After the meal, Qing Yue and the other maids came to tidy up the place and collect the leftovers. Gu Sui’er had thought Xiao Heng would leave after he had eaten, but he did not.
As soon as he walked to the window with his hand behind him, he noticed a white jade vase on the window sill, which contained some branches of bamboo leaves. The bottle was delicate, and the bamboo leaves were of a charming green color. Although it was not a famous flower or anything of that sort, it was very pleasing to the eyes.
Gu Sui’er had put it into the vase on a whim when she had nothing to do. Now seeing Xiao Heng staring at it so attentively, she felt a little embarrassed. She hurriedly walked forward and said with a smile: “I didn’t even bother to find any flowers and randomly put in these few branches of bamboo leaves ah. I must have tarnished its beauty. It doesn’t look good.”
Xiao Heng glanced at her and said, “No, it looks very good.”
When Gu Sui’er heard his words, a sweet feeling spread in her heart. She couldn’t help but glance at the bottle a few more times.
Xiao Heng turned his head and scanned through the room.
This room was used to pile up some books randomly and since he was not in the residence when Gu Sui’er entered the residence, the Madam was the one who had assigned people to tidy up this room.
He looked at that table and the low stool for a while. Although they were not good enough, they could be used.
When he saw the completely vacant eastern side of the room, he said: “This is your own chamber. Hence, you can do and put anything you want here.”
What else could Gu Sui’er say? She could only nod her head obediently.
Xiao Heng looked at the table by the window again. The papers on which Gu Sui’er had practiced her writing were placed on it. The books she had read were also kept on the same table.
He picked up the pages and turned them over one by one conscientiously.
Gu Sui’er nervously watched him as he flipped through the pages. After he finally completed flipping through it, he said: “Your penmanship has already become pretty good. It is gentle and thoughtful, but it lacks force. I will teach you how to practice your wrist strength after you give birth.”
When Gu Sui’er heard this, she hurriedly asked, “Third Master, how will I practice my wrist strength ah?”
Xiao Heng said: “By lifting rocks and pots.”
Lifting rocks and pots…
Gu Sui’er’s legs softened and she almost collapsed there immediately.
“Third Master, I’m afraid that this is not possible ah…”
Xiao Heng looked at Gu Sui’er’s slender shoulders, and probably felt that she did not have the ability to lift rocks and pots, so he stopped.
But he recalled something again: “I will look for two more books for you these days.”
Gu Sui’er’s legs, which had just begun to gain strength after she declined Xiao Heng’s shocking proposal, weakened again when she heard him suggesting other poems: “Third Master, you don’t need to do that… Cousin said that she would give me two collections of poems, so I will just learn them.”
Xiao Heng: “Send you two collections of poems? Which ones?”
Gu Sui’er hesitatingly stated: “She said those were called «The Collection of Songs Among the Flowers» and «The Supplementary Collection».”
Xiao Heng looked at her silently.
Gu Sui’er bowed her head even lower in shame: “I think I will still learn the poems the Third Master gave me.”
Xiao Heng: “Then, which ones do you like?”
Gu Sui’er did not speak.
Actually, she didn’t dare to say the truth because she was afraid that he would get angry.
Seeing her being like this, Xiao Heng immediately understood. He stared at her, raised his eyebrows, and asked in a low voice, “You don’t like the ones I gave you, do you?”
Gu Sui’er nodded cautiously and then shook her head again: “It’s not that I don’t like them. It’s just that there are knives, swords, beating and killing in it ah. Furthermore, there are descriptions of blood splattering everywhere. I am pregnant after all, so I think learning those poems are not very good at this time……”
Although Xiao Heng’s expression was not too good, he still nodded.
“If you don’t like anything in the future, tell me.”
Gu Sui’er nodded quickly. She pursed her lips and replied softly: “En. I understand, Third Master.”
She didn’t know what Xiao Heng told the Madam but that very day at around noon, Wang KaiShun’s wife came over and specially notified Gu Sui’er to avoid going outside for a bit, since a mason had come to build the kitchen stove.
After the new stove was set up, it was ready to use after it had dried.
Now that Gu Sui’er had a stove, it was much more convenient for her to eat all kinds of food. Sometimes, when she felt hungry at night, Nanny An would personally fry an egg or cook some soup for her.
Apart from the fact that the issue with the kitchen stove went smoothly, there was also the incident regarding Princess ZhaoYang. However, that matter was never mentioned again, as if such an incident had never occurred.
The news that the Third Master, on whom the current Emperor relied on and valued heavily, attached serious importance to his only concubine, spread among the servants. It was also said that he loved and pampered her very much. That was why, even though she had offended His Majesty’s only daughter, Princess ZhaoYang, she was not punished. It was really incredible.
As a result, the servants in the residence all naturally began to respect Gu Sui’er and dare not to be negligent around her.
When Nanny An came to know this, she felt proud, liking this very much. One must know that this Nanny An was also respected by the servants in the residence as she was one of the top nannies among the many nannies in Marquis RuiDing’s Mansion. Now, because of serving Gu Sui’er, her prestige had also gradually increased.
Nonetheless, she became more respectful and cautious with Gu Sui’er, treating the latter as the apple of her eyes, always fearing that she might get into an accident.
In any case, when people are buttered up, they tend to get overly complacent. This was also the case with Nanny An. It slowly became evident when she talked with others.
Gu Sui’er didn’t know it at first. One day, when Wang KaiShun’s wife came to deliver some seasonal dishes, Gu Sui’er happened to hear her talking with Nanny An, and suddenly felt something amiss.
Wang KaiShun’s wife was polite to Nanny An, and whenever she mentioned her, she became even more respectful, as if she, Gu Sui’er was an extremely important and powerful person.
But she was not ah! She was neither an important nor a powerful person.
If it wasn’t for the little tadpole in her belly, she would be nothing in this residence ah!
She thought about this matter carefully, why she felt something was fishy about this situation, why she was so nervous, but she was at a loss. Unable to bear it any longer, she finally decided to confide her thoughts in Nanny An.
“Nanny An, there is something I want to ask you. I am neither as calm nor as sensible as you. I also don’t know the rules of this residence very well. If I say something wrong, don’t get angry.”
Nanny An said with a smile, “Young Mistress, you can instruct me to do anything you want. And if it is possible, I will definitely do it for you. Even if I can’t do it, isn’t there still the Madam? Wang KaiShun’s wife is also willing!”
However, the more Nanny An said this, the more uncomfortable she felt.
She felt that she didn’t have the right to put on airs; that it was not worth it for people to value her so much.
When the servants knew a kitchen was built in the Courtyard, some were envious, and some grumbled that Xiao Heng was too considerate to her.
But in fact, everyone knew that she was just a Concubine.
“Nanny, you know what kind of person I am. I was originally an ordinary village girl who didn’t know how to read or write. I was and still am ignorant about the world. After coming to this residence, my identity changed to that of a mere Concubine of low status. I conceived the flesh and blood of the Third Young Master by a fluke, so everyone gives me a bit of a face, that’s all.”
This was exactly what people meant by ‘the mother’s status rises with the son’. If she didn’t conceive her little tadpole, she would have been considered nothing now.
As for Nanny An, if it wasn’t for herself, she wouldn’t be enjoying the treatment she gets now.
It was only after Gu Sui’er opened her mouth did Nanny An understand what she meant. She lowered her head in deep thought and suddenly felt a chill run down her spine.
In fact, Nanny An had been serving in Marquis RuiDing’s Mansion for many years, so she had extensive knowledge and experience regarding worldly affairs. She had a sharp mind but she had recently become somewhat careless from everyone’s flattery and the smooth progression of things. Now that she thought about it, she suddenly felt that she had really been behaving a bit too ostensibly nowadays.
She looked at Gu Sui’er and noticed the cautious look in her limpid eyes. Her eyes were filled with nothing but concern about herself. So, she hurriedly said: “It’s this old servant’s fault for being too proud and overlooking her actions. Please blame me!”
Seeing her say this, Gu Sui’er shook her head quickly: “Nanny, you can’t say that. You also know that I don’t understand anything. Ever since I came to this mansion, I have been relying on you and your pointers for anything and everything. It’s not like I’m upset about it.”
Nanny An realized that she seemed to have made a big mistake.
It is important to know that no matter how clever a person is, they are able to cope with disappointment to some extent. However, once a person becomes too prideful, they forget their duties and unconsciously start to act arrogantly. These changes are often not realized by the person in question, but they become especially conspicuous in the eyes of others, thereby making them a joke.
When Nanny An realized it, she became much more fond of Gu Sui’er.
“The old servant has been in this residence for many years, so she felt that she had become very discerning with age. I thought that I was capable of thoroughly observing human emotions, but I finally made a mistake. Although Young Mistress does not understand the ways of the people in this residence, she is, fortunately, still simple-minded and pure.”
A simple-minded person with great understanding may appear stupid but they can see the most crucial point beyond the facade, something which clever people often easily overlook due to their overconfidence.
Gu Sui’er did not know any of this. She had always felt that she was far inferior to the two Young Madams, Xiao Jin and Xiao Xu.
Now that she was treated so well, she had subconsciously become uneasy.
But hearing Nanny An’s words now, her tense nerves finally relaxed.
Since then, Nanny An had a whole new level of respect for the lady she was serving. Although she had been serving her diligently before too, it was mainly because she thought that she was a pitiful and foolish little girl from the country who needed to be reminded of everything. That pity was also mixed with her selfish intentions of gaining some profits from Gu Sui’er.
But now, this pity had slowly turned into admiration and deep bonding.
After all, a person’s life was very long and she had a long way to go. She wanted to accompany Gu Sui’er till her death. She didn’t want to go anywhere else ah!
After that, Nanny An became very careful while managing the maids, and kept a low profile while using the newly built kitchen stove. She didn’t dare to mention anything about it to the others. Even when facing Wang KaiShun’s wife, she became more respectful, not daring to treat her rudely.
Seeing her actions, Gu Sui’er finally felt more at ease.
She was careful not to seek attention about anything since she just wanted to live a smooth and steady life.
In the blink of an eye, it was the fourteenth day of the eighth month.
The whole Marquis Mansion was decorated with lanterns and colored banners, in order to prepare for the Mid-Autumn Festival, which happened on the fifteenth night of the eighth month every year. During this festival, all the people in the mansion would come together for the moon-viewing.
When she heard that there would be games like guessing the riddles written on the lanterns, ascent into heaven1games for the mid autumn festival: here while admiring the moon, Gu Sui’er didn’t know what to do. She could only clasp the Buddha’s feet when the danger arose, so she requested Lu QingYi to teach herself about all those things.
Lu QingYi had been living in Marquis Mansion for so time now, so she and Gu Sui’er visited each other quite often. Their nature was similar so the two of them gradually formed a close bond, much better than what they shared with the others.
“You are actually very smart. You were ignorant just because you had not received any education in the past. However, now that you get to know it, you are able to learn it all right away.”
Lu QingYi said with a smile.
She really felt that Gu Sui’er was a smart person. Even if she did not know some of the poems or the characters of the poems she read to her, Gu Sui’er would still try to write them down.
“It must also be tough for you, You had to learn how to read and write from a cold and cheerless person like Third Cousin Brother.”
In her opinion, that Third Cousin Brother of hers didn’t seem to be able to teach people. How else could he have taught poems about fighting and killing to a gentle and timid girl like this Little Sister-in-law? He really doesn’t have discerning eyes.
“There was nothing to be done. Since he asked me to learn those poems, I could only work hard to learn them by heart.”
“Little Sister-in-law, your temper is too good!”
While the two were talking, Nanny An came in and announced: “I got the message from outside that the Third Master has come back.”
When Lu QingYi heard this, she hurriedly said, “Then, I will go back now. We will talk later.”
Gu Sui’er also got up to see her off. She supported her belly as she stood outside the door of the courtyard watching Lu QingYi depart. She was just thinking of going back when she saw Xiao Heng walking towards her through the corridor.
He was wearing a purple robe today, making him look remarkably impressive while his cold but tidy countenance made him appear unattainable.
If it were before, Gu Sui’er would have not even dared to look at him.
But now, she smiled bashfully and stood there, waiting for him to come to her.
When Xiao Heng returned to TingZhu Courtyard today, he didn’t expect that as soon as he raised his eyes, he would see a woman standing at the door like a weak willow tree.
She was originally born tender, with weak bones and a delicate frame. Moreover, now that she had a big belly and a huge thick brocade cloth was draped over her slender shoulders, she appear even more fragile, making people feel guilty for disturbing her.
His steps halted immediately as he concentrated his gaze on this slim woman.
Looking at her like this, he recalled how he let her conceive his own flesh and blood.
Before that night, he didn’t know that the union of yin and yang was such a wonderful thing.
His gaze was too strange so Gu Sui’er lowered her head slightly in confusion, and asked softly, “Third Master, do you have something to say?”
Xiao Heng closed his eyes and remembered his purpose of coming back early.
“I have something for you.”
Thanks for reading٩(๑❛ᴗ❛๑)۶! If you like my translations, please consider rating it on NU and supporting me on:
- 1games for the mid autumn festival: here