Chapter 2: Capital city, here I come!

 

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Pre-chapter translator note: Unedited, again.


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Chapter 2, Capital City, here I come!

After Mother’s angry outburst, I was confined within the study for five days.

Other than delivering meals to me everyday, she would occasionally speak to me shortly about the town’s gossip. Besides periodically reminding me to quieten down and study, she would be too busy minding to her own business and affairs to bother with me.

But resigning to fate was simply not in my dictionary. I needed to think of an idea to get out of here!

I heard from mother that Weiqi would be traveling to the capital city to take an examination in two days. Why don’t I tag along with him? He could take his examination, and I would take a view around the capital city and have some fun. Wasn’t it a good plan?

A smile crept onto my lips as excitement burst within me.

Excitement funneled into action. After a few moments of brainstorming, I had came up with the perfect plan.

Night arrived, and mother came to deliver me food.

I brought up the matter of Weiqi’s departure, and put on a facade of reluctance.

I choked out my words unwillingly, “Ma~ I’ve been such a good friend to Weiqi for so many years now. We are as close as siblings, and our love is as deep as the oceans! Love is more solid than gold, now that he’s leaving and we don’t know when he’s coming back, we have no idea when we’ll meet again. I wish to bid him farewell and wish him safe roads, just like a younger sister sending off her brother! I want to pray that he’ll quickly rise to success and return to this hometown in silken robes!”

At this point, my eyes were red. Boy, even I would get touched by my own speech at this point.

Acting needed one to channel one’s intended emotions all into action. Only then would my mother let hold of her suspicion. After all, she was my mother and she knew me best.

“Ma knows how close your relationship with Weiqi is, I’ve also watched the child grow up. Intelligent yet compassionate, how could Ma bear to see him leave either?”

She had fallen hook, line and sinker. Mother fell into my tempo as she, moved by my terrific speech, cried.

“He really is such a hardworking child, determined not to fail. Who would’ve thought he would enter for the metropolitan examination? (Imperial civil service examination) You need to learn from others like him. Ma isn’t pointing you out for how smart or how capable you are, but if you just try studying and attain some small achievements, it would be nice to know that Ma’s efforts were not in vain!”

3 seconds after being emotionally moved by my terrific speech, she reverted back to her usual nagging.

But for escap-freedom, I must tolerate!

I forced a thin smile. “Ma is right. I should be like Weiqi and study better. From now on, I’ll take my studies seriously and not let Ma worry.”

”Oh! You’re so understanding today. Alright, since you’ve already been locked up in the study for a few days, accompany me tomorrow to see Weiqi off. Getting some fresh air is also good.”

I looked at the back of Ma as she happily made her way out of the study, humming a cheery tune. I marveled at my own skills.

I clicked my tongue. With my acting skills, it really was a tragedy that I didn’t go to acting class. What a great loss for the actor industry.

Phase one of the plan was complete. Hehe, capital city, here I come!

Weiqi’s send-off party was held at Brightmoon house. When the arranged time for the send-off party arrived, The house was filled with neighbours all over the town. The place was a din. The loud chatter and hearty laughter of adults drowned out all other noise.

I scoured the living room for Weiqi’s figure. After a while of pushing and shoving through crowds, I finally found him wedged between people, making small talk with 7th Aunt and 8th Aunt.

I forced my way there and stealthily pulled at his clothes before motioning to follow me to the side.

I closed the door. Without missing a beat, I blurted out without beating around the bush, “Say, Weiqi, aren’t we good brothers?”1

Knowing that nothing good came from me whenever I asked him this, Weiqi glanced at me, a terrified and worried look in his eyes.

“Xiran, what business do you have this time…”

“Ah~ I’ve been completely seen through. Just as I thought, you know me so well, brother! When a good brother of yours has a bit of trouble, do you help him or not?”

I grinned evilly at him, darkly chuckling as I approached him step by step.

“How would I know what devious plans you have in store? If I can help, I’ll help. Tell me what you want first…”

“Can..can you get my mother drunk?”

“Oh-WHAT?! Pu~ Get your mother drunk? Why?”2

His jaw dropped onto the ground.

“It’s complicated. Long story short, I want to accompany you to the capital city, but my mother will definitely not agree. So I thought of a plan, but it involves your help. But rest assured; nothing bad will happen. Can you help me?”

Weiqi, frowned, contemplating in silence after I finished my explanation.

Seeing his indeciveness, I slapped his shoulder hard.

“What’re you thinking about? I’ll take your silence as a ‘yes’ if you don’t reply, haha~”

“No…I…”

“Shut up~“

Weiqi glanced at me hopelessly after I cut him off, his expression pitiful. Under my forceful approach, he had no choice but to agree.

“Here, after you leave this room, you walk out and do this…then you do this…”

“Weiqi, all my good days in the capital city are resting on your shoulders! Remember to act properly, and don’t get me beaten up! I’ll definitely treat you to a big meal after we succeed!”

“I got it, no sweat. Then, Xiran, I’ll go out to greet people first. In a while, you can come over.”

A smile played on my lips as I watched Weiqi’s figure as he exited the room. Phase two had been successful.

In the main room, kith and kin, family and friends huddled together and drank wine and loudly chattered. Ma was also quite happy. After all, this town haven’t had such a lively event in quite a while.

The time was now. I turned and signalled to Weiqi. His eyes met mine as he got my message. He slowly got up and walked towards my mother, both hands carrying a cup of wine.

Delighted, my mother ran her mouth off as she loudly praised Weiqi for being thoughtful. Then she blithely gulped down the wine.

“Auntie, this second cup, because I hold a deep brotherhood with Xiran, I hope that Auntie will accept me as Auntie’s Godson! After I, Weiqi, win success and recognition, I will properly repay Godmother. This Godson uses alcohol to replace the tea!” After downing the cup of wine, Weiqi kowtowed to her. [footnote]Normally tea is drunk for the Godson/Godparent ceremony but Weiqi replaces the tea with alcohol.

My mother swigged the wine down in large gulps. She beamed, euphoric that she had just accepted a Godson.

“Godmother, Weiqi still has this third cup of wine to offer you. After I enter the capital city and take the imperial examination, I’m afraid my house will be left uninhabited and dusty. I hope that Godmother can come over to this house when you have time to tend to it. Since both our families have a good relationship, I can also take the examination with peace of mind. What do you think of it, Godmother? If Godmother can agree to this, your Godson will be extremely grateful.”

My mother was already tipsy from the liquor and the flattery. She happily agreed to whatever Weiqi said, barely listening.

Weiqi is pretty good at this too. All it took was some prep time and a signal. As expected of my good brother, he’s quite amazing~

Weiqi turned to me, his eyes flashing with triumphant success.

Our eyes locked together as we shared a jubilant smile. Success~

After the wine passed three times, most of the guests had already left.3 My mother had long fallen asleep.

I called Weiqi to get a carriage to send Ma home.

I lightly lowered her onto the bed, and got a wet cloth to wipe her face and hands. Then I placed a bowl of herbal soup which helped with hangovers on the table and left a note by her bed.

It said: Mother, this unfilial child, Song Xiran, will accompany Weiqi to the capital city. This daughter had no choice but to use this method of getting you drunk. I hope Ma forgives this child. When Weiqi returns from his studies, he will personally beg forgiveness from Ma. Ma must remember to take care of your health, please do not overwork your body. This daughter has left a bowl of herbal soup to soothe your hangover. Remember to drink the soup. —Xiran 4

Then I packed up my luggage and locked the door, then I joined Weiqi in his departure.

The familiar silhouette of the house I had lived in for several years soon faded away after a while of walking. I blinked hard as hot tears began to well up in my eyes.

This was the first time I had left home as an adult. Mixed feelings churned about in my heart. I was excited with the expectations of the capital city but was also reluctant to part with my hometown.

The thoughts of a bustling capital city clashed together with the festering worries of Ma not being able to take care of herself once I left. Furthermore, I did not know what month or year I would return.

Weiqi patted me on my shoulder quietly from behind as I stared into space despondently. He had finished hiring the carriage.

“I’ve already informed my parents; everyone will take care of your mother.” He consoled. Then he went up the carriage first and waited for me to sort out my feelings.

“We should go now.” Weiqi beckoned to me.

I silently turned around and wiped away my tears roughly before following Weiqi up the carriage. As the carriage departed the village slowly, I found myself gazing ahead, past the dimming horizon, and into somewhere further.

The capital city I had longed to see for days and nights. Here I come.

Chapter 2, END

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Post-chapter translator note:

I wonder if the mc will have to fight against the people who conspired against her father. I wonder where this story will go. Hmm…


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