Home Post 1899-chapter-19


While Wang Xi and Cheng Ke were chatting, Qingchou, filled with excitement, whispered “Young Miss” twice.  

Wang Xi finally snapped back to reality, allocating some attention to Qingchou. 

“That young man, Second Young Master Chen, just as you suspected, made a quick escape,” Qingchou said. “He’s holding a telescope, standing at Changchun Pavilion and peering in our direction. Do you want to take a look?” 

Wang Xi felt utterly exhausted. She didn’t want to see him. This man was as cunning as a rabbit. 

“No need!” Wang Xi said weakly. “Let’s continue squatting here. You keep an eye on him from above. I guess he still has other tricks up his sleeve.” 

Qingchou nodded repeatedly. Cheng Ke teased Wang Xi, “Do you still think Chen Luo is the most handsome man in the world?” 

After careful consideration, Wang Xi earnestly replied, “I still think he’s the most handsome man I’ve ever seen. Although his behavior is vile…” 

Wait, all the so-called vile acts of Chen Luo were described by Cheng Ke. She hadn’t personally witnessed them or heard them firsthand.  

Of course, she believed Cheng Ke wouldn’t lie to her, but everyone’s understanding of events could vary. What Cheng Ke said might not necessarily be correct. 

However, a wise person doesn’t stand under a leaning wall. For her own safety, regardless of whether Cheng Ke’s words made sense or not, she should prepare for the worst.  

Let’s assume Chen Luo was truly as vile as Cheng Ke described. 

Wang Xi came to a realization, feeling more relaxed. She also felt like continuing the idle talk with Cheng Ke, “I’m different from you. You used to regard him like a brother, so when he treated you badly, you were naturally disappointed. I just like his appearance. As long as he looks good, that’s enough. Whether he has a compassionate heart or a malicious one doesn’t matter to me.” 

“You’re just putting on a brave front in front of me!” Cheng Ke didn’t believe her words at all and argued, “If you ever suffer because of Chen Luo, don’t blame me for not warning you.” 

As they chatted, there was movement from Qingchou’s side.  

Chen Luo had been using the telescope to observe for a while and then disappeared behind the window curtains of Changchun Pavilion. However, after a moment, he reappeared.  

This back-and-forth continued several times.  

As the sun began to set, approaching dinner time, Wang Xi couldn’t help but discuss with Cheng Ke whether they could find a way to have Mr. Chang visit Chen Luo, luring the tiger out of the mountains and giving them a chance to leave Willow Shade Garden.  

Fortunately, this time, Chen Luo finally didn’t return. 

Wang Xi and Cheng Ke hurriedly ran back to Clear Snow Courtyard as if escaping a tiger’s den.  

Cheng Ke, feeling scared, said to Wang Xi, “You shouldn’t sneak a peek at him practicing swordsmanship in the future. It’s so boring. I’ll accompany you to play games like Hundred Threads or pitch-pot.” 

Cheng Ke had noticed that Wang Xi wasn’t skilled in refined activities.  

Wang Xi didn’t want to take risks anymore and readily agreed. She also thought that around this time, Dowager Marchioness usually sent someone to invite her for dinner. She simply changed her clothes and went to Jade Spring Hall with Cheng Ke. 

Dowager Marchioness was quite surprised to see Wang Xi and Cheng Ke together.  

Wang Xi thought that if Cheng Ke could accompany her, it would save her from being confined to Dowager Marchioness’s side and having to hear constant criticism from Cheng Ning, who came to pay respects regularly. So, she smiled and said, “I didn’t expect Cousin Ke to be so good at needlework. I asked Cousin Ke to teach me embroidery.” 

Cheng Ke didn’t have much personal silver, so the gifts she usually gave to her family were items she embroidered herself.  

As for Wang Xi, although she came from a merchant family, during the time she had stayed in the marquis’s residence, they had noticed her extravagant spending habits.  

Everything she wanted to buy was obtained with just a simple “buy” command. They had no idea about her skills in needlework.  

Additionally, the Marquis of Yongcheng’s residence had recently received the 8,000 taels of silver from Wang Xi. They intended to use it to make Wang Xi happy.  

So, without much thought, Dowager Marchioness immediately said, “If you like it, let A’Ke come to accompany you.” 

She glanced at Cheng Ke as she spoke. 

Wang Xi also looked at Cheng Ke.  

Dowager Marchioness’s gaze was stern, but Wang Xi playfully blinked her eyes at Cheng Ke. 

Cheng Ke immediately understood that Wang Xi was helping her out of this predicament. 

She felt a warm feeling surge in her heart and smiled at Wang Xi.  

After crossing the hurdle with Dowager Marchioness, Cheng Ke frequently visited Clear Snow Courtyard to play with Wang Xi.  

Wang Xi, without making any fuss, spoke a few words in front of Dowager Marchioness, and as she had hoped, Dowager Marchioness decided to divide Spring Shade Garden into two parts.  

She assigned the southern courtyard to Miss Pan and the northern courtyard to Cheng Ke. Dowager Marchioness even uncommonly said to Cheng Ke, “You are family, Miss Pan is a guest from afar. I’ll inconvenience you.” 

After so many years, her family felt she was being wronged for the first time.  

She smiled, pretending not to feel wronged, but turned around and couldn’t help confiding in Wang Xi, “You were right; a crying child gets candy. I used to endure silently all the time, and nobody ever thought highly of me. I never expected that, in the end, I would benefit from your luck.” 

Wang Xi felt there were things she shouldn’t interfere in; everyone must walk their own path. She smiled, “As long as it has a good ending.” 

Then she asked Cheng Ke, “When will Miss Pan arrive? Should you move together once she’s here, or will you move first? How is the courtyard over there arranged? Do you need me to send someone to help you?” 

Cheng Ke and Wang Xi spent their days together, indulging in pastries from Su, Beijing, and Guangzhou.  

Cheng Ke discovered she had at least six or seven chefs; she even complained about the maids in the Marquis of Yongcheng’s residence not being attentive enough.  

Cheng Ke bought more than ten maids and servants. If it took two hours for the Marquis of Yongcheng’s residence to clean the windows, it would take, at most, fifteen minutes for Cheng Ke’s residence. Wang Xi said, “Do you like being surrounded by dust every morning? The moment you put on your clothes, you’re already covered in dust.”  

Although she knew Wang Xi was not lacking in servants, she still said, “I don’t know when Miss Pan will arrive, but my mother has already discussed it with my eldest aunt. Once we’ve chosen an auspicious day, I’ll be able to move in two days. As for cleaning, I’ll talk to my mother first. If she doesn’t handle it, I won’t be able to manage it, and I’ll ask for your help.” 

Wang Xi nodded, feeling even more that Cheng Ke was someone she could trust. 

Cheng Ke eagerly said, “When I move to Spring Shade Garden, we’ll be even closer.” 

Spring Shade Garden and Clear Snow Courtyard were separated by a corridor, with Willow Shade Garden in between. Willow Shade Garden was a bit farther away.  

Besides the corridor, it was also separated by a grove of flowering trees.  

It would take about the time it takes to brew a pot of tea to walk from Clear Snow Courtyard to Willow Shade Garden. But it would be much more convenient to walk from Spring Shade Garden to Willow Shade Garden. 

When Wang Xi was young, she often received gifts from her grandparents, even her great-uncles and great-aunts, most of the time more than her peers.  

Each time she received these things, the elders would whisper to her to “not tell others,” leading her to develop a habit of counting her money in private.  

Consequently, she particularly disliked others knowing what was happening in her courtyard.  

To others, Willow Shade Garden might be a bit remote, but for her, it was just right. 

However, it seemed that there was a dispute before Cheng Ke moved. She didn’t say specifically what happened, and Wang Xi didn’t ask. In the end, Cheng Ke moved to the northern courtyard of Spring Shade Garden as planned and didn’t ask Wang Xi for help. 

Still, Wang Xi prepared a painting and calligraphy piece as well as a tea set as a housewarming gift.  

Cheng Ke invited her over for afternoon tea, saying she made some snacks herself. 

Wang Xi eagerly went. She found that the small courtyard, which had previously been uninhabited for years, was now neatly arranged by Cheng Ke.  

She had planted many new flowers and trees and set up a flower rack beside the flowering trees. There were stone tables and stools, completely changing the previously desolate atmosphere into one brimming with vitality and charm. 

“I wish I knew you liked this style; I wouldn’t have given you the painting in the main hall. I should have given you an Xuande stove,” Wang Xi admired sincerely, squatting down to look at the wildflowers growing between the stone tiles. “How did you think of arranging it like this? It’s truly rare.” 

Didn’t she lack money?  

Cheng Ke thought in her heart but didn’t say it out loud to Wang Xi, to prevent her from sending more gifts.  

She invited Wang Xi to sit under the flower rack and said, “I made some pea cakes and donkey rolls. Try them and see if they suit your taste.” 

Wang Xi tasted them. The pea cakes were ground very finely, and the glutinous rice in the donkey rolls was exceptionally soft and chewy. Most importantly, neither was overly sweet, but they left a pleasant aftertaste. 

“Delicious!” Wang Xi’s eyes lit up. “These are the best Beijing-style pastries I’ve ever had.” 

Cheng Ke chuckled and said, “I adjusted the recipe according to your taste. I’m glad you liked it. I’ll make more for you in a couple of days.” 

Wang Xi asked her, “Is embroidery easier or making these pastries easier?” 

Cheng Ke understood what she meant and smiled, saying, “Embroidery is less likely to go wrong. Pastries are food, and if they’re not exceptionally good, it’s better to gift embroidered items.” 

Wang Xi didn’t think much of it.  

She was still thinking about going to check on Deer Cry Pavilion next door, wanting to know if Chen Luo was truly as difficult to deal with as Cheng Ke said.  

However, she couldn’t let Cheng Ke know about this. Cheng Ke would definitely think she was being foolish. 

She instructed Hongchou to continue keeping an eye on Chen Luo’s activities. But since that day, Chen Luo seemed to have vanished. He didn’t go to the bamboo grove early in the morning to practice swordsmanship, nor did he practice archery in the afternoons. 

Had he noticed them, so he moved to a different location? Wang Xi wondered.  

One afternoon, Hongchou came in, her face pale, and said, “Miss, Chen Luo must have noticed us spying on him. Today, when I went over, I found a knife stuck in the bamboo grove where he usually practices his swordsmanship!” 

“What?” Wang Xi was shocked, taking a while to regain her composure. She had heard her father say that in the northwest, if someone was found provoking others on their territory, they would stick a large knife at the border as a warning. If the provocateur dared to pull out the knife, it would be considered accepting the challenge, and the two sides would settle their differences through combat. 

They hadn’t seen each other for a few days. Was Chen Luo trying to find out about her background? Wang Xi felt a sense of unease, like someone had seen through her. 

“Let’s go!” she said, her face stern. “We need to go see!” 

“Miss!” both Qing Chou and Hong Chou tried to stop her. “How about bringing in the shopkeeper? The shopkeeper has been in the capital for many years and is very familiar with the city. Perhaps he knows someone who can mediate.” 

Perhaps they could find a mediator through an acquaintance. 

Wang Xi frowned but was determined to check the situation herself. She said, “Let’s see the situation first.”