After Becoming the Hero's Ex-fiancée - Chapter 51
Skillful Posturing (1)
“State Preceptor, there’s another letter from the Senior Grand Secretary’s residence.”
Xiao Zhao, the doorman, came over and presented a sandalwood box from the Senior Grand Secretary’s residence to Cui Wang.
His lord had always been secretive, but since returning from the Shanglin banquet a while back, he had never concealed his face. In Xiao Zhao’s eyes, his lord was like a dignified living Bodhisattva, a celestial being with the most precious appearance. How could he be bothered by normal people?
But even he wasn’t bothered, there was also no reason to first flog someone, then break off their engagement, and now, looking at his lord’s good nature and change of luck, send him love letters so fervently, right?
The Zheng family’s young lady was just too thick-skinned.
Xiao Zhao watched as the State Preceptor responded with a faint “Mm” and kept the sandalwood box in his sleeves, then as always, bowed respectfully and saw him off.
If he didn’t know that his lord had the habit of standing idly in the courtyard for some time every day, Xiao Zhao would have mistakenly thought that his lord was especially waiting here for the letter from the Zheng residence.
Cui Wang returned to the study.
He first closed his eyes to cultivate, but the mortal world was too turbid, and really not the place for cultivation. Even the tree in the Plum Garden that had been struck by lightning became unsuitable for cultivation after he had finished refining the remaining bit of lightning.
Hence, Cui Wang opened his eyes again.
The sun was in the west; its rays hit the sandalwood table, leaving a golden shadow. His eyes fell on the exquisite sandalwood box that was enveloped in the shadow; it was a neat square, with a cotton rose carved on it.
Cui Wang opened it.
In it, was a peach blossom paper1—a light pale pink, just like peach blossoms when they first bloom in March. When he unfolded the paper, a peach fragrance assailed his nostrils; it was clear that she had put in effort.
“I stand before you through this letter.
Has Mister Cui been well? It rained heavily last night, and when I woke up this morning, the crabapples in the courtyard had actually bloomed, so I am giving you a branch.”
There really was a crabapple branch in the box; Cui Wang took it out.
The road here had probably been bumpy; the brilliant red crabapple blossoms had wilted somewhat, about half the petals had fallen off. He casually inserted the branch into a blue-and-white porcelain vase on the bogu shelf.
“When Father came back from the morning assembly, he passed by Shun’an Lou and bought Wan’niang some golden silk naan bread, and a pot of good Lihua wine. This Lihua wine is clear and sweet and tastes beautiful. It’s a pity that Mister Cui is not at our residence, otherwise, Wan’niang would definitely invite Mister Cui to have a drink.
Wan’niang was bored and made a sword tassel. Mister Cui, see if you like it?
The day after tomorrow is Princess Rong Yi’s birthday. Father has finally agreed to let Wan’niang attend the banquet at Yanchun Gardens. Unfortunately, there’s been a lot going on at home recently, and Wan’niang has not yet made any new clothes…”
The letter was filled with the miscellaneous trifles of a girl.
Cui Wang put the letter into a purple-green box in front of him that was neither gold nor silver. A faint Wuzhuan rune2 flowed on its surface; inside, there was already a pile of the same letter paper.
“Xiao Wangwang, you’re using this indestructible redwood box to keep these bothersome love letters? What a waste! What a tremendous waste!”
“Has the old ancestor come out of seclusion again?”
“If your great-great-great grandfather wants to go into seclusion, he will; if he wants to come out of seclusion, he will—it’s none of your business!” The old man in black with a round face and white beard hopped about in Cui Wang’s sea of consciousness. “That day when you fled from her house like a homeless dog; the waves here were so turbulent and almost got me all wet. I wondered what had happened to stir up your emotions so tremendously, and it turned out that it was just you feeling the stirrings of love for the little lady!
“Who told you to act like a pious Buddhist monk all day long, humph!”
“Hey, say something!”
“Tell me, even ten rods can’t beat a fart out of you3, so how did that little lady become so infatuated with you, and write love letters day after day to this cold face of yours? In my opinion, if you continue to be like this, within a few days, she will shift her affections elsewhere.”
1 peach blossom paper: 桃花笺 tao hua jian; ‘hua jian’, or ‘flower paper’, is an exquisite, handmade paper in ancient times that was used by the literati to write poems, and later also used for letter-writing. Peach blossom paper is a type that is coloured with dyes made with flowers, and used symbolically for letters to one’s lover.
2 Wuzhuan rune: 五转符文 wuzhuan fuwen; the writing/markings on Taoist talismans. There’s not physical talisman here, just the markings themselves, flowing around the box like some kind of seal/ spell.
3 even ten rods can’t beat a fart out of you: used to describe a person who is always silent, and barely responds. The usual saying is 1 rod/ 3 rods, so for the old ancestor to use 10 rods, he means it to the nth degree.