How intriguing, she was just contemplating ending her life a moment ago and now she was seeking a way out.
Just as she was bowing, the madam who ran Ji Qing Pavilion rushed up onto the stage in a fit of anger. She raised her hand and slapped the woman who had bowed before Gu Yu Qi, “You little tramp! Now you’re pretending to be a chaste and virtuous lady? Everyone knows how notorious your reputation is in Jiangxia City! Don’t you know what you are? You’re already 22 and still can’t find a husband. You seduced your own sister’s husband, so you deserve to be sold here. And you still had the nerve to jump?”
As she spoke, she was about to deliver the second slap but before she could, she saw a banknote appear right in front of her eyes.
She immediately halted her hand and her gaze followed the banknote. Gu Yu Qi stood there with one hand behind her back, using two fingers to flick the banknote back and forth in front of the madam like a fluttering handkerchief.
“Young Master, what are you…” The madam was a well experienced person. Seeing the slight smile on Gu Yu Qi’s lips, she quickly realised that this handsome, unconventional young master intended to redeem the woman. Wait, this was not a real young master! The madam scrutinised Gu Yu Qi closely and saw through the disguise. Although this young master had deliberately concealed their appearance, they could not hide their radiance especially after consuming alcohol. The shifting gaze and the aura they exuded were unmistakably feminine. Moreover, they did not have an Adam’s apple.
Regardless of who this person was or why they chose to dress as a young master, it was none of her business. What mattered most was the money.
“How much is she worth?” Gu Yu Qi asked.
“When her family sold her here, it was for 300 taels of silver. Considering her stay here, including expenses, it would be around 500 taels,” the madam replied with a smile.
The woman in question sneered silently to herself. She was only sold for 150 taels of silver…
“Here’s exactly 500 taels of silver,” Gu Yu Qi slapped the silver banknote onto the madam’s face, “Give me her contract and the money will be yours.”
“Yes, yes, yes,” the madam smiled so broadly that her mouth could not close. This was a lucrative business deal. She made a hefty profit as soon as she got the girl and without any effort on her part. Honestly, if it were not for the fact that the girl was still somewhat beautiful, she would not have bought her. She was old and disobedient, so it was hard to say whether she would make any money.
The madam quickly fetched the contract and Gu Yu Qi glanced at it. The girl’s name was Lin Xiu’er. After taking Lin Xiu’er’s contract, Gu Yu Qi announced her departure to the other business owners and left unsteadily, holding Lin Xiu’er’s arm.
The business owners assumed that Gu Yu Qi could not wait to embrace the beauty so they did not try to stop her.
Being blown by the night wind blew outside, Gu Yu Qi felt even dizzier. She curled up on the soft cushion inside the carriage like a cat. “From now on, I’ll call you Xiu’er,” Gu Yu Qi said.
“Yes. Thank you for saving my life, Young Miss,” Lin Xiu’er replied with a slight smile, nodding her head in gratitude.
“You knew I was a woman?” Gu Yu Qi asked in shock, quickly feeling her chest for any signs of exposure.
“Rest assured, Young Miss. Those men wouldn’t be able to tell that you’re a woman,” Lin Xiu’er smiled, “But when you were holding me just now, I realised Young Miss’ true identity.” If Gu Yu Qi had not lifted her chin so that she could look at Gu Yu Qi so closely, she would not have noticed her true gender. She was so close that she could see Gu Yu Qi’s delicate skin, something even women would envy, and Gu Yu Qi still had pierced ears and no Adam’s apple.
Upon hearing Lin Xiu’er’s explanation, Gu Yu Qi slumped against the soft cushion. Her disguise had so many flaws and she had actually thought she looked quite convincing.
Gu Yu Qi looked at Lin Xiu’er curiously and asked, “How were you so certain that I would redeem you?”
“It was Young Miss who told me to save myself. I just followed Young Miss’ instructions. I wasn’t certain, but I just asked Young Miss to save me,” Lin Xiu’er explained to Gu Yu Qi. Gu Yu Qi burst out laughing when she heard this. Yes, it was her own suggestion that she could save herself.
“You’re very courageous,” Gu Yu Qi said with a smile. “Stay by my side from now on. What else can you do?”
“I can read,” Lin Xiu’er replied after thinking for a moment, “I can pick locks too.”
Pick locks? Gu Yu Qi was surprised, “You can open any lock?”
“Basically, as long as it’s a lock, I can open it,” Lin Xiu’er replied smiling, a hint of pride in her voice.
“Surely you’re not…” Gu Yu Qi asked with her eyes widened.
“Young Miss, there’s no need to panic. My father was a locksmith,” Lin Xiu’er said, “I’ve learned about making and picking locks since I was a child. That’s why I have this skill. Even my father can’t match me. There are very few locks in the world that I can’t open.” With that, she lifted her hands and casually took an inconspicuous hairpin from the side of her bun, which Gu Yu Qi had not noticed before. In a flash, Lin Xiu’er unlocked a small copper lock on a wooden box inside the carriage, her movements swift. Gu Yu Qi was stunned and could not follow her movements at all.
Heavens, she had actually bought back such a skilled individual… Gu Yu Qi’s tongue twitched. How many hidden talents were in Jiangxia? Run Ying had randomly picked up the future Minister of Rites, and she casually purchased a master locksmith. However, with this lock-picking expert around, Gu Yu Qi could not help but wonder about the security of her belongings at home…
Sensing Gu Yu Qi’s concern, Lin Xiu’er bowed deeply, “Young Miss saved my life twice. What happened yesterday is in the past. From now on, Lin Xiu’er will completely obey Young Miss’ orders. Young Miss can rest assured. If Lin Xiu’er ever betrays you, may divine punishment strike me down for all eternity,” She spoke earnestly.
“I trust you,” Gu Yu Qi replied with a slightly embarrassed smile. She did no like the feeling of having her thoughts exposed.
The carriage finally returned to the mansion. Gu Yu Qi asked Chun Xing to show Lin Xiu’er to her quarters, while she stumbled her way back to her own room.
She had drank too much and combined with the jolting carriage ride and the cool night breeze, Gu Yu Qi felt queasy. She could not even make it back to the room before vomiting while supporting herself with the wall.
Gu Yu Qi vomited a mix of food and alcohol, feeling a bit relieved afterward.
She leaned against the wall weakly, preparing herself to continue walking to her room, when she noticed a dark figure blocking her path.
She looked up and saw a pair of eyes that held a hint of coldness.
“You shouldn’t force yourself to drink if you can’t hold your liquor,” Yun Ke tried to keep his voice calm, suppressing the displeasure in his heart. Seeing Gu Yu Qi vomiting had angered him and he wished he could drag out those who had forced her to drink and deal with them.
“Yes,” Gu Yu Qi nodded. She was exhausted right now and had no energy to talk nonsense with this person, alright?
Seeing Gu Yu Qi swaying unsteadily on her feet, Yun Ke sighed deeply. Suddenly, he bent down and lifted her into his arms.
Gu Yu Qi was shocked. She instantly became half-sober. She wanted to scream but she did not want to cause a scene. If someone saw her in this state, it would be terribly embarrassing.
“Your Highness, please put this civilian girl down,” Gu Yu Qi gritted her teeth and said in a resentful tone.
“I’m just sending you back to your room,” Yun Ke looked deeply into Gu Yu Qi’s eyes. “I’m leaving Jiangxia tomorrow and I simply have this small wish of sending you back safely. Is that too much to ask?”