Upon hearing that Gu ZiShu and his Second uncle’s Second son went to visit the ornately decorated boat, the teacher’s moustache flared up in anger but there was nothing he could do about it.
As this was not the first time, the teacher wanted to talk to Gu ZhiMo about it, however, he was stopped by the Second and Third Uncle.
In the end, the teacher simply gave up as he felt that indulging in beauty is not a big deal.
Both Second uncle’s eldest son and third uncle’s son gave each other a look, concealing the smile in their eyes and continued to study hard.
It was said that the second uncle took great pains as he sacrificed his own son to ruin Gu ZhiMo’s only son. Yin Shi protected her son fiercely, hence, they could not kill him, and thus, they decided to take drastic measures(1). Fortunately, the Second young master likes having fun and also was just a second son, it was ok to give up on him.
[!]: 釜底抽薪 Fu Di Chou Xin – [take away the firewood from under the cauldron;(fig) take a drastic measure to deal with a situation]
The Eldest Young Master sneered as he slowly cleaned up the paper and inkstone on the table.
When his mother gave birth to him and ultimately passed away due to unexplained dystocia, not only did his grandparents(!) did not seek justice for his mother. They quickly sent his mother’s sister to be married into the family
This Second wife was not only the sister of his mother but also had a bad relationship with her which often result in conflicts prior to marriage. So naturally, she would not care about the eldest son when he was young and thus, he suffered a lot. This caused the eldest son to feel resentment towards the Second wife.
Had it not been his father’s true love to his mother, and doted and cared for him personally when he was young, he reckons he would not have lived to this age. Over the years, he had matured and is no longer a domineering pampered child liked before.
However, the reason for this attitude was because she was not cautious against his scheme which caused his father to dislike her. With his interference, No matter how superb his stepmother schemed, she could not win back father’s love. Even his detested younger brother was turned into a playboy.
Considered this as his revenge for his mother.
The Eldest Young Master held back his emotions, acting indifferently as he arranged his stuff properly.
Besides the Eldest Young Master is the Third Uncle’s fourth son.
The Fourth Young Master dislike being fourth in ranking as he was not only of the same age as Gu ZiShu but was also born just one month after him. As his parents had instilled their ideas to him, he felt that Gu ZiShu is an eyesore. Like the Eldest Young Master, he was motivated and hence he allied with him. However, it was hard to tell how much trust was placed into this alliance.
After class, Fourth young master invited Eldest young master to study together in his courtyard, because the lesson taught today was a bit harder for him to comprehend.
The eldest master smiled with ease: “ alright, I(!) am having a bit of trouble with it too.”
(!)为兄: Wei Xiong – he referred to himself as Wei Xiong, a term of seniority, like an older brother
Fourth young master turned around and led the way back as he pursed his lips. It is so annoying for him to always regard himself as the older one. However, he could not say anything due to the seniority between them.
Today, without any prior notice, Yin Shi’s sister-in-law came to the Gu’s Mansion with her son. Commanded by Yin Shi, Yu Lan went to invite Gu ZiShu back to accompany his cousin. However, besides the page boy arranging the brush and ink, Gu ZiShu was nowhere to be seen.
“Where is the young master?” Yu Lan asked.
“Young master has gone out with his classmates as he has heard that there was a poetry Club in De Sheng building.” The page lied with a straight face.
Yu Lan frowned slightly. Although the young master has gone out to study again, he should still be accompanied by someone.
Coincidentally, the Eldest Young Master and Fourth Young Master had just stepped out but did not leave when they saw this interaction. Noticing that Yu Lan was about to say more, Fourth Young Master suddenly spoke: “ Since it is so, Yu Lan, you should head back to inform aunt and let that page boy go and find third-brother to head over. This way, they do not have to wait too long.”
After some thoughts, Yu Lan thanked him and hurried away. Meanwhile, the page trotted to the ornately decorated boat to find his young master.
Eldest Young Master and fourth young master gave each other a look.
It was not because they want to help Third Young Master by concealing this matter but because they have to look at the bigger picture. They have to keep the third young master’s matter a secret from Yin Shi’s family. Otherwise, this was all for naught when they decided to intervene and changed the third young master for the better.
“Even Zhu Xiang was able to find out about the news, yet, the eldest lady did not know about it.” Lan Xiang sighed as she sorted out the dried herbs.
Zhu Xiang hum happily: “What do you know? I’ve gotten the information from Aunt Liu. I can guarantee this! other than myself, no one is able to get anything out of Aunt Liu.”
Aunt Liu was Third mistress’s maid(!). Years ago, in order to suppressed Second Lady, the Eldest Lady had made used of Aunt Liu. This incident has caused Aunt Liu to not only lose face but also lost her footing in the household. Feeling indignation, she was willing to gossip a little to make Eldest Lady unhappy.
(!)陪房 péifáng: maids that accompanied the bride to her husband house. I used “maid” instead of “servant” to distinguished the difference.
Although some minor characters are not worthy to be thought highly, they were still pretty important. This reasoning was quite similar to playing Virtual Reality games. Players felt that NPC was simply a programming and not a real human. Hence, there were many that treated them with contempt some were more violent towards them. When this happened, those players started getting unlucky and ended up in a miserable state.
For example, the NPC would deliberately give them impossible tasks or chose not to give them any missions. It is a disaster as the NPC were close to one another, so when one was offended, the rest would too. What was more frightening was that some NPC was more cautious. They would not only deliberately destroyed the player’s mission but also accidentally interfered in the battle between another NPC and player’s battles, killing them.
A true gamer would not only be friendly but also courteous towards all the NPC, just like Zhu Xiang. She was not bothered by another servant’s bad attitude as she was simply an unfavoured young missy’s servant. Although it was worthy for others to be kind and friendly towards her, she changed her mentality for the better and converse with others with ease.
Zhu Xiang does not mind being friendly towards those with evil intent as she felt that even if she was scolded, it was not like she would lose any meat. Moreover, she does not have a flattering attitude, it was really soothing and friendly so it does not make others feel that she was trying hard to please them.
Zhu Xiang seems to have natural interpersonal skills. It was very admirable as she was able to get along with some of the worst-tempered people in the household.
Unlike her, she had a hateful face, the kind that made her looked pitiful as though she has been bullied.
“Don’t talk about the Third Young Master’s matter anymore. Are you not ashamed to talk about men all day long?” Mei Xiang came in with a letter as she reproached the other maids with a smile and then presented the letter. “Miss, the princess has invited you to her estate.”
Gu Lian sat there quietly for a few moments before taking and opening the letter.
There was nothing else in it other than a delicate invitation card. It was made with
Peach blossom paper with a fragrance scent. It was hard to imagine that the bold princess would use such an exquisite paper, but, it was probably specially used once she had thought of Gu Lian’s personality
Gu Lian’s guess was correct. While writing the invitation card, Qiao MingYu had a headache as she felt that her estate’s paper was a bit……rugged.
However, her estate only has white paper and even though it was a top-grade Xuan paper(!), the moment she thought of that delicate and soft beauty she felt that it was not worthy of that her.
(!)宣纸: Xuan Zhi aka Xuan paper, it was produced in An Hui province. It is a type of soft and sturdy type of paper that was cherished by calligraphers and painters
As a last resort, she had to ask her palace maid, Su Dan to head over to the warehouse to bring out other types of paper.
Su Dan felt helpless. As the princess had never like those girly things, she threw them all the way to the back of the warehouse to collect dust. In order to digged out this piece of paper, she was thoroughly exhausted.
Thinking that in the future, the princess might want to find those girly items to gift to Gu Lian, she had some eunuch bring all those items and arranged it properly so that she would not have to go through so much trouble to find it.
Especially those rouge and silk satin. She took it out in advance to place it under the sun to get rid of the mouldy smell.
“Ever since missy went to the princess’s estate with the eldest lady over a month ago, there was no other news from the princess. This servant(!) assumed the princess has forgotten about it.” Mei Xiang sighed.
(!)奴婢 (Nu Bi): the female servants have to refer to themselves as “this servant” when talking to someone with higher status than them, especially their masters
It is normal for the other party who is nobler to forget about Gu Lian. what was more surprising is that the event had happened almost 2 months ago and she actually remembered it.
Zhu Xiang could not help herself and subconsciously added: “I doubt so. I’ve heard that the princess was staying in the palace for the past 2 months and rarely left the palace. She must have been missing missy all this time because she invited missy the moment she came back to the estate!.”
“Only you could know so much.” as Mei Xiang baffled.
Zhu Xiang sticks out her tongue at her.
Gu Lian held the invitation card as she looked at that majestic and bold written characters for a long while and revealed a gentle smile slowly.
“Are there any activities in the city tomorrow?”
“Miss, What kind of activities are you referring to?” Zhu Xiang was confused
“The activities that those of Honourable or military commander family that will participate. Or any of the Royal families activities.” Gu Lian added: “It does not have to be tomorrow as long as it’s recent activities will do.”
Zhu Xiang Furrowed her brows and thought for a bit: “ it seems like….the polo match that was held once every 6months will happen in a few days.”
Gu Lian nodded: “I see.”
No wonder the princess left the palace in a hurry. The Emperor’s health has not been good recently. And because he doted on this princess, he was not willing to let her out of the palace easily. With this upcoming Polo match, the princess could no longer hold back anymore and wanted to join in the fun and decided invited Gu Lian to accompany her.
This princess was too carefree and does not take things seriously. Ordinary daughters of the civil servant were usually not interested in Polo. It was fine if its CuJu(1), but, it had to be activities that required horse.
(1)蹴鞠 Cu Ju – ancient Chinese football (soccer)
She hoped that the princess would not plead her to learn horse-riding. To explain why a girl raised in a boudoir of a civil official house knows how to ride a horse, and pretending to not know how to ride a horse was all too troublesome.
However, CuJu competition was still very popular in this era to the extent that even the girls from boudoir have heard of it. Although the daughters of the civil servant may not necessarily like polo, they were still very happy because they get to see those handsome young guys.
It was just that lately, it had been getting hotter so it was not wise to go out under the sun. So the rare few girls that went to the polo competition were daughters of the military commanders who do not care about getting tanned.
As Gu Lian does not care about getting tanned, she does not mind about it.
She put down the invitation card and told Mei Xiang: “Send a reply to the princess, I will be there tomorrow.”
“Understood.” Mei Xiang nodded.