Lots of sweet moments. ZQ may be smart but she’s a typical woman who can’t make a decision… Over 4,150 words.
This chapter was translated by Sian and edited by Din2.
It was already close to midday when she walked out of Lou Xi Wu’s courtyard, Zhuo Qing decided to eat lunch before she looked for Dan Yu Lan. She still had not walked to the reception pavilion, but she encountered Lou Xi Yan who was wearing a blue garment in the middle of the courtyard’s small trail. Zhuo Qing said in surprise: “Xi Yan? You rarely return at midday, is there something that you have to do?”
Lou Xi Yan was looking at her, smiling tenderly, he answered: “There is something that I have to do.”
The day that she fell into the water a few days ago, Lou Xi Yan kept her company for a long time, he must delay many affairs, Zhuo Qing nodded her head understandingly, and she said smilingly: “You get busy with your own matter, ok, I will not disturb you.”
Leaning her body, Zhuo Qing bypassed Lou Xi Yan to continue to walk forwards, just before their bodies brushed past each other, a slender palm that was slightly cool suddenly held her hand. Zhuo Qing was puzzled by it and she looked towards Lou Xi Yan who was on her side, he only said with a touch of distress as if nothing to laugh and say: “Are you going out?”
“En.” Zhuo Qing nodded in a daze.
“Is it very urgent?”
Shaking her head, Zhuo Qing truthfully answered: “Not really, I have an appointment with Dan Daren in the afternoon to discuss about the conclusion of the autopsy, I am about to leave.”
“Then, it is good.” Finished speaking, Lou Xi Yan was actually leading her hand, and walking towards the direction of the gate.
Did he not return because he had something to do? Then, what did he want to do now? Zhuo Qing felt stupid, her feet went along with Lou Xi Yan’s steps that was in front of her all the way, she asked puzzlingly: “Where are we going?”
The afternoon sunshine was somewhat glaring, Lou Xi Yan was still walking unhurriedly like before, walking the same way as if it was the third month of the spring time. The corner of his mouth was curving slightly to show that his mood was not too bad, his slightly raised phoenix eyes were smiling to look at Zhuo Qing who was still puzzled, he answered: “I return at midday, just for the purpose of our wedding preparation, since you are not in a hurry, we can do it together, ok.”
“Wedding……” Zhuo Qing hesitated for a moment, then she asked: “What kind of preparation?” She really did not know what kind of preparation for a wedding in the ancient time?
Lou Xi Yan smiled but did not answer, Zhuo Qing did not ask anymore, she allowed him to lead her out of the Prime Minister’s manor. Once they were inside the chariot, and barely sitting down, Lou Xi Yan suddenly embraced her waist, he said next to her ear in a low voice: “You returned almost after wugeng watch period (between 3-5 am) and did not have enough sleep either. Take a nap for a little bit, I will call you when we arrive.”
He knew when she returned? But she definitely saw that the lamp inside Lan Yue’s building was dark, she thought that he was sleeping. Lightly leaning against his shoulder, nesting in his embrace, breathing the faint, clear and cold odor from his body, Zhuo Qing did not think that she would fall asleep, but a moment afterwards, she was somewhat in a trance.
Looking at Zhuo Qing who was sleeping in his embrace defenselessly, Lou Xi Yan’s hand was playing with her hair customarily, his brows were nevertheless, wrinkled up unconsciously. The more he interacted with her, the more he felt that she looked as if she was a mystery, doing what one would think and what one would consider, it was different than an ordinary person, it made people not able to see her clearly and completely. But even though it was like this, she dealt with this conduct openly just like an expert, perhaps, she really had two entirely different personality traits, it made him to be attracted and captured by her unconsciously. The previous him would not deal with this matter like this, instead, he would find out about her clearly and then consider it carefully if he wanted to invest sincerely, unfortunately, everything seemed to come out extremely quick. This was the first time that he let his own heart to follow and indulge in his own feeling, he could only hope that this time, he did not lose in this bet.
The chariot stopped slowly, Lou Xi Yan was patting her cheek lightly, his soft voice called out: “Qing-er, wake up, wake up, we have arrived.”
Softly opening her eyes, Zhuo Qing was still somewhat muddled, but her expression was restored quickly and orderly. Looking that she woke up completely, Lou Xi Yan was leading her hand along to go out of the chariot.
Getting out of the chariot, they were standing in front of the small wooden building with four floors, the front shop of the small building was decorated with a luxurious style, the red wooden carved gate, the bluestone jade floor, the expansive bright lintel door with a bold cursive calligraphy and written words ‘Leng (cold) Yue (month) Lou (building)’, these three big words. One man over forties stood at the front of the small building to greet them, there were 5-6 waiters who were standing behind him, the man saw them clearly in front of him, he welcomed them immediately. Looking at Zhuo Qing’s scar on her face, the boss’ eyes flashed through a trace of difference, but a businessman was a businessman after all, he concealed his mood properly, and respectfully smiled and said: “Prime Minister Lou, this person is certainly the Madam, right, please come in quickly!”
Following the man to enter the lobby, Zhuo Qing discovered, the design of this restaurant was considered to be a display in originality. When one came in, there was a small manmade pond in the middle, there were a lot of koi inside the pond, the lounge was in the right side, there were already many people who were eating inside. But the shop owner used a light muslin partition to do a hazy separation, the people who were inside the lounge could not see who came in from the outside door. They were standing here, and could not see clearly the people who were inside either, the left side was the staircase, the steps were directly in between the small rooms, the characteristic of this family’s wine shop should be comparably good in term of privacy, right.
Finally arriving on the third floor, the man took them to enter the most further private room, the door was opened lightly, the ordinary private room would use a distinct sandalwood, the faint jasmine fragrance was floating out, it made people to smell the mysterious and pleasurable air, two people entered the inner room, and the man quietly retreated out.
The inner room of the private room was very simple but it did not lose any taste, under their feet was a huge and long peony flower carpet, one felt very comfortable to step on it. A huge round table was arranged in the middle, two cozy benches were put by the window, sitting down on the bench, one could look down on the bustling street, because the perimeter was surrounded by many single story houses. The horizon of the third floor construction was already very wide, there was this kind of calm, peaceful and comfortable feelings, Zhuo Qing lowly smiled: “The environment here is not bad.” It should be regarded as Qiong Yue’s five star wine shop, right.
Sitting down directly in front of her, Lou Xi Yan answered: “This is the capital’s best wine shop, the best food and drink.”
Zhuo Qing appeared to guess what Lou Xi Yan’s motive to bring her here in the end, she smiled and said: “Then, are we coming to set the banquet up today?”
Lou Xi Yan did not conceal it either, indifferently smiled and answered: “En, I need you to taste, which food and drink you will prefer. There will be a lot of people at the wedding on that day, the cook at home would have his hands’ full also, so I will rather have the wine shop to provide the food.”
With her hands on her chin and looking at Lou Xi Yan who was in front of her with a distinct mysterious look, Zhuo Qing was puzzled: “You can let Jing Sa to decide on these matters and it will be good, the celebration will arrive quickly, are you not busy?” If he also slept about three to four hours last night, he must not sleep too long either, but she could not see any sleepiness in him.
There was already a good steep hot tea on the table for a long time, Lou Xi Yan picked up a porcelain cup, and poured a cup for her, and handed it over in her hand. And he bowed his head to pour another one cup for himself, his mouth lightly said: “I am not really that busy either, you have said that you want to decide about the design of the wedding ceremonial robe on your own last time. I think, you must wish to use all of the objects that are chosen personally by you when we get married, right. So, as it turned out, it was me who was not thoughtful enough.”
“Xi Yan……” separating by a porcelain cup, the warm temperature of his palm passed on to her heart, because of the words that she just spoke without thinking it through, he was keeping her company to try the dishes? Actually…… she merely disliked the troublesome wedding ceremonial robe, nothing more. Nibbling the corner of her mouth, Zhuo Qing did not know what to say for a moment.
“Oh right, who are the special families in Hao Yue that you like to bring over, I will send someone to go and get them to come over to participate for the wedding ceremony.”
Lou Xi Yan’s sudden words, made Zhuo Qing moved from pondering to distressing, she answered awkwardly: “I…… do not remember which familiar relatives, my parents have already passed away anyway, I do not think that we need to invite them, right.” How could she know if the Qing family still had some relatives?
Lou Xi Yan lightly put down the tea cup, and looked towards Zhuo Qing, he answered seriously: “I think I want to make your family be a witness when you become my, Lou Xi Yan, official wife.”
Zhuo Qing’s hand was trembling slightly, he was thinking to help her taking off ‘the gift’ reputation, to give her a descent wedding ceremony, and to make her raise her head in front of her ‘family’, right? She was not Qing Ling, she did not pay any attention to these stuffs naturally, but he really thought all of this because of Qing Ling. Nodding her head, Zhuo Qing finally unable to evade any longer, smilingly said: “Very well, I ask Qing Feng.”
Within the three Qing family’s sisters now, only Qing Feng would know the specific about the Qing’s family circumstances, ok, she and Gu Yun were not much different…… (in term of knowing anything about the Qing family).
“Prime Minister Lou, the dishes are ready, can we serve them?” A man’s voice came through from outside the door, Lou Xi Yan looked one glance at Zhuo Qing, Zhuo Qing nodded, and he said in a low voice: “Serve them, ok.”
The door was opened again, Zhuo Qing only saw the unending flow of people, not long after, there were dished already piling up on the great round table, furthermore, 7-8 pots of wine.
The man walked to the front of the round table, cordially presented the dishes: “Prime Minister Lou, these are our Leng Yue building’s top rated dishes, furthermore, these are a few earthen wine jars, they are stored for many years and excellent wine, you and Madam, please taste them.”
Lou Xi Yan elegantly answered: “Good, you can retreat first, ok.”
“Yes, yes.” The man hurriedly retreated to go out again.
Those dishes were sufficient to feed twenty people, they were piling up closely now, yes, the dishes were piling up on the round table, Zhuo Qing could not help to break into laughter: “Is it necessary to be this exaggerated? So many dishes, if I eat a bite of each of the dishes, I will be full to the point of bursting!!” No wonder, they did not serve the dishes separately and slowly, she estimated that if they served it like that, they would not be finished serving until dusk!
Lou Xi Yan swept a glance at the dishes on the table, his face also flashed through a trace of helplessness and bitter laugh, it seemed that he did not anticipate this circumstances either. Taking several bamboo sticks that were on the table and handed them over to Zhuo Qing, Lou Xi Yan smilingly said: “Then you just choose and see which one you like to taste, if you think it is delicious, you can put one bamboo stick next to the dish, it will be alright.”
“Fine, ok.” It could only be like this……
Zhuo Qing moved around the round table to see, there were indeed many dishes, she could not see what kind of dishes clearly! Deciding to start from the closest dish, and randomly eating a little, then it would be good. Her mouth was chewing the dishes, Lou Xi Yan picked up the wine pot, he poured it in a small wine cup, and passed it on to the side of her lips, Zhuo Qing shook her head and answered: “I will not choose the wine, I am not a big wine drinker normally, you choose the wine, then it will be good.”
She was originally not good with wine, after she became a forensic investigator, she had never touched a drop of alcohol even more, making her to taste the wine, she would not be able to judge the taste! It would be better to drop the subject for good.
“Fine.” Lou Xi Yan actually did not let her to continue drinking, it was rather he already poured the good wine for himself, and accompanied at Zhuo Qing’s side.
Encircling the round table to eat the most outstanding group of dishes, Zhuo Qing had not put out any bamboo stick that was on her hand. Staring at the delicious delicacies on the table, Zhuo Qing puckered her eyebrows, Lou Xi Yan embraced her shoulder, and asked: “What is wrong? Is it not good? How about if we change to another restaurant to try the dishes again.”
Shaking her head, Zhuo Qing awkwardly answered: “It is not that, I have eaten almost 30 dishes, I think they are not bad, it is too hard to choose……” She was almost full, but she had not selected any dish either, in any case, she could not want all of them, right. Crying for help and looking towards Lou Xi Yan, Zhuo Qing tried to curry a favor by saying with a smile: “Or, you come, ok.”
Lou Xi Yan put down the wine cup that was on his hand, smilingly took the chopsticks from her hand and the bamboo sticks. Zhuo Qing was relieved, but seeing him picking the meat up with the chopsticks, and giving it to the side of her mouth, even though she was puzzled, but he was already feeding it to her mouth, it would be better if she just ate it!
Opening her mouth to bite it, and chewing for several times, Lou Xi Yan asked: “How is it?”
Zhuo Qing nodded her head: “Delicious.”
There was one piece of lotus that was sent up to her mouth, her brows slightly wrinkled, facing Lou Xi Yan’s tenderness in feeding her, she still swallowed down one bite.
“How about this one?
Crisp, fresh and tasty, Zhuo Qing nodded her head repeatedly: “En, en.”
Her mouth finished chewing the food, one piece of crispy fried chicken wing was waiting.
The fragrance of the chrysanthemum fish roll was tender and delicious.
The fragrance of the osmanthus flower cake was sweet and smooth in her mouth.
When one spoon of the lotus seed soup was sent up to the side of her lips, she really could not eat anymore, looking over her head, Zhuo Qing asked with resentment: “Do you not say that you will choose? Why am I still the one who eats them?”
Spreading out his hand, as it turned out, the bamboo sticks on his hand were already used by more than half, Lou Xi Yan innocently answered: “I am choosing ah.”
Looking at the dishes on the round table, there was indeed more than ten dishes that were already inserted with the bamboo sticks, as it turned out, his so called choosing, was just passing it through her to eat the foods, then he picked his selection afterwards?! He was a fraud!!
Firmly shaking her head, Zhuo Qing was not willing to eat again even if she died: “I really can not eat anymore.” This trying of the dishes was not an easy job to do either……
“Then, you do not need to eat anymore, these dishes that you like will act as the main course, and then let the shopkeeper to choose some of the other dishes to send over, that will be fine.” Lou Xi Yan did not force her any longer, put down the chopsticks, and helped her to sit down on the bench by the window, Zhuo Qing could finally relax.
The waiter who was outside, hurriedly answered: “I am here. What instruction does Prime Minister Lou have?”
“Serve the tea.” The tea that was on the table was already cold.
“Yes.” Soon, one piping hot fragrance tea was delivered, Lou Xi Yan poured one cup for her again, while he was handing it over to her, he said in a low voice: “Drink a little and rest for a while, we are going to choose the jade artifacts.”
Zhuo Qing’s hand that was holding the cup trembled slightly, no way! Still wanted to choose the jade artifacts?! Then, they would still need to choose the other things, out of the question, she would collapse!! Continuing to choose like this again, she could not say that she had a phobia in choosing things! Lightly coughing, Zhuo Qing seriously said: “Xi Yan, you are so busy, I think the stuffs about the wedding ceremony, we do not need to do it on our own, we can hand it over to Jing Sa to handle and I will not have any complaint.”
“Are you tried?”
Grievingly sighing, Zhuo Qing decided to be honest and said: “It is not that, just looking too many confusing things, about the wedding ceremonial robe the last time, I said that I wanted to choose it on my own, I was actually afraid that it would be extremely gaudy and grand. I was wearing that dress on that day and I was tired to death. About the other stuffs, I really do not want to choose, it will be alright as you wish.”
Lou Xi Yan’s brows wrinkled because of this word ”it would be alright as you wished’, Zhuo Qing hurriedly supplemented and said: “What I mean is, I will like anything that you pick.”
At this moment, the voice of the waiter outside asked: “Prime Minister Lou, the boss from Ning Cui Ge (the name of the jade store) is finally here.”
As it turned out, he already arranged it. Fine, ok. Then we could just choose, right. Lou Xi Yan did not know what to do, he had not spoken yet, Zhuo Qing simply called out with a clear voice: “Come in, ok.”
“Pay respect to Prime Minister Lou, Madam.” A tall and thin middle age man cautiously and solemnly walked in, behind him, there were a couple of young people who were carrying two big wooden boxes on their hands, they put the boxes on the lower table and opened them in front of the bench. There were fine pearls jade inside, just looking at the colors and lusters, one could know that they were absolutely rarely seen and valuable objects.
Lou Xi Yan lightly waved his hand, the middle age man hurriedly smiled from a distance and said: “These are our Ning Cui Ge’s valuable objects, Madam can choose slowly.”
The three people retreated out, Zhuo Qing picked up a piece of dark green jade consciously and played with it, then she put it down again. She never liked to wear jewelry in the past, especially jewelry that she had to wear on her hand, she could not wear it even more. Because it was inconvenience during an autopsy, and thus, she did not understand and appreciate fine jade too much. Both of the big boxes were full of jewelries, she merely swept one glance at them, and did not especially like anything.
Just when she wanted to surrender one more time, and picked a couple of the same jewelries randomly to complete her mission, however, without paying any attention, looking at the furthest corner of the box, there were a pair of small and big white jade gourds. Zhuo Qing took them on her hand and fiddled with them, the jade gourds were sparkling, translucent, pure and transparent. There was a smooth and moist feeling on her hand, that small jade gourd was a little bigger than an average peanut but it was still small, that big jade gourd was bigger than a thumb slightly, the glossy jade pearl was small, exquisite and adorable and Zhuo Qing really liked the style.
“You like this one?” Lou Xi Yan was always watching her expression, women liked beautiful jewelries in general, but her interest was lacking, until she saw these pair of small things.
Zhuo Qing happily nodded her head: “En, very adorable.”
The quality of these pair of jade gourds was average, the carving was simple, their only strong points were merely because they looked adorable, she liked them so it was good. By the side of the small box, taking out a dark green string, Lou Xi Yan made a knot in the middle of the gourd, and he put it on her tenderly, a slight cool jade was on her chest, very comfortable. Zhuo Qing picked up another small jade gourd, took it on her palm to fiddle with it, Lou Xi Yan slightly raised his eyebrows, smilingly said: “Are you going to give me that one?”
Zhuo Qing’s hands stopped, laughingly looked at the grieving face of Lou Xi Yan who was in front of her, mockingly said: “I think Prime Minister Lou Daren does not dislike to wear jewelry.” She seemed to have never seen him wearing any jewelry, even the most common men wore jade ornaments, but he rarely wore anything either. And she knew it herself, that the one she chose was not anything that was too precious of an object, how did she know what he wanted to ask?!
He was spreading his palm out to her, Zhuo Qing could only take the other pair and handed it over to his hand, easily taking out the string to tie the jade gourd on, Lou Xi Yan agilely took the string to put it on his neck, his mouth did not have a way out and sighed lowly: “I can not do anything about it, who makes these as a pair.”
Truly speaking, this small jade gourd that was on his body, and his elegant and refined manners were really somewhat incompatible. Zhuo Qing did not give any face and laughed in his embrace, Lou Xi Yan could only helplessly embrace the woman who was laughing crazily, was it really that funny!?
With great difficulty, she had enough laughing, Zhuo Qing held the small jade gourd and put it in front of his jacket, in order to consider his image, this did not need to be hung on his neck, it was best that she was the only one who could see this thing!
The two of them were sitting next to the window and teasing each other, Zhuo Qing accidentally looked towards the outside of the window, nevertheless, she unexpectedly saw a touch of indifferent and cold white image.
“Su Mu Feng?”