Chapter 56: Move Aside, Bad Green Plum
Xiaoqi sobbed as she lowered her head to look towards Mother Song, then she obediently hugged the tree trunk and tried to stand up. However, because her thighs had clasped the tree branch for too long, her blood circulation had been obstructed and she couldn’t stand up.
Xiaoqi hugged the tree trunk and tried for a long time, before finally crying: “Wuu, Mom, ca-can’t move.”
A manservant had already prepared a ladder and was waiting at the side. Mother Song gave a slight nod, then swiftly set up the ladder and climbed up. She carefully maneuvered Xiaoqi’s leg around the branch and had her set both legs on the ladder. Once Xiaoqi slowly moved over, Mother Song jumped down.
Xiaoqi tremblingly went down the ladder, then stood at Mother Song’s side sobbing motionlessly.
Mother Song stared at Xiaoqi a while before giving a light humph, “You understand where you’ve wronged?”
Xiaoqi nodded her head. A sob shuddered up, then came out in a long, drawn-out trembling breath. Her throat, following reflex, made a whimpering sound. Matched with that small, delicate figure, a little face that was only as big as a palm, it caused people’s hearts to ache exceptionally.
Mother Song softened her voice, “It’s alright if you’re willful and headstrong, but you can’t be rash. Isn’t it because your actions were wrong that Qiu Tong and the rest were punished to kneel?”
Xiaoqi nodded. After thinking a moment, she earnestly pleaded in a small voice, “Xiaoqi was wrong. Mom, ple-, hic, please pardon Qiu Tong and the rest, pl-pl-please?”
Mother Song watched as Xiaoqi’s entire body convulsed from her sobs and felt a strong sense of pity. She took Xiaoqi’s hand and started heading in. When she passed Qiu Tong’s side, she said: “Young Madam pleaded for leniency for you, so you can all get up. The rest of the hour will be penalized in addition if there is a next time.”
Qiu Tong silently got up and Xiaoqi apologetically reached out to tug her hand. Qiu Tong took advantage of the instant Mother Song turned her head to stick out her tongue at Xiaoqi and Xiaoqi felt her heart settle a little.
“Mom knows you feel wronged, but Xiaoqi, was what you did right? Was it right to splash food on someone? Was it right for a girl to run out and climb a tree? Was it right to cause an entire family to worry about you? With this ruckus of yours, what if someone purposefully spread it out and said that our Song family’s teachings are lacking, or ridicules the Song family for taking in a daughter-in-law who lacked virtue? Where is there a scenario that’s beneficial for you or the Song family? It had no purpose but to let the servants see a joke!”
Mother Song looked at the Xiaoqi that was still sobbing and said warmly: “You’re accustomed to doing as you wish and the incident this time can’t be blamed on you. Next time, if something happens again, think through the consequences clearly.”
Xiaoqi choked back sobs as she asked: “Mom, wh-where’s Husband?”
Song Liangzhuo had been standing in the shadows the entire time, looking over. Seeing Mother Song pull Xiaoqi’s hand and walk over this way, he finally loosened a breath. Just as he was about to turn and go back, he saw the Zixiao that was standing across from him.
Song Liangzhuo knitted his brows and was silent for a while, but still couldn’t think of what he wanted to say. Song Liangzhuo passed her and headed in the direction of the small courtyard, but unexpectedly, Zixiao grabbed his arm and cried, “Second Older Brother, I know that you still have me in your heart, don’t you? Second Older Brother, do you know how I passed these years? You can’t not want me. Zi er has always been standing at the same starting place ah. Zi er isn’t angry with Xiaoqi meimei for injuring my hand. I’m not angry with her. I just want to stay at Second Older Brother’s side.”
Song Liangzhuo knitted his brows and moved to push away Zixiao’s hand, but was his hand was suddenly clutched by her. Zixiao lifted her head with a smile and said gently: “Second Older Brother, you also miss Zi er, right?”
Song Liangzhuo was just about to speak when Xiaoqi had already run off again with another ‘wah’. Song Liangzhuo was enraged. Pinching Zixiao’s wrist, he fiercely flung her away and ran off in pursuit.
Mother Song glanced at the Xiaoqi that had just been patiently educated, yet in the next instant ran off again wailing. She soundlessly gave a sigh. When she turned back, her face was expressionless again with a severe light in her eyes.
Mother Song fixed her eyes on Zixiao without blinking. Zixiao saw that Mother Song didn’t move and she also stayed motionless. It was just that, in the end, her patience still couldn’t hold up to Mother Song’s. She lowered her eyes and was silent for a while before she turned and left.
Right now, Xiaoqi only had one thought and that was to go home. Go home to the Qian family and never come back again.
Xiaoqi ran the entire way to the main entrance but was barred by the manservant at the door. Xiaoqi twisted her head to see Song Liangzhuo walk over with fast steps. Crying, she switched to another direction and continued to run.
Xiaoqi was truly angry now. He actually held the bad green plum’s hand, and the bad green plum even said that kind of thing. He was definitely sneakily having a fleeting meeting with that bad green plum beneath the moon before the flowers while she was crying and bitterly lamenting the obstructions in their paths. What’s more, in sobering the dream breaks, the flowers wither in the hazy moon.
The complete paraphrase of the poem is that two lovers meet beneath in moon with flowers around at night, but much too soon the meeting had to end so they felt hatred towards those that hinder their love. After sobering up, the beautiful dream ends, the flowers wither, and the moonlight also seems to lose a bit of its splendor. Flowers bloom without withering, the moon will also rise again, and our feelings would also be the same forever. At this moment, how I wish I was the leaves of the willow tree, that way I could always accompany the spring wind.
Xiaoqi fluently recited the poem she had memorized not long again in her heart, then furiously thought of the three words that she itched to just stomp flat, twist apart, tear to shreds, and chop into pieces——Lament of Inner Emotions*！
Name given to a style of poem. This particular poem is called 《Lament of Inner Emotions Fleeting Meeting Beneath the Moon Before Flowers》
It wasn’t that Xiaoqi insisted on climbing a tree, but that she seriously couldn’t find a place to hide. After running a circle around the courtyard, she was about to be caught by Song Liangzhuo so Xiaoqi ran back to that old jujube tree and, hugging the tree trunk and scrambling up, grabbed onto that tree branch again.
Song Liangzhuo rushed over with two steps to grab her leg as he shouted: “You’re still climbing trees!? Hurry up and get down!”
Song Liangzhuo’s voice carried anger. Xiaoqi’s tears were shocked into falling with a whoosh by Song Liangzhuo’s roar. Her throat was already hoarse like a broken gong, but she still cried with a hoarse voice: “Who needs you to care, wuuwuu, hate you, big lecher!”
Song Liangzhuo’s face was stomped on by Xiaoqi’s leg that lost its hold. Half his face smarted painfully and in a moment of fury, he pulled Xiaoqi, securely catching her in the instant before she fell to the ground. But who would have expected that Xiaoqi would push him away crazily while crying: “Official Song, wuuwuu, big lecher! You go find that bad green plum and go kiss kiss with her and go sleep sleep with her. Wuuwuu, I want to go home, I want to go home.”
The maids and menservants stood all around, all staring blankly, unsure of how to help. Song Liangzhuo was embarrassed and angry. Picking up the Xiaoqi that had started flailing around crazily, he fiercely slapped a palm onto her butt.
Immediately after Song Liangzhuo’s palm landed, he himself was also stunned. Xiaoqi’s crying came to an end spontaneously. Song Liangzhuo uncertainly put Xiaoqi down so she could stand properly, then stroked her cheek, “Who was it that promised me not to climb trees and not to fight anymore? How many days have just passed? Did you have to cause such a ruckus?”
Xiaoqi’s swollen red eyes stared blankly straight at Song Liangzhuo, something streaking across in her brain for an instant. Song Liangzhuo sighed and extended an arm to hug her as he said: “I was wrong, if Xiaoqi doesn’t like then we should…”
Song Liangzhuo didn’t even finish his sentence before he was forcefully pushed away by Xiaoqi. Xiaoqi fixed her eyes on Song Liangzhuo as she faintly said: “You hit me, you hit me again.”
“You hit me again! Wuuwuu, you hit me again!” Xiaoqi sobbed as she retreated a step back, “I want to go home, wuu, Mom, I want to go home! Mom~~”
Song Liangzhuo took a step forward, wanting to wrap his arms around Xiaoqi but Xiaoqi covered her ears and ran off with a scream.
Xiaoqi ran out crying for a while before realizing that she had nowhere to go. She sobbed as she looked around in bewilderment. Running a couple steps towards the right, she then turned back towards the left. After running a couple steps, she stopped again and cried as she looked back and forth, not knowing where to go.
Mother Song walked over and pulled Xiaoqi’s sleeve, leading her towards her courtyard while scolding: “You ah, are just a little tactless child. What mood are you crying for ah? Tormenting yourself, tormenting Song Liangzhuo like this, causing such a ruckus that the entire family is disturbed, yet allowing other people to be in a good mood. Was everything I said earlier just a waste of words?”
Song Liangzhuo watched Mother Song lead Xiaoqi away, then covered his face silently in exhaustion for a long while. In the end, he leaned straight against the old jujube tree and slid down to sit the ground.
The menservants and maids in the courtyard all dispersed quietly. Qiu Tong hung a lantern on a low hanging jujube branch, then also withdrew.
Song Liangzhuo sat for quite a while, all the way until a patch of shadow appeared in the space in front of his eyes. He opened his eyelids to glance over.
A glance was enough! Song Liangzhuo closed his eyes, exhausted.
Zixiao sat down next to Song Liangzhuo’s side. Leaning lightly against him, she gave a sigh, “Second Older Brother, how long has it been since we’ve quietly had a talk like this?”
Song Liangzhuo didn’t reply.
“Second Older Brother, I don’t have any roads to retreat to anymore. Eldest Brother sent me into the palace for the sake of power. Second Older Brother, you also know that I had no other choice, right? It wasn’t easy for me to come back. But what about you, Second Older Brother? How could you marry someone else?”
Zixiao rubbed her cheek against Song Liangzhuo’s shoulder and continued to speak: “Second Older Brother, do you really love her? She doesn’t know anything. Isn’t the ruckus she caused tonight enough? Which wealthy family would have such an insensible girl? Where does she place Second Older Brother’s face? Has she ever thought for Second Older Brother’s sake? I thought she was honest and pure, yet unexpectedly she actually harmed me like this. Second Older Brother, you won’t like this kind of vulgar girl, right? The type you like is those refined girls. You said so before, a girl like an orchid, with a quiet beautiful elegance.”
Song Liangzhuo lifted his hand to hold Zixiao’s head. Zixiao looked over with pleasant surprise, yet in the next instant, she was pushed away forcefully by Song Liangzhuo.
Song Liangzhuo got up expressionlessly and dusted off the sleeve she had rubbed against. With his back facing Zixiao, he spoke indifferently: “What do you want?”
Zixiao bit her lips, then lowered her eyes, “I want my Second Older Brother, the Second Older Brother that will be with me this entire lifetime. I want to be his only wife, to be the Song family’s upright Young Madam.”
Song Liangzhuo didn’t say a word. He just turned around and stared at Zixiao for a long while. In the end, his mouth hooked and he swept past her with disappointment and dim sadness.
He knew that the Zixiao that had once smiled innocently as she begged him to paint already no longer existed. She would never again, for a wildflower or a wooden hairpin, smile happily and unrestrainedly. She would never again use a pure gaze to look at everyone and smile sweetly. Never again coax everyone around to feel happy with her little mischievous schemes, and never again would she occasionally be a little willful and do some wrong things that she believed to be right.
He knew. He should have already known, wasn’t it so? Since everything was already of no relationship to him, what was he still hoping for? Even if she was still as beautiful and pure as before, she no longer had even the smallest bit of relationship with him. And he should have already thrown everything related to her into the Concave Village’s flood waters.
He wanted to ask what exactly she had experienced, that was able to turn such a crystal clear heart to become this astute to the ways of the world. But he knew that he couldn’t ask. Even if that heart of hers was injured to the point of shattering, he didn’t have the obligation or ability to help her mend it.
Time is truly an uncontrollable existence. Some people, under its baptism, are able to remain as pure and innocent as before, but some could not. Evidently, Zixiao was of the latter.
Song Liangzhuo walked back towards his own courtyard. Glancing at the Qiu Tong who was at the entrance of the courtyard, he said: “You should go attend to Young Madam, she hasn’t taken tonight’s medicine yet.”
Qiu Tong expressionlessly replied: “Madam sent this servant over to keep watch over this courtyard.”
Song Liangzhuo was slightly irked. This was to prevent him from secretly meeting up with other people?
Qiu Tong saw that his expression wasn’t too good and lowered her eyes as she spoke quietly: “This is Madam’s will. Madam said, lately loitering spirits have been wandering around the fu so we must be careful to prevent people with weak Eight Characters (of birthtime, more info here) from being possessed. So we must watch over each courtyard carefully.”
Song Liangzhuo’s breathing turned fierce from anger. So he also has to be under close guard? Was he that untrustworthy?
“Is Young Master about to go rest? Young Madam will be resting at Madam’s place tonight.”
“There’s no need for you to attend to me, you can just focus on the loitering spirits.” Song Liangzhuo said mildly.
Qiu Tong looked at Song Liangzhuo’s back figure and her lips smoothed as she secretly laughed. In the end, she really did raise her hand and shout: “Madam’s command: Young Master’s courtyard can only be entered by our own family’s people. You all must open your eyes wide and keep watch carefully! If you can’t even distinguish clearly between our own people and outside people, then you can just throw your rice bowls away.”
Credits: Translated by Chiyomira, Proofread by Ocelot
Haha, watch out for the ghosts!