The Tang Dynasty’s Female Forensic Doctor Chapter 62: Qixi in Pingjiang

The Chinese Valentine’s day it’s called Qixi, and it is also known as the double seven festival as it happens on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month. If you want to know more about this festival and the legend behind it you can access: https://gbtimes.com/qixi-festival-and-story-chinese-valentines-day  ^^


Ran Yan faintly sighted when she saw how meticulous Ran Yunsheng was in his care: that younger sister that you wholeheartedly dote on has already been long dead, ~ah!”

Since Ran Yan was enjoying this loving care on behalf of another, her heart was feeling it was appropriate for her to be kinder with Ran Yunsheng. Besides, he is a gentle person, so getting along with each other would be very pleasant.

Ran Yunsheng brought her to the small dock before leading her into a medium-sized boat.

The boat didn’t seem to have anything remarkable from the outside. However, the inside was stunning. There wasn’t too much space in the cabin, and all four corners had high floor lamps. The white moonlight enveloped like a veil and covered the thin frame of the lampshades. It was like the painting of a landscape very carefully drawn, and the verse above-mentioned would be inscribed on it [1]. There was a bamboo curtain hanging in the middle of the cabin, dividing the space into two rooms, one inside and one outside. The inside was shorter on a few soft couch-beds[2], each having a round silver incense burner with carving patterns. But it was not incense that they carried inside; it was ice cubes[3].

This whole inner space appeared to be remarkably low-key and especially cozy. Ran Yan knew that the value within this low-key design was certainly not low, but even more valuable was his intention, and that is why she would not be stingy with her words of praise[4]: “Tenth-brother have seriously put his heart into this[5]. It is exactly how I like it, ~ne.”

“If you like it, then that’s good.” Ran Yunsheng smiled brightly and turned his body to go order the pilot to set sail. When he came back, there were two food boxes[6] in his hands, “It’s rare to have no one to disturb us, so I ordered the people from the Fu[7] to bring us these meals. A pleasure boat to enjoy the moon, plus some cups of drinks with food, there is no greater blessing in life than this.”

Ran Yan took her mask off and smiling she said: “Tenth-brother is quite content.”

“I wear warm clothes, eat enough food, and even have gold and silver to spend at will. If I still weren’t satisfied with this, I would be met Heaven’s condemnation.” At the same time that Ran Yunsheng happily replied, he took the dishes from the boxes one by one. There weren’t many dishes, only two dishes of meat and three dishes of vegetables, but even so, they all looked like great delicacies.

“Doesn’t tenth-brother have any aspirations or ambitions?” Even though it is good to be satisfied with what you have, but possessing no aspirations is certainly not a good thing.

The hand that Ran Yunsheng was using to pour wine slightly paused, and then a complicated smile emerged on his beautiful face, “During childhood, I had wanted to enter officialdom. Therefore, I never slacked in my studies. Yet, by the time I was ten, I finally understood that the son of a merchant could not take part in the imperial examination and could never enter the court as an official.”

Ran Yan’s throat felt hoarse, and her heart knew she had just poked on his sore spot. She calmly said: “The world is vast and the things you can do are too many to count. Tenth-brother must not be sad.”

Ran Yan also understood after pondering for a bit. Ran Pingyu was forced into no choice but to engage in trade. There are connections inside the clan that could help obtain some official post, but it would all be taken by the descendants from the ‘di’[8] line. As the son of a concubine, he would never see the day where he could hold his head high. Not wanting to be scorned by others or to be seen as a useless weight throughout his life, he had to open a new path for himself. Even though the world looks down on merchants, no man does not love money.

“Uncle[9] is an amazing person.” Ran Yan said.

In a little more than ten years, he managed to become the wealthiest individual in Suzhou and a great merchant in Chang’an. It would be hard for ordinary people just to hope to reach his back[10]. If there are no tricks being used, there’s no way of doing it.

“He~, you must never praise him like that when you are in front of him. Otherwise, he may be so delighted that he will be unable to sleep for three whole days.” Ran Yunsheng said while laughing.

The boat leisurely floated on the water. The cool and refreshing night wind blowing at the river entered through the window. The white moon was bright and clear, the boat’s surroundings were all lit up, the sound of sheng and xiao[11] playing songs could be heard, and the scent of cosmetics[12] drifted in the air. It was a scene buzzing with excitement and fun.  

“Eh?! Isn’t that Tenth Master Ran?”

Someone at the side of the boat said it out loud, and Ran Yunsheng raised his head to look over. He saw a male dressed in a dark green wide-sleeved robe standing at the deck, bowing his waist and stretching his head to look inside their boat. Ran Yunsheng faintly smiled and said: “So it is Master Zhang, what a coincidence.”

Ran Yan concealed half of her face behind the bamboo curtain and indifferently glanced at that person while holding the wine cup to drink one sip.

That person is Zhang Fei. Ran Yan has a profound impression of him because they had met at the Yin Fu’s gates and because he is the person that Tenth Miss Qi had Wan Lu guide when they were at the flower garden.

Zhang Fei’s eyes flashed imperceptibly when he saw Ran Yan’s slender and delicate hands under the moonlight, radiating tenderness. He promptly said: “Tenth Master, who is the lady next to you? Since today is Qixi, the ladies do not need to cover their faces. May you introduce her to us so that we can get acquainted?”

Zhang Fei was on a boat with many other men. As it is commonly known that Tenth Master Ran’s appearance is incomparably beautiful, the lady that is with him is certainly not inferior. When they heard in the cabin that the Tenth Master Ran is on a date with a lady, their interest was rapidly piqued, and they all scrambled to reach the deck first.

“My younger sister seldom meets with people. Everyone’s enthusiasm is too much. My younger sister is frightened and doesn’t dare to meet. I ask for everyone to excuse us.” Ran Yunsheng spoke tactfully, and his meaning was that ‘each one of you is behaving like wolves and tigers, you have terrified our family’s younger sister’.

Those few people were all used to joking around, so they didn’t take this to their hearts. Usually, the many ‘di’ and ‘shu’ daughters from the Ran Fu all participate in big and small banquets. But Ran Yan, who spent two whole years without going out of that village, is recently the most popular topic within the public. Immediately, that group of people was brimming with curiosity and asked in succession: “Is that the Seventeenth Miss Ran?! I have long heard of Miss’ reputation. I hope you can come out for us to meet.”

The boats at the side were startled by their shouting, and the many meddlesome young nobles rapidly sailed their boats over, gathering around Ran Yan’s boat and preventing her of slinking away.

This action irritated Ran Yunsheng. He is often subjected to this type of situation where he is encircled and blocked by people, looking like a monkey being pointed and judged by the crowds. He knows how unbearable this is.

Ran Yan knew he was furious when she saw his two hands tightly clenched with its blue veins bulging. She quickly stretched her hand to hold him, “Tenth brother must not lose your temper. Who is the scenery? You never know, ~ne.”

If they can treat her as something amusing, it is only natural that Ran Yan could also take them as an enjoyment[13]. Ran Yunsheng was fast to understand, and although there’s still anger in his heart, he will put up with it.

“It is not impossible for me to come out.” The wind gently dispersed Ran Yan’s light and cold voice through the river. The few dandies’ youths outside got even more excited when they heard Ran Yan’s words, jeering and asking Ran Yan how they could get her to come out.

“Everyone here is people with status. You are not going to do anything forcefully, are you? Besides, what good is there with me alone? If you can think of a way of bringing the Sixth Miss Qi and the other noble ladies from that boat to this deck, I will also go and stay outside. I have heard that Sixth Miss Qi likes good music and good poems, as everyone here is people of profound knowledge, I suppose that it will not be so hard.” Ran Yan’s voice was clear and cold, but the lips on her face were faintly pulled up, displaying traces of mockery and ridicule.

A group of people bullying a small young lady, they can certainly do it, but this is under the full view of the public. Ran Yan is not like the average young lady from these households. They must think carefully before doing such a ridiculous thing.

Moreover, Ran Yan’s proposal can also be considered as an amusing game.

The crowd immediately began to rack their brains, trying to compose songs and poems. Everybody wanted to succeed and make a name for themselves, even gaining a beauty’s favor. If they could get inspired and create a brilliant one sentence and a half of poem, it could then rapidly spread and reach the ears of renowned masters scholars. This way, they could be benefited in their studies and enter officialdom. Therefore, they were all giving their best.

Ran Yan put the bamboo curtain down, completely covering the window. With her eyes down, she gave Ran Yunsheng a cup of wine, dryly saying: “Just when Tenth brother has prepared a boat for me, this kind of opportunity arises. Is Tenth brother satisfied with the music and poetry I have brought you to liven things up?”


[1] I think this is referring to the poems in Chinese paintings; the poems most of the time helped the viewer understand the sentiment that the artist had when he/she was painting, that is, it was a way for the artist to also express his/her personal feelings.

[2] I couldn’t think of a better word, but here is an image:

[3] The ice is probably being used to cool down the ambient.

[4] 冉颜知道,这低调之中定然价值不菲,更难得的是这份心思,遂也不会吝惜赞美的言辞 I made some modifications to try pass the meaning the clearest way I could.

[5] Ran Yan says that Ran Yunsheng has seriously “费心” (consume heart/mind), this is normally used to express ‘give/take a lot of trouble’, that is, when a lot of mental and/or physical energy is used to do something. It can also be used as a polite way to ask for something or to express gratitude.

[6] An image for illustration:

[7] Fu = Residence.

[8] Di line = from the main wife, that is, not born from a concubine. The children born from a concubine are called ‘shu’.

[9] She says ‘shufu’ = father’s younger brother.

[10] 泛泛之辈难以望及项背 This means that ordinary people cannot compare with him. In this case, cannot compare with her uncle’s business ability/achievements.

[11] Sheng and Xiao are instruments. You can click and see pictures of them.

[12] This is used as a metaphor for women.

[13] When she asks who is the scenery, she means who is going to be used as amusement. There is a play of words here, she says they will use her as 玩赏 (wanshang) and she can use them to 赏玩 (shangwan); their meaning here is the same, to enjoy, admire, etc. 玩赏风景 is used to express “enjoying the scenery” (风景 = scenery) and 赏玩风景 also has the same meaning.

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