Chapter 2: A Cactus? What’s That?
After taking a few days to think things through, Liu Yangyang decided she was going to act as Bai Xiangxiu from now on. She definitely couldn’t let any details slip and let others find that she wasn’t Bai Xiangxiu.
Didn’t all the novels write it like that? Any transmigrated woman who wanted to remain safe had to act like their original host. Henceforth, her name was now Bai Xiangxiu. She had to make sure she reacted when people called her name. It would be terrible if she didn’t.
She sat by the mirror, memorizing her face and chanting her own name in her mind. However, weren’t her looks too good to be a supporting female character?! She had seen countless beauties before; those who’d had cosmetic surgery and those who hadn’t, beauties on the Internet, beauties in art, and celebrities on TV. However, not a single one of them could compare to this supporting female character’s looks!
The book had mentioned previously that Bai Xiangxiu was the most beautiful out of the male lead’s concubines, so she had not been willing to lose out to the female main character. This was why she’d been the most antagonistic to the female lead.
She immediately understood why when thinking over this now. Someone born with such beauty would naturally be conceited. Even if she didn’t think that she could charm all the men in the world, looking down on women with looks inferior to herself was rather normal!
Ah, what a pity. She had been born with such beauty but she wasn’t the female lead. She sighed, but immediately stood up in front of the mirror to stare at her reflection with glee. After transmigrating, the thing she was most happiest about was her new appearance.
She continued scrutinizing her figure after admiring her face. She was only fifteen years old, but she already had an alluring air about her. A beautiful bust, a slender waist and long legs; oh dear, she was blushing from looking at her own body, alright?
Xiao Shi picked this moment to shift the dressing screens aside. Upon seeing her Mistress Xiu in just her underclothes, shamelessly turning this way and that to stare at her own reflection, she was so shocked that she dropped the copper basin in her hands onto the floor and gaped in astonishment.
“…” It seemed like this situation was pretty awkward. Bai Xiangxiu rubbed her nose, coughing lightly as she smiled and said, “Ah, quick, help me take a look. I keep feeling like there’s a bug crawling on my back.”
Xiao Shi finally regained her senses and hurriedly examined her mistress’ back. In the end, she didn’t find any bugs, bafflement in her voice as she said, “There’s nothing here?”
“Ah, it must be the clothes then. Why don’t I change into another outfit?” She heaved a sigh of relief when Xiao Shi left to bring new clothes. She shouldn’t act like that anymore, the people around here were very conservative.
Bai Xiangxiu’s courtyard was named the Winter Garden. It was the most isolated courtyard amongst the four Noble Concubines’ residences. The old madame had placed her here for a reason. Although she had a rather good reputation and came from a literary family, she was too beautiful. Afraid that her son would become mesmerised by her beauty after returning from the battlefield, the old madame had arranged for her to live in the furthest courtyard.
Her intention was to push her further away from her son, so that her turn to receive his favor would only come after the three other women had already received their share. By then, her son would’ve had enough experience with women to be impervious to her charms.
At this point, it was necessary to explain a few things. In the story, while the male lead had a reputation of a playboy who’d partaken of countless women and a violent streak, he was, in actual fact, a virgin. Thus, the old madame had arranged things in this way. When Bai Xiangxiu had been reading the story, she hadn’t felt anything particular about this. However, now she felt rather thankful to the old madame.
If would be for the best if she didn’t need to meet the male lead. What if he killed her earlier than expected? She was extremely afraid of that. However, there were some things in the book that weren’t lies.
As expected, the female lead had that protagonist aura that couldn’t be defended against. Even Bai Xianxiu’s exquisite appearance was ignored and deemed as a commonplace bystander. The men in this book were really all blind.
It looked like all men liked the innocent flowers. Who would be willing to keep a malicious woman by their side? They probably wouldn’t sleep soundly! Bai Xiangxiu forced herself to stop thinking about that. No matter how impressive her looks were, she had to think of a way to go back. Being a hardworking little gardener was better. Being a female lead or supporting female character really didn’t suit someone like her, who’d played with mud while growing up.
But how could she go back?
She raised her finger. The part where she had been pricked by the cactus had already healed. It hurt occasionally, but didn’t affect her movement. Bai Xiangxiu’s eyes lit up suddenly. She had come here after being pricked by a cactus. Didn’t that mean that she could go back if she found a cactus and pricked herself again?
Once she had that thought, she didn’t care about whether it was a flight of fantasy or not. She called for Xiao Shi. When Xiao Shi, in the middle of embroidering, heard her mistress call for her, she immediately ran in.
For some reason, her mistress had been rather strange these two days. She used to speak in soft tones and act like a well-bred young lady, but now her actions were as rough as mud. Even her voice had gotten much louder. “Mistress Xiu, did you have any orders for me?” Xiao Shi asked apprehensively.
“It’s like this. Do we have any cacti in our residence?” Bai Xiangxiu asked excitedly, her eyes shining brightly. However, she forgot about the killing power she had with her current appearance. To Xiao Shi, it was like the face of her mistress had blossomed like a hundred flowers. Unprepared, she was instantly dazed.
“C-C-Cacti? What’s that?” All she could think about was how her mistress was simply too beautiful right now, just too radiant. She didn’t dare to keep looking at her, what should she do?
She remembered that cacti had been brought to China around the Ming Dynasty. Although this was just a story, it was still set in olden times. Were there really no cacti around?
“Then, what about firepalms?” Bai Xiangxiu didn’t bother with Xiao Shi’s awkwardness and tried using a different name for cacti with some doubt. In the olden times, a few people had called cacti ‘firepalms’.
“I’ve never heard of that either.” After Xiao Shi finished speaking, she realized that her mistress had immediately collapsed in defeat. Her mistress’ expression changed from their previous high spirits to dejection. It made her heart ache.
She hurriedly tried to console her by saying, “Mistress Xiu, this servant… if this servant has the time, I’ll ask around about it. Perhaps someone else knows of it.”
She noticed that her mistress had turned from an abandoned puppy into a lively girl again when she’d finished speaking. Bai Xiangxiu’s smile was a dazzling thing as she nodded, “I’ll be troubling Xiao Shi then.”
Xiao Shi’s heart almost couldn’t take the successive blows and she nearly collapsed in a heap on the floor. After listening with great difficulty as her mistress described the appearance of a cactus, she hurriedly walked out, patting her thumping heart as she thought, Although Mistress had been a beauty before, she seemed as false as a painting. If one put it nicely, she had just as much life as a beautiful flower vase.
However, the current mistress was wildly different. Her expressions were so vivid that her stiff face had lit up with life. As a girl, her heart had moved just by watching her. If men looked at her, wouldn’t they go crazy?? This was bad. She had to protect her mistress. She couldn’t let her be profaned by other men.
As soon as Xiao Shi strengthened her resolution, she went off to ask about cacti for Bai Xiangxiu. Every time she returned to see her mistress’s disappointed expression, she felt like she’d suffered a serious blow.
She saw that her mistress’s spirits slowly falling, as if she were an abandoned little animal. Her mistress even looked at Xiao Shi with eyes so teary it made the latter’s heart ache. She couldn’t help but grit her teeth and suggest, “Mistress Xiu, why don’t we go out to the pier and take a look? However, we will need the old madame’s permission before we can leave the residence.”