Face-Slapping the Son of a Concubine and a Transmigrating Girl (2)
It was now the beginning of spring, and given Zhou Xu’s weak body, he was somewhat afraid of the cold. However Zhou Xu could not help admiring the colourful bloom of the snow plum flower for a while before heading to Zhou Yang’s courtyard. As a result, his hands and feet were slightly cold.
Zhou Yang looked blamingly at Zhou Xu, as well as Cui Yun and Cui Xue. He then helplessly went to boil some soup for Zhou Xu to expel the cold from his body.
Zhou Xu felt at ease following his brother, especially since Zhou Yang’s appearance made people feel warm. His facial features were leisurely and bright, the corners of his mouth slightly upturned. Even without smiling, he still carried a smiling expression. Because he preferred not to be in the sun, his complexion was quite pale.
In truth, except for being mute, Zhou Yang’s body was still quite healthy. Only, he preferred silence and disliked going out of the house; hence General Zhou only saw him a couple of times every year, to the extent that he was soon going to forget he had such a son.
Zhou Xu followed behind Zhou Yang, watching him cook. Zhou Yang discontentedly pushed Zhou Xu back into the room. This was because General Zhou believed that a nobleman ought to stay clear of the kitchen. Hence he particularly disliked Zhou Yang who liked to cook, further alienating him.
Without a choice, Zhou Xu could only wait in the room. After a while, Zhou Yang carried a small pot of hot, cold-expelling soup into the room.
He helped Zhou Xu scoop a spoonful of soup and lifted it to his mouth, indicating that Zhou Xu should quickly drink. However after drinking a mouthful, Zhou Xu’s face wrinkled up, “Bitter.”
Zhou Yang laughed lightly and took out a candy drop. Zhou Xu was helpless. Because the original host liked candy drops, he had to have one every time he drank medicine.
He drank the bitter medicine in one shot. He took the candy drop from Zhou Yang and savored it slowly as the bitter taste of the medicine dissipated.
Laughing faintly, Zhou Xu spoke, “Elder Brother, I’ve brought many light refreshments for you, see if you like any.”
Zhou Yang looked at the food box Zhou Xu brought. He lightly flicked Zhou Xu’s forehead and shook his head, wordlessly telling Zhou Xu not to bring him snacks again.
“I like to bring snacks for you. Right, Elder Brother, let me take your pulse.”
Zhou Yang gave Zhou Xu a doubtful look. Zhou Xu had to explain, “Recently, I’ve taken an interest in the medical field.”
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After experiencing many worlds, Zhou Xu knew that a person’s heart was the hardest to see through, especially a person who was determined to play out a role.
Upon seeing his furrowed brows, Zhou Yang gazed at Zhou Xu with doubt, asking if there was anything wrong.
Smiling faintly, Zhou Xu’s bewitching features on his pale face made him seem even more beautiful, “Nothing much, your body is particularly healthy.”
Zhou Yang helplessly and dotingly shook his head, assuming that his little brother knew nothing about medical matters and was just playing with him.
The two laughed and joked for quite awhile. Before leaving, Zhou Xu asked if their parents had came by to visit him. Seemingly not caring, Zhou Yang shook his head.
Zhou Xu was unable to say anything and could only leave after making an appointment to eat Zhou Yang’s pine nut salmon for dinner on the second day of the month. Beaming, Zhou Yang nodded his head, pointing to the kitchen then himself to mean that he would definitely cook it well for Zhou Xu.
Upon leaving his elder brother’s courtyard, Zhou Xu furrowed his brows again. Zhou Yang’s poison was not easy to resolve, requiring two very special medicinal ingredients – Frigid Snow Lotus and Deep Sea Dragon Silk.
The Frigid Snow Lotus was too precious, impossible to seek for. It could only be discovered with luck. Even if it was really discovered, with its value, it would not be able to be bought with a few taels of silver.
The Deep Sea Dragon Silk was even rarer. In truth, it was a deep sea plant; just that it was much too rare, earning its name of Dragon Silk.
Zhou Xu felt that it was weird. General Zhou disliked Zhou Yang because of his disability, but why did their mother visit him seldomly as well?
Zhou Yang was obviously her own child. Apart from being mute, he had no other defects. Even if he liked cooking, in the current relatively open-minded era, it did not warrant He Yan Fei’s cold treatment towards him.
Forget it, he would stop thinking about it. Zhou Xu decided to first think about the two medicinal ingredients.
The Frigid Snow Lotus and Deep Sea Dragon Silk took Zhou Xu a whole three years to find. In these three years, he continued his arrogant behaviour. Only, he did not bully Zhou Zong Han much. Zhou Xu was too lazy to bully him. However, not knowing why, Zhou Zong Han was surprisingly no longer like his previous self – thorny from head to toe – but rather, became like a gentle noble son.
This was slightly different from the plot. In the original world, Zhou Zong Han’s hatred for Zhou Xu kept brewing. However, he currently hated himself, his father, and his mother.
Zhou Xu’s indifference made Zhou Zong Han even more depressed. He realised that Zhou Xu did not even care enough to bully him, completely ignoring his existence.
Three years later, at Zhou Xu’s 18th birthday celebration, Zhou Zong Han met Qi Lan. From then onwards, he found that his life had meaning. He wanted to marry Qi Lan. Even if he was a lowly illegitimate son, he strived to marry such a respectable lady.
In truth, this world was unlike the era in history. It was more open-minded; Women could leave the house to visit others, as well as eat at the table with the family. The social status of merchants were not all that low either. Although the maids were slaves, once absolved of their slave status, they could still marry into an official’s house or a merchant’s house. In addition, noble titles could not be inherited. General Zhou’s title of Zhen Xi King could not be inherited by Zhou Xun nor Zhou Yang. However, the emperor could still confer Zhen Xi King’s sons other noble titles, though it was up to the emperor to decide whether or not to.
Originally the prime minister had the intention to bethroth his granddaughter Qi Lan to Zhou Xun, hence he attended the birthday celebration with her.
Since Zhou Xu’s body was weak, he sat at the side. Seeing Qi Lan entering, the corner of his eyes raised, knowing that this was the so-called female lead.
Her appearance was indeed top class, truly beautiful, with an apricot face and peach cheeks, clear and bright eyes, each step like a lotus flower. It was just a pity that her pair of eyes were affixed onto Zhou Zong Hang.
Although this world was said to be open-minded, it was still an ancient era world. Women could go out, but gazing suggestively at a man was not appropriate.
Coughing lightly, Zhou Xu stood up to bow, clasping his hands, “Greetings, Prime Minister Qi.”
The white-haired Prime Minister Qi pulled his granddaughter over, only then did Qi Lan do a curtsy*, greeting Zhou Xu. However she was still sizing up Zhou Zong Han out of the corner of her eye.
Zhou Xu’s father, General Zhou, nor Zhou Yong could not bear to continue watching. He joked with Prime Minister Qi, “Prime Minister Qi, your granddaughter is truly a nation-toppling beauty. Qi Lan, right? I have a pair of white jade thumb rings, they are nothing too precious, and can suit anyone regardless of gender; I’ll give them to you.”
Prime Minister Qi had to stealthily pull on Qi Lan before she curtsied to General Zhou and received the rings. She started to behave better, portraying herself as a wise and virtuous lady.
Zhou Xun laughed in his heart. Qi Lan was indeed a transmigrator from the modern era, carrying the frankness and innocence of a modern woman. Eliminated old-fashioned manners could not be learned in a matter of days. Furthermore, she had only recently transmigrated over. If rumours got out that she exchanged flirtatious glances with another man once she left the house, her reputation was likely to be ruined.
Intentionally or otherwise, Zhou Zong Han had also shot glances at Qi Lan. She was really too beautiful. Every frown and smile bore grace, vastly different from Ruan Qin, his mother, just like a wisp of delicate fragrance, making Zhou Zong Han unable to forget her.
Due to General Zhou’s prominent position in the imperial court, many high-ranking officials and noble personages attended the celebration. In addition, near the end of the celebration, the crown prince had unexpectedly arrived to attend as well.
Since the crown prince had arrived, his intention was precisely to rope General Zhou in. Thus he arrived in a high-profile manner, warning the other princes not to touch General Zhou.
In fact, the original Zhou Xu had returned early due to his weak body and did not meet the crown prince. However, currently Zhou Xu felt that it was worth being roped in by the crown prince. After all he was the one who would be ascending the throne in the future.
Leisurely sitting down, Zhou Xu watched Zhou Zong Han and Qi Lan cast flirtatious glances at each other as he had nothing to do, finding it fairly interesting.
By the time of the crown prince’s arrival, a large majority of the guests had already left the gathering; Zhou Xu was also starting to get tired. In the entire venue, it was likely that only Zhou Zong Han still had spirit.
Zhou Xun’s eyes were half-closed when suddenly a person appeared before him. He wore the crown prince’s robes, his clean and refined temperament made him seem like an immortal. When his pair of eagle eyes looked over, Zhou Xu felt as if his vision only had him.
Everyone kneeled in greeting; Zhou Xu naturally kneeled as well. The person spoke lightly, “I was the one who turned up uninvited, quickly rise.”
Zhou Xu stood up, but in his heart he thought, clearly the crown prince had silently waited for everyone to pay respects and only this line once done.
The crown prince then handed over his gifts before leaving with General Zhou and Prime Minister Qi to chat in the study. Zhou Xu did not say a word to the crown prince, but he had at least seen him now. Feeling pretty good, he had also gotten tired. So he casually found an excuse to disperse the banquet.
Because she was accompanying Prime Minister Qi, Qi Lan could not return for the time being, hence He Yan Fei ordered some people to keep her company. Zhou Zong Han was naturally very willing, and He Yan Fei did not stop him.
Zhou Xu only returned to his own courtyard after visiting his elder brother. On his way, he bumped into Zhou Zong Han and Qi Lan taking a stroll under the night sky.
“Big Brother Zhou, don’t think that way. People are born equal. Even though you are an illegitimate son, you are still a person and hence are the same. I may be the prime minister’s daughter, but I don’t feel that I am more noble that a maid. You, me, your two elder brothers, we are all equal.”
“You really think that way?”
“Of course Big Brother Zhou. When I saw you I already took a liking to you. In truth, my grandfather brought me to see Zhou Xu, but how could I like his languid manner?”
“The Left Prime Minister wants you to marry Zhou Xun? Impossible. Zhou Xu’s natural disposition is vicious. He had once hit my mother until she sustained heavy injury. How could you marry such a scoundrel?”
“He is this kind of person?”
“Not only that, he is rude and arrogant, narrow-minded and without ambition. Only riding horses and cock fighting all day, not at all a match for you.”
Hehe, Zhou Xu laughed. However, before he could utter a sound, a cold and distant voice sounded, “Only those with low social status would talk about someone behind their back.”
Zhou Zong Han and Qi Lan were scared silly. The person speaking was the current crown prince, Zuo Ming Tao.