Joy of Life - Chapter 281[Updated at: 2021-01-12 01:48:03]
Chapter 281: Sang Wen
Translator: Nyoi-Bo Studio Editor: Nyoi-Bo Studio
The lady who entered the house to sing was called Sang Wen. She was a famous singer in the capital back in the day, and her tremendous popularity at venues made her a difficult sight for even the noblemen.
The reason why Fan Xian knew her was because one year ago, whilst he was on vacation with his wife to the west of the capital, they resided in a small village for a while. At their summer house there, she was invited by Wan’er to sing a few songs for them both.
During this blissful summer day, a breeze rustled the still waters of a lake and, on its bank, Fan Xian sat beside Wan’er, Wan’er’s sister, and Ye Ling’er. He was in the company of three girls and he felt as if this was his favorite moment since his reincarnation. As Sang Wen sung the lyrics “a woman appeared like a fairy” it brought Fan Xian back to the time when he first met Wan’er in Qing Temple. Sang Wen left a strong impression upon him that day; an impression he would not soon forget.
Sang Wen entered the house and bowed before proceeding to the corner of the room to sit. Within her arms she held a lute and after a brief moment, she asked, “What would you like to hear?”
Fan Xian’s eyebrows sharpened, realizing that she did not remember him. He wondered if she would at least recall the poem he had written for her. Last summer, in that wondrous little village, he copied a Tang Xianzu poem and presented it to Lady Sang Wen. She left with it in hand, and it wasn’t long after that her popularity grew and she became famous across the capital.
“Sing ‘Plucking Laurel Branches’.”
Fan Xian was lying within Yan’er’s arms. With eyes half-closed, he had put in the request for a fairly ordinary song, but in his heart he was thinking, “A singer like this Sang Wen, how can she be owned by the Baoyue Brothel? And how can they just send her out so casually? Yan’er isn’t like any of the other women in the brothel, either. Could it be that the owner of this establishment recognized my identity?”
Ding! Ding! A sound roused Fan Xian from his deep contemplation. He smiled and thought to himself, “Maybe I am correct? Perhaps the Baoyue Brothel does know of who I am, and they are secretly treating me with greater grace than is normally given. I don’t have to worry about being caught with a courtesan, because I am Commissioner. The worst that could happen is the Imperial Censorate trying to impeach me once again.”
Sang Wen possessed finely curved eyebrows that accentuated her frailty. She did not wear lipstick and so she looked a little pale. Her overall facial structure was pretty, but she had wide, protruding cheeks that made her face look rather large. Her lips were also quite wide in comparison to the average pretty girl.
Her fingers gently strummed the strings of the lute and with her lips hardly open, she began singing, “Why does the skirt appear wider? It’s because I’m skinnier, and my waist is slimmer. I don’t want to eat, I cannot sleep and breathing is a struggle. If we can live together, then I am not afraid to die. I would sooner die before subjecting myself to the throes of love. Unfortunately, I have been working so hard for so long. The expected life of marriage and love became one of lonesome solitude.”
Her singing voice was soft, and it echoed the sentiment of each lyric; particularly the lyrics “breathing is a struggle”. Yan’er’s breathing became heavier when Fan Xian laid upon her, and it was something he found quite seductive. Fan Xian’s eyes were still half-closed when he felt the cold rim of a cup touch his lips. He did not open his eyes, for he was comfortable with Yan’er delivering him wine, and as he consumed the beverage, it filled his body with a warm sensation. He thought, “Having the occasional night of relaxation isn’t too bad. As for the owner of this establishment, he who has treated me so well, I ought to find out who he is later.”
As the song came to a close, a strange atmosphere permeated the air of the room. Fan Xian slowly opened his eyes and looked upon Sang Wen. As he looked, he was able to tell that her aloof mannerisms weren’t because she recognized Fan Xian, but that she was being cold on purpose. Perhaps it was because she was in a row with Baoyue Brothel?
The final few lyrics of the song described it clearly. It relayed the tale of a woman whose husband was traveling to a distant land and that she missed dearly. The man chose to remain there and for that, her hatred of him grew to match the love she had for him.
The song was simple, and the lyrics were simple and great. It was a suitable tune for someone of her identity. It was just… the people who visited this establishment came for little more than a prostitute to spend time with and an opportunity to drink through the night. For her to sing a long like this, it didn’t quite seem appropriate.
Yan’er saw Fan Xian’s soothed demeanor, and when she saw it, she conveyed a worried expression. Quickly, she poured more alcohol into his cup and delivered it to his lips. She pleaded, “Mister Chen, Sang Wen is a famous singer in the capital. Ordinary folks cannot usually see her. Why not get her to sing a few happy songs for you?”
Sang Wen did not expect the most popular lady of the house would protect her. In her tragic-looking eyes resided a glimmer of appreciation. She did not want Yan’er to be punished because of her own mood. She acknowledged how inappropriate the song she sang was and so she stood up, bowed and said, “Mister Chen, please forgive me.”
Fan Xian merely grunted in reply.
Everyone in the house was looking his way. Shi Chanli and Deng Ziyue had no idea what to expect next. They didn’t expect it when Fan Xian immediately smiled and replied to Sang Wen, “Everything about this capital is different from Jiangnan. This place is nice, and even the songs tell of how people should be nice, as well.”
All the girls heard Fan Xian tell this joke and felt relieved. Yan’er, with a smile, said, “If you all become nice people, how am I supposed to find work?”
Fan Xian chuckled and gently slapped her leg. And as his hand remained upon her thigh, he gently slid his hand up her lap. After this, she stopped massaging his shoulders and so they both sat up facing each other, drinking.
Sang Wen went back to it, and began singing another song. “Like a fairy in a dream, the raven-haired woman wore a sparkling tiara. The adornment bore the delicacy of a sunny day, glistened like the youthful joy of spring, and was sculpted in the manner of the round of the autumn’s jade lotus. After the consumption of much alcohol, her face was both red and shy, like a beautiful woman walking out from the canvas of a portrait. May I ask the fairy, with the moon setting in the west, which year it is?”
After she was done singing, Fan Xian was the first to compliment her, by saying, “Great song!” And then he turned to look at the pretty face of Yan’er in his arms and said, “This song is for Yan’er, for she glistens with the youthful joy of spring and bears the arms of a delicate lotus.” One hand trailed down Yan’er’s fingers through her sleeves to feel her skin and his other hand stroked Yan’er’s cheeks as he continued: “You are a beautiful woman, it’s just your ability to drink alcohol is bad. Your cheeks aren’t red at all.”
Fan Xian looked at a person nearby, who was holding another prostitute. He was red all over and possessed the squirming face of one consumed with lust. His name was Shi Chanli. Fan Xian looked his way and told him, “These words are for you.”
The girls all thought him funny, and each began laughing. Yan’er was smiling and quickly filled up two cups. She toasted in his name and drank the whole thing. All of a sudden, she began thinking; “This man is a master flirt. Is he really like Yuan said? Is he an officer from the government?”
It was now deep into the night. Fan Xian told the two horny men Deng and Shi to each go to their separate spare rooms in the house. The walls of the establishment must have been built well, for they had been in their own rooms for a while now, and not a peep was heard. Fan Xian laughed, thinking that Deng Ziyue may have actually maintained his composure for protecting his master, and not given into the temptation of doing anything with the beautiful woman that accompanied him. But he was not from the Third Bureau, so if he were attempting to obtain information from the prostitute, it would be a difficult thing to do. Shi Chanli was afraid that he may be eaten alive by his woman. Earlier, when they drank, he was able to taste the horny drug in the wine, which he explained to be a common addition to the beverages that are traditionally served at brothels.
Inside the room, Sang Wen’s face was one of alertness as she looked upon “Mister Chen”, who was lying upon the sofa. She was unsure as to why, after having played every song, he wanted to keep her there.
Yan’er’s clothes were loose and her hair had been brought down messily. She looked at “Mister Chen” and was surprised that this person the Baoyue Brothel had been focused on was requesting two women at once. As she thought of this, she began to feel uncomfortable. Yan’er acknowledged the fact that she was the most popular woman in the building, but found it hard to believe that she alone would not be enough to satisfy this young man. She knew that the management earnestly desired Sang Wen to work at the establishment, but due to her cost, they had to close down one branch of the brothel to be able to afford her. However, Sang Wen was a performer, not a prostitute, and due to her fame within the capital, she was able to strike a deal that ensured she never had to sleep with any man.
When Yan’er was just about to put on a smile, she did not expect tonight’s client to vigorously grab a hold of her. And as she was pulled, she was overcome with the feeling of warmth inside her. It was as if she lost all strength, and was brought gently down upon Fan “Mister Chen” Xian’s chest.
Yan’er, upon seeing the smile upon Fan Xian’s face, then began to think that the four dots upon his face weren’t quite as obtrusive as she initially believed them to be. The entirety of his being was soft and compassionate; he was rather sexy, also.
“I asked you to massage my shoulder earlier. Why don’t I massage you, as well?” Fan Xian used one hand to hold her waist and another to rub her temple.
Yan’er was surprised, unable to overcome the soothing sensation that his fingers delivered unto her. She lost consciousness and quickly drifted off to sleep.
Seeing Yan’er lying down upon this man’s knee without further movement, Sang Wen looked to be in shock. She stood up, with her hands holding her mouth and her eyes full of fear.
“Do not be afraid. She is only sleeping.” Fan Xian told her. He then carried the woman who had pleased him all night long onto the bed, before placing a pillow beneath her neck.
Yan’er looked to be in a state of tranquility, with her eyes closed tight. He briefly wondered what she would dream about. After seeing this, Sang Wen was able to confirm that Yan’er was indeed not dead. But still, with great trepidation, she made her way to the door. She was still unnerved by the way that the young man hypnotized Yan’er through a two second rub of her temples.
Fan Xian sat next to the sofa and looked at Sang Wen. He gestured for her to be silent.
All of a sudden, she felt dizzy and a second later Fan Xian was directly in front of her again. Without knowing what was going on, she was prepared to flee the building. And it was at this point she heard a voice whisper directly into her ear, saying, “How can a famous woman end up in a dump like this? Lady, you are so cruel for not remembering me!”
Sang Wen thought that the evening’s proceedings had been far too intense for her. She looked at “Mister Chen”, and when she glanced into his eyes, her mind swiftly recalled the mellow summer of the previous year.
She opened her mouth wide and her eyes beamed with surprise and delight, but there was a glint of sorrow hidden away in there, also. It appeared as if she had a thousand things to tell Fan Xian.
Fan Xian looked at her face and knew of how fortunate he had been on this day. He shook his head to prevent her from saying anything more and then he walked behind the bed where a toiletry bucket resided. He squatted down and then used his zhenqi to transform his finger into a blade. He tore into the bed sheets and collected a ball of cloth. With it, he plugged a conspicuous hole which resided behind the handle of the toilet frame.