Within the quiet hall, the grandmother and her grandson were both silent. Outside, in the garden, the tea flowers that were gathered by those who came from the Capital were in a pile in the corner; the fragrance of tea leaves emanated from the bag, filling and overwhelming the smell of the flowers in the garden. Between the flowers on the tree, a pair of yellow butterflies was dancing and above the flowers, there were occasional chirpings from nestlings. It was rather refreshing.
“Go ahead; a young Phoenix will eventually cry for the first time. You are already all grown up; you have to explore the world sometime.” The Old Madam smiled gently and continued, “The only issue is that you have to go alone. Little one, you will definitely face much adversity there. Are you up to the challenge?”
Fan Xian knew what his Grandmother was talking about and smiled sweetly, “The Second Mistress has been kind to me these past few years; she even sent over many things for me. You don’t have to worry.”
The Old Madam smiled and shook her head. She knew that this child, who looked mature and poised but was actually quite the mischievous and impish brat did not actually thought this way. Petting his head, she was silent for a while before sighing, “If… anything were to happen in the future, try to overlook and tolerate as much as possible for your father’s and my sake.”
“Okay.” Fan Xian smiled and nodded.
“If it was up to me, I would never be willing to let you go to the Capital.” The Old Madam Grandma solemnly said, “However… because you insist on going to the Capital, I have to inform you of certain matters.”
“Xian-er (A cute-sy third person way of referring to oneself ~MCM) will listen to whatever
“Do you remember Housekeeper Zhou from four years ago?” The Old Madam smiled softly at him.
Fan Xian’s heart skipped a beat and he dare not look his Grandmother in her eyes. After a while he laughed bitterly and said, “I remember.”
With this reply, it seemed like a seal was broken between the Grandmother and her grandson. The Old Madam said seriously, “You are quite mature and intelligent and would usually not require much worry. However, after that incident, it could be seen that you are still overly kind and considerate.”
Fan Xian sighed internally. “Isn’t being kind a virtue?”
As if predicting what he would say, the narrow eyes of the Old Madam suddenly held a faint trace of wintry harshness. She said coldly, “If you really want to go to the Capital, you have to listen to whatever I am about to say.”
“What is it?” Fan Xian could faintly guess it.
“You have to be more ruthless. “ The Old Madam seemed slightly fatigued and leaned back on her armchair to rest. “In this world, although it seems pleasant and peaceful, if you are not ruthless enough, you will still end up being taken advantage of.”
Fan Xian was silently contemplative. To be honest, he was not exactly a Mister Nice Guy to begin with; it was just that he have never had an opportunity to display the darker side of himself. That was why when he knew the Old Madam’s teaching was wise.
The Old Madam half-opened her eyes and said, “In the old days, your mother was brilliant; her only flaw was that she was too kind-hearted, which was why……” She suddenly opened both her eyes and stared at Fan Xian as she emphasized every word she uttered, “It would be preferable to kill and hurt another than to be the one whom others hurt.”
Fan Xian nodded vigorously.
“Go and pack; your father is calling urgently for you. It might even be that there is something serious happening in the Capital.” The Old Madam’s face gazed benignly upon the child she has spent fifteen years with in front of her. “I will not be going to the Capital; I will just stay in Danzhou. If…… the days you spent in the Capital are unpleasant and there is anyone bullying you, you are always welcome here.”
“Okay.” Fan Xian replied. He stood up and went to his own room without saying anything else.
After entering the room, he quietly sat upon the bed and used his blanket to rub his face and then scratched his head profusely. In a quiet tone, he murmured, “Shit, I almost cried. Grandma really knows how to dramatize things.”
Night has just fallen; the room was softly lit by the lamp. Fan Xian expressionlessly wrote a letter to his sister in the Capital to tell her the news of his impending arrival. After writing, he suddenly realized that the postman’s stagecoach might not be faster than the Count’s carriage by much. Perhaps when she received the letter, he would have already reached the Capital. It was rather pointless.
However, Fan Xian was a person who really appreciates his own efforts. Since he has already written it, he might as well seal it in an envelope. Just as he was about to call for Si Si to deliver the letter in the morning, he turned his head to find the Head Servant Girl Si Si with her hand supporting her jaw beside him, staring at him contemplatively.
“Si Si, what are you thinking about?” He waved the envelope in front of the servant girl.
Si Si broke from her stupor and said embarrassingly, “Nothing. Is this letter for the Young Mistress? Pass it to me then.”
Fan Xian pulled back his hand and gazed at her curiously, “What’s wrong?”
Si Si thought about it and finally mustered the courage to ask, “Young Master, you are about to go to the Capital. Are you excited?”
Fan Xian sat up straight and smiled softly while looking at her, “Why the sudden question?”
“Young Master, I heard that the people in the Capital are all very bad people.” Si Si bit her lower lip and did not know how to continue. “Moreover…… you have no place there (She’s referring to his status as an illegitimate kid, which would mean he has no power there ~MCM). If you go to the Manor in the Capital, with the Second Mistress there, you might have a hard time.”
Fan Xian laughed, “So you were worried about me! It’s alright; all I have to do is avoid her. If I don’t have any place in the Capital next time, at the very most I can open a medical centre of my own to take care of myself, as long as I don’t stay in the Manor……. To tell you the truth, I’m just going to the Capital to take a look around.”
“Young Master definitely wouldn’t be without a place there! You have read so many books, if you take the Imperial Examinations next year, you will definitely do well and be a High Official and honor your ancestors.” (LOL, this is just perpetuating the whole Chinese stereotype ~MCM)
Seeing her so serious, fan Xian smiled gently and did not say anything further. He did not have much interest in honoring his ancestors and, deep in his heart, he did not hold any feelings towards his cheap old father in the Capital. This was in stark contrast to his Grandmother.
“Young Master, why are you unwilling to take me to the Capital?” This was Si Si’s true reason for being troubled. She looked pitifully at Fan Xian, “The servant girls in the Capital all take orders from the Second Mistress. Without anyone reliable by your side, how will you manage?”
Fan Xian sighed; Si Si was older than him by two years, if she was left in someone else’s house, she would have long been married off. It was just that, having had two lifetime worth of experience, he was secretly more mature than her. However, Si Si thought that she was reliable enough to hold her own.
He looked at Si Si seriously and said, “It is exactly because I don’t know what the Capital is like that I don’t dare to take you with me.”
Si Si actually understood this logic, it was just that, when she imagined that she and the Young master would be in different place and will not see each other for a long time, her heart was slightly pained. She hurriedly turned her head away and packed the things that were on the study table.
Fan Xian stared at her busy silhouette, his heart too was slightly gloomy. However, he knew that nothing he could say could change anything.
The Capital may have much lovely scenery, plenty of interesting people and events; however, there would definitely be a lot of obvious threats and hidden traps. He was willing to take a small risk by himself by going over there to experience all these. Since he was given a second chance at life, he had no reason to stay in the little city of Danzhou to live the rest of his life. However, he did not have the confidence to protect those around him, which was why Si Si cannot be allowed to follow him.
In the middle of the night, he secretly crept towards the warehouse.