Saturday, September 29, 2018

Spring Once More ch24

Translator: ayszhang
Editor: Marcia
Beta reader: Dairytea

Spring Once More chapter 24
(Traditional Chinese cover scanned by Dairytea)

Chapter Twenty-four

Shenshu? The name rings a bell, although very faintly…
Luckily the attendant saves me the hassle and reveals his master’s identity.
“My Young Master, the son of Marquess Anguo, asks for a favourable reply from Your Seventh Highness that this servant will take back.”
I shut the invitation card. “Tell your marquess that I shall pay him a visit.”
What is this Fu guy playing at? Yesterday he comes with a knife to chop me up, and today he sends a fancy invitation. I’d better check this out myself.
The Anguo Manor, an impressive and stately residence, is located in the south part of the city. The butler who greets me says that senior has left for Jiangnan to sightsee with his dear wife. Now junior is in charge in the house.
Master Fu’s Hongmen Banquet[1] is being held in the centre of the lake in the garden. A pavilion stands in the centre, just like Wangxing Lake in the Prince Tai Manor. In the pavilion is a stone table, and on the table are two tea bowls. A fair young maiden pours the tea and serves the snacks. I am shook. In the prince’s manor, there isn’t a female body in sight other than Zhong-shu’s wife and daughter-in-law, let alone a cute maidservant! Rubbing my chin, I wonder if I should put up a hiring sign tomorrow.
Fu Qingshu waves the maidservant away, and I dive straight into business.
“I like honesty, Master Fu, so just say whatever is on your mind.”
And boy is he frank! He reaches into his breast pocket and whips out a stack of bills.
“Master Fu,” I start. “You just have to apologize. I was not severely injured, so I don’t need medical compensation.”
“This amount is enough for your lifetime and the next,” he spits coldly. “Leave the capital today.”
My mouth drops open. “Wha?”
“Master Ma,” he continues with a scoff. “If we are being honest here, then allow me to say this. Su Yanzhi, being the intelligent character that he is, has absolutely lost his mind hiring you to act as the prince! Imitating the prince is a crime that is punishable by the extermination of your ten families![2] I suggest you let go of your worldly desires and find a place to spend the rest of your life in peace and quiet.”
Thank heavens! Li’l Marquess Fu is a clever one, too! Even he knows that I’m a fake! Why do all those stupid dipshits in the manor still think I’m a cut-sleeve?!
I have this urge to buy a bottle of shaodaozi[3] and discuss the whole process of my rebirth over a dish of boiled peanuts. But behind the impulse is logic. I’m one of twenty on the same boat. If I’m exposed, then what will happen to those masters?
I pull a stern face. “You are jesting, Master Fu. Watch your words. Framing us is not a small crime.”
“Oh, really,” he chuckles. “But you sure forgot to use the royal ‘we’ last night when you spoke with Su Yanzhi!”
Shit. Here I was wondering how he was so clever. So he turned back around and eavesdropped last night! Another thought occurs to me. “You recognize Su Yanzhi?”
“The third son of the Jiangnan Su House, the younger brother of Su Xingzhi, who in this court doesn’t know him? Meeting him for the first time, I can say he lives up to his name. I only wonder why he didn’t teach you to speak properly. He should share at least a fraction of his brother’s brains!”
What the hell does that mean! This green punk has barely left his mama’s titties! Pissed off, I put on a harsher tone. “Then Marquess Anguo must have taught his son extremely well, so much so that he can sneak along walls and eavesdrop without being detected.”
The li’l marquess’ expression turns sour. Hah, what did I say about him being a little boy! Not enough life experience!
“Master Fu,” I continue with a snicker. “Since we’ve come to this point, let’s have a discussion. I promise not to marry your cousin, and you keep quiet about me. Believe it or not, I am not afraid of death, but if I die, then the twenty-some people in the prince’s manor along with the entire Wang house will die, too. Also,” I smirk and release the A-bomb, “I left word with Master Su. If anything were to happen to me, he is to deliver a message to the emperor and the empress dowager that the young marquess came to my manor to assassinate me. I believe you understand the consequences yourself.”
He is silent, expression taut, and I know I’ve won.
“You’re a smart fellow, Master Fu, but still limited. I’ll tell you one thing for sure: taking the prince’s place was not Su Yanzhi’s idea at all. It just so happens that he is very understanding when it comes to bizarre happenings, and I always need someone who knows the truth on my side, don’t I?”
He just stares at me as I rise, shaking out my sleeves. “If you have no objections, then we are finished here. Goodbye.”
“Anything else?” I turn around with a smile.
“Could you tell me the truth?” he asks with a strong gaze. “Of what kind of bizarre happening do you speak?”
Master Fu here sure has the hunger for knowledge! What a straightforward question!
“Let it go. You would not be able to understand it anyways.” I leave with a flick of my sleeve.
Exiting the Anguo Manor, I get in my palanquin and order the head bearer, “Directly to the palace!”
Hell, I refuse to believe that I can’t solve this shit!

[1] Famous historical episode used to describe a trap to which one is invited and must attend.
[2] The usual punishment is killing nine families of the criminal ( and the tenth family extermination, reserved for despicable crimes, refers to killing also the criminal’s teachers and disciples.
[3] A distilled alcohol originating from the Liaodong Peninsula. The modern recipe dates back to the Ming Dynasty and contains between 65-75%.

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"Then the Marquess Anguo must have taught his son extremely well, so much that he can sneak along walls and eavesdrop without being detected."
The li'l marquess: "!!!"

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