Chapter 23 The ins and outs of the matter
The Shu couple was really unreliable! However, she didn’t carry high hopes in the first place. Naturally Shu Huan wasn’t disappointed. So, her eyes looked at the nose, nose pointed at the mouth and the mouth pointed at the chest. She ignored Xu shi. After Liangchen returned with the fabric, she let Xu shi look at it and then respectfully sent them out.
- Eyes looking at the nose, nose pointing at the mouth and the mouth pointing at the chest: look down and lower head.
- Shi: clan
Even though Xu shi was very unhappy, she still revealed a smiling expression towards Gu Xiran when she came into the yard. She first asked about his illness and then gentle like the wind reminded him to take care of his body. In the end, she had to mention her reason for the visit. Then, she wished him well and wished him to live a long life.
Gu Xiran listened with smile. From time to time, he would add a word or two. His attitude looked very gentle. Xu shi was so happy from seeing this that she praised him for being good-tempered. In fact, only Shu Huan knew that he was a guy full of evil tricks. While he talked with Xu shi, he swept over Shu Huan with a teasing gaze. It seemed that he had thoroughly seen through the reason for Xu shi’s visit. It was also clear that he knew what she said to Shu couple just now inside the living room.
She felt a bit embarrassed!
Shu Huan shifted her gaze and tried not to look eyes to eyes with him. She also didn’t look at that excessively flattering smile on Xu shi’s face.
She didn’t mind that Shu family was poor. She also didn’t mind that her parents’ status was low. However, she minded very much their character.
Originally, she thought that it was probably because Shu family was so poor that they couldn’t live on or perhaps they were compelled by circumstances, that was why they had to send their daughter away by marriage in hope that the great event of joy would drive away bad luck and hasten his recovery. But now that she thought about it, that didn’t seem to be the case! She didn’t know what Shu Fu thought about it, but on Xu shi’s face was written fully and clearly with the word “money”!
Money, money, money!
The only purpose was for money!
If she was unlucky after the marriage and Gu Xiran passed away, then they wouldn’t give back the betrothal gifts they had received. As for the daughter, let her emerge or perish on her own. If she was lucky, use a long line to catch a big fish. When they have time, they would make a trip to Gu residence. When they go back, they wouldn’t go back empty-handed…
- Use a long line to catch a big fish: a long-term plan for major returns
Thinking till here, she suddenly felt a bit sad.
She felt that the ancient way of living was very tiring. Everyone at her side seemed to be born with a kind and clever heart. They understood the way of the world very well. She also had to follow them on keeping a close eye on everything. She couldn’t live anymore like how she used to live without worries and carefree under the protection of her parents.
She stared at the tip of her shoe while her thoughts wandered elsewhere, thinking that perhaps she could never see her parents again until concubine Yun opened her mouth and said, “It’s not early anymore. Why don’t master and madam-in-law stay for lunch before you go?”
Xu shi quickly raised her hand to refuse, “The two children at home are still waiting for us to return home and cook for them. It’s not good to let them starve. You see, we originally still wanted to go see old madam. Now, it’s already too late. I must trouble concubine to send the greetings for us. Tell her that when we come next time, we will go pay our respects.”
Ah? They still want to come?!
Shu Huan was a bit dejected. She will pretend to be sick the next time they come!
Concubine Yun agreed and smiled. She called Xiangqian and whispered something to her. Xiangqian went to the West Chamber. When she returned, she had a three-layered black food box.
She saw Xiangqian put the food box into Xu shi’s hand. Concubine Yun laughed, “There is not much good things. This is the dessert I made. Master and madam-in-law can take this back as snacks for the children.”
Xu shi was full of smiles. She praised that concubine Yun was skilled and competent. She almost praised her to the heavens.
Shu Huan was dumbstruck. It seemed that this mother of hers was only mean to her alone? She spent ten liang and didn’t even get any gratitude. Concubine Yun got a lot of praises with only a box of desserts! However, when she thought about how Xu shi told her to deal with concubine Yun before, she sighed again. This was probably the legendary saying that a mouth has honey and the abdomen have a double-edged sword. The highest realm of two-faced with three knives!
It happened that at this time, Gu Xiran looked over with a smile that was not yet a smile. When the two’s eyes met, Shu Huan quickly avoided that gaze of his that seemed to be able to see through everything. She went forward and held the food box for Xu shi. “I will send you out.”
Concubine Yun quickly stopped her, “It’s such a hot day. Second young mistress just came back from paying your respect. It’s better for you to take a break. Besides, you are not familiar with the roads of the residence. It’s better if I sent them out.”
Even Xu shi gave her a meaningful glance. She said, “Go busy yourself with something else. Don’t delay on the important matter.”
The so-called important matter was certainly to make shoes for Gu Xiran! Only God knew that the number of times she touched a needle ever since she was little didn’t surpass ten times! However, when she saw that concubine Yun accompanied Shu couple out, she was relieved.
Gu Xiran looked at her with a smile, “How do you feel?”
Shu Huan blurted out, “Escaped from the death’s door…”
After saying that, she was surprised by her frankness.
Gu Xiran raised an eyebrow and raised his body from the lounge chair. “Help me get inside.”
Because there were maids around, she knew that she had a slip of tongue. She didn’t put up a resistance and obediently helped him into the chamber. It was weird. She had been working hard on keeping a distance from Gu Xiran. However, she didn’t know whether it was because he’d always protected her, but she had to admit that she had an inexplicable trust deep down in her heart towards him just like how he was inexplicably good to her.
After they entered the chamber and there was no one around, Gu Xiran laughed, “Was it very unpleasant to get along with your stepmother?”
“Ah?” Shu Huan was shocked. She had felt that although Xu shi seemed to treat her warmly, but in fact it was unkind and cold. No matter what, she didn’t think that it was for this reason. She only thought that Xu shi was as biased as old madam and only loved her younger children!
Gu Xiran waved in front of her eyes. “Did you become muddle-headed?”
Shu Huan snapped out of her thoughts and quickly concealed, “No…nothing…I thought you didn’t know that she was my stepmother…”
Gu Xiran revealed a meaningful smile, “When asking for a marriage, one should at least know the other’s family! Not only do I know that you have a stepmother, but also that you have a pair of twin younger stepsiblings.”
This news wasn’t as shocking as the previous one. Shu Huan didn’t have any out of the ordinary reaction. It was just that she was suddenly a lot happier. She finally knew why the original owner had been heartlessly married to Gu household in hope that the event of great joy would drive away bad luck and hasten his recovery.
Gu Xiran continued to say, “Your pair of stepsiblings just turned twelve. Your little sister is called Shu Yue. Your little brother is called Shu Huai. It seemed that your whole family is full of happiness.”
- Huai (怀), Huan (欢), Yue(悦) all mean joy and happiness.
“Pfff…,” Shu Huan couldn’t help but laugh. Fortunately, there was no one called Shu Shuang.
- Shuang (爽) means pleasurable
Gu Xiran looked once smilingly at her and said, “I heard that your biological mother died when giving birth. When you just turned one year, your father took a second wife. Your stepmother thinks that your unluckiness caused the death of your biological mother and that you are someone with bad luck. She had beaten and scolded you since you were a child. The most severe occasion was when you were thirteen. She beat you so gravely that you didn’t breathe anymore. Your stepmother was still unwilling to let a doctor come see you. If it wasn’t because your father stopped a passer-by from the pharmacy, presumably at this time you would’ve already reincarnated.”
It was like listening to a story of someone else. It felt very strange.
No, she was listening to someone else’s story now!
Shu Huan secretly remembered the experience of the original owner. Gu Xiran still continued, “Since that time, I don’t know whether it was because your stepmother felt remorseful or that she felt one is bound for good fortune after surviving a great disaster, she beat you a lot lesser. However, she still continued to scold you severely…”
Having said that, he suddenly grabbed her hand and looked careful at it.
“What are you doing?” Shu Huan was startled and wanted to retract her hand.
Gu Xiran then let go of her and smiled slightly, “You see, your hand still has a layer of callus. It could be seen that you worked very hard before.”
Not only this! Her arms and thighs still had some faint scars. Originally, she thought that the original owner was playful when she was a child and left them by accident when she fell or bumped on something. Only now did she know that it was because Xu shi had beaten her! Thinking till here, she was suddenly worried. Gu Xiran knew so well about the original owner. Would he notice that she was a fake too?
What she was afraid of would come next!
The next moment, Gu Xiran’s eyes locked on hers. “I’m a bit curious. You are used to being beaten and scolded since you were a child. Your personality is also weak and timid like your father’s. How come after you married me, you seem to be a lot livelier and more quick-witted?”
This question came too sudden. Shu Huan was utterly unprepared and was immediately at a loss for words.