- Yu CongXue Wan'erMain Role
- Liu YinjunRong XiuMain Role
- Zhu JintongXue LingyiMain Role
- Dai GaozhengRong YanMain Role
Xue Wan'er, who pursues free love, is not tolerated by her family. She is deceived and manipulated by her elder sister.
After a rebirth, she engages in a battle of wits with her enemies and struggles against feudal and conservative ethics.
After numerous twists and turns, she regains her lost love and successfully recovers everything that belongs to her, ushering in a brand new life.
Xue Waner, a common-born girl, has always sought a marriage based on freedom, but her family considers it a shameful act. As Xue Waner watches her relatives and elders constantly reproaching her, she firmly believes that being unmarried does not constitute the crime of illicit affairs, as they accuse, and certainly not one worthy of being beaten to death with a stick. Xue Lingyi has returned, and in a moment, everyone hurriedly goes to welcome him. Taking advantage of the opportunity, Xue Waner loosens the ropes when the family members go out and attempts to escape, even setting ablaze the ancestral hall.
While the family surrounds Xue Lingyi, they secretly take him to a room and inform him about the formula for giving birth to a son that has been discovered. Xue Waner is hiding under the bed in this room, listening carefully to their conspiracy. The head of the Xue family proudly tells Xue Lingyi that this formula, sought by the entire family for many years, is intended to help him establish a foothold in the Rong family residence. After these people leave, Xue Lingyi, feeling they are foolish and clumsy, discovers someone hidden under the bed and tries to force them out.
Xue Waner calls out to Xue Lingyi, who discovers that Xue Waner is already pregnant. Thinking of her husband's idea of having a child through surrogacy, Xue Lingyi sees this as an opportunity presented by fate. Pretending to be genuinely concerned about Xue Waner, Xue Lingyi expresses sympathy. Touched by her sister's apparent care, Xue Waner agrees without much thought when her sister says she wants to go to the capital.
Unaware of Xue Lingyi's hidden agenda, Xue Waner suddenly finds herself embraced by a man. Rong Xiu, knowing Xue Waner's identity, harbors ulterior motives. Feeling that he may not be able to return, Zhao Yan makes a determined effort to engage the enemy.
Xue Waner is experiencing intense pain and torment. A month later, she contemplates using a knife to end things with Rong Xiu. Rong Xiu discovers her intentions, and Xue Lingyi takes advantage of the situation to pretend to stop her sister, hoping to calm things down. Learning that she is pregnant, Xue Waner wants to get rid of the child, but Xue Lingyi, exploiting her emotions, tries to persuade her to keep the baby. In a dream, Xue Waner sees Zhao Yan and wakes up to find herself in labor. Xue Lingyi is ecstatic when he learns that Xue Waner has given birth to a son for the Rong family. Rong Xiu is also delighted.
The matriarch of the Rong family is overjoyed that Xue Lingyi has taken Xue Waner as a concubine and has borne a son. Xue Lingyi is pleased that the child will bring success to his name, and everyone is happy about the new addition to the family.
Xue Waner suddenly discovers that the child is over a month old, suspecting that it might be Zhao Yan's. She realizes that Xue Lingyi has deceived her. Under the cover of night, she secretly takes the child away. Xue Lingyi, aware that her sister knows the truth, falsely claims that Xue Waner has been involved with another man. Rong Xiu, hearing this, is determined not to make any mistakes when recording his son in the family genealogy. Xue Waner faces criticism from the villagers and is sentenced to drowning. Xue Lingyi and Rong Xiu successfully include the child in the Rong family records.
While submerged in the lake, Xue Waner suddenly sees Zhao Yan. A month later, Xue Waner and Xue Lingyi meet again.
As everyone watches the wedding, only the bride stands alone without the groom, making her appear pitiful. Xue Lingyi also feels uneasy in the Rong family and is often teased by his sister-in-law. Rong Xiu wants to curry favor with the lady of the palace, making Xue Lingyi angry, wanting to intervene. Rong Xiu is hit by the bride with a purse, feeling the pain, but he doesn't understand why and can only greet her with a smile.
A month ago, after Xue Waner was rescued from drowning by the palace, she learned that the palace's daughter had died by jumping into the river due to pressure from the powerful. The palace's old lady alternates between madness and clarity, constantly calling for her daughter. Xue Waner, knowing that the palace's daughter is also called Waner, finds it quite coincidental. After seeing the Rong family forcing the palace's old man, she decides to help him and wants to marry into the Rong family. Upon hearing about Zhao Yan, Xue Lingyi also gets involved and decides to investigate the situation at the Rong family.
Xue Waner designs a plan to secretly lure Xue Lingyi out and let him know her true identity. Xue Lingyi, seeing that Xue Waner is not dead, is afraid. She is afraid that Xue Waner wants to take away the child and is even more afraid that the position of the Rong family's matriarch is getting farther away from her. Everything she planned is on the verge of failure, and she might face imprisonment and lose her life. Xue Lingyi is threatened by Xue Waner but can only reluctantly agree.
The maidservant feels that if Xue Waner becomes the lady of the palace, even if she manages to reclaim her child, she cannot truly become the child's mother. She suggests that Xue Waner should think it over. Xue Waner believes that things are often difficult to balance, but this time, she insists on having it all—protecting the palace, reclaiming her child, and not letting Xue Lingyi off the hook. When Xue Waner learns that Xue Lingyi has ulterior motives concerning her, she becomes even more determined not to let him go. She plans to use schemes to bring her child back.
During the wedding, Xue Waner suddenly recalls the first time she met Zhao Yan and the scene of her marriage to him. She becomes momentarily lost in thought. The nanny notices that the bride is not quite right and quietly reminds her, bringing Xue Waner back to the present.
Rong Xiu wants to curry favor with the newly arrived aunt, and Xue Lingyi, knowing the new aunt is Xue Waner, stops Rong Xiu from meeting her. Rong Xiu is shocked to find out that the new aunt is Xue Waner and learns about Xue Lingyi forcing her to marry him. Xue Lingyi also falsely claims that Xue Waner is involved with someone else, making Rong Xiu believe that Xue Lingyi is a cunning woman.
Xue Waner pretends to be aggrieved, appearing pitiable, and Rong Xiu can't help but feel a twinge of pity. Xue Waner tells Rong Xiu that she wants to stay by her child's side legitimately. Rong Xiu suggests having their child admitted to the general's residence, intending to help Xue Waner while also attempting to deceive Xue Lingyi.
The Rong family is very extensive, with a total of six branches. The eldest branch, the third branch, and the fourth branch reside in the Rong mansion, while the others have their own residences outside. The matriarch of the Rong family attributes today's reunion to the good fortune brought by Gong Waner. Xue Waner skillfully expresses gratitude to the matriarch while exchanging flirtatious glances with Rong Xiu. Xue Lingyi, witnessing the interaction between Rong Xiu and Xue Waner, becomes angry, especially upon hearing that Xue Waner plans to have the eldest grandson adopted into the general's family. It angers her even more that Rong Xiu and Xue Waner are plotting without informing her.
The Rong matriarch wants to say that Gong Waner is new to the mansion and doesn't understand things, but Gong Waner seizes the opportunity to explain that precisely because she is new and has no existing affiliations, she is competent for the position. The elders of the Rong family decide to entrust matters to Gong Waner. Rong Xiu is somewhat distrustful of Gong Waner, and Xue Lingyi sees Gong Waner pretending to be innocent, shifting all blame onto herself, and gaining Rong Xiu's favor. This angers Xue Lingyi, but she is left speechless.
Gong Waner continues to win people's hearts, temporarily gaining the cooperation of several senior ladies in the branches. However, a conflict arises between the senior ladies of the third and fourth branches over possessions, provoking the matriarch's anger. Xue Lingyi, seeing Gong Waner's schemes succeeding, feels pleased. The Rong matriarch believes that Gong Waner must still be calculating something, as otherwise, the branches wouldn't have fought so disgracefully. Gong Waner, however, pretends to be oblivious and innocent. The Rong matriarch thinks she may have misunderstood Gong Waner.
Rong Xiu is anxious about the outcome, whether his child can be included in the general's family genealogy. If successful, it would bring some honor to him. Seeing his wife calmly calculating, he can't help but feel anxious and wants to lose his temper. Xue Lingyi, though she also wants to know the result, pretends to remain calm.
At this moment, Lv Zhu comes to request an audience, informing Rong Xiu that the old lady has summoned him to the ancestral hall. Xue Lingyi thinks about bringing the child up herself to have control over Gong Waner. When she hears that the old lady didn't summon her, she feels dissatisfied, suspecting that Gong Waner is up to something. Gong Waner knows Rong Xiu's thoughts and intentionally provokes him to make him agree to return the child. Faced with no other option, Rong Xiu complies. In front of the old lady, Gong Waner suggests that Rong Xiu observe a mourning period for the general for three years before deciding whether to pass on the position. Rong Xiu, hearing this, feels trapped but has no choice but to comply.
Xue Lingyi wants to retrieve the child, but Gong Waner, in front of the old lady, states that since Rong Xiu has agreed to send the child to her, his wife's behavior is improper, making Rong Xiu seem weak. The old lady agrees with Gong Waner's decision. Rong Xiu, frustrated by Xue Lingyi's constant complaints and accusations, loses his temper, pushing her onto the table and leaving angrily. Xue Lingyi adjusts her hair, determined not to let Gong Waner off the hook and wanting her to experience the challenges of being the matriarch of the Rong family.
The main and third branches are discussing the fact that the old lady gave a rare bracelet to Gong Waner, expressing jealousy. They complain that now, as the general's wife, Gong Waner gets to choose everything first. Xue Lingyi's maid, Chunyu, leads the two ladies to Xue Lingyi, who intentionally mentions having delicate porcelain and fears it might break if touched, then slips away quietly.
Lv Zhu, accompanied by some servants, arrives to move the household items. However, the main branch lady interprets it as an attempt to snatch things away from her, oblivious to the trap set by Xue Lingyi. Lv Zhu, unaware of Xue Lingyi's scheming to disrupt the relationship between her mistress and these family members, is unjustly slapped in the face. Gong Waner, witnessing her maid's red face from the slap, feels extreme pity. When the main branch lady tries to leave in haste, Gong Waner stops her. Lv Zhu informs Gong Waner that this is probably Xue Lingyi's doing, aiming to create discord among them. Gong Waner takes the affected person directly to confront the old lady.
However, the old lady dismisses it as a minor issue, thinking Gong Waner is making too much fuss. Gong Waner insists, threatening to escalate the matter to the palace, potentially affecting the emperor's view of the Rong mansion. Reluctantly, the Rong old lady has to take disciplinary action against those involved, but Gong Waner still feels that the old lady's handling is somewhat inappropriate.
Gong Waner compassionately asks Lv Zhu if her face still hurts. However, Lv Zhu is concerned that the main branch lady is still kneeling and fears it might harm their mistress. Gong Waner reassures Lv Zhu that the main branch lady was only punished for an hour and has already returned. Gong Waner is deeply moved that her mistress went to such lengths to protect her small maid, even against the hostility of the main branch lady. She believes that they should not back down in such a large and complex household, or else the wrongdoers will take advantage of their timidity.
A nearby maid informs Gong Waner that the soup she's drinking was sent by the main branch lady. Gong Waner carries the soup to the main branch lady to confront her, stating that she did not frame the general's wife. Just as Gong Waner is about to leave, the main branch lady's maid arrives in a panic, alarming Gong Waner. She senses that something is amiss, suspecting that she might have fallen into someone else's scheme. Xue Lingyi, on the side, manipulates the old lady, urging her to punish Gong Waner. The old lady, believing Gong Waner to be malicious, decides to have her locked up.
Gong Waner, aware that Xue Lingyi is scheming against her, orders someone to bring Rong Xiu in front of her. She effortlessly addresses him as her son and instructs him to kneel in the old lady's room until she forgives him. Rong Xiu appears embarrassed but dares not say anything.
In the deepening night, Rong Xiu vaguely sees someone standing by his bed, and his drowsiness dissipates. Initially, he thinks it's a ghost, but to his surprise, it's the General's wife, his aunt Gong Waner's maid, who has replaced his own attendants. Rong Xiu hears Gong Waner ordering him to get up and go to the old lady's room to kneel until she forgives Gong Waner. Determined to successfully inherit the position of the general, Rong Xiu decides to play the filial son to the end.
Xue Lingyi wakes up in the morning and sees her husband kneeling outside, feeling a bit annoyed. Rong Xiu earnestly informs his wife that he will kneel until the old lady forgives Gong Waner. Although Xue Lingyi can't say anything aloud, she feels like she has hit her own foot with a stone. Rong Xiu believes that, for the sake of his title, he must play the role of a filial son. Xue Lingyi hesitates, as she also desires the position of the general's wife. Rong Xiu persists in his daily ritual of kneeling.
Upon seeing Rong Xiu enduring this self-mockery, Rong's old lady becomes angrier, convinced that she will never forgive Gong Waner. When Rong Xiu comes to see Gong Waner, he learns that Gong Waner's recent troubles were caused by Xue Lingyi. Furious, he returns home to confront his wife, accusing her of being a poisonous woman. Xue Lingyi, witnessing Rong Xiu hitting her, feels deeply hurt. Rong Xiu pledges to Gong Waner that he won't let Xue Lingyi harm her again.
Xue Lingyi saw the first and third ladies acting aggressively in front of her, making fun of her, unable to resist mocking them. She even wanted to involve Gong Waner in these conflicts. Xue Lingyi told the ladies present that Gong Waner was not as innocent as they imagined, suggesting that she might have lost her chastity and was no longer a pure maiden. When she saw that no one dared to speak up, she seized the opportunity to add fuel to the fire, mentioning how Gong Yeye initially hesitated to let his daughter marry into the Rong household, but she willingly agreed to marry in, finding it too coincidental.
The ladies hurriedly conveyed the hearsay to the old lady, hoping to use her to verify whether Gong Waner was truly chaste. To save face for the family, the old lady decided to bring in a maid from the Gong family to personally inspect the daughters-in-law. Upon learning the old lady's intention, Gong Waner decided to investigate the identity of the maid.
Rong Xiu, upon learning about the impending virginity examination for Gong Waner, rushed to the scene. Xue Lingyi quickly led the old lady to the scene to prevent her husband from interfering. Gong Waner, knowing the old lady's determination, began the examination. Xue Lingyi suggested that the old lady should supervise the entire process to avoid any mistakes. The old lady agreed to Xue Lingyi's proposal and decided to enter the room to oversee Gong Waner's virginity examination.