Chapter 954: Voice from Afar
“Huhu, stop being rude!” Kong Nanwu gave the little fox an impatient look.
Then, she looked toward Zu An apologetically with her beautiful eyes.
“I’m sorry, young master Ah Zu, my maid here lacks discipline.
Right, I believe I’m a well-read person as well, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of these ‘Strange Tales’ before.
May I ask where the young master obtained this book”
Zu An didn’t really mind the little fox’s offense.
After all, her current form was just way too adorable.
He replied, “In my earlier years, I encountered an old sir named Pu Songling.
He told me all kinds of strange stories, so I remembered them and recorded them down.
I’m now gifting the lady with a copy and hope that it’s to your liking.”
While he had been bored in the Eastern Palace earlier that day, he had already been wondering what kind of gift to give Kong Nanwu to repay her kindness.
In the end, he decided on the book ‘Strange Tales’.
‘Strange Tales’ was a book filled with all kinds of bizarre and thrilling stories involving ghosts and humans.
She was from the fiend races, so he figured it would probably suit their tastes.
Since his time had been limited, he had only made a copy of a small portion.
As for the rest, that was something he’d think about in the future.
Kong Nanwu looked pleasantly surprised, exclaiming “So it was written by the young master personally! This is a rare treasure…” She picked up the book while speaking.
The smile on her face immediately froze, however, because the words were… really ugly.
Of course, objectively speaking, the handwriting was merely average compared to others.
But for someone of her status, and furthermore for someone who liked to read the words of great masters, Zu An’s handwriting really was quite unbearable.
Zu An’s face heated up.
He coughed awkwardly and said, “Please read it slowly.
I still have something to take care of, so I’ll bid my farewell first.” Then he left, as if he were running away without even waiting for them to say anything.
The little fox wrinkled her nose.
“At least that guy knows himself.
This handwriting really is offensive to the eyes.”
Nan Xun moved over, then covered her mouth and giggled.
“It really is a bit ugly.”
“It indeed doesn’t suit his literary grace.
No wonder he had someone else write his poem for him earlier.” Kong Nanwu couldn't help but muse.
At the same time, she picked up the booklet.
As she flipped through the pages, her previously nonchalant expression gave way to mild shock and seriousness.
Then, she began to read faster and faster.
The little fox sorted out her fur that had been messed up by her master’s petting while whispering, “That guy really is a joke.
The young miss helped him out so much, and yet he only gave you this stupid book.
The handwriting is even so ugly.”
Nan Xun also added in agreement, “Right I even helped him out, and yet he didn’t give me anything.
Men are all fickle in love after all.”
Kong Nanwu burst out laughing when she heard Nan Xun’s jealous words.
“Who said he didn’t give you any gifts Wasn’t this story written just for you”
Nan Xun was stunned.
She looked at where Kong Nanwu was pointing and saw the words ‘Ghost of a Beauty’.
She cried out in alarm, before quickly starting to read the story.
With her current concentration, she could read quickly and she finished it easily.
Her face was left red with embarrassment, her insides stirring with emotions.
Kong Nanwu harrumphed.
“But who is this old Black Mountain witch he speaks of Am I really someone that vicious and hateful in his mind”
Nan Xun immediately leapt to Zu An’s defense.
“Come on, didn’t young master Zu already say he wasn’t the one who wrote this This is the story an old sir told him.”
“Look at you, weren’t you a King Manor concubine and even a spy trained by the royal family How can you still be this innocent” Kong Nanwu shot her a look.
“Even though I can’t say I’ve read all of the books in existence in the world, I’ve read quite a few.
However, I’ve never heard of these Strange Tales before.”
“Maybe that Pu Songling hasn’t made his mark in the world yet, so he isn’t that famous” Nan Xun speculated.
Kong Nanwu shook her head.
How could someone with the talent to write something like this not be known Furthermore, the writing style is completely different from the styles popular in this world.
It’s a true breath of fresh air.
Apart from someone of his literary talent, who else could write something like this”
“Young miss, are you saying that this Pu Songling is just young master Zu’s alias” Nan Xun was shocked and overjoyed.
“But why does he need to use an alias”
“In my opinion, many of these stories talk about romance between the fiend races’ creatures and humans, implying admiration and sympathy for the women of the fiend races.
It might be because he’s a court official, so he doesn’t wish for this book to make him a public enemy.” Kong Nanwu had a bit of joy on her face as she continued.“Last time, he wrote the verses ‘Their pitiful remains scatter endlessly across the northern lake, even as wives dream and await their return’, which already told me that he was different from normal humans.
If we look at all of this together, we can tell that he doesn’t have any prejudice against our fiend races.”
Nan Xun felt strangely happy when she heard her praise Zu An.
She said, “Young master Zu was an incredible man to begin with…” Then, her face suddenly turned red.
Inwardly, she added, ‘in every way’.
The little fox pouted and said, “I think that guy has bad intentions.
Maybe he wrote about love between the fiend races and humans on purpose to seduce the lady!”
Kong Nanwu was stunned.
A pink blush gradually appeared on her cheeks as she replied, “Nonsense.
He also wrote about foxes here.
Do you think he’s trying to seduce you too”
“There really was a fox there” The little fox, who had originally been looking at the book disdainfully, jumped up.
She ran over to read the book with keen interest.
Kong Nanwu panicked and exclaimed, “Ah, wait your turn! I haven’t finished reading it yet.”
“I want to see, I want to see!” Nan Xun also moved over.
The master and servants quickly began fighting each other over the book.
Zu An exited Scarlet Invitation.
When he returned home, a servant came over to report to him.
“Young master, you’ve finally returned! Third young master came looking for you several times already.”
The servants from the manor were pretty much all from the Chu clan, which was why they naturally called Chu Youzhao young master.
“Why was he looking for me” Zu An asked curiously.
“I think he wanted you to produce a written piece for him.
He wasn’t willing to go back even very late last night, and waited for you the entire time.
Later on, the Qin clan’s people came to bring him back.
He even waited here for a long time this morning.” The servant replied.
Zu An’s eyelids twitched.
His ‘written piece’ earlier had just been mocked by those girls, so how could he embarrass himself even more and write something that would ruin his reputation further
“Got it,” he replied.
There were just too many headache-inducing things that had happened in the past few days.
He really wasn’t in the mood to deal with that kid.
He was just about to leave when he heard the servant say, “Right, the third young master also mentioned that the first miss entrusted him to pass something on to the young master…”
“Why didn’t you say so earlier!” Zu An glowered.
He quickly left again.
It had already been a long time since he had received news about Chu Chuyan.
He wondered how she was doing now.
On his way there, he remembered that Chu Youzhao had waited for so long for him, so she was probably upset.
It wasn’t too appropriate for him to show up with nothing.
Of course, if it were that ‘written piece’ or something, he’d pass on it.
He knew that Chu Youzhao didn’t care too much about written stuff with her personality anyway, and that it was just a momentary interest.
With her nature of only wanting to play, he bought a bunch of clay figures, Chinese rings, bamboo-copters, colored lanterns, shadow puppets, and other toys before sprinting over to the Qin clan.
In the past, he would most likely have been refused at the entrance if he arrived, but now, the Qin clan treated him like a respected guest.
The Qin clan brothers greeted him enthusiastically and asked about his well-being, almost as if they were scared of not treating him well enough.
After finally getting rid of the two brothers, Zu An arrived at Chu Youzhao’s room.
Chu Youzhao was a man in everyone’s eyes, so she obviously had to spend more time alone to avoid suspicion.
Chu Youzhao puffed up her cheeks and ignored him when she first saw him.
But when she saw the pile of strange and bizarre little toys he was holding, her attention was immediately sucked in.
She was exhilarated as she listened to Zu An describe how to play with the toys.
After playing with them for a while, her eyes turned red.
“Everyone treats me as a boy, so I never got to play with these things.
I wanted to play, but I couldn't tell them.
Only brother-in-law treats me the best…”
Zu An was stunned.
He had never expected that even though she appeared to be having fun, her life had actually been quite lonely.
He replied, “Come on, don’t feel broken-hearted anymore.
If you ever want anything in the future, just tell me! Brother-in-law will secretly buy it for you to play with!”
“Brother-in-law is the best!” Chu Youzhao hugged his arm, her smile making her eyes resemble crescent moons.
Zu An tactfully freed his arm.
This little girl really didn’t know how to hold herself back sometimes…
“Brother-in-law, kick this shuttlecock with me! I don’t even dare to ask the maids to play this with me normally,” Chu Youzhao invited him.
Zu An was speechless. I’m a big guy already, what adult man kicks shuttlecocks He was just about to refuse, but when he saw the glistening tears in her eyes, his heart softened and he agreed.
“Right, big sis wrote a letter to you! You should read it first, and then you can play with me without worrying about anything!” Chu Youzhao tapped her head and quickly stormed off into her room.
She quickly returned with a letter.
Zu An received the letter and gave her a look of suspicion.
“You didn’t secretly read it, right”
“Of course not!” Chu Youzhao jumped in fright… and then looked all around her with an unnatural expression.
Zu An was speechless again. Hey, your expression already completely sold you out. After he opened up the letter, however, his expression suddenly turned serious.
Pu Songling was a Chinese writer who lived in the Qing dynasty, best known as the author of Strange Stories from a Chinese Studio. ☜