"If Uncle and Auntie find you behaving like this, they're going to tell you off again, Big Sister," Jun Zishu said, chuckling. Then, she handed her bowl to Ning Qinghuan and watched as her cousin gulped down the soup in an unladylike manner. After Ning Qinghuan finished the soup, Jun Zishu stood up and wiped her cousin's mouth with a handkerchief.
"Well, they're not here to see me right now."
Ning Qinghuan let Jun Zishu wipe her mouth while she wiped the sweat on her forehead with her sleeve.
Meanwhile, Shaoyao, who stood beside them, looked at this scene with a calm expression. Initially, she had found the two girls' interactions astonishing. However, once she got used to it, she felt that her young miss and Miss Cousin shared a very good relationship. Her young miss would always do things in a hurry while Miss Cousin would follow behind her young miss, wiping her young miss's sweat and feeding her young miss water. From Shaoyao's perspective, the sight looked like a virtuous wife following after her rowdy husband.
"Go wash up first before coming back. I'll have my maid bring two more bowls of soup in the meantime."
After nodding to Jun Zishu, Ning Qinghuan dashed away from the pavilion once more. She had just finished her swordsmanship training, so there was indeed a need to take a bath.
Looking at Ning Qinghuan's departing figure, Jun Zishu felt that if they were in a world where cultivation existed, Ning Qinghuan would definitely behave even more recklessly. She might even become a valiant swordswoman who roamed the lands and picked fights left and right instead of wasting her life mired in politics.
However, Ning Qinghuan's current life wasn't too bad, either. Ning Qinghuan was a confident person. She wasn't the type of person to wonder if she could have a better life should she have more freedom or she become a man. Rather, she liked her female body and enjoyed her current lifestyle. She learned both martial arts and literature, and she very much got to live her life freely.
Jun Zishu liked this type of confident person. This was because such people radiated an aura that encouraged those around them to keep on moving forward.
Sometime later, Jun Zishu's maid brought two more bowls of plum soup. Jun Zishu placed her hands on one of the bowls and immersed herself in the icy sensation coming from the bowl.
Her appointment with the fourth prince would soon arrive.
In a few more days, the fourth prince would be leading his troops to exterminate some bandits plaguing the empire. Then, according to fate's designation, he would die half a month later while he was on his way back.
At this time, a snow-white bird flew in from outside the courtyard and landed in front of Jun Zishu.
The bird chirped at Jun Zishu, looking very cute and friendly.
Jun Zishu untied the perfume sachet on her body and placed it on the table. The bird then skipped and hopped onto the sachet and stood there obediently.
Upon closer look, Jun Zishu saw a piece of paper rolled up and tied to the bird's claw. After untying the paper and reading it, she threw it into the nearby pond.
Meanwhile, Jun Zishu's maid lowered her head, pretending as if she saw nothing.
A few days ago, when Jun Zishu and Ning Qinghuan were strolling on a crowded street, someone stuffed something into Jun Zishu's hand. The item was a simple yet beautiful perfume sachet, and it gave off a fragrant and calming aroma.
When Jun Zishu opened the sachet, she didn't even need to rely on Little Fairy's power to know who had given this sachet to her.
The sachet came from the fourth prince, and the note inside stated that they should meet up. However, the note did not state when and where they should meet.
In the end, the fourth prince had used such a special method to convey their meeting time and place today. Jun Zishu had to admit that this was a relatively romantic method of communication.
After letting the bird go, Jun Zishu pondered over the relationship the fourth prince maintained with her. He kept a distance that was neither too close nor too far, and she found this situation quite comfortable. It was evident that the fourth prince was skilled at picking up girls.
It was a pity that Jun Zishu did not like the fourth prince, and neither did she require his liking.
The fourth prince was 17 this year, yet he already had a wife. Moreover, he wasn't Jun Zishu's type at all. They might be fine as friends, but anything further was a pass for Jun Zishu.
[Do you plan on telling the mission target about this matter?]
Of course. My little cousin detests people keeping secrets from her the most. It is especially true when I'm the one doing it.
Ning Qinghuan was very possessive of the people around her, and she very much disliked Jun Zishu keeping secrets from her. If Jun Zishu kept this matter a secret and Ning Qinghuan found out about it in the future, then it would become a big problem. Jun Zishu did not wish for any misunderstandings to crop up between them.
[Why don't you use the same trick that you used on the fourth prince to fool the mission target as well, Host? Instead of saying that you can vaguely sense your past life, you might as well say that you reincarnated back into the past. That way, you can explain why you are so close to her and why you want to change her fate. Moreover, this explanation is very much believable in this world!]
Little Fairy became more and more enthusiastic the more she spoke. She also felt that she was truly intelligent.
This suggestion sounds good on paper, but executing it will be a pain. Not everyone is an idiot. Moreover, taking such an action will involve a lot of unnecessary factors.
Simply put, once I make up the first lie, I will need to continuously make up more lies to back up the initial lie. While I'm confident in my brain, I wouldn't underestimate others' intelligence.
If you sincerely treat a person with kindness, this person will definitely sense your sincerity and put their trust in you. And so long as you utilize this trust well, you can achieve a lot of things. Also, while I am good at acting and misleading people, I dislike lying to people close to me.
Jun Zishu massaged her temples as she conveyed her thoughts to Little Fairy. She considered setting up traps for people she disliked to be an enjoyment and making up lies to strangers as a means to achieve her goals. However, when dealing with people close to her, Jun Zishu would only put up mild and roundabout acts.
Don't keep trying to be opportunistic, Little Fairy.
[I think I kind of understand what you mean? Regardless, you're the operator, so you have the final say. Also, the mission target is five meters away.]
At Little Fairy's reminder, Jun Zishu turned and saw Ning Qinghuan approaching the pavilion. Then, she waved off her maid and tied the perfume sachet back to her waist.
In any case, Jun Zishu had come to this world to change and improve Ning Qinghuan's life. If she was working for a different department, she wouldn't have rejected Little Fairy's suggestion.
However, what Jun Zishu wasn't aware of right now was that being wholeheartedly good to someone would cause this person to become greedy for more. This person would grow increasingly dissatisfied with the status quo, becoming greedier and greedier until they acquired everything.
When Ning Qinghuan sat down in the pavilion, she no longer gulped down her share of soup like she did before. Instead, she slowly drank with a spoon, restoring her demeanor as a noble young lady.
Jun Zishu also took her time with the soup. Although the soup could quench thirst, it was slightly sour. Jun Zishu disliked sour things, so she licked the soup like a cat.
When Ning Qinghuan saw Jun Zishu dabbing the tip of her red tongue into the soup one time after another, the corners of her mouth inadvertently curled up. Her Little Wan'er was simply too cute.
"I have something to say to you, Big Sister."
"Mhm, go on, I'm listening."
"I want to meet the fourth prince at the nearby teahouse this afternoon. May I?"
"What? Why? When did you two make an appointment?"
Ning Qinghuan instantly frowned when she heard Jun Zishu's request.
"It's been a long time since we last met, so he wants me to go meet him. He says that he will be leaving the capital soon, and he wants me to see him off."
Jun Zishu said while holding back her embarrassment. Even her voice sounded hesitant.
Meanwhile, for some inexplicable reason, Ning Qinghuan felt anger welling up within her. Yet, she had nowhere to vent this anger.
What is your relationship with him? Why must you see him off if he's leaving? What does his departure have to do with you? Why must you go see him?
Questions appeared in Ning Qinghuan's mind one after another, yet none of them were questions she could voice out. This was because she already knew what kind of answer Jun Zishu would give should she ask these questions.
—We can't even be considered ordinary friends. I'm only going because the fourth prince has invited me to go.
Ning Qinghuan remained silent with a dark complexion.
Meanwhile, Jun Zishu couldn't help but wonder why her cousin disliked the fourth prince so much. When the fourth prince had saved them, Ning Qinghuan clearly had a good impression of the fourth prince. Yet, even though the two never really interacted with each other, Ning Qinghuan's impression of the fourth prince had worsened as time passed.
Is it because of the fifth prince's influence? That shouldn't be possible.
Jun Zishu couldn't come up with a plausible explanation no matter how much she racked her mind. In the end, she could only attribute it to Ning Qinghuan and the fourth prince having mismatching personalities.
In reality, Jun Zishu had long since given up on pairing Ning Qinghuan with the fourth prince. After all, neither of them was interested in each other. Although the fourth prince might pursue Ning Qinghuan for the sake of the Ning family's influence, Jun Zishu wouldn't allow such a marriage to happen since she couldn't be sure if Ning Qinghuan would end up living a happy life.
"I'll only see him off, Big Sister."
"Since when have you two been on such good terms?"
"Hasn't the fourth prince saved me twice already? I think he's a good person. After that banquet, I inadvertently met him a few times as well. He also sent me a present on my birthday, so I already consider him a friend. Even if he doesn't think so of me, since he wants me to see him off, I think it's alright to do so. Let's go see him off together, okay, Big Sister?"
Jun Zishu held Ning Qinghuan's hands as she spoke in a soft and coquettish voice.
"I'll follow you, then."
[Huh? Aren't you planning to mislead the fourth prince, Host? How will you do so if the mission target goes with you?]
No problem. I already have a solution.
"Although we owe the fourth prince a favor, don't stay too close to him for now, Little Wan'er," Ning Qinghuan said as she tapped a finger on the table.
Although the Ning family no longer stood on the fifth prince's side, that didn't mean the family would side with the fourth prince. Instead, General Ning intended to maintain a neutral stance and observe the crown prince's performance for the moment. Hence, it wouldn't be appropriate for the Ning family to stay too close to the fourth prince.
"I'm upset, Little Wan'er. Apart from those first two meetings, when have you met with him?"
"I don't really remember. I just know we met a few times."
"Feed me plum soup and make me happy."
Ning Qinghuan pouted while pointing at Jun Zishu's bowl.
"I'll feed you your soup then, Big Sister. My spoon…"
Jun Zishu suddenly recalled the way she licked her soup like a cat. Right now, the spoon definitely had her saliva on it.
"No, I want to drink yours."
"Then, I'll use your spoon…"
"No, I want to use yours."
"Okay, okay, so long as you don't mind."
Jun Zishu scooped up a spoonful and fed it to Ning Qinghuan. In response, Ning Qinghuan drank from it with a smile.
"You drink some as well."
Jun Zishu didn't drink slowly this time. Instead, she downed the entire spoonful in one mouthful. Ning Qinghuan's smile grew even brighter when she saw Jun Zishu drinking the soup.
Like so, Ning Qinghuan and Jun Zishu drank the plum soup one spoonful after another. They finished the two bowls of plum soup like two affectionate sisters.
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