A Tale of Two Phoenixes Chapter 59
Who are you.
Who am I.
It was a question pondered by philosophers for thousands of years, yet when asked at this point in time, it held a clear, simple objective.
Wang Yizhi wanted to know all of Chu Yu's cards.
Like two martial arts masters dropping their cautious interrogation to exchange deadly blows head-on.
Straightforward and sharp, Wang Yizhi's question caught Chu Yu off guard. She had not thought of how to answer, when Wang Yizhi interjected.
"Your bodyguard is impressively skilled. I've seen many a swordsman, but few such as he. Although the nobles in Jiankang City are known to hire swordsmen, those with his skills are rare to come by. And to think, such a swordsman has been sent to protect one young miss."
With a smile on the corners of his lips, Wang Yizhi gazed at Chu Yu, a constellation of sentiments in his eyes, his voice gentle and sincere. "You, who are you exactly?" His gaze was not unfathomable like Rong Zhi. Rather, it was frank in its allure, beholding neither judgment nor misgivings.
Chu Yu coughed lightly twice and dejectedly tried to draw out the time as much as possible. Her gaze floated about the place, from ceiling to window, chest to cupboard and, after a long time, she finally realized something. Every bit of furniture in the house was made of the same deep mulberry-hued wood as Wang Yizhi's clogs, its surface smoothly shining like fine brocade.
Wang Yizhi's eyes were still steadily pinned on her. Knowing there was no way she could avoid any further, Chu Yu began by asking a seemingly extraneous question. "The clogs you're wearing, what're they made of?"
Wang Yizhi smiled in response. "Small Leafed Red Sandalwood."
Known for its rarity, Red Sandalwood could be grouped into Large Leaf and Small Leaf types, with the Small Leaf variation being more valuable. According to the old adage, an inch of sandalwood could be likened to an inch of gold. Based on this saying, the wood beneath Wang Yizhi's feet might as well be worth its weight in gold.
Chu Yu could tell it wasn't his intention to flaunt his wealth. If she hadn't asked, he would not have told her the value of the wood under her toes. And since she had asked, he had replied without evasion, stating the name of the wood as though it were some common garden variety.
He did not care whether someone could tell he was wealthy or not. He did as he pleased, his way of living proud and carefree.
And now, what he wanted to know was Chu Yu's identity.
Chu Yu pursed her lips, her eyes steadily locked on Wang Yizhi. Their interchanging looks were inscrutable, both of them deeply contemplating within their hearts. Compared to Wang Yizhi, who might have an inkling of what was going on, Chu Yu was a little nervous.
A while later, Chu Yu smiled as she let out a sigh. In her mind floated an idea, and, feeling a bit impish, she declared each word clearly: "I. Am. Liu. Chu. Yu."
Liu Chu Yu, or Princess Shanyin Liu Chu Yu. Regardless of her admittance, the identity had become inseparable from her own.
Done with her reply, Chu Yu waited for his expression to change. The best scenario would be to scare him into running. Either way, she had to reveal her cards and scaring off Wang Yizhi wasn't a bad outcome.
Liu Chu Yu?
Wang Yizhi's brows furrowed mildly as he searched for the familiar sounding name inside his head. Slowly, a look of shock began to materialize on his strikingly handsome features, his eyes widening slightly at her.
Chu Yu smiled back. Ah yes, do get more agitated. Do get more shocked. Hurry up and tremble and run away.
But what she expected did not happen. The next moment, Wang Yizhi had recovered his bearings, albeit retaining a hint of surprise and skepticism. "The royal princess from Kuaiji Commandery?" Princess Shanyin's title was originally derived from her fief, Shanyin County. However, in a bid to win her over, Liu Ziye had recently bestowed upon her Shanyin County's Kuaiji Commandery. Hence, Chu Yu's correct title should be Kuaiji Royal Princess, but since she wasn't used to the title, she paused a while before realizing Wang Yizhi had meant herself.
Chu Yu smiled and nodded, shamelessly borrowing someone else's phrase. "How many Liu Chu Yus are there in this world?"
Wang Yizhi stared back at her, a complicated expression in his eyes. But what made Chu Yu astonished was the lack of contempt or revulsion in them.
She did not believe he knew nothing of Princess Shanyin's male concubines. Although this dynasty, unlike the later Song dynasty, had yet to harshly incarcerate her actions, it was still a challenge to the male society, and something the average person would look down upon.
Yet there was none of that in Wang Yizhi's eyes. Instead, they appeared curious, contemplative, a little indecipherable, but devoid of hate.
She did not know how much time had passed, when Wang Yizhi suddenly grinned. "Different from the rumors."
"What's different from the rumors?" Chu Yu parroted back, wanting to know.
Wang Yizhi smiled and began to explain. "They say you look like a Yaksha, but I can see how different that is now…you're actually very beautiful." His tone sounded teasing and while he spoke, he reached out and stroked a finger across cheek. "Why hide your features with augmentation cosmetics? You look far better like this."
Chu Yu tilted her face slightly to the side, avoiding his touch. She glared at him. "You're not afraid of me?"
"Afraid of what?" Wang Yizhi asked, sounding eagerly curious.
Chu Yu rolled her eyes. "That I'll snatch you away as a male concubine." She was a little happy over his unexpected reaction towards her, though it left her also somewhat disappointed. This man before her seemed to completely disregard her heinous reputation.
Wang Yizhi tapped his chin, then grinned. "What I care about is how the lady looks. I find you very fetching to look at, which is enough. As for the rest, why should I care?" He carried on with a nonchalant shrug. "Should you really succeed in making me your concubine, I would willingly admit my defeat. And as for you keeping concubines…anyone well-off is bound to keep a few harems of courtesans."
Chu Yu scrutinized him, falling deep in thought. She sighed and opened her mouth to speak but found she could not.
Because there was nothing left to say.
Noting how laidback and comfortable Wang Yizhi looked lounging against the wall, Chu Yu copied his actions, leaning on the space beside him.
The person beside her could speak ill or good of her however he wished, and it would not harm her, yet what unsettled her was how open-minded and accepting he was.
He did not view Princess Shanyin's actions as anything to be concerned about. Neither was he fearful of her horrid reputation. He could even impishly tease her without a care.
It her first time meeting someone like this since coming to this world.
He was intelligent, knew how to have a good time, had gone through his fair tumble of worldly affairs, yet retained his candid nature.
It was as Pei Shu had said. Every item in Wang Yizhi's home was invaluable. But to Chu Yu, the most invaluable thing was the owner of this home.
He was a priceless treasure.
Heh. You thought I was done with the other chapter didn’t you. Here’s one more for the day! I’ll probably go back to edit/beta it later. Sorry if there’s any typos!
 Yaksha: A type of spirit in Buddhism. Wang Yizhi is referring to the kind that devours travellers. Although, a Rakshasa would be more accurate, those are literally called man-eaters.