Bai Yangbai looked like a 16 or 17-year-old boy. Even if others recognized him with the most severe and critical eyes, it was still hard to recognize that he was a middle-aged man, and no one would associate him with the Taoist Sage, who was very famous.
Looking at him, He Danggui couldn’t help but wonder, “Bai Yangbai, in fact, when you walk in the street or Jianghu normally and talk without your oral skills, although your voice sounds mature, no one will think that you are the Taoist Sage. So, why do you wear a mask every day? Since you treat your fame like dirt, why don’t you abandon the status of Taoist Sage and let it disappear? Isn’t it good for you to live like this?”
Bai Yangbai whispered, “Do you think I don’t want to bask in the sun? When I was young, I once killed people with this face. And now I am wanted by the Imperial Court, so I will die if I go out now. Besides, I just ‘treat the emperor like dirt’, so I don’t want to go into the Imperial Court and work for him as a master for catching ghost. And why do I have to give up the name of ‘Taoist Sage’ that I have accumulated through my hard work? Girl, why don’t you give up the identity, He Danggui, a daughter of the concubine, and then go to Liao’s Mansion with Liao Qing’er as the legitimate daughter Liao Danggui?”
He Danggui was surprised and angry, “How do you know I’ll go back with her? Why do you know everything about me and ambush around me all day? Do you have nothing to do? Oh, why haven’t you mentioned (in the previous life) that you killed people when you were young?” However, in retrospect, she never saw Bai Yangbai go out of the door without the mask in her previous life. Even in his home, he seldom showed his origin face when he faced her who knew him well alone, which was very strange. Couldn’t his origin face without disfigurement be seen by others?
Without the mask, Bai Yangbai was a little reserved for some reason, which seemed that he was born to be such an elegant person, unlike a slippery fellow. Somehow, he made people feel noble.
These were all the things that He Danggui never noticed in the previous life. Sometimes people were blind and clung to one person or one thing, which made them lose sensitivity to everything around them and think about things only by feelings. Thus, it led to her mistakes. She took it for granted that she was kind to Consort Zhou and the people of Luo’s Family, so they should be very lucky to know her. But in fact, in retrospect, a lot of their hatred towards her could be found completely, and they had signs of harming her. However, she never thought about it at that time.
For example, many times when Zhu Quan and she were reading and playing Go together in the study, she would occasionally encounter Consort Zhou standing outside the door quietly. Then He Danggui asked when she came, she always replied, “It’s not long since I came.” However, Zhu Quan didn’t even mean to greet Consort Zhou and always sent her away with a few words. At that time, Consort Zhou must suffer in silence.
On one occasion, there was a banquet held by Lord Ning’s Mansion to entertain guests from afar. The guests presented an orchid carved from spar in the sea for the Princess. At that time, Princess Xie wasn’t present. Next to Zhu Quan was Consort Zhou, who was wearing blue brocades and had the word “Lan” in her name. Everyone thought that Zhu Quan would give the orchid to her, and Concubine Gu also said, “Only a beauty like Sister Zhou can wear this flower. The rest of us dare not to even think about it.” Looking at Zhu Quan, who was on her side and picked up the orchid, Consort Zhou even half hung her head and waited for him to put the flower in her bun. But Zhu Quan ran down the stairs to the left seat and put the orchid on the hand of Concubine He. He said with a smile that her red clothes didn’t match it. Then he let her change clothes to show him at night.
Consort Zhou knocked down the spoon on the table. He Danggui also felt that Consort Zhou had lost face and the scene was really embarrassing. It wasn’t good to disobey Zhu Quan in public who was a man of his words, so she asked him in gentle words after the banquet and presented the orchid for Consort Zhou privately after his approval. Therefore, Consort Zhou put on this valuable orchid and took a walk with He Danggui in the garden, which attracted the ridicule of concubines attaching to Princess Xie. They insinuated that Consort Zhou was too old to rely on a sister in the future instead of her husband. He Danggui looked worriedly at Consort Zhou with trembling shoulders. He Danggui didn’t expect that Consort Zhou had changed the former temperament and continued to ask He Danggui to walk with her, without any response.
From now on, Consort Zhou went to the garden every day at this time and worn this blue orchid with head high and chest out, as if she wanted to engrave this disgrace.
Every time when He Danggui thought about it, she was regretted that she was so dull that she completely believed Consort Zhou, whose eyes and heart have been demonized. When she was pregnant twice, she drank the ant-abortifacient that Consort Zhou had sent her. And she never doubted that there was something wrong with it although she felt the fetus was unstable. In the final analysis, it was because she firmly believed that she had a favor for Consort Zhou and no one in the world would harm his benefactor. In her logic, it was the common sense to reciprocate the kindness of dripping water.
In the past 3 years, it wasn’t that she had no chance to kill Luo Chuangu and others of Second Branch, but for the sake of San Qing Acupuncture, she was unable to stick the sharp knife directly into the chest of her grandfather’s offspring. She secretly annoyed herself that she had forgotten her old blood feud. At the same time, she advised herself that good and evil would be recognized in the end. As long as they continued to do evil things like that, they were equivalent to running towards the cliff of death. Just watch it quietly without dirtying her hands. When it was dark and the road was slippery, evil people would jump off the cliff by themselves.
She didn’t want to leave Luo’s Family at all until she witnessed their fate. And she also didn’t want to tangle with Feng Yang sent by Zhu Quan anymore. Feng Yang threatened herself with proposing the marriage, just because he was convinced that she had no right to discuss or choose marriage, not even her mother, except for Madam Luo.
According to Meng Xuan’s idea that he ostensibly proposed her to be the wife of Seventh Childe of Meng’s Family, Madam Luo wouldn’t worry about whether to marry far away or not; whether it was easy to find her to “deal with” lifesaving jujube. And Madam Luo wouldn’t think about the teenager who had royal jade pendant with Azure Dragon once painted for her. After all, if Luo Baiqiong, the most potential girl in Luo’s Mansion, could be the senior concubine of Seventh Childe, who was young and promising, Madam Luo would be happy secretly, not to mention a granddaughter who had humble status without future. It was just like the story of Tian Ji’s strategy for a horse racing, which meant that inferior horse from her own had attracted others’ superior horse.
Madam Luo would agree certainly without thinking, and He Danggui would be able to return all the gifts from Zhu Quan, including the jade pendant with Azure Dragon, to Feng Yang, who would have nothing to say. Zhu Quan, who was too busy to show up, had never been short of beautiful women. Although she had been in his mansion for 1 or 2 years in her previous life, she couldn’t even let Zhu Quan take a look. As one of the most handsome and talented Princes of Zhu Yuanzhang, Zhu Quan didn’t lack beautiful women. And his mansion was fully decorated with all kinds of beauties.
When Zhu Quan, who was embracing beauties in his arms, heard that she had been proposed by Meng’s Family, maybe he would smile at those beauties on his side and say that when he didn’t see them before, he thought that she was so beautiful that he wanted to get her back to the mansion to enjoy. But now, comparing her with them, she couldn’t even lift their shoes. He didn’t care for her any more.
In this way, she could get rid of the nightmare Zhu Quan brought to her… The premise was that she could still believe Meng Xuan. If Meng Xuan was the same as he was 3 years ago, and he proposed such a good idea, she wouldn’t hesitate to agree it and let Meng Xuan delay for 2 or 3 years, which could provide her enough time to live comfortably in Luo’s Mansion and fight with evil people.
But she had no sense of familiarity with Meng Xuan now. At first, he mistakenly thought that she liked him, so she was docile to him. Later, he suspected that she was a lady of easy virtue and wouldn’t refuse other men, including Duan Xiaolou, Zhu Quan and Bai Yangbai, who was old, which seemed that she had done nothing except seducing all the men in the 3 years. Finally, he suspected that she had bad conduct and believed that she didn’t try her best to cure Qian Mudan just because of her hatred of “a string”, which said by others.
She took it for granted that after 3 years of getting along with each other, he knew her mind very well. When she saved people, she didn’t treat people differently. If the person couldn’t be saved, it was hopeless, even if Bai Yangbai (Bai said, “Why me again?”) was the one whose heart was poisoned. And her plans of “Asking the murderer for antidote and seeking senior of antidote” were only do what she wanted to do, which was just for the sake of venting the grief and indignation of losing friends. It didn’t work out in the end.
However, Meng Xuan’s implication was that she had no medical ethics without heart of mercy because at the first moment when Qian Mudan fell into the water, she didn’t use the arts of lightness to save her, which was really cold-blooded and selfish. She deeply felt that the little master was already very far away from herself. One was the spring flower with a short flowering period; the other was the autumn insect whose life was not long. Both of them could never find their intersection point again, which made her feel cold. Originally, they should be the closest companions. They lived in the world with the memory of previous lives and also had various talents and abilities, but they had to hide because they were young. Of course, his starting point was much higher than that of her. He was the legitimate son of Earl Anning Ruting Mansion, and now he is a favored General, but she was a fake daughter in the eyes of the public.
Now it seemed that he had already left her world and become a person of another world, which was so pity that the former companions pursued differently today.
He couldn’t know her any more, and it was harder for her to know his real mind. Could she believe Meng Xuan wholeheartedly? Were there any leaks in his idea? Wouldn’t the people living in Meng’s Family and Luo’s Family meet each other in the world?
Or it was Meng Xuan’s bad idea that he let the fake marriage proposal be uncovered and then he came out to explain that he had liked her for a long time and showed his love to her. However, she proposed to be the wife and asked him to propose marriage immediately because of her humble status. Unable to think about it for a while, and attracted by her beauty, he made a proposal without the consent of his parents and planned to mediate it slowly in the future.
If such things happened, her maiden name would be ruined. In Bai Yangbai’s words, she could only marry him, and of course she couldn’t be his wife. If he refused to marry her at that time, she would have to bear a bad reputation to become a concubine for others.
Was it calculated by Meng Xuan? Was he taking revenge on her unfeeling love for him 3 years ago and her usefulness for him after they met 3 years later again? Would he repeat “Whisper at midnight” talked by Bai Yangbai and her in public to completely ruin her innocence and wrong her in losing her virginity?
Please forgive her for speculating so maliciously about his mind because he had become so unknowable to her, or that she had never known him at all. A gentle young man Meng Xuan, a chivalrous little master, both of them were “Fabricated” figures in her mind. As for now, she only saw a vague shadow in a bronze mirror.
Just as she secretly envied that every concubine in Lord Ning’s Mansion had a strong backstage and a warm backing in her previous life. Their families often sent things to them and visited them from time to time. While she was envious, she couldn’t help but “fabricated” a warm Luo’s Family in her heart. The real Luo’s Family couldn’t even compare with a little she fabricated, but she still tried to depict the kindness of Madam Luo, who was very worried about her marriage before she was lucky enough to marry into Lord Ning’s Mansion. Although Madam Luo had the idea of using her for the family’s welfare, Madam Luo still had some sincere pity on her mother, so Madam Luo also loved her.
At that time, her mother took her back to Luo’s Family with crying, but her 3 uncles were completely indifferent. Ms. Sun and others watched and laughed at them secretly. Her grandfather died of a heart attack soon after. At that time, everyone thought it was the two of them that made her grandfather be angry. Even Madam Luo thought so.
However, Madam Luo never put this hatred on them. Instead, she decided that the Madam He and He Jingxian were the culprits. Originally, because of an ancient book involving glory and wealth, Luo’s Family and He’s Family had long been feuding with each other for a long time. It was Lord He who came to drink with He Danggui’s grandfather and proposed marriage between children, which meant their glory and wealth would be shared together. Thus, no one would care about the ownership of the book. Later, Lord He died. The daughter of Luo’s Family, who was “married”, was sent home and suffered humiliation in He’s Family, which made He Danggui’s grandfather be so angry that he also died.
In this way, when Madam Luo vowed to become a mortal enemy with He’s Family, she didn’t get angry with her granddaughter, whose surname was He. According to the attitude of other members of Luo’s Family, Madam Luo was like the bodhisattvas. Therefore, He Danggui, who was eager for family affection in her previous life, fabricated Madam Luo as a kind elder. Seeing that the uncle of Consort Wan, who was in charge of Department of Supervision, often visited Consort Wan, He Danggui began to fabricate her own “good uncles”.
At that time, her impression of the 3 uncles was her mother’s tearful complaint late one night. Her mother said, “My brothers are dispensable, so is my husband. What did she do wrong and why is her life so miserable?” After knowing that He Fu sneaked off to become an official in the capital, Luo’s Family scolded him. However, no one was willing to go to the capital for 2 days and ask him for an explanation.
The Third Uncle said that the medicine business in the north was so busy that he couldn’t leave. The First Uncle was indecent and joked that there was no need to find He Fu again. What means did he have to let his sister be so devoted to him and pay back his money? Anyway, his little sister didn’t want to get married again. So, she could just raise some handsome manservants at home. Wasn’t it better than worrying about him? The Second Uncle said coldly that he didn’t like to travel far away. But after a few days, he accompanied Ms. Sun to visit the theatre in Northren Zhili Area (areas directly administered by the capital).
How could she fabricate such uncles? The First Uncle wasn’t to stick at trifles. The Second Uncle was terribly cool towards others. Although he didn’t say, he was deeply in love. The Third Uncle was a natural literato who loved famous mountains and rivers. He wasn’t willing to be involved in the small family disputes, so as to avoid tarnishing his landscape articles.
After a period of time, when He Danggui, whose mind was full of fabricated tenderness, embroidered in Lord Ning’s Mansion, Ms. Sun, whose faces were full of tears, and Luo Baiqiong came to find her. She quickly asked the maids to show their seats and pour tea for them. After careful inquiry, she found out that the Second Uncle, who was terribly cool towards others, thought that his wife and concubines couldn’t give birth to a son for many years, so he kept a concubine living outside in the backstreet of Luo’s Mansion without telling his families. After some time, the woman was pregnant. Ms. Sun was so unconvinced for a moment and got a bad idea. She gave the woman food mixed with abortifacient anonymously, which made the woman miscarry a male fetus of 6 months old. Now, her Second Uncle was so angry that he ordered to investigate the matter thoroughly. Now he was suspected Ms. Sun.
But the purpose of Ms. Sun and Luo Baiqiong coming here was to ask He Danggui to take the blame. According to what said by Ms. Sun, the Second Uncle only accepted that woman because of her beauty. And he didn’t check her unapparent details. In fact, she was the daughter of a guilty official. She should have been exiled or become a prostitute in official brothels, but she escaped after finding someone to bear her name.
Ms. Sun wiped her tears and begged He Danggui to tell her Second Uncle that abortifacient was sent by her. The purpose was for his sake, and his generation shouldn’t be connected with the daughter of a guilty official. In Ms. Sun and Luo Baiqiong’s chorus of entreaties, she was filled with “the fabricated warmth of Luo’s Family” and agreed. She thought that she was the Consort favored by Lord Ning, so even if she recognized this, her Second Uncle wouldn’t blame her too much, which was equivalent to eliminating the family changes of Second Branch. Second Aunt and others would secretly appreciate her.
As expected, when her Second Uncle, Luo Chuangu, heard that it was the promising niece who gave the abortifacient, and that it was out of a kind heart, his towering anger immediately subsided. And he didn’t even come to Lord Ning’s Mansion to question her. Only a few years later, when He Danggui was betrayed by Second Branch led by Luo Chuangu, she realized that she was not only blind in eyes and heart, but she was the one person who liked to act on assumptions in the world. It was okay if she didn’t know people clearly. At most, she should keep away from those who weren’t familiar with, but she liked to “guess” others. She guessed that this was a good person; that was a good matter; this was a good sister; that was a good uncle. In the end, she all guessed wrong.
Having guessed wrong a lot in her previous life, she didn’t dare to “guess” that Meng Xuan was a selfless passer-by. When he happened to pass by once, would he help her solve a huge dilemma? Without asking who her enemy was, was he still willing to go all out to help her?
This time, she would rather work hard to deal with Zhu Quan, instead of believing Meng Xuan again.