C23 – What Are You Thinking?
The sky had just begun to brighten, and with the rustling in the rear flower garden, the entire Zuo’s Mansion came to life.
By the courtyard, two women were busy washing clothes and conversing. The woman on the left, her lips slightly crooked, paused to take a deep breath, her chilled palms against her forehead, and asked softly, “Did you hear the news? The maid that the madam bestowed upon the Lord is no longer here.”
“Ah, which one? You mean Red Luan?” The one from a few days ago?”
“Violet Bamboo!” The one they said would be meeting him soon?”
“Oh, her. How did she vanish so quickly? The good times were just beginning,” remarked the horse-faced woman on the right.
The moonlight cast its silvery glow, accentuating their features. Even in their advancing age, if a woman wasn’t taken in by a nobleman or wed to an esteemed steward, which servant wouldn’t envy her?
The woman with the crooked mouth set aside her work and leaned in closer to whisper into her companion’s ear.
“Ah… Really? Can it be true? It doesn’t seem likely…”
“It’s not something one can see with the naked eye. But consider this, has Grandpa’s chambers been lacking maidservants for the past few years?”
“It does make sense… But didn’t people say that Young Madame couldn’t tolerate those maidservants trying to seduce you?”
“Sigh, the truth has come to light now. Poor Young Madame endured so much for so many years, all for nothing.”
“She’s still a daughter of Zhixian.”
“Let it go. Have you ever considered the background of our Madam? She’s genuinely of noble stature. It’s not surprising she dislikes the daughter of a seventh-tier official.”
“But what’s the point of that history? Madam’s family doesn’t even acknowledge ours anymore. Nobility doesn’t serve us any purpose.”
“Hush. Such matters shouldn’t be discussed openly. Be cautious not to let others overhear and seal your lips shut!”
The horse-faced matron quickly responded, looking around before patting her chest. “Understood!”
When Zuo Shaoqing awoke, almost the entire Zuo Mansion was aware of the news. The servants had discovered Purple Bamboo’s lifeless body in the lake, and Zuo Shaoqing had raised a commotion at that moment. The early risers among the servants assisted in the commotion, and a crowd had gathered to witness the spectacle.
The masters had yet to rise from their slumber, and before they could suppress the news, it had already spread throughout the city.
During lunch, Zuo Shaoqing listened to Luo Xiaoliu’s account of Purple Bamboo’s demise. “You wouldn’t believe it, those garments were torn to tatters, and her undergarments were exposed, revealing a large expanse of azure and violet. There was a distinct mark on her neck. People are saying Purple Bamboo didn’t leap into the lake on her own, but…” Luo Xiaoliu gestured with his hand.
“Oh? Didn’t you mention she committed suicide out of humiliation?” Zuo Shaoqing maintained his upbeat mood. Even hearing such a distasteful joke, he managed to consume his food without hesitation.
“That’s what everyone initially believed. After all, Ma… He wouldn’t personally kill her and toss her into the lake, right? But then some started thinking, ‘This doesn’t add up. It’s common knowledge Purple Bamboo wanted to seduce the master. Even if it did happen, she could have endured it. It doesn’t seem plausible she’d choose to die.'”
“Indeed…” Zuo Shaoqing grinned suggestively. Initially, he had only aimed to expose some of Zuo Shao’s inclinations, but he hadn’t anticipated this unexpected revelation. He hadn’t actually spent the night disposing of corpses.
Nanny Liu entered after finishing her laundry. Upon hearing Luo Xiaoliu’s speculative musings, she swatted his head and admonished, “Quit talking nonsense. Be cautious that you don’t get overheard. You’ll be in for it.”
Luo Xiaoliu hushed his voice and countered, “Nanny Liu, have you noticed any reactions from over there…?”
Nanny Liu met Zuo Shaoqing’s curious eyes and said, “Madam just ordered that no one is allowed to discuss this matter in the mansion. Once they are discovered, they are immediately sold out.”
“Where’s big brother? Are there any movements?”
Nanny Liu sighed. “Can there be any movement?” Only one servant has died.”
Zuo Shaoqing lowered his eyes. That’s right, it was just a maid who died. Moreover, it was a servant who always wanted to climb onto the bed. This result was his own fault. It seemed like he had to find another way.
Luo Xiaoliu was not convinced, he choked and said, “Although it’s just a maid, but Zi Zhu’s father and mother are managers of the storehouse and are old people in the house. If they get in the way of the madame, we should at least give them an explanation, right?”
Zuo Shaoqing’s eyes lit up as if he had thought of something.
“Which servant would go to their master to demand an explanation?” Nanny Liu tapped Luo Xiaoliu’s forehead and scolded him, “Don’t be like those perverts and serve Master San well.”
Luo Xiaoliu drooped his head and thought absent-mindedly: Even if he wanted to, he wouldn’t have a chance. His life is in San Ye’s hands, how dare he go astray?
When Nanny Liu went out of the door, Zuo Shaoqing called out to her, “Little Sixie”, causing Luo Xiaoliu, who was immersed in grief, to lose his soul.
“Master…” What kind of idea did you come up with?
“Come here!” Zuo Shaoqing raised his eyebrows and whispered something into his ear. Then, he patted his shoulder and comforted him, “If it succeeds, I will cure the poison in your body.”
Luo Xiaoliu was in high spirits. He could not care about this mission being shady anymore. He nodded and said: “Yes, this servant will definitely do it!”