Home Post 1800-chapter-7


Being Wang Xi’s close attendant meant sharing in her joys and sorrows. Baizhu immediately sat up, nervously asking, “What did Wang Mama say?” 

Although they had heard Wang Xi promise the Madam Dowager that she would stay in the capital, Hongchou couldn’t have lied.  

Baiguo felt reassured after her conversation with Wang Mama.  

She first comfortably settled on the kang near the window and sipped some hot tea. Then she said, “Madam said that based on the way Miss has been behaving lately, it seems she has no intention of staying in the capital.  

“But we still need to confirm with Miss.  

“If Miss plans to stay in the capital, there will inevitably be interactions with the Marquis’s mansion in the future. We will need to be considerate in our actions.  

“If Miss is only staying temporarily, there is no need to get too close. Some relationships need not be so close, and some matters need not be overly calculated.  

“Maintaining a decent appearance will be sufficient.” 

Baizhu nodded, urging Baiguo, “Hurry and sleep! We have to get up early tomorrow.” 

In winter, the Old Madam in the Wang family pitied her granddaughter. To spare Wang Xi from traveling back and forth early in the morning, she would let Wang Xi spend the night in her own room. 

However, after coming to the Marquis’s mansion, Wang Xi had to get up early every morning to pay respects to the Madam Dowager at the Yin hour. Wang Xi couldn’t get up at such an early hour.  

Waking Wang Xi up in the morning had become quite a daunting task. 

Fortunately, early the next morning, Hong Chou made a significant contribution.  

Wang Xi refused to get up and stay in bed.  

Hongchou looked disappointed as she lay on the edge of the bed. “Miss, I’ve been keeping watch for nearly ten hours, and the person who practices swordplay hasn’t shown up.” 

“What person practicing swordplay?” Wang Xi yawned, tightly holding onto her blanket, her mind still foggy, and she felt lazy and lethargic. “What are you talking about now?” 

Hongchou’s mouth fell open. Had the Young Miss already forgotten about yesterday?  

Baiguo only hoped that Wang Xi would be a bit more awake and not continue to lie in bed. She helped Hongchou explain, “You don’t remember. Yesterday morning, the Dowager Marchioness waived our morning greetings. You had nothing to do and were watching the person practicing swordplay in the Warm Pavilion by the artificial mountain in the Eldest Princess’s courtyard.” 

Oh! Oh! Oh!  

Wang Xi remembered now.  

That slender waist… She suddenly became energetic, tossing aside her blanket and asking Hongchou, “What does it mean? Has he not appeared today?” 

Hongchou vigorously nodded, looking disheartened. “I’ve been watching the entire time, and there’s still no sign of him. I saw him around this time in the past few days.” 

“Then where did he go?” Wang Xi widened her eyes, becoming more alert. “Has he moved out of Eldest Princess’s courtyard? Or is he sick and not practicing swordplay in the courtyard today?” 

Hongchou had no idea. She had just accidentally discovered the person practicing swordplay and hadn’t found out anything else.  

She had acted too impulsively, just as Qingchou had always warned her against.  

This time, she had messed things up again. 

Beside her, Baizhu gently patted Hongchou’s shoulder as a comforting gesture.  

Hongchou gratefully glanced at Baizhu. 

Wang Xi drank a cup of warm water with the help of Baiguo and felt more awake. She got out of bed, standing there while Baiguo, along with several maids, helped her get dressed. She asked Hongchou, “Did you find anything when you were keeping watch yesterday?” 

“Nothing!” Hongchou drooped her head. “The courtyard was quiet from beginning to end, and I didn’t see anyone coming or going.” 

In Wang Xi’s mind, scenes of countless sword lights floated.  

It was so dreamy and beautiful!  

She wanted to see it again. 

After giving it some thought, Wang Xi called Baizhu, instructing her to bring her telescope for Hongchou. “Perhaps because you were too far away, you couldn’t see clearly. Even if someone came and went, you might not have noticed.” 

There was indeed a possibility!  

Holding the telescope she had long coveted, Hongchou was a bit impatient to go to the Warm Pavilion on the artificial mountain in the courtyard to take a look. 

She nodded like a little chicken pecking at grains and said, “Miss, rest assured, I will definitely handle this matter properly for you!”  

Wang Xi didn’t bother with her and hurriedly sent her away.  

After washing her face and combing her hair, she quickly had her morning meal and went to the Madam Dowager’s residence. 

At this time, the sky was pitch black, and the lanterns flickered like fireflies in the various courtyards of the Marquis’s mansion.  

Baiguo took a deep breath of the cool air and stepped forward to help Wang Mama put a cloak on Wang Xi. She whispered, “We can’t continue like this! It’s too early; Miss’s health won’t be able to bear it. We can’t let our Miss suffer just to accommodate the Marquis’s morning court attendance.” 

Wang Mama glanced at Baiguo, showing rare sincerity, and smiled, “That’s just the way they are. The rules set by Old Marquis are followed as long as he’s around. Madam has been like this her whole life, and it’s not easy to change.  

“Fortunately, the weather is getting hotter, and there are benefits to waking up early. At least we won’t have to endure the sun on our way back. If we have to stay until autumn, the weather will get colder, and we have to find a solution.” 

Baiguo nodded, thinking it was a good opportunity to inquire about Wang Xi’s intentions. However, when she raised her head, she saw Wang Xi deep in thought, seemingly not paying attention to their conversation. 

She hesitated for a moment, but it was just a moment, and she missed the opportunity to speak.  

Wang Xi suddenly asked her seriously, “If that person practices swordplay early every day, and I have to go to pay respects to the Madam Dowager, wouldn’t I miss him?” 

Both Baiguo and Wang Mama were stunned.  

Wang Xi solemnly said, “We need to find a solution.” 

Rather than boringly going to the Madam Dowager’s place every day to see the women of the Marquis’s mansion idle around and talk nonsense, it was better to watch that person practice swordplay!  

Baiguo started to panic.  

What if they never figured out when that person practiced swordplay? 

She couldn’t help but glance at Wang Mama. Wang Mama, appointed with significant responsibilities by Wang Xi’s mother, calmly smiled and said, “In the past, didn’t Miss like to see everyone going to pay respects to Old Madam, and the servants requesting instructions from the Madam Dowager? Why the sudden change?” 

Wang Xi sighed, “It’s not that I’ve changed, it’s just that the people in the Marquis’s mansion are so uninspiring. They keep repeating the same things; it’s always the same few sentences. Compare that to the aunts and ladies in our family who go to pay respects to our grandmother. It’s either something interesting happening in our family or the other family, or they’re finding ways to get things from our grandmother. They’re all different, like watching a play. It’s much more interesting! No, even the lines in a play aren’t as interesting as what they do.” 

Her tone was full of disdain for the Marquis’s mansion. Wang Mama wished she could wipe away the nonexistent sweat on her forehead. She hurriedly smiled, “You don’t need to rush. Hongchou hasn’t figured out yet when the person practicing swordplay will appear, right? Although it’s boring in the Madam Dowager’s place, it’s still better than nothing.  

“Let’s wait until Hongchou has reliable information, and then we won’t need to join those people and go to pay respects to the Madam Dowager at the same hour. Otherwise, if we agree to go at the hour of the hare, but next door, they start practicing swordplay at the hour of the dragon, we won’t see anything!”  

Wang Xi found this reasoning reasonable. 

As they spoke, they quickly arrived at the Madam Dowager’s residence.  

Chang Ning and a few others had already arrived. The Madam Dowager didn’t say a word of reproach to Wang Xi, instead, she held Wang Xi’s hand and asked if she had slept well and if she was getting used to everything.  

Chang Ning, watching Wang Xi, who had been living in Clear Snow Courtyard for over a month, felt a wave of discomfort seeing Wang Xi’s rosy complexion. 

She glanced around and took the opportunity to hook her arm around the Madam Dowager’s, coquettishly asking, “When will Cousin Shi arrive? Where will she be staying? Could she stay closer to us, so we sisters can play together!”  

Cousin Shi1? Who is she? Finally, something new today. Wang Xi stared at the Madam Dowager and Chang Ning, her ears pricking up. 

Chang Ning felt quite satisfied, sneaking a glance at Wang Xi. Without waiting for the Madam Dowager to speak, she sweetly said, “Cousin Wang, haven’t you met Cousin Shi yet? She’s the eldest daughter of the Shi family. She’s my grandmother’s direct niece.  

“Cousin Shi is incredibly beautiful, treats people well, and is very generous. Every time she visits our mansion, she brings us many gifts. Because her uncle has been transferred from Datong to Yulin as a general, she has been sent back to the capital. Grandmother just said that she would be staying in our mansion for a few days.”  

She emphasized, “You came a bit late, so you didn’t hear about it.” 

Wang Xi just wanted to know if this Miss Shi from the Shi family was as dull as Chang Ning.  

She smiled, didn’t say anything, but in her heart, she flipped through the genealogy her father had prepared for her.  

The Shi family was the Madam Dowager’s maternal family, in Baoding, with a hereditary fourth-rank military commander position.  

In the past, the Shi family had no reputation, and the Old Marquis didn’t pay much attention to this in-law family, so they didn’t have much contact. Later, the Madam Dowager’s younger brother became friends with the then magistrate of Baoding, Yu Zhongyi.  

The Shi family also prospered along with it.  

When Yu Zhongyi was appointed to the cabinet and became the Minister of War and Grand Preceptor of Military Affairs, the Madam Dowager’s nephew entered officialdom through the military examination and served as general in Guangdong, Shandong, and Datong successively, all thanks to his relationship with Yu Zhongyi.  

But she didn’t know why he was transferred to Yulin this time. Yulin was quite far compared to Datong!  

The Madam Dowager, seeing Wang Xi silent, thought Wang Xi was feeling embarrassed. She continued following Chang Ning’s words, “This is a rare opportunity. Ah Zhu2 used to come to our house often when she was young. Ever since she followed her father to Datong, she visited less frequently. Take this chance to get to know each other.”  

She also thought she had something to discuss with Wang Xi.  

She signaled the servant next to her, Shi Mama, with her eyes and said, “It’s getting late. You can all disperse now. Ah Xi, stay back and read a few pages of the Diamond Sutra with me.”  

Everyone smiled in agreement and left the room. Only Chang Ning, with a stiff expression, cast a spiteful glance at Wang Xi before leaving.  

When they were out of earshot, Chang Yan couldn’t help but advise Chang Ning, “Second Sister, there’s really no need to be like this. Wang Xi is just a merchant’s daughter. Even if you win against her, there’s no fun in it.”  

Chang Ning just couldn’t swallow her anger and said, “It’s Grandfather who wronged her mother, not us. Why should we all endure this?”  

Walking behind them, Chang Ke, who had only just realized who Wang Xi really was from Chang Ning’s earlier conversation, looked at Chang Ning’s back and unconsciously glanced back at the place where the Madam Dowager was staying. 

  1. biǎojiě (施表姐) – “表姐” (biǎo jiě) specifically refers to a female cousin from the mother’s side.
    In this case.
  2. the prefix “Ah” (啊 – a) is an informal and affectionate way of addressing someone, especially in informal or regional contexts.