C39 – Big Sister must be Shy
The following morning, Nanny Liu roused Zuo Shaoqing from his slumber and even prepared his most current attire, offering advice, “Master San, we have an important guest in the house. Please be cautious.”
Zuo Shaoqing pursed his lips. It was too late for caution now. Putting aside his prior words, he had already crossed paths with a noble figure last night. However, that individual didn’t seem to hold grudges.
After tidying Zuo Shaoqing’s hair, Nanny Liu unveiled the morning meal from the food box. “Madam ordered the kitchen staff to rise early and prepare over ten specialty dishes to entertain our guest. These steamed dumplings were specifically chosen from the kitchen.”
“All thanks to our esteemed guest,” Zuo Shaoqing mused while savoring the aromatic dumplings. He once again considered the idea of staying close to Master Lu.
He not only dined and drank well but also didn’t have to worry about mistreatment, which bolstered his confidence in his duties.
Regrettably, not everyone had the privilege of getting close to such a man.
Following breakfast, Zuo Shaoqing made his way to Wu Heng Courtyard to pay his respects. In an effort to convey an image of “proper family decorum” to the distinguished guest, this morning’s greeting was especially formal. Even the madam took her place at the head of the table to receive everyone’s greetings.
Zuo Shaoqing sighed inwardly. He couldn’t help but wonder who the four maidservants sent by Mrs. Xue were, tasked with keeping someone warm last night.
He scrutinized the individuals present carefully. They were all familiar servant girls to Zuo Shaoqing, but he couldn’t identify anyone who stood out. Thus, he firmly believed that the person dispatched was meant to serve as Zuo Shuhui’s future maid.
Zuo Shuhui was elegantly attired today, donning a crab-colored skirt with a crimson jacket draped over her shoulders. The vibrant hues were especially striking in the winter season, not to mention her golden-red dress adorned with embedded rubies.
Zuo Shaoqing lowered his gaze, concealing the disdain welling up within him. This was just the beginning, yet Zuo Shuhui already seemed eager to compete with Lu Zheng. Of course, perhaps he was mistaken, and she was acting in the interest of Young Master Cao.
“Mother…” It has been several minutes already. May I inquire if our esteemed guest has risen yet?” With this single question, she shattered Zuo Shaoqing’s expectations.
“The butler is stationed at the door. If there are any developments, he will report them promptly.”
Zuo Shaoqing was well aware of the VIP’s identity, but he playfully raised his head and innocently blinked, “Big Sis, are you concerned about Big Brother Cao? He inquired about you yesterday.”
Mrs. Xue and Mrs. Xue’s expressions underwent an instant transformation. They glared at Zuo Shaoqing with matching disapproving gazes. “Hush!” How could he speak so recklessly? He shouldn’t tarnish his Big Sis’s reputation!
Zuo Shaoqing gave a weak shrug. “I…” That was quite a swift reaction!
Zuo Shuhui, too, seemed disappointed. Her face was filled with irritation as she scolded Zuo Shaoqing, “Third brother, Young Master Cao is simply a guest at our Zuo’s Mansion and a good friend of your big brother. It doesn’t concern me. If he…” She pursed her lips and stated firmly, “If Young Master Cao happens to mention me in your presence, please refrain from speaking carelessly!”
Zuo Shaoqing asked with feigned innocence, “But isn’t Big Brother Cao soon going to be my brother-in-law? That’s what everyone says… Oh, I see, Big Sis must be shy.”
Zuo Shuhui clenched her teeth so tightly that it felt like they might shatter. Tears welled up in her eyes, and she pleaded pitifully, “Third brother, who made up such nonsense? This… Aren’t you deliberately trying to tarnish my reputation? Mother…”
Zuo Shaoqing cowered behind Zuo Shaoyan, apprehensively tugging at his brother’s sleeve. He nervously asked, “Big Brother… Did I say something wrong?”
Zuo Shaoyan comfortingly patted his hand and turned to Mrs. Xue, saying, “Let’s not jump to conclusions without all the facts. We shouldn’t create unnecessary conflicts.”
In his heart, Zuo Shaoqing silently praised Zuo Shaoyan as the most level-headed person in the Zuo family.
Zuo Shaoyan respectfully suggested to Zuo Yunwen, “Father, it might be wise to ascertain his intentions soon. Speculation without concrete information doesn’t serve us well.”
He had a plan in mind. If Zuo Shuhui couldn’t marry Cao Zongguan, the solution was simple. Once she realized the opportunity to become the Duchess of Duke Zhen was within reach, she’d undoubtedly be eager to break off her engagement. As for her marriage to Lu Zheng, it wouldn’t be her decision to make.
Uncertain about how long Lu Zheng would stay at Zuo’s Mansion, Zuo Shaoyan secretly hoped for the situation to continue as it was for as long as possible.