Casanova Su Xiao (Part 1)
Emperor Yuansheng gave everyone today and tomorrow off in consideration of their recent busy period, even rewarding them with money to go relax. While some used the opportunity to sleep in, Su Xiao already visited Shen Yiren’s room, where he discovered she pulled an all-nighter since her room was still bright. When he brought in a pot of fragrant tea he personally brewed for her, he saw her smiling in her sleep at her desk.
After tip toeing out of Shen Yiren’s room, Su Xiao grabbed two mantous from the kitchen, eating one whilst running to the front yard with the other in hand. He threw the mantou on hand into one of the cages in a certain carriage.
“… Xiao Han, why…”
“No reason.” Su Xiao stood akimbo. “Just ‘cause we’re bros.”
“No… I mean… why are there no salted vegetables?”
“… I was worried you’d die from thirst with no water. Just eat what you get.”
Despite what he said, Su Xiao fetched a bowl of water and small dish of salted vegetables for Tang Ye before carrying the pile of folded clothes taller than him to each person’s room.
“Yo, you’re early, Su Xiao.”
“Good morning, Proprietor Long. You’re also up early.”
Long Zaitian was in the middle of critiquing a piece of calligraphy from Tang Bohu when Su Xiao came by.
“Aren’t you looking at it upside down?”
“Huh? No wonder why ‘Crane Home Under the Peach Blossom’ looks like ‘Crap Earth Dog Kennel’. Now it makes s-” noticing Su Xiao looking at him, Long Zaitian changed his tone, “Hahaha, can’t mind the small details if you want to achieve big things in life,” and rolled up the scroll. “So, you’re here to deliver clothes? Place them over there. Thanks. Oh, by the way, don’t call me Proprietor Long from now on because Hero Li said so. Just call me Captain Long or Cap Long. If that’s too hard to remember, Brother Long also works.”
Although Long Zaitian and Su Xiao should have been some of the most hostile nemeses around due to their affiliations and loyalties, the two grew friendly during the time they worked together at Dragon Phoenix Inn. After all, Su Xiao wore his emotions on his sleeve and spoke his mind, making him the perfect friend for Long Zaitian.
“Hahaha, Brother Long, I shall continue delivering clothes, then. I need to go for a stroll with Ye Luo after I’m done.”
“You going out to have some fun today?”
Nodding, Long Zaitian suggested, “Good idea. Hero Li also mentioned you keep wearing the same sets of clothes over and over; buying some new ones is a good idea.”
“I’m not shopping for myself. I’m thinking of buying some local specialties for Big Brother Ming. If I don’t have something to stuff in his mouth, he won’t work.”
“Man, I just don’t get it. Why does everybody side with him? Miss Shen reminded us to buy two pigs for him. All he does is eat. You’re going to buy some pork feet, ribs or something, huh?”
“No, no. It’s braised pork shoulders in soy sauce, not pig feet. He says you need to be specific.”
“They’re both meat. Where does all the food he eats go? I sure don’t see his expertise.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that. He’s picky about what he eats. When he discussed the menu with Ol’ Cai, the two of them spent four hours discussing Artemisia stems and lettuce.”
“What is he? A rabbit? Four hours to discuss Artemisia stems?”
“I have to get going. See you around.”
As soon as Su Xiao left, Long Zaitian cracked a smirk to himself.
Artemisia stems… That’s it! I’ll get him, like that, next time! I need to talk with the bird.
Su Xiao still had time on his hands once he was done delivering clothes. Therefore, he went to chop some firewood in the firewood room. When he went to haul it off, though, everything in his field of sight went black.
“Eh? It’s dark already?”
A girl placed her hand gently over Su Xiao’s eyes and whispered by his ear, “Su, Xiao, can you guess who I am?”
“Huh? Who you are?”
“How am I supposed to guess? Mm… Do you not know who you are, either?”
“How would I not know?!”
“Okay, who are you?”
“I, I…” She stamped her feet when she was close to blurting her answer. “Take a guess!”
“I don’t know. Sister Huan’er? Sister Ping’er? Sister Yingying? Sister Fan?”
Voice coarse, she griped, “J-just how many girls do you know?!”
Su Xiao expected to have a struggle pulling her hand off, yet she didn’t put up any resistance, and then turned around. “Miss Luo? You gave me a fright. Don’t cover people’s eyes from behind like that again. It’s dangerous.”
Luo Mingzhu dimpled: “Yeah right. It’s not dangerous.”
“I almost beheaded you.”
“… Wh-who are those girls you named?” Luo Mingzhu took a bundle of firewood whilst trying to appear indifferent.
“They’re the maids travelling with us. They work hard, so I try to help when I can. Over time, we grew close.”
“I see.” Luo Mingzhu muttered something else under her breath and then broke into a skip.
“Xiao.” Ye Luo approached cheerfully to ask, “We’re still going out for a stroll, right? You ready?”
“Yeah. Let’s head out once I’ve delivered the firewood.”
Luo Mingzhu looked at Su Xiao and then Ye Luo, bringing her eyebrows together as she mused.