Home Post 1767-chapter-5


Wang Xi knew the Dowager Marchioness said this out of concern for her mother, but she didn’t like hearing such words.  

Did it seem like her mother suffered greatly in their family? Wasn’t all the suffering her mother endured because of the Marquis’s residence?  

Wang Xi felt the need to make some things clear to the old lady. “My great-grandfather was a gourmet, and because of that, our family opened several restaurants, one of which you might have heard of, called Chunfeng Tower. By the time of my grandfather, not only did our family have chefs from all over the country, but he also wrote a book.” 

“My mother learned to make pickled vegetables because at that time, my grandmother was elderly and had a heavy appetite. She wouldn’t eat without pickled vegetables every day. My mother wanted to show filial piety to my grandmother, so she made pickled vegetables a few times herself.” And amazingly, they were even more delicious than those made by their housemaids. 

Getting more excited as she spoke, Wang Xi continued, “The pickled vegetables my mother made were incredibly delicious. She added orange peel and rock sugar, making the pickled vegetables crunchy. The orange peel enhanced the aroma, and the rock sugar balanced the saltiness. It was very refreshing and earned praise from my grandfather. Later, our family’s pickled vegetable recipe was improved based on my mother’s ideas. Because of this, my grandfather rewarded me with two stores!”  

She grew hungrier just thinking about her mother’s pickled vegetables; her mouth was watering. 

Dowager Marchioness, on the other hand, was utterly shocked. “But why did your mother come up with a new pickled vegetable recipe, and yet your grandfather rewarded you with two stores?”  

Thinking about her grandparents’ love for her, Wang Xi’s eyes curved into crescents as she said, “Because my grandfather asked if it was delicious, and I said it was. I also told my grandfather that pickled vegetables should be eaten with roasted meat. My grandfather was pleased and rewarded me with two stores! As for my mother, my grandfather gave her two hills!”  

After all, it was a borderland, with plenty of hills to be given away.  

Dowager Marchioness smiled but didn’t say anything.  

Wang Xi knew that the Marquis’s residence always looked down on her family. After thinking for a moment, she decided to deliver a subtle jab. 

She beckoned the Dowager Marchioness over as if to say, “Come closer; I have something to tell you.”  

If anyone else had made this gesture, boththe Dowager Marchioness and the maids in the room would have thought it was too arrogant. But Wang Xi’s eyes were bright and lively, her demeanor playful and cute, making her seem innocent rather than arrogant.  

Dowager Marchioness was more than willing to indulge her and leaned in to listen. 

Wang Xi whispered softly, “Dowager Marchioness, I’m telling you this. Please don’t tell anyone else. My grandfather rewarded my mother with those two hills because they contain gold mines. They’re valuable!”  

Dowager Marchioness’s heart skipped a beat. Gold mines always belonged to the royal family. Mining them privately was a crime punishable by the extermination of nine generations.  

The Wang family was truly audacious.  

But perhaps the officials above and below were already in cahoots?  

If this information got out and was exploited by someone with ill intentions, it wouldn’t just affect one or two families. It might overturn the entire officialdom in the southwest.  

This child was just too young and didn’t grasp the gravity of the situation.  

Why did the people in the Wang family let her in on these matters?  

Dowager Marchioness wished she could cover Wang Xi’s mouth, hastily advising her, “You, this child, shouldn’t tell even your grandmother about such matters. In the future, you can’t be as casual with your words as you are now. Do you understand?”  

Wang Xi smiled sweetly, saying, “I understand,” and respectfully poured the Dowager Marchioness some more tea. “Don’t worry about my mother. She’s well in our family. She brought many dowries, all prepared by my father. Later, my grandmother and grandfather also gave her many things. When she has free time, she sews clothes and accessories with my fifth aunt, makes hairpins, plays with horse pendants, goes to the temple for vegetarian meals, and helps my second brother with his studies.” 

Her second brother’s name was Wang Sheng. He was her full-blooded brother, five years older than her. He had loved studying since he was a child and had passed the imperial examination last year. He was currently traveling outside the capital. 

Dowager Marchioness felt a bit absent-minded. 

The Wang family seemed even wealthier and more influential than they had thought.  

Dowager Marchioness suppressed her surprise, no longer inquiring about her daughter but asking about Wang Xi’s second brother instead. “Why did you let him travel instead of coming to the capital? Your uncle could have found him a good teacher to prepare for the upcoming imperial examination.” 

“Of course, he enjoys traveling!” Wang Xi replied dismissively. “My grandfather used to say, ‘Reading ten thousand books is not as good as traveling ten thousand miles.’ To understand the ways of the world, one must be well-versed in human relationships. If you can’t even differentiate between daffodils and garlic, you won’t understand how to navigate life, let alone serve in the government.” 

She didn’t want to discuss matters further with the Dowager Marchioness. After all, the Marquis’s residence and their Wang family had different attitudes toward certain matters. Each person had their own way of living, and there was no need to criticize or try to change others. But she also didn’t want to hear criticisms about her family members from others. 

“Don’t worry, my second brother will certainly succeed. He’s preparing to take the imperial examination!” Wang Xi skillfully changed the topic. “The snacks I brought from Hongluo Temple yesterday were delicious, right! I asked them to make Wufu Cake. However, the hyacinth beans need to soak for a day and night to be delicious, so they’ll be ready tomorrow. I’ll bring some for you to taste then.” 

Wufu Cake was made from five types of beans mixed with glutinous rice and sugar. She liked to use green beans, red beans, soybeans, black beans, and peanuts. However, the hyacinth beans in the capital were exceptionally tasty, so she replaced black beans with hyacinth beans.  

She had made it once, and it turned out quite delicious.  

With the Buddha Bathing Festival approaching, she planned to make some more to send to various branches of the Marquis’s residence.  

It could be considered a gesture to strengthen their relationships. 

Dowager Marchioness’s smile became even brighter as she exclaimed, “Delicious, delicious. The green cakes, in particular, were excellent.” 

Elderly people especially liked soft and chewy foods. Wang Xi’s green cakes were made from Qing’ai and glutinous rice bought from Jiangnan, filled with sweet red bean paste, making them exceptionally delicious. Wang Xi’s smile was radiant. 

The grandmother and granddaughter sat together, exchanging laughter and conversation. A plate of steamed shad fish lay alone on the table. 

When Miss Chang Ning from the main branch of the Marquis’s residence walked in, this was the scene she witnessed.  

She couldn’t help but secretly roll her eyes. Wang Xi was trying to please the Dowager Marchioness again.  

Even though her mother, the Marchioness, had privately told her about Wang Xi’s identity and instructed her to get along well with Wang Xi, saying that they were all about to marry soon and might not live under the same roof tomorrow, regardless of how Wang Xi behaved, she should endure it; it would pass soon.  

There were too many poor relatives visiting their house. 

Miss Chang Ning wasn’t one to stir up trouble, but Wang Xi was just too unlikable.  

She took advantage of her grandmother’s guilt over her younger aunt to snatch away her grandmother’s affection from her and her siblings.  

Wang Xi was extremely arrogant. She disliked their small house, so she built her own. If she didn’t like the food at their house, she set up her own little kitchen.  

Today, she even served dishes to her grandmother personally, and tomorrow, she would bring various snacks.  

Her grandmother seemed bewitched by her; whatever Wang Xi said became the truth. 

Miss Chang Ning had never seen someone be so impolite when visiting someone else’s home. She exchanged a meaningful glance with her two cousins, Chang Yan and Chang Ke. 

Chang Yan’s eyes reflected a chill. 

Chang Ke, however, lowered her head, her heart in turmoil. 

The dish on the table should be the steamed shad fish, right? It must be a filial gift from Wang Xi to the Dowager Marchioness. She’s truly wealthy.  

She must be greatly pampered at home.  

When she marries, her family will surely provide her with a generous dowry.  

Even if her social status isn’t prominent, she should be able to marry into a good family.  

Unlike her, being a match for the Marquis’s family, they look down on her origins. Marrying up is unlikely, and marrying down, if someone comes asking for her, she can’t offer a substantial dowry. Even if she’s forced into a marriage, her life might not be easy.  

What awaits her in the future? Chang Ke’s face turned slightly pale. 

Chang Ning, not able to hold back, silently cursed her as “uncouth.”  

She put on a smile and approached.The Dowager Marchioness quickly asked a young maidservant to set up seats for the three of them and said with a smile, “Why have you all come? Have you had dinner yet?” 

Chang Yan’s father was the legitimate son of the Dowager Marchioness and the younger brother of the Marquis.  

After the Marquis inherited the title, he also obtained the position of a seventh-rank deputy commander in the Eastern Garrison under his brother’s guidance.  

Chang Yan and Chang Ning were naturally close, and now Chang Yan held the upper hand.  

Chang Ke’s father, on the other hand, was a son from a concubine.  

In such gatherings, she dared not speak easily, always being compliant and timid. 

Chang Ning spoke on behalf of her sisters, “We heard you weren’t feeling well, so we thought to visit. But we were afraid of troubling you, so we chose this time. We didn’t want to disturb you and came after having dinner. Are you feeling better now?”  

She made Wang Xi seem ignorant. 

Wang Xi had been pricked like this by her so-called cousin before, but she pretended not to hear.  

With her experience, the more you reasoned with someone like Chang Ning, the more stubborn she became. If you ignored her, it was like punching cotton; she would get angrier.  

Of course, this was because Chang Ning’s anger couldn’t harm her. If Chang Ning went too far, she wouldn’t mind telling her how to behave. 

Wang Xi smiled sweetly and politely answered Chang Ning’s question.  

Chang Ning’s lips were tightly pursed, extremely angry, but she had to hold it in front of the elders.  

Wang Xi felt a sense of relief as she watched. 

Dowager Marchioness was kind to everyone and couldn’t detect the hidden meanings in Chang Ning’s words. She just thought Chang Ning had come to visit and said happily, “I’m fine, don’t worry. I’m just old and haven’t been out for a long time. I get tired after a short trip.” 

Then she shook her head and said, “When people get old, they can’t handle it anymore! Back in the day, when I took your father and them back to my family, I could travel for several days without feeling tired. In the evenings, when we rested at relay stations, I even played cuju with your father and them in the courtyard…” 

Dowager Marchioness had only returned to her family once since her marriage, during her mother’s illness.  

Perhaps this was one of her happiest memories; she often brought it up.  

Wang Xi had only been here for a short while, but she had already heard it several times. 

When the conversation paused, Shi Mama took the opportunity to ask the Dowager Marchioness if they could serve dinner. “Otherwise, the shad fish will get cold, and it won’t taste good.” 

“I’m quite forgetful,”the Dowager Marchioness said, realizing, and urged Shi Mama to serve the meal. She then turned to her three granddaughters and said, “You should all join us. Ah Xi brought the shad fish. You should taste it too.” 

It was still a gift from her mother, Wang Xi was just using it as a tribute. Chang Ning inwardly scoffed, but didn’t show it.  

She sat down with Chang Yan and Chang Ke and quietly had dinner with the Dowager Marchioness and Wang Xi.  

The young masters and the elders from the Marquis’s residence also came over to greet the Dowager Marchioness.  

Wang Xi and her cousins went to sit in the east wing.  

After the young masters and the elders had greeted the Dowager Marchioness, they returned to the west wing, where they drank tea with some of the Marquis’s wives and grandmothers.