The sun was barely up and although summer has already arrived at this piece of land the mornings still felt a bit cold. Inside Crystal City, only the servants were up and preparing to start the day and the nobles would be sound asleep in their comfy beds. However, in the Wei House everyone was awake and bustling. Servants were running around and practically leaping as they tried to get everything to its right place. Maids scurried around with piles of clothes, cooks would be firing away in the kitchen and the other servants would be preparing the carriage along with packing the luggage.
While the servants are hard at work and running around, Mingxia and Xing are in the room carrying out their own tasks.
"Xing, ready?" Behind a paper screening walked out a young man wearing deep green and light yellow robes. His hair tied up high and a neat brown belt around his waist. With a pair of sharp brown eyes and a charming smile on his face, any girl would fall for his good looks. He would be any girl's dream type to go for if he was a boy.
"Ye-yeah, Mingxia." Behind another paper screening, a beautiful girl walked out. Her hair was tied into a cute bun with simple jewels expertly scattered around her black hair, she is wearing a coral blue and green dress with pink water lilies sewn onto the silk. Simple but elegant makeup was applied on her face and a coral green mask covered the bottom half of her face.
Mingxia walked up to Xing and studied her outfit.
"Mhm, this can work," Mingxia said and patted Xing.
Xing's cheeks flushed red and almost tripped when Mingxia patted.
Very shyly she asked. "Min-Mingxia, do I have to do this?"
Mingxia walked over to the table and bit into a pink peach before answering. "Hm? Of course, you have to."
She took another bite of her peach then looked at Xing again. Since the two of them are close in age and both possessed similar features such as brown eyes, black hair, and fair skin, with a mask covering half the face Xing can pass off as Mingxia no problem.
"But what's the point Mingxia?" Xing asked.
"Hm? The point....hmm...well number one I get to ride on a horse, number two I do not have to ride in a carriage and three I just like it like this. Don't you Xing?"
Xing looked down at her outfit once again before letting out a sigh.
"It's...fine but aren't you afraid someone might find out?"
Mingxia shrugged. "I did consider that possibility but since I do it so many times anyways I have an excuse."
Xing could only shake her head and studied Mingxia's outfit. Truth be told, had she not known that it was Mingxia she would of most certainly fallen for this boy in front of her like all the other girls who most likely will. When Mingxia proposed this plan a few days ago she was doubtful that it would work but from what she sees now she changed her mind. Mingxia told this plan to her only a day after she visited the Second Mistress again, she could still remember the fake smile on the Second Mistress' face.
"So you agree?" The Second Mistress set down the pastry she was holding and picked up her handkerchief to wipe the crumbs off of her mouth.
"Yes, Second Mistress. Xing believes that what Second Mistress told her before is quite right and since Second Mistress knows my mother then mother and you must have been friends. Last night Xing realized that mother must have asked Second Mistress to take care of me after she died. Xing is forever in your debt, helping out Second Mistress is only a start in repaying this debt." Xing delivered the speech exactly as what Mingxia told her to.
Just like expected, Tang Xiao Min was very satisfied with this answer. She motioned her hand for Xing to come closer and Xing obeyed. When Xing was close enough in arm's reach she touched Xing's cheek and seemed to be gazing at Xing's face. Like a mother her right thumb stroked her cheek and gently pulled Xing down so Xing was couched over and that her face was at Tang Xiao Min's eye level. She pulled back a loose strand of hair and kissed Xing's left cheek,
"You have grown to look so much like your mother. Child, your mother may have passed away but I am still here. From today onwards, I will make sure you never suffer again and in return, you are to always serve me and be loyal to me, understand."
Very cutely, Xing nodded and Tang Xiao Min lifted her hands away from Xing. Xing stood up and looked at Tang Xiao Min.
"Now go Xing, before that lady wakes up."
Xing nodded and left, as Xing's figure became smaller a triumphant smile appeared on Tang Xiao Min's face.
'Mingxia, now that even your maid is on my side let me see how you fight back. I shall slowly, slowly tear you apart bit by bit.'
"Xia er, remember to take care of yourself." Mingxia's grandmother said and Mingxia, Xing, nodded before getting into the carriage.
The real Mingxia, now her name is Ming and is wearing a mask, got onto the horse and when her family bid their farewell the horses were slapped with a leash and began walking. The carriage pulled out into the street and out of the city gates after a while they arrived in a forest and everything became quiet. Only bustling sound of the wheels on the bumpy road and the horses stomping against the ground could be heard.
The carriage Xing is on looks quite ordinary since Mingxia purposely asked to not have a flashy carriage. When traveling flashy and giant carriages only serves as a bother because those only became targets for bandits. MIngxia also asked her father to limit the amount of luggage and servants, she wants to attract as less attention as possible. So her father only prepared the necessities, of clothing, medicine, food, and money. Her grandmother wanted to have two maids to go as well but Mingxia rejected the offer with the excuse that Xing was enough. At the end her grandmother had three bodyguards go with them and Mingxia knows that her grandmother also secretly sent two of her personal bodyguards to follow them.
Although Mingxia appreciates her grandmother's care and protectiveness, it was no use to send so many bodyguards because in the end they would most likely be killed. Since behind her grandmother's secret bodyguards were five assassins, hired to kill her by her dear stepmother, Tang Xiao Min.
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