The White-Haired Imperial Concubine - Chapter 7 - Stealing Someone From the Brothel (2)

[Updated at: 2021-01-11 22:05:21]
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Chapter 7 Stealing Someone From the Brothel (2)

Even though the room next door was very spacious, the window was quite small, so there wasn’t much light filtered into the room, making it quite dim. Man Yao walked to the desk and sat down while crossing her legs, a habit she usually did when there weren’t any strangers around; it was carefree yet elegant. Ling’er curiously asked her, “Zhuzi, what do you need Chen Yu guniang for?”

Man Yao smiled but didn’t say anything, only looking back towards Xiao Sha.

Xiao Sha seemed to realize something and explained, “In the drawing that Zhuzi painted of the teahouse, there was a circular stage in the middle and on the stage was a qin(1)…Zhuzi wants to invite Chen Yu guniang to be a musician at the teahouse?”

Man Yao smiled and gently nodded her head, as expceted, Xiao Sha was more attentive. Her design did not stop at just making sure the interior was perfect, she also required the incomparable sound of a qin as the finish. Ling’er asked, “Zhuzi, I don’t understand. His Majesty already bestowed down so much for the bride price, and you’re not lacking for money, why are you spending so much effort to open this teahouse?”

“The purpose for opening the teahouse wasn’t exactly just to earn money, it’s also to fulfill a wish of mine.” Man Yao took out a design from and stared at it in a daze, her eyesight seeming to go thorugh the thin piece of paper and beyond into the hopes and dreams that she once held for many years. She was Man Corporation’s sole heir. Starting from a young age, she was already resigned to the fact that she would not be able to do whatever she pleased, so her hobbies had to remain as hobbies. The design that she spent so much effort to create was shredded into pieces in a fit of anger by her father as he furiously scolded her. Originally she thought that that would be the end of it, yet on the journey that is called life, there are many things that are unpredictable. That year when she turned twenty six, she died in the “accident” that her young stepmother set up, and the mastermind behind the scenes was that tender-hearted board member who also happened to be her fiance. As for the reason, she guessed that it must be for the money, the position, and the power.

“Zhuzi, zhuzi.” Ling’er called her a couple of times but seeing that there wasn’t any response, she stretched her hand out to wave it a couple of times in front of her. Ling’er and Xiao Sha were the two she personally chose amongst the numerous people the Emperor of Qiyun prepared for her.

Waking up from her daydream, Man Yao organized the drawings in her hands when the door to the room suddenly opened. A woman wearing red softly entered, her looks were not ordinary, and she was charming but not to the point of bewitching. Man Yao quietly observed this beautiful woman, seeing her chin pointed up as she walked, her eyes carrying a hint of pride. When that woman saw her, she jerked, her eyes unable to hide her surprise.

“Chen Yu greets gongzi!” The girls’ hands were placed on top of each other at the left side of her waist as she bended her knees in greeting. Her voice was song-like and very moving, but her tone contained pride and arrogance.

Man Yao rose and gave a faint smile, “I’ve long heard that Chen Yu guniang is a stunning beauty. Seeing it today, it seems that it’s true.”

Chen Yu smiled as well, “Gongzi exaggerates. Gongzi is the one who is handsome beyond comparison.”

Man Yao gently laughed and allowed her to sit while Xiao Sha went outside to guard the door.

Man Yao didn’t try to beat around the bush and spoke candidly, “The reason I came is because I would like to make a business arrangement with guniang.” Her voice was slightly hoarse not at all like the ethereal tone she had before.

Sitting in a dignified manner, Chen Yu’s eyebrows slightly moved, “I’m afraid that gongzi has come looking for the wrong person. I am just a lowly brothel girl, how could I discuss business arrangements with gongzi?”

Man Yao adjusted her posture and steadily replied, “I’ve heard that a couple of years back there was a prefectural magistrate named Yu, but because he was implicated in a case involving a rebellion, his whole entire family of seventy nine people were executed. But later when they inspected the bodies…there was one missing. After investigating, the missing body was Prefectural Magistrate Yu’s youngest daughter Yu Chen.” Her eyes stared at the woman sitting in front of her and continued indifferently, “Yu Chen, Chen Yu, Chen Yu, Yu Chen(2).”

Chen Yu’s face changed colors and stood up from surprise, “How did you know?”

Man Yao gave a little smile and looked at the fan in her hands. One one of the jade corners of the fan, three words were carved in it: “Wu Yin Lou”, although they were quite small and unnoticeable if one was not looking for it. Wu Yin Lou’s success rate truly was high, with only a month, they were able to clearly investigate this secret matter from several years ago. No wonder their place was so high in the jianghu(4). The fan in her hand was obtained at an extremely high value as well. Other than gathering intelligence, Wu Yin Lou also had an assassin branch, their fee was scarily high, starting at ten thousand and two hundred silvers. They’ve never failed.

Chen Yu only partly listened to what she said before her gaze changed, a killing intent springing forth from her eyes. As Man Yao looked down, she only saw a flash of red muslin flying towards her like a sword, aiming to wrap around her neck. Her red lips curled up and moving her foot, she quickly evaded by sliding away with her chair. In shock, Chen Yu didn’t even imagine that this shockingly beautiful gongzi who looked soft and gentle was actually an expert! She prepared to attack again when a soft handle landed against her shoulder. The person holding the sword was that gongzi‘s bodyguard. Chen Yu calmed down and asked, “What do you want?”

Man Yao unhurriedly closed her fan. She already inherited this body and its memories, which included martial arts. Although she did not know how to use it, under Xiao Sha’s teachings, she had no problem going against ordinary people. Of course, Zongzheng Wuyou was an exception because he can’t even be counted as a person. His swordplay was so quick that even a top expert like Xiao Sha was unable to stop him. She gave Ling’er a look, and Ling’er immediately retrieved her sword, standing behind Man Yao. Using her most elegant manners, she gestured for Chen Yu to sit, “Guniang does not need to be on guard. I’m not saying this to blackmail you, I just want to help guniang completely wash clean of the title of being a traitor and start a new life.”

Chen Yu carried a suspicious look on her face as she stared at Man Yao, mixed feelings flickering in her eyes, “Who are you, why should I believe you? Why are you helping me?”

Man Yao faintly smiled, “I’m a business person, as for my purpose…I just think that this type of place doesn’t suit guniang‘s talents as a musician. If it were to be a different environment, perhaps…not only will the audience feel differently, even the person playing will also feel different.”

Chen Yu asked, “The environment that gongzi is talking about…what kind of environment is that?”

Man Yao: “The teahouse I am opening soon.”

The light in Chen Yu’s eyes became mocking, “And here I was wondering what type of place it was, so it was actually just a teahouse. In my eyes, a teahouse and a brothel are the same.”

Man Yao wasn’t annoyed and laughed, “My teahouse is different from the others. I dare say that it will shake the very core of Jingcheng, and you will become the other owner of this teahouse.” Her eyes were shining like stars while her tone was full of confidence.

Chen Yu was in a daze. This man, whether it’s his eyes or voice, carried some sort of charm that made people unconsciously trust him. To be able to have a new identity allowing her to no longer live in fear has always been her hope. Her face continuously changed expressions and finally hesitantly replied, “Qin mama is extremely greedy, she won’t let me go. Unless gongzi‘s identity surpasses the one behind Qin mama.”

The person behind Qin mama? Man Yao frowned, “Excuse me guniang, who is the person behind Qin mama?”

Chen Yu: “This…please forgive me for not being able to say it.”

Man Yao: “Are there actually things that can’t be resolved with money in this brothel?”

Chen Yu: “Yes. I am one of them.”

Hearing her say it in such a quiet voice, Man Yao saw hope flickering in her eyes, and after contemplating for a while, a knock suddenly sounded from the door.

“Chen Yu guniang, the Ninth Prince wants to see you.” Separated by a door and a sword, the man could only loudly announce his purpose.

Man Yao’s gaze immediately shifted, and thinking of the two people next door, an idea came to her. She smiled towards Chen Yu, “Do you know how to dance?”

Chen Yu nodded, and Man Yao spoke again, “Alright, then follow my instructions.” She whispered something in Chen Yu’s ear and emphasized, “Remember, your hands and body definitely cannot touch him, otherwise…I won’t be able to help you.”

(1) qin: A stringed instrument

(2) The names written in Chinese are 余晨 (Yu Chen) and 沉鱼 (Chen Yu), and while their characters are different, the pronounciation for the characters are the same.

(3) Wu Yin Lou (无隐楼): The characters 无隐 literally mean un-hidden.

(4) jianghu: It’s the general name for people who are not part of mainstream society (i.e. merchants, etc.) but rather make their living doing other things. In this case, Wu Yin Lou operates by gathering intelligence.