“Beautiful maiden, if you keep looking at this young master, this young master will feel shy! Since when were our capital’s young maidens so warm and brazen ah?” That young master smiled slightly and the dimples by his lips were faintly visible. Although his voice was lowered, this deception was not enough to cloud Yuan Xueyan’s sharp eyes as she had always been someone who noticed the smallest of details.
“****  your bullshit!” He Wanning was in an irritable mood, so as soon as she heard ‘the youth’s’ glib provocations, she immediately exploded, “You dare to be so frivolous and impolite at such a young age! You’ve got some stupid guts to try to tease this old maid’s good sister. Today, this maiden will have to punish you in your parents’ stead, you little brat!”
“Oh ho ho! This young master is oh so scared ah! If you have the skills, then come over ah? Although you’re not as beautiful as your sister, it’s still enough to catch my eye! This master will gladly take you as you rush into my arms!” The young master dressed in white opened up the fan in his hands. The words ‘the most handsome under the heavens’ had been written on the fan. The youngster waved the fan around in a theatrical manner, covering the wide smile on his face.
“Yu! Xiao! Cao! You get your butt down here for this older sister. Come! Here!” Yuan Xueyan blocked He Wanning, who was about to rush over to fight the white-clothed youngster with a whip in her hand. She sneered as she addressed the robed youngster in the pavilion.
“Yu Xiaocao? Are you saying that the little brat over there is our Younger Sister Xiaocao? That can’t be true, right? Younger Sister Xiaocao’s skin is so pale that it looks transparent. Although he is also pale, the shade of his skin is about two levels tanner! Also, his eyes look different. Our Younger Sister Xiaocao has round and large eyes. Although his eyes are also large, they slant upward…” He Wanning searchingly looked at the young master who was clothed in white, trying to find similarities between him at Xiaocao. She had to admit that it did seem like there were some similarities between the two.
“The jianghu has a type of odd ability called changing appearance art. Although the appearance has changed, the feeling that this person gives off is quite familiar. The only reason you didn’t sense it is because you’re as dense as a block of wood!” Yuan Xueyan couldn’t help but give a verbal stab towards her good friend.
“Oh my oh my! I’ve been exposed so quickly! Not fun at all!” Yu Xiaocao folded up the fan in her hands and stood up from the stone bench she was sitting on at the pavilion. She quickly went down the steps and gleefully went towards the two older sisters.
“It really is you?!” He Wanning put away the whip in her hand and rushed forward. She circled around Xiaocao a few times and looked her up and down for a long time. She tsked as she said, “Who helped you to alter your appearance? Truly some good work. I couldn’t tell at all that you’re a young maiden. In fact, you’re remarkably like an arrogant and infuriating young master who had been spoiled rotten by his family.”
“But of course! This young master has plenty of talented people around me! There's no one I can’t find that you can come up with!” Yu Xiaocao arrogantly raised her head until her nose was pointed towards the sky.
Yuan Xueyan hit her in the back of the head with her fan and coldly huffed, “Which family are you from, Young Master? Who gave you the guts to tease us older sisters?”
“Aiyo! Older Sister Yuan, you are too cruel ah! Don’t you know that women shouldn’t hit a man’s head ah? And you guys! Just how are you all bodyguards? The master has been attacked but you don’t even try to protect me!!” Yu Xiaocao turned around to holler at her Chunhua and Qiushi, who had also been disguised as the opposite sex, but the mirth in her eyes didn’t decrease one bit.
Chunhua and Qiushi giggled and replied, “Young Master, we were wrong!”
“A man’s head cannot be touched eh? Well I don’t care. I’m going to touch it, you little swindler!” He Wanning rushed forward and took advantage of her height to cause havoc on Xiaocao’s head with her hand. Xiaocao’s head, which originally didn’t have a single hair out of place, was now as messy as a bird’s nest.
The three friends laughed as they fooled around and then sat down in the pavilion. He Wanning regarded Xiaocao’s confident and leisurely manner as she waved her fan idly around with pure envy. She spoke in a cozying tone, “Younger Sister Xiaocao, do you think I can also disguise myself as a man? I think it’s more convenient to walk around in that way!”
“Older Sister He, you still need to disguise yourself?” Yu Xiaocao glanced at He Wanning in surprise. The amusement in her eyes could not be hidden.
He Wanning had a puzzled look on her face as she asked, “What do you mean?”
Yuan Xueyan immediately inserted a verbal knife, “She’s saying that you don’t need to disguise yourself to look manly!”
“You stinky lass, you’re the one who’s manly! Just watch as I sink my claws into you…” He Wanning stretched out her two hands and there was an evil grin on her face as she stepped closer and closer towards Xiaocao.
“Look! Your boyfriend is here!!” There was never too much deception in war. Yu Xiaocao casually pointed in the direction of the capital and He Wanning’s attention was immediately redirected.
“Eh? The young maiden in the middle of the troops looks quite a lot like you! Her eyes are so big and her skin is so luminous. She’s even wearing bright and colorful clothing. If I wasn’t so familiar with you, I really might have mistaken that person as you ah!” He Wanning looked first at Lu Hao, who was seated straight on a large horse. He looked quite strong and imposing. When she moved her line of sight, she noticed a familiar slender and delicate looking figure, which caused her eyes to widen in surprise.
Yu Xiaocao looked in the same direction that her friend was. She chewed merrily on a soft fruit candy as she gestured, “Wow! I finally got to see what Official Yu looks like. It’s exactly as the rumors say. Official Yu is so pale that she’s the same shade of noodles that have just been fished out of the noodle vat.”
“Pu-chiiiiii——” He Wanning burst out into laughter and pointed at her as she guffawed, “The same shade of noodles that have just been fished out of the noodle vat? Is there anyone else who would describe themselves in such a hilarious manner? Wait wait...you...you...just what are you doing? That faker is Official Yu, so who are you?”
“Me? This young master is bringing along two great beauties to go on a leisurely trip, enjoy the sights, and have a taste of the charms of the wild and rough grasslands. After all, I am the youngest son from Imperial Prince Sa’s Estate, Royal Prince Guo!” Once again, Xiaocao snapped open the fan in her hands, revealing the words ‘the most handsome under the heavens’ in an effort to show off her distinguished and elegant side.
“Older Sister He, Older Sister Yuan!” The ‘faker’ as He Wanning termed had noticed the two great beauties within Sanli Pavilion and smiled brightly as she jumped off her date-red horse. She bounced over in a lively manner with two adorable dimples at the side of her lips, which really made her resemble Xiaocao.
“Pshhhhh——” He Wanning noticed that the fake Xiaocao’s face was an unnatural shade of white and suddenly thought of the description ‘noodles that have just been fished out of the noodle vat’. She truly thought that it was quite amusing and couldn't stop the smile from forming on her lips. If it wasn’t for Xiaocao elbowing her from the side, she likely would have burst out into mirthful laughter.
“Older Sister He, why are you laughing ah?” The fake Xiaocao opened her eyes wide and looked in puzzlement at He Wanning. The acting skills of this person was quite good, so she was going to get an extra chicken leg for lunch!
Yuan Xueyan already understood what was going on and smiled faintly at the ‘Yu Xiaocao’ who dressed in a bright red riding habit, “Younger Sister Xiaocao, she’s laughing because she’s happy to see you.”
“Older Sister Yuan, where are you all planning on going to? And this young master is…” ‘Yu Xiaocao’ looked towards the real one and the confused look on her face didn’t look fake at all. This person truly was worthy of becoming a ‘film empress’!
“I am Royal Prince Guo from Imperial Prince Sa’s Estate. I’ve invited these two older sisters out to go hunting at the border! Who would have thought that we’d encounter Official Yu at Sanli Pavilion. I’ve long looked forward to meeting you!” Yu Xiaocao earnestly conversed with ‘Official Yu’.
“Oh so you’re Older Sister He’s younger maternal cousin ah! We are also going to the northern border. If you don’t disdain it, how about we travel together on this journey?” ‘Official Yu’ warmly gave them an invitation.
Yu Xiaocao wasn't very fond of using the term ‘on this journey’  . She squeezed out a fake smile and said, “No need, we’re still waiting for a friend…”
She wasn’t able to finish her sentence when a gentle voice interrupted, “Forgive me for getting here late. I made Younger Brother and these two maidens wait for me!”
“You are all too much. Going out to play at the northern border but you didn’t even invite me, Third Young Master Ning!” The voice of the fool, Ning Donghuan, could also be heard.
The three good friends looked at each other, all thinking, ‘Why are the Ning Brothers here?’
“Did you invite these two?” He Wanning quietly asked Yu Xiaocao, who was disguised as a boy.
Yu Xiaocao shrugged her shoulders at her two friends and opened out her hands. Her actions made it clear, ‘Only devils would know why these two brothers are here at this place. It wasn’t this young master who invited them, alright?’
“Miss He, Miss Yuan,” Ning Donglan was dressed entirely in white and his long, jet-black hair flowed down his back with a small portion of it confined in a copper coronet. He looked like the epitome of a gentle and elegant young man. He turned to face Xiaocao and smiled slightly, “Younger Brother, this Older Brother arrived late. I accept my fault!”
“Older Brother! Just when did you become familiar with such a younger fellow?” Ning Donghuan sidled over and carelessly reached out to touch Xiaocao’s hair, which had just been combed back into order. She immediately dodged his attempt.
“You’re such a rude fellow! Don’t you know that you’re not supposed to touch a man’s head or a woman’s waist ah?” Yu Xiaocao lowered her voice as she scolded him, but she was unable to disguise the youthfulness from her voice. However, her current appearance, as she glared furiously at Ning Donghuan, quite resembled a young youth who was only around twelve to thirteen years of age. Thus, having a somewhat childish voice was still within the realm of possibility.
“Bwahaha!” Ning Donghuan laughed much more boldly than He Wanning. He held his belly as he snickered, “You? Your whiskers haven’t even grown yet, so how can you be considered ‘a man’. Look! This young master’s appearance is what is considered a man!” As he spoke, he rolled up a sleeve and flexed his arm muscles.
Yu Xiaocao sneered and laughed, “Haha! A white poached chicken like you dares to call himself a man? A real man is someone like my...older paternal cousin, Royal Prince Yang. Tall, sturdy, fierce, with a body full of sinewy muscle!”
Ning Donghuan didn't want to back down but he didn’t dare to refute Royal Prince Yang’s fierce reputation. He could only snort and say, “Your older paternal cousin is your older paternal cousin, while you are you! If I’m a white poached chicken, then you're a tiny, weak little chick!”
“Screw off! Don’t provoke this young prince or else be careful that this young prince doesn’t make my bodyguards beat you until your teeth fall out! Elder Brother Ning, why did you bring your stupid fool of a younger brother along? This fellow only causes trouble and brings no benefits. If he messes up our plan, then what can we do?” She wasn’t the one who invited the elder Young Master Ning along, but it clearly looked like he was here for a reason. Thus, it meant that there was only one other explanation——Ning Donglan had been sent by the emperor to protect her.
“Your plan? What sort of plan? A travel plan or is it the hunting plan?” Ning Donghuan sidled over and asked with a voice full of curiosity.
“Last time, my older paternal cousin managed to catch a white tiger at the borders. My lord father eyed that tiger pelt enviously for a long time, so this young prince has decided to also hunt a white tiger and bring its pelt back for his birthday present!” Yu Xiaocao lied without blinking an eye, easily convincing Ning Donghuan without a hitch. The older youth also began to hoot, clamouring that he wanted to help hunt a white tiger down.
“I don’t know if Miss Yu will be bringing her two hunting dogs along to the stud farm. If we’re able to borrow them, I’m sure it’d be a lot easier to hunt down a white tiger.” Ning Donghuan was still obsessed over Xiaocao’s two beloved wolf pets.
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Sanguine’s thoughts: Looks like the whole noble youth crew is here!