Therefore, taking into consideration that Luo Xingchen might be dressing the way she did to protect herself or something similar, Su Tang tried to avoid directly exposing her. After all, if it turned out that the girl had her own circumstances forcing her to act the way she was, that didn’t count as her trying to harm Su Tang, so there was no reason for Su Tang to harm her.
That was why she had specially instructed the waiter to bring up two bowls of ginger tea with brown sugar when she came in. This kind of tea had a very warm essence, and because women’s bodies were cold, it was very good for them to drink.
She had acted in such a roundabout way because she wasn’t sure if ‘Luo Xingchen’s’ attendants knew her secret. After all, no one would think it was suspicious for her to order two cups of such sweet tea, at most they would just write it off as the behavior of a willful little girl. However, by ordering two cups of identical tea and having them put in front of herself and ‘Luo Xingchen’, she was subtly implying that the two of them were also ‘the same’.
It was a signal for Luo Xingchen. Meanwhile, Luo Xingchen had also ‘off-handedly’ talked about how rare it was for him to meet a young woman with such ability and so on, so the two were both testing each other. And it was because of the multiple probes and hints that they exchanged that Luo Xingchen finally became convinced that Su Tang really knew that she was a girl, which was why she had sent her attendants back ahead of her and then went out to find Su Tang herself.
However, when Su Tang directly said it out like that, Luo Xingchen felt her heart thump, and her phoenix eyes opened wide with a rare look of shock. She looked at Su Tang and stuttered, “Y-you, how did you…?”
“That aside, I don’t know if you’re some sort of scammer or what but, at the end of the day, we’re both women so I don’t want to really have any intention to harm you.” Su Tang said bluntly.
A woman shouldn’t make things difficult for another woman, that was what Su Tang believed. And, at any rate, this ‘Luo Xingchen’ hadn’t cheated her out of anything. She had long wanted to sever her contract with Yang Fude because she knew he had evil intentions. She only had to look at all the times he had secretly followed her to try to steal her recipe to know that.
She, of course, had no desire to continue cooperating with such a person and ‘Luo Xingchen’s’ appearance had given her a perfect opportunity to neatly cut off that relationship while at the same time conveniently putting some money into her hands. So if this ‘Luo Xingchen’ was actually the real deal and there was money to be made from a partnership, then she would be more than happy to work with her.
And if not, she could just borrow some money from her master and start making preparations to open her own shop.
For those reasons, Luo Xingchen was no threat to Su Tang at all. But, while she didn’t want to let any chances to make money slip through her fingers, she also didn’t want to do anything that would make things difficult for Luo Xingchen.
After all, in these damned ancient times, just being a woman was already very difficult. If outsiders discovered that Luo Xingchen was a woman who went out disguised as a man, it would mean losing her status and her career at the very least, and in the worst case, she may even lose her life.
Which was why Su Tang used such a circuitous method to lead her back to the Song residence so they could speak alone.
When Luo Xingchen heard what Su Tang said, she fell silent for a moment before glaring and saying. “I’m not a scammer. But you can’t tell anyone else, if you do…”
“What, are you going to kill me?” Su Tang stared right back, already desensitized to these kinds of glares. “If you say you want to kill me again, I’ll kill you first. I’m not some kind of Bodhisattva overflowing with kindness that will waste good intentions on you.”
“…I can believe that. The way you dealt Yang Fude was certainly firm and ruthless enough.” Luo Xingchen wasn’t stupid, naturally, she could see that Su Tang had gone out of her way not to expose her, so her intentions probably weren’t bad.
And, all else aside, this was the first time Luo Xinchen had met another girl who knew how to do business the same as her. She couldn’t help feeling a bit of curiosity, and even a bit of intimacy, as if she had discovered another of her own kind.
In the past, all the women she had met were the type who strove to be gentle like water, they would never step foot outside of their courtyards, and everything they did they would do in consideration for a man. However, today Luo Xingchen had heard something new for the first time. She had heard Su Tang say ‘I’m convinced women are just as good as men’ with her own ears.
And that remark really touched Luo Xingchen’s heart. She felt that Su Tang was different from other women, and that she had finally found another woman who could understand her.
“Thank you for the compliment, Young Master Luo!” Su Tang said while rolling her eyes.
Luo Xingchen smiled, “We’re both women, so why make things difficult each other? I’m begging you here, Su Tang, please don’t tell anyone. If this secret got out then all the things I’ve worked so hard to build these past years would disappear.”
“You should also know how difficult it is for us women to have such a career. Surely you can’t bear to expose my secret, after all, we’re the same kind, aren’t we? Talented and excellent women.”
*the word is 大小姐 which is like eldest daughter. Or a more generic ‘daughter from someone else’s family’, depending on the context. I was a bit torn between ‘eldest miss’ or ‘big miss’ or just ‘young lady’. The ‘meaning’ of the title is just Su Tang’s acknowledgment that Luo Xingchen is a ‘daughter’ from another family, rather than a ‘son’, which means none of the options feel super satisfactory. Hence this long note lol
Eldest miss / big miss both seem to have a connotation like a servant talking to a superior? At least that’s my impression after reading a lot of webnovels. That’s why I went with young lady but unno