Xiao Hua finished listening to Grandma Wang’s story. She found it hard to imagine to what extent someone had to be forced before they were willing to disfigure their own face and accept a demotion from the highest rank to the lowest. Not going out normally as though she didn’t exist, passing several decades in this manner. No wonder Grandma Wang was always sitting in front of the stove, not going anywhere. It had probably become second nature to her from a young age.
Xiao Hua felt Grandma Wang’s situation to be relatable, and felt miserable in her heart.
Returning after reincarnating, there were times when she was uncertain where she would end up. She was still young at the moment, but even after maturing for a couple of years she had no idea if she would be released at that time. That’s why she tried to avoid thinking about the future, because she wasn’t sure what the future would bring.
How could a servant have a say in her own future?
Grandma Wang saw Xiao Hua suddenly grow quiet, and comforted her smilingly: “It’s normal for life to be filled with numerous difficulties. Everything that comes will eventually pass. As long as you remain true to your heart’s desires you will find happiness. This granny desired to live, and now I am still living. I’ve lived for so long, and even if I’ve suffered a little, I am content and can develop my own happiness…she on the other hand lives in glory and splendor, but before the old master passes away doesn’t she still have to spend her days as if cock-fighting….”
“Alright, that’s enough. Talking about granny’s business is depressing. I wanted to comfort you initially, but ended up having the opposite effect.” Grandma Wang smiled and waved a hand. “Tell me what’s going on with you. I can tell you’ve got a lot on your mind.”
Xiao Hua didn’t omit anything and explained the situation.
Grandma Wang finished listening and sighed: “A person’s attention span is limited. You just continue your deaf and mute act. Whatever they end up doing has nothing to do with you as long as you don’t get involved. At most, they can accuse you of not doing your job properly. Once things really start going down, I reckon they won’t have the spare attention to continue blaming you.”
Xiao Hua’s pent up emotions were instantly released. That’s right, she had gotten a little obsessed. Trying too hard is as bad as not trying enough. Since she had been placed in this situation, there was no way to stay out of things completely. As long as she didn’t meddle, what harm would getting some complaints do?
Xiao Hua also understood that after coming back to life, she was used to being on edge which was why she ended up in this dilemma.
With her problem solved, Xiao Hua and Grandma Wang continued chatting for a while. Only after seeing it was getting late did she leave.
Having made up her mind, she waited until dinner was served in the wayside pavilion, only making her way to the guest residence after she was done eating.
Bi Yuan’s eyes fixed upon her the moment she showed up, and found an excuse to bring her outside. She didn’t complain about her tardiness, and instead asked her to keep an eye on Cui Lan.
Xiao Hua made a confused expression. Bi Yuan saw that this lass didn’t really seem to understand but it also wasn’t appropriate to explain too much. She could only repeat her instructions one last time.
After speaking she hurriedly went back to the room. The young master was about to eat, and she couldn’t allow the other two flirty hussies to be alone with him.
The 4th young master went to practice his writing in his study after eating. The three senior maids crowded around him once again.
Xiao Hua stood outside without entering.
Only after the night grew long did the young master get ready for bed. Liu Ye and Bi Yuan took their leave, and Bi Yuan gave Xiao Hua a few meaningful glances on her way out.
Serving by the young master’s side was something Xiao Hua had yet to do in this life, and she wasn’t planning on fighting for the opportunity at hand either. In any case, Cui Lan was more than happy to fulfill that role.
The 4th young master liked cleanliness, and would always take a bath if it wasn’t in the middle of winter. Xiao Hua took two junior maids to fill up the bathtub with water, and allowed them to take their leave. She also left, leaving behind Cui Lan who presumably wanted to stay.
The 4th young master stayed inside washing for a long time, during which Xiao Hua heard the sound of water splashing and Cui Lan making coy and tender sounds.
The nightscape was mesmerizing. The nightscape was also a cover for many dirty deeds.
She remembered in her past life she had climbed the bed also while on night duty, except she didn’t have Cui Lan’s daring and instead was faced with her own timidity and bashfulness. She had slipped Liu Ye who was on duty with her some laxatives. At that time the situation hadn’t gotten as chaotic as the present, and no one was particularly on guard against the other, allowing her to take advantage. Only after the story of her bed climbing had gotten out did the others start guarding against each other.
Cui Lan came out with a red face, allowing Xiao Hua to call the others to clean up the bath. Cui Lan herself didn’t notice, but Xiao Hua saw her robe was half open, revealing her undergarment.
After the bath was cleaned up and the junior maids had left, Xiao Hua and Cui Lan blew out the lamp in the main room, leaving only the two lamps inside the bedroom. Xiao Hua didn’t wait for Cui Lan to say anything before grabbing some bedding and heading to the study to take a nap.
Cui Lan let out a smile, and with a sway of her hips entered the inner room again.
The night was very quiet. Although Xiao Hua was some distance away from the inner room, she could still hear the sounds coming from there.
There was the sound of the 4th young master laughing softly and Cui Lan’s coy and tender sounds, and slowly the noises started becoming abnormal.
Xiao Hua was only able to block out the noises by covering her head with her blankets, and fell asleep in a daze.
She slept exceptionally well, even Xiao Hua herself didn’t know how she managed to sleep so deeply. She only woke up when Bi Yuan came at dawn to shake her awake.
Bi Yuan’s eyes glared daggers at her, her gaze full of cold anger.
“Why did you sleep so deeply?” It seemed that the young master hadn’t awoken yet, so Bi Yuan kept her voice low.
Xiao Hua said in an aggrieved manner: “Big sis Cui Lan said I kept getting in the way of her work, and so decided she would take the first shift and I would take the second…..I also don’t know why she didn’t wake me up.”
Bi Yuan desperately glared at her once more before turning around and leaving.
Xiao Hua knew the situation wasn’t good so she cleaned up her bedding and snuck away to wash up. She dawdled a long while before making her way back to the guest house.
After arriving, she saw that the 4th young master was no longer there. The three senior maids where inside with their swords drawn and bows bent. Xiao Hua did not dare enter, remaining outside while looking in.
Bi Yuan’s face was a shade of green and red, and she couldn’t resist going up and giving Cui Lan a slap.
Based on the young master’s intimate interactions with Cui Lan in the morning, and Cui Lan hurriedly clearing out the bedding after he left, it didn’t take a genius to figure out what happened.
This slut Cui Lan had climbed into the young master’s bed!
The realization left Bi Yuan’s head reeling, as well as feeling extreme rage. Just as she was feeling content about having the estate madam on her side and being so close to getting placed in the young master’s chambers, Cui Lan’s actions truly poured a bucket of cold water over her head.
“You lowly hussy!” Bi Yuan rushed up for another blow, but Liu Ye restrained her from the side, saying repeatedly: “Big sis Bi Yuan, you definitely can’t, definitely can’t!”
Cui Lan covered her face, and suddenly jumped up, probably feeling confident all of a sudden and angrily glared at Bi Yuan.
“What gives you the right to hit me?”
“Because you, because you – ” Bi Yuan suddenly didn’t know what to say, and could only say angrily with her face red and breath short: “Because you are shameless!”
Exactly, she was shameless. Bi Yuan never expected Cui Lan to move so quickly, unable to wait to this extent before climbing into the 4th young master’s bed. She didn’t even have a chance to guard against it.
Cui Lan let out a snort of laughter and raised her head.
“Whether or not I’m shameless, what does that have to do with you!?”
It had to be said, Cui Lan’s retort was pretty good.
That’s right, what does someone else being shameless have to do with Bi Yuan? Whether or not someone kept their face, it wasn’t as though it was Bi Yuan’s face.
Hearing this, Xiao Hua’s shoulders shook as she stifled her laughter, not daring to make a sound.
Bi Yuan was probably in a blind rage, shrieking as she lunged forward again only to be restrained by Liu Ye from behind.
“You were shameless enough to climb into young master’s bed, of course it’s my business….”
Cui Lan interrupted her before she could finish her scolding. Cui Lan’s hands were folded across her chest, her gaze sizing Bi Yuan up and down, her smile which stretched from ear to ear was somehow also scathing.
“Big sis Bi Yuan, aren’t you sticking your nose in a little too many things? You’re in charge of young master’s food and young master’s drink, but are you also in charge of his bed? Who do you think you are? You’re his senior maid, not his wife!” Cui Lan said in a sickly sweet voice, her tone and words were truly irritating.
In an instant Bi Yuan was enraged. She threw off Liu Ye and rushed up, pulling on Cui Lan’s hair.
Cui Lan saw Bi Yuan approaching, rolled up her sleeves and started fighting with Bi Yuan.
Cui Lan had endured Bi Yuan’s scolding for long enough, and was out for revenge. Her blows were extremely crafty, trying her best to aim towards Bi Yuan’s face.
You think you can take me, with your skinny figure that was pampered from birth? I, Cui Lan, wasn’t like you with such a good mother. I raised myself up from the lowest ranks of sweeper girls, Cui Lan spat darkly in her heart.
Xiao Hua watched frozen from the side. They really came to blows?
In her previous life it wasn’t as if Xiao Hua hadn’t fought with the girls in the young master’s room before, but at that time there would always be some common maids helping on the side so she didn’t lose out too much. At most someone would get knocked down. Now as a spectator, Xiao Hua was filled with a sense of disbelief.
Liu Ye watched laughing from the side, no longer trying to stop the fight.
Only after the two fought for some time and Cui Lan signaled her with her eyes did Liu Ye rush up acting concerned to pull the two apart.
Bi Yuan lacked stamina and was tired from the fighting, panting non-stop. Cui Lan had also wanted to stop, and the two separated on either side.
Only after the two split up did Xiao Hua see their conditions clearly. Cui Lan’s hair had been pulled into a mess, and her clothes were crooked, but Bi Yuan was in a worse state. Not only was her hair like a bird’s nest, her clothes were also torn, revealing her undergarments. Her face had several claw marks from Cui Lan’s nails.
Cui Lan yelled from one side: “Get off your high horse. We weren’t born as fortunate as you, but we are more honest with our actions. We take what we want, unlike some pretentious people who clearly desperately want it, but need to put on an act of modesty.
Bi Yuan’s eyes turned red with anger, “you—”
Liu Ye fanned the flames on the side: “Oh no, big sis Bi Yuan your undergarments are showing. Oh no, your face is also –”
Bi Yuan promptly found a mirror and took a look.
After looking, she let out a wail and burst into tears. She covered her face and ran out, holding her clothes shut.
Xiao Hua didn’t have time to react yet before hearing Liu Ye say to Cui Lan: “You clawed open her face, won’t you get into trouble with Matron Qu?”
Cui Lan was also exhausted, and found a place to sit before smiling in satisfaction: “Don’t worry, I controlled myself. It’ll only cause her to hide from people for a few days, but won’t leave any scars. Besides, with her haughty personality she would be too embarrassed to go snitch about being beaten by me. Not just that, the current me is also no longer afraid of that Matron Qu.”
Liu Ye thought about it and realized she was right, and the two laughed in satisfaction.
After laughing, they suddenly remembered Xiao Hua’s existence. Their gazes moved simultaneously onto her body. Xiao Hua let out a forced laugh and said: “Both of you big sisters just pretend I don’t exist. I didn’t hear anything.”
Liu Ye thought Xiao Hua had really been quite honest. Apart from using slightly unscrupulous means to get promoted to senior maid, she had remained low key all this time and refrained from fighting with them over anything. Liu Ye was even more relieved, but still warned: “Keep your mouth shut.”
Xiao Hua continuously nodded her head and no longer looked their way, finding a cleaning rag and pretended to look busy.
When the young master returned at noon and didn’t see Bi Yuan, he briefly asked about her. Cui Lan implied that Bi Yuan hadn’t been feeling well and managed to avoid further questioning. Liu Ye also added some interruptions and acted coquettishly on the side, so the young master no longer spared any thought to where Bi Yuan had gone off to.
Xiao Hua clearly knew the truth, but could she accuse Cui Lan of lying in broad daylight? Of course not, so she maintained her silence.