“Brother, your courtyard seems to be a bit different from before. The threshold was higher before, isn’t it? Also, weren’t there two bamboo trees just outside your window? Where did they go?”
When Xiao Heng heard this, he was calm and composed as usual. “Naturally, it was chopped.”
Xiao Jin didn’t understand: “Chopped? But didn’t you specially arrange someone to plant the bamboo trees there, saying that seeing the bamboo leaves swaying in the air at night makes you feel happy whenever you read late into the night?”
Xiao Heng : “I don’t like it anymore.”
Xiao Jin: “…….”
There was silence for a moment.
But Xiao Jin was used to Xiao Heng being like this. If someone talks for a long time, he would say a word or two in reply to your questions.
However, they shouldn’t expect too much explanation from him as just saying the reason would be the most he would speak.
Gu Sui’er, who was sitting quietly by the side, didn’t say a word. She knew that Xiao Heng had ordered to cut down the tree because of herself, but because Xiao Heng did not mention it, she didn’t dare to say the truth.
At this time, Bao Ya and Jin Fu came in to serve refreshments. It was a specially boiled summer drink for quenching thirst. Jin Fu held the bowls while Bao Ya poured the soup for Xiao Heng first and then went on to fill with Xiao Jin’s bowl. After this, they respectfully placed it in front of the two them.
Without thinking, Xiao Jin picked it up and drank it. Xiao Heng looked at Gu Sui’er, who was sitting next to him with her head hung down, and pushed his bowl towards Gu Sui’er.
Gu Sui’er was slightly startled and looked at Xiao Heng with surprise.
Xiao Heng didn’t say much. He just uttered a word but this word really could not be rejected.
Gu Sui’er didn’t dare to say anything. She just bowed her head and said, “Thank you, third Master.”
Then she held the bowl with her two hands.
Xiao Jin was so shocked witnessing the scene that she stopped drinking.
She had always thought that this third Brother of hers was cold to everyone. As he would occasionally speak some words to her, she had previously felt that he was fond of her, but now… Her third Brother unexpectedly gave his own bowl of soup to Gu Sui’er!
Although everyone in the residence addressed this girl as ‘Young Mistress’, it was just for the sake of courtesy. Even when she called her ‘little Sister-in-law’, it was her being polite. In reality, her identity was exactly that of a Concubine.
Third Brother was unexpectedly good to his Concubine.
Xiao Jin’s eyes widened slightly. She looked up and down at Xiao Heng with an unfathomable feeling. Her attitude was that of a girl who was enjoying herself while watching a bustling scene.
And Bao Ya who was serving them, was thoroughly stunned.
She poured only two bowls of the soup, one for the eldest Miss and the other for the third Young Master, but third Young Master gave his own bowl to Gu Sui’er.
Even a fool understood what this meant.
Bao Ya knelt down on the ground with a thud, and her lips trembled a little while saying: “Third Young Master, this slave made a mistake, this slave is aware that she made a mistake! Third Young Master, this slave is stupid!”
Seeing Bao Ya get so scared, Gu Sui’er was a little surprised.
She always thought that Bao Ya and Jin Fu were considerably respected in TingZhu Courtyard, but she didn’t expect Bao Ya to become was so frightened as if she was going to die when Xiao Heng didn’t even say anything to her.
She held the bowl of soup but did not drink or say anything.
At this time, Jin Fu also knelt down with Bao Ya, and the two maid pleaded for forgiveness in unison.
There was no trace of irritation in Xiao Heng’s face. He just glanced lightly at Bao Ya who was kneeling on the ground.
Bao Ya and Jin Fu burst into tears of gratitude and knocked their heads on the ground a few times before running off. It was evident that they were scared out their wits.
Gu Sui’er didn’t dare to look up, so she continued staring down at the soup in the bowl. There seemed to be some mung beans or something similar added to the soup, but its smell was particularly fragrant.
Nevertheless, in her heart, she was pondering whether Xiao Heng was awfully scary since Bao Ya and Jin Fu appeared especially fearful of him.
For example, would he be as vicious as the officials in the County government?
Xiao Jin was actually a little dumbfounded.
Her third Brother had never cared about this kind of a thing before, but now he even reprimanded the two maids that the Emperor bestowed him for his little Concubine.
She couldn’t believe it.
But Xiao Heng, who surprised by the two women present, calmly picked up the pot and poured himself a full bowl of soup.
“Drink.” He raised his head and glanced at Xiao Jin, then his gaze swept across Gu Sui’er casually.
“A-Alright…” Xiao Jin said, in astonishment.
“Do you have something on your mind?” Xiao Heng asked Xiao Jin while drinking the soup in his calm and composed demeanour.
“Right, I have something I want to say.” Xiao Jin remembered her true purpose: “Third Brother, GuiYuan will open next month. Would you like to go over and take a look?”
Xiao Heng glanced at her lightly.
Xiao Jin hurriedly smiled at Xiao Heng. That smile was full of flattery.
“Won’t go.” Xiao Heng was straightforward in his answer.
“Third Brother, you can’t do this to me! Even if you don’t want to go, think about this poor little sister of yours! Am I still your sister?”
Xiao Jin’s expression at this time was almost like a child who wanted to eat a candy but couldn’t get one.
“You can look for Big Brother and Second Brother.” Xiao Heng flatly refused.
“How is it possible!” Xiao Jin wanted to cry: “Eldest Brother accompanies Father by his side every day, so he is very busy. Second Brother is also busy talking about the past and discussing the present everyday.1busy talking about the past and discussing the present everyday [谈古论今] – It means to chat, comment or discuss everything about the ancient times to things of the present day. I have no idea how it applies to the context.”
“Do I look like I have nothing to do?” Xiao Heng asked rhetorically.
Xiao Jin suddenly had nothing to say.
Yes, Xiao Heng was also very busy, busy working on behalf of the Emperor.
“But, third Brother…I can’t go to the GuiYuan alone…”
GuiYuan, a well-known and hundred year-old garden in YanJing City, had been planted with sweet-scented osmanthus plants. During the eighth month of every year, when the flowers bloomed, many high officials and nobles from rich and influential families, including their womenfolk, would come here to admire the beauty and enjoy the fragrance of those osmanthus flowers.
Xiao Jin also wanted to go, but she was an unmarried girl. She could go openly to the girls’ school alone, but she could not go to the GuiYuan without any company.
Someone had to take her with them.
“Third brother, I have already agreed with my schoolmates to meet there. It wouldn’t be good if everyone except me goes, right?”
Xiao Heng remained unmoved.
“Third Brother, you should help me!”
Xiao Heng drank the soup calmly, without saying a word.
“Third Brother…” Xiao Jin suddenly remembered Gu Sui’er next to her, and said smoothly: “You see, little Sister-in-law is shut indoors all day long, so she must have been very bored ah. She probably hasn’t visited the GuiYuan yet, right?”
Then, Xiao Jin turned to ask her: “Have you been to GuiYuan?”
Gu Sui’er was taken aback.
She was holding the bowl of soup and drinking the soup carefully while watching Xiao Jin beg Xiao Heng to get her way.
She always felt that Xiao Jin was the omnipotent and arrogant girl who was looked after by heaven itself, but she did not expect her to act like a spoiled little girl in front of Xiao Heng just to go to the ‘GuiYuan’.
This made her wonder. What is this ‘GuiYuan’?
What was even more unexpected was that Xiao Jin suddenly asked her about it.
She didn’t even know what or where the GuiYuan was, so how could she have even been to GuiYuan?
Therefore, she shook her head gently.
“Then, do you want to visit the GuiYuan?” Xiao Jin asked with a smile.
“…I don’t know what GuiYuan is, so I didn’t even think about whether to go there or not.” Gu Sui’er’s answer was honest and sincere.
“You…” Xiao Jin was speechless.
“It is precisely because you haven’t been there that you have to think about seeing the world ah. You are already in the sixth month of your pregnancy but you are always stuck at home. Don’t you feel a little stuffy? Didn’t the Imperial Doctor say that you have to move around more so that you can give birth to your child more easily in the future?”
Xiao Jin had quite the skill to persuade others. Her words were straightforward but clear and logical at the same time.
“Enough.” Xiao Heng’s tone turned cold: “You, a girl who hasn’t even married yet, how did you know all these things?”
Xiao Jin lowered her head and snorted: “Hmph. I won’t say it!”
Xiao Heng got up. Moving his hand behind back, he shot a quick glance at Gu Sui’er.
Her head was still lowered her as she sat there gently.
She looked the same as before when she was working at the inn, except that her hair which was braided up and used to hang on her shoulders was twisted up to form a hair bun.
When a girl becomes a woman, she would tie her hair in a bun.
It was only natural that she didn’t know what GuiYuan was. It was the place where the high-ranking officials and the dignitaries of YanJing City would visit to while the time away.
“Next month, if I have time, I will accompany you there.”
He heard himself say that.
“Really? Third brother, I knew you treated me the best!” Xiao Jin had practically jumped up.
Gu Sui’er gently put down the soup bowl she was holding. She didn’t know what was so great about the GuiYuan that could make Xiao Jin so happy about it.
However, she envied Xiao Jin. She could cry and laugh whenever she wanted, and if she wanted to criticise Xiao Xu, she could easily scold her to her heart’s content.
That must feel nice.
“You should go there too.”
A voice sounded in her ear. It was cold and indifferent.
Her eyelashes trembled as Gu Sui’er raised her eyes to look at Xiao Heng, who was standing in front of her.
That pair of eyes, as black as a dot of ink and as deep as a lake, was fixedly staring back at herself at this moment.
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- 1busy talking about the past and discussing the present everyday [谈古论今] – It means to chat, comment or discuss everything about the ancient times to things of the present day. I have no idea how it applies to the context.