The Reborn Noble Girl is Hard to Find | Chapter 17: Forming an Alliance

The green bamboo in the courtyard was still green and tall. The winter in Qingqiu Courtyard was less bleak and more vibrant thanks to the greenery.

Hanyan sat on the swing in the courtyard, playing with the rope in her hand. She looked at Ji Lan, who had just arrived, and smiled. “What did you find out?”

Ji Lan said angrily, “Zhou Shi and her daughter are too bad. I went out just now, and the servants in this mansion are getting more and more out of line. They all flocked to the Fu Ling Courtyard. I wonder what benefits they promised them. It’s clear that you are the legitimate mistress of the mansion.”

Hanyan smiled and shook her head nonchalantly. “They just moved in, so it’s natural for them to curry favor with the servants. Don’t worry about them. It’ll help me see which ones are sincere and have ulterior motives.” Thinking of something, her expression changed. “But I can’t care about the other courtyards. I have to keep an eye on Qingqiu Courtyard. Shuhong and Ji Lan, you should pay attention to it in your daily lives. If Zhou Shi wants to see what’s going on in our courtyard, she’ll have to see if she has the ability to do so.”

Ji Lan widened her eyes. “Miss, aren’t we going to do anything?”

“Do what?” Hanyan looked at her and smiled, then stretched comfortably. “We don’t need to do anything. We need to make a good plan.”

Shuhong frowned, as if she was thinking about Hanyan’s words. After a moment, her brows relaxed and a hint of understanding flashed in her eyes. Hanyan’s face showed approval. Fortunately, her maids were all smart. The lessons of her previous life taught her that being alert and aware was always a means of survival in a big house. Ji Lan and Shuhong were her eyes and ears in the courtyard.

She casually picked a salted plum and put it in her mouth. The sour taste had not yet melted when she heard Ji Lan say again, “I heard that Zhou Shi took a box to the Songlin Courtyard.”

Hanyan was startled, feeling a sudden pain in her mouth as she accidentally bit her own tongue in her agitation. Without much thought, she leaped down from the swing, a cold look passing through her eyes, “What are they doing at Ming’er’s place?”

Shuhong also appeared puzzled, and Jilan tentatively suggested, “They must have some ulterior motive. Young Master Ming is now half of the master in the mansion, or maybe they are trying to please him?”

“Do you think Ming’er is considered half the master in the mansion?” Hanyan questioned Jilan.

Jilan was taken aback, and Hanyan continued, “Have the servants in this mansion ever treated Ming’er as the master? If the master doesn’t favor him, what does it matter if Ming’er is considered a legitimate son or not? If you think Zhou Shi is trying to flatter Ming’er, I don’t believe it.” After a moment of contemplation, she clenched her fists and was about to leave, “No, I have to go and see.”

Ming’er was Hanyan’s only family, the cherished one in her mother’s heart. In this second chance at life, Hanyan’s greatest wish was to take care of Ming’er and ensure his well-being as he grew up. In other matters, Hanyan could remain calm, but when it came to Ming’er, she couldn’t stay indifferent. Seeing Zhou’s mother and daughter approaching Ming’er, she couldn’t remain calm.

Shuhong walked up to Hanyan, keeping her head down, and advised, “Miss, don’t startle the snake.”

Hanyan was momentarily stunned, and Shuhong held her hand, comforting her, “I’ll go and inquire now. In broad daylight, Zhou mother and daughter wouldn’t harm Young Master Ming in front of the mansion’s servants. If there is any problem, I will do my best to protect Young Master Ming.”

Shuhong nodded and left. Hanyan stood in the yard, her eyes fixed on the direction of Ming’er’s courtyard. She prayed that everything would be fine.

Jilan added, “Young Master Ming is very clever; Miss, don’t worry.”

Hanyan looked at the two maids in front of her, and her thoughts gradually calmed down. It wasn’t suitable to act rashly now. If she rushed to Songlin Courtyard so quickly, Concubine Zhou would immediately suspect that she had someone watching, making it difficult for her to gather information later. Moreover, Jilan’s reasoning made sense. Concubine Zhou wouldn’t be foolish enough to harm Ming’er in broad daylight. At present, Ming’er posed no threat to her; it was Hanyan’s impulsive behaviour.

Looking at Hanyan, Jilan said solemnly, “Miss, trust me.”

After a moment, Hanyan nodded, “Go quickly and come back quickly.”

When Zhuang Shiyang returned to the mansion, the sun had set, and darkness enveloped the surroundings.

As he got off the carriage, he noticed two maids in lotus-coloured dresses standing at the gate. One held a purple and gold carved hand warmer, and the other carried a silk lantern. Seeing him descend from the carriage, they quickly approached.

Zhuang Shiyang casually took the hand warmer from one of the maids, feeling the warmth, he sighed comfortably. He glanced at the other maid, feeling a bit unfamiliar, and asked, “Which courtyard are you from?”

The maid holding the lantern immediately bowed and whispered, “In response to Master, this servant is from Fu Ling Courtyard. Concubine Zhou said it’s getting cold, and the road is dark, so let us come to serve Master.”

Zhuang Shiyang was momentarily stunned, squinting his eyes. After a while, he said, “Your mistress is considerate.” He then instructed the servant boy beside him, “Inform Concubine Mei that I won’t be going there today.”

The maid holding the lantern was secretly delighted at these words. Although she didn’t show it, she thought to herself that Concubine Zhou was really skillful. By feigning concern, she had managed to keep the Master in Fu Ling Courtyard. Tonight, the lady in Fuyong Garden would probably be furious and might even throw a cup.

Zhuang Shiyang followed the two maids into Fu Ling Courtyard. The courtyard was quiet, and the light from a window illuminated a bright candlelight. A graceful figure sat by the window, deeply immersed in embroidery.

Zhuang Shiyang motioned for the two maids to step back and enter quietly. The person by the window seemed unaware and continued to focus on her needlework. Concubine Zhou was only wearing a simple white inner garment with a purple-red outer garment draped over it. The thin clothing perfectly showcased her exquisite figure – a slender waist, long legs, and her pitch-black hair casually flowing down. Her face, adorned with a layer of delicate makeup, appeared even more alluring. She held a brightly embroidered silk canvas in her hands, and her fair fingers danced gracefully on the fabric.

Watching silently, Zhuang Shiyang felt something tickling his heart as if something was crawling. The soft and seemingly weak fingers looked delicate, but he couldn’t help feeling a dryness in his throat. Coincidentally, the woman remained completely engrossed in her work, seemingly oblivious to his presence. Zhuang Shiyang, unable to resist, approached from behind, hugged her tightly, and paid no attention to her surprised expression.

“Ah!” Concubine Zhou was startled, and the embroidery hoop in her hand fell to the ground. She turned her head, “Master…” Her lips happened to touch Zhuang Shiyang’s nose. Zhuang Shiyang felt a surge of blood rushing down, merging all the displeasure from the court and the captivating scene before him. Ignoring Concubine Zhou’s exclamation, he lifted her and pressed her onto the bed.

After a passionate encounter, Zhuang Shiyang breathed a sigh of relief. Lying down next to Concubine Zhou, he caressed her bare back with one hand and roamed restlessly with the other.

Concubine Zhou let out a soft moan, pushing him with her hand, “Master, what’s gotten into you today? If someone sees us…”

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