Changying the Lady - Chapter 23
On the way to the mansion of Duck Jingping, Song Zaishui had a dark face so that Wei Changying was well-behaved as well as the maids who served the tea in the carriage. But she was sensible for she was brought up as the future Empress. Nevertheless, Song Zaishui instantly changed back to a gentle and noble look with a smile on her lips when they arrived at the mansion of Duke Jingping and the curtain was lifted. She almost behaved like there was the words virtuousness, goodness and model of young ladies on her.
They were helped out of the carriage and heard someone on the stone steps said liquidly not far away before they arranged their dress, “You brought the guest. Is this Miss Song of the Song Family?”
Song Zaishui looked in the direction of the sound and saw several people standing on the steps. Among them was a young lady in a jacket with lotus flowers on the wide sleeves and a light blue flowered skirt. Someone who dared to wear such plain clothes on the birthday must be today’s leading role, the widow Wei Changxian.
Sure enough, Wei Changying saluted to the young lady and said politely, “Second sister, how are you recently? This is indeed the cousin of the Song Family.”
“I’m fine.” Wei Changxian smiled lightly. But there were formality and indifference in her smile. Raising her sleeve to cover her mouth slightly, she glanced at Song Zaishui and said, “No wonder you look elegant, you are different with common lady through your appearance and behavior. A few days ago, I heard that Miss Song is now living in the second granduncle’s mansion. It’s just that I’m an unlucky person, and I didn’t dare to send invitations to such elegant people as Miss Song easily. I never thought Miss Song was here in person. I am surprised and ashamed.”
She was about to make amends for Song Zaishui.
Song Zaishui held her back promptly and said, “Sister Wei, what are you talking about? I am very grateful that you did not mind my unexpected coming. And your husband died valiantly for the country. Although I only heard about it, I also deeply admire it. And you are an example to women, for you are so chaste and undefiled that doesn’t remarry for your husband. How can you say you are unlucky?”
Song Zaishui looked at Wei Changxian carefully as she spoke. Although she was under Wei Changying’s influence and didn’t like Wei Changxian with a preconceived notion, she could not help feeling a little sorry for her. Wei Changxian looked in her twenties at most. She was plump rather than fat with fair skin, long eyebrows, bright eyes, red lips and a pretty nose.
She didn’t wear makeup because she was widowed. Waiting in the corridor in summer, the maidservant around her brought the ice basin, but her nose exuded a thin layer of sweat, and her skin became even delicate and fair. She simply put her hair up with two plain flat hairpins. She looked generous and graceful, which was nothing like the dissatisfied housewife Song Zaishui thought before. She was born in a noble family and at her best age, but she had to be a widow and spent the rest of the decades alone. Song Zaishui also thought that Wei Changxian was very unlucky.
After listening to Song Zaishui’s words, Wei Changxian’s eyes suddenly showed sorrow and could not help but turn red. She said with a choking voice, “Miss Song, you are too serious. How can I be an example as a relict?” Wei Changxian was both sad and proud as Liu Jizhao died for the country. So although today was her birthday, she did not feel offended as Song Zaishui directly mentioned this matter. Instead, she softened her tone and continued, “It’s hot now, and let’s go and see the mother first.”
Wei Changying looked at Song Zaishui and thought, “I know that it’s easy for the eloquent cousin to make the second sister happy.” She didn’t say it because Wei Changxian was there. Otherwise, she would make Song Zaishui angry.
Wei Changxian tried to calm her emotion all the way and said nothing. It was not until she saw royal heir’s wife of Duke Jingping that she calmed down and introduced them to each other.
Of course, Wei Changying was no stranger to her aunt, but it was the first time for Song Zaishui to see the little Mrs. Liu. The reason people called her the little Mrs. Liu behind was because she was the second wife. The royal heir Wei Zhengya’s first wife, the former Mrs. Liu, felt ill and died ten years ago. Wei Zhengya didn’t remarry for a year for his wife. He remarried the former Mrs. Liu’s cousin because Duke Jingping’s wife had died, and his daughter, Wei Changxian, was still young and needed to be brought up by female elders.
So the little Mrs. Liu nominally was Wei Changxian and others’ mother, her actual age was less than 30 years old. And she looked like Wei Changxian’s sister for she lived in luxury for years and was beautiful.
Heard that the future Crown Princess accompanied cousin to congratulate Wei Changxian’s birthday, the little Mrs. Liu of course was respectful and thanked Song Zaishui politely.
Song Zaishui was always handy in dealing with such occasions, and she made everyone feel good about her by a few words. Everyone thought that she was so considerate and eloquent that she was favored by the royal family at an early age. She made everyone happy for the first time they met, as if they had known each other for many years.
As Song Zaishui supported the scene, Wei Changying began to be lazy and devoted herself to pick grapes from the plate to eat. While she was eating, Wei Changfeng and others who had come in through the front door came to pay their respects to the little Mrs. Liu.
They could come in directly without the necessary report for they were the children of the Wei Family. However, Song Zaishui was here now. She was a young and beautiful female guest who had been chosen by the royal family. The little Mrs. Liu hesitated and thought for a moment before saying, “They are all children of our own family and all in Fengzhou, rather than those who can’t be often seen a thousand miles away. Why are they so polite? It’s hot and they mostly came on horseback. Let them go to rest for a while. Don’t get heatstroke.”
However, everyone knew that the little Mrs. Liu was afraid of Song Zaishui, and she did not want any other man to offend her.
In order to avoid Song Zaishui’s embarrassment, the little Mrs. Liu was about to change the topic immediately, but Wei Changxian suddenly said, “You don’t have to be polite. I said it was bad for me to be born on a hot day. My mother suffered when I was born, and the confinement was even worse! I came back a few years later when I got married. What is here to celebrate on a birthday now?”
“This child,” The little Mrs. Liu seemed to be embarrassed. She understood that what she had just made her think that it was an insinuation of her birthday which was troublesome on a hot day. She added at once, “The family gets together to make you happy. What will Miss Song, your sister-in-law and sisters think if you say so? They will think you don’t want to see them!”
The little Mrs. Liu stepped in for the rescue and her henchman, Granny Mrs. Qiao said, “The Wei Family in Fengzhou is one of the famous gentlefolk. The second Miss is the only lineal daughter in the lineal generation of our clan and you are also the beloved daughter of the royal heir. If the birthday of the second Miss is not good, who else in the world can be well?”
Although her stepmother and granny said so, Wei Changxian still looked cool, “Mother, you overthought it. I’m just a little sad and don’t mean anything else.”
Hearing that, the little Mrs. Liu was relieved and sighed, “Don’t think about the sorrow in the good day.” She added softly, “When the Liu Family sends the child here, you teach him well. The kindness of upbringing is greater than that of reproduction. Although he is the heir, it’s nothing different from your own child if you raise him from a young age.”
Song Zaishui’s eyes moved and she thought that Wei Changxian was really easy to be oversensitive. The little Mrs. Liu would always be crazy with such a stepdaughter. It was no wonder that Wei Changying was tired of this cousin since she behaved like this to her stepmother. Liu Jizhao died for the country, and Wei Changying liked martial arts very much. Not to mention their relationship of cousins, Wei Changying should not have been so tired of his widow.
Because the little Mrs. Liu had mentioned the matter of the heir directly, Wei Changying should say something. Wei Changxian said slightly, “I haven’t seen him. A child… it is said in the letter that he looks like Jizhao.”
“Looks like the second brother-in-law?” As the child had not been sent over and Wei Changxian was oversensitive, it was not easy to say. She quickly thought over the wording and said dryly, “He is destined for the second sister.”
When the little Mrs. Liu saw Wei Changxian suddenly turned her head away and didn’t speak, she had to say for her, “The child was one-month-old half a month ago and will be here in a few days.”
Wei Changying suddenly remembered something and said, “Aunt, is the child still in Eastern Hu?”
“Of course the child of the Liu Family is in Eastern Hu.” The little Mrs. Liu looked at her and said in surprise, “Changying, why do you ask that?”
“I…” But Wei Changying paused with the words on the tip of her tongue. She looked at Wei Changxian and whispered, “I just think it is hot, and the kid is out….”
The little Mrs. Liu explained, “The child is very strong, and there are people on the road who take good care of him. After all, it’s the child of the Liu Family. How could he be wronged?”
“I’m too talkative.” Wei Changying realized that she went beyond and apologized.
“Are you still polite to me?” The little Mrs. Liu smiled demurely and blamed her. And Song Zaishui chatted together for a while. Wei Changxian suddenly said, “I suppose my sister-in-law is going to my place soon. Shall I take Miss Song and Changying back first?”
The little Mrs. Liu had to treat the stepdaughter well since she was the first wife’s daughter and a widow, even if she was oversensitive. The little Mrs. Liu was almost embarrassed by her just now. Now the little Mrs. Liu wished she’d leave sooner to avoid new problems. She said immediately, “I forget the time by talking. You are all young and it’s so boring to be here with me. Go now.”
She smiled and told Song Zaishui to make herself at home on her first visit.
Wei Changxian asked as soon as they left the yard after a few small talks with the little Mrs. Liu, “Didn’t the fourth and fifth sisters come together?”
Wei Changying thought that Wei Changxian would ask this, and she pretended to sigh, “The third aunt was not well this morning. The fourth and fifth sisters were worried and stayed at home to serve the medicine. They asked me to bring the gift. Second sister, don’t mind.”
Hearing that, Wei Changxian’s face felled. She frowned and snorted, “Really? Is that a coincidence?”
“Yes. It may be because that the ice tanks are put too much at night due to the hot days recently.” Wei Changying answered seriously.
Song Zaishui interjected properly, “Second Miss, don’t worry. Madam Pei is just not feeling well and might be all right in a few days.”
Of course, what Wei Changxian cared about was that Wei Gaochan and Wei Changyan did so to avoid her deliberately rather than Mrs. Pei’s health. But now Song Zaishui said so with the gentle and virtuous feeling and she said Wei Changxian was the example of a woman. After all, Wei Changxian was not as shameless as Wei Changying who could immediately deny her own tacit reputation. Moreover, Song Zaishui’s identity was special and it was her first time to come to congratulate her. After all, she could not treat Song Zaishui recklessly as her cousins or stepmother. She had to recognize the title of the virtuous and considerate. She got a tepid response, “Is that so? That’s fine.”
She was not silly. She thought she could make friends with Song Zaishui for she was considerate and elegant. Now she realized that Miss Song of the Song Family was brought by Wei Changying, and she trapped herself as soon as they met. She was angry and it was showed on her face. She was not happy, and Wei Changying and Song Zaishui were not the people who would please her. Since there was no common topic, they simply stopped talking.
They went to Wei Changxian’s yard like this. As soon as they entered, a maidservant on a plain dress came up and told them that the second young master had vomited after eating a bowl of lotus-nuts sweet soup just now. So Mrs. Su who came to congratulate Wei Changxian and arranged the family dinner went back hurriedly for she worried about the lineal second son. And she left the maidservant to take the confession.
“Did Shangui throw up? Is he all right?” Wei Changxian was taken aback by the words and asked anxiously. The look which deliberately showed to Wei Changying and Song Zaishui also disappeared.
The second young master that the maidservant said was Wei Shangui, the lineal second great-grandson of the mansion of Duke Jingping. He was three years old now. It was said that Mrs. Su hadn’t recovered from the birth of her first son Wei Shanshi and became pregnant with him not long after her confinement. So this second child was born with some deficiencies which liked his uncle Wei Zhenghong, who was not healthy in the womb.
For this reason, Mrs. Su worried about him more than the lineal eldest son after his birth. When she heard that he had vomited, she was so worried that she dropped everything and hurried back. She didn’t care even if she would offend her sister-in-law today.
Wei Changxian was oversensitive, but her husband died before they had a child, and the heir she would adopt had no blood relationship with her. On the contrary, it was the nephews surnamed Wei who were part of her family. She was very concerned about Wei Changxu’s two lineal sons. At the moment, she was not in the mood to care about Mrs. Su abandoned her birthday for her son. On the contrary, she worried about him.