Casanova Su Xiao (Part 2)
Ever since Xiuyu became the intersection between Nanjiang and the Central Plain, the city flourished thanks to the absence of war. Although Green Prince’s reputation tended toward the unfavourable side, bandits, insurgents and the eleven sovereigns of the eleven states weren’t ready to pick a bone with him. Furthermore, there was a promise to not besiege cities in war as the first option.
Because there were many immigrants and original Xiacang Anxi residents from the time Morcher designated Xiuyu as its capital, those in the city had to do business with the Central Plain to put bread on their tables. In the same vein, life in the city was evidence that people from the Central Plain and Nanjiang could get along.
The eleven states of Nanjiang considered Xiuyu a part of Xiacang Anxi people’s property as they shared the same religion. Thus, anyone wanting to dabble in business that involved Nanjiang would have to visit Xiuyu. As the population in Xiuyu grow, so did the range of items on offer. That gradually culminated in them creating a market, while time created tradition.
At the beginning of Xiacang Anxi’s history, they never did business with the Central Plain and had no interest in shiny gems et cetera, so those items were worthless in their land. Instead, trades operated on beasts, hunters and herbs. Beast flesh, fur and bones could be used for consumption, weathering winters and manufacturing weapons, respectively. Herbs were integral to their survival and more.
Gerlunbaier, which means “giant beast skeleton”, is the name the large street in the centre of Xiuyu, but some people prefer to refer to it by its nickname – Giant. Big men selling off beasts several times their size there is nothing out of the norm in the area. Though no man could travel back in time to verify, the guyas back then were presumed to have looked as tough as those men did.
The giant beasts that died to natural causes left behind flesh that would last them for a long time as long as people preserved them properly. In saying that, the hardness of their bones minimised their versatility, while their size made them hard to handle. People, therefore, used their bones as shelves to dry and display their fur.
They believed the beast skeleton nine-humans tall armed with sharp claws and crocodile head that stood on two legs at the centre of Gerlunbaier died standing to natural causes ages ago. They trusted it’d remain erect no matter what since people jammed blades of varying sizes into its joints as support. People liked the sense of security that doing business at Gerlunbaier offered, or rather, that the beast skeleton offered. Some businessmen may not find it very welcoming, but it blessed Xiuyu with more than ten times the business they saw before.
The three maidens dressed in Nanjiang’s fashion didn’t have any interest in the towering skeleton for they were occupied with each other and the items on sale.
In order to resolve the suffocating tension in the air, Su Xiao decided to speak up: “Um, s-”
“What?!” The maiden on the left, draping beast fur over her clothing, and the maiden on his right, carrying herself as dainty as a maiden of the north, turned to Su Xiao simultaneously.
“Do you two… dislike each other?”
“What do you think?!”
“Hmph!” The two shot each other a glare, crossed their arms and looked away.
What’s their deal?
When Luo Mingzhu learnt Ye Luo and Su Xiao were going out together an hour earlier, irritation permeated in her mind, though she didn’t intend to interfere. She was going to say, “Have fun,” when Ye Luo grabbed Su Xiao’s hand. Su Xiao was used to being treated as a girl, yet he couldn’t help stuttering when Ye Luo took his hand.
There’s something going on! She’s definitely up to something!
Alarmed, Luo Mingzhu said, “Young Master Su, I, I want to buy some daily necessities, but I can’t find a companion to join me. Could I p-”
“No!” Ye Luo cut in.
Su Xiao opined, “Sister Ye, didn’t you ask me to come along for the same reason? What if Miss Luo gets lost? It’s also her first time here.”
Ye Luo: “Tch!”
“I didn’t have the opportunity to do my part as your host in Huzhou. How about I treat you today?” Luo Mingzhu proposed. “What do you say, Young Master Su?”
Su Xiao didn’t mind letting Luo Mingzhu tag along in the first place. Plus, recalling the time he lashed out at her – when she suggested he cheat in the tournament – evoked a sense of guilt. “This one is thankful you looked out for him at Luo Sword Manor.”
Now it was Ye Luo’s turn to hear her alarm ringing.
“Miss Luo, you sure are nice to Xiao. Have you been this nice to him since Huzhou?”
Luo Mingzhu responded with a graceful smile: “I am just appreciative. I look out for anyone who looks out for me. Should this not be how we carry ourselves?”
The two maidens narrowed their eyes as they stared each other down, both privy to what motive the other was harbouring.
Su Xiao effused, “I had no idea you two were so close. Let’s go together.”
“Fine by me.” Sharing another cosmic moment, the two stomped together. “Hmph!”