Chapter 93: It’s Not Easy to be a Matchmaker
After a few days, the eighth lunar month soon passed. With the golden rays shining on the remaining blooms, Fan Hua Town was now ready to welcome the harvest season.
Lian-momo chose some strong and nimble servants to go to the harvest fields with Lin Si Yao. She had actually wanted to hire some farmers to do it directly. Afterall, the Guye of the Prince’s mansion shouldn’t do the laborious work like that. However, as soon as she was about to voice her thoughts, Lin Si Yao had shot her a glance. She immediately swallowed her words back.
She had to ask the servants to take care of their Guye, to not let him do too much heavy work. But what happened in reality? The three servants couldn’t work as much as Lin Si Yao.
While the men were reaping the fields, Liang-momo directed the maids to cook sweet green bean soup, cool tea and some food to help cool down the body. They also made some delicious and nutritious desserts and timely brought those light refreshments to the field.
Su Shuilian embroidered some simple stuff with Chun Lan. When she felt tired, she would lean against the soft couch. When she felt bored, she would find some books to read. Sometimes, she chatted a little bit with Chun Lan about domestic trivia.
And it had to be said that Chun Lan, the maid, was really handy. Just tell her the name of any drinks or food, she could do them all. And, she could make any kind of garments. Although her embroidery skill wasn’t as excellent as Su Shuilian, she could make all kinds of inner clothes, doudou, socks, and shoes… And, her products were all beautiful and perfect, not a single piece of extra thread. No wonder Liang-momo assigned Chun Lan to personally serve Su Shuilian. Chun Lan’s competence was several times better than the two maids that used to serve her when she lived in Su House.
“Chun Lan, did the former Princess send you here, right?” Su Shuilian asked on a whim, one day. Chun Lan was currently concentrating on making a pair of tiger head shoes*. This place was tens of thousands of miles away from the Imperial City. Surely no maid or servant wanted to come to this isolated, rural area to serve her.
*(Tiger head shoes/ 虎头鞋 – Tiger-head shoes are a traditional Chinese folk handicraft used as footwear for children.)
“Young Lady, Chun Lan volunteered to come here to serve you.” Chun Lan saw Su Shuilian close her book and sat on the chair near the table. She looked as though she got something to chat with her. Thus, she put down her work, stood up and poured a cup of herbal tea that they brought from the Imperial City, which helped nurture the babies .
This time, the elder Wangye and Wangfei had ordered Xia-momo and Liang-momo to prepare and bring many goods, not only the items for the labor, but also daily necessities. They had brought food, precious fabric sheets in many colors, top-quality tonics and teas, and even the precious items for displaying and decoration. In general, they had stuffed ten big horse carriages. And, if the goods weren’t enough, they would buy more. As Chun Lan used to work directly under Xia-momo, she knew how much the elder Wangye and Wangfei cared about the Fourth Young Lady.
Perhaps because their Forth Young Lady had to stay out there for almost ten years, the elder Wangye and Wangfei felt sorry and regretful. Or, perhaps, their Young Lady was now married and pregnant, the elder couple were more worried than happy.
No matter what, they were sure that the Fourth Young Lady had taken an important position in the elder Wangye and Wangfei’s hearts. Besides the new Wangye that had just inherited the royal title, the Fourth Young Lady took priority in the minds of the Elder Wangye and Wangfei.
Thus, among the maids, servants, and guards that were chosen, who weren’t willing? Although this place was pretty far away from the Prince’s mansion, after a while, they had adapted and become to like the tranquil, simple air of this small town. If they were asked to stay here for the rest of their life, they would all agree. At least, now they could live like common residents. They could freely leave the house; they could freely talk while doing house chores, or freely going out to take in fresh air. In this place, things like competition that they had to tread on each other to become the first-grade maid or for a little chunk of bonus would never happen.
This time, their works were simple and easy. There wasn’t any heavy job. As long as they finished their tasks, in their free time, Liang-momo allowed them to borrow books to study or make their own accessories or clothes. It was almost like the normal life of an embroiderer living in the countryside.
Moreover, to Chun Lan, she had another more important reason to be here. Because ‘he’ came too, so she didn’t hesitate to come to this place.
“Him? Who’s he?” Su Shuilian asked with a smile.
Ah! Why she let it slip out of her mouth? Chun Lan covered her mouth in embarrassment. “Young Lady…”
“Let me guess… The Chief Guard, right?” It was because Chun Lan’s gaze was different whenever she looked at Chief Guard Xiao.
Su Shuilian discovered that Chun Lan got shy easily. Or, she should say that when the girls were in love, they got shy easily. With a sudden surge of playfulness, she decided to become a matchmaker. Anyway, her days of nurturing the babies were too long and boring.
“Lady!” Chun Lan turned around, embarrassed. Heavens! Why had her elegant, tender Young Lady teased her? Ah! Just let her die then. How could she face the people in the street anymore?
“Chun Lan,” Su Shuilian shook her head, burst out laughing. “I won’t tell anyone. Of course, if you want me to tell Chief Guard Xiao about this, I will be very happy to do that.”
“Young Lady! Don’t!” As soon as Chun Lan heard that, she couldn’t be shy anymore. Immediately, she hurried to turn around and pull Su Shuilian’s arm, explaining. “Young Lady, Chief Xiao got someone in his heart. You should never tell him that I… I…” She was so hurried she stammered.
“Alright, alright, I understand…” Su Shuilian didn’t tease her more when she said that. She patted Chun Lan’s hand, talking, “But Chun Lan, how did you know he got someone in his heart?”
“I… I heard from the other maids. Previously, Guard Xiao was the Chief Guard of Xiang Wangye’s mansion. Because of his relationship with our Prince, he moved and worked for our Jing Wangye’s mansion. However, I heard that the person he likes was the first-grade maid of Xiang Wangfei.” Chun Lan sighed. The first-grade maid of Xiang Wangfei? She could guess that Guard Xiao wouldn’t bat an eye on the maids here even once.
“Chun Lan, I think you’re really nice. With an above average appearance, mild temper, and excellent craftsmanship, if you want to become the first-grade maid of Wangfei, it won’t be impossible.” Su Shuilian gently comforted her. She was talking honestly. After several days living together, Chun Lan’s tenderness and her sewing, embroidery techniques had made Su Shuilian give her another glance. And, she was also able to subdued both Situ Yun’s and Tian Da Bao’s stomachs.
“Young Lady… You’re so kind!” As Chun Lan heard her say that, she sobbed, talking and sniffling. She had worked for the Prince’s mansion for more than five years, and no one had ever praised her for anything. And now, it was the Fourth Young Lady who had complimented her. If someone was asked if any lady would compliment a maid by telling her that she was beautiful, nice, and skillful? No, no one has ever. Thus, she was so touched she wanted to cry. And she actually cried.
“wu wu wu [crying]”
“Chun Lan…” Su Shuilian became bewildered when she saw the girl sobbing. She hurried to give her a silk handkerchief. “Chun Lan, did I say something wrong? Or did I say something I shouldn’t? Nono, don’t cry. Don’t cry…”
Chun Lan saw the Lady she’d supposed to serve become flustered to comfort her, she became even more touched. All the homesick feelings she had buried for five years and the pressure, the grievances of a suppressing life in the Prince’s mansion turned into tears, streaming down her face.
“I’m sorry, this is Chun Lan’s fault, Young Lady! It’s my fault. Chun Lan shouldn’t behave like that in front of you.” Chun Lan had cried so much her tears couldn’t fall anymore. After choking with emotions and grievances, she got herself together and found herself acting improperly in front of the Fourth Young Lady. Heavens! I have no manners! If she were still in Prince Jing’s mansion in the Imperial City, she would have lost half of her life.
“It’s okay. We are humans, we can’t avoid those sad moments. It means you don’t think of me as a stranger.” Su Shuilian smiled until her eyes narrowed, giving the other a cup of fragrant tea. “Alright, since you have cried till you were satisfied, it’s about dinner time right?” Su Shuilian pointed at the setting sun outside their window. A Yao and Liang-momo are about to come home from the field.
“Yes, my Lady! I’m going to cook now. Does young lady want to eat anything?” Chun Lan rubbed her swollen eyes, resuming her tender temperament. It seemed the scene of her choking on her sobs was just a dream to Su Shuilian. However, seeing her eyes swelling like the two almonds, Su Shuilian was somehow anticipating. She was curious to see what Guard Xiao, who worked under Lin Si Yao’s order and guarded outside, would feel afterwards.
Sigh, forgive me, I’m just too bored. However, I’m anticipating to see the result.
“Mhm, whatever is fine. I don’t have food aversions.” Su Shuilian wanted to hurry her to the door and glance at Guard Xiao, who was standing upright in the shade of the cherry tree in the yard. Good, he reacted. At least, he had glanced at Chun Lan.
Combining her previous sobbing and her red, swollen eyes, if he had some feelings for her, it would have some effect on Guard Xiao, right? At least, he would go to the kitchen to comfort Chun Lan for a while?
Su Shuilian thought while walking back to the central room. She lazily lay on the solf pillow on the kang as she wanted a nap.
“Young Lady! Xiao Heng requests to see you!” A moment later, a deep and low voice came from the door of the central room.
Su Shuilian opened her drowsy eyes. Xiao Heng? Guard Xiao? What did he want to meet her for? Shouldn’t he be in the kitchen comforting Chun Lan?
“Come in.” She stooped and adjusted her clothes, sitting neatly on the kang, answering the request.
Xiao Heng was the most outstanding guards here, and he was really handsome. No wonder why that little girl Chun Lan liked him a lot. However, compared to her A Yao, he was still a little lower.
Su Shuilian inwardly compared the two while she silently waited for him to speak.
“Young Lady… this little one don’t know how to talk to you about this. But… My Lady, this little one wonders what mistake Chun Lan had caused to make you scold her that much?” Guard Xiao kneeled in front of Su Shuilian, asking in a neither servile nor arrogant tone.
Right, he has questioned me. It was the only thing Su Shuilian had in her mind was: I scolded Chun Lan? When did that happen?
Su Shuilian rolled her eyes at Xiao Heng in front of her. After a long moment, she furrowed her brows. “Who told you that I scolded her? Did Chun Lan tell you that?”
“No, this little one heard it…” Xiao Heng said just half of his sentence. Then, he lifted his head, “Young Lady didn’t scold her?”
“No,” Su Shuilian retorted angrily. “If you care about her, why don’t you go and directly ask her? Why did you question me?”
“This little one offended young lady, please punish this insolent one.” Xiao Heng was confused, but he still seriously admitted his error.
“Punish? Okay, then you go to the kitchen and tell Chun Lan that I suddenly want to eat fish soup,” Su Shuilian sipped her tea, pretending to be serious.
“Young Lady, this… this little one has received the order,” Xiao Heng gave her a skeptical glance before respectfully leaving the central room. It seems the Fourth Young Lady isn’t like what they had rumored.
“It doesn’t seem like Chun Lan doesn’t have hope. Haha… but why I’ve become a master who mistreated her maids? Turns out it’s not easy to become a matchmaker.” Su Shuilian shook her head smiling. She carried her big and heavy belly, walking to the front gate to wait for Lin Si Yao, who would come home from the field soon.
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