Chapter 33: Xia Qinglian Could Only Arrange a Carriage and Allow Her to Go (1)
Yu Xingyi got up after he finished his bow. “This lady, you have put your life aside to save my brother’s life, and so you are a great benefactor of our Yu family, and should receive our thanks. I did not wish to interrupt you as you were recovering from your injury before this, but today, I must see to it that my gratitude is shown.”
Then, he ordered the feast to be brought to the table and invited Zhou Xiaoxiao to sit at the foremost position. Xia Qinglian sat opposite to her, while he himself sat to the side between the two.
While waiting for the drinks to be served, the couple took turns raising their cups, hoping to cheers to her again.
But Zhou Xiaoxiao stopped them and said, “I am your junior, so please, you don’t have to be too polite or it will trouble me.”
Yu Xingyi said, “Fifth brother is the youngest amongst us brothers, so me and my elder brothers treasure him most. even more so, our parents and grandparents treat him as their lives. If this young miss had not shown us this good, then I’m afraid we would not even know now how we should face the heavens.”
In the end, the couple each offered her another toast before they finally took their seats.
Zhou Xiaoxiao even said politely, “During times of crisis, it is a friend’s right to protect each other. You do not have to be so polite, sir general and sister.”
Xia Qinglian made a small gesture while she spoke, and several maidservants rushed in, holding lacquered dishes containing jewelry of gold and jade, as well as fine silks and satins. All sorts of things were brought in, and each of them no less finner than the rest. For a moment, the room was filled with a dazzling assortment.
Xia Qinglian got up and pointed each one of the items to show Zhou Xiaoxiao. “These are all gifts of my mother’s sincerity that she has sent from the capital, hoping to use them as thanks to you, sister. I hope you will not push these gifts away.”
Zhou Xiaoxiao looked at the first tray in front of her. Atop the delicately created hairpins and jade bangles is a banknote, one worth a thousand liang of silver. Zhou Xiaoxiao looked at it silently and suddenly laughed. She raised her hand lightly, and after a few polite words, accepted this generous gift.
During the feast, when the couple took turns toasting her, Zhou Xiaoxiao did not refuse them. Both sides came and went in their friendly exchange, and both guest and host were happy. At the end of it, Zhou Xiaoxiao excused herself and returned.
After Yu Xingyi sent away the guest, he went back inside to see Xia Qinglian sitting at the table. With dimples at her cheeks and face pink like peach blossoms, she could not help but laugh, “I have only shared a few cups with her, but I am no match at all.”
“I never thought that Sister Zhou would have such good tolerance of alcohol.” Xia Qinglian toucher her heated cheek and said, “My husband, about today…”
But Yu Xingyi did not speak. He sat down bold and uninhibited by the side. He reached out two fingers and lightly tapped them on the table.
In his heart, he thought about the many years he stayed on the battlefield. His body was covered in a fierce air that when seen by any ordinary men, would cause them to wince, much less women.
Thinking about how none of the maidservants by his side were tense like small birds, this young woman was actually quite stable.
“Don’t worry, my wife. From what I can see, this Miss Zhou is smart.”
“Yes, Sister Zhou is quite the clever one. She understood in an instant. She instantly changed her tone and mentioned him only by his courtesy name, Zigui, showing that the two were mere friends. She has accepted both mother’s generous gift and your courteous token, but I am only afraid that she has understood everything.”
“Miss Zhou is a sensible girl. It’s just when I recall what Fifth Brother looked like before he left. I’m afraid this situation will not be solved so easily. We will have to see the situation as it goes.”
Xia Qinglian could not blame her either. Her mother-in-law truly had thrown the hot potato to her this time. If you did well in separating a couple, you would receive no merit, but if you did not settle it well, it would only incur her fifth brother-in-law’s hate towards the family.
But if the couple had any comments on this matter, they will not express it for the time being.
After a few days, Zhou Xiaoxiao packed up and came to say farewell to Xia Qinglian. Xia Qinglian was very shocked and she took Zhou Xiaoxiao’s hands, saying, “Has any of the servant girls made you unhappy? You can tell me about it, there’s nothing that cannot be solved with words.”