Chapter 20: A taste of drowning
Hong Xiang felt that even if he rounded up all the females in his manor, they could not compare to Zi You. Her beauty and grace was comparable to the fairies in heaven.
He wanted to see her again. However, after that one time at her Grandfather’s manor, Zi You had left to visit her father. When she returned, she had not left the inner courtyard.
His mother assisted Hong Xiang and inquired Yi Ping about Zi You’s whereabouts. Yi Ping’s reply was vague, “You’er has to study a lot of things. Father would not let her play around.”
Hong Xiang really wanted to see Zi You. All he wanted to do was demand Zi You present herself. How could he possibly say, “Get Zi You to come over. I want to see her.”? He was not a child anymore. Besides, if he dared to even utter his true feelings, Zi You’s family might treat him as a criminal and chase him out, never allowing him to visit ever again.
After walking aimlessly for half a day, he thought that it was impossible to meet her this way. Zi You was studying. How would he encounter her by walking to random places?
However, he could not enter the inner courtyard. It would be unseemly and vulgar of him to walk into a place filled with ladies. If he was caught, punishment wouldn’t be far behind. He had heard of Old General Mu’s nasty temper. It’d be unimaginable if he got caught trespassing.
Hong Xiang wavered between wanting to slip into the inner courtyard to meet his ‘beloved’ and the punishment he envisioned he would face if caught.
Hong Xiang was a pretentious and hypocritical coward. The carbon copy of his mother Madam Chen. He was selfish, shameless, and afraid of death. Sadly, his father couldn’t see through his facade.
At this moment, Zi You was observing Hong Xiang from a Banyan tree. Seeing him pace and agonize about his decision made her smirk. Beast! If I don’t torture you to death in this lifetime and make you suffer a fate thousand times worse than me, I will enter the depths of hell never to be reincarnated.
Hong Xiang could never imagine Zi You was hiding atop a Banyan tree covertly observing him. He walked round and round and actually walked towards the lotus pond. Bored, he picked up a stone and threw it into the pond.
The male servant attending Hong Xiang was called Cheng Cai. He was the one that caused Zi You’s death. Cheng Cai saw his young master sulking and instantly understood his thoughts. After all, he grew up with Hong Xiang and could make accurate guesses about Hong Xiang.
Cheng Cai moved closer to Hong Xiang and suggested, “Young Master, why don’t I sneak into the inner courtyard and take a look? If I see Eldest Miss, I’ll let her know that you’re waiting for her here. What does Young Master think about my idea?”
Hong Xiang’s eyes lit up and he nodded his head. “Be careful. If you get caught, just say you got lost. Do not implicate me.”
Cheh! That’s just like you, pretentious prick! Zi You scolded Hong Xiang in her heart.
Once Zi You saw Cheng Cai sneak into the inner courtyard, she followed her mother’s manual and started chanting. She made a pushing motion in Hong Xiang’s direction.
The anxious Hong Xiang felt a force from behind. Before he could react, he fell into the lotus pond.
It was August. Although the weather was warm, the water in the lotus pond was slightly chilly. Zi You took action to push Hong Xiang because she knew he didn’t know how to swim.
After falling into the pond with a ‘thud’, Hong Xiang struggled and shouted for help. In between his shouts, he drank several mouthfuls of dirty pond water.
A servant girl heard his screams for help and rushed over. Recognizing that it was the Young Master of the Duke’s household, she too started shouting. “Help! The Young Master of the Duke household fell into the pond!”
Thinking that it was time, Zi You used her movement skills to escape. Not long after, she acted as if she had ended her studies and walked over as if she was a passer-by.