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Wang Xi was young and knowledgeable about many things in theory, but she had little practical experience.  

Faced with the current situation, she felt nervous, and her anxiety was visible on her face.  

Seeing this, Cheng Ke became even more frightened. She tugged on Wang Xi’s sleeve, her voice trembling, “So, what should we do? Should we seek help from our grandmother? No, we can’t let grandmother know. If she finds out, it’s the same as letting Marquis Hou know. Or perhaps, we could go to Eldest Aunt, she always treats younger relatives kindly. With the reputation of the Duke of Yongcheng’s mansion, maybe she can help us minimize this matter, resolve it quietly…” 

Wang Xi was initially quite flustered, but hearing Cheng Ke’s words, an unexpected calmness suddenly washed over her.  

A firm conviction sprouted within her: “I was right. She may be pitiful, but she lacks the courage to be as strong as a mother. At critical moments, she not only won’t stand up for her children but also for her grandchildren. She’s not reliable.” 

“Don’t panic!” Wang Xi comforted Cheng Ke. Her mind was racing, thinking about the advice her grandmother had given her. 

Like master, like servant. When major events occur, the servants’ reactions mirror those of their masters. The calmer the master, the more composed the servants, and together, they can weather any storm.  

Although Wang Xi and Cheng Ke weren’t exactly master and servant, Cheng Ke, in her current state, couldn’t make decisions. So, Wang Xi had to step up and find a solution.  

Otherwise, as Cheng Ke had said, they might indeed end up being shot down by Chen Luo without any means to reason with him. 

Wang Xi took a deep breath, her internal uncertainty notwithstanding. On the outside, she appeared resolute and determined: “Listen to me. I used to stand on the second-floor pavilion at home, using a telescope to survey the surroundings. Its range is limited, which is why I came to Willow Shade Garden. Especially in places concealed by trees, visibility is greatly reduced. We’re hidden behind this willow tree, and he can’t possibly see us. But if we let panic control us and we start moving around frantically, he’ll be able to track our movements clearly. What we need to do now is outlast him. Let’s see if he leaves the Changchun Hall you mentioned first or if we leave here first.” 

Her voice was clear and melodious, but her tone was filled with confidence, making people involuntarily believe her words.  

Cheng Ke’s heartbeat gradually slowed down. She patted her chest, recalling Wang Xi’s words from earlier, fearing that her actions might cause more trouble.  

She became tense, and her voice became as small as a mosquito’s: “Really? As long as we stay still here, he won’t notice us?” 

“Trust me!” Wang Xi played her last card, figuring that if she was scolded by the Dowager and the others, so be it.  

But considering the eight thousand taels of silver she had given, the people from the Marquis of Yongcheng’s mansion would find a way to help her resolve this danger.  

She thought about all this and almost burst into tears.  

As expected, what her father said was right; without money, one couldn’t make a move!  

She had to protect her dowry and not allow anyone the opportunity to touch it. Moreover, she had to find a way to earn money, becoming her lucky charm.  

Even if those people hated her, for her ability to turn stones into gold, they would have to grit their teeth and flatter her. 

Wang Xi decisively said to Cheng Ke, “I won’t make a mistake.” 

Cheng Ke nodded, and her tense body relaxed a bit.  

Wang Xi was utterly disappointed. Not only had she failed to bring a handsome man back home, but she also attracted a jinx. 

She was extremely cautious, making sure not to touch any branches or leaves that might shake, and sat on the ladder. She said to Cheng Ke, “You rest for a while! This won’t be over in a short time. Unfortunately, I didn’t calculate it correctly before. I thought he would practice archery for about an hour and then return home. Who would have expected him to play by his own rules? And I didn’t bring any tea or snacks either. Sitting here is so boring! Fortunately, we are under the shade of the tree. If we were under the sun, even if we weren’t shot by Chen Luo’s arrows, we would be roasted alive.” 

Cheng Ke was once again stunned by Wang Xi’s boldness. “You’re so fearless! Aren’t you afraid that Chen Luo might complain to our Uncle?”  

Wang Xi waved her hand dismissively. “If he complains to Marquis of Yongcheng, that means he wants to discuss the matter with us. Did he catch us red-handed? Is this Eldest Princess’s mansion? Apparently, I can’t move freely in my own yard? They hired craftsmen to renovate the garden in Willow Shade Garden. So he’s certain that someone is spying on him? If he feels disturbed by this, why doesn’t he just move out of here? At the very least, go to the palace and ask the Emperor to relocate the Marquis of Yongcheng’s mansion. Maybe the new place will be even larger, and you won’t have to live next to such a terrible neighbor. Your lives would be much better!” 

Chang Ke was restricted by the small courtyard of Yongcheng Marquis Mansion and had never dared to think so.  

But hearing Wang Xi’s words, she felt a surge of excitement, as if she had vented her frustrations.  

Her eyes shimmered with tears as she grabbed Wang Xi’s hand and said, “Yes, yes, yes! That’s the point. If he dares to complain to my Uncle, even if my Uncle favors him, I’ll question him like this.” 

How deep must her resentment be for this!  

Wang Xi was both amused and exasperated. She feared that, as Cheng Ke had suggested, Chen Luo might act first and explain later, shooting them with an arrow. 

Wang Xi warned the panicking Hongchou, “Come closer, don’t let Chen Luo discover us.”  

Then she asked Hongchou, “Is there really such a martial arts expert in the world, someone with a range of ten miles and who can hear the slightest sound? No one can get something for nothing, and skills like these don’t come overnight. Chen Luo isn’t even twenty yet. Even if he started martial arts training in his mother’s womb, he couldn’t be this skilled. Could he have found us through some other means?” 

While she said this, Wang Xi couldn’t help but lean toward the possibility that Chen Luo possessed exceptional martial arts skills, especially considering the way he had looked at her through the telescope.  

Hongchou couldn’t say for certain, but Qingchou chimed in, “Some people are naturally gifted, even without training. They can intuitively sense danger. If their martial arts follow the right path, one year of practice for them could equal three to five years for others. It’s possible that the Second Young Master of the Chen family is one of them.” 

Wang Xi shot a glance at Cheng Ke. That look seemed to accuse her of speaking nonsense.  

Cheng Ke couldn’t help but defend herself, saying, “His martial arts really aren’t as good as Eldest Young Master Chen’s. That’s what Duke Zhen Guo himself said. It’s not just my bias.” 

“You also acknowledge your bias, don’t you?” Wang Xi said wryly. “We can’t just believe what others say. We have to trust our own eyes. I remember every autumn, the Emperor holds the Autumn Hunt. With his qualifications and status, he must participate. Does that mean he’s inferior to Chen Ying?” 

During the Autumn Hunt, the Marquis of Yongcheng’s mansion also had to participate. Some talented sons of merit could gain recognition from the Emperor during the hunt, opening the door to a promising future.  

So, after every Autumn Hunt, Cheng Ke would hear her family’s elders discussing the results.  

Now, hearing Wang Xi’s words, she felt somewhat embarrassed and said softly, “Before, everyone said it was because Chen Luo is Eldest Princess’s only son; no one dared to compete with him…” 

“Ah,” Wang Xi sighed, feeling even more worried.  

If Chen Luo was determined to shoot them with an arrow, it seemed they were doomed.  

The group continued to sit there and chat, secretly using the telescope to look at the neighboring Eldest Princess’s mansion.  

Initially, they could see the dark figure, but after a few glances, they could only see the wide-open windows. 

Cheng Ke let out a sigh of relief and said, “Shouldn’t we leave here quickly?”  

Wang Xi sensed something was off.  

If Chen Luo could truly sense someone spying on him with his extraordinary senses, he wouldn’t give up so easily.  

Wang Xi suggested, “Let’s wait a little longer.”  

She instructed Qingchou, who was more reliable than Hongchou, “Keep an eye on the opposite side with the telescope. If there’s no movement within half an hour, we can slip away later.” 

Qingchou nodded and followed her instructions.  

Wang Xi and Cheng Ke had nothing else to do, so they continued chatting about mundane matters. 

“Do you think Duke Zhen Guo knows that Chen Luo’s martial arts skills surpass those of Chen Ying?” Wang Xi asked. “I noticed that the eastern side of Eldest Princess’s mansion is occupied by relatively unimportant courtyards. Is Eldest Princess’s relationship with Duke Zhen Guo just average? But Duke Zhen Guo only has two sons and one daughter, and it seems he’s not interested in women. Could it be because of Eldest Princess’s influence that he doesn’t openly have other relationships, but secretly keeps a concubine? What kind of person is Chen Ying’s elder sister, who married into the Marquis of Deqing’s mansion?” 

Cheng Ke’s forehead was sweating as she said, “You’re so sharp! You can deduce that Eldest Princess and Duke Zhen Guo aren’t on good terms just from the layout of Eldest Princess’s mansion. Many people in the capital still say that Eldest Princess and Duke Zhen Guo have a deep affection for each other!” 

Wang Xi chuckled and said, “Who am I? If I can’t understand such trivial matters, how could I thrive in the inner chambers? But, it’s impressive that you figured out Eldest Princess and Duke Zhen Guo’s strained relationship!” 

Cheng Ke smiled and elbowed Wang Xi, saying, “Anyway, since we’re idle, let me tell you.”  

Cheng Ke looked around habitually. The maids were standing not too far away; if she spoke softly, they might not hear clearly.  

She really wanted to share her discovery with someone.  

After thinking for a moment, she leaned closer to Wang Xi’s ear and said, “Sister Wang, it’s Chen Ying’s elder sister. Since childhood, she has despised Chen Luo. In front of the adults, she acts one way, but behind their backs, she’s completely different. Once, Duke Zhen Guo found out, but he didn’t say anything. After that, she didn’t avoid us anymore. I felt that Duke Zhen Guo definitely doesn’t like Eldest Princess.” 

Wang Xi’s eyes widened with surprise.  

Duke Zhen Guo probably also didn’t like the son Eldest Princess bore, Chen Luo. Otherwise, he wouldn’t have allowed people to misunderstand that Chen Ying’s martial arts were superior to Chen Luo’s.  

Could this be the real reason Chen Luo moved out?  

But the Emperor favored Chen Luo, so Duke Zhen Guo probably couldn’t be too overt or excessive.  

The question was, did Eldest Princess know? If she did, it would be quite amusing. 

She got even closer to Chang Ke, and listened as she continued, “But to say that Duke Zhen Guo has concubines, I find it unlikely. Look at the husband of Princess Ling’an, he has a bunch of concubines and maids in his residence. The late Emperor and the current Emperor haven’t said anything about it. Princess Ling’an was remarried, so even for the sake of reputation, it’s unlikely for her to make things difficult for Duke Zhen Guo regarding taking concubines. As for Sister Jue, I think she’s quite nice. Besides her attitude towards Chen Luo, whenever she meets us, she speaks gently and even gives us candies. She doesn’t mind our noise, and lets her maids play with us.”