There was constant knocking on the pavilion doors as Zhao Da felt like dying outside.
After he sent the letter to the estate, the response had been simple: let madam do as she wished, just keep watching over her. Well, great. Now he couldn’t even do that since she kicked them out.
Xiao Hua held Yi Yi and Zhuo’er’s hands, taking them to look around their new home. She told Ding Xiang to tell those outside to go back, and not to come again.
Ding Xiang went to relay her message, and it wasn’t clear what she told them but the knocking had finally stopped.
Yi Yi and Zhuo’er were both extremely silent these past two days. They seemed to know what had happened, and their little faces were unsmiling. However, they were forgetful, and their faces revealed curiosity when Xiao Hua took them around the house.
Yi Yi puckered her mouth and said “father”.
Xiao Hua knew that the children missed the Jing Prince, but she also didn’t know how to explain things to them. She could only pretend she didn’t hear her. How long could such young children remember someone for? They’ll probably forget in a few more days.
The main residence had three rooms: a living room, a bedroom, and another room that Xiao Hua fixed up as the children’s room. She had intended on letting the children sleep with her, but Chun Cao said that there would be times when she couldn’t attend to them. It would be better if she or Ding Xiang had a place to help at that time.
The eastern wing had two rooms. Chun Cao and Ding Xiang took one each. A total of five rooms, not too big and not too small, just enough for everyone to fit.
Once they settled in, it was already noon. It was time for lunch. The rice, oil, salt, sauces and various vegetables were all purchased. The kitchen equipment was gathered as well.
But how to cook? Who could cook?
There were three adults. Despite coming from poor backgrounds, despite being servants in the past, none of them had needed to cook before.
The three already started worrying on their first day of moving.
Xiao Hua had once learned a few things from Nana He, and she said she could make the food. Chun Cao said she once burnt wood in her previous household, and that she would start the fire. Ding Xiang who was the most capable in the past was now unable to help with anything. She could only go take care of the little young master and little young mistress.
Ding Xiang couldn’t really feel at ease, and didn’t dare to go too far. She grabbed a little stool and sat outside the kitchen while keeping an eye on the playing children.
This meal took quite a while to prepare. In the end, there were three dishes and a soup on the table. Two vegetable dishes and a plate of stir fried chicken. There was also a cabbage, tofu, sliced meat soup. The dishes and soup were quite decent, the color appearing to be normal. Only the rice was a little soggy, and there were also burned pieces of crusted rice. Luckily the rice was still cooked through, and after picking out the yellow pieces it was still edible.
Xiao Hua chose to take a bowl of rice and test it out first. Only after feeling it was edible did she call Ding Xiang and Chun Cao to come eat.
The two weren’t willing to eat at the same table as Xiao Hua. Xiao Hua said there was only one dining table in this place. Did they plan on eating crouched in the corner? She then said not to fuss about these things in the future. It was just the three of them here, and instead of worrying about these things they should focus on figuring out how to pass their days well.
Only then did Ding Xiang and Chun Cao take a seat.
The two children sat on the small stool and Xiao Hua sat in front of them with a bowl of rice and a spoon. Zhuo’er and Yi Yi ate one bite at a time rather harmoniously. The two little ones didn’t feel like the rice in their mouths was any worse than what they had before. They felt their mom was playing games with them, and both sat obediently on their stools, opening their mouths when prompted.
Their meal was uninterrupted. Ding Xiang and Chun Cao now understood why the madam didn’t allow them to help.
“They have to get used to living without anyone serving them. Isn’t this pretty good?”
It was pretty good, but Chun Cao still felt that madam and the two children were being wronged.
Chun Cao understood the meaning behind Xiao Hua’s actions, but still couldn’t understand her fundamental intentions. According to her thoughts, even if his highness had someone new, even if the madam was arguing with his highness, he still wouldn’t mistreat madam in her daily life. Why did madam have to do all this?
Actually Xiao Hua also didn’t understand why she was doing this. Back then, her subconscious reaction was to have Chun Cao grab everything that belonged to her. She didn’t want anything else.
After getting here, the initial thought in her mind crystallized.
That’s right. She didn’t want anything that didn’t belong to her. She didn’t understand why, but merely listened to her own heart.
She sat in this not luxurious house and fed her two children some not tasty food. They were both very obedient, and ate very happily. Xiao Hua suddenly felt rather emotional, but she also felt happy and hopeful for the future. These complicated emotions intertwined within her mind.
No matter if she didn’t have him. She still had these two children.
Since she planned on remaining here, she had to plan for the future.
That night, Xiao Hua counted up all her belongings.
Back at the Hall of Splendor, she made less than twenty taels of silver a month. After moving to the western pavilion, her monthly allowance of silver became twenty taels. Not counting the various bestowals, she had saved up around five hundred taels over the past two years. This was all her own, and didn’t include anything given to her by the Jing Prince.
After buying this pavilion and various other things, she had spent around a hundred and fifty taels. Now Xiao Hua had a little less than four hundred taels left.
Four hundred taels for three women and two children could barely be sustained for around ten years assuming they ate plain rice and vegetables. They would have to figure out how to live beyond that.
But with her savings in hand, Xiao Hua didn’t feel too rushed in establishing a means of living. No matter, she had time to slowly think about it.
Xiao Hua put the box of savings into the cabinet. Yi Yi’s garbled laughter sounded out from the bathroom.
Before long, Ding Xiang carried Yi Yi out wrapped in a large towel. Yi Yi was very excited as she waved her arms and legs. Zhuo’er was carried out the same way, and although he was also smiling, he was much more restrained than Yi Yi.
The two naked children were placed in bed. Chun Cao went to grab their clothes while Ding Xiang used a hand towel to wipe them down. Yi Yi didn’t let her, wriggling around on the bed. Xiao Hua grabbed the towel from her and patted Yi Yi’s little behind.
“Alright, don’t fuss. Otherwise you’ll catch a cold.”
“Catch a cold, catch a cold.” Yi Yi mumbled.
“Chun Cao, put on her clothes.”
“Chun Cao put on clothes, Chun Cao put on clothes….”
Chun Cao looked at the cute little young mistress, wanting to grab her into her arms and give her a good rub, “Alright little young mistress. Let’s put on some clothes.”
Xiao Hua was wiping her son down and interrupted, “Don’t call her little young mistress in the future. Call her by name.”
“How is that appropriate? The little young mistress is the little young mistress.”
“In the future she’s not a little young mistress anymore, so call her Yi Yi. Also, don’t call me madam anymore as well.”
“Yi Yi, Yi Yi….” The chatty Yi Yi interrupted on the side.
Chun Cao looked troubled, “How can that be allowed!”
“It’s too eye-catching to be called madam and young mistress while living here. It’s better to remain inconspicuous.”
“It’s decided. Listen to me.”
Zhuo’er and Yi Yi both got dressed. Yi Yi went to harass her brother, pulling his arm and pulling his ear. Zhuo’er got annoyed and his little face wrinkled up. He went over to the foot of the bed.
“Yi Yi, how about sleeping with mom tonight?”
Yi Yi’s large eyes flashed, and said cutely: “Ok.”
“Brother as well, let’s all sleep together.”
The children played a little longer and grew tired. Xiao Hua put Yi Yi and Zhuo’er to bed, and slept on the outside to block them in. Ding Xiang saw that they had all turned in, and followed Xiao Hua’s instructions to put the lamp on the bedside table.
“Madam, why not let Ding Xiang watch over them tonight. You can’t rest properly while attending to the little young mistress and little young master.”
Xiao Hua didn’t mind and said: “I can rest properly. Also, don’t call me madam anymore.”
Ding Xiang sighed helplessly and agreed.
Zhao Da sent news back to the Jing Prince Estate. Not only was Eunuch Fu stunned, the Jing Prince was frozen as well.
“Madam is really stubborn this time, kicking all the people out. She only took the young master and mistress and only has two people serving by her side. How is she supposed to live?!”
Eunuch Fu’s face wrinkled from heartache, and he continuously sighed.
“According to Zhao Da, life in the small pavilion is extremely simple. He saw Ding Xiang buying groceries twice, and it was always some cabbages and tofu and similar cheap food. How can such things be eaten?! He had bought some things and sent them over, but they wouldn’t even open the door for him. The madam even sent a box back, here—-” Eunuch Fu placed a box on the table as he spoke.
The Jing Prince opened it and saw several pieces of women’s jewelry inside. The hairpin on top was extremely familiar.
It was her favorite butterfly hairpin.
She even sent this back.
From the western pavilion, she had only taken one set of clothing each for her and the children. She didn’t take anything else with her. Now she had even sent back the jewelry that was on her at the time.
She really didn’t want anything anymore? She didn’t even want him anymore.
The Jing Prince rubbed the butterfly hairpin. His hands trembled.
“Highness, what should we do about the madam!?”
“Have Zhao Da protect her secretly. As for the rest, she can do as she wishes—let’s just do this for now.”
“But how are they to survive with just three women and two children?!”
“The box she took before she left contained her salary. There shouldn’t be a problem for a period of time.”
Eunuch Fu still wanted to say something but was interrupted by the Jing Prince.
“Take your leave.”
Seeing madam send back even her favorite hairpin, Ding Xiang and Chun Cao who had still wanted to persuade Xiao Hua now didn’t dare say anything anymore. They threw all their thoughts out the window and wholeheartedly focused on their life in the small pavilion.
Chun Cao and Ding Xiang who didn’t know how to cook at first started to learn. They also did laundry and kept the courtyard clean. Ding Xiang was older and steadier. She was responsible for buying groceries and other necessities from the market.
Xiao Hua even had Ding Xiang purchase some chicks, and prepared to raise them so they could get some eggs.
Ever since the chicks appeared in the pavilion, Zhuo’er and Yi Yi were never bored again. They would often see the two go “cluck cluck cluck” as they went to play with the chicks. After playing for a while, the children noticed the chicks searching for worms to eat. They learned to use sticks to dig up worms in the ground for the chicks.
Ding Xiang had prevented them from doing so at first, feeling that this wasn’t something the little young master and mistress should be doing. After being stopped by Xiao Hua, she could only watch helplessly as their little young master and mistress played around with birds in the dirt.
The little sets of clothing became dirty from their playing. If it weren’t for their fair skin and exquisite features, they would appear no different from commoners.
Xiao Hua’s group lived there for over half a month before their neighbors came over.
It was an auntie from the house next door who came over with some homemade buns. She said that she noticed someone moving in next door, but had never seen anyone coming out and thus came over for a look.
Auntie Ma had lived there for several decades. Her family was a simple one. There was her and her husband, along with their son, his wife and a grandson. Auntie Ma was a very warm person, and said that close neighbors were better than distant relatives. She also said that since this place was filled with women, they should feel free to call out if they needed anything.
Xiao Hua and Auntie Ma’s pavilions shared a wall, and they could indeed communicate just by calling out.
To reciprocate her kindness and also to make things more convenient in the future, Xiao Hua also sent some buns over. These buns weren’t homemade, but rather purchased on the street. As of now, Xiao Hua’s group wasn’t skilled enough to make their own buns yet.
Always felt that in ancient times, the love within the rich households, prince estates and palaces seemed to be lacking something. This author thought about it for a long time. It’s self-respect.
The different in status creates an insurmountable distance. It’s the relationship between a subordinate and superior, which requires giving and accepting. What if one day the man is no longer willing to give? What if you lose it?
Therefore, this author feels that one has to be able to survive after losing this.
Xiao Hua isn’t aware of it, but her current actions are guided by her self-esteem. Of course part of it is also her sulking. She’s telling the Jing Prince that without him, she can still survive. Or perhaps she is telling herself that without him, she can still survive (this is the worst case scenario). Her mood is very complicated.
Many readers have different opinions on the last two chapters. This author has a lot of explanations, but perhaps everyone feels this author is just stirring things up. Hehe.
Actually this melodrama was prepared long ago.
This setting is based on the excellent emotional foundation Xiao Hua has with the Jing Prince. The two of them understand each other very well.
- Why didn’t the Jing Prince just explain? Xiao Hua would understand.
What would happen if he explained? There are only two possibilities. One is that Xiao Hua leaves with the children or two, Xiao Hua remains while the children leave. If Xiao Hua left, she would feel guilty and blame herself, because she would be leaving the one she loved behind to face the danger by himself. If Xiao Hua didn’t leave and sent the children away, the two little ones wouldn’t have their parents, and may never have their parents with them (if they both ended up dying). As a mother, this would definitely break her heart and be constantly on her mind.
The Jing Prince is someone who clearly knew this woman was acting up as she used the “crying first, making a fuss second and hanging herself third” playbook, but still couldn’t hold back his heartache and ended up going back on his original intentions, bringing her back to the estate. (Of course, things hadn’t gotten truly dangerous yet. The Jing Prince was just planning ahead. If it was really at that point, he would forcibly send them away, no doubt about that) He knew that telling Xiao Hua the truth would make her suffer, so how could he bear to tell her? There are many types of love. This could be counted as Repressed Jing’s own way of expressing it. Can’t be helped.
- Why did Xiao Hua’s IQ suddenly drop, resorting to a tactic like crying first, making a fuss second and hanging herself third? And why couldn’t she see through such an obvious misunderstanding?
Xiao Hua’s IQ was never low. It’s because she noticed some hints that she would use such a pestering method to make the Jing Prince bring her back to the estate. After getting back to the western pavilion, she finally felt relieved when she then saw Qian Xi. With so many things going on, any woman would be scatterbrained. Especially with her doubts over the past three years (hiding the children, the western pavilion being closed up), and also Qian Xi being an eyesore, (this part is thanks to old Fu’s actions back then. We weren’t wrong in scolding him, huh. It left too deep of an impression), so it’s inevitable that she would associate everything together and come to the worst conclusion. A woman in love isn’t always logical, especially under extraordinary circumstances.
- Will Xiao Hua always be this foolish?
Hmm, this is a profound question. Can this author say that Xiao Hua isn’t actually foolish? It’s normal to be occasionally muddle-headed. Once she had time to calm down, she will quickly think things through. This is why Xiao Hua wanted to buy her own place to live in, and also kicked everyone out. One reason is to prepare for the worst case scenario. She had to be able to survive without him. Another reason is because she is sulking heavily. She was subconsciously saying with her sulking, “aren’t you going to hurry over and surrender?”
Haha Jing Prince, when are you coming over to surrender, huh?