Original novel in Chinese by: 御 我 (Yu Wo)
Part Twenty-two—translated by XianBang (proofread by Trespasserby & Erro; C/E edited by lucathia)
Meng walked out somewhat shyly, a pink satin evening gown clinging gently to her body. The graceful satin material made her ordinarily too-slender appearance charmingly gentle. Her puffy dress and long, plain hairstyle, in addition to her shy blush, brought out an endearing air. Although not as gorgeous as Marisa, she had a different kind of attraction that made people involuntarily want to protect her.
“Every woman knows how to transform.” Sword Spirit was shocked. He could scarcely believe that she was the same white and blue slipper-wearing woman who had hair like an auntie.
Meng was a little nervous. She tugged at her hem and adjusted the satin of the bodice, then cautiously asked, “Does this look good? Is it a bit too cute?”
Only after Meng repeated her question several times did the intently staring Sword Spirit finally realize she was talking to him. A little embarrassed, he turned his eyes away and carelessly answered, “It’s passable. Go with that.”
”Oh,” said Meng, her head drooping. She returned to the dressing room to take the dress off. When she walked out again, the store clerk hastily took the dress and started packaging it. When he was done, he rubbed his hands while quickly saying, “This dress looks very nice on you. The price is also reasonable. It’s a wise choice to buy it.”
When she heard the word “price,” Meng immediately widened her eyes, cautiously asking, “How… how much does this cost?”
The store clerk smiled. ”This item isn’t this year’s newest fashion. It’s not expensive. It’s only fifteen gold ducats. I won’t ask for the odds and ends.”
Fifteen gold ducats? Meng was a little anxious. She ran to her bag and dug through it until she found her coin purse. She opened it, then looked a little puzzled.
“How many silver ducats are in a gold ducat?”
The store clerk thought it was strange, but still dutifully answered, “Ten.”
Meng’s expression became a little bit uneasy. ”Then… one silver ducat is worth how many copper ones?”
Meng dug into her purse and then aggressively dumped the contents on the table. Of the many coins that came tumbling out, most were copper, a few were silver, but only three were gold. Meng carefully totaled her assets. They only added up to five gold and eight silver, a deficit of over nine gold, even completely ignoring the fact that Meng and Sword Spirit would still need to buy food.
“Not enough money…” Meng declared the hard truth, depressed.
Sword Spirit was shocked, too. He had considered everything except for the big problem of money. Needing cash, what could a sword like him even do? Sell himself? They’d have to find someone willing to buy him first!
The store clerk revealed an expression of disbelief. He had never imagined that the two people who had confidently walked into the clothing shop to purchase a dress could have merely five gold ducats on them. The pink dress, just as he had stated, couldn’t be considered expensive. Compared to the custom dresses ordered by the noblewomen, this one was a complete bargain.
“This… I don’t have a solution either. You’re short by too much.” The store clerk wasn’t angry, but he did look troubled.
It was so awkward that Sword Spirit didn’t know what to do. They didn’t have enough money, but Meng couldn’t be without a dress. If she didn’t have one, how would she attend the ball?
However, Meng didn’t look to Sword Spirit for advice. Instead, she shyly asked the store clerk, “May… may I work here to make up for the price of the dress?”
The store clerk looked a bit awkward. Sword Spirit hesitated for a moment, then realized that Meng’s idea was an excellent solution. He immediately followed up, “Yes, yes. Please! You saw how well the dress fits my lady. Our family has financial problems, but you know, chances are, this girl might only have this one ball her entire life. Come on, help us out.”
The store clerk frowned even more, hesitating for ages. He finally said, “This… well, I’m not the boss. I can’t make this decision. Why don’t you come back tomorrow morning and ask the boss?”
“Ah…” Meng showed a slightly disappointed expression, touching the boxed dress next to her wistfully.
The chimes hanging near the door rang as it was opened. Three men wearing hooded cloaks walked in. The foremost one saw Meng, made a surprised noise, and pulled off his hood.
The store clerk’s eyes lit up, and he respectfully called out, “Prince Edward, you are here.”
Prince? Meng’s back stiffened. She didn’t dare turn around.
Edward, however, walked over and saw the sword with eyes and a mouth, and Meng’s familiar outfit. Edward blinked and asked, “Is that you? The miss who climbed over the wall?”
When she heard the prince’s question, Meng could only bite the bullet and turn around, smiling stiffly. As she faced Edward, she felt an indescribable sense of embarrassment. She had just gotten away from another person with this face, fleeing like a refugee. However, she couldn’t figure out why she had wanted to escape. Didn’t she still have to obediently go see him the next day? After all, she was his manager.
“You changed your hairstyle,” Edward said in surprise. “It fits you very well.”
Hearing Edward’s compliment, Meng couldn’t help but blush as she asked uncertainly, “R-really?”
“Yes,” Edward said honestly.
Meng’s face became even redder, dropping down toward her chest.
The atmosphere became a bit awkward, but Edward appeared oblivious as he chatted. “Are you here to buy formal clothes too? This shop is very good. I quite like it. Have you chosen a dress to your liking yet?”
“We’ve picked one, but we don’t have enough money,” Sword Spirit quickly interjected—after all, the person in front of them was royalty, so money for a single dress was surely a trifle. He decided to make the prince foot the bill. It’s his fault for using my face and even flirting with my girl… No! What am I thinking? Sword Spirit shook his head, wanting to get rid the strange thought. Of course, with his headless body, he was really only rolling his eyes around.