Chapter 67: The Fatty Meat Flies Away Right Before Eating
Slam! Long Heng hit the table, nearly scaring Hua Xue and the Song family pageboy into aphasia. Inside, an eavesdropping Bai Xiangxiu clenched her small fists and fervently thought, Agree to it, agree to it. At least it’ll save me from being eaten for a few days. But hearing Long Heng slam the table make her feel like that forceful male lead was probably going to keep her here. After all, the fatty meat was almost at his lips, so he couldn’t let it fly away.
Yet after a long pause, he actually laughed and said, “Since it’s Madame Song’s request, we’ll naturally have to help out. But why did your master not appear at all and go look for Old Madame instead?”
The pageboy quietly released a breath as he replied, “The eldest young master did go to look for you, but since he couldn’t find you he could only go to Old Madame’s.” One still had to discuss things with Old Madame for matters regarding the inner residence, right?
Long Heng arched an eyebrow. This Song Jiaoyue had a habit of being sly, so he really couldn’t pick out any faults. But it was obvious that he’d known that Long Heng wouldn’t agree, so he turned around to ask Old Madame instead. He had no say in regards to inner residence matters as long as Old Madame agreed. All he could do was grit his teeth and comply.
But why did he so loathe parting with her? Why was he worried that she’d suffer grievances over there?
Long Heng’s expression turned heavy as he said, “Go tell Madame Bai to pack her things before leaving!” His heart felt a bit empty already, even though she hadn’t left yet.
Bai Xiangxiu inwardly posed in victory before dutifully packing her things and coming out. First, she paid her respects to Long Heng, then to Old Madame. After hearing a string of instructions from the old madame, she finally climbed into the Song family sedan chair and left Prince Li’s estate.
Long Heng’s heart felt leaden as he watched the little sedan chair exit the back gates. Mirroring his heart, his face had turned exceedingly dark as well. His footsteps took him to Old Madame’s place, where she asked what fit of temper brought him back home. Long Heng didn’t hide anything, but told her of how Minister Lin saw his daughter’s reputation becoming progressively worse in the capital city and so had Madame Lin appeal to the empress dowager to safeguard the marriage.
Because the empress dowager and Madame Lin were kinsfolk to a certain degree, she had agreed. As a result, the emperor had summoned him with the intention of playing peacemaker so Long Heng could forget about rejecting the marriage. An unhappy, oppressed Long Heng had come home to unleash his temper.
Old Madame creased her eyebrows at the news as well. “That Madame Lin’s quite quick with her ploys. She actually called upon the empress dowager. Well, well, using the emperor to suppress our family. Is she planning to forcefully stuff her daughter our way?”
Long Heng said, “Since rejection’s impossible, then I’ll have to marry her.”
“Heng’er.” Old Madame grasped Long Heng’s hand. His days had been hard since childhood, and now that he’d grown up, he couldn’t even marry as he liked. She’d originally thought that Miss Lin was educated and well-rounded, so the husband and wife could treat each other with courtesy, instead of that make-believe sham.
Long Heng didn’t care. It was only the position of official wife, so if the emperor wouldn’t let him back down, he’d give the position to Miss Lin. Since he still had Madame Bai, it wasn’t a complete loss. Except, she had currently run off to the Song family.
His heart felt stifled at the thought, so he said, “If there’s nothing else, your son will take his leave.”
“It’s already late, stay here and eat before you go!” Old Madame was struck with a guilty conscience as well. She’d just sent away her son’s woman, so if she didn’t have him eat here, was she going to let him eat alone by himself?
“No, I’ll ask Song Jiaoyue out for drinks.” So speaking, he left with a smile.
Old Madame waited until he was gone before hitting the table with a laugh. “This boy, he’s never suffered a loss since he was young. He only sent over a concubine, but now he’s planning to drink the eldest Sir Song unconscious.”
The old female servant by her side laughed as well. “Everyone knows that Sir Song will keel over with just one cup. This time, ah, our prince has likely gone to seek revenge.”
“He ought to. Just look, they ignored all the master chefs out there to invite Madame Bai over. Although her vegetarian dishes really are delicious, they didn’t even inquire about her availability. She’s that boy’s darling. Aye, since we can’t get rid of this unsatisfactory daughter-in-law, it’s good to have a darling as well.”
Though outsiders laughed when a man spoiled the concubine and neglected his wife, it was still acceptable as long as one was impartial. Furthermore, this Miss Lin really was a mess. The rumors outside were getting nastier and nastier. The old madame feared that the wedding night would lead to nothing but clean white sheets. 1 Even if there is blood present, it’d probably be faked so she could keep her face, the old madame mused with a cold smile.
The more she thought, the angrier she grew. “That empress dowager is too partial to one side. It’s true that Madame Lin is her relative, but why didn’t she remember we were childhood friends?”
The old female servant coaxed her from the side, “Perhaps she isn’t clear about the situation outside, so she thought that a marriage alliance between two families shouldn’t be so casually broken. Maybe that’s why she played peacemaker to settle the issue?”
“She might be acting as a good person, but my son will suffer for it.” Old Madame said with a bitter smile.
“How’s this, Old Madame can plead with the empress dowager as well?” the old female servant asked with furrowed brows.
“The emperor has a golden mouth and words of pearl—his every utterance carries great weight. What’s the use of going to plead again?” Old Madame pressed her hand against her head and said, “Let nature take its course!”
Meanwhile, Bai Xiangxiu was brought into the Song estate via a side door. Right now she harbored no more feelings towards Song Jiaoyue. For her, she had shelved it into her past. As a modern day girl, she could take things up and put them down as circumstances willed it, so all she did was adjust her feelings and prepared to live a few comfortable days without Prince Li.
Actually, she didn’t find him scary right now, but it was that she felt that a single man and woman together in a secluded setting would lead to trouble sooner or later. She was still in the role of a supporting female up to this point. If she wasn’t careful, she’d set off on her original ending.
Even if she didn’t reach that ending, if there was ever a day she returned to the present, then the Bai Xiangxiu of this time might die or recover her original soul. If her original soul returned, then things would definitely get wild. But she had no idea that another man had been paying attention to her the entire ride over.
From the moment her sedan chair left Prince Li’s estate until the moment it entered the Song estate’s side door, his eyes hadn’t left her for a second. His heart was supremely full because he never thought there’d come a day when he’d bring her home from the prince’s estate.
He caught a glimpse in the distance of a servant helping her out before the side door closed. That figure was still as slender and refined as before. Even if it was just her back, that form was far more pleasing to the eye than any other girls. Song Jiaoyue’s lips drew up minutely; a single glance like this was already enough to satisfy him.
Right as he turned back, his pageboy spoke up by his side. “Eldest young master, Prince Li has invited you out for drinks.”
Song Jiaoyue pursed his lips. Retribution had certainly come quickly. If he didn’t go, the other would definitely find a different way to move against him. If he did go, he’d definitely end up drunk to the world. Since it was unavoidable, he might as well go.
In the end, he ended up being carried back by two people.Lying on the bed, drunk out of his mind, he grabbed the person closest to him and asked, “Is she well?”
The person who served right by his side was naturally extremely familiar with him. She helped wiped off the sweat from his forehead and asked, “Which ‘her?’”
“Bai Xiangxiu… Fourth Madame.” He knew her name, but he’d never said it out loud before.
The person by his side gave a start, but was quick to reply with a grin. “Madame Xiu? She was captured by the madame as soon as she entered the estate. First the madame had her look at the kitchens, then at the food. She’s been tormented here and there and only recently went to rest!”
“Go to mother and tell her, don’t tire her out. Her… her body’s frail.” His head hurt terribly, so all he could do was grab onto that person and say this much before he fell asleep in a drunken stupor.
- Meaning she wouldn’t be a virgin on her wedding night. ↩