Saturday, October 20, 2018

Spring Once More ch27

Translator: ayszhang
Editor: Marcia
Beta reader: Dairytea

Spring Once More chapter 27
(Traditional Chinese cover scanned by Dairytea)

Chapter Twenty-seven

Next morning, I sit in front of the mirror like a girl, frowning, sighing and wondering if I should bruise my right eye to make them symmetrical. Li’l Marquess is a martial artist who can pack a punch. My left eye is puffy like a walnut, blue and purple, so painful that it kept me up all night. Not to mention I’ve been slapping myself repeatedly on the face for the stupid act, so my face is red too.
After stalling for an hour or so, I finally leave the room. I reckon if I don’t go out then someone will eventually come in. Since I had the audacity to do something indecent, I should have the guts to accept the consequences. Plus, I realize sadly, it’s not strange at all for the little prince to take a nibble at a beautiful boy.
Luckily, all the servants keep their gazes pointed downwards after noticing my eye, none making any comments. Even Xiao-Shun is quietly following me. In the dining hall, I spot Su Yanzhi, and my face burns. I feel anxious, mentally and physically. Fuck me! What’s to be scared of now?
Master Su and Hua Yingxiong have tight lips. The seventeen other masters and Wang-tanhua all gape incredulously when they see my eye.
Master Chenfeng blurts, “Milord, your eye...”
Shamelessly, I respond in a flat tone, “I bumped into the door frame when I woke to use the bathroom last night.”
Sitting in the back of the hall, Hua Yingxiong has his head tucked down. Master Su doesn’t even glance at me.
After breakfast, the masters all disperse. I knock on Su Yanzhi’s chamber door. “Master Su, I think I need to explain what happened last night.”
He puts down his book and watches me calmly. I cough and heat up again. “Last night, it was a, uh, misunderstanding, a misunderstanding!”
He returns a small smile. “I’ve already spoken to Yingxiong, you need not worry, Master Ma.”
Ah fuck me! I look up towards the sky. Now I will never be cleared of this even if I jump into the Pacific Ocean! The more I say, the worse it looks! All useless at this point! Why the hell did I even come to talk to him?
I scratch my nose and turn to leave, but Master Su speaks from behind, “I have ordered an increase in guards in the courtyards. You should have more men watching your quarters at night.”
I don’t get it, but when I turn and spot those enigmatic eyes, it clicks. I recall the li’l marquess’ shiny blade. Sweet mother of all things, what if he’s brooding at home thinking about the shame and decides to do something about it tonight! Although I was embarrassed, it is Fu Qingshu who was taken advantage of. My cold sweat just keeps dripping showing what a scaredy-cat I am. More men, yes, we need more men tonight.
The manor goes on high alert. Every day I apply leftover tea leaves to my left eye. And at night, I boil with fury thinking about what happened. Damn it, it’s all because I haven’t had any lady action for so long! After my eye heals, I’m going to visit the brothels no matter what!
One day passes. Then another day. Hero Fu is nowhere to be seen or heard. Meanwhile, my guilt ramps up since I did something indecent to him after all. My conscience won’t let me go until I’ve apologized, so I make a rough draft of an apology in my head and go to Su Yanzhi for guidance.
He seems rather indifferent. “It would be my pleasure if Master Ma is willing to entrust this to me.”
He is the son of a cultured family, after all, and the ink flows effortlessly across the page. Before I know it, the letter is finished.
“I will read it to you, and if anything requires correction, simply tell me,” he says putting down the brush.
“No need.” I nod approvingly. “I will be satisfied with whatever you write.”
Read it to me? Ya think I’d understand any of it?
The letter is delivered to the Anguo manor, but no replies come. I wait for another three restless days, during which my eye fully heals. Even then, no replies from the li’l marquess, but rather a message from the emperor summons me to the palace.
This time it’s an easy job – the emperor is treating us. Along with Prince Ren, Prince Kang and Prince Ning, we are all to be companions, our jobs being to accompany the three fuma candidates for Princess Yong’an.[1]
Princess Yong’an was born from the same mother as Prince Kang, Consort Dowager Lu, and is seventeen years of age this year, the age to find a spouse. Consort Dowager Lu did some research with the empress dowager, Consort Dowager Zheng, Consort Dowager Jia and other consort dowagers, and with advice from the empress and the edict of the emperor, decided upon three candidates. So tonight, my job is to attend the banquet with my fellow princes.
The banquet is held in Wanshou Pavilion. A eunuch leads the three candidates in, and I immediately spot a familiar face. A little tremor runs through me. What a small world this is! What a small world!
After formal greetings, I throw out some small talk. “So the young marquess is one of the candidates. Congratulations!”
His expression hardens a little, but since we are in the palace, where I’m the prince and he the subject, he doesn’t dare retort. He merely eyes me as if he wished he could stab me, but he musters a polite response.
“Many thanks, Your Highness. Your subject does not deserve such kindness.”
The meal goes by with a lot of action. The emperor is obviously holding this Hongmen Banquet to test the personality and wisdom of the candidates, so he dragged two bearded scholars from the Hanlin Library to be attendees. From time to time, a riddle would be thrown into the discussion, other times a rhyming couplet, then finally each creates a poem to entertain the emperor.
There is not one character of the classics within me, and I understand zilch. All I’m concerned with is the drinks and the food, and ogling the dancing palatial maids.
Of the three candidates, besides Fu Qingshu there is the third son of the Grand Preceptor Zheng while the other is the great-great-grandson of Grand Scholar Qiao. Whether on the basis of family background or looks, they are well below Fu Qingshu, so I reckon that the princess will become the young marquess’ bride. This guy sure has a good life ahead of him.
After the banquet, I sneak off and find Fu Qingshu in the imperial garden. It might be difficult to bring up, but we still have a problem to solve. “Um, Master Fu, I had a lot to drink that night, and I...”
“Your subject also drank too much a few nights ago and cannot remember certain things,” he speaks with a stiff expression. “I pray for your understanding, Your Highness.”
I nod. “Exactly, let the past be the past, and forget all the unpleasantness. I sincerely apologize to you. If anything ill happened, it was all my fault. Master Fu, just think of it as a bite from a stray dog, and let’s pretend nothing happened.”
He brings his fists together. “If no other concerns are present, I would like to excuse myself. By your leave.”
I return the gesture. “I wish you success in advance for the spot as new fuma.”
He shoots me one last look and turns to leave. I rub my nose. I suppose that’s the end of that.
Back in the manor, I call Xiao-Shun and order him to withdraw the extra security. The manservant looks hesitant and grumbles, “Milord, the security measures truly cannot be discontinued as of now.”
“Why not?” I demand, frowning.
He seems troubled. “Milord, it’s a big mess, and we were all waiting for your return. The Wang fellow is making a scene in the manor again.”
“Wang-tanhua?” I stroke my chin. “What could he be throwing a fit for?” As far as I remember, he has been very cooperative, eating and sleeping regularly.
Now Xiao-Shun’s face is completely crumpled up like a bitter melon. “His dad died, so he has gone mad and begun chopping at things with a sword, and he said, he even said, that he’s going to chop you up, Milord!”

[1] This is an error by the author. The princess mentioned in ch. 10 is named Yongshou.

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Dairytea: Manhua pic time!
"Master Fu, just think of it as a bite from a stray dog, and let’s pretend nothing happened.” ^_^
"..." =_=

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