Chapter 1: Qian Xiaoqi, Wait
Song fu(residence) wasn’t large, but it was very exquisite.
It had a dark red entrance, and right after you walked in, there was an expansive corridor. It was linked to a moderately wide road that was paved with little green bricks leading directly into the second courtyard. This front courtyard didn’t count as empty; right now both sides of the little green road were flanked by wintergreen and crimson Chinese roses. The Dragon Boat Festival had recently passed, so it was another blooming season for the roses. The fiery blossoms looked very warm and exuberant.
The reason this courtyard appeared empty was due to the fact that there were few people in it. Other than the napping manservant sitting in front of the courtyard entrance, there was not a second person to be found.
In comparison, the second courtyard was quite a bit livelier. Right after you enter the small doors you could see, in the west area of the courtyard, two older female servants hanging up laundry as they occasionally exchanged a few words.
There was the sound of someone speaking coming from the central room. If you listened carefully, there was even the ‘kalack’ sound of cracking melons seeds.
“At that time, Miss was only fifteen and guye(way to refer to someone’s husband) had just arrived in our Tongxu county to take over the position of county head magistrate. The entire way here, he rode a large horse while wearing the red robe of the top scorer. On his head he wore an official’s black hat; he was extremely impressive. Guye’s appearance was so fair and refined. In that one parade, he caused quite a few Young Madams and Misses to collapse from over-excitement and infatuation.”
“Even Madams got infatuated?” A girl in a pinkish purple garment cracked melon seeds as she asked.
“Yes! Why wouldn’t they be?! Quite a few Madams even threw flowers from the second story of the teahouse ne! At that time ah, Miss was sitting by the second story window next to the Flourishing Cauldron Teahouse. This seat was only obtained by Miss after Miss spent ten times the cost in silver to win the bid. Several Misses from rich families had become green with envy.” The girl in servant’s attire pouted, looking as if she felt personal pain.
“And then Miss just tugged at me and yelled, “‘Ah! Lu Liu, Lu Liu! Look, look! He just smiled at me’.”
The girl who was cracking the melon seeds suddenly had a violent coughing fit. The little maid hurriedly ran behind her and gave a forceful pat to her back. Following that, with a gigantic cough, a grain of melon seed flew from the girl’s mouth. It bounced twice on the round wooden black lacquered table before coming to a stop.
The girl rubbed her throat as she took a drink with a pained face from the tea the servant had passed over.
“And then Miss started liking guye and pursued him for a full two years ah. Miss climbed up early every morning to wait at the entrance of the government office. When guye arrived at the government office doors right at a quarter after six, Miss would hand over the soy milk and baked sesame seed-coated cakes that Miss brought with her.”
“He took them?”
“But he didn’t ne, they were all passed off to the Advisor Lu next to him. Guye didn’t take them ah. At first, he declined politely and said he already ate, but later he just directly passed by Miss to enter the government office. But Miss still, with one wait, waited two years ah. No matter how hot the blazing sun was, Miss didn’t miss a single day.”
“At six in the morning, there’s no blazing sun.”
“Oh, no matter how much wind or rain there was, Miss didn’t miss a single day. At that time, there were still a lot of little Misses who were prettily dressed hovering around the government office doors, hoping that our family’s guye would glance at them. Sadly, guye didn’t even look directly at them even once. Tsk tsk, he really is a good guye,” the maid sighed as she praised.
“Then why’d he marry your family’s Miss?” The purple clothed lady seemed confused.
“Guye was moved by Miss’s infatuation. Two years ah, even cold iron would have been kneaded by Miss into molten iron. In the end, guye finally brought up the idea of marriage to Qian fu a month ago. At the start, lao ye(the current male head of a household/Master) wasn’t very pleased, saying that he was just a little seventh rank official, but Miss wouldn’t give up ah. Miss said that it had to be guye, otherwise she wouldn’t marry. Later, guye said that the old lao ye in his family was an upright fifth rank. Only then did lao ye happily agree.”
“And after that?” The girl pushed away the melon seeds and started eating pickled plums.
“And after that, Miss got married to guye. But the day guye was about to marry Miss, a Lady Ruoshui popped up from somewhere and insisted on preventing guye from marrying. In the end, guye still managed to get the ceremony done, but that night he didn’t enter the bridal room. However, Miss, being as fair and reasonable as she is, didn’t cause a fuss over it. Early the next morning, Miss prepared breakfast for guye. In reality, Lady Ruoshui is not much prettier than Miss, but guye is always refined and courteous towards Lady Ruoshui. He even personally held an umbrella for her, causing Miss to become so angry it was unbearable.”
The maid picked up the tea and took a fierce gulp. “And it happened just yesterday. Guye went to the government office, so Miss invited her to the well in order to have a talk. Afterwards, that Miss Ruoshui somehow fell in. The menservants in the fu and that Uncle Zhang had to help to pull her back up. That Miss Ruoshui didn’t drown, only her hand got scratched, but when guye came back he got mad and for some reason acted violently towards Miss.”
“Ah, then your family’s Miss pushed that Ruoshui down?” The girl exclaimed, seeming very indignant on behalf of Ruoshui.
“No, Miss said she didn’t do it and that it was Lady Ruoshui who jumped down herself. But guye didn’t believe her and still hit Miss.” The maid shot a glance at the girl’s still swollen cheek and flattened her lips. “Miss fell and bumped into the table. Nothing was broken, but a huge lump swelled up on Miss’s head.”
The girl felt a panging pain from the back of her head. Lifting her hand, she gently massaged it, then sighed. “My name’s Qian Xiaoqi. Lu Liu, how come this name is so tacky?”
“Haha, in the past Miss also often asked this servant this.”
Qian Xiaoqi gave another sigh. Grabbing a handful of melon seeds off the tray, she started peeling them one by one. “Is Qian fu near here?”
“It doesn’t count as far. It’s the largest courtyard on the east side of the county.”
“Is my dad very rich?”
“Very rich ah!” Lu Liu proudly lifted her chin. “The last county magistrate even took care to be quite courteous towards lao ye, and countless households want to marry the daughters of the Qian family. If it weren’t for the fact that Miss took a fancy to guye, Miss could have freely picked from all the handsome young men of Tongxu county and Lin county.”
“What’s that guye called?”
“Song Liangzhuo(song4 liang2 zhuo2).”
“Send two tables(song4 liang3 zhuo1)?” Qian Xiaoqi knitted her brows. “Why would someone come up with such a strange name?”
“It’s not strange at all ah, in the past Miss liked it a lot. Other than the times Miss helped lao ye with managing the accounts, the rest of the time was all spent writing his name. At home, Miss has a chest that’s stuffed full with those words.”
Oh, so it turns out I’m an infatuated idiot! Qian Xiaoqi sighed with emotion.
Lu Liu looked towards the courtyard and said in a quiet voice, “Miss, should we go look at Miss Ruoshui? Even though guye said that we weren’t allowed to go to the side courtyard, going to visit and clearing up the misunderstanding would also be good. That Miss Ruoshui also said that she fell because she herself wasn’t careful.”
“Not going!” Qian Xiaoqi curled her lips. “It’s not like I know her!”
Lu Liu lowered her head and was quiet for a while. Softening her voice, she said, “Miss, it is reasonable to say it’s time for the bride’s first return to her parental home. It’s only the second day of marriage, yet guye has already headed directly to work and didn’t bring up anything regarding the visitation matter.”
“There’s probably a lot of work at the government office.”
Lu Liu curled her lips and aimed a glance at Qian Xiaoqi, then muttered in a very acrid tone, “Miss’s character is truly wonderful.”
Qian Xiaoqi swept all the peeled melon seeds off the table and into her palm, then stuffed them all into her mouth in one go. Her eyes curved in enjoyment as she chewed before finally sighing a breath of satisfaction.
Lu Liu cast another glance towards the courtyard and swiftly swept all the melon seed shells on the table into the plate and placed it underneath the table. Then she piled up all the pickled plums that Qian Xiaoqi had almost pinched completely into pieces back onto the plate properly before giving a light cough and standing to Xiaoqi’s side with her chin raised.
Qian Xiaoqi looked towards the door with an odd expression and saw a girl wearing a white muslin dress float over with a swaying willow waist. Qian Xiaoqi forcefully swallowed the savory melon seeds in her mouth, then pinched a pickled plum, placed it into her mouth and took a vicious bite.
Hey, seeing her, the feeling, really was, not good ah! (Probably thought between bites)
The girl finally floated in and swept a disdainful glance over Qian Xiaoqi. “I heard you hit your head and lost your memories?”
Qian Xiaoqi sucked back the saliva that was about to drip outside her mouth and after two or three chews, swallowed down the pickled plum. At the same time, she also spat out a maroon colored plum pit. She still spat it onto the table as before, but in a deliberate yet seemingly careless fashion sent it rushing in the direction of the white clothed girl. The plum pit was very obedient. After bouncing once on the table, it rushed straight towards the girl’s dress.
The girl hurriedly retreated a couple steps and stared with wide eyes as the plum pit swept across her white dress before rolling onto the floor. Then she fiercely lifted her head and glared at Qian Xiaoqi with hatred in her eyes.
“Zhou gege(big brother) doesn’t like you at all. Even if you’ve managed to get married to him, what does it matter? In the end, all you’ll get is the title of Official’s Wife. Zhou gege won’t give you anything else.”
Qian Xiaoqi swept a glance at this girl. A smile suddenly appeared on her face as she sweetly parted her lips. “Ruoshui jiejie(big sister), come sit ah. Let’s have a proper chat.”
“What, who’s your jiejie?” The girl’s face was a bit red.
Qian Xiaoqi didn’t get angry and pushed the plate forward. “Ruoshui jiejie, have some pickled plums. They’re really delicious.”
When all’s said and done, Wen Ruoshui was just a girl that was around the same age as Qian Xiaoqi. Yesterday, the bitterness in her heart had already dispersed when she caused Xiaoqi to get hit, so seeing Qian Xiaoqi being this friendly caused Wen Ruoshui to feel a bit uncomfortable and guilty. Of course, more than half of her feelings were still very on guard.
“Ruoshui jiejie, sit ah!” Qian Xiaoqi innocently blinked her eyes and threw another pickled plum into her mouth. She curiously stretched out her neck. “Ruoshui jiejie and, um, and Official Song have known each other for a long time?”
Wen Ruoshui knitted her brows. “Why are you calling Zhou gege Official? Oh, you probably called gege Official from the start.” Wen Ruoshui lifted her hand and circled it an entire round over the table. She looked at the teacup that was made filthy due to Qian Xiaoqi touching it with the black hands she used to peel the melon seeds and in the end, Wen Ruoshui’s hand landed on the dried fruits plate and pinched a pickled plum.
Ruoshui twirled the pickled plum and was just about to place it in her mouth when her gaze swept across the melon seed shell stuck to it, and with a burst of disgust, she threw it back. Using a handkerchief to wipe her hands, she said, “Zhou gege and I have known each other since early childhood. ”
“He said he’ll marry you already?”
Wen Ruoshui’s fair face immediately turned red. She opened her mouth and stammered, “D-didn’t say he’ll marry bu-but our relationship’s really good. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have run over here the moment I heard Zhou gege was getting married!”
“You’re really amazing!” Qian Xiaoqi sincerely complimented, “It’s probably very far away from here. To run over here by yourself definitely wasn’t easy.”
The blush had yet to fade from Wen Ruoshui’s face when it turned completely red again. She lifted her chin. “O-of course!”
Qian Xiaoqi nodded. “When your family’s Zhou gege comes back, I’ll have a talk with him. If it’s possible, I’ll just return him to you.”
“Miss!” Lu Liu cried out in alarm, “Miss, you can’t return guye! Miss had worked hard for two entire years in order to get him!”
Wen Ruoshui’s expression was also completely astonished. She stared at Qian Xiaoqi with a doubting gaze as she said, “You better not think of planning to take revenge on me. No matter what you say, Zhou gege won’t believe you.”
Qian Xiaoqi shrugged. “Then you can just treat it as if I’m joking.”
Lu Liu gave a sigh of relief. Shooting a glare at Wen Ruoshui, she said, “Miss, let us go prepare the things for going back home.”
Wen Ruoshui also didn’t want to stay any longer. Giving a light humph, she turned and left.
Qian Xiaoqi looked at Wen Ruoshui’s little willow waist that couldn’t even fill an entire palm and said softly in an envious tone, “She’s really pretty.”
Lu Liu’s face turned black as she lowered her voice. “Miss, Lu Liu feels that you’re prettier than her!” If you dressed up properly!
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira, Proofread by Ocelot
Aah, the title~ Lol, it feels so weird to go back and re-translate, but, hehe, a lot of funny little details got filled in, and it’s pretty good timing for revisiting the earlier chapters with what happens after chapter 55.
And to new readers, welcome~ The way I usually translate is to explain the term the first time it’s introduced and leave reminders from time to time if I feel like it’s hard to remember. But, since I picked up translating this novel from chapter 9, I’ll have to ask you guys to glance at the glossary for some of the full explanations, because I don’t want to spend the time to go back right now and change a lot of chapters. I’ll consider doing it after I finish translating the entire novel though.