Treasured Sword, Golden Hairpin Chapter 3 Part2
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Treasured Sword, Golden Hairpin, Chapter 3, Part 2.
from w.a.n.g Dulu's Baojian Jinchai.
On the road, Xi Zhongxiao was very happy, saying, “I went to Liang Wenjin's house yesterday. I told him that you were going to meet the young lady Yu, and he seemed a mite jealous. He said that when you find the Yu father and daughter, you should help him take vengeance. If you end up getting married to the young lady Yu, he will forget you ever existed.” Li Mubai smiled grimly, “That's ridiculous! I'm not going over there to get married to the young lady Yu, but even if it did really happen, what business is it of Liang Wenjin's?” When he said this, he became angry, thinking, If Yu Xiulian's appearance and martial arts are truly as Xi Zhongxiao says, then I must make her my wife so I can rub it in the face of ordinary people like Liang Wenjin.
Xi Zhongxiao saw that Li Mubai had taken a bit of offense, and he wanted to goad him more with his words, but Li Mubai could tell what he was trying to do and thought that it was clear Xi Zhongxiao had not the best intentions in getting him to go to Julu for this. At the very least he was expecting Mubai himself to take a tumble at the hands of the Yu father and daughter. However, Li Mubai had confidence in his abilities and insisted on taking this wager with Xi Zhongxiao.
The wagon rolled on until noon, when they found a food stand on the side of the road. They ate and drank for a moment and then continued on their way. They traveled until about the fourth hour of the afternoon, where they arrived at Julu. Li Mubai wanted to find an inn, but Xi Zhongxiao thought them all bothersome inside, so they took a rest at the Taidehe grain shop. Xi Zhongxiao had come here over with Liang Wenjin, so he knew all the people at the shop extremely well, whether it was the shopkeeper at the top, or the attendants below him.
The shopkeeper Xu observing that Xi Zhongxiao had only been gone a couple days before returning, hurried over to ask, “How are our young master's injuries?” Xi Zhongxiao replied, “Not only is he not better, he seems even more bruised and swollen than before.” He went inside with Li Mubai, laid on a wooden couch and lit up some tobacco. He chatted with the shopkeeper as he smoked, and then referred to Li Mubai as he said, “This is Li Mubai, the one your young master often mentions. He's here now on marriage business.” Shopkeeper Xu asked, “Might I ask which house the girl belongs to?” Xi Zhongxiao said, “It's the daughter of old escort Yu.” Li Mubai couldn't help but blush and say to the shopkeeper Xu, “Do not listen to his nonsense. It is not as he says. I'm simply here to have some fun.”
Despite Li Mubai's explanation, shopkeeper Xu still believed what Xi Zhongxiao said to be true. With a look of amazement directed at Li Mubai, he said, “If we are speaking of the young lady of Yu, then she is a true beauty and talent! The Yu family made their living in the security business, but they are honest people. I would consider them not unworthy of you, young master Li.” Hearing him say this, Li Mubai tried even harder to deflect. Xi Zhongxiao sat beside them and laughed in between puffs of smoke. Shopkeeper Xu chatted with the two a bit more before heading out of the room.
Li Mubai looked up and daydreamed, saying to himself, What if Xi Zhongxiao wasn't lying to me? To hear shopkeeper Xu say it, this young lady of Yu really does have it all, and her family remains a good one. After all, I am not from some n.o.ble family, so it may be a good match with hers. So thinking, he couldn't help but want to meet the young miss immediately.
By now Xi Zhongxiao had sufficiently satisfied his tobacco addiction, so he called in one of the shop's attendants. This one was named He, an extremely slippery character, and was a distant relation of the wealthy Liangs. He was in charge of running errands outside the shop, so he was very familiar with the goings on in the streets. It was no secret to him, his young master and Xi Zhongxiao's fixation on the young miss Yu. Xi Zhongxiao asked for him and asked him with a smile, “Any fresh news to report at the Yu house since I've been gone these couple days?” The attendant He laughed, “They've just kept to themselves these few days. It would be something if they could avoid trouble, eh?”
Xi Zhongxiao chuckled and then said, pointing at Li Mubai, “Young master Li here has come to take a look at your famous beauty, the young miss Yu.” Attendant He said, “That's easy. There's a blessing at the Changchun Temple near the eastern gate. I am certain the young lady of Yu will burn incense there with her parents. Young master Li, if you wait at the temple gates, you will surely see her.” Xi Zhongxiao nodded and then looked over a Li Mubai, saying, “It's getting late anyhow. Tomorrow, we'll go to the temple and see what's going on and in the process meet the pretty girl.” Li Mubai laughed, “What's the hurry? Tomorrow, the next day, I'm in no rush.” Xi Zhongxiao sat up from the couch and smiled, saying, “I don't believe for one second that you aren't feeling some urgency.” After some time, attendant He went back to the storefront. Xi Zhongxiao and Li Mubai took their rest at the shop that day.
Li Mubai was unable to sleep well all night. His longing kept him up until the next day, and he got up before it became light. After was.h.i.+ng his face, Li Mubai intentionally changed into a soft, sapphire blue silk robe and thin-soled officers' boots. Xi Zhongxiao could see that Li Mubai looked clear and handsome, his body tall and robust, a truly striking young man. He thought, Li Mubai is much better than Liang Wenjin and me when it comes to his appearance. When the young lady of Yu see him, she may actually fall for him. We'll consider him lucky if he's able to pluck that rose! So thinking, he couldn't avoid feeling pangs of envy. He himself changed into a maroon spring silk robe and white-soled officers' boots. He tied on a golden silk belt covered in red and green embroidery and hung from it an eyegla.s.s case and money pouch.
A meal was served at the shop shortly. Xi Zhongxiao felt an urgency inside and had earlier sent attendant He to watch the doors of the Yu house. Before they finished eating, attendant He ran back and while laughing so much he wasn't able to close his mouth. He said, “Fate smiles upon young master Li and the young lady Yu. When I went for a look down the alley aside the Yu house, I saw a large carriage stopped there. It seems very likely the old couple will be taking the young miss to visit the temple.” Xi Zhongxiao quickly pressed Li Mubai, saying, “Hurry up and finish your food, so we can head over there. Otherwise, if they arrive at the temple first, they'll get lost in the crowd and we won't be able to find them.”
It was natural that Li Mubai wanted to see the young lady's face as soon as possible, so he hastily finished eating. The two men washed their faces once more. Xi Zhongxiao told Li Mubai to strap on his sword before they exited through the door of the Taidehe grain shop. Xi Zhongxiao said, “Let's walk by their house first to see if they've departed yet.” Thus with Xi Zhongxiao leading, the two headed to the alley upon which the Yu house stood.
Because it was the day of the blessing at the eastern Changchun Temple and the weather was good, there were many people, wagons and horses on the main street. The small town of Julu was abruptly bustling with activity. Xi Zhongxiao took Li Mubai to the alley of the Yu house and pointed out a small black door on the northern side, “That's Old Eagle Yu's house. But where is the carriage in front of it?” Xi Zhongxiao blurted in alarm, “We have to hurry. The young miss is already heading to the temple.” They hastened out of the alley and flagged down a wagon on the street. They both got in it and told the driver to take them to the eastern Changchun Temple quickly.
The wagon wheels creaked as they rolled along the stone road and before long they arrived at the eastern gate. They saw throngs of people, wagons and horses squeezing through the town gate. There were many carriages that belonged to rich people and inside, ladies old and young, girls and servants, all on their way to Changchun Temple to burn incense.
Just past the eastern gate, the road was completely lined with incense stands and most of the people on the road were holding joss sticks, candles and the like. There were several women from smaller households, wearing their new red and purple clothes with faces painted with rouge and golden jewelry on their heads. They walked arm in arm, acting coyly while t.i.ttering, talking, calling out and acting annoyed. There was also a son from a wealthy family, riding atop a tall horse with a young servant in tow, pus.h.i.+ng his way through the crowd of young women. He shouted, “Come now, make way! Watch out, go to the side!” As he shouted, his horsewhip swept across the head of one of the youngest, most brightly-dressed, most graceful women. The woman glared back indignantly at the rider. The young master turned to her and smiled lightheartedly, “I didn't see you, young miss!” He then proceeded to urge his horse on and flirt with another woman.
Xi Zhongxiao and Li Mubai's mule cart followed the crowd eastward. Xi Zhongxiao sat atop the wagon and looked right and left, forward and behind with his two eyes like a hungry hawk. He scanned every single woman, whether they were riding a wagon or on foot, but he was unable to spot the beautiful visage of the young lady Yu Xiulian. Xi Zhongxiao was a little disappointed, thinking, Is it possible the young miss didn't come to this temple?
Sitting inside the wagon, Li Mubai couldn't help but lean out the window. The images of many well-adorned women appeared before his eyes, but none of them made his heart skip or moved his spirit. He thought, If the young lady Yu Xiulian looks like the rest of these women, then no matter how good her martial arts are, I dare not partake. I will return to Nangong this very day.
Looking up from the wagon, they could see two tall, red lacquered poles between which fluttered an almond yellow banner with the words, “May your spring be eternal,” written on it. When they came to the front of the temple, they saw the red walls and main gate of the temple finished with a fresh varnish. Before the gate was a dense crowed of lay Buddhists, along with young hawkers selling snacks and monks and priests begging for alms who were standing on the sidelines calling out. Xi Zhongxiao looked back and said to Li Mubai, “Quite a lot of people here!”
The two came off their wagon at the gate. They were about to enter the temple with the rest of the people, when they heard someone nearby shouting loudly, “Young master Xi!” Xi Zhongxiao thought, Who could that be? He looked around for the voice and spotted a man standing amid the crowd in front of them waving at them. It turned out to be the attendant He. Xi Zhongxiao cheered and squeezed over to him, pulling Li Mubai along. The driver shouted from behind them, “Sir, you haven't paid your fare yet!” Li Mubai pressed his way back to him, pulled out some money out and give it to the driver.
By now Xi Zhongxiao had pushed his way through to attendant He. He asked, “How did you get here so fast?” Attendant He narrowed his eyes and laughed but didn't answer his question. Saying instead, “I've spotted the young miss Yu. She's with her mother with a skinny, yellow-faced man trailing them.” Xi Zhongxiao hurriedly asked, “Where?”
Attendant pursed his lips toward the inside, saying, “They just went in. They're probably in the main hall burning incense.” Xi Zhongxiao quickly shouted back, telling Li Mubai to squeeze his way to them. With him in front, attendant He at second, and Li Mubai last, the three of them cut their way through the crowd and pressed their way inside. Some of the people were pushed aside by Xi Zhongxiao and others were nearly tripped up by Li Mubai's scabbard. All glared viciously at them and voiced their complaints. Xi Zhongxiao paid them no mind, and it was in this way that they crowded themselves into the main hall. They found even more people inside the main hall, as smoke from the incense permeated and curled about the s.p.a.ce like a cloud. Several men and women, young and old, were offering incense and kowtowing to the Buddha, but they were unable even to see which Buddha sat here.
Xi Zhongxiao and Li Mubai were looking left and right when attendant He suddenly tugged on Xi Zhongxiao's sleeve, saying, “Isn't that her?” His words pulled Xi Zhongxiao and Li Mubai's gaze to where he was looking. They saw before them a slender, yellow man in his forties, wearing a short, blue, cloth jacket making his way back down, pressing his way forward and shouting for people to let him through. Behind him followed a short, old woman of fifty-some years wearing a black satin jacket and skirt with a young woman at her side holding on to her arm.
This young woman was no more than sixteen or seventeen years, of elegant stature and an oval face very lightly made up. Her eyes glistened like autumn waters and seemed to carry a smile, though amid the smile, there was an expression there that discouraged people from taking her lightly. The bridge of her nose was high, her lips cherry red, and above her bright eyes rested two delicate yet forthright brows. Her hair was combed into a long, s.h.i.+ny braid, and by her temple was inserted a golden hairpin and a China rose made of silk. Two gold earrings inlayed with small pearls dangled from her ears. On top, she wore a pink jacket finely embroidered with b.u.t.terflies on either side, and below, she wore long, light green satin pants. As she was being crowded on all sides, her lotus feet could not be seen. On the two hands that were holding onto her mother, she was wearing two or three golden rings, and on her bright wrists was clasped a gold bracelet.
Xi Zhongxiao forcefully pulled at Li Mubai and said, “Look, there she is!” So saying, he and attendant He both gawked dazedly at her. Li Mubai fixed his own gaze upon her person. It was as if he was looking at a beautiful and precious object that he could never have dreamed about or thought could exist. He had completely forgotten where he was.
The young lady Yu supported her mother as they headed outside. Xi Zhongxiao pulled Li Mubai along and pushed their way back out. They extended their necks to look bewilderedly at the rear view of this stunning and talented young woman.
Treasured Sword, Golden Hairpin Chapter 3 Part2
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Treasured Sword, Golden Hairpin Chapter 3 Part2 summary
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