Zhuang Kang’s words were not false. Mu Huanqing’s martial arts were taught by the country’s number one expert Mu Cangying. Although she couldn’t beat her father, beating a Marquis guard was not an issue.
That night, the entire Marquis household was searching but not even half a suspicious shadow was seen. This incident was unsolved. They also didn’t discover any lost valuables in the next day’s investigation. Fu Yanlin could only dispatch more guards to strictly patrol the area. No one knew that the female thief they were talking about was at that moment hugging the blanket on her bed, having a peaceful sleep.
Concubine Lin also had a miscarriage that day. The maids reported that concubine Lin was frightened by the thief so the fetus that wasn’t even a month old was now gone.
Mu Huanqing was shaken awake by a servant girl. After hearing the news, she was dazed. Then it dawned on her and she laughed. Startled into a miscarriage? Last night she and the guard were fighting on the roof of the library. The roof was very far away from concubine Lin’s courtyard. It was clear that she wanted to find someone else to take the blame.
Never mind. She was too lazy to care much. After dressing neatly, she went with the others to concubine Lin’s courtyard to console her. Of course, she was only keeping up appearances. The other person was only waiting for the Marquis. After Fu Yanlin entered the room, everyone else retreated.
Mu Huanqing felt that her spirits today were pretty good due to the heavy exercise last night. She was able to fall asleep again after returning to the room. Additionally, she had thought through many things and felt like she had shed her old shell and felt much more comfortable.
She decided to put the unhappiness between Fu Yanlin and her behind her. From today onwards, they would be two separate people. She would only do her job and would just avoid him if she could. If she couldn’t avoid him she would cautiously keep her distance and definitely would not let him bully herself.
Her days passed smoothly and steadily. Apart from taking care of the household every day, she also taught her mute servant girl, Xin Yu, how to read and write.
Mu Huanqing is kind-hearted but not stupidly benevolent. She will first observe whether a person deserves her kindness. The main reason she brought Xin Yu to her own courtyard was that she appreciated her good nature.
Although this girl had been bullied by others, she stubbornly refused to cry. No matter how others hit and yelled at her, she just silently received the abuse without crying or making a fuss. She only used her hands to protect her head and lowered her body as much as possible. When they had abused her enough she would then silently get up and continue to work.
It was at that time that Mu Huanqing saw her. She felt that the girl had strong willpower even though she was only 15. So what if she was mute? She was much stronger than those people who loved to make thoughtless remarks and hurt people with their words.
As she expected that Xin Yu was honest and considerate. What surprised her was that Xin Yu was not simple.
After Mu Huanqing taught her literacy, she discovered that this girl had a photographic memory. This fact made her indescribably happy. She was able to bring a treasure home. This kind of talent could not be wasted. So now, there is an additional task she needs to accomplish every day, to teach Xin Yu how to read and write. She also warned Xin Yu not to tell anyone else about her photographic memory else she is used by others.
In order to protect Xin Yu, Mu Huanqing promoted her to the inner courtyard and made Xin Yu her personal maid. The original maids were sent outside and she even had her dowry maids and nannies go back to the Mu family.
There was no need for her father to concern himself over herself and Fu Yanlin so she sent back a whole bunch of people. Just in case there was anyone keeping an eye on the happenings of the inner courtyard and passing on anything that should not be said.
The fact that servants had been sent back to the Mu family was also reported to Fu Yanlin by the steward.
“She sent her dowry servants back to Mu family?” Fu Yanlin thought it was strange. Married women always attached importance to their dowry servants. It was much better to have trustworthy people by your side. But this Mu Huanqing went down the opposite path. What was she thinking?
The steward thought for a bit then replied. “Maybe… this is the young madam’s sincerity towards the Marquis?”
Sincerity? Fu Yanlin sneered. She wanted to burrow into his heart now that she had become a part of his family?
He had thought that the reason why she didn’t get close to him, didn’t cry or make a fuss, and lived her life behind closed doors was because she had integrity and an unyielding character. But now that they had become intimate, she thought that she could ask him to feel tenderness towards her and climb to the position of a proper wife? If that was the case, he had thought of her too highly.
Even if she could stand in the position of his main wife, it still remained to be seen whether he would let her receive the treatment of one. If he didn’t care, then she would be nothing in his eyes.
“Since she had sent so many people back, she will not have enough servants in her courtyard. Send the Liu twins to the old madam. Ask her to arrange for these two to be sent to serve her courtyard. Just say that it’s my intention.”
So his intention was to send people there to continue to monitor the young madam?
The steward received the Marquis’s order and sent it to the old madam. She then organised someone to summon the eldest wife.
When Mu Huanqing heard that her mother-in-law wanted her to visit, she couldn’t help but think a little deeper. Apart from the morning greetings, her mother-in-law wouldn’t call for her. She also treated her neutrally. Since she was the daughter of Lord Mu, the old madam would keep the peace on the surface. But Mu Huanqing knew that the old madam didn’t like her. Since she was called, there must be something going on.
Mu Huanqing entered her mother-in-law’s room and curtseyed a greeting.
The old madam nodded her head and let her take a seat. She called for someone to serve tea then exchanged a few sentences of gossip. Whatever her mother-in-law said, she would obediently agree to act according to the established customs.
After a while, the old madam changed the topic and suddenly said, “Your courtyard doesn’t have enough people. How about I add some for you? Bring them back to your courtyard later.” After saying so, she didn’t care if Mu Huanqing agreed or not and turned to issue a command. “Go bring them here.”
Nanny Zhang responded and entered the room followed by a pair of twins.
Mu Huanqing finally understood. This was the reason that the old madam had summoned her. The tone of speech was like she was being consulted but actually didn’t give her the opportunity to refuse. She said she was afraid her courtyard didn’t have enough people but actually she wanted to plant some people in her courtyard.
Mu Huanqing didn’t hesitate as she smiled and nodded. “Thanking mother-in-law for worrying about this daughter-in-law. Daughter-in-law thanks mother-in-law.”
There was no smile on the old madam’s face. Although it was serious, she didn’t continue to make it difficult for Mu Huanqing. Her goal was achieved so after exchanging a few more sentences with Mu Huanqing, the old madam let her retreat with tiredness as her excuse.
The old madam waited until her daughter-in-law left, then turned around to ask Nanny Zhang. “She didn’t even have a single objection and just agreed. Is she really oblivious or acting?”
Nanny Zhang replied, “According to this servant, it is definitely acting. Females from the Mu household are never easy to deal with. How can the daughter of Lord Mu be any different? She knew she couldn’t refuse, so it would be better to act out a good turn. As for what the scheme is, it is unknown.”
The other maid by the side followed along. “Old madam, the eldest master must want to plant these two people in young madam’s courtyard because he’s afraid she will secretly scheme. It is more convenient for people to monitor her.”
When the old madam heard their words, she also agreed. “I hope that this time a child can be smoothly born. This old lady is still waiting to hold a grandson!”
On the other side, Mu Huanqing led the set of twins into her courtyard. These siblings were individually called Liu Yun and Liu Mu. Because one was male and the other female, although they looked similar, there were still differences between men and women. The sister was very elegant and the brother was refined and lofty, both around 17 years of age.
She summoned Nanny Ji, who managed her things. “Nanny Ji, these siblings were given by the old madam and will serve in our courtyard from now on. Apart from my personal maid Xin Yu, the other positions can be changed.” With that, she once again looked towards the siblings.
“This is Nanny Ji, she is my courtyard head servant. If you have any questions, you can ask Nanny Ji. She will teach you.”
“Yes, madam.” The siblings responded in unison.
“Nanny Ji, first let them familiarise themselves with our courtyard. I am going back to rest.”
After Mu Huanqing returned to her room, Nanny Ji brought the siblings around a tour of the courtyard. She waited until they were further away before turning around and addressing the two with a quiet voice. “Old madam already sent people to tell me in advance of your coming.” Actually, Nanny Ji was also one of the old madam’s people.
The sister Liu Yun said to Nanny Ji, “Us siblings were instructed by the Master to monitor the madam. Asking Nanny Ji to think of a way to place us in the madam’s inner courtyard.”
Nanny Ji replied, “This old servant knows. Miss Liu Yun, you go serve in the madam’s rooms. The madam only has Xin Yu. If she has you, then you can rotate with Xin Yu. Little brother Liu Mu, you will be responsible for the cleaning of the inner courtyard.”
The siblings froze. “Just like this? The madam will agree?” Any servant who suddenly came in from the outside was unlikely to immediately serve in the inner courtyard.
“The madam just said that apart from Xin Yu, the others can be moved according to what I decide. From the moment the madam sent away her dowry servants, only Xin Yu is left by her side. The madam will not object to adding an extra personal maid and an inner courtyard pageboy.”
The siblings traded a glance and looked back towards Nanny Ji. Liu Yun said, “Concubine Lin had a miscarriage and the Marquis is worried. None of the Mu family’s daughters is easy to deal with. So he sent us here to monitor her in case she decides to try something.”
Nanny Ji nodded, “This old one understands.”
Actually, Nanny Ji had also been monitoring the young madam for the past few months. She thought that this young madam was very easy-going. She treated the servants very well unlike the rumours.
But although Nanny Ji thought this in her heart, she wouldn’t say it out loud. Some things could only be believed with one's own eyes.
The Liu siblings entered the inner courtyard just like that and began to serve the young madam. They thought that the young madam would make things difficult for them but discovered no matter what the young madam did or said, she did not make things difficult for the two of them.
Naz's interesting tidbit: Xin Yu's name is literally 'heart' 'language'. I had massive trouble the first time I saw it because I read as I translate and was trying to decide whether 'heart language' was a fancy way of saying 'sign language' lol.
Last chapter for right now, the rest to be posted either tonight or tomorrow~