Chapter 70: A Little Drink of Wine
As for Old Servant Ye and the rest, she didn’t dare joke with them. What if word travelled back to Old Madame?
Bai He tugged on her sleeve and said, “Like I said, I felt you were familiar as soon as I saw you. Much more than the others I’ve known for over a decade. It’s too bad you can’t stay here forever.”
A startled Yu Se broke out in cold sweat. This servant’s careless words would cause trouble if someone with ill intentions overheard.
Fortunately, the other party didn’t overthink it, but replied easily, “Then I’ll visit often. We’ll be just like sisters.”
Only then did Yu Se dare speak. “This girl is absolutely incomprehensible. We’ve been together for 10 years, but she’s given up our feelings in just an instant.”
Bai He pulled her over and laughed out loud. “How could that be? It’s just that I can’t be with this… that’s right, what’s your name? Do you have a courtesy name?”
Women in this period usually had courtesy names given to them by their husbands or masters. Bai Xiangxiu thought that Long Heng wasn’t the type to give her a courtesy name, so she simply shook her name and said, “I don’t have one. Just call me by my birth name, Xiangxiu.”
“But that’s not polite,” Yu Se hastened to say.
“It’s fine. I can call you two Yu Se and Bai He.” In modern times, it was very normal to call one’s friends by name.
“That’s right, that’s right. Only big sister Yu Se is a stickler for the rules. Let’s all go by our birth names.” Bai He started talking about their ages after that. Bai Xiangxiu was actually younger than them by two months, making her the youngest sister! And so, they kept chatting until dinnertime.
Bai Xiangxiu had them stay to eat and brought up the idea of drinking some wine. There was no helping it, young women would inevitably end up drinking and eating when they were together. Bai He was quick to agree, and Yu Se futilely pulled at her for a long time without success before being forced to stay as well.
“Go tell eldest young master. Just say big sister Yu Se and I talked with little sister Xiu until we stayed for dinner. We won’t be back for a bit.” Bai He instructed the little servant girl by her side to deliver a message before returning to her seat. Then the three of them really started drinking.
Bai Xiangxiu couldn’t drink white wine because she thought it was too spicy, so she could only take small sips. On the other hand, Bai He was the uninhibited type who downed the tiny cups in one gulp.
The Song family didn’t treat guests harshly. Once they knew that the women of Eldest Master Song were staying to eat, they sent over many good dishes and wine. As soon as Bai Xiangxiu finished off two cups, she began to feel a bit tipsy.
“No more, no more. If I drink any more I’ll get drunk,” she waved her hand. This body really had bad alcohol tolerance. Her head had already turned woozy from just two cups!.
Bai He was still clear headed and said, “Little sister Xiu only drank a few sips, and now you’re saying you’re drunk? From what I know, those who say they’re drunk are usually the ones who are still clear headed. Come, let’s play a drinking game. It’s so boring just drinking wine.”
“Drinking game? But I don’t know any.” Bai Xiangxiu had drunk too much, so her original foolish personality revealed itself. She clung and rubbed her head against Bai He’s shoulder and spoke in an exceedingly pitiful voice.
“Aiyoyo, big sister Yu Se, look! I can’t take it already with little sister Xiu falling into my embrace like this, not to mention her prince back home. No wonder the rumors all say he dotes on you like his darling!” Bai He had drunk too much too, and started joking about Bai Xiangxiu.
But Bai Xiangxiu only shook her head. “Wrong, wrong, wrong. Big sis Bai He, you said two out of three things wrong.” She pointed with her finger and said with a pout, causing Yu Se’s face to flush at the sight.
She was thinking, no wonder eldest young master keeps thinking about her. When she’s acting cute and spoilt, she really is very cute. Even a female like her felt her ears reddening and heartbeat quickening at the sight, to say nothing of a man. And after her next string of words, Yu Se’s perception of her changed yet again. It seemed like even an absolute beauty had difficult days.
Bai Xiangxiu wagged her finger and said, “Number one, this prince isn’t mine, but Miss Lin’s. Number two, the rumors outside must be hearsay and can’t be true. Moreover, how much favor could he show a mere concubine?”
Hearing this, Bai He sucked in a breath. “Come, have a drink on behalf of us sisters.” She would be a concubine in the future as well. It was even possible that once the new wife arrived, she might be sold away instead!
“Cheers…” This time, Bai Xiangxiu didn’t mention anything about being drunk, but drank heartily. But as soon as she finished, her entire body fell backwards onto the bed.
Xiao Shi was frightened and ran over to look. “My mistress fell asleep.”
Bai He laughed. “Wake her up to drink some more. I haven’t drunk to my heart’s content just yet!”
But Yu Se wasn’t about to let her go hollering like this. She dragged Bai He back with all her might. When she went back to her courtyard and entered the rooms, she discovered that Song Jiaoyue was still up. He almost seemed like an immortal with his loose hair beneath the moonlight as he peered at the moon. When he caught the scent of alcohol upon her arrival, he creased his forehead and asked, “You drank?”
As soon as Bai He saw their family’s master, she immediately sobered up and turned docile. Actually, she was still afraid of this young master, so she just nodded and said, “Your servant and little sister Xiu were like old friends as soon as we met, so… we stayed behind and drank a bit of wine.”
Song Jiaoyue was well aware of Bai He’s drinking capacity and said, “Did you get her drunk?”
Bai He nodded her head. “Mm…”
Yu Se was quick to speak up. “Madame Xiu had a good temper and insisted on having us servants stay. Thus, we started to drink. Unexpectedly, her alcohol tolerance was lower than ours so she’s fallen asleep by now. But she doesn’t seem to be tossing or turning in her sleep.”
Song Jiaoyue faced Bai He. “You can leave and rest. Drink less in the future.”
“Understood” Bai He hastily agreed before turning to leave.
But Song Jiaoyue held Yu Se back and asked softly, “Is she good-tempered? She’s only met you two once, and started drinking with you?” Though his tone was mild, it was clear that he was very curious about Bai Xiangxiu’s behaviors.
Yu Se didn’t hide anything and told him about everything they’d talked about while they drank. Song Jiaoyue listened raptly. He couldn’t help but feel that it’d be wonderful if he too could sit with her and chat leisurely while drinking.
Yet once he heard her words about Long Heng being Miss Lin’s, and that his fancy towards her was just rumors, he sighed. He thought her days in the prince’s estate were pleasant, but perhaps that wasn’t the case.
“Madame Xiu definitely hasn’t drunk with others before, because she doesn’t even know any drinking games.” Yu Se thought she was much too docile. It seemed like life in the prince’s estate was very strict. Though the Song family had strict domestic discipline and family rules as well, servants like her were still allowed to drink or hold poetry meets when they had nothing else to do.
“The prince is reserved and sober, his methods cold and harsh. It’s been…” Hard on her. If he had agreed to let her come back then, perhaps she would’ve assimilated with these servants by now to live a free and easy life.
Yu Se couldn’t guess what the young master was thinking and only said, “Now that she’s helped the Song family, when Madame sends presents over, Old Madame will definitely look at her in a new light, right?”
“Mm!” Song Jiaoyue nodded his head. “What was your opinion on her education when you were all talking?”
“Naturally good. She’d sometimes randomly say things worth pondering over for a long time!” Yu Se liked to read books, so these words demonstrated her high opinion of Bai Xiangxiu.