Home Post 1763-chapter-1


 In the spring of the capital city, it was a season where plum blossoms fell as peach blossoms bloomed, and pear blossoms and begonias were as white as snow.  

During this time, it was most suitable for the whole family to go out for an outing, or to host a flower appreciation gathering at home.  

Located in Xicheng’s Xiaoyong Lane is the Marquis Yongcheng’s Mansion, where the old Marquis had passed away three years ago. Although the new Marquis, who is favored by the emperor, had been directly appointed as the Commander-in-Chief of the Central Army in the Five Military Commanders’ Office, the entire mansion became more cautious, refraining from any extravagance, not even daring to make a fuss during the New Year. The marriage affairs of several eligible young ladies in the family were also postponed. 

Now, apart from observing the mourning period, Yongcheng Marchioness was thinking about hosting a spring banquet at home. This would allow the young ladies of the family to show their faces in front of the noble ladies in the capital and quickly settle their marriage matters. 

Coincidentally, a few days ago, a biao xiaojie1 from Yongcheng The Dowager Marchioness’s natal family came to their house to visit.   

Delighted, the Dowager Marchioness arranged for this biao xiaojie to stay in the best scenery room in the mansion, Clear Snow Courtyard. 

The Marchioness had to find another place to host the banquet.  

Her trusted servant suggested, “How about the backyard? It’s even larger than Clear Snow Courtyard, and the scenery is quite beautiful.” 

But how could the backyard of the mansion compare to Clear Snow Courtyard with its artificial Taihu stone hill, two three-hundred-year-old pear trees, and a forest of pear blossoms in the courtyard? the Marchioness couldn’t help but sigh. 

The servant could only propose, “How about discussing it with Madam Dowager? Let biao xiaojie stay in Madam Dowager’s Jade Spring Hall for a few days? This year is different from previous years; the marriage affairs of the young ladies are urgent matters. Madam Dowager cannot neglect her own granddaughters because of a distant relative, right?” 

Upon hearing this, the Marchioness glanced at the servant with a slight smile. The servant saw this and was taken aback, whispering, “Madam, did I say something wrong?” 

The Marchioness pondered for a moment, looked around at the spacious courtyard, and seeing no one else around except for the two of them, she then lowered her voice and extended two fingers. 

What did this mean? 

The servant couldn’t comprehend for a while. 

The Marchioness had to remind her, “Second Madam!” 

Their mansion only had one Second Madam. She had married into Duke Cheng Mansion many years ago and become the Duke’s wife and the mother of the heir. Where would there be another Second Madam? 

In her confusion, the servant suddenly remembered an old incident from Marquis Yongcheng’s Mansion.  

Twenty-five years ago, during the Lantern Festival, the Second Madam of the mansion had gone to Chang’an Street to see the lanterns with her younger sisters. However, she was abducted by a human trafficking gang.  

The Old Marquis immediately reported the case.  

Although the gang was quickly caught, the Second Madam, in order to protect her innocence, had already thrown herself into the river. 

Could there be something suspicious about this incident? 

Suddenly, her heart started to race, and she broke out in a cold sweat. “Are you saying…?” 

This servant was a maid who had been brought with the Marchioness. She had handled most of the household affairs for several decades, so the Marchioness didn’t intend to hide anything from her.  

She gently nodded, and her voice became even softer, sighing, “You’ve been in the mansion for these years, and you’ve probably heard some rumors. When the Second Madam was abducted back then, the Old Marquis was afraid she had lost her purity, tarnishing the reputation of the mansion. He didn’t report to the officials, nor did he catch the kidnappers. He just spread the word outside, saying that the person had already died.” 

The servant was shocked, “The Old Marquis was too heartless!” 

the Marchioness didn’t blame her, continuing with a sigh, “Who said otherwise? At that time, Lao Tai Tai knelt down to beg the Old Marquis to find her, but he remained indifferent. Lao Tai Tai’s left eye went blind because of crying. It wasn’t known what kind of suffering the Second Madam went through. After two or three years, she managed to find her way back.  

“The Old Marquis refused to meet her, claiming that their daughter had long died. He even said that the Second Madam was an imposter and secretly sent people to dispose of her. It was only thanks to Lao Tai Tai, who pleaded with Grandfather-in-law, the Old Marquis’ father, to intervene that the Second Madam’s life was saved. 

“After that incident, Second Madam cut off all ties with the family. Later on, I don’t know how, but Second Madam married into the Wang family in Shu and became a secondary wife to Master Wang. She gave birth to a son and a daughter. This young lady is the only daughter of that Second Madam.” 

The servant was astonished, “But then, Madam Dowager’s maternal family name is Shi, Grand Madam’s maternal family name is Huang, and Madam Dowager’s sister-in-law’s family name is Shan. How did a biao xiaojie from Shu suddenly appear with the surname Wang?” 

The Marchioness said, “I was puzzled too. If it wasn’t for the fact that the Eldest Madam heard about this young lady’s arrival and sent her trusted servant to rush over day and night, bringing a heap of gold, silver, jewelry, and other items, I wouldn’t have guessed.” 

The servant listened, her expression freezing. She asked, “Since Second Madam severed ties with our mansion, why did she send this young lady over? Could it be that there’s something she wants us to do?” 

the Marchioness said, “Think carefully!” 

The servant contemplated, “Look at this young lady’s appearance; she seems to be around fourteen or fifteen years old. Could it be… Second Madam wants Madam Dowager to find a good match for her?” 

“You aren’t completely clueless,” the Marchioness nodded and said, “Scholars, farmers, artisans, and merchants. Although the Wang family is a wealthy merchant family in Shu, for this young lady to marry well, she still needs the prestige of our mansion. Besides, there’s the Eldest Madam.” 

The servant’s feelings were complicated.  

When it came down to it, neither one of the Eldest Madam nor the Marquis had stood up for their sister in front of their father, and the one had lost a person at the Lantern Festival. So Second Madam hadn’t even come to burn incense when their father passed away.  

It was evident that Second Madam held grudges.  

But now, for the sake of this young lady, Second Madam had lowered her head to them. 

She couldn’t help but sigh, “Pity the hearts of parents all over the world!” 

The Marchioness’ mood was also complex. She said, “That’s why I say anyone in this mansion can be moved, but not this young lady.” 

“I understand,” the servant nodded repeatedly.  

Suddenly, she recalled the gossip she had heard from the kitchen maid a few days ago. The kitchen maid had muttered in her ear that this young lady was picky about her food and disliked their cooking oil because it hadn’t been sun-dried for six months. 

She hadn’t cared at the time and had thought the kitchen maid was just complaining. She even believed that the kitchen maid was getting old and stubborn.  

If the young lady who came to visit others was so arrogant, it didn’t matter. But if something like this got out, it wouldn’t be good. However, as long as they didn’t openly quarrel, she pretended not to know.  

Over time, it was a matter of who would prevail, but now it seemed somewhat inappropriate. 

If this young lady had such a background, she was not only the apple of Madam Dowager’s eye but also the Eldest Madam’s source of guilt. If the maids in the mansion spread any unfavorable information about the young lady, it was the Marchioness who managed the household.  

Madam Dowager and the Eldest Madam would only think that she was incompetent in managing the household. In the end, the Marchioness would be the one to suffer. 

She was Madam’s person, so naturally, she had to think wholeheartedly for the Marchioness. The servant hurriedly told her Madam about this matter. 

The Marchioness was momentarily stunned. She blamed the kitchen maid for being too meddlesome.  

She remembered that yesterday, a fishmonger from the East Market had settled their account at their mansion and had specially sent over two fresh grass carp. She had instructed the servant to have the kitchen maid prepare the fish and send it over to the young lady herself. 

“Inspiring from the top, affecting those below. With this move, I believe no one in the mansion will dare to disrespect that young lady anymore.” The servant patted her chest and said, “Rest assured, I will personally oversee this matter.” 

The Marchioness nodded, curious. “Is it true that our soy sauce hasn’t been sun-dried for six months? Can she really taste the difference?” 

The servant blushed and replied, “I checked. The day the soy sauce in the inner courtyard kitchen ran out and the stove was waiting, the maid sent someone to the western cross courtyard’s kitchen and used a random barrel from there…” 

The western cross courtyard was where the servants lived, and its kitchen naturally didn’t have the same quality of ingredients as the inner courtyard kitchen.  

the Marchioness blushed too. 

The two of them discussed how to reprimand the household servants. 

In the Clear Snow Courtyard, Wang Xi wore a pink embroidered cloak with iris flowers, holding a Jingtailan enamel thousand-mile mirror.  

She was leaning against the window of the Warm Pavilion on the Taihu Stone fake mountain, peering at the bamboo forest in the backyard of the neighboring mansion. 

Amongst the layers of green, a white figure moved gracefully. The sword’s snow-white brilliance sometimes flowed like mercury and at other times resembled lightning, sweeping through the air, stirring up gusts of wind, and causing leaves to dance.  

Even from such a distance, she could sense that this person, although seemingly casual, had a sword technique brimming with majestic power, akin to towering mountains. 

“Amazing!” Wang Xi couldn’t help but admire, regretful that she could only see the person’s figure but not their face. She thought for a moment and leaned out the window. 

The maidservants serving in the Warm Pavilion couldn’t help but gasp softly. Then, afraid of disturbing Wang Xi, they collectively covered their mouths. 

Wang Xi didn’t notice.  

The view through the thousand-mile mirror became clearer than before. She could clearly see that the person practicing swordsmanship was a young man. Broad-shouldered and tall, with his hair neatly tied up, he wore a silk inner garment. Amidst his whirling moves, his thin clothes clung to his body, revealing powerful shoulders and a trim waist. 

Ah! Wang Xi screamed inwardly. Her face blushed slightly.  

It would be even better if she could see his face clearly. But based on his figure and skill alone, even if his features were ordinary, he would undoubtedly stand out among the crowd. 

A hint of excitement crossed Wang Xi’s mind. She instinctively tiptoed and leaned out further.  

Her chief maid, Baiguo, who saw this, broke out in a cold sweat and quickly walked over, suddenly embracing her waist, suppressing the worry in her heart, and gently smiling, “Young Miss, be careful not to fall.” 

Wang Xi turned her head and pouted playfully at Baiguo. Then, another maidservant with distinct eyebrows and large eyes hurried over, her eyes sparkling as she said, “Young Miss, I didn’t lie to you, right? I discovered this early yesterday morning by accident and immediately informed you. This person is much stronger than the ones Old Lady Sun’s invited during the New Year. Compared to him, Old Lady Sun’s companions is like a fish compared to a pearl—completely unmatched. This is no deception; it’s impossible to deceive.” 

“Mm-hmm!” Wang Xi smiled approvingly at the maid, “You’ve handled this matter very well.” Then she instructed Baiguo, “Later, you’ll reward her with a bag of silver ingots.” 

The maid named Hongchou was so delighted that her eyes narrowed to slits, profusely thanking Wang Xi. 

Wang Xi still remembered the person practicing swordsmanship.  

Who knew that when she turned back and looked through the thousand-mile mirror again, in just the blink of an eye, the courtyard of the neighboring mansion was empty, leaving only the green leaves covering the ground. 

“Alas!” She sighed in disappointment. “I wonder if they’ll practice swordsmanship tomorrow. If only I could see what that person looks like!”

  1. “表小姐” (biǎo xiǎojiě) translates to “cousin” or “female cousin” from the mother’s side.