Like Chapter 6, Chapter 13 is one where many surprising secrets are revealed.
Who’s the mystery man? Who saw it coming? I know I didn’t the first time 😂 but there were cluuuuuuues…🔍
© 2017 Meraki
tranzgeek.wordpress.com ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this translation, except linking and excerpts with due credit to the translators and tranzgeek.wordpress.com, is strictly prohibited.
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The next morning, Zhu Ma, who was helping her to get ready, frowned and sighed: ‘It was peaceful for a few days and now you’ve fallen out with him again…’
Qin Sang was in a bad mood herself and so said nothing. In the afternoon, Yao Yuping telephoned her and after some small talk, hesitated a little before telling her: ‘I’ve asked to meet him today.’
Qin Sang brightened up and replied: ‘Then I’ll just pretend to run into you so I can have a look at him. I want to see what kind of person it is who has attracted you.’
Yao Yuping was only too eager for Qin Sang to be there hence she urged: ‘I’ve arranged to meet him at three p.m. at Xishengzhuang. Do come along as well. I’ll treat you to coffee.’
Qin Sang replied laughingly: ‘I can do without coffee but I shall certainly be happy to drink¹ a bowl of winter melon soup in the future.’
¹ In Chinese, soup is ‘drunk’ rather than ‘eaten’. If you’re not reading this chapter at MerakiTranslations, it has been stolen and reproduced by bootleg websites.
Although Yao Yuping was from Fuyuan, she knew from her Northern classmates that a bowl of winter melon soup was an expression meaning to thank the matchmaker and as such was already feeling embarrassed. Qin Sang also knew that she was on the shy side and so refrained from teasing her too much. She changed the subject and before hanging up at last, it was agreed that everyone would meet at three o’clock at Xishengzhuang.
At three, Qin Sang was already dressed and out of the house, directing the chauffeur to drive her to Xishengzhuang that was situated beside Lake Fu. Originally a well-established hotel, it had changed hands and been turned into a restaurant serving Western food which enjoyed excellent business. However, since it was teatime rather than lunchtime, there weren’t as many customers. By the time Qin Sang arrived, Yao Yuping was already seated and hailed her ‘Jiejie’ from afar, before saying with a slight blush: ‘He’s not here yet.’
‘I hope he hasn’t changed his mind because he’s shy,’ Qin Sang returned.
Yao Yuping said: ‘I didn’t tell him I would be meeting you here so he will definitely come.’
‘You little imp!’ Qin Sang exclaimed. ‘If you haven’t told him, how are you going to introduce me to him when he comes later?’
Yao Yuping said: ‘I’ll just pretend that we met by chance. Isn’t that what we agreed upon before? And as agreed, you’ll help me to observe just what sort of person he is.’
Qin Sang replied: ‘I consider it my bounden duty.’²
² 義不容辭 yì bùróng cí: not to be shirked without dishonor (idiom). Please consider reading from MerakiTranslations rather than at bootleg websites.
She immediately summoned the waiter over and indicated another table for herself. Although her table was diagonally opposite Yao Yuping’s, it happened to be partially blocked by a folding screen. People walking in from outside couldn’t see the table but anyone sitting there had a clear view of the exterior. Qin Sang ordered a coffee and had just drunk half of it when Yao Yuping suddenly winked at her before standing up and saying with an engaging smile: ‘You’re here.’
Qin Sang had been very curious to find out what kind of person had caught Yao Yuping’s fancy so she she turned round slightly from behind the screen to glance outside. What she saw though had the effect of a bolt from the blue and she froze in her seat. For it was none other than Li Wangping, now known as Pan Jianchi.
Pan Jianchi had never expected to see her there either so he only stared blankly at her. Yao Yuping pretended to have just caught sight of Qin Sang and exclaimed laughingly: ‘Oh, you’re here too, Jiejie! What a coincidence.’ This remark was what they had agreed on earlier but to Qin Sang, it now had another meaning and sounded especially mocking. There was a buzzing sound in her ears. Pan Jianchi had recovered himself so he strode forward, bowed and greeted her with ‘Madam.’
This form of address reminded Qin Sang that she was already another man’s wife and even if Pan Jianchi and Yao Yuping were in love³, it was a perfectly reasonable state of affairs. She forced herself to smile a little and replied: ‘No need to be so courteous. So it turns out you have a date with Miss Yao.’
³ 兩情相悅 liǎngqíngxiāngyuè: 1. (of a couple) to be harmonious. 2. to be each other’s sunshine. Translation originally published at tranzgeek(DOT)wordpress(DOT)com.
Pan Jianchi did not say anything, merely bowing in response. Qin Sang enquired: ‘How is your injury?’
Pan Jianchi replied: ‘Thank you for your concern, Madam. It’s much better now and I shall be able to resume my normal duties in a few days.’
‘There’s no hurry…’
Whilst conversing with him, Qin Sang struggled to maintain her self-possession, only feeling it to be an unspeakable strain, almost as though she couldn’t breathe. It was like being underwater with the water pressing down on her chest, so that her heart beat at an especially slow and heavy pace. The Western-style school where she been educated had been quite open-minded and there had even been swimming lessons. The first time she had gone into the water, she had slipped and sunk: it was the same horrible feeling. She had only seen a speck of light above her but no matter how hard she had reached, how hard she had moved her arms, she just couldn’t get hold of anything and down she had sunk… farther… and farther…
Yao Yuping, seeing that Qin Sang looked extremely unwell, impulsively grasped her hand and asked, ‘Jiejie, are you unwell? Your hands are so cold…’
Qin Sang shook her head and said with an effort: ‘I’m fine…’ but before she could finish, the world went black and she slumped gently to the floor.
This fainting spell felt like a groggy sleep, but also like the time when Mother had fallen ill and she had stayed up for a few nights by her bedside but then had nodded off from sheer fatigue. Hazily she could feel Mother tossing and turning in the bed and she wanted to reach out and take Mother’s hand but after murmuring ‘Mama…’, she found herself grasping nothing. Cold sweat prickled all over her body and slowly she understood that Mother was long gone, home was long finished whilst she herself had been in this morass for some years. It felt like many years when in fact it had only been a short three years. Three years that had been harder than half a lifetime of suffering which was why she felt that all of this had happened a long — a very long — time ago. Mother’s illness, Mother’s passing, her own marriage… to think it had all happened only three years ago…
When she thought of all this, she didn’t feel like opening her eyes and wished she could continue sleeping like this. But the murmuring sound by her ears sounded like rain, or a whole group of people talking and disturbing her so that she had to wake up. Slowly she opened her eyes to find that she was lying in her own bed. There really were several people in the room: a few physicians dressed in Western garb and some nurses. Zhu Ma was gazing at her with a worried expression and when she saw Qin Sang open her eyes, exclaimed joyfully⁴, ‘Missy is awake! Missy is awake!’
⁴ 歡天喜地 huāntiān-xǐdì: with boundless joy; wild with joy; overjoyed.
If you’re not reading this chapter at MerakiTranslations, it has been stolen and reproduced by bootleg websites.
The physicians also seem relieved that she had come to and the head physician said to Yi Liankai: ‘Since Madam is awake, everything is all right. There’s no need for any medicine. She just needs to rest well.’
Qin Sang had never expected Yi Liankai to be present as well. He was the last person she wanted to see so she closed her eyes wearily and turned her face away. Yi Liankai ordered Zhu Ma to see the physicians out and in a while the doctors and nurses all left and even the servants bowed themselves out, leaving the two of them alone.
In front of Qin Sang’s bed was a Western-style soft couch on which Yi Liankai was currently sitting, silently gazing at her. She opened her eyes and saw that he was still observing her so she asked dully, ‘Is there anything else?’
Her words were intended to show him the door5 and she knew, given his temper, it would provoke him into quarrelling with her. However, she was feeling out of sorts today and was in no mood whatsoever to humour him. If he wanted to quarrel, so be it; better still if he left in a huff so that she could be left in peace. But Yi Liankai bit his tongue though he was visibly annoyed.
5 逐客令: 2. (fig.) notice to leave. 3. words or behavior intended at turning visitors out. Please consider reading from MerakiTranslations rather than at bootleg websites.
Despite the unusualness of his behaviour, Qin Sang did not dwell on it and added: ‘I’m all right now. You can go.’
Yi Liankai raised his head and looked at her. She felt that his expression was extremely odd but didn’t think too much of it. After a long pause, he finally said, ‘I want to talk to you.’
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Translated and edited by 12