Home Post 1896-chapter-16


Wang Xi didn’t ask the people in the Marquis of Yongcheng’s mansion why they didn’t dare to keep a cat. In a large estate, all sorts of people were present.  

As long as the people in the Marquis of Yongcheng’s mansion didn’t have any ill intentions towards her cat, she was fine with it.  

She conceded the chess game and wanted to play another round with Cheng Ke.  

Cheng Ke looked at Xiangye, who was acting spoiled in front of Wang Xi, feeling an itch in her fingertips. She hesitated and said, “How about we take a break and play with Xiangye for a while? You can also rest. Just like chess and calligraphy, the longer you practice, the better you become. It’s about balancing work and rest.” 

Wang Xi’s expression turned wooden. Cheng Ke seemed to be implying that she lacked talent in chess! 

Wang Xi reached for an apple from the nearby fruit plate and took a sharp bite, finally feeling relieved.  

Cheng Ke pursed her lips, smiled at Wang Xi, and squatted down to play with Xiangye again. She asked Wang Xi, “Why is it called Xiangye?” 

Watching Xiangye trying so hard to please Chang Ke for a small fish, like it hadn’t had dried fish for eight hundred years. Wang Xi felt her eyes sting. She grabbed Xiangye by the neck, placed it on a stone stool, and said, “Because its mother’s name is Bajiao.” 

Cheng Ke was taken aback and then realized, “So, are its siblings also named after spices? Is Bajiao also a cat you own? Why didn’t you bring it with you to the capital?” 

While Wang Xi scratched Xiangye’s chin, she said, “Bajiao is my grandmother’s cat. Most of Xiangye’s siblings were taken by my aunts. Only Xiangye stayed with us. My mother named it…” 

As she was speaking, Hongchou, her face flushed with excitement, ran in, shouting, “Miss, that, that person who dances with swords has appeared again. In the bamboo forest.” 

“Really?!” Wang Xi stood up in surprise and instructed Hongchou, “Let’s go see quickly.”  

Then, she noticed Cheng Ke still standing there and hesitated, “Do you want to come with me?”  

She suddenly remembered that Cheng Ke knew the Chen brothers from the neighboring Duke of Zhenguo’s mansion.  

Her question quickly turned into an assertion, “You help me check if you know that person.” 

While Hongchou and Wang Xi were talking, Cheng Ke, full of anticipation, had already stood up. She was wondering how she could catch a glimpse if Wang Xi didn’t invite her. Now that she heard Wang Xi’s invitation, she had no reason to decline.  

She hurriedly agreed, “Sure! I’ll go with you to take a look.” 

To see if that person was indeed as handsome as Wang Xi described.  

The two of them went together to Willow Shade Garden. Willow Shade Garden was a busy construction site. Not only was the gate closed, but there were also warning curtains set up nearby, afraid that some ladies from the inner mansion might accidentally enter.  

As they approached, they could hear the bustling sounds of men behind the curtains. 

Cheng Ke was very scared.  

Ever since Wang Xi’s mother was lost, the Cheng family had strictly controlled the interactions of their female relatives, never allowing them to come into contact with strangers casually.  

Wang Xi had someone fetch Wang Xixi.  

Wang Xi arranged for them to go to the northeast corner of Willow Shade Garden.  

On the way, Wang Xi asked Wang Xixi how the mansion was being constructed.  

Wang Xixi smiled and said, “The managers we hired are all experts in this field, and the craftsmen we hired are quite reputable. The mansion is being constructed very quickly, but the labor costs are not low. It seems the previous budget might have been a bit insufficient.” 

In other words, these craftsmen were efficient, but they also charged a hefty sum. Wang Xi laughed, “There’s no such thing as buying the wrong thing, only selling it wrong. As long as the work is done well, going a bit over budget is fine. Everyone is working for money. If we have more projects in the future, these people will definitely come immediately when they hear about it, maybe even forming a good connection!”  

Money could solve anything! 

Wang Xixi knew that Wang Xi still had two salt wells under her name, so she wasn’t short on funds. She nodded and agreed, arranging for some servants to guard the intersection from a distance.  

Cheng Ke was amazed. 

Wang Xi is really rich!  

Seven or eight thousand taels of silver, when she said she would bring it out, she did it without a second thought, and going over the budget was also not a big deal. No wonder her grandmother and elder aunt treated her so kindly.  

If only Cheng Ke could live a life like Wang Xi’s someday.  

Cheng Ke shook her head in her heart and climbed up the ladder with Wang Xi. 

Although they were neighbors, with one courtyard right next to the other, both courtyards were filled with trees. Looking over, they could only see a figure in black warrior attire.  

Wang Xi raised the telescope and observed carefully for a while.  

Unlike the person in white silk attire who danced with a sword that day, the person today wore black warrior attire embroidered with lion motifs in bright red, green, blue, and yellow threads. His fair hands, as if carved from jade, held a glossy black bow. The cyan bowstring was pressed against his lips, which were red and angular, exuding a kind of flexible yet resolute beauty. Especially when he stood sideways, his posture was as straight as bamboo, his gaze serious and sharp.  

He seemed like an arrow about to be released, possessing a fearless and unwavering strength.  

Wang Xi screamed in her heart.  

Beautiful people were beautiful no matter their appearance! It truly justified her admiration for him. 

Wang Xi sighed again in her heart before handing the telescope to Cheng Ke. “You look at this; it’s clearer with this.” 

Although Cheng Ke came from a wealthy family, she had never seen a telescope before.  

As she took it, she played with it while asking, “What is this? How do you use it?” Before Wang Xi could explain in detail, she had already found the correct way to use it.  

“My goodness!”  

The distant scenery appeared as clear as if it were right in front of her eyes, shocking her greatly. She almost fell off the ladder.  

Fortunately, both Hongchou and Qingchou were by her side. They promptly held her when she swayed, so she only had a momentary scare and quickly steadied herself. 

Wang Xi asked her, “Is he someone you know?” 

Cheng Ke didn’t speak for a while. After a long time, she put down the telescope and asked Wang Xi with a strange expression, “Do you really think he’s very handsome? Is he the most handsome man you’ve ever seen in your life?” 

“Of course!” Wang Xi felt that Cheng Ke’s question was challenging her aesthetic judgment. She argued, “I’ve seen many handsome men. Like the most famous singer in Shu, Fan Xiaolou, Shen Buqing from the Fuyong Academy, and the seventh young master Guan Yu from the Jincheng official family. None of them are like him. He exudes a noble and fearless aura along with a sense of pride and confidence. Few men possess his kind of temperament. He is handsome and confident, soaring with pride.” 

Cheng Ke handed the telescope back to Wang Xi, sighing, “You’re done for! You are just like my third sister. You all think Chen Luo is supposed to be the most handsome man in the capital!” 

“What are you saying? That person is Chen Luo!”  

“Yes!” Cheng Ke looked at her sympathetically and said, “I don’t know why all of you like Chen Luo. I think Chen Ying is much better than him. At least when Chen Ying sees us, he greets us very gently. The way Chen Luo looks at us, it’s as if we’re useless. Just a glance and it feels like he’s looking up from us.” 

She’s deeply troubled. Cheng Ke continued, “Why do you all like to be bullied? Is it not good to be respected? Is it not good to be treated kindly and gently? Is it not good to be treated with warmth and care? Why do you want to be someone else’s stepping stone?” 

“Wait a minute!” Wang Xi interrupted Cheng Ke’s complaint and said, “When you say ‘you all,’ besides you and your third cousin, Chang Yan, who else?” 

“Shi Zhu and Chang Ning!” Cheng Ke could almost pull her hair out.  

“When Shi Zhu used to visit our house during our childhood, she loved to follow the third cousin around because she could see Chen Luo. Because of this, my second aunt even joked that when Shi Zhu grew up, she could marry our third cousin. Unfortunately, the Shi family didn’t think highly of our third cousin. Otherwise, Shi Zhu might have become our third cousin’s sister-in-law. You don’t know how vile Chen Luo is. He hated Shi Zhu following him, so he made Shi Zhu carry his quiver. Shi Zhu foolishly carried his quiver and obediently waited for him in the martial arts field in our backyard. It was snowing heavily, and Shi Zhu waited for almost two hours. Her hands and feet were almost frozen, but he had already run back home comfortably lying on the warm kang, eating frozen pears. 

“If it wasn’t for Shi Zhu’s wet nurse realizing something was wrong and kneeling down to beg him, he would have let Shi Zhu continue waiting there. Because of this incident, Shi Zhu fell seriously ill, which alarmed the elders in her family. It was only when Shi Zhu’s uncle went to Datong that he took her along. 

“Now she’s coming back, and just thinking about it makes me a bit scared. I didn’t expect you to find him handsome too.” Cheng Ke shook Wang Xi’s shoulder as if shaking her would wake her up.  

“Can’t you open your eyes wide and look carefully? Don’t just be captivated by his appearance. The Buddha said, ‘Beneath the makeup and behind the smile, I am just a girl who wishes for the world.’ Can’t you see what he’s really like inside through his appearance?” 

Wang Xi laughed heartily, saying, “So you admit he’s the best-looking! Otherwise, you wouldn’t say that!” 

Cheng Ke stared at Wang Xi as if she were looking at a fool.  

Wang Xi could only continue to persuade her. “It’s not just me who finds Chen Luo handsome, right? But only Shi Zhu was the foolish one waiting for him with a quiver. This shows that she’s the silly one. You don’t need to overturn our whole boat just because of her.” 

Cheng Ke’s gaze flickered slightly.  

Wang Xi sighed, “I didn’t expect Shi Zhu’s involvement in this! It’s really unexpected!” 

Cheng Ke retorted, “I also didn’t expect you to follow in Shi Zhu’s footsteps. It’s really unexpected!” 

Wang Xi stared at Cheng Ke. How come she hadn’t noticed before that Cheng Ke was so eloquent?  

She confirmed with Chang Ke, “Are you really sure you didn’t mistake the person? Is the person in the bamboo grove Chen Luo?” 

Cheng Ke snorted, “Even if he turned into ashes, I would recognize him—He treated me like a little maid, saying it was already the Dragon Boat Festival, but I was still wearing a padded jacket. I will never forget the way he looked at me when he said that.” 

In the capital, according to the customs of the imperial palace, regardless of the weather, during the Dragon Boat Festival, one had to change from padded jackets to summer clothes.  

Before coming here, the Wang family hired a retired palace maid from the imperial palace, who repeatedly reminded Wang Xi not to forget this. Otherwise, the nobles in the capital would think she had no upbringing and would treat her like a country bumpkin or a nouveau riche.  

Wang Xi couldn’t help but sigh, and her disappointment was evident in her expression.