“Why are you here?”
Xiao Hua’s expression was shocked and incredulous.
The western pavilion, her pavilion, her house. Someone was actually in it, and this someone was openly sitting in her favorite spot under the window. This person wasn’t just anyone.
It was someone who should have vanished over two years ago.
Xiao Hua would never forget this person in her life. The pair of peach blossom eyes and that familiar face.
It was that young girl called Qian Xi.
Oh, no, she couldn’t be called a young girl anymore. Having not seen her in two years, Qian Xi had already become a rather beautiful woman. Her hair was brushed in an elegant style and the ornaments on her head glistened. She wore a light, pale grey skirt jacket and appeared exceptionally alluring.
Xiao Hua snapped out of it very quickly and asked Eunuch Fu who was on the side, “Why is she here?”
Eunuch Fu saw the Madam Hua who shouldn’t have appeared at this time, and complained bitterly in his heart. He gave the Jing Prince a glance and also didn’t know what to do.
This glance pierced Xiao Hua. She turned and looked at the Jing Prince in disbelief. She then looked at that Qian Xi who was wearing her clothes and adorned in her jewelry.
“You didn’t want to bring us back. Was it because of her?”
“No, listen to me….”
“This is why you wouldn’t bring me back?” The slender white-jade finger pointed at the equally shocked Qian Xi. Xiao Hua looked at the Jing Prince’s eyes and said: “This is the exceptional circumstance you were talking about?!”
Following these words which were spoken one at a time, Xiao Hua’s expression also chilled. The tears suspended in her eyes also froze.
“Actually you could have just explained it, no need to find excuses. This servant concubine has always been very understanding of propriety.”
She truly, truly didn’t expect that the reason he didn’t want to bring her back was this. She had thought of the Jing Consort, thought of many things, but had never thought of this person!
She was clearly a stranger, someone who should have vanished without a trace long ago. Why did she suddenly appear in her pavilion, in front of her…
Eunuch Fu should have sent this person away two years ago, but she ended up appearing at this time….
How long had he kept her hidden?
“You’ve kept her hidden for over two years? Or were you not hiding her, but instead—-hiding me?”
“This is the reason for all this?” Xiao Hua pointed to her surroundings as she spoke, “and also why the children have to remain secret?”
The Jing Prince stood there without speaking, his expression slowly becoming withdrawn.
“Luo Jing, you’ve made me feel so estranged, you’ve made me feel so shameless! I should have been tactful, I shouldn’t have forced you to bring us back. If you had explained, I wouldn’t have pestered you over and over to bring us back….”
“If you want to think of it this way, that’s also fine.”
After he spoke, the Jing Prince’s expression took on the apathy from long ago. The sort of complete apathy that shouldn’t appear on a mortal, but rather on a heavenly saint.
Her alluring yet extremely rigid face was no longer able to maintain its expression, and finally cracked. The moment her tears started flowing, Xiao Hua chose to cover her eyes and turn her back, crouching down on the floor.
It wasn’t that sort of hysterical crying, nor was it the spoiled sort of crying she used when she forced him to bring her back. This sort of crying was silent, but her frail shoulders trembled lightly. She wanted nothing more than to hide the despair she felt at her world collapsing around her in an instant.
The residence was scarily quiet. Qian Xi’s expression was panicked and she kept looking at the three of them. She wanted to say something but after being viciously glared at by Eunuch Fu, she closed her mouth.
“This humble prince, will have people send you back to that place.”
The trembling shoulders jerked fiercely before freezing. After a long while, she stood up with her back facing everyone.
Actually her tears hadn’t stopped, and they couldn’t be stopped. But once he did such a thing, she wasn’t willing to cry to him ever again. Because Xiao Hua had known a long, long time ago that a woman’s tears weren’t worth anything. Especially towards a man who no longer has her in his heart. Especially towards someone who had another woman, it was better to laugh than to cry.
But she wasn’t able to laugh at this time.
At this moment, Chun Cao and Ding Xiang came in carrying the two children. Seeing the situation inside, both stood still in fear.
Xiao Hua wiped her tears and walked up, grabbing Yi Yi from Chun Cao’s hands.
“Chun Cao, remember my little box from back then?”
Chun Cao was still a little dazed. She looked at the Jing Prince, then at Qian Xi and then at Xiao Hua.
“It’s precisely that box from before. Go grab it, and we’ll leave.”
After speaking, Xiao Hua walked out carrying Yi Yi. Ding Xiang could only follow behind. Chun Cao quickly snapped out of it. She no longer cared about status, and directly ran past the Jing Prince.
“Why are you going into my bedroom?” Qian Xi suddenly shrieked, and grabbed Chun Cao who was running past her.
Chun Cao laughed coldly and sent a slap flying over.
“Peh, your bedroom? Why don’t you look in the mirror. Are you worthy of it?”
After slapping the person, Chun Cao didn’t delay and entered the bedroom. Before long, she carried a small box out. For some reason, her face was filled with tears. She didn’t look at the other three standing in the room and walked out.
“Madam, I have the thing. Where should we go?”
“Away from here.”
Zhuo’er and Yi Yi who were being carried both had vacant expressions. The two seemed to have sensed it as well, and their large eyes looked towards the main residence but they didn’t dare make a sound. Even Yi Yi who always loved to chatter didn’t say anything.
The few people left the western pavilion. The carriages in the alley were still there, and were just about to unload everything.
Seeing the madam get back onto the carriage, the palace maids and eunuchs on the side no longer dared to move.
“Madam, are we really leaving? That’s our pavilion, why do we have to yield it to her!?” Chun Cao said with an angry expression.
“That was never our pavilion.” After Xiao Hua spoke, she looked at Ding Xiang. “Ding Xiang, do you want to come with me? We may never return after leaving.”
Ding Xiang smiled, “Where madam goes, Ding Xiang will naturally follow.”
Within the western pavilion’s main residence, the Jing Prince sat for a long time in Xiao Hua’s usual spot. Only when he heard footsteps from behind him did he speak.
“The guards are still those people from before?”
“Is she still crying? Were the children frightened?”
Eunuch Fu endured for a long time but still said with a sigh: “Highness, why did you do this? Since you had already decided, then why did you bring her back? Since you brought her back, why did you allow this misunderstanding to go on? This old servant has never seen the madam so upset.”
“She wouldn’t stop pestering, and even said she was going to jump into the river with the children. This humble prince couldn’t convince her…..” The Jing Prince’s tone was extremely weird. He clearly wanted to sound amused, but couldn’t conceal the tremble in his voice.
Eunuch Fu also didn’t know what to say, and could only stand there with a distressed look.
After a long, long time, the Jing Prince finally stood.
“Highness, what should we do with Qian Xi?”
“Proceed as planned.”
Eunuch Fu sighed, “Yes.”
Xiao Hua took the two children as well as Ding Xiang and Chun Cao back to that small town called Ping Zhen.
The day she arrived, she slept the entire day in a blur. The next day she awoke bright and early. This time there were a lot of people who came along. There were around ten guards and the children’s wet nurses and palace maids.
She had Ding Xiang call over the guard captain Zhao Da and gave him a hundred taels of silver, asking him to buy a small pavilion within the town. It didn’t have to be too big, one compound was enough. She specifically added that anything priced above a hundred taels wasn’t needed, and also anything too big wasn’t needed.
Zhao Da was completely confused, but seeing madam’s determined attitude he could only take the silver and go buy a pavilion.
Xiao Hua returned to the inner room. Chun Cao said worriedly to Ding Xiang: “Something definitely happened. Madam is serious this time.”
Ding Xiang was confused by madam’s weird actions and hearing Chun Cao say this, she asked: “What do you mean by that?”
Chun Cao’s face was scrunched up, and she muttered repeatedly, “Definitely, madam is definitely angry this time.”
“Speak properly, don’t speak in fragments.”
Chun Cao looked hesitantly at Ding Xiang, “You don’t know this since you weren’t by madam’s side back then. Back when she was still a low-ranked palace maid, we lived in the same room. During those days, we were happiest when we counted our salary and planned out our lives after being released from the estate. Madam told me back then that once we left the estate, we would buy a small pavilion with our saved silver and start a small business as our livelihood.”
Ding Xiang’s face was shocked, “This, this…..”
“You should know that madam usually never touches that box of hers. In the past, she would put all of her salary into that box. When madam left this time, she didn’t take anything with her, and only had me bring along that box. What else do you think this could mean!?” Chun Cao suddenly remembered something, and said urgently: “Oh no, oh no. We left too hurriedly and I forget to bring my own small box. That was several months of savings!”
“What on earth are you talking about? How could his highness let madam worry about her livelihood?!”
“Aiya, forget it if you don’t believe me. You’ll see in the future. Looks like his highness has truly broken madam’s heart. I’m going to go console her….” After speaking, Chun Cao hurried into the inner room.
The facts proved Chun Cao’s words to be correct.
Zhao Da didn’t understand Madam Hua’s intentions. He took the silver, strolled around and returned with it once again.
After he was called over by Madam Hua, who asked about the pavilion he purchased. Seeing madam’s solemn attitude, she didn’t appear to be joking. Zhao Da could only say that he didn’t see anything suitable in the morning, and will continue looking in the afternoon.
Zhao Da left that afternoon, and returned in the evening with the deed to a pavilion.
He spent a total of eighty-some taels, and there were a dozen or so taels remaining. In the past, Xiao Hua would have bestowed the rest as a reward. This time however, she had Chun Cao put the silver back into the box.
The next day, Xiao Hua got up early. She left Ding Xiang with the children and had Zhao Da take her and Chun Cao to go see the pavilion.
It wasn’t large, with only a single compound. It was dainty and cozy. Past the gates was a screen wall, and beyond that was the entire pavilion. It had three buildings. The eastern side was one wing, the right side was the kitchen, firewood storage and general storage. There was a well inside the pavilion, as well as a large, lush banyan tree.
The location was very decent. There were people living on either side. Walking out from this road, they would reach the main road after a few more steps. It was a peaceful spot within a bustling area, and was very convenient.
After looking at the residence, Xiao Hua was extremely satisfied. She took Chun Cao back on the carriage, and had Zhao Da take them to a fabric store. After entering, they ignored the shopkeeper’s recommendations of various fine silks, and bought a piece of common cotton cloth.
Zhao Da was going to pay but Xiao Hua didn’t let him. She paid using her own silver. She had Zhao Da take the large piece of cloth onto the carriage.
After getting back on the carriage, Chun Cao asked: “Madam, you’ve really decided.”
Xiao Hua didn’t give a straight answer, and said, “Don’t you feel that small pavilion is very nice? Although it’s a little small, it’s enough for us to live in. Of course, if you aren’t willing you can go back to the estate. The estate wouldn’t mistreat you guys.”
Chun Cao panicked with tears in her eyes, “Chun Cao will naturally follow madam. We decided this long ago, you can’t go back on your words.”
“I naturally wouldn’t go back on my words. I’m just worried you won’t be able to live such a hard life.”
“Which of us didn’t come from a difficult background, how can we not be used to it?” Chun Cao wiped her eyes and said: “Why do you have to sulk at his highness, why should we let that damn vixen benefit?!”
Xiao Hua’s expression froze, and she said with a frown: “Don’t mention them again. You can go back if you do.”
“Fine, fine, fine. This servant won’t mention it anymore.”
The following days, Xiao Hua took people out to purchase various things and sent them to the small pavilion. Zhao Da grew more and more worried as he watched, and sent someone over with a letter to the estate.
Eunuch Fu received the letter and looked anxious. The Jing Prince was silent for a long time after reading it.
After purchasing various things, Xiao Hua took Ding Xiang over to take a look. During this time, she asked her once again if she wanted to continue following her. Ding Xiang pretty much understood madam’s meaning at this point, and merely said, “Where madam goes, Ding Xiang follows.”
They didn’t pick any auspicious day. Xiao Hua moved in the day after with the two children as well as Ding Xiang and Chun Cao. The children’s wet nurses and palace maids weren’t brought along, and only Zhao Da came with two of the guards.
After Xiao Hua entered the pavilion, she had Zhao Da take his men outside. Once they left, she shut the pavilion doors.
From this point on, this little pavilion belonged to her, Ding Xiang, Chun Cao and the two children.
The bitterly compelled Repressed Jing cries out: It really wasn’t this humble prince’s purposeful arrangement. It was really a coincidence.
Does anyone believe it?
This author knows that everyone will definitely believe it, right?
Everything mentioned above is the truth. The Jing Prince can only make the best of the situation.
Here it is, final regular chapter of the week. There’s always a bigger cliff, mwahahaha.