The neighbouring Li Household was still lit up all the way till morning, with the light never going out.
Xie Zhen was a light sleeper and sensitive to light. Even with just a little disturbance she could not fall asleep. For the whole trip she hadn’t been able to sleep well, and after the long and hard trip to Qing Zhou, she originally thought that she would finally be able to get a good rest. Never had she imagined that even after restlessly rolling around in bed for half the night would she still be unable to fall asleep.
The two doll-like girls were sharing a bed, and Xie Xun helplessly held Xie Zhen’s hand, pleading, “Sis, I’m tired...”
After that, Xie Zhen didn’t move around as much, and instead shut her eyes tightly throughout the whole night, but only at dawn did she manage to force herself to fall into a fitful sleep.
Xie Xun, on the other hand, had slept well, and woke up early in the morning. Seeing her sister still fast asleep, she pulled on her sleeve, wanting to wake her up. Just then, the maid Shuang Yu stopped her, saying, “Yesterday Second Miss stayed up until very late. Third Miss, please behave and don’t disturb the Second Miss. If you want, this servant will bring you to the Madame.”
Shuang Yu was the maid that Leng shi had brought over from the capital. Together with Shuang Yan, she had originally been one of Leng shi’s personal maid servants. Only after reaching Qing Zhou did Leng shi specially arrange for her to care of Xie Zhen and Xie Xun, as she had been afraid that the other maids were too young and immature, and would not be able to do things satisfactorily.
The moment she heard that her sister hadn’t slept well, Xie Xun, an understanding child, immediately stopped disturbing her. She raised her arms to get carried by Shuang Yu and ordered, “Take me to find Ah niang.”
Out of the three children, Xie Xun was the least temperamental, and the most well-behaved. Her sweet voice, paired with her pair of limpid, watery eyes, caused Shuang Yu to find her very adorable. After helping her put on a light red beizi embroidered with begonias and a white threaded skirt, along with a pair of soft gold shoes, she then brought Xie Xun to the main room.
After being with Xie Liqing until late at night, and then having to get up and see what had transpired at the Li Household, Leng shi hadn’t rested well for the whole night. When Xie Xun arrived, she was still on her bed getting ready.
Once she was properly put together, Leng shi’s beauty was even more apparent, and she seemed like an entirely different person from the day before. Her eyelids flowed nicely, making her every gesture seem flirtatious. With her glamorous eyes, she seemed to be extremely charming at a glance.
Of course, Xie Xun was not familiar with these, and she climbed down from Shuang Yu’s arms before throwing herself into her mother’s embrace. “Ah niang, sister’s still asleep!”
Afraid that she would accidentally knock into the foot of the bed, Leng shihurriedly leaned over and held her securely. “Your sister didn’t sleep well, so you aren’t allowed to disturb her, understand?”
Leng shi knew the two girls’ like the back of her hand. Similar to herself, Xie Zhen was an extremely light sleeper. Anyway, after reaching Qing Zhou, they no longer had to strictly get up at dawn to travel, so she might as well let her sleep for a while more.
Xie Xun nodded her head vigorously. “I understand!”
Leng shi smiled lightly and gently pinched her small round face.
Soon enough, Xie Rong also arrived at the main room, alert and filled with energy. The events at the Li Household seemed to not have affected his sleep whatsoever. Shuang Yan ordered the servants to bring in breakfast. There were not only delicacies from the capital but also Qing Zhou fully occupying the whole table. While the food wasn’t of the same standard as that of Duke Ding’s Residence, there was a much greater variety of it, making peoples’ appetites much larger.
Xie Xun wanted to eat the walnut cheese, but due to her small body and short legs, even while sitting on the chair she simply could not reach the table, and she could only say, “I want to eat too, I want to eat...”
The little girl was incredibly anxious, and as she pulled her ears, she really made people want to laugh.
Shuang Yu rapidly picked up the walnut cheese, and after placing it in front of Xie Xun, helped to feed it to her bit by bit.
After finishing her food, Xie Xun was satisfied. She smiled until her eyes were almost closed shut, and did not ask for more.
Seeing the sun outside, Leng shi put down her chopsticks and told Shuang Yan to check on Xie Zhen and see if she had woken up.
Not a while later did Shuang Yan return, shaking her head.
Never mind, might as well let her sleep, Leng shi sighed. There had been no lack of bumpy roads on the way to Qing Zhou, and she pitied her delicate daughter. Since they had already arrived, a long rest was good compensation for her children.
Right after they had finished eating breakfast, Xie Liqing just so happened to return. He thought back to the scene he had witnessed at the gate, and said, “The Li’s have just sent back the physician, it seems like this time his son’s illness is quite serious. Since we’re neighbours now, even if we lower our heads and try to avoid them, we are still bound to meet them sooner or later. After you finish packing, come with me to visit them for a while.”
Leng shi had similar thoughts, and had just been wondering of how to approach him with the topic, not expecting him to mention it first. She said, “We also can’t go empty-handed. I brought over some medicinal herbs from the capital. Even though they aren’t rare and precious, it’s still a show of our sincerity.”
Xie Liqing nodded and agreed with her, ” There are also many things in the storehouse. Later I’ll tell Steward Wang to pass the key to you so you can bring some servants over to see if there’s anything.”
Xie Liqing looked around, but didn’t manage to find his eldest daughter. “Where’s the little lamb?” He asked.
“Yesterday she was woken up by the noise, and after that she couldn’t sleep well, so she’s still lying in bed now.” Leng shi helped him change into a green shidi-patterned robe.
Xie Liqing suddenly felt immensely bad for his daughter, and didn’t want anyone to disturb her rest. “Then she doesn’t need to go with us later, and can rest at home to recuperate instead.”
Leng shi laughed, “If she sleeps any longer it’ll already be afternoon time.”
“So what?” Xie Liqing’s treatment towards his daughters was superb, and he pampered them immensely. “Get the maid servants to look after little lamb well, if she wakes up they should prepare some small snacks for her.”
Leng shi agreed, and the couple sat together to talk.
Xie Liqing held her hands, and brushing his lips over her ear, asked, “Yesterday night did I hurt you?”
Leng shi glanced at him, and didn’t answer his question. The longer she stayed silent, the more Xie Liqing felt like provoking her, so he continued to ask, unashamed. “You’ve already given birth to three children, yet you don’t seem to...”
Leng shi originally wanted to push him away, yet she did not expect him to move first, pressing her down on the narrow sofa.
The two of them tumbled around for a while, and after that Leng shi’s hairpin was loose, and her cheeks were bright red, making her seem very attractive. 𝐢𝚗𝚗re𝐚𝚍 𝘤𝘰𝒎
Of course, with that kind of appearance there was no way that she could go out and meet people, especially not the Li Residence, where she would be a guest. Due to this, she sat down in front of her lotus-pattern mirror to comb her hair again and changed into a sleeveless, smoky grey light robe. After she finished touching up, she told Xie Xun and Xie Rong to prepare to leave.
Hearing that the Old Master Li liked calligraphy, a hobby befitting of a scholar, Leng shi picked a rosewood brush holder embellished with cranes. She also chose a few flower hairpins and headpins that were popular in the capital for Madame Li as a gift.
The two households were extremely close to each other, and not long after setting off, they reached the Li Residence.
When Xie Xun heard that they would be visiting another fu, she was so happy that she was ready to do a dance. It was a pity that her sister wasn’t there with her, otherwise she would be just as excited.
As they hadn’t informed them of their visit prior to their arrival, when they reached the gates, the Li servants were rather surprised for a moment before they scrambled to welcome them inside.
Old Master Li, named Li Xiqing, was a merchant based mainly in Qing Zhou. He primarily dealt in the tea business, and his family’s tea leaves were prominent in Qing Zhou. Li Xiqing was a sharp businessman, with a pair of all-knowing eyes. Fortunately his smile was incredibly sincere, and caused people to feel more comfortable around him.
We’re still getting set up on novelupdates, as the mods haven’t approved us as a group yet, but we’re working on it! Right now we’re registered with Google Search Console so it’s easier to find us. We’ll be posting the next chapter either today or tomorrow as we’re halfway through now. Thanks for waiting! In the next part we finally meet our ML!
Li Xiqing’s wife, Song shi’s appearance was gentle, kind and hospitable. She brought Xie Liqing and Leng shi over to sit, and told the servants to prepare some tea.
Leng shi took the medicinal herbs from her maid servant. “Yesterday your house was brightly lit, so we had some people go over to check what had happened and found that the Young Master was heavily sick. Here I have some medicine for headaches and high fevers; after boiling and drinking it for three dawns, the next day his temperature should go down.”
Song shi was touched by the gift, and hurriedly had the maid take it.
Actually most of the Qing officials were reluctant to interact with the businessmen, so although the Li’s knew that the new Qing Zhou governor had moved in beside them, they did not visit them. However, they had never thought that Xie Liqing would visit them first. The Madame of Duke Ding’s Residence, on the outside, seemed perfect and aloof, yet she was actually willing to give precious gifts to them, making them feel moved.
Leng Chan Yu had the maids bring out the gifts, saying, “We came over on short-notice, and didn’t prepare anything particularly good, so both of you musn’t laugh.”
Song shi repeatedly denied it, saying,”All of these things cannot be found in Qing Zhou, for Madame to give us these, is already this commoner’s blessing...”
Song shi saw the two precious and adorable children, and had the servants bring out some small snacks to show her hospitality.
Like this, the two families struck up a conversation, and without their knowing, half an hour passed.
Seeing that it was nearly noon, Leng shi was worried that Xie Zhen would be lonely at home, and prepared to leave, only to see an old maidservant enter. “Madame, the Young Master has woken up!”
Song shi was also someone who tenderly loved her children, and immediately stood up, “How is he? Has the fever subsided?”
The old maidservant answered, “He still has a slight fever. Just now, he even mumbled some words deliriously.”
At this Song shi was somewhat worried. His fever had gone for a full day, what if it had managed to burn his brain cells? She sat uneasily, wanting to go over to see, but she also didn’t want to offend the Duke Ding Household.
Leng shi saw her dilemma, and called Xie Xun and Xie Rong over to her side, sensibly saying, ‘Children are most important. Song shi should quickly go over to see him, we were planning to leave before anyway.”
Song shi was also deeply anxious about her child, and stay longer than needed after sending them back and rapidly walking to the back hall.
The child really hadn’t gotten better, and Song shi was worried till her head spun. Remembering the medicinal herbs that Leng shi had brought over, she gritted her teeth and ordered the servants to quickly prepare it, hoping that it could save her child’s life.
Only after they had returned did they realise that Xie Zhen had already awoken.
The young girl was seated on the steps before the vertical chui hua door with her palm supporting her head, constantly staring outside. When she first arrived in Qing Zhou, her heart was always uneasy. Even though Shuang Yu had advised her to wait inside for very long, she still refused to move, until she saw her family. The moment she saw them, she excitedly welcomed them back, stood up and shouted, “Ah niang, Ah Tie!”
Leng shi saw her from faraway, and her lonely silhouette made her heart hurt, so she hurriedly walked forward and hugged her. “Why was little lamb sitting here?” She asked.
She pouted, saying, “Where did all of you go? Why did you abandon me alone at home?”
Leng shi explained, “We went to visit our neighbours at the Li residence. Just now you were still sleeping, so we didn’t ask anyone to wake you up.”
After she knew what had happened, she didn’t seem as despondent as before.
Regarding whose house they visited...She originally hadn’t even thought that much about it.
Children’s emotions come and go, and very quickly Xie Zhen was playing with Xie Xun like nothing had happened. Out of the three children, Xie Zhen was the most mischievous, and her laugh was the most clear and ringing. When she laughed, her eyes would curve into crescents, and it was as though even if she wanted the stars in the sky, nobody would have had the heart to reject her.
A few days later, the Li couple and their son Li Yu came over to visit Xie fu.
Due to the medicinal herbs, Li Yu finally recovered, and Song shi was thankful beyond words.
Leeng shi was at the front entertaining the guests, and Xie Zhen wanted to bring her little sister over to see, “Ah Xun, let’s also go over to the front hall.”
However, Xie Xun held no interest in those sort of things, and she squatted under a tree digging for earthworms, never lifting her head. “I’m not going; Brother said that if I could dig out some earthworms, he would bring me to fish.”
Xie Zhen stomped her foot, “What’s so fun about fishing?”
Raising her head, Xie Xun retorted, “What’s so fun about the front hall?”
The two girls stared at each other, and Xie Zhen sighed loudly, saying, “Then I’ll go by myself!”
Saying that she ignored Xie Xun, lifted her skirt and walked off in the direction of the front hall.
Shuang Yu shook her head, and helplessly followed.
Xie Zhen was a naturally lively person, and she always ran towards wherever there were people. Now that she’d heard that there were guests in the house, she would of course go over to look.
With a small body and short legs, she couldn’t walk very quickly. To go to the main hall it already took her an hour.
Voices could be heard from the main hall. She could hear Ah niang’s and another unidentifiable voice.
Just as she was about to step towards it, another person came out from the hall.
The other person had a powdered, snowy-white face, and long, thick eyelashes, making him look even more adorable than Ah Xun. It was only that he was a little skinny and small, his face sickly pale, and seemed to have been gravely ill lately. Xie Zhen blinked and took a second look before asking, “Who are you?”
The aforementioned person was actually the Li’s only son, Li Yu, who was five that year and wasn’t even as tall as Xie Zhen.
Li Yu saw her brazenly staring at him, and looked away saying, “I am Li Yu.”
Xie Zhen heard his name as ‘Li Yu’, with ‘Yu’ being jade, and as Ah Niang’s birth name also contained the word jade, she assumed that Li Yu was actually a girl. Since he was a guest, she treated him hospitably, saying, “You look very pretty! I’m five this year, what about you? How about I call you Little Sister Yu from now on?”
Li Yu blanched, and only replied after a while. “I’m not a little sister.”
Xie Zhen’s mind was incredibly quick. “Big Sister Yu?”
It wasn’t that Xie Zhen was oblivious or careless, as in actuality Li Yu’s appearance was too beautiful, and when one took a glance at him, all their attention would immediately be focused on his face, and they would ignore his male clothing. Furthermore, after his illness, he was also wearing a white robe, making him seem even more delicate...
Annoyed, Li Yu corrected her. “Yu is actually the Yu from wealth, ‘Fu Yu’. I am neither a little sister nor a big sister, in fact you should call me big brother!”
Xie Zhen then understood, and widened her eyes in incomprehension and doubt. A beaty like this was actually a male? She didn’t believe him! Her brain whirring, Xie Zhen remembered that when she was small, when she bathed with her brother, there was a place on her brother’s body that was different from a girls’. She sneakily raised her hand and groped Li Yu’s crotch.
For a long moment, all was silent.
Shyly, she drew back her hand. “Oh...”
Lifting her head, she saw that Li Yu’s face was rapidly changing from green to red, and his eyes almost seemed like they wanted to devour her in anger.
We have been approved by the mods on novelupdates! Yay! Also Xie Zhen needs to restrain herself HAHA poor Li Yu. I’ll be out tomorrow but we’ve translated about half of chapter 3.1 so the next chapter will probably be out by 1.00AM Friday GMT +0800.
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