Home Post 1768-chapter-6


The previous Marquis of Yongcheng’s wife and the Old Marquis had seven children, but only two sons and two daughters survived.  

Afterward, the Old Marquis felt he had fulfilled his duty of passing on the family line, and due to frequent childbirth and the children’s early deaths, the Old Marchioness began to look weary.  

The Old Marquis started pursuing other women, taking three concubines one after another, and had more than twenty illegitimate children, of which four sons and six daughters survived.  

After inheriting the title of Marquis of Yongcheng, he gave away most of his half-siblings, except for his two elder brothers and the third elder who managed the family affairs for him. 

So, when Wang Xi and others entered, apart from the Marchioness and the second and third madams, there were also the Marchioness’s two daughters-in-law in the room.  

They all sat around the Marchioness, listening to the second madam discussing her eldest son’s marriage: “After all, she is the only daughter in the family. We shouldn’t compromise too much for her. Should we find a new place for them or expand the courtyard where Sanlang currently resides?”  

The Marchioness seemed a bit unhappy, frowning as she listened to the second madam.  

When Wang Xi and her companions came in, she put aside the conversation and smiled, motioning the girls to come closer and even pointed to a spot beside her, saying, “Ah Xi, come sit here!” 

Except for the Marchioness sitting side by side with the Marchioness dowager on the big heated bed by the window, everyone else got up slowly to make room for Wang Xi.  

The maids with understanding eyes brought over stools for Chang Ning and others.  

Once they settled down, the Marchioness picked a piece of apple from the fruit tray on the heated bed and handed it to Wang Xi, saying, “Here, it’s a large apple from Yantai. Give it a try, it’s delicious!” 

Wang Xi thanked her and noticed the apple had a bit of rust color, probably cut and left for a while. She didn’t feel like eating it much, but seeing the Marchioness’s expectant expression, she took a small bite and said, “Thank you, Marchioness Dowager.” 

The Dowager Marchioness chuckled and then called Chang Ning and others to have some apples.  

A servant girl held the fruit tray, serving apples to Chang Ning and her companions.  

Chang Ning picked up an apple and half-jokingly complained to the Dowager Marchioness , “Grandmother only pampers our cousin, not us. Whenever there’s something good, it’s always given to our cousin first, and we’re left with leftovers.” 

The Dowager Marchioness wasn’t a person of many thoughts. Chang Ning was a bit lively and assertive. Even before Wang Xi arrived, she liked to argue with her sisters in the mansion.  

The Dowager Marchioness not only didn’t think much about it but also felt that the temperament of the eldest son of the main family and the Old Marquis were somewhat alike.  

Chang Ning was the second daughter, not competing or grabbing for attention. Who would notice her?  

She looked at Chang Ning, smiling teasingly, and said, “Then who did the Hetian jade pendant go to yesterday?” 

Yesterday, Chang Ning and others had gone to the Red Conch Temple together.  

To please the ladies of the Marquis of Yongcheng’s mansion, the abbot brought several pieces of jade.  

Among them, the best one, the Hetian jade pendant, was taken by Chang Ning and she didn’t let go.  

Wang Xi heard the monk say that several eminent monks had worn it.  

Disgusted that it was someone else’s old possession, she turned it around a few times, fearing that the old lady might reward her with it, pretending she wasn’t interested and let Chang Ning have it. 

Chang Ning didn’t know this. She glanced at Wang Xi with a slightly smug look and said, “I knew Grandmother wouldn’t bear to part with it. But the abbot said these old items are destined for someone. If it’s given to me, it must be because I have a connection with that jade pendant!” 

The third madam always flattered the legitimate line. She smiled and said, “Our Second Madam has been fortunate since childhood.” 

Hearing her daughter being praised, the Dowager Marchioness chuckled.  

Everyone in the room followed suit, praising Chang Ning and even commending her needlework, earning praise from the instructress and such. 

Wang Xi sat there uninterestedly, discreetly placing the apple behind her.  

Baiguo cleverly caught the apple with a handkerchief and stuffed it into her pocket. But when she looked up, she saw the fourth miss of the mansion, Chang Ke, avoiding her gaze with a flicker in her eyes. 

Most likely, they noticed their subtle actions. But it doesn’t matter. Even if she tells others in the mansion, those serving by the Dowager Marchioness ‘s side can’t handle even a piece of fruit properly. It will only reflect poorly on the Marquis of Yongcheng’s mansion. 

She kept an eye on her young miss’s mood. Seeing her stifling a yawn, indicating her boredom, she thought of finding an excuse to leave with her young miss.  

The second madam brought up her eldest son’s marriage again, saying, “We need to finalize the new house quickly. I’ve calculated the dates; the Han family will come to measure the house soon.”  

The eldest son of the second branch ranked third among cousins. His father-in-law was Han Lin, the deputy commander of the Miyun Guard, a fourth-ranked military officer.  

The two families had set the wedding date for the second day of the eleventh month.  

It was said that Miss Han came from a good family, had a substantial dowry, and was not bad-looking.  

The second madam was extremely satisfied with this marriage.  

Since the families officially exchanged betrothal gifts, the second madam had become busy, scrutinizing everything from the gifts sent to the Han family to the flowers and plants arranged during the third master’s wedding, fearing she might miss something. 

Wang Xi’s interest piqued when she heard something new. However, it seemed both the Dowager Marchioness and the duchess didn’t want to talk much.  

The conversation drifted to their visit to the Red Conch Temple yesterday. There must be some hidden details.  

Wang Xi looked left and right but couldn’t figure it out. Finally back in Clear Snow Courtyard, she immediately sought out Qingchou to ask, “Do you know what’s going on with Third Master’s new house?” 

Qingchou lived up to her reputation as the household’s “eavesdropper.” While assisting Baizhu in removing Wang Xi’s jewelry, she smiled and said, “Didn’t the Han family say they would send over two sets of furniture? Third Master’s current residence must be insufficient. If they build an extension next to the original courtyard, they’ll have to vacate a spot for Third Master. But if they rebuild a new courtyard for him, it’s a waste of money. How do they calculate the expenses?” 

Wang Xi nodded, “The Duke’s mansion has always been stingy.” 

Baiguo and the others didn’t dare to interrupt. Qingchou continued, “If they expand from the original courtyard, Third Miss has to vacate her place, and so does Third Master. If they move Third Master to the third branch’s courtyard, Eighth Master has to move as well.” 

Ah! This is interesting!  

Wang Xi became more intrigued.  

The people in the Chang family were quite prolific. Not to mention the Old Duke.  

Among the dukes left in the mansion, the Marquis of Yongcheng had five legitimate sons, two legitimate daughters, and one illegitimate son.  

The second duke had two legitimate sons, one legitimate daughter, and three illegitimate sons.  

The third duke had one legitimate daughter and two legitimate sons.  

When the Old Duke was alive, although the duke’s eldest son lived in a slightly larger place at that time, he couldn’t contend with the number of people in his household. Everyone lived in a cramped space.  

Perhaps because of this, when the Old Duke was gone, the duke distributed his illegitimate siblings, leaving only the third branch and rearranging their living spaces, favoring those with better scenery.  

The unused places, like Clear Snow Courtyard where Wang Xi lived, had excellent views and were used for receptions or banquets. Otherwise, they were secluded and simple, requiring extensive renovations. 

Wang Xi’s eyes lit up, “Third Miss has to vacate her place. I can imagine that she must be living near her brother. But why does it involve the third branch? Is Third Master’s residence next to Eighth Master’s?” 

The Eighth Master was the eldest son of the third branch, nine years old this year, not reaching the age to move out independently until next year. 

Qingchou smiled and said, “Young Miss guessed it right. The second madam can’t bear to part with her eldest son. When selecting a place for Third Master, she chose the west side of the second branch’s main courtyard. 

Third Miss lives in the west wing of the main courtyard, separated from Third Master by a side wall.  

To the west of Third Master’s courtyard is Fifth Master’s courtyard, to the south is Sixth Master’s courtyard, and to the north is the third duke’s courtyard.  

Eighth Master currently attends classes every day in the academy outside, so he lives in the south room of the third branch’s main courtyard, separated from Third Master by an alley…” 

Wang Xi mentally calculated the directions. Baiguo smiled wryly, “Young Miss, except for Third Master’s residence, which is between his sister and cousin, everyone else lives either next to their own sisters or cousins. Only Eighth Master lives in front of and behind him.” 

Wang Xi understood now, “The third branch probably didn’t dare to refuse?” 

This was not just about moving places. 

If Eighth Master’s south room is given to Third Master as the new residence, the face of the third courtyard will be lost.”  

Qingchou smiled, “The Third Duke and Third Madam have always been patient. It’s not a matter of refusing or not.” 

“That means we’ll have some entertainment to watch!” Wang Xi giggled, lowering her head as Baizhu washed her face. 

Hongchou, not sure when she sneaked in, said, “If it were me, I’d take this opportunity to move to a new place. Living while constantly watching others’ expressions is nerve-wracking.” 

Qingchou scolded her, “Didn’t you voluntarily ask to serve Young Miss and take care of some tasks? How’s that going? Why are you here at this moment?” 

Hongchou seemed like a deflated rooster, looking disappointed and a bit breathless. “I’ve been keeping an eye on it, you know? Even during meals, I had another maid watch over there. There was no movement in that courtyard. You can’t blame me! He just doesn’t listen to me. It’s not like I didn’t tell him not to practice swordplay in the courtyard.” 

Qingchou and Hongchou were cousins. Qingchou felt like slapping her. 

Wang Xi was more understanding, having her face cream applied.  

A maid named Axi massaged her hands with scented lotion, and she interrupted Qingchou, saying, “We still don’t know the relationship between that person and the Princess’s mansion. Maybe they’re just staying for a few days, or perhaps it was a whim to practice swordplay a couple of times, and we happened to bump into them.” 

Although she said that, she still felt regretful. Baiguo had served Wang Xi since childhood and was five years older than her. She couldn’t stand seeing Wang Xi feeling down.  

She scolded Hongchou again, “Hongchou said it too, right? She noticed it early this morning. We just happened to see them today. Maybe that person practices swordplay early every day! Second Master often says he should ‘rise with the roosters,’ right? Maybe that person will only come out to practice swordplay tomorrow morning!” 

“Yeah, that’s right!” Hongchou chimed in, “It’s not even twelve hours yet!” 

Wang Xi found their reasoning plausible and felt happy again. She applied scented lotion all over her body and, after listening to Baizhu read for a while, peacefully fell asleep.  

Today, Baizhi was on duty. After helping Wang Xi tuck in, Baizhu and Baizhi returned to their rooms.  

Baiguo was absent from her room, and a maid serving them informed her, “Miss Baiguo went to Wang Mama’s place.” 

After Baizhu finished her preparations for bed, Baiguo returned. She asked concernedly, “Is something wrong?” 

Baiguo, being assisted by a maid while changing her clothes, said, “I asked Wang Mama. I wanted to know what Miss thinks—whether she’s going to obey Mother and get married in the capital or, as Hongchou said, just came to the capital for a short visit and plans to return?”