Chapter 7: To suffer the consequences of one’s own actions1

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Before Mistress Lan could retaliate, Bai Xi called out Zhang Shu Yi. Regardless of the drama stirred up today and whether they had conspired against her, their aim was definitely the same – to give her grief. But now the internal fighting would be fun to watch.

Zhang Shu Yi’s hands clenched into fists, her nails stabbing into her flesh. She didn’t feel the slightest bit of pain. She hadn’t wanted to adopt that cheap little thing. If not for this cheap little thing, the 6-month old child in her belly would not be dead, and her uterus would not have suffered serious damage. The imperial physician told her that it would be difficult to become pregnant again, so she had completely lost the right to be a woman. Because of that, she utterly detested this cheap little thing.

If it weren’t for this cheap little thing, her child would be 14 and certainly a great beauty. She could have listened to the child sweetly call her ‘mother’ every day. Now, this happy vision would be just a dream, never to be realised.

“Mother considers Xi’r to be unqualified to be mother’s daughter. Mother, third concubine mother, and fourth concubine mother’s opinions are similar, thinking all along that Xi’r is just a daughter of a concubine while Xi’r thought that Xi’r was the Bai residence’s legitimate daughter all along. Mother says that Xi’r is an arrogant person who tramples on everyone in the residence2 and severely beats Xi’r’s sisters and is a wicked girl?” She could clearly see the resentment in Zhang Shu Yi’s eyes, but what was the reason for this emotion? Even if she was concubine-born, she couldn’t understand the deep resentment Zhang Shu Yi had for her.

Zhang Shu Yi glared at Bai Xi as if she wanted to eat her alive.

The entire antechamber was quiet for the length of time of it took for an entire joss stick to burn3. Bai Xi looked at the time, then slowly said, “Mother, ah, mother, what are you recovering from?”

Bai Xi slowly advanced a few steps. When she was 3 steps away, she stopped and stretched out her hand, waving it before Zhang Shu Yi’s eyes. With a harmless appearance, she said, “Mother…”

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“Enough.” Zhang Shu Yi abruptly stood and knocked aside Bai Xi’s hand. Her anger was evident since she was not even trying to hide it.

Bai Xi’s face was the picture of innocence. However, her eyes were bright, and a small smile made it to her lips. It appeared that Zhang Shu Yi’s resentment for her was not ordinary.

Mistress Lan and Mistress Lin were secretly thrilled. The ugly woman had finally enraged the madam. Who in the mansion didn’t know that the madam abhorred the ugly woman and hated becoming her mother? Even though the family record would list the ugly woman as her daughter, and even though it would list her as a legitimate daughter, the madam hated her behaviour. The madam wanted to drive out the ugly woman from the Bai residence, and this would happen sooner or later. Although everyone was well aware of the situation, they did not dare to say anything, only commenting in the shadows since the ugly woman had old master’s and master’s support. Otherwise, who knew how many times over Bai Xi would have been killed?

So even if she wanted to drive the ugly woman from the Bai residence, old master’s and master’s support prevented her from doing so, leaving only disappointment.

Just when they were revelling in Bai Xi’s misfortune, Zhang Shu Yi’s words made them feel cold all over.

“Mistress Lan, Mistress Lin, you two have been making false accusations against second young miss and should be beaten twenty times. Third young miss and fourth young miss should stop your shameful behaviour in conspiring against your sister. You will be confined for one month.” After her words, Zhang Shu Yi turned to leave immediately, abandoning all those who had been reprimanded, leaving them stunned.

“Hey, older brother. You just came to meet Xi’r. Good timing.” Bai Xi had noticed Bai Yu Jie standing in the doorway and smiled as she stepped towards him.

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Zhang Shu Yi had not gone far before she heard Bai Xi’s words, turning with a smile to her son in the doorway. But she froze when she saw Bai Xi pull on Bai Yu Jie’s arm. Her expression darkened as she watched them leave together, and then she turned to walk straight back into the hall. That cheap little thing. Such an evil daughter, how could she be her child? That hatred would forever be remembered deep in her heart.

Mistress Lan stood there dumbly, unable to make a noise. She let a servant pull her out to carry out the beating, but she did not feel any pain on her behind because her brain was focussed on Bai Xi’s departing words: if this happens again, it will mean death. She was not afraid of the words, rather, the murderous aura with which Bai Xi had said those words. She was afraid. She was afraid from the bottom of her heart.

Elsewhere, Mistress Lin’s screams echoed in the quiet garden.

Meanwhile, Bai Xi and Bai Yu Jie boarded the carriage and left for the military camp.

Bai Yu Jie was lost in thought. For the entire journey there, he did not say a single word.

“Does older brother not feel that Xi’r is different?” Bai Xi took the initiative to speak. She didn’t know how long her older brother had been standing in the doorway, nor did she know how much he saw.

“…” Bai Yu Jie didn’t make a sound, nor did he move his head.

“Older brother, because of those assassins, Xi’r became convinced of this one thing. Xi’r should not suffer in silence nor cower away. Otherwise, Xi’r would be dead.”

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“Xi’r, I am sorry. Older brother did not protect you well.” When Xi’r had slapped Mistress Lan, he had been standing in the doorway. However, he did not intervene because he felt that Xi’r was not the same as she used to be. The doubts he had previously banished had returned, especially when he had observed Xi’r’s temperament while talking to Mistress Lan. The Xi’r he knew was someone who was even afraid of bugs, making the confrontation more questionable. But back then, she had been able to deter them with a few words. It made him wonder if his Xi’r had been exchanged for another.

But as he looked at the mark that only Xi’r would have, the doubts in his heart disappeared. He chided himself for suspecting Xi’r of being replaced. He had personally watched Xi’r grow up and vowed to protect her wholeheartedly. To think that he actually suspected that Xi’r was not Xi’r. He was truly stupid.

“It’s not your fault, older brother. Xi’r is actually grateful for those assassins, otherwise Xi’r would not have woken up and would have continued as before, being cowardly and weak.” She was naturally grateful to those assassins, or else she would not have had the chance to be reborn.

Bai Yu Jie’s expression still reflected remorse and self-blame.

“Speaking of those assassins, has older brother investigated who would want Xi’r’s life?” She had analysed it. The people who hired the assassins were unlikely to be from the Bai residence. It wasn’t likely that those in the residence would come up with the idea to pay large sums of money to have her assassinated, nor was it likely that they would have the guts to do it.

“Older brother will surely figure out who was behind it.” He vowed to discover who wanted to kill Xi’r and would make sure that person was torn into 1000 pieces4.

“Mm, Xi’r believes in older brother.” She noticed the ruthless expression on her older brother and a saying came to mind: looks can be deceiving5. Fortunately, he was her older brother and not her enemy.

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Bai Yu Jie smiled at her dotingly, reaching out to stroke Bai Xi’s head. This was a habit that only happened with Bai Xi.

It took nearly four hours before Bai Xi finally arrived, but she looked forward to a night at the military camp.

“Xi’r, this is one of our Bai family’s military camps. If Xi’r wants to come again later, older brother can give you this command token. Then if you come, nobody will dare to block you,” Bai Yu Jie explained, looking into Bai Xi’s shining eyes.

“Thanks, older brother.” If this place held her interest, then maybe she could consider returning often.

Afterwards, Bai Xi followed Bai Yu Jie and began to understand more about the Bai family after her rebirth. Originally, this Bai family not only held a position that was taken seriously by the imperial court, but also held military power. The Bai family held within their grasp one third of the military power of all of Xi Yue country. In the past, they had always been the target of the emperor’s worries. However, the Bai family was truly loyal to the imperial power and had never considered rebelling. To prove his loyalty, Bai Chong Yuan surrendered his military power, thus dispelling the fears of the late emperor, and resigned from his official position, even though the late emperor had not taken back the military power. The real purpose of Bai Chong Yuan’s retirement was so he could spend more time with the Bai family.

“Older brother, I wish to try using a firearm in the military camp once. Can I?” Actually, this was her real purpose in coming to the military camp. She wished to see with her own eyes the artillery of the ancient times.

Bai Yu Jie was about to open his mouth to speak when somebody behind him suddenly yelled, “Stop!”

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