“Miss Xia, do you need something?” Princess Consort Jing observed the bevy of expressions that crossed Xia Furong’s face. She had been aware of the young maiden’s schemes throughout the whole journey. Luckily, her second son completely disdained her, which made her relax quite a bit.
A preteen girl who was only interested in seducing men was definitely someone who would cause trouble later on. How could she let such a person become someone who was linked to her son for a lifetime?
Xia Furong quickly fixed her expression and pasted on an innocent smile. She replied sweetly, “Princess Consort, Aunt wanted me to ask you if you already have a place to stay tonight. If not, Aunt says that she has a small residence here in Tanggu Town. Although it’s a bit crude, it should still suffice as a resting place…”
“No need, County Magistrate Wu’s wife is a close childhood friend of mine. Before I left, I had written a letter to her to let her know that I was going to bother her for two days!” Although Princess Consort Jing had a good impression of Zhaoyong General Fang Zizhen’s wife, she didn’t want her son to have any more exposure to this young girl who had such obvious ulterior motives. Thus, she resolutely refused the offer.
Xia Furong’s pair of dark, lively eyes instantly became dim from disappointment. She turned around and stared at that tall and manly figure in the melon stand. Not resigned in the least, her eyes flickered a bit and the corners of her mouth slightly curved up. However, she still politely said her farewells to the princess consort.
When Xia Furong returned back to the Fang Family’s horse carriage that was behind Prince Jing’s carriage, she smiled sweetly at her aunt. She cheerfully reported, “Aunt, the princess consort said that she had already made plans with the county magistrate’s wife and will be staying over there...oh right, there’s a family selling watermelons over there. They say that the melons are tasty and the price is reasonable. Niece will go right now to buy one to let aunt try some!”
Her expression and tone didn’t betray the fact that she had just been soundly rejected by Zhu Junxi. It was as if she was just another young maiden without a care in the world.
Lady Fang lovingly smiled at her niece and waved a hand, “Let a maidservant go over. After traveling for so many days, you must also feel tired.”
“Aunt, Niece isn’t tired! After sitting in the carriage for a few days, walking around is also good!” Xia Furong’s eyes, which resembled Lady Fang’s, gleamed with a dazzling light.
Among her numerous nieces, Lady Fang had chosen Xia Furong not only because of her temperament but also because she thought this niece resembled herself the most. She patted Xia Furong’s hand and nodded, “You are right. It’s good to step down and walk around for a bit. Aunt will also accompany you to go there to look!”
Lady Fang looked through the window and saw a young cute girl with a glittering smile in front of the watermelon store that wasn’t far from them. She looked to be around eight to nine years of age and had gleaming, pale skin. Although she couldn’t be considered to be astoundingly beautiful, she was still quite adorable. Her large and dark eyes were especially charming and seemed to be full of liveliness.
Although Lady Fang had never seen the adopted daughter that her husband had taken in, she had pieced together an image of an odd little girl who was amazingly talented at cooking from his stories and letters about her. His most recent letter said that his adopted daughter had planted watermelons that had ripened astoundingly early. In addition, these watermelons were tastier and sweeter than the ones he had before. He even had someone bring two of them over to the capital so she could try them. She had never tried watermelon that was so big and so sweet before!
Within Tanggu Town, only the Yu Family had enough courage to try planting watermelon. Then, did that mean that this watermelon store was linked in countless ways with her husband’s adopted daughter? Was that lively little girl in the watermelon stand the adopted daughter that her husband praised constantly?
At this moment, her niece wanted to go look at the watermelon stand which met her interest too. With the help of her personal maidservants, Linglong and Zhenzhu, Lady Fang stepped off the carriage. She gently stretched out her legs and idly strolled towards the melon stand.
Although Lady Fang was content, Xia Furong wasn’t actually happy about her decision. The young maiden was originally planning on finding an opportunity in the watermelon store to talk to Prince Jing’s second son again. Now, her perfect plan had been ruined. She stared at her aunt’s back and resentment filled her heart.
By this time, the craze for buying watermelons had mostly died down. Within the store, there were only two to three matrons who were dressed in dignified attire. They were carefully selecting some watermelons from the remaining stock on the shelves. Yu Xiaocao, who could finally take a breather, sat on the tall stool and kicked her feet playfully underneath her skirts. Her heart felt cheerful as she rocked the cash box full of ingots on the counter.
At this moment, she saw a figure come in from the corner of her eyes. She promptly smiled sweetly at the new customer and trumpeted out a greeting, “Welcome, feel free to choose what you would like!”
As she raised her head, she saw a handsome face that seemed to have been finely carved with a knife. The young man was wearing a blue robe that was embroidered with black bamboo. There was a white belt cinched around his waist and his feet were shod with a pair of white deerskin boots——he was a perfect example of an alluringly attractive man from ancient times! Yu Xiaocao gazed at the handsome guy’s nice figure with obvious interest.
Zhu Junxi seemed to sense Xiaocao’s eyes on him and faintly glanced at her. He suddenly discovered that the little girl had a pair of eyes that glittered brightly that stared at him appreciatively. Although her eyes stopped for a long time on his handsome face, her gaze seemed pure and didn’t make him feel disgusted.
After he looked at her for a bit longer, he discovered that the owner of the eyes was actually a lively little girl who hadn’t reached the age of ten. Zhu Junxi couldn’t help but let out an amused laugh. How would such a little girl know of the propriety between men and women? No wonder she didn’t try to hide her obvious stares!
Zhu Junxi smiled at the little girl and unexpectedly found that little girl seemed to be a bit stunned by his grin. This young girl was quite interesting. Was it really okay for her to reveal such an obvious appreciative glance at a man?
Zhu Junxi couldn’t help but want to tease this little girl, so he walked up to her and deliberately frowned, “What are you looking at me for?”
Zhu Junxi had a tall figure and practiced martial arts all year round. Thus, it was natural that he would have an intimidating aura. Whenever he frowned, he actually frightened the people around him. Yu Xiaocao blinked a couple of times. She could tell from the expression in his eyes that he wasn’t actually angry, so she revealed a charming smile, “Ah? If you weren’t looking at me, how would you know I was looking at you? I’m staring at you, you’re staring at me, I think we can consider ourselves even right now!”
“I definitely wasn’t looking at you the same way you were staring at me! Doesn’t that mean that I’m the one at a disadvantage here?” Zhu Junxi furrowed his brows and had a somewhat fierce expression on his face.
Yu Xiaocao suppressed a grin, “Having someone look at you doesn’t cause you to become injured, so how could it be considered you’re at a disadvantage? Young master looks like a handsome gentlemen who wouldn’t be someone so petty to haggle over every ounce.”
“And what if I was?” The mirth in his eyes became much more apparent yet his face seemed even more fierce.
Yu Xiaocao merely shrugged and fanned out her arms, “Then I made an error of judgement ah! If you feel like you’re at a disadvantage here, then I still can’t give you a melon for free to compensate you. If you want to make a fuss, just go ahead!”
Seeing that the little girl was being a little rascal, Zhu Junxi didn’t feel disgusted and instead thought she was quite cute. His younger sister, when she was around eight to nine years of age, would also act shamelessly in front of him. Once she got older, she became gentle and refined and was no longer as adorable as she was when she was young.
“Second Young Master, have you picked out a watermelon already? Do you need someone to help you?” Xia Furong, who had followed her aunt, had noticed that Zhu Junxi had been in the store for a while yet his hands were still empty. She couldn’t just stay next to her aunt anymore and instead used her large and watery eyes to look at him shyly while she took the initiative to talk to him.
Uh oh! Handsome and refined guys would always have many people admiring them. Was it possible that women in ancient times also sometimes took the initiative too? This young girl’s eyes seemed as if they were stuck on this good-looking guy’s body. Was this truly okay? Yu Xiaocao propped her cheek on a hand as she avidly watched the handsome guy and pretty girl’s interactions.
The mirth within Zhu Junxi’s eyes slowly dimmed away and he directly ignored Xia Furong’s earnest gaze. Instead, he greeted Lady Fang, “Lady Fang, if you want to eat some watermelon, just tell someone. There’s no need for you to personally come here.”
Lady Fang had also noticed that her niece had been staring conspicuously at Zhu Junxi and felt a bit displeased. She frowned a bit but she couldn’t say anything right now while Prince Jing’s second son was in front of her. Once she heard his greeting, she slightly smiled, “After sitting in the carriage for a few days, I wanted to immediately get off and exercise my legs and feet!”
“Lady Fang, please continue with what you were doing then. I’m going to select watermelons now to avoid...avoid having my mother wait for too long!” Zhu Junxi didn’t look at Xia Furong even once while he was talking. After he finished, he entered the store to look at the shelves.
Falling flowers had plans yet flowing water was ruthless ah! Yu Xiaocao could tell exactly what had happened from start to finish. However, it seemed like even after the little flower fell, it didn’t become discouraged!
“Aunt, let’s also go pick a watermelon too!” Xia Furong’s voice became a bit more eager and polite. However, she continued to stare at that figure clothed in blue that was in the store.
The smile on Lady Fang’s face disappeared and she mildly said, “Us two women only know how to eat watermelon, so how would we know how to select the right one? Little girl, please help us choose two melons!”
‘Oh, oh, oh! This little flower absolutely has no more luck as her parent doesn’t agree with this! Tsk tsk, this little flower is quite courageous to even make sheep eyes at this man in front of her parent. What a pity that this man is just ignoring her.’
She had been watching the scene unfold in front of her quite avidly, so when Lady Fang suddenly called on her, she paused for a couple of seconds before she immediately revealed a warm smile, “Madam, please don’t worry. I promise that I’ll pick watermelons that are sweet and juicy to satisfy you!”
The sight of such a bright and dazzling smile dispersed some of the gloom within Lady Fang’s heart. She sized up the clever little girl in front of her: she was dressed in a lotus-cyan colored attire. The edges of her skirt and sleeves were embroidered with small purple cape jasmine flowers. Her hair was swept up into adorable twin buns with a hairpin with purple flowers made of pearls inserted in. She had a small face, not much bigger than the size of someone’s palm, that was clear and clean, and a pair of lively eyes that seemed to speak volumes. Her rosy red lips seemed to be faintly curved up permanently making her seem very cute. Sure enough, this was a likeable and adorable child!
Originally, Lady Fang had been worried that her husband, who she understood like the back of her hand, had been fooled by a sinister person. Now, she could finally relax. A little girl who had eyes as clear and pure as spring water could not be someone who had a malicious heart.
Under Lady Fang’s bright gaze, Yu Xiaocao chose a couple of watermelons cheerfully despite the amount of pressure she was under. This graceful and resolute lady had been staring at her continuously ever since she had entered the store. Why was that? Was it because she was too cute and made it hard for other people to move their gaze? Xiaocao suddenly became a little narcissistic…
Oh wait, what did that handsome guy in the blue robe call this lady? Lady Fang? Oh my god, could she possibly the godmother she had never met who had decided to come over today to inspect her? Godfather really was something to not give her a hint prior——Fang Zizhen protested his innocence: He also didn’t know that his wife would also surprisingly appear, okay ah?
Yu Xiaocao pretended to select watermelons as she tried very hard to remember her conduct from earlier. Was there anything shameful that occurred? A feeling of nervousness settled within her heart: would Godmother be hard to get along with? Would her godmother be unhappy with her?
Lady Fang watched as the little girl pretended to be busy. She had also noticed that, from time to time, this little girl would glance at her and knew that the little girl had guessed her identity——this was truly a clever and bright little girl! Within her heart, she added a few more points for Xiaocao.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s Thoughts: Lady Fang has appeared with Xia Furong. Things will become a little more interesting now!