Original novel in Chinese by: 御我 (Yu Wo)
Part Twenty-three—translated by Minna (proofread by Trespasserby; C/E edited by lucathia)
He didn’t really seem to care much about the price of the dress. When Edward casually waved his hand, the two people behind him immediately took out a wallet and moved toward the store clerk. When she saw that he really was about to pay for her, Meng shouted loudly, “Wait! What are you doing?”
Surprised, Edward replied after hemming and hawing, “I believe… In my opinion, it’s very rude to let a lady pay, so you shouldn’t worry about the expenses of the dress. Just take it as compensation for not being able to welcome you appropriately last time.”
“You can’t do that!” Meng said quickly.
“Meng?” Sword Spirit never thought that Meng would interrupt his carefully planned set-up. The dress was already within grasp, too.
But Meng was very determined. “This is my very first dress, so I want to buy it myself. I don’t want it to be some sort of small compensation.”
Sword Spirit was taken aback. “But we don’t have any money.”
“We’ll come here again tomorrow morning and ask the boss to let me work here, so that I can make up for the money. I want to earn it myself.” Meng seemed to be very resolute and left no room for discussion.
Sword Spirit, who was used to Meng not having any opinions, was majorly surprised by her determination this time. Who would have thought that Meng would be so persistent about this kind of thing, that because it would be her first dress, she would want to buy it herself? But Sword Spirit wasn’t able to scold her. Quite to the contrary, he appreciated this way of thinking.
“Is that so?” Someone refusing his presents also appeared to be a first for Edward. He didn’t mind. Rather, it was a novelty for him.
Meng nodded at him.
Edward showed a brilliant smile. “On that note, I wish you a pleasant time at work. I’ll be coming again a few more times. I hope to meet you here again.”
Seeing Edward’s brilliant smile, Meng had long been frozen on the spot and could only nod her head slowly. At the same time she thought to herself, If only a certain person would smile at me like that…
The store clerk said in an exaggerated fashion, “If even Your Highness says so, okay, okay, you can work here to earn the money for the dress. I’m sure even the boss wouldn’t dare to go against the prince’s wishes.”
When she heard that she was hired, Meng was so happy that she threw Sword Spirit into the air and shouted joyfully, “That’s great!”
“Hey hey hey, you ugly woman, what do you think I am! I’m a sword. Careful, or you’ll cut your hand!” Sword Spirit yelled worriedly. In his heart, however, he was happy for Meng.
After the warning, Meng’s eyes widened, and she watched the sword fall from midair. She didn’t catch him, but shrieked and dodged, letting Sword Spirit clash onto the floor. A metallic clang sounded through the room. As he yelped in pain, he said through clenched teeth, “You lousy bitch!”
Meng quickly picked him up and apologized endlessly, but Sword Spirit was so angry that he didn’t want to forgive her.
By the side, Edward was smiling happily.
Face solemn, Meng held the sword while two men stood beside her with the same serious expression. Their attention was focused on the same thing. Meng breathed in deeply and after she focused her eyes, the sword in her hand glided out in a straight and precise line. A long, ripping sound could be heard, and happy expressions appeared on the faces of the two men by her side.
Beads of sweat dripped down from Meng’s face, and the men quickly gave her a towel she could wipe her sweat with. Meng’s movements grew quicker. Only the sword’s afterimage could be seen, the ripping sounds unending.
At last, she slowly put away her sword, and her mouth drew into a satisfied smile, as the two men gathered to take a look.
“Great! The cloth has been cut cleanly and precisely, even better than being cut with my golden scissors,” said the boss with endless praise.
The store clerk added on his compliments as well. “Amazing. You cut exactly along the lines the boss drew. Even though I’ve been doing this for many years, I can’t necessarily do any better than you.”
Meng lowered her head, embarrassed by the many compliments. Sword Spirit also opened his eyes and shouted proudly, “That’s because I have such a sharp edge!”
“Ah, I see Prince Edward has arrived,” the store clerk announced gleefully. At the same time, he exchanged a knowing glance with the boss.
“This early?” Surprised, Meng turned her head, but there was no one in sight. Turning back, she saw that the boss and the store clerk were suppressing their laughter.
“You foolish woman.”
Sword Spirit couldn’t refrain from grumbling. He was very annoyed about Meng hurriedly turning her head as soon as the name Edward was mentioned.
“Meng.” Edward’s voice really came from behind Meng this time.
Turning around with some shock, Meng saw Edward’s perfect smile right before her eyes. She asked, dumbfounded, “Why are you here so early today?”
Edward’s smile became even more radiant. “I finished my work earlier than usual because I wanted to come here as soon as possible.”
“Oh.” Meng lowered her head in shyness and continued cutting her cloth, but she didn’t notice that she was cutting the cloth into shreds.
Edward was also looking at the pile of cloth with a happy smile. Moreover, after the cloth couldn’t be cut into any more pieces, he even took another one and laid it down in front of her, so that Meng could continue with her way of shredding the cloth into tatters, without paying attention to what she was actually doing.
“Ugh.” A moment of inattention led to her overlooking Sword Spirit’s eyes and mouth. He directly banged against the table’s surface. However, Meng herself obviously didn’t notice Sword Spirit’s wail.
“You have to come to the ball,” Edward couldn’t help reminding Meng.
Even though Meng grew even shyer with her head lowered, Sword Spirit, who was in her grasp, could see everything very clearly. Actually, he should be delighted that Meng had captured the prince’s attention—it was practically a miracle—yet, he was definitely unhappy. Meng being spaced out made him unhappy; her reddening face made him unhappy; every word Meng used to answer Edward made him unhappy!