Home Post 1765-chapter-3


Wang Xi nodded nonchalantly.  

If someone wasn’t suitable, they could be replaced. However, this was the matter of the Marquis Yongcheng’s residence, and it had nothing to do with her. She couldn’t meddle in it.  

She only concerned herself with her own affairs. That’s why she had found two women skilled in Sichuan cuisine for her own use.  

Nevertheless, she acknowledged the Marchioness’s goodwill.  

She had her head maidservant Baizhu bring a pair of jade bracelets to the Marchioness as a token of gratitude, and another pair of silver anklets as a reward for Pan Mama. 

Pan Mama completed her task, received her reward, expressed her thanks repeatedly, and left Wang Mansion in high spirits.  

Wang Xi had the maidservant place the two shad fish in a large tub beneath the grape arbor in her courtyard.  

The maidservant who usually took care of the flowers, plants, fish, and insects in her courtyard hadn’t raised shad fish before. Fearing that these fish might harm the goldfish already residing in the tub, she called other maidservants to assist.  

They first scooped out the goldfish, moved them to another tub, and then introduced the two shad fish into the tub. 

Wang Xi changed into a madder-red plain silk narrow-sleeved jacket, took a green bamboo stick, and played with the two fish. The two shad fish were aggressive, pecking at the leaves on the bamboo stick incessantly.  

Wang Xi remembered the man who practiced swordsmanship in the bamboo forest. She wondered what his connection was to Princess Baoqing’s Mansion.  

Judging by the location, his residence should be in the west wing of Princess Baoqing’s Mansion, but it wasn’t certain. 

When her father and elder brother came, they inquired thoroughly about the matters concerning the Marquis Yongcheng’s residence.  

Originally, there were three households on Fuzuo Street. To the west was the Marquis Yongcheng’s residence, to the east was the Duke Zhen Guo’s Mansion, and in the middle was the mansion of Liu Ziyong, a former Minister of Rites and Grand Academician of the Eastern Pavilion during the reign of the previous emperor.  

In the twenty-seventh year of Yongkang, Liu Ziyong became involved in a case of exam cheating, and his estate was confiscated. The Liu mansion was then left abandoned until the current emperor ascended the throne.  

Princess Baoqing, with the emperor’s consent, remarried Duke Zhen Guo as his second wife. She repurchased Liu’s mansion from Liu’s descendants through the Ministry of Lineage, renaming it Princess Baoqing’s Mansion. Thus, the three households on Fuzuo Street became two. 

Her father had managed to obtain a few architectural plans. Of course, they weren’t exact, but they provided a general idea.  

The main concern was that she might get lost in the Marquis Yongcheng’s residence, hence her father’s worry.  

When she saw these reduced-scale layouts, she found them quite amusing. She even persuaded her father to create a model of their own house, so her two nephews wouldn’t get lost in the future. 

Her father was exasperated, tapping her forehead and scolding, “How can my daughter be so naive? Creating a model of our house? What if it falls into someone else’s hands? Won’t they steal whatever they want from our home? If thieves see you and think you’re valuable, what if they kidnap you? Will you still be my daughter then? Aren’t you afraid?” 

She burst into laughter. Her father treated her as if she were a three-year-old child.  

Of course, she understood the importance of these architectural layouts. Otherwise, why would those maps and designs be so precious?  

She simply wanted to know how large their house, where she had lived for more than a decade, actually was.  

Even after all these years, she still couldn’t figure out why, standing in the main courtyard of their house, her father’s Guanshan Pavilion seemed to be on the east side. When she stood in the backyard’s Tingtao Pavilion, Guanshan Pavilion seemed to be in the south. 

She remembered her reaction at that time, scrunching up her nose and retorting to her father, “So, you dare send people to scout the Marquis Yongcheng’s residence, Princess Baoqing’s Mansion, and Duke Zhen Guo’s residence, but you think it’s too dangerous for us? If our house is discovered, at most, someone will steal a few things. But for families like theirs, won’t assassins come after them?!” 

Her father was so angry that she covered his chest: “Who took you secretly to listen to those storytellers’ nonsense in the teahouse? In this era of peace and prosperity, with clear waters and serene skies, where would assassins come from? Can’t you read fewer of those illustrated storybooks?” 

Wang Xi didn’t tell her father.  

As long as it concerned her, her father saw everyone as liars and evildoers.  

Thankfully, her elder brother had something to discuss with her father that day, diverting her father’s attention. He even secretly told her, “Come to my room tonight, and I’ll show you the layout of our house.” 

She was overjoyed and sent a plate of Lamp Shadow Beef, supposedly made by her own hands, to her elder brother as a snack.  

Thinking about these things, Wang Xi couldn’t help but smile.  

Thinking of this, Wang Xi couldn’t help but laugh and called Baizhu, who was in charge of accompanying her to study: “Let’s go to the study.” 

Clear Snow Courtyard was a courtyard occupying less than five acres of land, planted with many flowers and trees.  

The main residence, which could accommodate people, consisted of two main rooms and five smaller rooms, along with a dozen or so side rooms.  

Dowager Marchioness thought it was sufficient when she saw Wang Xi had brought just over ten people. There were a few male servants who needed accommodation in the outer courtyard, but the Dowager Marchioness felt Clear Snow Courtyard was enough. 

However, Wang Xi felt it was too small.  

After living there for a few days, she subtly mentioned it to the Dowager Marchioness.  

Two small kitchens were added in the corner of the courtyard, a well was dug, and a flower hall behind the main house’s garden was converted into a study.  

The original place designated as the study in the main house’s eastern wing was cleared out specifically to store Wang Xi’s clothes and jewelry.  

The back veranda room was vacated to store her trunks and boxes. 

This way, Baizhu and a few senior maids squeezed into one room, and the junior maids who served Baizhu’s needs squeezed into another.  

If not for Wang Mama’s advice, “In the capital, accommodations are not easy to come by. Even in such a large city, Princess Baoqing’s Mansion is wedged between Duke Zhen Guo’s residence and Marquis Yongcheng’s residence,” she would have added another floor to the back veranda room. 

Thinking about this, Wang Xi sighed, feeling that Marquis Yongcheng’s residence also had its challenges. Unlike the Wang family, where they were in a secluded alleyway, an entire street was theirs.  

Even her nine-year-old second nephew wouldn’t get lost; there was always someone to guide him. 

When Wang Xi and Baizhu entered the study, Wang Xi asked Baizhu to find the layouts of the three residences.  

Baizhu went off with a beaming smile.  

Wang Xi couldn’t help feeling a little proud. Since her father didn’t allow her to take the layouts of these three houses outside, she had Baizhu draw the layouts and hide them in the purple-heartwood frame of her white jade chessboard. 

Baizhu quickly returned with the layouts.  

Wang Xi spread the three layouts on the large writing desk.  

Both Marquis Yongcheng and Duke Zhen Guo were meritorious founders of the country, and their residences were built according to regulations. They were straightforward and lacked any distinct features.  

In contrast, Princess Baoqing’s Mansion was short in the south and long in the north, resembling a blade. The main hall extended all the way to the back garden of Marquis Yongcheng’s residence. However, the garden was situated behind two alleys, covering several acres.  

Upon this comparison, Wang Xi realized the courtyard where the sword dancer was practicing should be right next to the northeast corner of Marquis Yongcheng’s residence’s back garden in a place called Liuyin Garden, the innermost courtyard of Princess Baoqing’s Mansion, behind which was Princess Baoqing’s Mansion’s back garden. It was one of the more remote courtyards in Princess Baoqing’s Mansion. 

Wang Xi rested her chin on her hand, contemplating.  

Her elder brother had said that Princess Baoqing didn’t have children from her first marriage. After marrying Duke Zhen Guo, she gave birth to a son named Chen Luo.  

This Chen Luo was greatly favored by the Emperor. At the age of twelve, he entered the Emperor’s personal guard, the Dragon Cavalry Guard, as an assistant officer, a fourth-rank military official. He was even bestowed the honor of walking with a sword in the Emperor’s presence.  

A precious son like him probably wouldn’t reside in such a remote place. 

If he lived in Princess Baoqing’s Mansion, he would undoubtedly stay in the main courtyard next to Princess Baoqing.  

Chen Luo, Duke Zhen Guo’s eldest son, was even less likely.  

Setting aside the fact that Princess Baoqing was her stepmother and had imperial status, just considering gender differences, Chen Luo couldn’t possibly live in Princess Baoqing’s Mansion.  

Moreover, although Duke Zhen Guo’s residence was also on Fuzuo Street, it was twice the size of the others. The residence was divided into three sections: east, west, and central. Additionally, there was a garden surrounding Duke Zhen Guo’s residence, covering both its eastern and rear sides.