Chapter 44: The Supporting Male Lead Invades
Long Heng took a look at Bai Xiangxiu, who happened to look rather like a willow leaf drifting through the wind. He didn’t sound very decisive as he said, “You… practice on your own. I’m going to return.” Since she couldn’t seem to relax when he was around, it was better that he left. So, disappointment in every crease of his face, he left. But even Bai Xiangxiu could tell that the male lead was a bit discouraged from looking at his back.
However, he did help her. That much was true, because otherwise she’d have been bullied by those two concubines. Honestly, the male lead’s character was quite good. She wouldn’t have read that novel otherwise. As for why she always hid from him, it was totally because her role was a supporting female character. She was the one who would easily anger him, similar to what the senior and second concubine had just done.
In the novel, her character had made trouble for the main female lead, and had the household rules applied to her. She wasn’t beaten to death with a cane then, but rather in the center of her palm. Each punishment had been fifty strokes. It had been quite cruel. Bai Xiangxiu rubbed her the center of her palm. She silently wished the two concubines good luck. Hopefully their hands wouldn’t end up being beaten until they were swollen like pig trotters.
After that incident, the truth was, ever since the senior and second concubine were punished, they’d become much more sincere. In addition, the old madame had also become very satisfied with her. Gradually, she began to teach and assign her more work.
It first began with handing out monthly allowances. It was the first time she had seen chests of silver taels in front of her. It made her head spin. A total of three chests, it must be quite a tough job for the men to carry this about! Earning a living was no easy task. She was only responsible for handing out the money, and she had already found that tiring.
Xiao-mama had arrived early and was already there waiting for her. The moment she detected the lovely fragrance in the air, she knew it was Madame Xiu. She went up to greet her, “Madame Xiu, you’re finally here! Just sit here and watch. Make sure we don’t hand out the wrong amount.”
“Then thank you for all your hard work.” Bai Xiangxiu knew she wouldn’t be able to find any faults in their work. The reason they’d asked her to come was simply to control the scene.
Everyone knew that the prince treated Madame Xiu differently. In addition, the old madame was very reliant on Madame Xiu. As a result, they didn’t dare show any disrespect. Everyone lined up in order and were awed when they caught a look at the mistress.
The fourth mistress was a natural beauty. As she sat down in front of them, she appeared to be filled with grace and poise. She didn’t seem intimidating at all. In fact, her elegance made her stand out from everyone else.
Each branch of the family had sent out representatives to receive their stipend. Bai Xiangxiu gave each branch their fair share. At this moment, a young servant came over, body wracked with sobs. She wouldn’t stop kowtowing towards Bai Xiangxiu. Bai Xiangxiu knew she wasn’t responsible for regular servants. This young girl must have been allowed in by the old servants. Most likely, the old madame wanted to test her.
“What’s wrong? Why are you crying?” Her voice was calm, with not a trace of a tremor. Even if she honestly felt bad for her, she couldn’t show it. She’d recently learnt that the masters should refrain from appearing flustered under any circumstance.
The young girl spoke up, “In response to the fourth mistress, this servant’s name is Yun’er. I’m from the Dustwind Courtyard. I entered the estate approximately half a year ago. I found out yesterday that my family has been hit with a catastrophe. Many people have starved to death. My father, mother, as well as my younger siblings have come to find me for help, begging for some money to survive. Please, Fourth Mistress, please give me more monthly allowance this month. Your servant is willing to work like an ox to repay you for your generosity and kind heart!”
Going through something like this was so depressing. At least, the girl didn’t appear to be lying. But Bai Xiangxiu still had to ask, “Mama, is this true?”
Xiao-mama deeply sighed, “It’s floods in Zhejiang. The floods have caused a lot of famine.”
“Then give her an extra half a year’s worth of allowance!” She actually wanted to give more, since the money wasn’t hers anyway. But since the money wasn’t hers, giving more didn’t seem right.
Yun’er left after babbling her thanks amidst her tears. Bai Xiangxiu whispered a few words in Xiao Shi’s ears. Xiao Shi nodded and left.
Just as Yun’er was about to take out the money to give to her family waiting outside of the residence, another young servant grabbed her and whispered, “Yun’er, right? My mistress knows about your family’s circumstances and wanted me to secretly give you this. Take this for your family!” She stuffed two silver taels into Yun’er’s hands and turned to leave.
Yun’er was touched. “Please thank Madame Xiu for me.”
Xiao Shi smiled and said, “Think nothing of it. Madame Xiu understands your family situation. She doesn’t have a lot of savings herself, so she could only help you with this little bit.”
Yun’er thanked her again and left hurriedly. Xiao Shi noticed Sir Song Jiaoyue entering the residence just as she turned to go back and report to her mistress. She bowed and greeted him, “Greetings to Sir Song.”
Song Jiaoyue saw what had just happened, but he didn’t say anything about it. “Mm, you’re Madame Xiu’s maid, right?”
“Yes.” Xiao Shi responded politely.
“How’s her injury?” Song Jiaoyue had been concerned all this time, but he was afraid to ask Long Heng in case his friend misunderstood his intentions.
Xiao Shi was aware that Sir Song had something to do with her mistress’ injuries, so she considered it normal for him to ask. She responded, “She’s a bit better.”
“That’s good. Go and see to her then!” Song Jiaoyue couldn’t say too much. He was using his mother as an excuse to visit her today. Xiao Shi didn’t think too much and left.
Afterwards, Song Jiaoyue had his subordinates investigate the details of that servant. When he found out about Bai Xiangxiu’s kind deed, his impression of her was even further improved.
Bai Xiangxiu had no idea of any of this. If she knew her kind deed would help her attract the supporting male lead, she would have given more.
After she was done handing out the monthly stipend, Bai Xiangxiu went back to rest. But the moment she lay down, she was told to go see the prince. She was confused. In her opinion, she was only supposed to be a pretty looking vase, an idle supporting female character always looking for something to do. But why were things knocking on her door without pause now?
She had no choice to but to fix herself up and make her way to the prince’s courtyard. The moment she walked in, she noticed the supporting male lead. Her eyes immediately revealed joy, but she quickly looked down out of fear of letting the male lead see.
The male lead hadn’t noticed. His head was filled with thoughts of her health since he knew she had been busy the entire day. He was worried her body wouldn’t be able to handle more, so he brusquely ordered, “Sit down!”
But the second male lead noticed her every word and movement. When he saw the joy flashing through her eyes, his heart couldn’t help but pound. Is she…? He quickly suppressed his wandering thoughts as he brought Long Heng to the forefront of his mind, that outstanding man amongst men.
Long Heng was a man of the highest caliber. Both good looking and talented in martial arts, he also had a position and status much higher than himself. Why would she not discard her husband in favor of him, Song Jiaoyue, instead?
After she sat down, Long Heng spoke, “Madame Song had Sir Song bring this tonic to you. They also have a request to make as well.”
“How kind of Madame Song. I wonder, what is the issue?” Request? What could Madame Song be requesting? Her curious eyes focused onto Song Jiaoyue. For some reason, his finger trembled and his heart began to beat irregularly, like he had suddenly contracted a strange illness.