Chapter 55.1: Move Aside, Bad Green Plum
It seemed as if everyone was living in harmony, but Song Liangzhuo was a bit perplexed. Mother Song said that Zixiao was thrown here by the Lin family for them to help look after, but this stay has already lasted several days. It’s about time for the Lin family to send people over to take her back.
Mother Song was quiet and didn’t make any moves because she was waiting for the right opportunity. Xiaoqi was silent without a sound because Mother Song had previously said to not mind. Song Liangzhuo, however, couldn’t keep quiet anymore. No matter what, that was someone he had once liked. In spite of the events that occurred later, he still hoped she could have a good marriage and would stop using all her affection on him. What she wants, he already cannot afford to give, and he won’t give.
Finding a good time and place was really hard. Song Liangzhuo thought and thought about it, and in the end, the time he decided upon was after breakfast. He told Xiaoqi straight out that he had some things to say to Zixiao, and with a firm attitude, had her head to the main courtyard with Mother Song.
Zixiao sat next to the table with a soft smile. Without waiting for Song Liangzhuo to start, she spoke, “It’s been a long time since Second Older Brother has talked properly with Zixiao.”
Song Liangzhuo minded his own business, “Isn’t it about time for Lady Zixiao to return? Staying in Song fu all the time will cause harm to your pure reputation.”
Zixiao smiled gently, “Is Second Older Brother being worried for Zi er? To Zi er, a pure reputation can’t compare with hearing a single sentence from Second Older Brother.”
Song Liangzhuo was made to choke by Zixiao’s words, so much so that for quite a while he couldn’t get a single word out. After being quiet for a period, he mildly said: “That sentence Lady Zixiao wants I already cannot afford to give and also do not want to give. Will Lady Zixiao have family members come to take you, or should the Song fu instruct people to send you back?”
Zixiao gave a soft laugh. Following that, a clear tear dropped down. She slowly got up and walked to stand before Song Liangzhuo. Extending her hand, she slightly tilted her head as she said with a trembling voice: “Second Older Brother, I can’t go back. Even if I go back, no one would care whether my days are good or bad. Can Second Older Brother really bear to send Zi er back to suffer?”
Song Liangzhuo avoided the hand Zixiao extended and walked to the entrance of the dining hall. With his back facing her he said: “It is up to your husband to care about your life. Lady Zixiao, you’ve always been intelligent. You should know that you’re not suited to staying in Song fu. I’ve already taken a wife, but even if I hadn’t taken a wife, the two of us are already no longer possible. Lady Zixiao should head back as soon as possible. That, to you and to both the Lin and Song families, would only be beneficial.”
Zixiao slightly tilted her head as she smiled tearfully, “What is Second Older Brother afraid of? If your heart truly did not have Zi er, would Second Older Brother still be scared of Zi er being in front of your eyes? The words in Second Older Brother’s mouth are tough, but your heart still loves Zi er dearly, right? I’m waiting. There will inevitably be a day when the clouds part and the sun shines though.”
Song Liangzhuo felt a splitting headache coming on. Lifting his head, he saw Xiaoqi hiding behind a holly tree, poking her head out to spy. Song Liangzhuo hooked the corners of his mouth, but the words that came out carried no warmth at all.
“I’ll send someone to call the people from Lin family over. Lady Zixiao should pack up and wait for your family members to come for you.” After saying so, he left the dining hall.
Song Liangzhuo purposely made his steps slow, and as expected, he saw Xiaoqi bend her waist and stick out her butt as she ran towards the outside of the courtyard. As she ran, she even continuously turned back to sneak peeks at Song Liangzhuo.
Song Liangzhuo slightly lowered his head as he headed outside. When he got outside the courtyard he turned to the right and with a perfect pull, lifted out the Xiaoqi that went and hid behind a cypress tree again. Xiaoqi cried out, then covered her face, “It got scratched, got scratched. It hurts ah.”
Song Liangzhuo bent down and tilted up Xiaoqi’s chin to take a closer look. Sure enough, on the jade white cheek there were two scratches. Even though they weren’t deep, because Xiaoqi’s skin was tender, it faintly turned red.
Song Liangzhuo rubbed Xiaoqi’s cheek gently with his thumb as he asked with a smile: “Weren’t you learning how to embroider with Mom? Why did you run back again?”
Xiaoqi’s eyes turned a round, then she forced a giggle of ‘heehee’, “That ah, I dropped something and came back to look for it.”
“Did you find it?”
“En en.” Xiaoqi hastily nodded, and then took Song Liangzhuo’s hand as she walked forward, “Husband still has to head out today?”
“Heading out for a bit. Today, I’ll come back a bit earlier.”
Xiaoqi tugged Song Liangzhuo’s hand, “I’ll see Husband off at the door.”
Song Liangzhuo didn’t say anything in response, but the smile on his face slowly widened.
Xiaoqi pulled Song Liangzhuo’s hand all the way until they got to the front courtyard. She looked left and right. After ensuring that there was no one around, she tugged Song Liangzhuo’s sleeve and said: “Husband, bend down.”
Song Liangzhuo didn’t know what she wanted. Seeing Xiaoqi tap her own cheek, he thought the place that had been scratched started hurting again, so Song Liangzhuo bent down to prepare to examine it. But, unexpectedly, Xiaoqi wrapped her arms around his neck and quite forcefully kissed his lips.
Xiaoqi randomly rubbed back and forth, then went ‘mwah’ again on his lips before letting go and saying with a sweet smile: “Husband is really great, rewarding Husband.”
Song Liangzhuo looked at her rosy lips and had to restrain himself in order to suppress the urge in his heart. Song Liangzhuo smiled bitterly. It’s not as if he were a child, so why is he so uncontrollably happy from Xiaoqi’s kiss, this kind of childish reward?
Xiaoqi waved her hand dismissively, “Husband should go, Xiaoqi has to go learn embroidery now. After Xiaoqi learns how to do it, Xiaoqi will make an embroidered bag for Husband.”
Song Liangzhuo lifted his hand to stroke Xiaoqi’s lips. He was silent for a moment before he moved his hand away, then he also waved, “Then go back, don’t run around randomly.”
Xiaoqi saw that Song Liangzhuo was standing there without moving, so she turned around and headed towards Mother Song’s courtyard. After walking a while, she turned around and saw that Song Liangzhuo was still looking at her. Xiaoqi grinned as she giggled, then she lifted her hand and waved before disappearing behind a row of holly with a few skips.
It was beyond Song Liangzhuo’s expectations. When he returned to the fu during the latter half of the day, the manservant that went to Lin fu wasn’t able to invite the people over and even brought back a bundle of clothes. The servant said that these were the change in clothes Madam Lin prepared for Lady Lin.T/N
Song Liangzhuo was speechless. Mother Song scoffed: “Send it to Lady Lin’s courtyard, tell her to place it carefully. She’ll have to leave sooner or later. When the time comes, wouldn’t it be troublesome to be unable to find her own things?”
A good battle strategy was to attack right when the enemy relaxes. Or it could be put this way: Zixiao’s silence was for the sake of observing and weighing what everyone thinks in order to prepare for a better attack.
It had to be admitted that Zixiao was a good fighter. She possessed patience and perseverance that the opposition did not. Right now, sitting at the same table, Zixiao has already become a dignified member of the household, if the way Mother Song and Xiaoqi ignored her and the way Song Liangzhuo was cold to her were not taken into account.
The seating arrangements had already been adjusted by Xiaoqi. Zixiao no longer had any opportunities to pick dishes for Song Liangzhuo unless she kicked flying the Xiaoqi that was seated between the two of them.
“Father Song, try this dish. Zixiao personally made a dish of fish steamed in broth.” Zixiao sat at Song Qingyun’s side as she gently spoke.
Mother Song just pretended not to have heard and extended her chopsticks to ‘accidentally’ block the direction Song Qingyun’s chopsticks were heading. Turning, she said to Xiaoqi: “The wedding attire will be sent over tomorrow. Ruoshui will also be coming over tomorrow to play. You two can discuss a little together, if there’s anything you’re not satisfied with we can have it fixed again.”
“Thank you, Mom. Mom, I memorized a poem, it praises osmanthus flowers,” Xiaoqi smiled cheerfully. T/N2
Mother Song was very surprised that Xiaoqi used such a roundabout way to mention this matter again after so many days, but she still gave an ‘oh’ very cooperatively. Seeing Song Qingyun switch to picking up a piece of roasted meat with Chinese lettuce, Mother Song’s hand turned without a trace to a different direction to pick up a chopstick-full of bok choy as she hooked her lips, “Try reciting it.”
Xiaoqi gave a slight cough, then sat up straight before starting, “Dark light soft yellow its disposition gentle, feeling traces flow freely far with fragrance its sole reminisce. What need for shallow jade or deep crimson rogue, as naturally it is the best of flowers. Plums will certainly envy, chrysanthemums shall feel shamed. Painted banister blooms are crowned of autumn. One must question sorrowful person’s lack of love, why that year was this not collected. Haha, that’s it.”
Continuing on with what was not explained last time
3 ‘flow freely far’ refers to the fact that osmanthus trees often grows in the deep mountains, so they’re not seen but rather their fragrance is smelled.
4 ‘Painted banister’ comes from a song by Tang Lihe which says ‘off the painted banister of osmanthus trees hangs autumn’s fragrance’, pointing to osmanthus flowers as the number one flower of the autumn. ‘Crowned’ means number one.
5 Sorrowful person points to Qu Yuan, the author of the poem “Sorrow at Parting”
6 The last sentence of the poem criticizes Qu Yuan for not having enough appreciation of beauty as Sorrow at Parting records a lot of flowers but osmanthus flowers were left out.
Xiaoqi presented this poem very well. All the level and oblique tones were grasped properly and her crisp voice even carried a subconscious gentleness. Looks like listening to book tellings and operas actually benefited Xiaoqi a lot. At the very least, when she behaved with composure, she could still intimidate people for a little while.
Mother Song lifted her brows as she deliberately asked: “What is the meaning?”
“It’s saying that osmanthus flowers are the best of all the flowers, no one else can compare.” Xiaoqi looked at Zixiao as she continued: “Even orchid flowers can’t compare.”
Xiaoqi happily kicked her little feet as her wide eyes looked at everyone present one by one. At the very end, she fixed her eyes on Song Liangzhuo and asked: “Say, Husband, is that right?”
The corners of Song Liangzhuo’s mouth carried a smile as he nodded, “How did you fall in love with memorizing poems?”
“Mom said not having culture was truly scary. I also feel like it’s very scary.”
Mother Song nodded, “Since it’s like that, then in the future Xiaoqi should memorize one poem a day. Whether it’s long or short it doesn’t matter, this mom will be checking every day at dinner.”
Xiaoqi’s immensely proud little face immediately collapsed. Wrinkling her nose, she flattened her mouth and lowered her head.
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira, Proofread by Ocelot
T/N – Hmm, Zixiao’s rather pitiful… I mean, it’s terrible that she would think it right to try and seduce someone that already had a main wife… Even if she truly believed that he truly loved her and only married someone else because of unavoidable circumstances. But if she didn’t believe, she probably had to delude herself anyways, because for some reason her life plan failed, and now her family probably would leave her to fend for herself if she didn’t get Song Liangzhuo to marry her. So, from the looks of it, it seems like Zixiao has no way out? (cross out)
*looks at next part of this chapter* Aaah, just wants to kill Zixiao.
T/N2 – *gasps* *scrolls down a bit* Nooo!! Wait… *scroll down a bit more…* There’s going to be even more poems in the future!? *Two river-floods of tears burst out* (-̩̩̩-̩̩̩-̩̩̩-̩̩̩-̩̩̩__-̩̩̩-̩̩̩-̩̩̩-̩̩̩-̩̩̩)