Zhu Junxi’s cold gaze swept over the surroundings. The impatience simmering inside him transformed into anger. He didn’t really care what Xia Furong was trying to do but when she involved him, he couldn’t let her continue, “Miss Xia’s words are incorrect! This little girl is running a business and I’m buying what she’s selling. That’s a fair deal, so why shouldn’t she take my money? Or does Miss Xia believe that my Zhu Family can’t afford to spend ten taels on watermelon?”
“No! That wasn’t what I was implying…” Second Young Master Zhu had finally paid attention to her, but the look in his eyes was filled with loathing. Xia Furong freaked out. In front of Young Master Zhu, she needed to be more patient. She immediately regretted getting angered by that lowly peasant girl and letting Second Young Master Zhu see her bad side——it was all that lowly peasant girl’s fault!
Xia Furong was the one originally at fault yet she still pushed all the blame on her victim. This type of person was truly too laughable!
Zhu Junxi carried the watermelon in his arms as he walked out. Xia Furong stared at him as if there was a magnet attracting her eyes to him. She glanced longingly at that imposing figure for a long time before she reluctantly looked away.
Yu Xiaocao felt embarrassed for this girl. Was it really okay for her to be that obviously lovesick in front of her elders?
“Furong! Don’t let me regret bringing you along!” Lady Fang didn’t disguise her disappointment towards Xia Furong and her tone of voice became much more serious.
Xia Furong reluctantly brought her attention back and angrily glared at Xiaocao, who was delightfully watching the show. Anger bubbled within her heart, ‘It’s all the fault of this devious brat! She stole all of my aunt’s love and favor. In the past, Aunt never could bear to scold me!’Once again, Yu Xiaocao became her scapegoat.
“Come here, Furong! Let me introduce you. This is the adopted daughter that your uncle recognized, so she is also your younger cousin. You’re a little bit older than her, so you must treat your younger sister well.” Lady Fang could tell that her niece had a bit of hostility towards Xiaocao, so she deliberately warned Xia Furong.
“Godmother, your niece is naturally my older sister, so don’t worry, we’ll definitely get along well.” Yu Xiaocao pulled at Xia Furong’s hand in an intimate manner and lightly swayed. “Older sister, there’s a lot to do here! We can climb up hills to dig up wild vegetables, catch pheasants, and also go down to the beach to gather shellfish and seafood...that’s right! Tomorrow I’ll bring you along to dig up some sandworms ah! The sandworms here are long and plump. They’re thicker than my fingers, very long, and soft. When you touch them, they feel squishy, kind of like a large earthworm...”
This little brat knew that Xia Furong was pampered maiden from a wealthy family, so she wouldn’t like insects. Xiaocao deliberately described the appearance of the sandworm very vividly. As expected, Xia Furong turned pale after hearing her description and forcefully shook off Xiaocao’s hand. She even pushed Xiaocao a little and screeched, “Go away! You’re such a dirty peasant!!”
Xiaocao reeled from her push and her back crashed into the doorframe, making a very loud sound. Tears came to the corners of her eyes (Author’s note: She’s not faking it, it really hurt.) and she raised her little face. She cried pitifully and innocently, “Godmother, I feel like Older Cousin doesn’t like me...even so, she can’t just swear at me! We are all human and have parents. I am also my parents’ treasure, so how can I be dirty and lowly?”
Lady Fang’s patience had almost been worn away by her niece’s behavior today. She looked at Xia Furong, who had an expression of disgust on her face that she didn’t bother to disguise. The older woman thought of her niece’s previous sensible and sincere personality...haha, apparently that was all an act to worm into her good graces ah! Now that her niece knew that the Fang Family had adopted a daughter, her previous hopes had been dashed. Did she think it was no longer necessary to hide her true nature now?
“Xiaocao, come here, let Godmother see if you got injured or not?” Lady Fang pulled on Xiaocao’s hand and lightly touched her back, which had been hurt.
“Godmother, it hurts…” Xiaocao had a feeling that there was a bruise on her back now. She didn’t expect that a young maiden, who looked delicate and weak, could have so much strength. Did she provoke the other girl too much?
Lady Fang recalled the noise that sounded when her adopted daughter collided with the doorframe. She knew that Xiaocao wasn’t faking it and comforted the young girl, “Xiaocao, let’s go to the inner courtyard. Godmother will help you rub some medicinal oil on your injury and it will stop hurting very soon.”
As she talked, she took ahold of Xiaocao’s small hand and walked along with her two maidservants through the store in the direction of the inner courtyard. When she passed by Xia Furong, she didn’t even bother giving the other girl a glance.
When Lady Fang was a young maiden, she was the legitimate daughter of the main branch, so she had grown up by the matriarch’s side. Although the Xia Family’s relationships were quite complicated, the matriarch’s compound was as peaceful as a heavenly garden. Thus, Lady Fang grew up to be an open-minded and candid young lady who firmly knew what she liked and disliked. If she liked you, she would make sure to give her best to you. However, if she didn’t like you, she would immediately ignore you as if you weren’t there.
The Xia Family’s inner courtyard relationships were not peaceful and there was a lot of scheming and infighting. Naturally, Lady Fang was aware of this. She had originally believed that her niece, Xia Furong, was like her—the only pure lotus flower to grow out of a dirty and muddy Xia Family. However, she didn’t expect that her niece had been pretending in order to fool her. To people who tried to pull the wool over her eyes, Lady Fang would dislike them as much as she had originally liked them.
Xia Furong had accompanied her aunt for almost two years at the Fang Family and naturally understood her aunt’s personality. When she saw Lady Fang walk by and ignore her, she immediately panicked. She promptly tried to explain, “Aunt, earlier I was...scared by Younger Cousin. You also know that niece is afraid of bugs. At that moment, I wasn’t thinking straight and I accidently hurt Younger Cousin. I want to apologize to her now…”
Even until now, she didn’t know what her biggest mistake was, eh? Argh, she truly didn’t judge correctly this time...Lady Fang paused for a second but didn’t even turn her head around before she continued forward.
Yu Xiaocao gently took her hand out of the older woman’s hand and turned around, “Older Cousin, I often run around in the mountains, so it’s hard to avoid getting hurt. Therefore, I’m not angry because you accidentally injured me. I’m angry because you used such hurtful words to insult me! You not only hurt my feelings but you also had such a scary expression on your face! Although I was born in a farmer’s family, I also know what the phrase, ‘to insult someone is to invite six months of cold’, means——in my village, only shrewish women would insult people in public!”
When Xia Furong heard what Xiaocao said, her face twisted into another ugly expression, ‘This stupid brat must be destined to not see eye to eye with me! Not only did she steal aunt’s love away from me but she also always found a way to sneakily slander me in front of Aunt! That won’t do, I need to let Aunt see Yu Xiaocao’s true colors!’
“Aunt, I said the wrong thing when I wasn’t in the right mindset. However, Younger Cousin just compared me to her village’s shrewish women, Aunt…” Xia Furong took out her handkerchief and wiped the corner of her eyes. She lowered her head, as if she was the one being bullied.
Lady Fang lightly sighed, “In a couple of days, I’ll have someone send you back to the capital. Tanggu Town is too small, so you won’t be accustomed to living in this place.”
“Aunt, don’t drive me away! I’ll get used to living here, I swear!” Xia Furong started to panic. Go back to the capital? There wasn’t anyone home at the General’s Estate, so she knew she wouldn’t be going back there. Instead, she would be sent back to the Xia Family’s residence. She was already thirteen years old. If she was sent back to the Xia Family, then she would likely be sent to a high-ranking official’s residence to become a concubine to give the Xia Family some benefits. After the matriarch passed away, the Xia Family had become even more chaotic and muddy...
When Lady Fang saw that her niece had been taken down a peg, she hoped that she might change for the better. She mildly replied, “If you don’t want to leave, then prepare yourself for difficulties in the future. You need to remember that I’m not here to live comfortably. Instead, I’m here to help your uncle so he can work without any worries!”
“I’ll remember, aunt!” Xia Furong seemed quite emotional and that wasn’t feigned. She was truly afraid now.
“Godmother, you didn’t let Godfather know ahead of time that you were coming over right?” When Yu Xiaocao saw Xia Furong getting lectured, she hurriedly pulled on Lady Fang’s hand, lightly swayed a bit, and interjected.
Lady Fang gently caressed her head and led her into the inner courtyard. She talked as they walked, “That’s right! Originally, I wanted to give you and your godfather a nice surprise. How did you know that I didn’t tell him in advance?”
“Godfather went into the prefectural city today! If he had known you were coming today, he absolutely wouldn’t be able to abandon you here…” Yu Xiaocao cheerfully raised her head and looked up. Her gaze was open and magnanimous, and there wasn’t a hint that she wanted to curry favor or test the waters.
She acted as if she regarded Lady Fang as her closest relative. No matter what she said or did, she knew that her closest kin wouldn’t truly get angry at her. At last, Lady Fang truly understood why she always felt a slight separation between her and Xia Furong, there was a reason…
Lady Fang lightly tapped Xiaocao’s head and pretended to get angry, “You’re such a gutsy little girl! You even dare to tease your godmother!! When your godfather gets back, I will tell on you!”
Yu Xiaocao exposed a slightly scared expression on her face, as if she was a frightened little girl and deliberately used a voice that trembled to reply, “Don’t do that ah! If Godfather found out that I offended you, Godmother, then he’ll definitely break my leg in two...Godmother, please spare me ah~~~~”
Lady Fang felt that her little act was quite hilarious and couldn’t keep a straight face anymore. She finally burst out into laughter. The older woman bent down and pulled Xiaocao’s thin and soft body into her arms. She remarked in a voice full of mirth, “You’re such a bizarre little girl, how can you be so interesting? No wonder your godfather praises you without end!”
Xia Furong, who was following from behind, almost tore up the handkerchief in her hands. Aunt had never treated her so intimately before. No matter how hard she tried to mold herself into her aunt’s liking, her aunt always had a bit of separation from her. Why?! Why did this lowly brat get to obtain her aunt’s unconditional love at first sight?
Unfortunately, Yu Xiaocao was unable to enjoy her godmother’s hug. She yelped a few times, “Hurts, hurts! Godmother, my back hurts!”
Lady Fang remembered that the little girl had injured her back. She quickly picked her up like a little child and stepped swiftly into the room.
Yu Xiaocao’s butt was in the crook of her godmother’s arm, and she looped her arms around the woman’s neck. She felt a bit awkward inside, ‘I’m almost ten years old, but she treats me as if I was a three year old instead. If other people see this, that would be so embarrassing! But, I never would have expected Godmother, who looks so weak and delicate, to actually be quite strong. Is it because Godfather knows martial arts so Godmother became strong too?’
“Madam, let me hold her instead!” Lady Fang’s competent maidservant, Linglong, hurriedly came over to take Yu Xiaocao off her mistress’s hands.
“No need, it’s not a far distance, I can hold her!” Lady Fang didn’t want to let go of the soft and sweet little girl in her arms. If she had birthed a daughter, would she also be this cute and sweet?Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s Thoughts: Xiaocao won this fight for sure...