Not only did the young madam not make things difficult for them, but her daily routine was very straightforward. She would wake up early in the morning to bathe and change clothes. Then she would go to the old madam’s place for morning greetings then go back to her courtyard. Afterwards, she taught the mute maid Xin Yu how to read and write.
After a two hour lesson, the young madam would read books until lunch. Following lunch, she would take a walk around her courtyard and take an afternoon nap.
Mu Huanqing knew very clearly that the siblings planted beside her were trained in martial arts. She could tell from their pace and their breathing.
They didn’t know that Mu Huanqing knew martial arts. They didn’t conceal themselves in front of her because they thought that she was a normal wife. On the other hand, Mu Huanqing deliberately changed her walking style and made her footfalls light and lacking in power, like a normal female.
Since the other side wanted to monitor her, she would naturally hide even more.
She could easily accept the Liu siblings because she knew that the other option would be secret monitoring. She would rather it happen in front of her eyes. This way was the most convenient for everyone.
Moreover, she had a sweet-tempered and accepting attitude in front of the Fu family and planned to continue her act. If they wanted to monitor her, then they were very welcome to. She wanted to see what skills they had.
During this period, Mu Huanqing brought another servant back to her courtyard. A person called Ah Niu who had initially been responsible for cleaning horse dung.
Everyone said that Ah Niu was an idiot because he was always taken advantage of. His monthly wage would be taken by his superiors so by the time it landed into his hands it would turn into a few cents and a plain bun. But he never complained. He would just eat his bun and never asked why he had such a small wage. So the others treated him as a fool and even left him the dirty job of cleaning the horse dung.
Mu Huanqing liked honest people. So she once again went to the steward and brought Ah Niu to serve in her courtyard.
When the steward reported that the young madam had taken another servant, who everyone said was a retard, to her courtyard the brush in Fu Yanlin’s hand paused. He was in his study writing a letter but lifted his head when he heard the news to look at the steward.
“What does she want the fool for?”
“That boy Liu Mu said that the madam probably took pity on him and so took him into her courtyard to serve her.”
Fu Yanlin didn’t express his opinion and just frowned. “If she wants it then just give it to her. As long as she knows her place and doesn’t get into trouble.”
“Yes.” The steward received the command and retreated. Normally these small matters wouldn’t get reported to the Marquis. It was only because the Marquis commanded that he needed to be told if the young madam brought anyone into her courtyard that he came to report.
After Ah Niu entered the young madam’s courtyard, Mu Huanqing had him be responsible for cleaning the inner courtyard. She gave him new shirts and pants to wear and he was able to eat more every day. His monthly wage was also accurately given.
Mu Huanqing felt it was not right for Ah Niu to keep being bullied by others considering that he was tall and strong. One day she told Ah Niu to wait in the stables during her afternoon nap. She concealed herself from the Liu siblings and used her qinggong to sneak into the stables to secretly teach Ah Niu some self-defense skills.
She originally thought that she would need to expend a lot of effort to teach Ah Niu. To her surprise, Ah Niu only needed to see the demonstration once and could then copy the moves down to the finest detail.
Mu Huanqing was surprised and tried to teach Ah Niu a set of punches. This set had 108 moves. Ah Niu only needed to see it three times before remembering them all. He performed the set for her and made her extremely happy.
Who would have thought that Ah Niu, who was widely regarded as an idiot, was a martial arts genius? And he was as strong as an ox! What a treasure!
It looks like this household had hidden their talented individuals. Mu Huanqing only picked two people, one had a highly retentive memory, the other was a martial arts genius, how could she learn to keep her happiness to herself?
She gave Ah Niu a new name, Li Yuan. She decided to bring him up to become her strongest personal bodyguard.
With the addition of the two treasures Xin Yu and Li Yuan, Mu Huanqing’s days were more interesting. She taught Xin Yu literacy and sign language so that they could communicate and taught Li Yuan martial arts in the stables. Pearls would turn to dust if left alone. With these two loyal servants by her side, Mu Huanqing’s days were calm and comfortable.
It was a pity that good times never lasted long. After a little over a month, huge monstrous waves disturbed Mu Huanqing’s calm days.
She was pregnant.
Mu Huanqing lowered her head and stared at her small stomach. She used her hand to gently rub it and lifted her head to look at the doctor. She didn’t dare to believe.
“Yes. According to this doctor, madam has been pregnant for over a month.” Standing in front of her was a pharmacy doctor.
Mu Huanqing was wearing a black gauze hat to cover her face. She did not reveal her identity and did not want to be recognised.
She was pregnant? Mu Huanqing was shocked silly. She had no morning sickness, she ate and slept very well, and nothing discomforted her. She had only thought the situation was serious because her monthlies hadn’t come for a while.
She originally held the hope that it was a fluke. She had snuck out today to find a doctor to check her pulse. The result was that she was diagnosed with a happy pulse.
She had only slept with Fu Yanlin once and now she was pregnant? God was finding troubles for her.
“Madam?” Because she was stunned for too long, the doctor prompted her.
When Mu Huanqing returned to her senses, she thought that this was not the time to blank out. She paid the fee, thanked the doctor, and left the pharmacy. From beginning to end, the black gauze cap was never taken off.
She walked by herself. Along the street, she was in deep thought. This accidental pregnancy caused a stir in her calm heart.
She needed more time to think before deciding whether she should tell the people in the Marquis household.
Mu Huanqing silently returned to her yard and heard sounds coming from her courtyard. She landed on the roof and stretched her head to take a look. She saw Liu Mu and Li Yuan fighting while Xin Yu held a wooden stick to bar the doorway and stared at Liu Yun, preventing her from breaking in.
Mu Huanqing immediately went down and slinked into her room through the window. Then she loudly shouted. “What’s the noise outside? Xin Yu, where are you?”
The people outside heard her words. Liu Mu and Li Yuan stopped their fight. Liu Yun was stunned. Xin Yu rushed to open the door and hurriedly closed it behind her.
Xin Yu entered the inner room, saw that her master had come back, and frantically began signing. Mu Huanqing saw her signs and then realised that her mother-in-law had passed on a message and Liu Yun wanted to see her. Xin Yu said that her master was taking a break after lunch and no matter what, they needed to wait until she was awake to report. But Liu Yun didn’t give up and relentlessly tried to enter. Xin Yu wouldn’t let her in unless it was over her dead body. Li Yuan came to stop her and caused Liu Mu to come to his sister’s aid. Thus the two of them began to fight.
After Mu Huanqing heard it all, she smiled and rubbed Xin Yu’s face. “So it was like this. A trivial matter, do not worry.”
But Xin Yu hurriedly stopped her and made a few more gestures. She said that Liu Mu knew martial arts and Li Yuan also had to show his martial arts to stop him from entering.
“Oh? Really? Alright, since he knew, he knows. No matter, there’s your master to cover you both. It’s nothing.”
Xin Yu looked at her master’s brilliant smile. The uneasiness in her heart was comforted and she also smiled and nodded.
Mu Huanqing unhurriedly walked out of her room and looked towards the twins outside. She yawned then said, “Speak. The old madam sent someone, what happened?”
When Liu Yun saw that the young madam was really in the room. Furthermore, it was like she had just woken up. Although she was still suspicious, she respectfully replied.
“Answering the young madam, concubine Lin is pregnant.”
Mu Huanqing stared blankly then smiled sweetly. “Oh? This is good news!” She never thought that at the same time she was pregnant, concubine Lin would have happy news again. Since she was the main wife, naturally she had to go and show her care.
She turned to tell Xin Yu to wait for her inside the courtyard then turned back to reply to Liu Yun and Liu Mu. “You two follow me to concubine Lin’s for a look.”
“Yes, young madam.”
Mu Huanqing brought the two out of the courtyard. When she arrived at concubine Lin’s courtyard and walked through the door, she was greeted by a different scene.
Compared with the simple yet elegant style of her courtyard, concubine Lin’s courtyard had planted peony flowers and grass. Fake rocks and small ponds were scattered about. The pavilion had been beautifully renovated, richly ornamented, and the scenery was thoughtfully done. It was as if it wanted to tell everyone that it was the woman who lived here that was in the Marquis’s heart.
Mu Huanqing knew that Fu Yanlin wanted to make up for the grievance of making Lin Ruoyou a concubine. So apart from the difference in title, no matter whether it was clothing and food or the servants and maids, only the best was given to her. Even the courtyard that Lin Ruoyou lived in was more spacious than hers.
That man does not shy away from Lin Ruoyou. The pampering love that he shows concubine Lin demonstrated that she was the person in his heart, but also within it was a manifestation of his prejudice towards her Mu family.
It wasn’t just him. The entire Marquis household held prejudice against the Mu family. This she was clear on.
When she entered the room, she discovered that Fu Yanlin was there as well. At this time he should have still been in the morning court. It looked like he had come back early when he received the news.
The man has been a soldier for a long time. He had been tall and handsome from birth. Lin Ruoyou was a beautiful lady made from water. When they stood together, a handsome man and a beautiful woman, it was like a match made in heaven. The agreeable atmosphere between them was like an invisible wall. It blocked off all outsiders. Including her.
Her appearance caused the laughter and chatter between them to stop... like someone had forcibly cut the strings in the middle of a beautiful zither melody. She saw everything but acted like nothing happened.
“My Lord.” She respectfully curtsied towards her husband. When she raised her head, she discovered that his smiling expression had been put away when he saw her. It had been exchanged for a cold and indifferent expression.
She pretended not to see it and took a look at concubine Lin. Her smiling expression had also disappeared and changed into a vigilant and terrified look. Originally she had been sitting on the bed but was now busy trying to get up and pay her respects.
Yet the moment she moved, she was stopped by Fu Yanlin.
Naz's interesting tidbits: Ah Niu's name literally means 'cow'. His new name Li Yuan literally means 'power' and 'deep/profound'.
Please let me know if you spot any errors! I had a tougher time editing this one... it still sounds a bit awkward.