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Peony’s Tavern: 7.01 – A Pair of Mandarin Ducks, Never to Part

Part of a Peony’s Tavern translation project at fruitydeer.com.

Do not download, copy, or redistribute without permission.

Source: 芍藥客棧 by Yi Mei Tong Qian // Translated By: Xin (fruitydeer)

Holy moly, I feel like I’ve risen from the dead. This chapter has been in the backlog for a long time now, but I finally had time to review and puost. No promises on any particular cadence for the future, but I am going to try to get back into translating Peony’s Tavern. And possibly do some editing of previous chapters, eek.

For those who were following my other translation project, Memories of a Graceful Reflection, that’s unfortunately staying on the back burner until I get a chance to re-read some of the previous chapters. There’s a lot more nuances to translating Memories and I do want to maintain some consistency with how the verbiage is translated.

Also, no chapter image for now because I’m using a different computer and all my saved images are in my old laptop 🙁 I didn’t want that to delay the chapter.


Chapter 7.01

The next morning, the scholar made his way to the backyard as per usual to fetch water from the well. When he came over, the yard was completely silent. However, once he left with the bucket of water, the demons began to murmur en masse:

“Was there an impression of the Five Palmed Slap on the scholar’s face just now?”

“No way, who would be daring enough to smack the scholar, ya?”

Lady Xin gulped: “I think a heartless person would absolutely dare to do so.”

The sounds of sharp swallowing suddenly reverberated in the backyard, and candles were silently lit for the mighty and formidable Shao Zi…

The Shao Zi who was completely oblivious to the fact that she had unwittingly collected seven or eight candles, was in the midst of opening up the doors to the tavern. She stepped out and peeked to the right. The old candied art man that typically set up shop bright and early in the morning was already gone. She suddenly felt a little empty. To be quite frank, occasionally going over to buy a candied art was pretty swell, too.

When she grabbed a broom to sweep in the front entrance, she turned around and saw the scholar. And also…that Five Palmed Slap impression on printed on his face. Just looking at it felt painful, but then she felt scared. The scholar wouldn’t throw her to the ends of the world as food for the phoenixes, right?

The scholar looked at her, his brow twitching slightly as he did so. Then, he silently backed up by three zhang…Maintaining a distance to prove that he really wasn’t a pervert.

“…”

What was this sensation of wishing he could be a little closer…Shao Zi puffed up her cheeks, she’d better just go sweep at the doors.

At noon, Shao Zi cooked up a delectable meal. When she sat down and saw that puffy and reddened half of his face, she suddenly felt guilty. She raised her hand to touch it: “Innkeeper, don’t you have a super otherworldly ointment?”

The scholar stiffened: “Lost it.” And when that soft little hand moved away, he raised his brows and looked at her: “Touch it again.”1

Shao Zi stared at him, and he immediately drew back his gaze. He said solemnly: “Okay.”

“Dumb Scholar, you’re so weird.” Shao Zi, indeed, thought he was weird. He was clearly so powerful, yet he remains here guarding this tavern. And he gets so happy over the littlest things. Didn’t she only touch him slightly? Last night, she reflexively slapped him into the skies. Afterwards, she regretted it and was happy again when she saw him today, so she simply touched him a little. Seeing his eyes widen, she touched him again, “Don’t be mad, okay? Don’t hide from me anymore.”

The scholar couldn’t help but laugh: “I’ve never been mad at you, nor have I hid from you.”

“But you been avoided me in the morning. Isn’t it because you’re scared of me hitting you?” Shao Zi furrowed her brows, then shook her head, “That’s not right, how could you be scared of me? You not kicking me to the skies should already be considered a blessing.”

The scholar listened as she muttered on. It was nice even just to watch her, listen to her. But wait…did Shao Zi use a beauty trap just now?2 Hold on, why didn’t he say he was mad at her! He should indeed be upset for several days. Who knows, there may be more than just a touch to the face. Aw, no…

“Innkeeper, why do you look like you’re in pain?”

“It’s nothing…just let me…calm myself for a moment.”

“Alright, just eat.”

Oh…”

Several days later, that old candied art man had yet to appear again and the people who had fallen into slumber had all woken up.

When afternoon came around, the number of patrons at the tavern had shrunk. Thus, Shao Zi sprawled over the till again as she watched the scholar running the abacus and while doing bookkeeping. She raised her finger and pointed at it: “Deduct the cost of these dishes from my wages.”

The scholar took a look, then smiled: “You sent some food over to Old Master He? Was it to help him recover from his illness?”

Shao Zi hmphed: “I was only trying to make collecting their debt as smoothly as possible, it’s not that I wanted to see him go on living well with his daughter.”

The scholar pressed his lips together, then said: “It’s rumored that Yuan’er’s father was not willing to divorce and even went to hit Yuan’er and his mother, but he was eventually scared to pieces by a ghostess. Not only did he agree, but he even went back to his hometown and didn’t dare to return again.”

Shao Zi offer a drawn out “ah.” She rested her chin against the back of her hand while shaking her head, her eyes curved into crescents: “It must be that he’s done too many bad things and was taught a lesson by some justice-seeking, courageous ghostess, mn.”

The scholar laughed. The sound of footsteps came from outside, and when he looked up, he saw someone walking over. He smiled: “Hello, Miss Lin.”3

Shao Zi’s ears perked up and she crooked her head over. Sure enough, she saw Lin Shui Xian walk over with her hips swaying. In her hands was a bowl of steaming hot soup. Her cheeks were dyed red, her smile like a blooming peach blossom. She came inside and placed the bowl on the table, not sparing even a glance towards Shao Zi. Full of smiles, she said: “Innkeeper, my father had me bring this over. It’s high quality ginseng stewed with pigeon. It’s quite replenishing.”

Like a tiger watching its prey,4 Shao Zi pinned her eyes on the scholar. She’ll kick him if he dares accept it. Oh wait, why kick him? She should kick Lin Shui Xian for trying to entice him away again. She stood up and said: “We don’t want it.”

Lin Shui Xian glanced over: “I didn’t say that this was for you.”

“…” Shao Zi snarled, “Our family’s Innkeeper doesn’t want it!”

The scholar’s ears instantly perked up——Our family’s Innkeeper!

Lin Shui Xian gave her a sideways look: “You’re not the innkeeper’s wife, what right do you have to make decisions for him.”

Shao Zi held a hand over her heart. So hurtful. This little shui xian blossom5 was just too much. It’s too bad she wasn’t a demon, otherwise Shao Zi could battle her three hundred times over. What’s more? Her heart also seemed to turned sour.

The scholar looked at the near-wilting Shao Zi. He raised his hand and said resolutely: “Our family’s Shao Zi said no, so Miss Lin ought to take it back.”

Lin Shui Xin inhaled sharply, gritted her teeth, and ran off with the ginseng soup in her hands.

Shao Zi’s health bar instantly recovered and she made a face at that retreating figure: “Don’t even think about luring away our Innkeeper.” Then, she turned around and gave him a pat, “Innkeeper, I’m liking you more and more.”

The scholar blinked. Even though this kind of “like” was not like the other kind of “like,” his nose still began turning hot, ever so discreetly…

After dinner, Shao Zi cheerfully went to the backyard to water Fat Bottle Gourd and the rest. As she tossed the bucket back into the well, she felt something was a little off. Why was there bits of chattering coming rom behind her? She looked over, but the demons immediately returned to their places. She squinted, her gaze sharp: “Grandpa said that only bad children discuss others behind their backs. Pa Pa, come out! What are you all talking about?!”

Pa Pa quickly said: “Lady Xin and them are saying that lao da likes the scholar and that you don’t want us or the tavern anymore.”

The demons gulped: “Lao da, Pa Pa’s teeth are coming in so he has a lisp, what he’s actually saying is…”

There’s no way to lie your way out of this, okay? What kind of lisp results in a complete sentence being said?”6

Shao Zi patted her chest: “I would never toss aside the tavern nor toss you all aside. The promise was to continue protecting the tavern. And my liking for the scholar is just like my liking for you all.”

Lady Xin facepalmed: “My good lao da, that isn’t the same at all.”

“How is it not the same?”

The demons stomped on the ground, narrowly stopping themselves from shouting at her. Any old demon can tell that it’s not the same at all, okay?!

After getting nagged by them for some time, Shao Zi finally finished watering and went back inside. When she walked inside, she just so happened to come across a young maiden. From her side profile, the maiden was beautiful and her height matched well with the scholar’s. The phrase, golden lad and jade-like girl7 suddenly came to mind. An inexplicable sense of sourness rose in her heart and she quickly walked over. But when Shao Zi saw the woman from straight on, she found that her expression was filled with fatigue.

The scholar spoke: “Shao Zi, take this guest to the deluxe suite.”


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  1. The scholar says this in a childlish, pouty way. The word for touch is “mo” and he repeats it by saying, “mo mo.” And as with all things in Mandarin, repeating a word twice makes it cuter.
  2. Using her charms to beguile someone.
  3. Recall that Lin Shui Xian is the daughter of the innkeeper who manages the tavern across the street.
  4. 虎視眈眈 // Hu Shi Dan Dan: Idiom.
  5. Shui xian is also is the Chinese term for the Chinese sacred lily.
  6. They actually say he’s “leaking air.” It’s a metaphor for spilling secrets, but they’re using it literally here.
  7. 金童玉女 // Jing Tong Yu Ni : Idiom. Figure of speech describing a golden couple.
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Ssavilin
Ssavilin
4 months ago

Welcome back, thanks for the chapter

Crystal
Crystal
3 months ago

Omg, welcome back!!

jua
jua
24 days ago

hello omg welcome back!!