Wife Doting Addiction:My Abducted Tsundere Husband - Chapter 107

Wife Doting Addiction:My Abducted Tsundere Husband - Chapter 107

The waiter took a step forward to welcome them to the teahouse, “Are there two of you?” Lan Zhihui nodded slowly while lifting her skirt slightly to go up the stairs.

“Were there two young masters who entered the teahouse just now?” Qinxiang asked.

“There were.

Do you know them?” asked the waiter.

Yes, we do.

May I know where the young masters are seated?” “Surely.

They’re in the Jingzhu Room upstairs.

I’ll show you the way,” he answered.

A few people in the group stopped off on the second floor, where they found Xiao Lie standing in front of a window in the corridor, gazing wistfully at a grove of blossoming trees behind the teahouse.

Ah, what a delight to the eye.

The blossoms were covered with freshly fallen snow.

In the sunlight, the snowflakes had melted into water droplets atop six petals of the flowers, sparkling like shattered glass on the pavement.

Lured by the exquisite scenery, Xiao Lie and Su Jiu paused to admire the view and have a chat.

Lan Zhihui took a moment to check her hair, making sure it was just so.

Satisfied that it was, she pursed her red lips and stepped daintily toward the others, lowering her head slightly to reveal her elegant profile.

“What a coincidence to meet your highness,” she said softly.




She was halfway through her sentence when suddenly a man cried out, “Get out of the way, outta the way, quickly get out of the way!” He gave a quick shove to a waiter carrying a container of hot water just as the waiter was about to put his foot on the last step of the stairs.

The man was running crazily as if pursued by a pack of wolves.

Caught off guard, the waiter staggered, tripped, and lurched forward, the scalding hot water in his hands splashing right in front of him.

Whoosh! It wasn’t his fault….

Su Jiu and Lan Zhihui were facing each other while Xie Lie stood behind Su Jiu.

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COM Xiao Lie’s head whipped around in astonishment.

He’d seen a flash of shock in Lan Zhihui’s eyes, yet he rushed to protect Su Jiu by pulling her toward his embrace and using his body to shield her from harm.

It happened in a split second.

Su Jiu turned around in astonishment to see what had happened.

Lan Zhihui saw that Xiao Lie had indeed noticed her but instinctively reached out to protect the young man near him.

In the blink of an eye, the hot water splashed on her.

Fortunately, her cloak and clothing protected her; however, some of the water still got on her neck and dribbled down under her clothes.

She winced in pain as she collapsed.

“Young lady, young lady!” Qinxiang rushed to her side and dabbed the water on Lan Zhihui’s neck and body to cool the burning.

“Are you all right? Did you get burned?” Dazed but unhurt, she just looked at him angrily…What the heck happened? Though Xiao Lie had seen her, he protected the young man instead.

He expressed no concern for her–not one whit.

It was downright humiliating! Why were her feelings unreciprocated when she had put forth so much effort for him? She was shocked by this realization that left her with an unbearable, unsettling feeling.

Suddenly, her whole world had turned dull and bleak.

“Lady Lan?” Xiao Lie murmured softly.

She slowly got to her feet and was about to answer when she saw the striking young man standing next to Xiao Lie.

Her lips curved downloads.

What a big shock Su Jiu got when she saw Lan Zhihui on the floor.

What the hell was she doing in a place like this? Even though Su Jiu was disguised as a man and looked suave with a slight modification in her makeup, Lady Lan could tell it was Su Yuejiu! Oh, yes.

It was she.

The woman was vexed: What was Su Yuejiu doing with Xiao Lie? How did she even know him? What was even more disconcerting was that they appeared to enjoy a close relationship.

That much was evident from the way Xiao Lie rushed to protect her just now.

No way were those two just friends! Seeing Lan Zhihui’s puzzled expression, Xiao Lie broke the awkward silence.

“Did Lady Lan hurt herself?” He was just being polite.

He did not try to help her even though he expressed his concern.

The waiter, on the other hand, went overboard.

In a panicked state, he rushed over to help Lady Lan get back on her feet.

“It wasn’t intentional.

My apologies.

Were you scalded by the water?” Qinxiang pushed him away and sneered at him with a look of disgust, “Don’t touch your young lady!” It must be remembered that physical contact between man and woman was forbidden, even though the waiter had only wanted to lend a helping hand.

He recoiled in shock as he heard Qinxiang’s sharp tone and made another effort to appease her.

“It’s all my fault.

I am willing to accept any punishment from you as long as young lady was not hurt!” Qinxiang supported Lan Zhihui as she got on her feet again, her eyes boring into the waiter, “What were you doing? A punishment to beat you to death would even be considered light if you had caused our young lady any mishap!” “Yes, yes!” the waiter apologized profusely.

“Qinxiang, stop making things difficult for him.

He didn’t do it on purpose; moreover, I am fine!” Lan Zhihui’s face had turned pale, but she remained understanding and graceful as she spoke.

She nodded toward Xiao Lie and turned around to go downstairs.

Su Jiu looked at Xiao Lie, curiously, “You know Lan Zhihui?” Xiao Lie nodded his head lightly, “We met a few times when she was the lady of the official’s manor.

” “Looks like this isn’t the place to enjoy the scenery.

Let’s have some tea in the room,” he said.

Su Jiu took a quick look at the staircase just as Lan Zhihui looked over at her.

Her body was cast in shadows in the corridor, and her eyes were full of sorrow.

On seeing Su Jiu’s gaze, she walked down the stairs, hesitantly.

Xiao Lie gave a tug on her wrist as he noticed she was not following him.

“Why are you in a daze, let’s go,” he said.

“Sure thing,” Su Jiu responded and followed him into the room.

Lan Zhihui came out of the teahouse with Qinxiang’s help.

She gloomily stared at the bustling crowd on the street, her gaze turning somber just as the weather turned overcast.

“Young lady!” Qinxiang held onto her shoulders, worryingly.

Lan Zhihui looked despondent as she mumbled to herself softly, “Why was Su Yuejiu with Xiao Lie.

And why was disguised as a man? Did Ji Yuxian know about this? How about Xiao Lie? Did he know about Su Yuejiu’s identity? “She was seducing Xiao Lie even though she was married to the Eldest Young Master.

Has she no shame!” Qinxiang exclaimed.

Lan Zhihui’s stare turned chilly… We’ll see if Ji Yuxian still pampers his lady and treats her preciously once he finds out about her relationship with another man outside the manor.

A sense of excitement unknowingly stemmed from the woman’s heart, and she wished she could bring Ji Yuxian to the teahouse at that moment.

No! Now was not the time.

She would have to find the opportunity to let them meet unexpectedly.

What an exciting scene that would be! She held her head up high at the mere thought.

Hahaha… The coldness in the woman’s gaze subsided and was replaced by her usual demureness and elegance.

She stepped into the horse carriage gracefully as she said, “Qinxiang, let’s go back to our inn.

” ….


Before long, the Lantern Festival had arrived after the tenth day of the new year.

Su Jiu did not go to the festival, as Ji Yuxian had taught her to look at the ledgers in the morning, and she had gone back to the Perched Phoenix Pavilion for a nap in the afternoon.

The nanny had made her a bowl of porridge from red beans and barley after she woke up from her nap when Mrs.

Fan announced, “The Fourth Young Mistress is here.

” Su Jiu entered the reception pavilion to see Chen Yuchan waiting there while her usual maidservant stood behind her.

The woman wore as dressed in misty-gray mesh printed with fine details and a classic white pleated skirt.

Her hair was coiled up in a bun and accessorized with a single peacock-patterned dangling ornament made of golden jade.

Her demure face was elegant and beautiful without much makeup.

A red wooden lunchbox carved with flower patterns was placed on a table beside her.

She got up once she saw Su Jiu and bowed while greeting respectfully, “Greetings to the Young Mistress!” “Have a seat!” Su Jiu smiled.

Chen Yuchan opened the lunchbox.

With both hands, she took out a white ceramic plate with golden outlines that served several colorful and flower-shaped pastries.

She put the plate on the table next to Su Jiu and said gently, “During the Lantern Festival back in my hometown, my mother used to make such blossom flower cakes.

The glutinous rice was ground into powder before simmering them until a layer of floating oil can be removed from the surface, allowing their colors to appear clear and beautiful.

The stuffing was made from sesame seeds, white sugar, red dates puree, and osmanthus.

My mother said that one would have a smooth year after consuming the blossom flower cakes.

I have specially made some for the Young Mistress today, and I wish her a successful and fulfilling year.

” The woman’s tone was warm and mellow as she spoke slowly and gently, her words sounded comfortable to the ear.

The nanny said hurriedly, “It is very kind of Fourth Young Mistress!” Su Jiu took a blossom flower cake and popped it in her mouth.


The pastry melted in her mouth and was smooth and buttery, its sweetness just right.

“Yes, it’s delicious.

” Su Jiu gave a lighthearted laugh and said sincerely, “Thank you so much.

” Chen Yuchan lowered her head shyly and replied, “I’m glad that Young Mistress liked it.

” The servants served tea, and Chen Yuchan took a sip before looking up at Su Jiu.

“The streets are throbbing with noise and pleasant activities today.

Is Young Mistress planning to watch the festive lanterns tonight?” Su Jiu asked, “What kind of activities?” Chen Yuchan gave a thought and smiled.

“There is a lantern exhibition, riddle guessing games, and the circus act with a lion dance.

The riddle guessing game is the most interesting.

You get to win prizes if you solve the riddles correctly.

” Su Jiu took a look at the outdoors and realized the sky was darkening.

Her eyes glinted as she got up with a smile.

“Let’s go out now,” she said.

Chen Yuchan was momentarily stunned.

“Now?” “Yes, why not!” Su Jiu dragged Chen Yuchan by the wrist out of the door.

“It will be harder to walk on the streets once it gets dark later on.

This is a perfect time to go out.

” Truthfully, she was not afraid of walking in the dark; she was just scared that Ji Yuxian wouldn’t agree to let them go, so they had to sneak out before he found out.

It would be hard to find them once they were out on the streets.

Her strides were wide and fast.

While Chen Yuchan usually walked in small steps, she was not used to walking so quickly, resulting in her being dragged most of the time and breaking into a short jog along sometimes.

“Slow down, Young Mistress.

We’ll get there on time as if the evening had just started!” The two were on their way out the door when Ji Yuxian was returning to the manor, appearing charming and ravishing as he was decked in a red robe.

His dark hair glistened under the evening sun.

Chen Yuchan stopped in her tracks immediately with her face flushed from walking quickly.

She bowed and greeted, “Greetings to the Young Master.

” Ji Yuxian’s gaze swept across the woman’s face nonchalantly and stopped on Su Jiu and immediately turned tender, “Where are you going in such a hurry?” Su Jiu answered, “We are going out and won’t be back for dinner tonight.

” “Young Master, Young Mistress and I are going to see the lantern exhibition,” Chen Yuchan explained gingerly.

“You’re not allowed to go if you have not yet eaten,” Ji Yuxian squinted his wide almond eyes and said assertively even though he was smiling.

He told Chen Yuchan without waiting for Su Jiu to return his words,” “The Young Mistress is not going.

You should return to your court too.

” Chen Yuchan lowered her head and replied tenderly, “Sure, I will go back now!” Su Jiu tilted her head and stared coldly at the man after Chen Yuchan left.

“Did I agree for you to restrict my freedom when we struck our partnership?” Did she need his permission to go out? When did she become his servant? Ji Yuxian ignored the furious expression on the young woman’s face and took a huge step forward.

He embraced her in his arms as he said with a melodic voice as a smile appeared on his handsome face, “The streets are crowded tonight, and the restaurants and stalls will be packed with people.

Where do you think you can have a meal if you go out tonight?” Su Jiu gave him a side-eye.

“I have eaten some blossom flower cakes and have no appetite at the moment.

” “You’re not allowed to go out either!” the man stood against the sunlight, and the evening sun rays shone on his side profile, emphasizing his distinct and charming facial features and amplifying his good looks.

“Why you…” Su Jiu raised her head and looked at him furiously.

She reached out her hands and intended to give him a good shove, as she insisted on having her way even if the man forbad her from leaving.

He caught hold of her extended arms and pulled her into his embrace, hugging her tightly as he lowered his head to plant a kiss on her forehead.

He smiled lightly, “Who is going to accompany your husband if you go to the lantern exhibition with someone else?” Astonished, Su Jiu looked up at him and said, “You are heading out too?” “We’ll go together to see the festive lanterns as long as my lady eats her meal here and simmers down.

How does that sound?” Su Jiu chuckled and rolled her eyes at him.

“You should have said that earlier.

” Ji Yuxian lowered his head and kissed the corner of her lips as he mumbled, “My lady didn’t give me a chance.

I was frightened when you got mad.

” His warm breath landed on her eyes, and Su Jiu felt her heart tremble.

She raised her brows as she said, “Well, you deserved it!” Her tone was seemingly angry, but Ji Yuxian only felt as if half of his body had gone limp when he heard her words.

His gaze darkened as he lifted her chin for a kiss.

The two of them stood right at the entrance of Perched Phoenix Pavilion, and all of Ji Manor’s servants avoided them as they passed by.

Jin Feng shook his head as he stood in the distance and secretly criticized the Young Master.

He was fine when not in love, but once he gave his heart away, he displayed acts of affection anywhere and in full view of others.

It was so improper.

They went outside and enjoyed the Lantern Festival activities after dinner.

Xie Ying, Madame Ren, and Chen Yuchan went once their horse carriage left the manor.

Unmarried women seldom stepped outdoors, but young ladies and mistresses were all allowed to go onto the streets to partake in the festival lanterns during the Lantern Festival.

Xie Ying had initially sent her servants to invite Ji Yuxian to accompany but was instead informed that the Young Master had already left with the Young Mistress.

Xie Ying’s expression turned sour.

She was taking out her frustrations on her servants when Ren Zi’er arrived and offered to accompany her.

Both of them were about to leave when Ren Zi’er said, “Let’s invite the Fourth Young Mistress to join us.

” “Must we?” Xie Ying asked anxiously.

She’s such a bore.

I get annoyed just looking at her.

” “Sister will be able to display your generosity as the potential mistress of the manor if you invite us along to see the festival lanterns.

What a nice contrast to someone else who only thought about herself and didn’t behave like a mistress of the manor.

” Ren Zi’er tried to please Xie Ying and continued with a pout.

“Moreover, the Young Master may compliment you for being kind and understanding if he happens to meet us on the streets later on.

” Ren Zi’er was talking utter nonsense without conviction.

She had only wanted to bring another person along to avoid Xie Ying unleashing her anger on her alone.

Xie Ying, however, was flattered by her words and gleefully agreed.

“Good idea.

Let’s invite her along then.

” Chen Yuchan, who had always been intimidated by Xie Ying, didn’t dream of rejecting her invitation; hence, the three of them left the manor together.

Outside, the streets were jam-packed with people.

All sorts of small stalls were set up on both sides of the streets, with the vendors loudly hawking their wares and touting their business, much enhancing the festive atmosphere.

The ladies who seldom ventured outdoors had also gone onto the streets on this day.

They sat in their carriages and sedans as they made their way through the bustling crowds.

The air lingered with their fragrance as they drove by, enticing and refreshing the men on the streets as they watched the carriages passing by.

Festival lanterns were aplenty on the streets.

There were ordinary ones made from rice paper or woven with bamboo strips, and expensive ones glazed with or made with silk.

They were constructed into different designs and were littered along the streets, conjuring a scene of the starry and glittering night sky.

Boom! Crackle! Pop! The firework displays crackled in the inky sky as fiery sparks whipped the air and burst through the night, so brilliant and bedazzling.

It was a scene of peace and prosperity as the bright lights from the fireworks revealed the joyful expressions of the spectators.

Su Jiu stood transfixed among a crowd in front of a stall hosting the riddle guessing games.

She had already figured out the game rules while observing the others and couldn’t wait to play herself.

The stall vendor took out an eight-sided glazed lotus lantern and yelled, “Thank you for showing up to the games tonight.

The person who can consecutively solve ten riddles correctly will win this very expensive and precious lotus lantern.

” The lantern had eight sides, and each side was sketched with paintings featuring fairy maidens, bats, flora and fauna, and all kinds of auspicious patterns.

A candle was lit in the middle of the lantern.

As the lantern began to spin, the eight paintings started to rotate and appeared bright and colorful.

Everyone’s breath was taken away by this gorgeous lantern! The crowd cheered.

Su Jiu stared at the lantern, her eyes gleaming.

She rubbed her hands and was ready to step forward.

“Do you want the lantern?” Ji Yuxian pulled the young woman into his arms, lowered his head, and asked.

“Yes, I do!” Su Jiu nodded and was enthusiastic about trying out the game.

Still, she was afraid that she might not be able to solve ten riddles correctly as she had only begun to learn how to write and had only read a few books.

“Go ahead if you want to.

You have me!” Ji Yuxian’s lips curled into a smile.

Su Jiu nodded.

“Okay!” Several people had already stepped forward to participate in the riddle guessing games, and the spectators were tracking the number of riddles they had answered correctly.

Anyone who solved a riddle incorrectly was eliminated.

Su Jiu stopped in front of a boat lantern and raised a finger to point at it.

“This one.

” The young staff immediately removed the slip of paper attached to the lantern and handed it to Su Jiu.

“Former resentment is repudiated after saying your parting words, guess a word.

” Su Jiu thought about it for a moment and said quickly, “Modesty!” “Congratulations, you’ve solved one riddle correctly.

Please pick the next riddle.

” The young staff member kept the slip of paper carefully and said warm-heartedly.

Su Jiu chose a rabbit lantern next.

“An eight-figured goatee under your lips, guess a word.

” The riddle was more natural this time around, and Su Jiu answered without much hesitation, “One.

” “That’s correct.

You have correctly solved two riddles.

Please pick the next one.

” Ji Yuxian followed behind Su Jiu and saw the young woman looking proud and pleased.

His eyes sparkled as his smile grew wider.

Su Jiu was feeling confident when she frowned at the third riddle she had chosen.

“The waters were unclear.

” Ji Yuxian’s gaze swept across the young woman in deep thought and wrote a few strokes on her waist with his hand.

Su Jiu said in realization, “Soldier!” “The Young Lady is brilliant.

” The young staff member smiled and said, “You have solved three riddles correctly.

Please proceed to choose from over here.

” The level of difficulty is increasing.

Su Jiu was not afraid, as she had Ji Yuxian by her side.

She walked over to the next section of lanterns.

Both of them overcame the challenges and had consecutively solved seven riddles correctly when the young staff member thundered, “Young lady, please come over here and pick the last three riddles.

” Everyone turned around at his announcement.

The last three riddles? It was incredible that she was already on the eighth riddle.

The first three riddles were comfortable, but the level of difficulty increased as they continued.

It was rare for someone to solve five or six riddles correctly.

Ten brand new lanterns were hung up on a separate platform, waiting to be picked by Su Jiu.

She raised her finger and chose a four-angled lantern.

The young staff member read aloud, “The eighth riddle.

The crescent moon travels up through the clouds.

” Su Jiu lowered her gaze and pondered.

As it was nearing the end of the segment and they were being watched by the shopkeeper and spectators, Ji Yuxian could no longer provide any help to Su Jiu.


” Su Jiu blurted out with a shimmer in her eyes.

The crowd went wild! Su Jiu turned around to look at Ji Yuxian and saw him staring at her longingly while nodding his head and smiling lightly.

Su Jiu pursed her lips into a smile and turned around to pick the ninth riddle.

“The ninth riddle, the spring waters flow as the candlelight grew dim.

The moon hangs brightly in the sky as autumn turns into winter.

” “White lilac!” Su Jiu answered immediately.

The crowd roared in approval.

“Please pick the last riddle, ” the young staff member said.

The stall vendor turned around at the same time and looked at Su Jiu expectantly.

Su Jiu chose a carp lantern for the last riddle.

“The last riddle!” The young staff dragged his words out to build drama and create a mysterious vibe.

He cleared his throat and read, “The city welcomes a guest from the North and South.

Guess a word!” Su Jiu was stunned by the riddle and lowered her gaze as she pondered deeply.

The spectators around her tried to solve the riddle as well.

Some of them seemed to have thought of the answer.

Their faces lit up with realization, while some had their brows knitted tightly just like Su Jiu as they continued to solve the riddle in their heads.

Su Jiu still did not manage to think of an answer as the seconds turned into minutes.

Ji Yuxian appeared serene and at ease.

He felt that the young woman was already considered a “prodigy” after only starting to learn writing and reading for the past one to two months.

He knew that Su Jiu would not mind too much, even if she failed to solve the last riddle.

The people around Su Jiu inevitably broke into a sweat as they saw that she was still not answering.

They were panicking deep down in their hearts and felt a sense of pity if she did not manage to solve the very last riddle.

Su Jiu lowered her head and remained silent as she thought about the riddle’s answer even though the crowd around her was rambling away.

Her expression showed no signs of nervousness or anxiety.

“Young lady, have you managed to solve the riddle? Time is almost up!” The stall vendor asked politely.

The young staffer looked at Su Jiu with much sympathy and was about to announce the answer to the riddle when the young woman blurted out all of a sudden, “Palace!” Silence.

Everyone fell silent as she gave her answer.

Ji Yuxian broke into a small grin as he stood behind and watched her profile intently.

“The Young lady is a genius!” The stall vendor took a step forward without waiting for the young staffer to speak.

He took down the eight-sided glazed lantern and handed it to Su Jiu personally and said with much respect, “Young lady, this lantern is yours!” The stall vendor could tell that Su Jiu and Ji Yuxian were no ordinary civilians based on their exquisite apparel, and therefore politely gave away the lantern without hesitation.

“Thank you very much!” Su Jiu smiled as she held up the lantern and turned around to raise an eyebrow at Ji Yuxian.

She looked ravishingly beautiful as she smiled sweetly from ear to ear.

Ji Yuxian held her hand and led her away from the stall as the crowd watched them enviously.

Su Jiu took two steps before she stopped and handed the glazed lantern to Ji Yuxian, “For you!” Ji Yuxian raised a brow in surprise, “For me?” “Yes.

” Su Jiu shoved the handle of the lantern into Ji Yuxian’s hand and smiled, “We have won this lantern together, and it now belongs to you.

” Ji Yuxian smiled lightly as he held onto the lantern.

He bent forward and spoke softly into Su Jiu’s ear, “It doesn’t matter who keeps this lantern.

You belong to me anyway.

” Su Jiu’s heart began pounded as she raised her brows.

Ji Yuxian didn’t seem to mind that they were in public and planted a kiss on her temple.

An uproar broke out within the crowd.

Su Jiu felt embarrassed all of a sudden and turned away as she pretended to browse through the items on sale by the side of the street.

Ji Yuxian broke into a smile as he watched the young woman evading from his teasing and thought that the insensate rock was finally enlightened.

Out of the corner of her eye, Su Jiu saw a stall selling masks by the side of the street and picked up an evil-looking mask.

She put it on and turned around to Ji Yuxian as she said menacingly, “Are you scared?” Ji Yuxian sneered at Su Jiu’s ridiculous question, but his gaze was filled with adoration.

Su Jiu glared at him and casually picked out a fairy maiden mask for Ji Yuxian.

“This is for you.

” Ji Yuxian frowned and took a step back, “I don’t want it.

” “You shall not refuse,” the young woman replied bossily as she pulled Ji Yuxian over and tip-toed to put the mask onto his face.

She burst into laughter as she saw the man put on a pretty fairy maiden face mask even though his body appeared charming and regal.

Ji Yuxian’s brows knitted tightly.

He was about to remove the face mask when Su Jiu stopped him quickly.

“Don’t take it off.

Let’s keep our masks on together.

” She passed the stall vendor a few silver pieces upon talking and continued to lead Ji Yuxian along the street.

Only Ji Yuxian’s eyes were revealed from the mask; he thought that he must be insane to be behaving crazily together with her.

Luckily, no one would be able to recognize him in that mask.

The housekeepers and shopkeepers of Ji Manor were all seated at the front of a teahouse having tea when they caught sight of something dreadful that made them spit out their tea to ten feet away.

The Eldest Young Master Ji, who usually appeared noble and suave, was now strolling down the street with a fairy maiden face mask.

The two of them walked among the crowd openly as one of them wore an evil-looking mask while the other wore a fairy maiden face mask.

They had strolled halfway through the street when a group of dragon dancers approached from the opposite direction.

The crowd surged abruptly, and both of them were nudged to the side.

Su Jiu raised her head and saw that a crowd had assembled at the riverbank, which was bustling with activities.

She became curious.

Being nimble and agile, she quickly disappeared in the direction of the riverbank and forgot about the person behind her.

There were two groups of people at the riverbank.

One group consisted of buskers who were half-naked in the winter night and performing an act of crushing boulders on their chest.

In contrast, the other group consisted of opera singers who had set up a tent right by the side of the river and had attracted a pool of spectators.

Su Jiu had watched the buskers for a while before she lost interest and proceeded to listen to the opera singers instead.

The opera was about the renowned heroine Hua Mulan, who had mastered martial arts and enrolled in the army to fight against enemies at war.

Su Jiu had always liked this particular opera and stood for a long while as she watched their performance.

A larger crowd gathered as the opera singers performed brilliantly, Su Jiu’s line of sight gradually got blocked by the spectators, and she was getting tired from standing for such a long time.

She caught hold of a thick willow tree out of the corner of her eyes and proceeded to leap up onto one of its branches, leaned back slightly, and enjoyed the opera performance leisurely.

She had even bought a packet of melon seeds after noticing them on being sale right below the tree, Ji Yuxian was long forgotten in her mind as she munched and listened to the opera.

Before she knew it, two hours had passed, and the warfighting opera script had come to an end.

Su Jiu stretched her body lazily and looked around only to realize that the crowd had mostly dispersed.

The night had become colder as the hustle and bustle on the streets died down.

It turned dark as the crowd went home, with only a few people left on the streets.

She should head back soon, too.

Su Jiu paused abruptly at the thought and suddenly recalled that she had not come out on the streets alone.

Where was Ji Yuxian? Su Jiu leaped from the tree and was about to head to the streets to look for him when she stopped dead in her tracks and turned around.

As the street life of the night waned and the lights went out, the man remained standing as he leaned against the willow tree that she had been in.

He still had his fairy maiden face mask on and was holding onto the glazed lantern she had won.

How long had he been waiting for her under the dim lights? Was he waiting for her all this time while she was watching the opera performance in the tree? Su Jiu felt her chest tightened as an unclear feeling surged through her body and clenched her heart; she felt mildly shaken and heartbroken.

She stepped toward him softly and asked guiltily, “Have you been standing here and waiting for me?” The man removed his face mask and revealed a remarkably handsome face as he grinned, “My lady is here.

Of course, I have to wait here as well.

” Su Jiu rubbed her fingers against the mask held in her hands as she attempted to explain, “I’m sorry, I was…” Ji Yuxian stopped her mid-sentence he suddenly reached out to pull her into his embrace.

He hugged her tightly as his deep and melodic voice rang in her ears, “Su Jiu, it is fine if you forgot about me when I could still see where you were.

I worry that you will forget me one day when I can no longer see you.

” Su Jiu frowned and shook her head.

“It won’t happen.

” Su Jiu smiled lightly.

“Ninth Master Su had better keep your words!” “By all means,” Su Jiu nodded earnestly.

“If my lady were to forget me one day, you must remember to turn around as I will be right behind you.

” Su Jiu felt that Ji Yuxian had behaved strangely the entire day even though he did talk bafflingly and oddly on several occasions.

The candlelight in his hand was extinguished as a gust of wind blew.

He stood upright and caressed Su Jiu’s face and said, “It’s late.

Let’s go home.

” Su Jiu grabbed his arm and broke into a smile.

“Yes, let’s.

” The night grew cold as the streets emptied.

Su Jiu held both masks in one hand while Ji Yuxian clutched the glazed lantern.

Both of them each other’s free hand and slowly made their way back to Ji Manor.

The previous year had officially ended as the Lantern Festival passed.

Everybody, regardless if they were the officials and magistrates within the palace or ordinary civilians, began to work diligently as the new year began.

The palace officials got increasingly occupied as they prepared for the Spring Metropolitan Exam held every three years.

Notices were posted in Shengjing City, announcing the time, the pre-requisites of candidates, and the documents required to enroll for the exam.

Candidates felt either happy or worried about the impending examination.

Candidates who hailed from the Imperial College or the Baima Academy were delighted since they were fortunate to have their teachers handle all details for them.

Candidates would only need to focus on studying and sitting for the exam in due time.

On the other hand, candidates who studied in ordinary colleges worried that they would not be as proficient in their knowledge compared to those studying in the two premium colleges; furthermore, they would only be considered for selection after the first round of selection was done with the candidates from the premium colleges.

It was also unclear if they would even be recommended by their teachers to enroll in the examination.

Candidates below age thirty were rare, as people would have been in their forties or fifties by the time they had passed the state test as a pre-requisite to the Spring Metropolitan Exams.

There were even candidates in their sixties.

As such, candidates need to be qualified for the exams.

Discussions about the exams had spread far and wide over the next two days as candidates coming from different states had entered the city to take part in the exams.

Both large and small inns in Shengjing City were bustling with business these few days.

The inn that Lan Zhihui and Qinxiang resided in also became fully occupied with guests, and strangers were streaming in and out of place every day.

Some candidates had entered the city alone, whereas others from wealthy families had brought along their servants, four to five lackeys, and even their housekeeper and pageboy who served the scholars’ needs during their studies.

Of course, these additional companions had to be housed in the inns as well.

Lan Zhihui had gone back out to look at the festive lanterns during the Lantern Festival.

Soon thereafter, she caught a cold, fell ill, and remained ill intermittently for half a month.

Alas, her troubles were due mainly to matters of the heart, which were difficult to resolve.

It was just after breakfast when a flurry of footsteps and racket could be heard outside her room.

They seemed to be coming from guests.

Lan Zhihui held an expression of disgust and felt annoyed as she lay in bed and curled her body.

The door creaked open after a while, and Lan Zhihui asked immediately, “Is that you, Qinxiang?” “Young lady, it is I.

” Qinxiang acknowledged with a raspy voice, Lan Zhihui took no notice of the hoarseness in her voice, as she was feeling light-headed.

Qinxiang walked to the side of her bed while holding a bowl of medicine as she said softly, “Young Lady, it’s time to get up for your medicine.

” Lan Zhihui’s face was pale and haggard, and her lips were cracked and dry.

Her eyes were shut as she replied weakly, “There’s no use for the medicine.

I don’t want it.

” “Young lady!” Qinxiang put the medicine on a small table and sat on the bed.

She held onto the woman as she persuaded her, “The doctor had instructed that the medicine is to be consumed continuously.

You should take it so you can recover quickly.

” Lan Zhihui gave a long sigh as she lifted her upper body with the support of her arms and leaned back on the soft cushion.

Qinxiang pulled the blanket up to the woman’s waist and bent forward to retrieve the bowl of medicine.

The medicine was still hot, so she stirred it lightly with a spoon and carefully blew on it in to cool it off.

Her gaze fell on the red corners of Qinxiang’s eyes.

“Were you crying, Qinxiang?” she inquired.

Qinxiang quickly lowered her head and turned her body around as she replied softly, “No.

” “Why are your eyes so red if you haven’t been crying? Tell me, what has happened?” Lan Zhihui coughed as she got up and held onto Qinxiang’s wrist.

“Nothing has happened, young lady.

Please don’t ask anymore,” Qinxiang said despondently as she looked down.

“What has happened exactly? Is someone bothering you?” Lan Zhihui asked in a panic.


” Qinxiang shook her head as she stared at the bowl of medicine.

“Can you let me leave me alone? Hack hack hack…” Lan Zhihui couldn’t catch her breath as she doubled over and coughed forcefully by the side of her bed.

Qinxiang quickly put down the medicine and patted her back, “Young lady, please relax.

I’ll tell you, I’ll tell me.

” Qinxiang supported Lan Zhihui to sit upright and served her a cup of water to help with her cough, before she lowered her head and said, “We have been simmering medicine in the kitchen these past few days while staying in the inn.

The kitchen steward had complained that our medicine was stinking up the inn.

Many guests had inferred that the inn was housing a sick resident, and they were afraid of being infected with an illness.

They had decided not to stay in the inn.

The steward was implying that we should move out.

His words were malicious!” She continued to her tirade, “These people were just snobbish.

They had treated us with respect before and changed their attitude when they found out that the young lady was no longer the proprietress of Robes Square.

What a cold and hard world.

” Lan Zhihui leaned on the cushion as her face turned pale.

She remained silent.

“Young lady, please don’t get angry.

It’s not worth it to harm your body because of such people!” Qinxiang said quickly upon seeing Lan Zhihui’s expression.

She helped stroke her chest to ease her coughing.

Lan Zhihui had never been treated so dreadfully.

She had stayed in a loft at the Robes Square previously.

She had her bedroom, study room, and a room specially created for embroidery works.

All the rooms were decorated elegantly and lavishly according to her taste, and every ornament was invaluable.

The embroidery maidens and servants in Robes Square had treated her with respect.

They flattered her and gook good care of her down to every last exquisite detail.

Even the outsiders greeted her as Lady Lan when they met her.

She was now homeless: despised, ridiculed, and now chased out by other people.

How had she ended up in such a terrible plight? Her heart filled with fury as she felt a surge of anger, and quickly covered her mouth as she started to cough.

Qinxiang hastily held up the bowl of medicine and said, “Young lady, please drink the medicine!” Lan Zhihui swept her arm forcibly and knocked the bowl of medicine away.

It crashed to the floor with a loud bang and shattered into pieces.

“Why am I still alive after ending up in such a miserable situation?” The woman coughed and exclaimed before she turned around and wept as she sprawled on the bed.

“Young lady, please don’t be like this,” Qinxiang held onto her and burst into tears.

“It’s all Su Yuejiu’s fault.

The Young Master lost his senses after she got married into the manor and ended up neglecting our young lady, which resulted in our young lady’s ouster from Robes Square.

She’s the culprit!” Lan Zhihui lay down on the bed and closed her eyes without a sound, disheartened.

“Young lady, you cannot give up on the Eldest Young Master and Robes Square; they were yours, to begin with.

” Qinxiang refused to comply with circumstances and said, “I shall go to Ji Manor and look for the Eldest Young Master right now.

I’ll inform him of your illness.

He will come to fetch you back to Robes Square personally.

” “Don’t go.

I will not plead with him even if I die!” Lan Zhihui replied coldly.

“No, Young lady, you cannot die.

I will go look for the Eldest Young Master right now.

” “I said you should not go!” Lan Zhihui yelled, but she didn’t sound as determined as before and had spoken out of spite.

“Young Lady, you needn’t worry.

I will tell the Eldest Young Master that he had wrongly accused our young lady regarding the previous incident.

It’s all my fault!” Qinxiang said as she stood up.

She covered Lan Zhihui in her blanket and turned around to leave.

Lan Zhihui stayed in bed as her hair spread around messily, a wet patch had formed on the blanket as tears flowed out of her eyes and seeped into the cloth.

Qinxiang entered Ji Manor around noon, Old Housekeeper Yu led her to the Cloud Pavilion and said, “Lady, please hold on for a moment as the Young Master is currently having lunch with the Young Mistress.

I’ll inform you of your arrival first.

” “It’s fine, Old Housekeeper Yu,” Qinxiang said with a smile on her pretty face.

She was more polite than ever whenever she was at Ji Manor.

“I shall not disturb the Young Master while he is still dining.

I will wait until he finishes his meal.

” Old Housekeeper Yu nodded and replied, “That’s good too.

Please follow me to wait at the reception pavilion.

” “Surely, thank you very much.

Old Housekeeper Yu.

” Qinxiang gave her sweetest smile.

Qinxiang waited for over an hour before she saw the door open and Ji Yuxian entering.

Qinxiang kneeled immediately and said, “Your servant has come to confess to a crime and to receive my punishment from the Eldest Young Master.

” Ji Yuxian’s remained expressionless.

There was no telling what he was thinking: He refused to smile and stepped slowly toward his seat and leaned back casually against his chair.

“What is the matter?” he asked flatly.

Qinxiang didn’t dare get up.

She remained kneeling while turning to face Ji Yuxian.

“Young Master, the incident whereby Young Mistress got drunk during the Garment Showcase Feast was my fault.

I had mistaken the alcohol as ordinary rice wine and intended to serve it to Young Mistress to keep her warm.

I had no idea it would be such strong alcohol.

Our Young Lady was not aware of this.

I was afraid to speak the truth when I saw how angry you were.

As such, our Young Lady took the blame on my behalf when it was all my fault.

Young Master, you have wrongly accused our Young Lady.

” The man acknowledged her plea nonchalantly, “I understand.

” Qinxiang paused momentarily upon hearing the man’s apathetic tone.

She continued saying, “Young Master, our young lady has fallen ill and is in a critical condition.

She is not living and eating well at the inn.

I am heartbroken watching her and therefore came to look for you behind her back.

I beg for Young Master to let it go just once and let out young lady return to the Robes Square.

” Ji Yuxian looked up and asked, “Fallen ill?” “Yes.

She is very ill,” Qinxiang replied.

“Has she seen a doctor?” “Yes, the doctor had said it was a cold, but our young lady didn’t seem to recover after drinking the medicine for more than ten days.

The doctor had mentioned that she has anger and displeasure in her heart and, therefore, is not healing because of psychological troubles.

” Ji Yuxian curled his lips and smiled coldly, “What was she angry about? I didn’t ask her to leave Robes Square.

She left on her own accord.

” Qinxiang was flustered by his words and quickly said, “No, our young lady was not angry at the Young Master.

She was blaming herself for failing to take good care of the Young Mistress that day, and incurring the wrath of the Young Master due to a moment of folly.

” “Did she really think that way?” Ji Yuxian scoffed as he was clear about the woman’s arrogance.

She would probably choose to kill herself instead of being sorry and taking the blame.

“Eldest Young Master, our young lady had left Robes Square without taking anything with her.

Now she is homeless, critically ill, and being thrown out by the shopkeeper of the inn.

I am heartbroken that she is in a pitiful plight even though she has put in a lot of effort into Robes Square! Moreover, the incident involving Young Mistress had nothing to do with our Young Lady.

I swear on my life that our young lady was wrongly accused! If the Eldest Young Master is still angry, please evict me instead and let our young lady return to Robes Square,” Qinxiang wept.

The light in Ji Yuxian’s eyes faded slightly as he paused for a moment and said, “The position of the proprietress of Robes Square is still vacant.

You can go back and inform your young lady that she can return right now if she wishes.

” Qinxiang cried with joy and thanked him, “Yes, thank you, Eldest Young Master, for showing mercy.

I will go back to inform our young lady right away.

” “Go,” Ji Yuxian said flatly.

Qinxiang stayed kneeling for a moment before asking carefully, “Is Young Master not going to visit our young lady with me?” “I have something to do.

You take good care of her,” Ji Yuxian said softly.

“Yes, of course,” Qinxiang got up and said disappointingly.

“Also,” Ji Yuxian said lightly.

At the same time, he sipped on his tea, “You can inform her that I am letting her return the Robes Square because she has put in ten years of effort into it.

We have also been friends for these ten years, and I hope that she cherishes this and does not allow all her efforts to go down the drain.

” Qinxiang nodded with uncertainty and replied, “I will convey your message to our young lady.

” She retreated from the room respectfully and ran to the inn as fast as her legs would carry her.