A Three Inch Adorable Wife Hidden in the Sleeve of the Chu King

Chapter 18

When Dean Gu returned, Chen Sixi, who had been grumbling earlier, immediately fell silent and put on a broad, friendly smile.

The private room was not large, with seating for four people.

Xie Xun and Jiang Xiaoxiao sat on one side, while Chen Sixi sat on the other.

After Dean Gu entered, he took a seat next to Chen Sixi in a very casual manner.

Chen Sixi straightened his back and barely dared to breathe.

Shortly after they were seated, the tea arrived.

There was a pot of Biluochun green tea, two small dishes of snacks, and another plate of sweets provided by the tea house.

Dean Gu picked up the teapot and personally poured tea for the three of them, casually glancing at Xie Xun.

"Where do the two young gentlemen study?"

"We... we're not students," Xie Xun replied.

Learning of their identities, Chen Sixi became a bit less tense.

Although he was usually a brash person, he knew which people he could offend and which he couldn't.

Even though this Dean was different from what he had imagined, the man was still a respected Dean, not someone Chen Sixi could provoke at will.

"Oh?" Dean Gu set down the teapot and looked back at Xie Xun. "From your demeanor, this old man thought you were students from some academy."

"I have no interest in studying," Xie Xun said.

Dean Gu let out a hearty laugh. "Those words from the young gentleman remind me of someone."

"Who?" Chen Sixi asked, his face full of curiosity.

Dean Gu did not directly name the person but said with a slightly melancholic tone, "I first met him when he was three years old, a particularly mischievous and rambunctious little fellow."

"I still remember that day. While I was napping, he drew a turtle on my face. When I caught him in the act, he glared at me with a pout and said he had no interest in studying."

"Yet that child who claimed to have no interest in studying turned out to be a once-in-a-century genius."

"And then what happened? Tell us more!" Chen Sixi was extremely curious.

Kaihe County was just a small place. How had he never heard of such an incredible person before?

"And then..." Dean Gu's mind seemed to wander.

That godly prince who could debate with the scholars of the Imperial Academy at the age of three and recite three-fifths of the books in the Wenyuan Pavilion from memory was said to have fallen gravely ill and had to be sent out of the capital city of Yanjing.

After that, there was no news of him at all.

Nowadays, there were barely any people left in Yanjing who could still remember him.

"After that, I never saw him again," Dean Gu uttered the final words.

His tone carried sighs of regret and sorrow.

"Were you that young prodigy's teacher?" Chen Sixi seemed to understand something.

"Not quite," Dean Gu said. "After all, I didn't teach him for long."

"That's such a pity!" Chen Sixi exclaimed. "If he had continued studying under your guidance, he might have even become the top scholar in the imperial examinations!"

Become the top scholar?

That child was blessed by divine light from the day he was born, causing the statues in the Imperial Ancestral Temple to shine for an entire night—he was a celestial prodigy.

If the tragic events had not occurred, if the Third Prince Murong Xun had not been sent out of Yanjing, how could Murong Yuan have risen to such prominence in the current capital?

Dean Gu had been immersed in his own melancholic emotions.

When he finally came to, he seemed to realize something and reached out to tap Chen Sixi's head. "You cheeky boy, trying to probe this old man in a roundabout way?"

Chen Sixi grinned. "I wouldn't dare."

In fact, as soon as Xie Xun had mentioned that the old man was the Dean of Luming Academy, Chen Sixi had believed him.

His subsequent words were simply to further confirm the old man's identity.

Now it seemed that the old man was indeed the Dean, without a doubt.

Clearing his thoughts, Dean Gu smiled and asked, "After this chance encounter, I still don't know the names of the two young gentlemen?"

Chen Sixi answered first, "My name is Chen Sixi!"

Dean Gu's gaze shifted to Xie Xun.

There was something about this person's facial features that seemed familiar, as if he had seen them somewhere before.

Xie Xun calmly said, "Xie San."

Chen Sixi let out an "eh" sound. "Aren't you called Xie..."

"These sweets are not bad," Xie Xun interrupted, picking up a sweet and bringing it to Chen Sixi's mouth.

Chen Sixi opened his mouth and swallowed the sweet, mumbling through his stuffed mouth, "Mmm, it's delicious."

Xie Xun showed no intention of staying any longer and stood up. "We have matters to attend to, so we'll take our leave now."

Jiang Xiaoxiao had just stuffed a sweet into her mouth, making her cheeks bulge.

Seeing Xie Xun about to leave, she got up without a word and followed him.

"Hey, hey, hey! What are you two doing? Is this how you treat guests?" Chen Sixi had encountered a high-ranking person like the Dean for the first time and wanted to stay and chat longer.

But these two were such a buzzkill.

"If we don't leave now, your mule cart will be slashed," Xie Xun said.

Upon hearing this, Chen Sixi was so startled that he immediately stood up.

Dean Gu: "..." This boy's mouth is really quite rude, isn't it?

"Well, we'll be going now. Hopefully, we'll have the chance to meet again!" Chen Sixi couldn't directly address Dean Gu since the latter hadn't revealed his identity, so he politely bid farewell.

Before leaving, he didn't forget to snatch up two more sweets.


After getting back on the mule cart, Chen Sixi cracked the whip, feeling a bit disgruntled.

"Xie Xun, that was the Dean of Luming Academy, you know? When you met him, why didn't you have any reaction at all? No, wait, how did you even know he was the Dean?"

"A wild guess," Xie Xun replied.

Chen Sixi became agitated. "So all this time, you've just been messing with me? That old man wasn't really the Dean at all?"

"You don't study yourself, so what difference does it make to you whether he's the Dean or not?"

"I may not study, but my future son will!" Chen Sixi fretted. "And my son's son will have to study too, won't he? If that old man really is the Dean, then by building a good relationship with him now, maybe in the future, he could help me pull some strings..."

"Your son's son... wouldn't that be a matter for the next Dean to consider?" Jiang Xiaoxiao asked.

Chen Sixi: Suddenly realizing that this girl's mouth was even more poisonous than Xie Xun's.

The old man was just a respectable Dean, but with one sentence from her, his status was utterly negated.

"Hey, where are you two headed next?" Chen Sixi aimlessly steered the mule cart out of the alley.

After a moment of silence, Xie Xun asked him, "What was that you mentioned earlier about a ghost-catching master?"

"It seems to be the wealthy Nie Family in the county," Chen Sixi explained. "Word is that their household has been haunted lately, with strange occurrences happening every night. The Nie Family's son-in-law paid to have an announcement posted, saying they wanted to hire a master with real skills in catching ghosts and exorcising evil spirits."

At this point, he rolled his eyes. "Ever since the announcement went up, quite a few people have come, but it seems none of them were truly skilled. Otherwise, the Nie Family wouldn't still be in such an uproar."

The Nie Family?

Xie Xun had heard of them.

They started as small merchants but now had branch stores for their cloth business all the way in Yanjing.

If he could use this opportunity to get close to the Nie Family, he might be able to gather valuable information about Yanjing.

With this in mind, Xie Xun said, "Take us there to take a look."


The Nie Family residence was located on Huayang Street in the eastern part of Kaihe County, the most prosperous and expensive area in the entire county town. The grand, five-courtyard mansion stood majestically.

Chen Sixi often wandered around the county but had only seen the exteriors of these grand mansions and never knew what they looked like inside.

As the mule cart stopped outside the gate, he seemed quite excited.

The Nie Family, ah, they could be considered the wealthiest in Kaihe County.

It was said that with the masters and servants combined, their household had over a hundred mouths to feed, and their daily meals could consume three years' worth of expenses for an ordinary farming family.

"Xie Xun, we're here."

Chen Sixi skillfully hopped off the mule cart and called out to the carriage.

Before long, Xie Xun pulled back the curtain and dismounted, followed by Jiang Xiaoxiao.

Outside the gate, a few young servants were sitting on a long bench, chatting in low voices.

Chen Sixi took the initiative to approach them and inquire, "Hey, fellows, I heard the Nie Family is looking for a ghost-catching master. Are they still seeking one?"

Upon hearing this, the young servants all turned their heads to look at him.

One of them couldn't help but snicker. "A ghost-catching master? You?"

"Of course not me," Chen Sixi said, pointing behind him with his finger.

The gazes of the young servants followed the direction he pointed, naturally falling upon Xie Xun... err, the young lady behind Xie Xun.

The servant who had spoken earlier twitched the corner of his mouth, then clutched his belly and burst into laughter.

Chen Sixi muttered, "What's so funny?"

The servant said, "To tell the truth, since our Young Master posted that notice, there have been quite a few claiming to be experts coming to our door, but you're the first like this."

He spoke while laughing, looking as if he was about to laugh his breath away.

"I say, couldn't you at least disguise yourselves a little better? A young lady catching ghosts? Are you kidding me?"

By the end of that sentence, the servant had clearly lost patience, waving dismissively at Chen Sixi like shooing away a fly. "Go on, get lost! Deceiving and cheating in broad daylight like this, do you really think the Nie Family is a vegetable market?"

At this time, another group of people dressed as Taoists approached from the side.

The younger ones wore black Taoist robes, while the older ones had goatees and held compasses, wearing yellow Taoist robes.

In Taoism, Taoist robes are also called "fayi" or ritual garments.

The color grades of fayi, from lowest to highest, are white, black, green, blue, red, purple, and yellow.

Yellow fayi are generally worn by those of the rank of Celestial Master or higher.

However, in Cangwu Mountain, Jiang Xiaoxiao had never seen her ancestral master wear one.

An enlightened Taoist master had transcended the mundane world and would not be bound by such clothing regulations.

Jiang Xiaoxiao herself did not follow the dress code on the mountain either. She was accustomed to a free and unrestrained lifestyle, dressing however was comfortable.

However, the people below the mountain would not see it that way.

Especially in the present situation.

The young servant who had previously sneered at them immediately took on a respectful demeanor upon seeing the Taoists in yellow fayi.

"Masters, our Young Master has been waiting for a long time. Please, come inside."

The servant's nodding and bowing were in stark contrast to his earlier attitude towards Chen Sixi.

Chen Sixi stared wide-eyed in disbelief.

The difference in treatment was far too obvious!

"Hey! Our master here is a true great master! Even if you want to chase us away, at least test her abilities first, will you?"

Chen Sixi was not disheartened, frowning at the yellow-robed Taoists, finding them increasingly unsettling no matter how he looked at them.

The young servant looked at him, "We've already shown you respect by not chasing you away with a broom. If you continue to make a fuss, we brothers won't be so polite!"

As he spoke, a few of them rolled up their sleeves.

Chen Sixi was startled and took a step back, turning to look at Xie Xun and asking in a low voice, "Xie Xun, they're not letting us in, what should we say?"

Xie Xun glanced at the plaque above the main gate, then calmly withdrew his gaze. "Let's go back."

"Huh? We're just leaving like that?" Chen Sixi had expected Jiang Xiaoxiao to demonstrate her skills.

On the way back, Xie Xun and Jiang Xiaoxiao did not ride in the donkey cart, walking one in front of the other.

Chen Sixi had hoped to see Jiang Xiaoxiao exorcise ghosts, as the young lady was a skilled expert capable of drawing talismans with her bare hands, and the scene of her exorcising ghosts would undoubtedly be thrilling and impressive.

However, these two had no intention of entering the Nie Family residence.

Finding it dull, he hurried back to the coffin shop in the donkey cart.

Xie Xun watched Chen Sixi's donkey cart depart, then turned to Jiang Xiaoxiao and said, "Just now, I felt like there was a pair of eyes watching me from the shadows."

Jiang Xiaoxiao nodded, "You're not mistaken. There is indeed something in that residence, but it doesn't dare come out during the day."

Jiang Xiaoxiao was not concerned about the Nie Family's affairs. What she was thinking about now was Dean Gu.

With Chen Sixi present earlier, she hadn't had a chance to ask Xie Xun.

"Is Dean Gu your mentor?"

Xie Xun hesitated for a moment, then nodded, "You could say that."

In the past, the Third Prince Murong Xun, due to his exceptional talent, was feared by Emperor Hongtai that he might overshadow the Crown Prince. As such, the Emperor did not allow him to study with the other princes.

The Third Prince's education followed the same standards as the Crown Prince.

Emperor Hongtai assigned him a Crown Prince's Preceptor, Mentor, and Guardian, all of whom were great scholars of the era.

However, these men were all driven to resignation by the Third Prince.

Dean Gu was the last to arrive, and he remained in the palace longer than the others because his temperament differed from the previous pedantic and stuffy old men.

But he did not stay for long either.

After one death after another, with the Third Prince being the falling wall that brought everyone down, the teachers assigned to him by Emperor Hongtai were naturally recalled.

"Then why didn't you recognize him earlier?"

Xie Xun said, "No need."

Jiang Xiaoxiao looked at Xie Xun's cold expression.

He seemed to hold an unfavorable view of Dean Gu.

But the village chief said that Xie Xun was very familiar with the examination dates of Luming Academy.

That meant he had been keeping a close eye on Luming Academy in private.

Although she didn't understand why Xie Xun was being so evasive, Jiang Xiaoxiao didn't intend to ask.

She changed the subject, "Where to next?"

"A tea house."

The two chose a lively tea house crowded with people and found a good spot by the window on the third floor.

As soon as they arrived, they heard a storyteller spitting out words as he recounted the history of the Nie Family.

Xie Xun remained silent, quietly listening for a while.

The storyteller had decent skills, narrating smoothly without sounding dull.

He told of how Old Master Nie had been a porter carrying a shoulder pole in his early years, wandering the streets and alleys, before eventually settling down and starting a cloth business.

The couple only had one daughter, and they were reluctant to let her marry out, originally intending to take a son-in-law into the family.

When their daughter was fourteen, the two of them found a homeless and seriously injured young man on the side of the road.

The young man was taken into the Nie Family, and he was extremely filial to his life-saving benefactors, with both his appearance and conduct deemed excellent by the old couple.

The old couple figured that instead of letting an outsider benefit, they might as well have the young man marry their daughter.

From then on, the young man became the Nie Family's son-in-law.

After the marriage, the son-in-law took over his father-in-law's cloth business, doting on his young wife to the envy of others.

Unfortunately, their daughter was ill-fated, dying in childbirth that night, leaving only the son-in-law with a son born without a mother, greatly saddening the old couple.

After their daughter's passing, the old couple, being open-minded, had suggested the son-in-law remarry.

The son-in-law refused, saying his in-laws had shown him immense kindness, and he ought to serve them until their old age, vowing never to remarry as long as he lived.

Upon hearing this, a chorus of praise rang out in the tea house, commending the Nie Family's son-in-law as a truly loyal, filial, and upright man.

Xie Xun raised an eyebrow and smiled faintly, "Not necessarily."