Ch 246 Final – First Half
After Shao Zitang and Yan Tingfeng’s grand wedding, Xia Yuqing began to live a happy life of eating, sleeping, and playing with cats, dogs, and the children.
One day, while they were having lunch, Xia Yuqing suddenly felt an unusually intense gaze, making her feel uncomfortable.
She turned around stiffly and saw Xiao Bai squatting to the side, drooling while staring at the food in their hands. Xiao Bai’s round belly occasionally made loud noises, making the three Royal Mother and children all look at him in surprise.
“Royal Mother, did Royal Father get lazy recently?” Second Baby asked with a puzzled look, scrunching her cute little face.
Xia Yuqing looked at her daughter with confusion. “Huh? Lazy? Why do you say that?”
“Why is Xiao Bai so hungry like this? Big brother said that Royal Father can’t be with Baby and Royal Mother every day after he comes back because Royal Father is working hard to earn money for the family. Once he earns money, he can buy lots and lots of delicious food for Baby and Royal Mother. But recently, Baby found out that the roasted milk pigeons, braised chicken legs, and sweet and sour spare ribs that Baby loves are all gone.” Second Baby pouted with displeasure and coldly humphed, “And look, Xiao Bai’s stomach is growling, and there’s nothing to eat. He looks so pitiful! Royal Mother, do you think Royal Father has been lazy with work recently? He hasn’t earned enough money to support the family, so he has to cut down on our delicious food?”
Xia Yuqing looked at Second Baby’s innocent and naive little face and couldn’t help but twitch at the corner of her mouth. Dun Dun, the reason why your roasted milk pigeons, braised chicken legs, sweet and sour spare ribs, and all the other meat are missing is because the old royal physician, your Royal Father, and Lu Rui have “slandered” you, saying that eating so much at such a young age is not good for your health. That’s why Lu Rui has been finding ways to replace all that meat with various vegetables for you.
As for earning money to support the family, you really underestimate your Royal Father! He can afford to support the entire Ye Country’s common people, so how could he not afford us few?
Xia Yuqing cleared her throat twice, shifting her gaze away to avoid dampening the child’s enthusiasm. She called out, “Lu Rui, come here for a moment…”
Lu Rui, who was holding a plate of post-meal pastries, hurriedly picked up her pace and approached Xia Yuqing, asking with some concern, “Niang Niang, what’s wrong? Is the food not to your liking?”
Xia Yuqing shook her head and casually pointed to the side, where Xiao Bai was still drooling while eagerly looking at the table full of delicacies. She said, “Ahem, Lu Rui, has Xiao Bai caused any trouble recently? How come he’s so hungry, and you’re not giving him anything to eat?”
Lu Rui was taken aback for a moment, and then she suddenly understood. She let out a sigh and said, “I thought something was wrong. Xiao Bai? He seems to be on a diet recently.”
“Diet?” Xia Yuqing was surprised. Xiao Bai, who never showed any pickiness and wholeheartedly indulged in eating, was actually on a diet?
“Yes, before, he would quickly finish all the food placed in front of him. But now, he only eats a little bit.”
“Could it be a mistake? How can Xiao Bai, who eats so much, suddenly want to go on a diet? Could he be sick or feeling unwell, and that’s why he’s eating less?” Xia Yuqing speculated.
Lu Rui shook her head. “I don’t think so. At first, I didn’t pay much attention, but later I noticed that he was eating less and less, which surprised me. I hurriedly took him to the royal physicians at the Imperial Medical Pavilion for examination, but they couldn’t find any problems. And although he sometimes can’t eat enough and goes hungry, he still appears energetic. Besides, it’s not like he doesn’t have any food to eat; I’ve been trying different ways to make delicious food for him every day. But no matter what I make, he just stares at the food and drools, but doesn’t eat it. So, I thought maybe Xiao Bai also realized that he’s too fat and wants to lose weight?”
As Lu Rui finished speaking, the second little baby couldn’t help but poke her round belly and round face. She looked up innocently at his big brother and asked, “Brother, am I fat?”
“!” Xia Yuqing’s whole body trembled, and her attention instantly shifted to the two children beside her. She was afraid that the elder little baby would accidentally say something shocking and hurt the second little baby. However, it turned out that Xia Yuqing was worrying needlessly.
Big Baby listened to Second Baby’s question and calmly wiped his hands with a handkerchief. Then he reached into the plate and took a meat bun, handing it to Second Baby like a caring big brother. He smiled and said, “Little baby is not fat at all, it’s just right. Mmm, not only is she not fat, but she has been eating less lately and slimmed down! Here, eat the bun. It’s better for little baby to be a bit chubby, so you feel soft and comfortable when I carry you.”
“Really?” Second Baby, with a meat bun in her mouth, asked in a muffled voice, her eyes shining brightly. “Of course, when has big brother ever lied to little baby?”
“Mm!” Second Baby happily hugged the meat bun and started munching on it. As long as big brother didn’t mind her being chubby, she didn’t care about what others said. Let others say whatever they want!
“… ” Xia Yuqing silently watched the interaction between the two siblings, and the corners of her mouth couldn’t help twitching.
Du Du, even though Royal Mother knows you were saying this white lie out of kindness to spare your little sister’s feelings, the second half of your sentence was completely unnecessary! What do you mean by saying that carrying her feels soft and comfortable? Dun Dun is your little sister, not your cushion, hey! How depraved and crazy are you to say something like that! Like father, like son! A beast gives birth to a little beast!
Sighing lightly, Xia Yuqing refocused her attention on Xiao Bai.
Looking at Xiao Bai, who was staring hungrily at the sumptuous food on the table but not moving, Xia Yuqing couldn’t bear it. She stepped forward, picked up Xiao Bai, and roughly weighed him. He had indeed lost some weight!
“Xiao Bai, tell your master what happened recently? Why are you suddenly not eating? Or do you suddenly want to lose weight?”
Xiao Bai, feeling helpless, scratched his paw and let out a weak whine, “Woof…”
“Huh?” Xia Yuqing looked up in confusion at Lu Rui, who also looked at Xiao Bai, but she could only shrug helplessly.
As they both worried about not understanding what Xiao Bai was trying to say, a dark shadow rushed over.
Halfway through, Xiao Hei noticed that Xia Yuqing was already holding Xiao Bai, so he snorted coldly and changed his direction, leaping onto the table. He picked up a chicken leg from the plate and started eating it nonchalantly. While eating, he raised his head and sent a provocative look at Xiao Bai.
Xiao Bai shivered all over, and under the surprised exclamations of Xia Yuqing and others, he quickly jumped out of Xia Yuqing’s arms, landed on all fours, and growled at Xiao Hei on the table.
“Woof woof woof…” D*mn you, don’t get too smug. I’ll be skinnier than you someday!
Xiao Hei glanced at it disdainfully, lazily meowing, “Meow…” With your oily fat body, you think you can be as graceful as me? You must be daydreaming!
“Woof woof woof…” Don’t look down on me! We’ll see!
Xia Yuqing and her two servants watched the two little animals growl at each other back and forth, their faces full of confusion.
After a while, as if understanding something, Lu Rui suddenly brightened her eyes. She said excitedly, “Ah, I know!”
“Xiao Bai must be feeling threatened by Xiao Hei’s slim figure compared to its own chubbiness. When Xiao Hei wasn’t here, it might not have noticed, but now that Xiao Hei is here, being a sensitive little animal, Xiao Bai must be worried that if it remains so fat, you will not like it anymore. That’s why…”
As Lu Rui finished speaking, she looked triumphantly at Xia Yuqing, but Xia Yuqing was rubbing her chin, seemingly lost in thought. Lu Rui couldn’t help but call out, “Niang Niang?”
“Ah, I know.” Before Lu Rui could finish her words, Xia Yuqing’s eyes suddenly brightened. She clenched her right hand into a fist and lightly tapped her left palm, exclaiming, “Xiao Bai must feel that it’s too fat and not worthy of Xiao Hei. So it had a change of heart and decided to lose weight first before pursuing Xiao Hei. Oh my god! How melodramatic and sentimental! Truly extraordinary, just as I raised it. Xiao Bai, your master supports you mentally, you can definitely do it!”
“…” A drop of cold sweat trickled down Lu Rui’s forehead. She looked at Xia Yuqing with a puzzled expression. Niang Niang, were you actually listening to what I said just now?
Upon hearing Xia Yuqing’s enthusiastic shout, both Xiao Hei and Xiao Bai, who were confronting each other, stiffened for a moment. After a brief moment of surprise, Xiao Bai suddenly let out a resounding howl.
“Woof woof woof…” Not worthy of it? How could I, with my elegant and handsome appearance, not be worthy of this annoying black furball! I’m not losing weight because I like it. I’m losing weight to teach that jerk, who made me lose my virginity early, a lesson!
In contrast, Xiao Hei appeared much calmer. After silently finishing the chicken leg in its mouth, it tossed the bone forward, directly hitting Xiao Bai’s round head. Ignoring Xiao Bai’s furious howls, it walked away elegantly and disappeared from everyone’s sight.
“Brother…” Second Baby, who had been watching the scene, looked at her brother with confusion while he held her hand.
“Be good, brother will take you to the small kitchen to eat. It’s dangerous here.” Royal Mother is acting crazy again, so it’s better to take the little baby away early. He must not let Royal Mother be taught wrong.
Dangerous? Second Baby tilted her head in puzzlement. What’s dangerous here? But since her brother said so, it’s better to leave. After all, there’s just as much food in the small kitchen as there is here.
Second Baby obediently let Big Baby lead her outside. As they walked out of the gate, they saw a person approaching from outside, passing by the two children directly.
Big Baby paused for a moment, squinting his eyes as he looked at the man in black who was heading straight towards Xia Yuqing.
“Brother, what’s wrong?” Second Baby tugged at Big Baby’s sleeve, asking curiously.
“It’s nothing.” Big Baby withdrew his gaze, patted Second Baby’s head, and continued to lead her outside. However, he was contemplating whether he should immediately inform the emperor that the old man in young skin had returned!
Seeing Ye Shuyan walking in, Xia Yuqing was also surprised, but then she broke into an extremely delighted smile and quickly stepped forward to hold Ye Shuyan’s hand, saying, “Little Shuyan, you’re finally back. I’ve been looking for you anxiously.”
Ye Shuyan smiled gently, “I went out to handle some urgent matters. Little Qing Er, did something happen with Xiao Hei at your end?”
“Trouble?” Xia Yuqing was taken aback for a moment, her face tense. “Yes, it got into trouble!”
“It stole Xiao Bai’s heart! It must take responsibility. So, let’s talk about their marriage.”
Ye Shuyan was momentarily stunned, and the smile in his eyes deepened. He replied lightly, “As long as Xiao Hei is willing, I have no objections.”
Xia Yuqing’s eyes suddenly brightened, and she patted Ye Shuyan’s shoulder enthusiastically. “Little Shuyan, I knew I didn’t misjudge you. You’re truly an open-minded parent.”
“You’re overpraising.” Suddenly, Ye Shuyan seemed to notice something and quickly grabbed Xia Yuqing’s wrist.
Startled, Xia Yuqing looked at Ye Shuyan with a frightened expression. A faint glimmer flashed in Ye Shuyan’s eyes as he smiled slightly, “Little Qing Er, I just returned from outside, all dusty. It’s better not to hold onto me, or else your clothes might get dirty.”
Xia Yuqing was startled, and then she noticed the obvious fatigue on Ye Shuyan’s face, probably due to days of traveling. She chuckled awkwardly, withdrew her arm, and said, “I see.”
Ye Shuyan’s smile remained unchanged. He looked around and asked, “Is Cui Er here? I have something to discuss with her.”
Xia Yuqing was momentarily lost in thought. She remembered that this person in front of her was Cui Er’s adoptive father, her former owner. For some reason, her mood became a bit complicated.
“Cui Er should be inside, organizing the room. Let me call her. Cui Er, come out. Little Shuyan is looking for you.”
As soon as Xia Yuqing finished speaking, Cui Er walked out from the inner hall. She was surprised when she saw Ye Shuyan and then showed a bit of embarrassment on her face.
“You two can talk in the side hall,” Xia Yuqing considerately made space for them.
Cui Er nodded and led Ye Shuyan towards the side hall.
As they disappeared from her sight, Xia Yuqing couldn’t help but ask, “Lu Rui, have you noticed anything strange about Cui Er lately?”
Lu Rui wiped off the cold sweat on her forehead and sighed lightly, “I haven’t noticed anything strange about Sister Cui Er, but Master Su, on the other hand, has indeed been acting strange recently.”
“Senior Brother? What’s wrong with him?” Xia Yuqing turned her head in surprise.
“Didn’t you notice that Young Master Su hasn’t been coming to our Xiefang Palace recently? He used to follow Sister Cui Er everywhere like a shadow.”
After Lu Rui’s reminder, Xia Yuqing realized that she indeed hadn’t seen Su Wuduan at their Xiefang Palace recently. Could it be that he had quickly moved on to someone else?
“For this reason, I had someone investigate at Xu Lao’s place.”
Xia Yuqing’s eyes brightened, “What did you find out?”
Lu Rui shook her head in frustration, “I heard that since that day when Young Master Su followed Sister Cui Er to Lord Shangshu’s wedding banquet, he has been acting strange. He locks himself in his room all day, not seeing anyone, and nobody knows what he’s doing in there.”
“Locked himself in his room?” Xia Yuqing felt slightly relieved; at least he wasn’t going out and causing trouble. But locking himself in his room and not going out… could it be that he was stimulated by the luxurious wedding of Little Shangshu and had started seclusion to find a way to get the girl he desired?
Xia Yuqing touched her chin, pondering for a moment, and then said thoughtfully, “Lu Rui, let’s go and see Senior Brother.”
“Go see Young Master Su, now?”
“Senior Brother is troubled by love, and as his little junior sister, I should go and show some concern. Oh hoho…” Xia Yuqing’s eyes gleamed with cunning. “Lu Rui, come on, let’s go and take a look at Senior Brother.”
Lu Rui couldn’t help but quirk an eyebrow. She knew her mistress was just curious and wanted to see the excitement.
Xia Yuqing was always efficient when it came to gossip. As soon as her interest was piqued, she wasted no time and rushed to Xu Lao’s residence in high spirits.
When Xu Lao heard that Xia Yuqing was coming, he became excited and abandoned his usual top priority, the mechanical devices, to greet Xia Yuqing with joy.
“My little disciple, my little disciple, did you come specifically to see your master? Ahahaha, no need to say, your master knows you must have come to see me! I haven’t spoiled you for all these years in vain. Girls are still better, they know how to be considerate of others. Unlike boys, they just run around without any sense of restraint.” Xu Lao rushed to meet Xia Yuqing with enthusiasm, and the energetic pace made it hard to believe that he was an old man who knew the fate of the world. He even left behind the crutch he usually relied on, which now seemed like a mere decoration, lonely and abandoned on the side.
Xia Yuqing looked at all this in amazement and coughed lightly. With a righteous expression, she said, “Master, how have you been recently? I haven’t seen you in a few days, and I can’t help but notice that you seem to be old and vigorous, stronger with each passing day.”
Xu Lao’s eyes flickered, and his face suddenly darkened, “Old?”
“Uh, Master, you misunderstood. I meant to say that you are getting younger and more spirited with each passing day. I can vaguely see your past glory! Seeing you now, I can imagine how handsome and charismatic you must have been in the past, attracting numerous beauties in the capital. It must have been a great honor for them to gain your favor.”
Hearing this, the gloomy clouds on his face suddenly cleared, and he replied with a smile, “Although it’s not as exaggerated as you said, it’s almost like that. However, I prefer to keep a low profile. Otherwise, if I were to step out onto the street, it would be a grand scene with people flocking to see me.”
“…” A grand scene with people flocking to see you? Master, are you considering yourself a courtesan?
Xia Yuqing secretly wiped away some cold sweat and continued with a smile, “Master, I heard that Senior Brother has come to stay with you recently. Moreover, it seems he has changed his usual habit of staying out all night and flirting everywhere. Instead, he stays at home all day and doesn’t go out. It’s like he has become a secluded young master. Is that true?”
Xu Lao’s smile disappeared, and he looked at Xia Yuqing with sorrowful eyes, “So, you didn’t come to see me after all. I knew it. My little disciple, you are usually so lively and carefree in the palace with that Feng kid. How could you think of this old man like me? So…”
Xia Yuqing’s smile also froze, and she awkwardly laughed, reaching out to hold Xu Lao’s arm, and coquettishly said, “Master, I cherish you so much. How could I forget about you? It’s just that on my way here today, I heard about Senior Brother, and I couldn’t help but worry. So, I just came to check on him. Master, please don’t be angry.”
“Hmph!” Xu Lao coldly snorted and turned his head away.
Xia Yuqing continued to hold Xu Lao’s arm and coquettishly said, “Master…”
After hesitating for a moment, Xu Lao couldn’t bear to make things difficult for his most beloved disciple, so he reluctantly said, “Your Senior Brother was recently dumped by someone. He is in great distress and has lost his appetite!”
“Dumped? How do you know, Master?” Xia Yuqing asked in surprise.
Xu Lao snorted, “Is there anything in this world that can be kept hidden from me? That useless brat pursued someone for so long and still got dumped. He has really made me lose face as his father. Humph, back in the day, when I was young, others pursued me. I could attract a group of women with just a flick of my finger, and they would throw themselves at me. Did I ever need to chase after a girl like that boy did? That boy’s mother was the one who coveted my beauty back then and climbed into my bed. That’s how she gave birth to that brat. Humph, it’s all because that woman didn’t know how to raise a child. She raised him without any masculinity. It’s a case of a kind mother spoiling a bad child!”
“Hehe, you said that with just a flick of your finger, many women would climb into your bed? If that’s the case, why were you still an undesirable bachelor until you met me? Coveted your beauty? With your wrinkled and smelly old body, what beauty are you talking about? If it weren’t for you saving my life back then and seeing my body, I wouldn’t have been interested in you! And now you bring up this matter? You even say I spoil my son too much. My son grew up with a mother but no father to support him. He’s pitiful, and I have to treat him well; otherwise, he would have suffered!”
As Xu Lao’s words fell, a slightly teasing familiar female voice came from above Xia Yuqing and Xu Lao’s heads.
Both Xia Yuqing and Xu Lao were startled and looked up to see a graceful and charming woman standing on the rooftop, looking down at them with a mocking smile on her lips.
“Master’s wife! You’re back?” Xia Yuqing quickly recovered and greeted with delight.
Su Linlang tapped her foot and gracefully leaped down from the rooftop. She smiled faintly and walked to Xia Yuqing, saying, “I just came back. Unexpectedly, I arrived just in time to hear someone boasting shamelessly at such an age. It seems they have no shame at all.”
Xia Yuqing was taken aback and turned to look at Xu Lao sympathetically. That’s why one should not badmouth others behind their back! See, karma strikes back!
Xu Lao’s face was as dark as a pot, and when he heard Su Linlang’s words, it was as if he had ignited a powder keg. He started shooting indiscriminately, “Who are you saying has no shame? Do you dare to deny that you took the initiative to seduce me back then and then ran away the next day? You even blame me for not raising our son properly. You disappeared the next day, and I haven’t seen you for all these years. How would I know that I had a son? How could I raise him?”
“Are you blaming me then?”
“Who else would I blame?”
“Hehe, you’re trying to absolve yourself of guilt. Who spent so many years by your side, and yet you couldn’t recognize your own son? Even after being together for so long, you still couldn’t see it? Were your mechanical inventions more important than your son in your eyes?”
“”Son…Of course, my son is more important.”
“Then why did you hesitate? Don’t think I don’t know what you were thinking…”
The two of them quarreled fiercely, and it seemed like a family martial arts battle was about to unfold. Sensing the impending chaos, Xia Yuqing sensibly grabbed Lu Rui and ran outside to avoid being affected.
“Niang Niang, is it really okay for us to leave like this? Master Xu and Lady Su are arguing so fiercely. They’re both of advanced age; what if they end up fighting for real?” Lu Rui asked with concern.
“It’s fine, it’s fine. Master is thick-skinned and can endure a lot.”
“…” Is that really the point?
“Besides, they are an old couple. Occasionally arguing is good for a marriage. There’s a saying that goes, ‘Couples who fight in bed and makeup at the bed’s end will be fine.’ We should hurry and check on Senior Brother.”
“…” Alright, Niang Niang, you win.
Lu Rui helplessly rolled her eyes and followed Xia Yuqing inside.
Most of the servants in Xu Lao’s residence knew Xia Yuqing, and they warmly greeted her. With a smile on her face, Xia Yuqing asked for Su Wuduan’s location and headed directly there with Lu Rui.
They arrived at the entrance of the courtyard and ran into a young servant delivering food. He was startled when he saw Xia Yuqing and quickly bowed, “Greetings, Niang Niang, the Empress.”
Xia Yuqing nodded at him and whispered, “Is Senior Brother inside the room?”
The young servant nodded and smiled faintly, “I was just about to deliver food to Young Master. However, these past few days, he’s been eating very little. I wonder if the food doesn’t suit his taste.”
“Eating less, huh.” Xia Yuqing murmured to herself, “Why is everyone obsessed with losing weight lately? Have they gone mad?”
“What did you say, Niang Niang?” The servant didn’t catch Xia Yuqing’s words clearly and asked curiously.
“Nothing, I said I just want to go in and check on Senior Brother. Give me the food, and I’ll take it in for you.”
The servant weighed the options and handed the tray to Xia Yuqing, “Thank you, Niang Niang.”
Xia Yuqing nodded and whispered to Lu Rui, “You stay here and wait. I’ll go in and see.”
With the tray in her hands, Xia Yuqing slowly pushed open the door. The room was gloomy, and all the doors and windows were tightly shut. Even though it was late in winter, it still felt stuffy due to the lack of ventilation. The most noticeable thing was the faint unpleasant smell in the room, likely due to the lack of air circulation.
Xia Yuqing waved her hand to disperse the unpleasant smell lingering around her nose and called out tentatively, “Senior Brother?”
There was no response for a long time, leaving Xia Yuqing puzzled, “Could he have gone out?”
She placed the tray on the table and turned to walk to the window to open it for ventilation. However, a dark figure suddenly dropped down from above, startling Xia Yuqing, who quickly covered her mouth to suppress the scream that almost escaped.
“Who are you, evil creature? How dare you act wild in my Senior Brother’s room? Speak up, are you trying to harm him? Let me tell you, humans and demons have different paths, and humans and ghosts are even more distinct. You better behave and get lost; otherwise, watch me find a Daoist to capture you!” Xia Yuqing took a few steps back, crossed her arms, but felt that this posture lacked some grandeur. She changed her stance, pinching her index fingers together and pointed at the dark figure while lecturing fiercely.
The figure shivered, and Xia Yuqing felt her heart tighten. She thought the ghostly figure was about to attack her in anger, but to her surprise, she heard a familiar groan, “Junior Sister.”
“Huh?” Xia Yuqing looked around, finally confirming that the voice came from the dark figure. She took a few steps forward and saw the figure remained motionless. She cautiously circled around the figure and asked tentatively, “Senior Brother?”
“Who else did you think it was?” The dark figure flipped and dropped down from the table.
“Senior Brother, it’s only been a few days, and you’ve become like this?” Xia Yuqing stared in amazement at her Senior Brother, who looked unkempt, disheveled, and had hair that resembled a bird’s nest. The stubble on his face extended from below his chin to the sides of his face, and his clothes were creased as if he hadn’t tidied himself up in days.
“It doesn’t matter. Since I’m not going out, it doesn’t make a difference.” Su Wuduan sat down at the table with a weary expression. He didn’t touch the food on the table but poured a glass of water for Xia Yuqing.
Xia Yuqing sat opposite him and could still faintly see the dark circles under his eyes through the tangled hair. This was not the dashing and elegant Senior Brother she knew; he looked more like a scruffy middle-aged man.
“Junior Sister, what brings you here to find me?” Su Wuduan asked with a weak voice.
Xia Yuqing twitched her lips, “Can’t I come to see you without any reason? I was afraid if I didn’t come a few days earlier, I wouldn’t be able to see you one last time. Senior Brother, what happened to you? Why have you let yourself become like this? You used to care so much about your appearance. Now, how can you still use your appearance to charm girls if you’re like this? Cui Er can’t stand you anymore, and now she probably will avoid you even more.”
Not mentioning Cui Er was okay, but once Xia Yuqing mentioned her, Su Wuduan became even more dispirited. He slumped on the table, his gaze vacant as he stared ahead. “I don’t want any other girls. I only want my wife, but she doesn’t want me. She told me not to find her anymore. We can never be together… never…”
Xia Yuqing’s ears perked up, surprised to hear Su Wuduan talk about it so directly. It seemed that her Master was right; Senior Brother was really heartbroken, and according to what he said, it seemed that Cui Er had broken up with him?
“Senior Brother, what happened between you and Cui Er? She… doesn’t want you anymore?” Xia Yuqing leaned closer to Su Wuduan and gently asked, afraid of upsetting this fragile-looking man.
“Yes, she doesn’t want me! She said we can never be together!” Su Wuduan suddenly became agitated, slamming his hands on the table and looking at Xia Yuqing.
Xia Yuqing was startled, afraid that he might attack her. However, Su Wuduan’s mouth suddenly slumped, and he grabbed Xia Yuqing’s sleeve, crying, “Junior Sister, Junior Sister, why doesn’t she want me? Am I not good-looking? Is my figure not good? Have I treated her poorly?”
Xia Yuqing widened her eyes, staring at Su Wuduan’s hand holding onto her sleeve. D*mn it, she would have to change her clothes again when she got back! If she had known, she wouldn’t have worn this outfit, which happened to be her favorite. Who knew how many days it had been since he last washed his hands!
Xia Yuqing tried her best to suppress her resentment, forcing a smile as she said, “Maybe Cui Er is worried that you might not be able to satisfy her in certain aspects in the future.”
“…” Are you kidding me!
Receiving Su Wuduan’s disdainful and dissatisfied gaze, Xia Yuqing awkwardly cleared her throat and said, “Just kidding, just kidding.”
“It’s not funny at all. Your ability to tell jokes, little junior sister, is as lousy as ever.”
Xia Yuqing took a deep breath and forcibly suppressed the urge to beat the person opposite her. She put on a forced smile and said, “Could it be that recently, Senior Brother, you did something to upset Cui Er, which made her so angry that she decided to give up on you? For example, having an affair outside? Cheating on her!”
Su Wuduan immediately sat upright and spoke righteously, “How is that possible? Since I got married, I have been a man of integrity, faithfully adhering to the principles of the Three Obediences and Four Virtues. I don’t stay out late, don’t drink, and don’t visit brothels. I am a good man. Ever since I got married, my heart belongs to my wife, my soul belongs to my wife, and my eyes and heart are only for my wife. How could those vulgar women outside catch my eye?”
“Ugh…” Xia Yuqing couldn’t help but dry heave a few times, trying hard to stop the feeling of nausea. When she finally managed to stop, she raised her head and saw Su Wuduan looking at her with an unfriendly expression. Awkwardly, she smiled and said, “It’s not my fault, who asked Senior Brother to be so… irresistible with your sweet talk. Did you say all these things to Cui Er? If I were her, I would have kicked you out already. Listening to such sweet talk all the time, I would have indigestion.”
“I’m such a modest person. How could I say such embarrassing things in front of my wife?” Su Wuduan blushed, looking shy.
Xia Yuqing was just about to breathe a sigh of relief when Su Wuduan added, “I only express my feelings through actions.”
“…” You beast!
Xia Yuqing was about to get up and leave, but Su Wuduan suddenly put on a serious expression and sighed, “She’s not joking. This time, she really doesn’t want me.”
“Senior Brother…” It was the first time Xia Yuqing saw Su Wuduan so defeated. She was used to seeing him carefree and now, seeing him like this, she felt a bit at a loss.
“Am I not good enough? Not outstanding enough? I know I used to be a scoundrel, but since I met her, I’ve tried my best to change. Why won’t she accept me? Why?” Su Wuduan slammed the table in frustration, making everything on it jump.
“Maybe… maybe Cui Er has some difficulties. Maybe she has no choice but to do this. Senior Brother, don’t be like this. I can see that Cui Er does have some feelings for you. Otherwise, she wouldn’t have tolerated your actions until now. Calm down for now…”
“How can I calm down? How can I?” Before Xia Yuqing could finish speaking, Su Wuduan interrupted.
Xia Yuqing saw him looking like a trapped beast, and she hesitated. “Let me ask you this, Senior Brother. Do you still want to be with Cui Er?”
“Of course I do, but…” Su Wuduan said hesitantly.
“No buts. Are you really willing to give up everything, accept her words, and have no connection with her in the future?”
“Of course I don’t want to give up, but she told me not to bother her anymore, not to find her… I…” Su Wuduan’s face turned awkward as he turned away. If a girl said such things, he would be embarrassed to continue pestering her.
Seeing Su Wuduan’s struggle, Xia Yuqing pursed her lips and asked in a low voice, “Then I’ll ask you this one question: Is Cui Er more important, or is your face more important?”
“My wife is more important.”
“That’s it.” Xia Yuqing originally wanted to slap him, but after seeing the sorry state he was in, she silently withdrew her hand. “Besides, if Cui Er told you not to look for her, can’t you just make a detour and come to me instead? After all, I’m your junior sister. It’s reasonable for you to come to me for a chat and reminisce. Your brain is so useless, no wonder Cui Er doesn’t want you.”
Su Wuduan’s eyes brightened slightly at Xia Yuqing’s words, and he looked at her in admiration. “Little junior sister, I didn’t expect you to be quite clever at times.”
“…” I’ve always been clever, okay? How dare you undermine my intelligence. Be careful, I can still give you a hard time despite being your junior sister. Just because you are my Senior Brother doesn’t mean you can slander me. If you provoke me, I’ll still beat you up!
Su Wuduan rubbed his chin, pondered for a moment, and suddenly looked at Xia Yuqing, saying, “From your tone, it sounds like you have a brilliant plan to help me turn the tide.”
Xia Yuqing coldly snorted, turned her head away, and said coyly, “Senior Brother, you’re overpraising me. I’m so dumb. How could I have a brilliant plan to help you?”
Su Wuduan was taken aback for a moment, then he chuckled and tried to reach out and grab Xia Yuqing. However, she quickly dodged his hand. “Don’t touch me with your dirty paws.”
Su Wuduan’s outstretched hand froze in place, and he couldn’t help but twitch his lips. After hesitating for a long time, he reluctantly retracted his hand and said in a flattering tone, “Little junior sister, just now Senior Brother misspoke. You’re the smartest, much smarter than me. Since you’re so intelligent, can you help Senior Brother?”
Xia Yuqing was flattered by Su Wuduan’s praise and finally let go of her anger. She smiled slightly and said, “Actually, there might be a solution. Since Cui Er has already broken up with you, why not take advantage of the situation…”
“What? ” Su Wuduan asked.
Xia Yuqing slapped the table and said, “Play hard to get!”
“Play hard to get?”
Xia Yuqing nodded and gestured for Su Wuduan to come closer. She whispered, “Senior Brother, you should act like this…”
As Su Wuduan listened to Xia Yuqing’s whispering, his expression changed from curiosity to doubt. “Can it really work?” Why did he feel that it was so unreliable?
Seeing Su Wuduan doubting her suggestion, Xia Yuqing’s face suddenly darkened, and she coldly snorted, “Whether you believe it or not, you will be the one who suffers in the end. I won’t lose anything.”
“Uh… Wait!” Su Wuduan saw Xia Yuqing turning around to leave and hurriedly shouted, “I don’t doubt you, it’s just… just…”
Xia Yuqing saw that Su Wuduan still seemed hesitant and sighed softly, “Do you know about my Third Imperial Sister and the Prime Minister?”
“When my Third Royal Sister pursued the Prime Minister, he ignored her completely. But then I came up with a plan for her, and not long after, the Prime Minister, who used to ignore her, suddenly became interested and started pursuing my Third Royal Sister relentlessly. Look at how they are now. They’re living happily together, and they even have a little baby. Trust me, I’m so kind-hearted. How could I harm you?”
Su Wuduan’s eyes wavered slightly upon hearing Xia Yuqing’s words. “Alright, I’ll believe you this time. I’ll go find the person right away.”
“W-wait!” Xia Yuqing saw Su Wuduan turning to leave and hurriedly shouted.
Su Wuduan froze in place, turning back with a puzzled expression. “What is it?”
“Uh… Before you go find the person, I think there’s something you should do.”
“What is it?”
“Get yourself cleaned up.” Xia Yuqing waved her hand dismissively, looking visibly disgusted. “Senior Brother, how long has it been since you took a bath? Aren’t you afraid of offending the young lady? If Third Brother finds you, he’ll definitely throw you into the back mountain to feed the wolves.”
After teasing Su Wuduan, Xia Yuqing happily left with Lu Rui and returned to the palace.
Completely absorbed in her thoughts about how to meddle in the affairs of the most troublesome couple, Xia Yuqing failed to notice a figure slowly emerging from a nearby corner. The person gazed at Xia Yuqing’s gradually disappearing figure with a pair of clear and stunning eyes, filled with complexity and bewilderment.
“Qing Er…” A murmured sigh seemed to spread through the air, telling a heartrending story.
Xia Yuqing shuddered and quickly turned her head to look behind her but found nothing unusual.
“Your Highness, is something wrong?” Lu Rui noticed that Xia Yuqing seemed off and asked with concern.
“It’s… nothing. I might have been overthinking.” Xia Yuqing retracted her gaze, forced a smile, but couldn’t help feeling a bit worried.
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