Chu Lian slept soundly all the way till morning. The storm last night had lowered the usual heat of the day, and dewdrops hung on the grass and flowers in their little garden. After taking in a breath of the morning air, she felt very refreshed.
The next thing she did upon waking up was to stare at the auspicious tapestry of fertility on the canopy of the bed while lost in thought.
In the original novel, ‘Chu Lian’ had set fire to the main kitchen, so that the Eldest Young Madam, Madam Zou, would become heavily injured and pass on the household management rights to her. Madam Zou’s maiden family was House Dingyuan, and she was the eldest legitimate granddaughter of Marquis Dingyuan.
It would be Old Marquis Dingyuan’s sixtieth birthday tomorrow. As relatives through marriage, the Jing’an Estate would have to attend to express their well wishes.
Madam Zou had been heavily injured in the original story, so she had been unable to attend. Thus, Matriarch He had brought ‘Chu Lian’ along with her to send their congratulations to the Dingyuan Estate. ‘Chu Lian’ had not only met Xiao Bojian in the Dingyuan Estate, but a series of events had happened that destroyed ‘Chu Lian’s’ reputation and sowed the seeds of suspicion between ‘Chu Lian’ and Matriarch He.
Since she knew what kind of disaster was going to happen at the Dingyuan Estate, she had to find a way to avoid going there at all costs.
Furthermore, Madam Zou was perfectly well now. Her attendance at that event wouldn’t make an impact on the Jing’an Estate at all.
After completing her plans, Chu Lian got out from bed.
This morning, she taught Xiyan how to make steamed soup dumplings. When a basket of soup dumplings was brought down from the tower of steamer baskets, she could see wisps of hot air rising from it. Chu Lian picked one dumpling up and bit a small hole at the top before gently sucking out all the fragrant juices within. She had purposely made them perfectly bite-sized, so she ate the whole dumpling in a single bite. There was no better feeling in the world.
Paired with crisp pickled cucumbers and thick rice porridge, Chu Lian ate half a basket of dumplings.
The remaining baskets were shared amongst the servants in Songtao Court.
Since they had some martial arts skills, Senior Servant Zhong, Wenqing, and Wenlan were able to take a whole basket for themselves. There wasn’t any trace of their haughtiness or calm from last night as the three of them wolfed down their food.
Chu Lian’s mouth twitched as she watched them. She wondered how He Changdi would react if he found out the people he had sent to watch her had been ‘bribed’ by just two of her meals.
When they were done with breakfast, she sent for Senior Servant Zhong to ask her some questions.
Chu Lian didn’t like to keep people on tenterhooks, and she didn’t have any knowledge of Senior Servant Zhong since she didn’t appear in the book. Thus, she just spoke in a straightforward manner.
Senior Servant Zhong was slightly gaping. She hadn’t thought that Third Young Madam would see through Wenqing and Wenlan’s martial arts skills in just a single night.
She suppressed the shock in her heart and replied, “Third Young Madam, Wenqing and Wenlan have indeed undergone martial arts training.”
Chu Lian turned her gaze to Wenqing and Wenlan, who seemed average in both looks and figure to her. She continued to ask them questions purely out of curiosity. “How are Wenqing and Wenlan’s skills?”
Senior Servant Zhong felt a little dizzy. She quickly looked up in disbelief at Chu Lian. Why did it seem like Third Young Madam’s thoughts were completely different from most people? Wouldn’t most young madams ask something like, ‘Why were these servants assigned to me? To watch over me? Does my husband not trust me?’
If she encountered such questions, she could simply reply: ‘Third Young Madam, you’re thinking too much of it.’
However, this young madam was completely deviating from the script. She couldn’t even speak the lines she had prepared.
Senior Servant Zhong swallowed back a mouthful of blood. A twitch developed in her eyelid as she looked towards Wenqing.
When she received the senior servant’s pleading look, Wenqing quickly stepped forward and said proudly, “Replying to Third Young Madam, this servant can deal with four or five normal men easily.”
Senior Servant Zhong: ……
Even the usually unflustered Wenqing had been led away from their main purpose by Third Young Madam.
They had been sent here to keep a close watch on Third Young Madam! What was Wenqing trying to do, standing there like a loyal little puppy waiting to be praised by her mistress?
Senior Servant Zhong suspected that if she stuck a wagging tail onto Wenqing’s back right now, it would fit her perfectly.
She felt the urge to give them a talking to once they were dismissed.
Chu Lian had simply been guessing at Wenqing and Wenlan’s martial arts ability yesterday. Now that she had gotten their confirmation, Chu Lian got excited.
Her shiny black eyes lit up like stars.
They could use martial arts! How impressive! They were her free bodyguards from now on whenever she stepped out of the estate!
That lunatic He Changdi had finally done something right.