brother.
I am ignorant and incompetent and haven’t achieved anything.
In the future, I ask my second elder brother to please take care of me more.”

Ren Yao had no siblings, so she couldn’t stand these corny scenes the most.
She hissed, feeling her teeth get sore, “When you brother and sister are at home, is this how you talk?”

Ming Huashang kept a smile on her face, looking at Ming Huazhang expectantly.
Ming Huazhang raised his hand slowly and took the teacup.
Ming Huashang filled another cup and handed it to Ren Yao, “Sister Ren has helped me a lot these past two days, I toast Sister Ren with this cup.”


Ming Huashang didn’t answer Ren Yao’s words.
If they were biological siblings, they wouldn’t need to be so polite, but they weren’t.
Now she only hoped to have a good relationship with Ming Huazhang, so that when the real daughter returns to the manor in the future, he will at least let her live.

Ren Yao had just made a sarcastic remark about them, but in a blink of an eye it was her turn, and she felt embarrassed instead.
She pulled back her fingers a bit, but in the end, she took the teacup nonchalantly, and said, “It’s no big deal, it didn’t take much effort, there’s no need to say such cringy words.”

Finally, Ming Huashang solemnly served a cup, and handed it to Xie Jichuan under his teasing gaze: “I toast you with this cup, Brother Xie.”

Xie Jichuan deliberately asked, “I am the last?”

“Good tea is not afraid of being late, it’s not the gift that counts, but the thought behind it.” Ming Huashang knew that Xie Jichuan was just teasing her, but she still said seriously, “I have heard about Brother Xie’s good name for a long time, and now I finally get to see him.
Your demeanor truly suits the description “orchids and jade trees”2.
It’s really my loss that I didn’t meet Brother Xie earlier.
I hope that after seeing that I have lost a lot, Brother Xie will not be upset with me.”


Hearing Ming Huashang say this much, Xie Jichuan would be unreasonable if he didn’t accept.
He sighed, took the tea from Ming Huashang with both hands and said, “Second your sister really knows how to talk.
I’m starting to get jealous of your future husband.”

Ming Huazhang was taking a light sip of tea, but when he heard these words, he immediately shot him a sharp look, and with the lingering mist from the tea hovering in front of his eyes and brows, he looked bitingly cold.

Xie Jichuan felt wronged by this glare, and shouted, “Second younger sister is going to get married eventually, so I’m just telling the truth; you don’t even like to hear that?”

Seeing that something was wrong, Ming Huashang hurriedly said, “It’s alright, I’m still young, and I’ve never thought about marriage.
Second elder brother, do you really think it was a serpentine ghost who killed the people?”

Footnotes

This is something Xie An (谢安) said during the Battle of Feishui (refer to the footnote in CH 5); he was Eastern Jin’s commander-in-chief during the Battle and defeated the former Qin army, which was known to have had one million troops, with 80,000 troops.
This victory cemented the Xie clan’s status through the subsequent centuries. 芝兰玉树 (zhī lán yù shù): literal translation is orchids and jade trees, but it means a child with a splendid future and prospects

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