Saturday, October 13, 2018

Spring Once More ch26

Translator: ayszhang
Editor: Marcia
Beta reader: Dairytea

Spring Once More chapter 26
(Traditional Chinese cover scanned by Dairytea)

Chapter Twenty-six

It’s afternoon when I return to the manor on my palanquin. I enter the main hall and slap the table hard. “Hark!”
There is already a bunch of people trailing behind me, and now they quickly shuffle into a single file, arms straight down. I plop down on a chair with my legs splayed.
“Where is Zhong-shu? Bring him to me!”
A handful of them answer and anxiously rush him to me. I wave a hand while holding a tea bowl in the other. “Starting now, I want you to organize the décor of the manor in preparation for a wedding – red lanterns and whatnot. Your prince is bringing a wife home!”
The gang stands shocked for two seconds before bursting into a routine of bows and chants. “Congratulations, Milord. Felicitations, my prince.” Zhong-shu is slow to react and falls behind by one beat, and they become this weird, off-beat a cappella chorus.
I snort. “Congratulations, my ass! Goddamnit, thinking about it makes me mad!”
>They are dumb again. I gulp down some tea to regain composure. “Where is Master Su?”
“In the library teaching the sixteenth master to write,” answers Xiao-Shun.
I head there and toss the question at Su Yanzhi. “All the ledgers are in your hands, right?”
Su Yanzhi puts down the brush, and Hua Yingxiong nudges over to me looking up with bright eyes.
“Take a good sum out to purchase a bride price,” I announce with determination. “We go tomorrow to deliver it to the imperial father-in-law’s manor!”
Su Yanzhi frowns. “Milord, are you truly marrying the imperial sister-in-law?” Hua Yingxiong’s expression droops.
“I have the royal edict upon my head,” I reply. “I have to. Tomorrow we deliver the bridewealth, and three days from now she will enter the manor!”
God fucking damn it! I have to do all this shit and spend all this money and effort to bring home a memorial tablet.
At the dinner table that evening, only Wang-tanhua and I shovel food down our pipes. The other nineteen only show up out of etiquette and say they don’t have much appetite.
I tap my chopsticks against the table. “Everybody, man is iron, rice is steel. There are important things for you to do, so you shouldn’t overlook dinner. After we are full, Master Su will make a preliminary guest list, and the rest will help with writing them out. Xiao-Shun, you prepare a large table, cover it with a red cloth and place it in the inner hall so it can hold the princess!”
Xiao-Shun probes nervously, “Shall I tidy up an agreeable chamber in the main courtyard?”
“Chamber?” I grumble through chopsticks. “Fuck, that wooden tablet will be glad that it has a big table to stand on!”
The nineteen masters, reenergized and cooperative, eat the meal properly.
Invitations, sent. Bridewealth, delivered.
Next, my marriage.
Once a young, rich, handsome and powerful bachelor, I become a young, rich, handsome and powerful husband.
A tablet covered by a red cloth enters the manor in a fancy wedding palanquin. In the dazzling bridal parade of the Zhou family, each member has a red flower tucked behind their left ear and a white one behind the right. Toting an idiotic, red silk ball on my chest, I perform the marriage bows with it.[1] Now it will stand on the big table in the inner hall, and come every major or minor holiday, Liu-shen is to dust it off and offer incense.
The bridewealth cost a hundred thousand silver, an amount that makes me practically shake with pain. But Master Su seems rather relaxed holding the ledger.
“The one hundred thousand was an investment. The dowry of the imperial sister must be around a hundred fifty thousand. Then there are the grants from the emperor and the empress dowager and the gifts from your fellow princes and the court officials. I see but profits.”
The empress dowager’s reaction is all but unexpected. The emperor was prepared to talk her through it all, but she instead comes to me. “My son, this was a marvellous undertaking on your part. One must endure in order to accommodate the greater good. Rest assured, next year I shall select a good one for you.”
That promise only makes me anxious.
Marquess Anguo apparently is blown away and extremely grateful for my kind generosity. Somehow, I’ve also become relatives with Fu Qingshu through all this. He came looking for me the day before the wedding and passed on a message from a certain someone who wanted to thank me for such compassion and will always keep a tablet of me to pray and bow to. I keep her tablet, and she keeps mine. I guess it’s only fair.
Before he left, he said sincerely, “You are a decent man.” I don’t know if that was him or his cousin.
And as he leapt over the wall, I stared wondering why he couldn’t have walked through the front door.
The honeymoon night, I’m squatting like a poor bastard in the honeymoon suite plastered with red. The tablet is on the table, and I am on the bed. Before I came in, Prince Ren even clapped me on the shoulder and slurred drunkenly, “Ol’ Seven, our brother, His Majesty, treats you so well! If only those six wenches at my manor were all tablets!”
I really wanted to grab him by the collar and ask, “Well, why don’t we switch?” That motherfucker…
Sitting on the bed, I drink two cups of wine, and it eventually goes to my head. I decide to shut my eyes for a bit leaning on the bedding. Eyes shut, I somehow find myself back home, and Yan Ni is in some old suited man’s arms telling me, “Ma Xiaodong, we are over!” I shrug, and the scene changes. I’m sitting in a bar drinking beer. A haughty, sexy lady walks up to me and sits down right in my lap.
If there’s bacon, I’m gonna fucking eat it! The hottie sends a flirtacious glance my way, and I send a naughty one back. Our lips crash passionately.
Her reaction is to shrink back a little – how cute of her to be playing coy! I hold her slender waist tightly and kiss her until she’s gasping for air. Mhm, soft and silky, pretty awesome. I reach a hand to her chest – a flat one, unfortunately.
Wait, flat? From my guesstimate earlier, she should be at least an E cup. What the... I touch it some more, and then a little more. Oh sweet mama. I’ve come back down to earth.
Oh crap! Oh crap! What have I done!
Blinking open my eyes, I’m met with a super close-up. As my senses readjust, I realize one of my hands is on this person’s waist and the other clutching this someone’s collar. Eyes wide and mouth gaping, I can barely speak.
“Ma-Master Fu, h-how come it’s you?”
Fu Qingshu’s face flushes lobster red as he glares at me. He’s probably in a bit of a daze, too, since he doesn’t move.
One one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand... And of course the doors swing open at the critical moment. I look over the li’l marquess’ shoulder. It’s Su Yanzhi and Hua Yingxiong.
Now I’m really awake. I shoot up like a bolt and push Fu Qingshu away, laughing awkwardly.
Su Yanzhi and Hua Yingxiong simply turn their backs to us and leave. I shut my eyes, devastated.
“Hmph.” Fu Qingshu punches me right in my left eye. He flings something on the ground and jumps out the window.
A breeze blows in, nudging the thing on the ground. It’s the outer robe that I took off when I got hot from the alcohol.
On the table is a tub of wine, unopened.

[1] The three bows signify that the bride and groom are married. The first bow is to the heaven and earth, the second to the parents and the third to each other.

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"Hmph!" XDDD

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