The Xiang Clan have always been aristocrats of the Fan Kingdom.
The ancestors have produced three queens and two generals.
Xiao Shaoya is the mainstay1mainstay = the most important part of something, providing support for everything else of this generation of the Xiang Clan, and is in the inheritance of Bai Yihou’s position.
Before the age of thirty, he had already held the position of a great general.
He married the eldest daughter of the Monarch of the Fan Kingdom, Princess Zhaoyuan.
The husband and wife have mutual respect for each other, and have three children, two boys and one girl.
Five years ago, Princess Zhaoyuan passed away due to an illness, and Xiao Shaoya has yet to remarry to this day.
He usually likes to live in the camp, resting and eating together with the soldiers, and does not often return to his residence.
As of right now, Xiang Shaoya’s mother and concubine, Zhang Shi, lives in his residence.
Zhang Shi has two children at the knee.
Xiang Shaoya also has another concubine, Chu Shi, who was the most favored, and usually lives in the camp with Xiang Shaoya.
A little over two months ago, Xiang Shaoya returned to his residence, and began a dispute over sending troops to the Yu Kingdom with the prime minister.
However, every time he felt that his plan was seen through by the prime minister.
The prime minister was always one step ahead of him so Xiang Shaoya couldn’t help, but suspect that there was a spy planted in his residence.
This was all told to me by Zichen on the second day after I took the task.
He came and showed me around the residence, telling me things that we saw while walking.
“I usually follow my Lord around, and don’t often return to the residence so I probably don’t know much.
However, you can come find me if you need anything.” He smiled kindly at me.
As Zi Kou said, he is a handsome and friendly youth which is the type of man that a girl at her age likes the most.
I nodded and asked: “Since you don’t often live in the residence, why didn’t the general have Housekeeper Xu investigate?”
“Housekeeper Xu was brought to the Xiang family by old madam.
If Housekeeper Xu knew that there was a spy in the residence, he would inevitably alarm the old madam, and the general does not want to alarm the old madam.”
After a pause, Zichen laughed again, revealing two eye teeth: “Moreover, Housekeeper Xu is very strict and protective over his people, certainly not willing to believe that something is wrong with the servants under him.”
I looked at him, and said lightly: “Perhaps it is not a servant either?”
Zichen was stunned and said hesitantly: “You mean…”
Before he finished speaking, he was interrupted by the quarrel up ahead.
I looked over and saw that the source of that quarrel was none other than between Chu Shi and Zhang Shi.
Crowded around by a group of elderly maids and servants, Zhang Shi’s youngest daughter was rubbing her eyes while crying.
Zhang Shi claims that it was Chi Shi who pushed her daughter while Chu Shi looked at Zhang Shi with a cold face without saying anything.
I heard that Zhang Shi is a very capable and vigorous woman.
Since there was usually no other madam in the residence and the fact that the old madam is generous, she has been used to being overbearing and oppressive.
On the other hand, Chu Shu has a cold and indifferent nature, and has never paid attention to Zhang Shi.
One of them has children, and the other is favored so it can be considered that they are also evenly matched.
Zhang Shi’s words were meant to mock Chu Shi for not being able to give birth to children.
Chu Shi acted like she didn’t hear it until Zhang Shi popped out a sentence——a woman who can’t leave anything behind is a real shame to her parents.
At this moment, only then did Chu Shi directly look into the eyes of Zhang Shi.
Her natural facial features were deep and heroic, and with such a cold gaze that swept over, even Zhang Shi started to tremble a bit.
“My parents died for the country.
Is it something that you have the right to criticize?”
Zichen whispered to me: “Chu Shi’s parents and brothers are my Lord’s subordinates, and the whole family sacrificed themselves for the country.
As of now, she is the only one left in the family.”
Zhang Shi’s eyes widened and she couldn’t speak.
Chu Shi sneered and looked at Zhang Shi’s little daughter, and said: “To be so young, yet be able to act so well, you really resemble your mother.” After saying this, despite Zhang Shi’s ugly complexion, she stormed off in a huff with her maids.
Zhang Shi lost her temper, and dismissed all the surrounding elderly maids and servants.
Father had a beautiful concubine, this scene was truly familiar.
Seeing that Chu Shi was walking towards us, Zichen and I both bowed our heads and saluted.
Chu Shi’s footsteps stopped in front of us and she asked faintly: “A new maid?”
Zichen said respectfully: “It is Young Master Ji Yu’s personal maid, A’zhi.”
Chu Shu’s gaze swirled around between us, and her tone was a bit sharp: “You are always liked by girls.”
These words were a little bit indescribable, but she did not say more, and left with her maids.
Zichen and I looked at each other.
He shrugged his shoulders and smiled: “Young Madam Chu’s personality is just like this.”
These types of words do not seem to just be the matter of her personality alone.
“You two don’t seem to have a very good relationship.”
“…Young Madam Chu indeed does not like me very much.”
“I don’t know, maybe she thinks that I am too lively?” However, the amount of people that Young Madam Chu does not like is not a small number, not lacking me as well.” Zichen was quite helpless.
After a pause, Zichen said: “As for the matters between the madams, I don’t understand very much.
You should be careful not to get involved.
The General hates fights in the residence the most.”
After that, Zichen still had his own things he needed to do, so I did not bother him anymore.
I have been walking around the residence for more than five days, but fortunately there are many servants in the Xiang Residence who also usually like to chat, making it easier for me to collect information.
The prime minister placed a spy by Xiang Shaoya’s side.
It would be invaluable if it was just a small servant.
Those in the residence who are close to Xiang Shaoya are the housekeeper, the old madam, Zhang Shi and Chu Shi’s maids.
The range was instantly reduced a lot.
The reason why Xiang Shaoya would invite Ji Yu, an outsider, to investigate this, is because on one hand, he was afraid of beating the grass to scare the snake2“beating the grass to scare the snake” = to inadvertently alert an enemy, idiom,and on the other hand, he was afraid of accidentally leaking any information.
As Zichen said, Housekeeper Xu under the old madam has always been tolerant, and the atmosphere in the residence has always been quite good.
Stealing and fights rarely occurred, and every servant that entered the residence had a clean and innocent background, seemingly having nothing to do with the prime minister.
I pondered in silence.
Just as I was walking through the garden of the residence, I heard the sound of a guqin3Guqin = a plucked zither-like stringed musical instrument, traditionally featuring seven unfretted strings, originating in ancient China.
I looked over and saw that in the garden, a woman dressed in a goose-yellow brocade dress with a fine hairpin made from the pearls of the south sea between her hair, and a little bright cinnabar between her eyebrows.
She lowered her eyes and carelessly stroked the guqin in front of her.
By her side, there stood nine maids all dressed in blue clothing, standing respectfully.
I hesitated slightly, and was about to take a detour when I heard the woman’s voice that was neither light or heavy, but instead full of dignity: “Whose family’s maid has such unacceptable behavior? My guqin is something that you are allowed to hear?”
Her guqin still continued to play.
She still has not yet taken a look at me, but apart from her maids in this huge garden, I was the only maid.
As a result, I bowed my head and saluted: ‘This maid does not dare.”
She smiled, and her beautiful eyebrows raised with a sense of coldness: “Why apologize yet not kneel? Your master has surely raised a big temperament.”
Just as I was about to speak, a voice sounded: “For the Third Princess to criticize in such a way, I don’t know if it is Ji Yu who takes the blame or Her Royal Highness, the Seventh Princess of the Qi Kingdom who does?”
I turned around and saw Ji Yu walking over.
He was dressed in purple clothing and held a folding fan in his hand, painted by the late talent, Mo Qianqiu.
There was a deep and unmeasurable smile in his beautiful phoenix eyes.
The woman finally looked up, and a hint of surprise flashed in her eyes.
She slowly stood up, and walked to the front of me.
The corner of her lips hooked up into what seemed to be a smile but also not.
She said carelessly: “It turns out that you are Young Master Ji’s new acquired maid, originally served the Seventh Princess of the Qi Kingdom.
So you tell me, who is more beautiful between me and her?”
She stood in front of me so I could see her magnificent style.
It was at this moment when I knew who she was: the Jade Princess of the Fan Kingdom, Su Cheng.
The Seventh Princess of the Qi Kingdom, Qiqi, and the Jade Princess of the Fan Kingdom, Su Cheng, and Lady Xin from the Wei Kingdom are all well-known comparable beauties.
It is rumored that Su Cheng is a very arrogant and prideful woman.
Moreover, her beauty and talent does deserve such narcissism.
Such a woman would definitely not allow herself to be any less than others.
To be honest, Su Cheng is indeed very beautiful.
Her face is pale and delicate as carefully carved out porcelain.
Moreover, her confident and arrogant temperament makes her look as if she is eminent and unapproachable.
As a result, I smiled and lightly said: “The Seventh Princess died at the time she was most beautiful, and Your Highness will end up growing old one day.
However the beauty of the princess still exists in the world and the beauty of the Seventh Princess has already disappeared.
How can one compare?”
Su Cheng was silent for a moment.
She then lightly snorted, and said as if praiseworthy: “You really know how to speak.” Her gaze turned over to the fan in Ji Yu’s hand.
Her eyebrows raised a bit, looking somewhat surprised.
“Mo Qianqiu’s artwork?”
“The Vanishing Snow of the Deer Mountain.”
“For three thousand taels of gold, I want your fan.”
The corner of Ji Yu’s mouth hooked up as if he was ridiculing.
This expression made Su Cheng look a bit unhappy.
She pursed her lips and looked at Ji Yu, waiting for Ji Yu to set a price.
Ji Yu said with a smile: “Some people think that Mo Qianqiu’s artworks are worth a lot while others think that they are worthless.
When one buys an artwork, it is purely because of liking it.
If I insist on setting a price on this fan, it will be an insult to this liking.”
Su Cheng’s eyes flashed, and her expression became more mild, lightly saying: “Young Master Ji is indeed unconventional.
Then, may I ask what can be done for Young Master Ji to be willing to part with this liking?”
Her tone became a lot more polite, but there was still a persistent meaning as always.
Ji Yu’s gaze fell onto the guqin on the stone table behind Su Cheng.
He lightly smiled: “I heard that the princess’s guqin is an antique, and the sound is exceptionally good.
The princess loves it too much to be willing to part with it.
Don’t know if it is possible or not for the princess to lend Ji Yu that guqin?”
Su Cheng looked back at the guqin behind her, then glanced at the fan in Ji Yu’s lily-white hands.
After pondering for a bit, she agreed.
I retreated discreetly, and quickly walked out of the garden.
When I left, I heard the two sounds of guqin, and Ji Yu’s gentle water-like voice: “The fingering method4The playing techniques of a guqin of the princess’s《Melodies of the Spring White Snow》is perfect, but this is a relaxing and gentle song.
For what reason is it played in such a lonesome way?”
When I looked over, I saw the unconcealable surprise and inexplicable emotions in Su Cheng’s eyes.
Zi Kou said that Ling Shang and Chang Le’s guqin skills were personally taught by Ji Yu himself, but still were only at seventy percent of his skills.
I listened to their ensemble that day, and such an exquisite guqin sound was actually only at the level of seventy percent of Ji Yu’s level.
I think that in these nearly a hundred kingdoms, no one has better guqin skills than him.
I think Ji Yu has already achieved his goal.
Su Cheng, the Jade Princess has a special status in the Fan Kingdom.
She originally was the eleventh daughter of the current Monarch of the Fan Kingdom.
However, because of the agreement between the Monarch of the Fan Kingdom and the Monarch of GuangCheng in the early years, Su Cheng has been raised by the GuangCheng family since she was born.
The Monarch of GuangCheng regarded her as a pearl in his palm, and the Monarch of the Fan Kingdom also dearly loved Su Cheng.
Adding on with her beauty and talent, her status was in fact higher than any other princess in the Fan Kingdom.
With Su Cheng’s help, even if the prime minister obstructs in every possible way, Ji Yu will still definitely be able to see the Monarch of the Fan Kingdom.
Hi! I’m happy that a lot of people are enjoying this novel so far!
1mainstay = the most important part of something, providing support for everything else2“beating the grass to scare the snake” = to inadvertently alert an enemy, idiom3Guqin = a plucked zither-like stringed musical instrument, traditionally featuring seven unfretted strings, originating in ancient China4The playing techniques of a guqin
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