004 – Climb Back In
Translated by Grenn
The Drunken Immortal had 10 private rooms on its second floor, and the most expensive and luxurious one was given the cheesy name of Ming Ya. The current person who rented Ming Ya was a young man of 23 or 24 years old. He had phoenix eyes coupled with neat eyebrows and was dressed in white-grey clothing with white dragon claws embroidered on the collar and the cuffs. On his waist, there was a silvery belt on which hung a honey-colored silky braided cord. His appearance was exquisite and peerless. In one hand, he lightly swayed his fan with the corner of his mouth curled up into a faint smile. “This young lady is interesting.”
That man was none other than Crown Prince Chu Zheng of the Jing Hua Dynasty. Today, he had reserved a whole floor at Drunken Immortal to celebrate the return of the Prince of Valor Mo Yange. However, the incident unfolding below came as a surprise.
Chu Zheng turned to his good friend, a man dressed in black. “Yange, what do you think?”
“She is an uncommon woman.” He replied with a slight shake of his head and a chuckle, then he drained in one gulp the wine in his cup. “Could it be our Crown Prince is interested in her? If so, that young lady is quite blessed.”
Chu Zheng simply smiled but directed a question to his servant. “Shuyan, this young lady came from which family?”
Shuyan was the pageboy who helped Mu Wanqing earlier. He was only 14 years old, but his cleverness shouldn’t be underestimated. He had noticed Chu Zheng’s attention to his answer, hence he grinned as he replied, “Your Highness hasn’t seen her yet, but she should be around 15 or 16 years old. Although she was garbed in commoners clothes, her temperament is unique, coupled with her sweet and beautiful appearance, it seemed as if she was a sprite from the deep forest or high mountains. She was full of ingenuity. This humble servant had grown this big, but this is the first time I met that kind of woman!”
His reply earned him thrown melon seeds from Chu Zheng who had grabbed them on the table. A mocking tone sounded out. “I want to know about her background, who told you to spout out that nonsense?”
Su Yan smiled while dodging the non-lethal projectiles. “Your Highness, don’t be impatient! This humble servant is coming to that part. From my knowledge, this woman didn’t appear in the upper circle of the capital. However, at a corner of her clothes, there was a Mo character embroidered in. It would seem she is a servant at the Prince of Valor’s mansion.”
The other men were stunned by his words. Chu Zheng fiddled with his fan, a smile hung on his face. “Yange, your residence is truly a place for crouching tiger and hidden dragon.”
“I really didn’t know about this!” He had some doubts and tried to recall a talented servant girl in his mansion. Unfortunately, as a warmonger living outside the capital almost all year round, all the matters at home were thrown out of his mind, thus he had no clue who that young woman could be. He shook his head and said, “I can ask Mo An to investigate which servant girl went out today. I will send her to your mansion after I find out.”
Chu Zheng clasped his hands in thanks. “Then, I will thank Brother Mo first for your kindness!”
Mu Wanqing didn’t know she had been “sold” by a certain person. After that monumental mistake, how could she still have the face to stay? It took her three bites and two mouthfuls to eat the food she ordered before beating in retreat out of the restaurant. By the time, she trotted out to the street, it was getting late. Then, she asked the passer-bys the direction for any place that had horses or mules. She planned to take a carriage and return to the Prince of Valor mansion.
As soon as she reached the compound entrance, she could see the chaos.
A middle-aged man with grey tempers stood at the entrance. When he noticed the carriage, he slowly walked toward it.
The carriage’s curtain lifted, and Mu Wanqing jumped down, an unbefitting action for a young lady.
“Senior, help me pay the carriage fee.”
That was the first thing she told him, not caring one bit about who he was. Well, she had no choice since she used all her money to help Elder Meng. She was penniless, but the Prince of Valor mansion wasn’t.
The middle-aged man in gray was dumbfounded yet he still came forward to pay and welcomed her into the residence. He greeted her with clasped hands and bowed slightly. He spoke in a low voice. “Princess, you have returned.”
While everyone was panicking as if their behind were set on fire, that man had kept his composure. There was no anger or annoyance when he saw her, neither did he flattered her or humbled himself in servility, only respect borne from the gap in their status could be seen.
“Unfortunately, my word bore no power. Otherwise, from your demeanor, I would have asked you to work for me!” Mu Wanqing uttered.
After being trapped ten days in Fragrant Garden, she understood how this princely mansion ran things. If she didn’t take into account the master of this mansion, the butler was the second person with the highest authority and took care of any matters pertaining to the servants’ duties.
The man in gray clothes bowed slightly. “Thank you very much for Princess’ appreciation. Your ladyship might not remember due to your amnesia, but this lowly one is this mansion’s butler. I am called Mo An!”
“This shows your prince and I have like minds!” Mu Wanqing wiped the sweat on her forehead, but she suddenly recalled something. In a hurried tone, she asked, “Since you are the butler, you should know my name and how old I am, right? In addition, what are the prince’s name and his age? No matter how my maid refused to tell me anything, even now I don’t even know what am I called.”
Unfazed, Mo An replied, “His Highness is called Mo Yange. This year, he is 28 years old. As for your Ladyship, your maiden name is An Yiqing, 17 of age.”
Quite a good name! Then, she sighed. She already had a baby face, but now, the face truly fit her tender age. In modern times, 17 couldn’t even be considered being adulthood. Well, it’s not too bad since the prince had reached 28. She found herself lucky not to be married to a 15 or 16 years old boy and becomes his wet nurse instead. At that thought, her steps were lighter and cheerful as she almost hopped toward Fragrant Garden. Without warning, she stopped and turned to Mo An with a grimace before bursting into a laugh. “Butler Mo! By the way, I have tested the guard at Fragrant Garden earlier, and he was a bit too relaxed. It’s better if he improves himself since I can’t guarantee there won’t be a next time!”
She winked at him mischievously before bouncing off to the Fragrant Garden.
Mo An became stunned before raising his eyes, staring at the back of the princess. He was similar to the prince as they didn’t have any good feelings toward the princess who only knows how to cause trouble. He also believed the princess so-called “amnesia” was a pure invention from her part. However, doubts crept in from the discourse of their conversation. The current princess was the complete opposite from her usual bossy and arrogant self. It was a first for him to see such a genuine smile which contrasted from her sardonic smile. She was now lively and cute, just like any young girl of her age.
Did the princess really lose her memories?
The thought flashed by, but he steeled his mind. People’s nature changed more hardly than a nation. This must be yet another one of her tricks to stir up troubles.
Anyway, it doesn’t matter. The main thing is the princess had left her residence – the Prince’s order wasn’t followed. Mo An wasn’t afraid of the prince would reprimand the princess. It was just… the situation had become chaotic, which was out of his expectation, to add oil to the fire, his Highness had rushed back and the scene had provoked his ire.
That was it, nothing more, nothing less!
The next day, Mu Wanqing staged another escape plan. This time, The “Black Bear” guard had learned from his failure, so when he heard a falling object and the cries of agony, he ignored them. He continued to guard the entrance like normal. He felt immensely pleased for not leaving his post and proud of his cleverness.
Hmph! As if I am going to fall for the same trick twice!
When the evening came, dressed in male clothing, Mu Wanqing was escorted back by Mo An to the main entrance of Fragrant Garden. Black Bear Guard gawked at her. Wasn’t the princess inside Fragrant Garden? How did she return from outside?
Mo An glared at him with disapproval.
Mu Wanqing beamed at him. “Fake is true, true is fake! Big Brother Guard, haven’t you hear of the Art of War?”
On the third day, the sound of a falling object was heard again at noon. Black Bear Guard was caught in a dilemma. He didn’t know if the princess was faking it to lure him in or not? Should he go in to take a look or should he stay here?
While he was lost in his indecision, Mu Wanqing had climbed the wall and left her courtyard without breaking a sweat.
Finally, Black Bear Guard went in then went out with tears in his eyes to report to the butler. Each word he exported was akin to his blood and tears pouring out. He had to lay bare his stupidity and could only admit that his abilities were not enough to guard the princess alone, he was left with no choice but to request more help. Mo An was also duty-bound to this problem, so he agreed to add another guard to make sure she won’t escape by climbing the wall. However, in their rush, they forgot Fragrant Garden wasn’t a tiny cabin, and Mu Wanqing had plenty of places she could leave from. It became a routine, a game of cat and mouse, where she successfully escaped from the guards every day. She went as far as running to the entrance after escaping to tease the big men while they gawked at her in defeat.
The situation persisted until one day…
“Your Ladyship, how are you?”
To her surprise, Mo An stood in front of her the moment she went over the wall unbeknownst to the guards again. Unruffled, serious and composed, Mo An stared at her. She let out a dry laugh as she got up and dusted her clothes.
“What? Butler An wanted to join in to guard me too?”
“Your Ladyship is funny. This lowly one still had many trifle matters to settle, I may not have the time to entertain your ladyship.” His hands were clasped as he bowed slightly to her. He maintained a respectful and calm tone. “In order to ensure your Ladyship’s safety, I have no choice but to arrange some protection.” He stepped aside and revealed what’s behind him.
Mu Wanqing looked ahead and went cold.
A few meters away, 100 soldiers stood in attention in neat and discipline rows, garbed in black colored armors lined with rosin patterns. Their expression was firm with awe-inspiring bearing. Their overall position had encircled the perimeter of Fragrant Garden tightly, not even an ant could escape! Their gazes darted toward Mo An and in unison, they kneeled on one knee and shouted, “This subordinate is willing to serve the Princess!”
Mo An was still respectful, but there was mirth in his tone. “Princess, are you feeling safer with this protection?”
There was cold sweat on her forehead but she was silenced by his words. She knew her relaxing days of climbing the wall were over. Without a choice, she obediently climbed back into the Fragrant Garden. Whatever true is fake or fake is true, everything was folded under brute strength!
“Mo An, you seemed tired these days.” Mo Yange asked when he came back from the palace after reporting the results of his campaign. These days, many things awaited him, so the number of times he returned was few. Therefore, he was still in the dark about his Princess playing a game of cat and mouse with the servants at home. He was only concerned when he saw the abnormality on Mo An’s face.
Mo An didn’t think twice about hiding the matter with Mu Wanqing. He explained briefly with a faint smile. “It’s nothing. There were bit more things to handle than usual, so weariness could not be avoided.”
“You are not getting any younger, so you should delegate some things to other people. Don’t exhaust yourself and harm the body!” Ever since he could remember, Mo An had been by his side, loyal and devoted in any possible ways. Despite their status of master and servant, Mo Yange didn’t despise him and treated him as a brother. When Mo Yange saw Mo An’s persistence, he smiled back. “Alright, if you say so! By the way, have you find out which maid left the mansion the other day?”
Mo An answered, “This servant had investigated the matter and didn’t find the maid which went to Drunken Immortal.”
“Oh?” Mo Yange exclaimed in doubt.
“If it isn’t inconvenient for your Highness to say, this servant would like to know what is so important about this maid?”
“Nothing much. She had left a deep impression.” He added with a smile. “At that time, the Crown Prince was with me at Drunken Immortal, and she caught his eyes. The strangest thing, Shuyan said that this girl was from our mansion. He usually doesn’t make a mistake, but how can we not find her? Mo An, is it because your face is so scary that people don’t dare to say anything?”
Mo An relaxed a bit and laughed, “Perhaps. This servant will investigate again.”
Never would they have thought that the blessed maid they were looking for was the troublesome Princess of Valor – Mu Wanqing.
Ming Ya ( 茗雅 ): The Ming is the character for young leaves and the Ya is the character for elegant, beautiful. Together, it means something like “refined and tender tea leaves”