Home Post 1746-chapter-23


Like her, Gu Xian had faced some difficulties in giving birth to a child. It took three years after their marriage for her to conceive Qing Shu, and during childbirth, she suffered injuries that took three years to recover from before she became pregnant again. So, she attached great importance to this pregnancy.  

Old Madam Gu knew Gu Xian well, and if this child turned out to be a girl, she might treat Qing Shu as well as she did before. But if it were a boy, all her attention might be on her son. 

Gu Xian couldn’t answer that question at the moment. After all, the child hadn’t been born yet, and they didn’t know the circumstances. If the child turned out to be difficult to care for, she might not have the luxury to focus on Qing Shu. 

Qing Shu looked at Gu Xian with anticipation and said, “Mother, I want to learn from the tutor as well. This way, when we go to the capital, I can also enroll in a good school.” 

Old Madam Gu added, “Let’s hire a tutor for a while first, establish a solid foundation, and make it easier for her to enroll in school in the future.” 

Gu Xian agreed, “Qing Shu, if we hire a tutor, you must be diligent and study seriously, not just slack off.” 

Qing Shu nodded and said, “Mother, don’t worry; I will study hard with the tutor and won’t give up halfway.” 

Seeing Qing Shu’s determination, Gu Xian had no objections. 

Old Madam Gu took the opportunity to say, “Your house is too small, and even if you hire a tutor, there won’t be enough space. I have many empty rooms here, so let Qing Shu study here.” 

Gu Xian immediately refused, “No, if my siblings find out, it will cause trouble.” 

“Then rent a larger house.” 

Gu Xian shook her head, “Mother, although my house is not large, I can spare a room for Qing Shu.” 

In fact, they could have rented a bigger house for Gu Xian and let the tutor live there. However, Old Madam Gu believed that Gu Xian was too naive and stubborn, and she was afraid that Qing Shu would be influenced to become like her. So, she decided to teach Qing Shu herself, even if it meant a bit of inconvenience. 

The issue of the house was merely an excuse for Old Madam Gu. In reality, she didn’t want Qing Shu to stay too close to Gu Xian. Gu Xian didn’t understand the treacherous nature of people, and Old Madam Gu was worried that Qing Shu might become like her. 

After Gu Xian insisted on marrying Lin Chengyue against her wishes, Old Madam Gu realized her mistake. She shouldn’t have sheltered Gu Xian so much, which led her to believe that everyone in the world was good. However, it was too late at that time, as Gu Xian was already beyond her control.  

Fortunately, Qing Shu had shown signs of intelligence, giving her a chance to make amends. 

Old Madam Gu knew that Gu Xian wasn’t afraid of Yuan Shanniang causing a scene; she was worried about any gossip affecting Lin Chengyue’s reputation. “If Yuan Shanniang doesn’t cause trouble, will you agree to let Qing Shu stay at the Gu residence to study?” 

Given Yuan Shanniang’s temperament, there was no way this matter would be trouble-free. 

Gu Xian replied, “If my siblings agree, I will let Qing Shu study at the Gu residence.” 

Old Madam Gu smiled and said, “You’ve said it yourself, so you can’t go back on your word. If Yuan Shanniang blames you, just push the responsibility onto me.” 

If she pushed the responsibility onto her mother, what kind of person would she be? Gu Xian sighed and said, “Alright! But Mother, you have to promise me not to always cater to this girl.” 

Old Madam Gu nodded and said, “Agreed.” 

Just then, Gu Xian was afraid that Qing Shu might think she was unreliable and might leave a bad impression. So, she added, “As long as my siblings don’t object, Qing Shu can stay at the Gu residence to study.” 

Old Madam Gu was very pleased. 

At that moment, Xingyu announced from outside, “Madam, the Yue family has sent an invitation.” 

It was Yue Xiangxiang who had sent an invitation to Qing Shu, inviting her to visit the Yue family tomorrow. 

Gu Xian was extremely surprised. She had a good relationship with Weilan, but Yue Xiangxiang and Qing Shu did not get along. Every time Qing Shu visited the Yue family, she would be teased by Xiangxiang and end up in tears. After a few such incidents, Qing Shu refused to go to the Yue residence anymore. Now, Xiangxiang had actually sent an invitation to Qing Shu, which was like the sun rising in the west. 

Old Madam Gu explained, “Yesterday, while we were worshipping, we ran into Weilan and Xiangxiang. When we parted ways, Xiangxiang mentioned that she wanted to invite Qing Shu to visit their home.” 

Gu Xian was pleased and said, “Qing Shu, when you go to the Yue family tomorrow, try to get along well with Xiangxiang.” 

Qing Shu nodded and replied, “I understand.” 

The next morning, as soon as the day broke, Qing Shu began her studies. With Master Wuchen providing a solid foundation, she was no longer satisfied with learning just stories and idioms; she had started studying the “Three-Character Classic.” 

After finishing her lessons and writing a few big characters, Qing Shu had breakfast with Old Madam Gu. After the meal, she changed into different clothes and headed to the Yue family. 

The Gu residence was located in the west of the city, while the Yue family was in the east. Qing Shu spent over an hour in a carriage before arriving at the Yue residence. 

When Weilan saw Qing Shu, she was momentarily taken aback. The main reason was Qing Shu’s attire for the day, which was completely different from her usual style. 

Previously, Qing Shu dressed elegantly and rarely wore any jewelry. However, today she was wearing a red dress with a pure gold longevity lock around her neck and a pair of shrimp whisker bracelets on her wrists. 

Upon seeing Qing Shu, Yue Xiangxiang greeted her with a smile, “Qing Shu, I thought you wouldn’t come!” 

In truth, Qing Shu didn’t really want to come, as she wasn’t a real child, and she didn’t think she had much to talk about with Yue Xiangxiang. However, seeing Old Madam Gu so happy, she couldn’t bring herself to refuse. 

“Don’t worry, Xiangxiang, please don’t mind if I’m not very talkative,” Qing Shu replied. 

Xiangxiang grinned and said, “Don’t worry, as long as you don’t cry like you used to, I won’t dislike you.” 

No one likes a crybaby! 

Weilan scolded, “Xiangxiang, if you keep talking without restraint like this, you’ll have to stay in your own courtyard and not come out.” 

Qing Shu was surprised and asked, “Xiangxiang, do you have your own courtyard?” 

Xiangxiang cheerfully replied, “My mother found me annoying, so she moved me out and let me live in a separate courtyard.” 

Weilan laughed and scolded, “You ungrateful child, who was the one who wanted to move out in the first place?” 

Weilan had two sons and one daughter. The eldest son was seven and attending school, while Yue Xiangxiang was five years old, and her younger brother was three.  

At three years old, children could be quite mischievous and had probably broken many things in the house.  

Last month, Xiangxiang had broken a fan that she liked, so she had insisted on moving out. A few days ago, she was indeed moved to a separate courtyard. 

Qing Shu looked at Xiangxiang with envy and said, “I also want to have my own courtyard, but our house is too small.” 

She was actually very worried. She had accidentally mentioned that Lin Chengyue might sell girls in the future, and Gu Xian had slapped her hard for it. Sleeping next to Gu Xian, if she happened to talk in her sleep and curse Lin Chengyue, it might not just be exorcism; she might get beaten to death. 

Weilan didn’t know how to respond to that, so she changed the subject, saying, “Xiangxiang, take Qing Shu to play in your courtyard.” 

Once Qing Shu went out, Weilan turned to her maid Xiao Cui and said, “This child has indeed become more sensible.” 

Qing Shu used to listen to everything Gu Xian said. Gu Xian preferred simple and plain clothing, didn’t like wearing gold and silver jewelry, and Qing Shu used to dress similarly. As a child, it was natural to wear bright and colorful clothes, which made a child look lively and cheerful.  

Weilan had advised Gu Xian several times, but she never listened. However, now Qing Shu’s appearance was completely different from before. 

Xiao Cui smiled and said, “Master Wuchen is a highly enlightened monk. What he says is definitely not wrong.” 

Weilan didn’t doubt Master Wuchen but was feeling somewhat contemplative. She said, “Xiao Xian has always had a well-behaved and obedient daughter. But now that this child has become more independent, I wonder if they will still get along in the future. Mother-daughter relationships might become more challenging.” 

Xiao Cui thought Weilan was worrying unnecessarily and said, “Mother-child relationships don’t hold grudges for long. Even if they do argue, they’ll quickly make up.” 

“Let’s hope so.” 

Although she was best friends with Gu Xian, Weilan didn’t necessarily agree with some of the things Gu Xian did.  

For instance, Gu Xian, who was beautiful and came from a wealthy family, could have married into an influential family in the capital. However, she insisted on choosing Lin Chengyue, who came from a humble background.  

When Gu Xian’s mother disagreed with this marriage, she even resorted to a hunger strike to pressure her. 

Weilan had known Gu Xian since childhood and knew that Old Madam Gu cherished her daughter like a precious gem. If Old Madam Gu didn’t agree with this marriage, there must have been something wrong with the Lin family.  

As expected, the Lin family turned out to be quite difficult. 

The Yue family lived in a three-part courtyard house. While it wasn’t as luxurious as the Gu family, it had a garden and a pavilion. Yue Xiangxiang’s courtyard was located next to the garden. 

After bringing Qing Shu into the house, Yue Xiangxiang pointed to a display shelf with various dolls and said, “Which one do you like? You can pick one.” 

The display shelf was meant for antique objects, but Yue Xiangxiang had used it to display a variety of dolls, showing her unique personality. 

Qing Shu shook her head and replied, “No need, I don’t play with dolls anymore.” She was beyond the age for playing with cloth dolls. 

Different strokes for different folks, and Yue Xiangxiang didn’t insist, saying, “Then what do you like?” 

Qing Shu pointed to a corner of the display shelf where a nine-linked rings puzzle was placed and said with a smile, “I like this.” 

Yue Xiangxiang took a quick look and showed a hint of disdain. She had played with this nine-linked rings puzzle for over half a month and still couldn’t solve it, so she had given up, saying, “This one is quite boring.” 

However, Qing Shu managed to solve the puzzle in just a few moves, leaving Yue Xiangxiang in shock. 

Yue Xiangxiang picked up the puzzle and attempted to solve it herself, but no matter how she tried, she couldn’t figure it out. She asked, “Qing Shu, how did you do it?” 

Qing Shu patiently explained the process of solving the puzzle in detail. Unfortunately, even after listening three times, Yue Xiangxiang was still confused. 

After three failed attempts, Yue Xiangxiang gave up, saying, “Forget it, let’s play chess instead. Xi’er, bring the chessboard.” 

When Xi’er brought over a Go board, Qing Shu shook her head and said, “I don’t know how to play.” She had never learned how to play this. 

Yue Xiangxiang was very surprised and said, “I remember Aunt Xian taught you before!” 

Qing Shu was taken aback but quickly replied, “I’m not very good at it. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to learn.” She genuinely couldn’t recall the things Gu Xian had taught her in the past. 

Yue Xiangxiang felt like she had regained the upper hand and said with a cheerful smile, “Practice makes perfect. Come, I’ll teach you.” 

Placing a white piece on the board at a certain position, Yue Xiangxiang explained, “It’s actually quite simple. Just connect five pieces in a row, and you win.” 

Qing Shu doesn’t know whether to laugh and cry, hastily explaining, “I thought it was a game of Go.” Backgammon was much simpler. 

Backgammon and Go have the same chess equipment, but Qing Shu always thinks about the difficult part, so he made an mistake. 

Yue Xiangxiang laughed and said, “I think it’s strange. You solved the challenging nine-linked rings puzzle so easily, but you can’t seem to learn the simple game of Backgammon.” 

Go? She was overestimating her. She couldn’t even solve the nine-linked rings puzzle, so learning Go, which was much more complicated, was out of the question. 

“Forget it, let’s play a few rounds.” 

After playing ten rounds, Qing Shu won eight and lost two. However, those two losses were intentional on her part.