers offered to ease her boredom many times. She straightened out her clothes and motioned for Su Xin to continue.
Su Xin’s body was honed for entertainment. She could play several stringed-instruments, could sing and dance well, but Qu Feiqing didn’t lack of entertainers.
But.. Qu Feiqing was in need of a person to serve as her companion.
Realization hit her hard and Su Xin was filled with momentary dread, she would be losing so much time if ever this would happen. Still, she could make out positive things that would come with this arrangement, protection is one example.
“I came here only to meet you.”
“To let me praise you for being beautiful?” Qu Feiqing couldn’t help but slightly grin, her purpose was really hilarious.
Su Xin nodded, how direct of her.
“Will you leave if I praise you for your beauty?”
Su Xin nodded again, quite chipper than what she wanted.
Yes, beautiful older sister. Just say I’m a beautiful adult and I’ll be gone like the wind.
Su Xin chose to serve her weakness in a silver platter to the emperor, begging for the praise that would relieve her of her task. But, she was not a soldier in dismissal, a silent war was still brewing between them—Qu Feiqing was still in the quest for the true reason why Su Xin sought her attention out of all the powerful officials who were much more forgiving than her, a better choice than her.
Su Xin thought, there truly was no escaping scrutiny. After all, her task does sound ridiculous.
“If I don’t?”
Su Xin swallowed a lump in her throat, she couldn’t possibly let that happen.
“Then wait until Emperor Qu says so.”
A gamble where time was the bet, Su Xin became worried of the amount of time the task will consume. Afraid that she didn’t have the luxury of time, she vowed to make sure that the rolling dice in this gamble would give the best possible outcome. Fourteen was also quick to pour cold water on her.
[The life of the host’s body is 40 years, so far there are 26 years left. If the task is not completed within the lifetime limit, the soul of the host will… ] Fourteen didn’t say the rest, he believed Su Xin already knew of this.
26 years, huh.. I guess I can afford to wait.
There was a reason why performers in the banquet were most likely courtesans. They served as priced gifts to the people of nobility who had the power to buy them whenever they wanted to. After the banquet, these courtesans would go to auction-like procedures wherein they will be sold to the highest bidders.
However, it wasn’t as commercialized as an actual auction is. Courtesans were not merely goods sold by the palace, they were also given the right to give conditions, may it be a house, a whole new wardrobe or even a farm as long as the bidder will agree. In light to this, they could also decline the offer of the bidder if they failed to meet their ends of the bargain. But despite all this, there are still some hidden rules for powerful officials which allows them to skip this procedure and directly seize what they want.
“Do you want to follow me?” Qu Feiqing knew of this rule. Amidst the powerful, but lecherous men in the banquet, choosing to be protected by a woman was a smart move
There are many honorable women coming to the banquet of the four countries, such as the daughters of various ministers and princesses. But the most honorable woman was Qu Feiqing—a female emperor, other women couldn’t offer a greater protection than she could.
“If you’re thinking that things will be easy for you, you are mistaken. My country, Qu Liu, is not as amicable as what you probably would think. However, you can’t blame my race, its heart will be different.”