The Liu Family
The capital city of Jin, Shang An’jing, was fairly different from Nan Liang.
Xiao Zuo walked on the streets, and on the entire way, observed the shops to the two sides with a slight feeling of freshness.
Nan Liang’s capital city seeped with the delicacy and romanticism that was unique to the Jiang Nan region- throughout the year, it would be shrouded in dense fog, with chalky walls, black roof tiles, lifted corners and flying eaves.
Even in the winter, big trees grown on the two sides of the street would still be green and flourishing, and sometimes, there would be plum blossoms inclining towards the walls, with falling flowers piling up, pressed over by the carriages on the road, then leaving some flickering cold fragrances.
Several small creeks meandered and crossed through the city, holding up twenty-four white jade bridges.
Underneath the night of a bright moon, to the side of the bridges would be the beckoning of ladies formed from makeup and hairpins, and beneath the bridges would be black sailboats overflowing with the illumination of the water, with someone playing a tune over a jade flute, making people in yearning and heartbreak.
Only saying that human matters were unlike the presence of the landscape, disappointing [one] to seek a good wine.
Xiao Zuo sighed.
The barren branches to the two sides stood lonesomely, while the winds rolled up the thin yellow sands on the ground, and even without beating drums or shining weapons, was already of a stern air.
Frankly speaking, Shang An’jing was wealthy and flourishing.
The stores would be highly hung with red lanterns, pierced with colourful flags of an assortment of colours, while the plaques were all cast from gold, appearing with a royal air of splendour.
Now that it entered winter, the small peddlers who came out to calling for sales were all wrapped quite tightly- their heads wore slightly worn fur hats, but their faces were instead red and healthy, and called out powerfully while their hands smoothly flipped baked sesame cakes.
Their eyes all carried a hope and satisfaction towards life, and Xiao Zuo took back his gaze- looks like this war on Nan Liang, was lost quite justly.
“My lord, to the front is the newly opened restaurant.” Zi Wan stopped in her steps.
The top of that restaurant was still tied with the colourful strips symbolizing a newly opened business.
The plaque was written with “West Lake Moon” with flamboyant writing, completely out-of-place with this simplistic and dignified Shang An.
“Upon the western lake is water [called] the western lake moon, no clouds upon thousands of miles is the sky of thousands of miles.
Let’s go in and look.” Xiao Zuo held in his laugh, and went inside.
The furnishings of the interior of this restaurant were also no different from Nan Liang.
The pillars were all engraved with delicate lotus leaves or swallows and birds, and the entire main hall used goose-yellow drapes to partition it into several areas, layers upon layers, with a different kind of charm to it.
Just as they entered through the doors, a waiter quickly came over to welcome them, with their attitude very respectful, “Please come sit over here.”
Xiao Zuo and Zi Wan followed him to the center.
Xiao Zuo saw that there were a few places still empty by the window, and thought, sitting by the window eating while overlooking the entire Shang An’jing must be better than sitting in the middle only able to face people, and thus opened his mouth to ask.
“Can we sit to that side”
The waiter saw in the direction where Xiao Zuo pointed, and apologetically smiled, “Those seats over there have already been reserved.
The next time you two would like to sit there, you must let us know earlier on.”
“Is that so.” Xiao Zuo slightly regretfully sat down, and then received the menu from the waiter and started ordering dishes.
Just as He Xuan said, the dishes here were certainly all Nan Liang’s famous dishes.
There were many that Xiao Zuo did not have a chance to try after coming to Jin, and thus, he could not help but order a lot, even the gaze of the waiter looking at him to the side turned like he saw a mountain of gold.
“My lord, if you like, we can come here next time more often.” In the end, Zi Wan couldn’t bear to watch on, and spoke up to remind him.
Xiao Zuo then unbearably put down the menu, and then nodded his head at the waiter.
That waiter took back the menu full of smiles, and immediately brought many refreshments for them with a very hospitable attitude.
Xiao Zuo’s gaze swept through that plate of bean paste cake at the center of the table, and could not help but recall that night the country fell when Zi Wan picked up that bean paste cake with dust from the ground.
He felt his nose suddenly ache, and hurriedly concealed it by lifting his hand to rub the reddened eyes, and took up a bean paste cake and put it into the mouth.
The bean paste was soft with a bit of a cool sweetness.
Xiao Zuo swallowed that piece down the stomach, and felt that pitch-black and blood-red night also was swallowed into the belly along with this fragrant and sweet bean paste cake.
That fragrance wrapped over the swords’ ruthless air and bloodiness, slowly smoothing over that precarious, frail, and laughable self-respect of his.
“Zi Wan……” Just as Xiao Zuo opened his mouth, he was instead interrupted by a few people coming over from the side, “Hoh, where comes this little beauty”
He froze for one second, then turned over his head to look.
He saw the incoming person had a waxen yellow facial colour, clearly a wealthy lord’s son that was soaked in that town of tenderness and the tombs of ravishment to the point it emptied the body with one look.
That person was dressed in long sleeves, and looking from that delicate pattern and soft and smooth fabric, it must be very expensive.
The incoming person also came with a few followers who seemed like guards- that person seemed to be accustomed with tyrannizing this Shang An, and when he came up, he very frivolously walked to the front of Zi Wan, with his words unable to cover the filth inside it.
“Hey, why do you not speak, little beauty Look at this fine skin and tender flesh, could you be from the south” That person was about to merrily reach out to turn Zi Wan’s face, Xiao Zuo long already suppressed his anger on the side, and at this time, he suddenly stood up, slapped that person’s hand away, and spoke in a deep voice, “Put your hands away.”
“Oho!” That person turned his head, like he was sizing up some peculiar item when looking up and down at Xiao Zuo.
The fox coat on Xiao Zuo had not been taken off yet, so his delicate features were wrapped in a spotless white fine fur, making him seem more noble and removed.
At this time, when he put on a cold face and expressionlessly looked at that person, that person actually slightly had some thought of retreating in this instant.
“Who do you think you are scaring” That person let out a cold humph from his nose, and narrowed his muddy eyes, saying, “I remember all the people who cannot be opposed in Shang An, but this little fair face of yours, I don’t have even a lick of impression.”
That person swallowed his saliva, and stared at Xiao Zuo’s face for a short while, then suddenly pulled at his mouth and smiled pervertedly, “I see that you dress quite richly, could you be some lord’s little pet”
After finishing, that person met gazes with the guards following to his back, and laughed out loud together.
“You……” Zi Wan gripped her hand, how could she watch Xiao Zuo be humiliated like this Her eyes turned red from glaring, and was about to rise up.
“Zi Wan.” Xiao Zuo’s eyes turned deep, and could not be seen if he was happy or angry.
He indifferently pulled at Zi Wan’s sleeves, and slightly shook his head.
Zi Wan could only forcibly press down the anger inside her heart, then bit down on her lips and sat back down.