by Qing Lu
Translated by Grenn
Chapter 18 – Only to go into the wolf’s lair
In a deadlock at the carriage’s entrance, Zhuo Qing had no room to advance or to retreat. She lowered her head in defeat. As she watched her green skirt tied around her waist, it became clearer in front of her eyes. She inwardly admonished herself. ‘Calm down, calm down!’ He might not necessarily recognize her!
When she raised her head and met with Lou Xiyan’s slender eyes frivolously winnowing her, she howled in grief. If he didn’t recognize her that would be fishy! She clearly knew she was deceiving herself and others people. She lightly coughed. Then, she gently pulled down her skirt before retreating backward.While doing so, she used her most resigned and gentle voice to say, “I am so embarrassed, I… went into the wrong carriage.”
Lou Xiyan lightly raised his eyebrow. In a clear and smooth voice, coupled with a smiling expression, his voice lowly echoed, “I believe you can even say you’re just passing by…”
Zhuo Qing’s body became rigid as she ferociously glared at Lou Xiyan.
She raised her head and the traces of blood on her throat became visible. Lou Xiyan’s slender eyes slightly narrowed and his look slightly changed as he asked, “You got injure?”
Zhuo Qing lightly stroked her throat which had already stop hurting. What more, the blood had already dried. She indifferently replied, “It’s nothing serious. It’s just a skin-deep injury.” Right now, that pain cannot be compared to the pain on her waist! As expected, women were not suited for very fierce battles, except for Gu Yun that genetically modified woman!
Zhuo Qing was silently cursing in her mind when her wrist was grabbed suddenly by someone. As she recovered her spirit, she was already pulled to the soft couch in the carriage by Lou Xiyan. When Lou Xiyan noticed the big bloodstain on Zhuo Qing’s nape, he became tensed.
While her wrist was slightly painful, Zhuo Qing watched Lou Xiyan as his eyes were serenely examining her neck. She, then, recalled that, just a moment ago, the bearded man had sprayed his blood on her. Zhuo Qing hurriedly said, “This is not my blood!”
Lou Xiyan gently pulled on her collar. It was indeed just a bloodstain and there was no injury underneath. ‘This woman is truly not simple. She escaped in the span of only one shichen, yet she can cause another “murder case”.’
Zhuo Qing felt a bit ticklish on her neck. Since she wasn’t very used to this sensation, she struggled to stand up.
“Stop moving.” Something pressed on Zhuo Qing’s shoulder and, once again, Lou Xiyan made her sat back on the soft couch. His clear and limpid voice which was usually gentle was now different. It sounded somewhat downcast. Zhuo Qing lifted her eyes and watched Lou Xiyan finding a simple and white handkerchief in the carriage. One of his hand lifted her chin and the other hand tied the silk handkerchief around her neck. His hand was somewhat cold. The distance between them was very close. Because of the distance, she could smell the faint sandalwood fragrance coming from his body. It wasn’t as strong as the usual cologne that men wore and was easier to smell. Zhuo Qing was once again dazzled by the close-up perfect profile of Lou Xiyan. Her breathing became somewhat difficult, but she rather died than to admit that she was confused by his charm. Without hesitation, she concluded that it must be because of the silk handkerchief being wrap on her neck that made her very tense…
Sensing that Zhuo Qing’s body became more and more rigid, the corner of Lou Xiyan’s mouth lightly perked up. When it was necessary, using a beautiful man’s charm can also be effective. Lou Xiyan’s movements became even more gentle as he took his sweet time to tie the handkerchief.
Zhuo Qing was cursing inside. ‘He is definitively doing it on purpose! Does wrapping a wound needs someone to be this close?!’ With great difficulty, he properly tied it. Zhuo Qing awkwardly put a bit of distance between them and got up before saying, “Thank you. I’m going first.” Even if he knew she was the youngster in the grey gown, there was no reason for him to stop her from leaving.
“Qing Feng, if you’re leaving like this and the Emperor knew of it, I’m afraid your sisters will be dragged into this. Even for your country, Hao Yue, it will be difficult for them to escape from this fate.” There, it was again, the faint, soft and indifferent smile which was driving Zhuo Qing mad.
She was screaming inside with grief and indignation. She knew it! Those villagers were absolutely unworthy of her trust! They unexpectedly betrayed her even though she had help them so much!
She turned back her head in resentment and coldly replied, “Are you threatening me?” Anyway, she wasn’t Qing Feng. He better not think he could threaten her! That would be impossible.
Leaning his back on the carriage and sitting cross-legged, Lou Xiyan replied with an indifferent smile, “Miss Qing had wronged me. I will never make this kind of threat that doesn’t have any real effect on the situation.” It was unusual that this kind of casual way of sitting didn’t make Lou Xiyan appeared vulgar. On the contrary, he was graceful and appeared free and at ease.
Unfortunately, Zuo Qing wasn’t in a mood to appreciate it. This man was also holding a big grudge! He took her words and threw it back at her.
‘Calm down, calm down! Meditate, meditate!’ Zhuo Qing took a few deep breaths and was able to steady her state of mind that was on the verge of exploding. She bluntly sat down next to Lou Xiyan and provokingly said, “Then, Chancellor Lou, what do you want?”
Seeing the way she repressed her temperament with great effort, Lou Xiyan inwardly found it funny. He softly replied, “Actually, Miss Qing don’t need to overthink. I’m just inviting you to my residence. It wasn’t in my intentions to make things difficult for you, but this is the infinite royal graciousness. I also have no choice, but to receive it. Miss Qing is injured and should go to my mansion to properly recuperate. I can tried my best to let you and your sisters meet with each other. Will that be good or not?”
‘Sisters?’ Gu Yun and her were together when they fainted. Could it be possible that among the Qing siblings, one of them could be Gu Yun?! Although the probability of it wasn’t too big, Zhuo Qing still wanted to see them. She wouldn’t let any possibilities slip by! Looking straight at Lou Xiyan, she asked with a heavy voice, “Can you let me see them?”
‘The fish took the bait!’
Soft and gentle brows coupled with an earnest intonation, Lou Xiyan clearly answered, “I will certainly try my utmost to make it happen.”
Zhuo Qing rolled her eyes at such a half-heartened answer. If she believed him, that would be terrible. “I want to know if you can or you cannot?”
There was a flash of interest in his eyes. ‘This girl wasn’t stupid.’
He slowly nodded his head. He firmly answered, “I can.” The only question left would be if it was soon or later.
After she pondered for a moment, Zhuo Qing once again asked, “I will go to your residence. Will my identity be consider as your concubine?”
Lou Xiyan’s complexion was cordial as he replied with a smile, “It will certainly be that of honored guest.” The Emperor had already bestow her to him. It was already determined that she certainly was his concubine. He just didn’t have any other methods to get out of it.
“Can I have the freedom to go in and out of the Chancellor’s residence?”
Lou Xiyan indifferently nodded his head and generously said, “It’s possible.” As long as he could oversee that freedom.
Zhuo Qing frankly and straightforwardly answered, “Deal!”
She simply didn’t have any other choice since she was penniless and covered all over of injuries. Not to mention that Lou Xiyan went in a big circle just to stop her from leaving. It was absolutely impossible for her to walk out. To be truly free, she need to find money in a short time! A wise man submitted to circumstances. She had only temporary surrender.
Unknowingly Zhuo Qing heard from Lou Xiyan about the additional details following his answer, whether or not he could still be this frank and straightforward, in merely a quarter of hour, she still won’t know much about it.
“Return to the residence.” The relaxed tone of voice displayed the host’s good intentions.
Hearing the voice coming from outside the carriage, Zhuo Qing stiffened once again. Outside the carriage, Mo Bai proudly stood beside it. Even when he caught sight of Zhuo Qing, his face still remained cold and detached, but in his eyes for the first time, there was a feeling of “thinking of yourself clever” mockery.
Everything today was within Lou Xiyan’s grasp and caused by his ability to scheme…
Her back was covered in cold sweat as she felt she was cheated.
She barely escaped from the tiger’s den, only to enter the wolf’s lair…
In the original text, Lou Xiyan referred to himself as a third person which also hinted on how polite he was, but since there was no equivalent in english and leaving it as pinyin was also weird for me, I change it to the normal “I”.