Chapter 8 – Leaving (1)
… … …
To say that He Yunshu was surprised is an understatement. Out of all the people she encountered, only the Young lady Xue Yao—and a courtesan at that—had managed to unveil her disguise! It was unthinkable.
Or it could be worse. It might be that only the Young lady had the guts to tell her and she had been prancing around town looking like a complete idiot.
How reckless! He Yunshu scolded her self internally.
She had been pulled from her thoughts by Su Xin’s soft, inviting voice.
“Come inside my room and we shall talk.” Su Xin kindly offered.
He Yunshu followed Su Xin to her room. As she stepped foot inside, a frown settled on her face.
Although the room looked clean, it was old and unkempt. Tables and chairs were chipped, walls were bare, there wasn’t really any sort of charisma in the room. Outrightly unembellished as it was, it didn’t match the Young lady Xue Yao’s elegance. She simply looked out of place.
Why was the Young lady here anyway? If He Yunshu was not mistaken, she’d seen her upstairs this afternoon. She appeared skeptical with the way things were.
Su Xin had a hunch of what He Yunshu was thinking as of the moment thus, she quickly veered the miss’ attention. She had enough talk about her demotion for the day and one more question about it would make her puke.
“Ahem.. My room is somewhat simple and crude, I hope the Young Master does not mind.” She said while pouring a cup of tea for her visitor. He Yunshu accepted the tea with gratitude.
“It’s alright.. were you.. uhm..”
Something was amiss with the Young Lady, He Yunshu thought. But she couldn’t find the proper words to ask.
Ah! She felt exasperated with herself. Xue Yao’s affairs are not hers to meddle, she thought. Only just met; they were no more than strangers.
Curiosity always gets the best of her and it sometimes gets out of hand.
To begin with, she was looking forward to see the infamous festivities in the brothel firsthand, not to chatter inside a lady’s room. But to her utter disbelief, it seemed like her feet had a mind of their own. The Young lady must have bewitched her!
He Yunshu cleared her throat and proceeded to ask what’s necessary instead.
“Please enlighten me, how did you know I’m a girl?”
Su Xin breathed a deep sigh of relief, though not so obviously, and answered He Yunshu’s query. “The miss has the lingering fragrance from the cosmetics that of a daughter from a distinguished house, which must have accumulated through time. Also, those clothes are everything, but a vain attempt in concealing the miss’ delicate form.” Su Xin paused with a concerned look. “I’m afraid, you are unlikely to convince anyone.”
Su Xin continued to reveal her flaws bit by bit and Miss Mary Sue was all ears, saying she would improve her disguise the next time.
The atmosphere was ineffable. He Yunshu is a person who can converse amicably while Su Xin was with a motive—to use He Yunshu as a leverage for her mission. Contrary to what one might expect, they hit it off quite well.
However, He Yunshu couldn’t stay too late as the servant girl, Hong-er, must be waiting for her return anxiously. She planned to leave after a period of time but only after depositing some silver taels on Su Xin’s table.
“This is not necessary. I didn’t play an instrument nor did I rendered a song for you. This money, I am ashamed to accept.”
“Nonsense! I’ve taken the Young Lady Xue Yao’s time, naturally I’m going to compensate for that.”
He Yunshu says so, this was equivalent exchange, nothing more. Besides, if one visits the pleasure quarters and spends time with a Young lady of the brothel, how can one not pay? Although there was no physical contact initiated, time is not without charge.
He Yunshu was dazed momentarily. It’s true, she didn’t intend for intimate contact but she couldn’t help but lost herself once again in the exquisite beauty of Xue Yao. She glanced at Su Xin, whose face was rosy, exposed shoulders were fragrant, and black eyes like pools of deep wate.
Anyone at a distance would go haywire.
“Getting to know each other is fate. The miss is of noble blood and I am well, a courtesan which is far below nobility.” Su Xin put the silver back into He Yunshu’s hand.
“Don’t say that. Your kind is not inferior in any way, at least for me. I have not looked down on people who dabbled in questionable methods to get out of poverty1. Let alone you are not a normal courtesan who sells their body but art and entertainment2. You are not lowly.” He Yunshu urged Su Xin to keep the money as meeting gift.
Seeing He Yunshu’s persistence, Su Xin finally acquiesced.
“Many thanks.” Su Xin bowed as an expression of her gratefulness. Her voice was distinct and soft, like a lullaby. He Yunshu looked past the dim lighting to see a gorgeous countenance.
After He Yunshu left, Su Xin called Fourteen in her mind.
Master Fourteen, do you know when will Miss Mary Sue go to the capital?
[To check and report to the host.. half a month from now.] The dutiful AI answered Su Xin’s question.
I see. Master Fourteen, what do you do when I don’t talk to you?
Su Xin became interested in the system’s life outside of work.
[Looking at other hosts.]
Oh? I have a fellow worker?
[Well, there are two of you.] Fourteen answered. Because candidates for the Fate Trading system are difficult to find, it was only able to found two.
Is it a boy or a girl? Can I speak to them?
Su Xin asked curiously.
[It’s a girl. Initiating call request…]
[I’m sorry but the other party hung up on your request angrily, saying this greeting was insulting.]
Why is that?
Su Xin was genuinely bewildered. This coworker of hers seemed to be a difficult person to get along with. Would a little chat hurt?
[Because the other person is currently making some.. sauce3.] Fourteen’s voice was a bit clipped and defensive.
Su Xin mouth twitched at the corners. This system was trying to kill her for being so insensitive, ah. Didn’t even inform her in advance that the recipient was currently engaged with such activities.
Well, isn’t this system a smartass.
- 笑贫不笑娼 (xiào pín bù xiào chāng)- the notion in society that it’s better to get ahead in the world by abandoning one’s scruples than to suffer poverty; lit. despising poverty but not prostitution (idiom)
- 清倌 qīng guān – a courtesan who only sells art and does not sell her body. Not only do they have an elegant and refined appearance, they can also read, write poetry and paint. But once they can catch the attention of a wealthy man, they are sold off. (Su Xin’s predicament at the moment with Ta Yan wanting to sell her to a ‘good’ family AKA rich man.)
- For those who don’t know what this slang is.. it’s basically doing sexual activities. (i’m sorry for those who were innocent before this)