Bring him along?
What does that mean?
This time it was Su Feng Nuan’s turn to be speechless and looking at the man.
The man watched her pair of eyes, like pools of water, observing him with scrutiny and was quick to explain, “Have Gu-niang1Miss not noticed? This mountainous forest goes very deep in and is very thick. The sky is covered and vegetation everywhere, it is hard to find tracks. I am indeed lost and have been going around for half a day already and haven’t made it out, luckily I have encountered Gu-niang2Miss.”
After hearing so, Su Feng Nuan looked around, it’s as he says, her focus has been on the little fox and the man, so had not noticed. She stayed quiet for a moment, and said, “I’m afraid I do not recognize the way either.”
The man stared at her, “I saw that Gu-niang3Miss was in a hurry heading east just then.”
Su Feng Nuan replied, “That’s because I chased the little fox from that direction.”
The man asked, “Can I ask, where Gu-niang4Miss came from?”
Su Feng Nuan’s lashes flickered, said, “From the farmhouse at the mountain foot.”
The man let out a sigh of relieve, “It’s alright as long as Gu-niang5Miss remembers the way you came. Once we reach the farmhouse, we’ll be able to get out of this mountainous forest.”
Su Feng Nuan didn’t want to overwhelm him, but still had to say, “That farmhouse I mentioned is at least ten some miles away. I had chased this little thing across a few hilltops. If I have not assumed wrong, probably have already went pass the Lingyun Town boundaries.”
The man heard so and was speechless for a moment.
Su Feng Nuan stared at him, “Gong-zi you are still sure you want me to take you with me?”
The man put away his bow and arrows, saying helplessly, “I’ve already been going around for half a day but still have not been able to get out of this mountainous forest. If Gu-niang6Miss can take me out, if it would take some distance then so be it.”
This time Su Feng Nuan nodded quickly, “Alright, then follow me.”
The man nodded.
Su Feng Nuan carried the little fox in her embrace and turned around, the man started after her.
The little fox was struggling and whining non-stop in her embrace, not accepting its fate of being captured.
Su Feng Nuan acted as if she did not hear it, stepping over the vegetations, one step after the next in the same direction.
After walking some distance, the man spoke up, “What did Gu-niang7Miss capture this little fox for?”
“Not for anything.” Su Feng Nuan replied.
The man seemed use to her swift talks and smiled, “This fox’s fur is fiery red, no inconsistencies, but its eyes are icy blue, seems to be the legendary Lan-huo8Blue Fire Fox. It’s told that these Lan-huo9Blue Fire Fox, although they look like fire, but it’s body and blood is actually very cold, can be used as medicine. A good antidote for any weak health and hot blooded conditions.
Su Feng Nuan let out a “Oh,” and said carefreely, “I don’t know much about it, only saw that it was pretty and wanted to capture it to play with.”
The man let out a light laugh, “I dare ask where Gu-niang10Miss is from? Hearing your accent, don’t seem like you are from the Imperial City.”
Su Feng Nuan extended a hand to hit the little fox’s head, it instantly stopped whining, she said, “Indeed I can’t be considered from the Imperial City.”
The man’s glance turned, “Not considered?”
Su Feng Nuan rolled her eyes, “Gong-zi first asked me my name, now you ask me where I am from, it’s hard for me to not think you don’t have wishful thinking for me.”
The man immediately became speechless.
The corner of Su Feng Nuan’s lips lifted, thinking it was funny, “Gong-zi have asked me many things, but have not said anything about yourself. What’s your sur and name? Where are you from?”
The man lightly coughed, “My surname is Xu and my family is from the Imperial City.”
Su Feng Nuan turned around and glanced at him, “Xu Family of the Imperial City is a prominent family. Two Queens from one household, the grandness is almost overflowing the Royal Family.”
The man’s expression stiffened a little, shaking his head, “a King is a King, an Official is an Official. Even though the Xu Family has two Queen it is all by the favor of the Royal Family.”
Su Feng Nuan smiled lightly, “What Gong-zi says makes sense.”
The man did not say anything else.
Su Feng Nuan also did not say anything else. The little fox resumed to whining and struggling. Seeing her not paying any attention, opened its mouth to bite her hand.
Su Feng Nuan feeling the pain of the bite, used her hand to pry apart it’s teeth, “Little thing, if not for me, you almost died under his arrow. You don’t know how to be grateful for me and even want to bite me. I ask you, follow me and have plenty to eat and drink, everyday I will catch wild chicken for you to eat, if you don’t want to follow me, I will kill you now. Which will you choose?”
The little fox instantly looked up at Su Feng Nuan.
Su Feng Nuan released her hand and watched it.
The little fox watched her with watery eyes for awhile and finally submitted, no longer struggling. Using its head to snuggle against her hand and stuck out its tongue to lick the teeth mark it made.
Su Feng Nuan was pleased, “This is so called, knowing your situation and not be ignorant. In the future I will call you Xiao Hu11Little Fox.”
Xiao Hu let out two sound of acknowledgement.
The man already caught up to her, walking side by side with Su Feng Nuan, watching her tame the little fox he said smiling, “The Lan-huo12Blue Fire Fox is said to be even more intelligent than the white fox. It seems that not all tales told in the urban of spiritual objects 13also referring to animals bonding with a master are entirely false.”
Su Feng Nuan tilted her head towards him, “You also like to read urban tales?”
The man nodded, “I read a few of them in my spare time.”
Su Feng Nuan smiled looking at him, “You are from the Xu family, you know Xiao Guo Jiu of the Xu Family?”
The man froze.
Su Feng Nuan stopped staring at him, looking ahead and said, “There’s a urban saying of two poetic lines to describe Xiao Guo-jiu of the Xu Family. The poem is: With good origin like that of a golden tower, the daughters of the city admire his glory and brilliance.”
The man let out a light cough, “There is urban sayings like that, I am not aware.”
“It seems that you haven’t read many urban books.” Su Feng Nuan laughed.
“May I ask which urban book Gu-niang14Miss read?” The man asked.
“Hong Yan Zhuan15Biographies of Beauties. A book brought up in many of the author’s other novels..” Su Feng Nuan answered.
The man was surprised, “Isn’t that a book about women?”
Su Feng Nuan shook her head, “Who says that beauties only refer to women? It can not be used for men? That book records all the notable men and women in this world who is either famous, good looking, wealthy, or skilled and their stories. Even General Su is on it.”
The man sniffled a laugh, “I see, I had thought it is about women. It turns out I am really do not see or hear enough.” After saying that, he said smiling, “It actually gave Xiao Guo-jiu an appraisal like that, then what does it say about the Rong-an Wang-fu’s Ye Shi-zi and General Su?”
Su Feng Nuan’s eye lashes fluttered, smiling she said, “The Rong-an Wang-fu’s Ye Shi-zi? Does Gong-zi know him?”
“Acquainted, but not close.” The man replied.
Su Feng Nuan nodded, “The saying about him is: Books and poems read in vain, romancing among stacks of satins.16Meaning among a playboy.”
The man sniffled a laugh again, “Not quite suitable.”
Su Feng Nuan glanced at him again, “What’s not suitable?”
The man did not answer and asked again, “General Su?”
Su Feng Nuan seeing that he was not answering, did not chase after it and continued, “It’s appraisal of General Su is: Golden Horse stranded in the Jade Hall, great aspirations haven’t returned the zither of the mountains and rivers.17My Chinese is not good enough to understand the meaning of this saying made up by the author. No explanations online either.
The man absorbed it for awhile before letting out a sigh of approval, “This one is very precise.”
Su Feng Nuan laughed, “There’s also sayings about the 3 beauties of the Imperial City. Do you want to hear?”
“You are referring to Sun Qing Xue, Shen Zi Lan, Xu Ling Yi?” The man asked.
“Yes, it’s them, known as the Imperial City’s 3 Beauties.” Su Feng Nuan winked.
The man smiled, “Since it’s still a long way, talking with Gu-niang has been interesting, no problems listening on.”
Su Feng Nuan said, “Sun Qing Xue is the Prime Minister Manor’s Young Lady, Shen Zi Lan is the Jing-yang Hou-fu’s Young Lady, Xu Ling Yi is the Guo-jiang Manor’s Young Lady. All from prominent manors and with aristocratic backgrounds. It says that the three each have their own talents, one in zither, one in drawing, one in chess. Each famous near and far.”
The man nodded.
Su Feng Nuan said, “I’ll say the poem and you guess, see if you can match it with the right person.”
The man smiled, “Alright.”
“The clouds carry the sounds of the wind and knows her gracefulness. Jade fingers sending the phoenix flying.” Su Feng Nuan said.
The man did not need to think and said, “Sun Qing Xue.”
Su Feng Nuan continued, “Jaded Ink splatters bamboos and rain, the dews carrying the scent of magnolia from the Ling-zhi18a expensive herb form of a strange mushroom.”
The man said, “Shen Zi Lan.”
Su Feng Nuan continued again, “Extending her hand to pull the curtain. Snow hitting the plum flowers. The fragrant burner not lit unable to complete the game.”
The man smiled, “Xu Ling Yi.”
Su Feng Nuan turned to look at him, smiling as she said, “Gong-zi guessed them all, I should praise you for being smart or think you must be very familiar with the ladies in the Imperial City so can answer so easily and sure?”
The man started coughing, his cheeks a little flushed.