“State Teacher, this matter concerns the reputation of our country. If you know, don’t keep it to yourself.”
One of the officials fought down his fear and approached Shi Sheng to speak.
“I don’t know means I don’t know.”
Their voices weren’t soft, so everyone in the chamber heard them.
Lu Ruo had her own agenda, but it wasn’t the best time for her to speak right now.
“Are you perhaps looking down on my present, State Teacher?”
Shi Sheng switched the hand she used to prop up her jaw, her lips tilting upwards slightly.
Ming Jin knew she was about to say something unpleasant, so he gave a short, slightly pitying look at the Second Prince.
“You know what this thing’s called?”
“Didn’t Zhao Yi-niangniang already say it just now?” The Second Prince didn’t know what Shi Sheng was getting at. “This is called a clock.”
The smile on Shi Sheng’s face grew even more brilliant. “You’re giving a clock to someone on their birthday? Are you planning on changing your surname too? Or calling a thief your father?”
‘Send clock…send off?!’
The ones with faster minds all got the hint, immediately staring at the Second Prince rather unhappily. ‘But State Teacher, why is your wording so weird? What do you mean “calling a thief your father???”’
The Second Prince still hadn’t understood however. “Why can’t I give a clock?”
“Of course you can, I never said you couldn’t.”
The Second Prince harrumphed coldly, ignoring his people who tried to convince him otherwise with very urgent looks, and spoke disdainfully, “Don’t change the topic if you can’t get it to work?”
Shi Sheng’s eyes curved upwards. “If I make it move, how about you agree to my condition?”
“What condition?” The Second Prince frowned.
“Oh, nothing hard. Just do a lap around Vermillion Street naked.”
Everyone, “…” ‘That isn’t hard?!’
The Second Prince ground his teeth. “And if you can’t get it to move?”
Shi Sheng was indifferent. “Name whatever condition you want.”
The Second Prince pondered for a while. He felt like backing down a bit. ‘This woman is so confident, maybe she really can get it to work.’
Shi Sheng gave him a half-smile, whereupon the Second Prince felt a rush of anger surge up. ‘If I admit defeat, I’ll be losing face for Xi Liang! Maybe this woman is simply bluffing in an attempt to scare me off. No matter how many people I got to look at the thing, none could get it to move—I don’t believe she can!’
The Second Prince steeled himself, and spoke through gritted teeth, “Fine.”
“Bring it over.” Shi Sheng commanded him.
“State Teacher, you’re really demanding.” The Second Prince was so angry that his face was turning dark.
“Forget it if you’re not moving.”
Second Prince, “…”
He got people to lift the clock over to Shi Sheng, who instructed them to place it down.
Shi Sheng took out several Nanchi batteries, opened the casing at the bottom, popped out the rather rusty old batteries and inserted the new ones in.
Tick tock, tick tock, tick tock…
The crisp sound echoed throughout the chamber.
Shi Sheng raised her chin in the Second Prince’s direction, signalling for him to get the people holding it to lift it higher.
Lu Ruo was dumbfounded. ‘It’s battery powered?! How can there be something battery powered in this era?! This is simply too illogical!’
Shi Sheng had the aloof expression of an expert. ‘It’s very logical—that thing dropped in from another dimension. After all, you, a fully grown human, could drop in, so why can’t objects do the same? Isn’t that right?
In a virtual world, the only limit is your imagination—don’t try finding logical errors in everything. It’s not like you’re playing Find Your Sis.’
Several people lifted the clock up, making the ticking sounds even clearer as time flew past.
Everyone had odd expressions.
The hall was completely silent save for the ticking of the clock.
“So when are you planning on streaking, Second Prince?” Shi Sheng propped her head up, asking with a smile on her face. ‘Who doesn’t know how to show off? I’m(bbb) the ancestor of showing off!’
Second Prince, “…”
“State Teacher, don’t joke around with the Second Prince anymore.” Yuwen Xun broke the silence. After all, the latter was an emissary from his tributary state—he couldn’t go too overboard.
“Who’s joking?” Shi Sheng tugged her lips upwards. “Either he goes of his own volition, or I’ll make him. But if it’s the latter, I’m not sure if he’ll make it back to Xi Liang alive.”
Yuwen Xun snapped coldly, “State Teacher!”
“What’re you yelling for?” Shi Sheng dug her ears. “I’m not deaf.”
The hall once again fell silent, no one daring to speak out of turn.
‘There’s conflict wherever the State Teacher goes… She’s a walking powder keg.’
“It’s hard for a horse to catch up to a promise a man makes. Is Second Prince planning on reneging?” Seeing the Second Prince remain silent, Shi Sheng added.
“Who’s reneging? I’ll do it!”
Yuwen Xun couldn’t even stop the Second Prince despite wanting to, so he could only watch as the latter streaked down Vermillion Street.
Fortunately, it was already getting late, so there weren’t many people around. Adding to the fact that the Second Prince covered up his face so he wouldn’t be recognised, not many people knew about it.
Though the gazes of those officials had turned rather odd as they felt satisfaction inwardly. ‘Serves you right for being cocky! Messed up now, huh?’
The Second Prince couldn’t handle those looks, so he left early to head back to the relay station and lick his wounds.
Once he’d left, the officials began the giving of birthday presents. One didn’t have to get the most expensive present for the emperor—the most important part was that it was valuable and unique.
Once the gift-giving was over, the real celebration with performances and drinking started. Shi Sheng left early to get some fresh air outside.
A hand suddenly snaked out from behind and grabbed her shoulder, pulling her behind the artificial mountain to the side. Shi Sheng subconsciously drew her sword and stabbed the arm.
Ming Jin looked at his bleeding arm, his tone a bit helpless, “Miss Zhuang, can’t you be gentler?”
“Who asked you to ambush me?” Shi Sheng took her sword back, her gaze pausing on his arm. Since he was wearing white, even if there wasn’t much light, it was still easy to make out the fresh blood staining it.
“I’ve been thinking.” Ming Jin casually bandaged up his arm. “I can agree to your suggestion from last time.”
Shi Sheng, “…” ‘No! We’re not hooking up! For real, we’re not hooking up this time round! Bye!’
Shi Sheng turned to run off, but Ming Jin reacted swiftly and grabbed her, pressing her against the artificial mountain.
Within that smiling tone was a hint of overbearingness. “Miss Zhuang, it’s too late for regret.”
Shi Sheng decided she might as well be frank. “You have no problem being the one at the bottom?”
Ming Jin leaned closer and buried his head in her neck, nipping it slightly. “As long as I can be with you, I’m willing to do anything.”
Shi Sheng’s heart shook a bit. The feeling from her neck made her a bit irritable.
“We’ve only met a few times; don’t you think this feeling is weird?”
“You’re different.” Ming Jin tightened his grip on her. “Ever since I saw you, I knew you were different.”
He suddenly chuckled. “I never believed in previous lives before, but from the moment I saw you, I’ve been having this feeling that we’ve been together before, that we should be together in this life too. Nobody can stop that.”
Shi Sheng was startled. ‘His memories…are awakening?
System ought to be wiping his memories after every world—previously he only felt familiarity after I put spirit energy into his body. But I’ve never poured any into him in this world, yet he feels familiar. System is losing control of Feng Ci.’
Shi Sheng didn’t know why this idea popped up in her head.
She’d always known that there were a lot of people in this world who were powerful enough to send chills up the spines of others. She wasn’t the only one, merely one of their number.
But unlike some people, she was more cold-blooded, selfish and unafraid of death. That was why she was above them.
‘So, Feng Ci, are you one of those people too?’
 In Chinese culture, it’s taboo to give people clocks, especially as birthday presents. This is due to the wording. “送钟” which means give clock, sounds similar to “送终” which means to see someone off for the last time. In other words, a funeral. The other examples Shi Sheng uses are also stuff that’s frowned upon, though I think the last one is the one that doesn’t fit in the most.
 Generally the name of the main street in imperial capitals. Now, I’m no city planner so take this with a grain of salt, but I’m pretty sure cities in ancient China were usually designed with one main street running down the middle with a bunch of branching streets.
 A company that makes batteries. I mean, it’s like how I refer to my toothpaste as Colgate instead of toothpaste. I still added it at the back though, just so you don’t get confused.
 I think it’s a detective game where you look for clues (though I’m basing this solely off of one image that came up in my search), don’t ask me.
 It means that a man can’t take back his words once they’ve left his mouth (since even a horse can’t catch it, get it?)