Her name was different, now.
Still, Xiaolen would know her daughter, when she saw her, no matter what the others in Rukongai were calling her. So far, she seemed to be having a decent life. Logically, Xiaolen also knew, given her bloodlines, sooner or later, the girl would gain perhaps impressive levels of reiryoku, especially for a plus. But she wasn't a plus, now was she. She'd been born a shinigami, and would, someday, be a shinigami, whether Xiaolen was okay with that or not. The thing is, it wasn't her being a shinigami that upset Xiaolen; it was her being a Huang that upset her. A Huang-Shihoin, no less. Whether the Huang line or the Shihoin one claimed the girl didn't make a damned bit of difference, because both had the same expectations.
Most of her own life, everyone else always told her what to do. Go through the academy, graduate with high marks, get into the Onmitsukidou, rise to the top of the Executive Militia, take your grandmother's name, who cares that you have one of your own, make the Huang line proud of you. Do well in the Onmitsukido or die trying, and maybe we'll honour whatever's left of you by the end.
It wasn't like her to question things. Since the Winter War, though, that had been changing, and if she was being honest, she'd given her daughter up partially because she didn't want her daughter to live the same life she had, and partially because she'd have been in her way. And the realisation that, even for a bit, she'd thought this, even if it was so deeply she didn't even hear the words flicker through her head, had quite honestly made her hate herself. And she told Shouren all the time she'd fight the Huang elders for him. And why should he believe that, anyway, it wasn't like she'd decided she'd fight them for her daughter.
Some part of her couldn't handle it, too. Couldn't handle the living proof she wasn't as infallible as she liked to believe, and maybe, even now, she had some trouble with the whole concept.
She'd just gotten depressed. It wasn't like she could take back her decision, because it was done and over, and perhaps the girl would never know her as her mother. All the same, she was free. Free to be whoever it is that she decided to be, with no Huangs and no Shihoins telling her who that's supposed to be. Maybe Xiaolen would always regret that decision, no matter how much good came of it, but it seemed a lot of good did come of it. She should be happy about that.
Without paying any attention, she'd shuffled up to the gate around the manor, reached out to push it open, and then realised that was the wrong emblem. With a slight start, she looked up, her hand hovering a few inches from the wrought iron, and then blinked in surprise. This was not the Huang manor, but the Jeon manor. How did she get all the way here, and not notice where she was going? Oh lord. Her hand dropped to her side. Mostly, she looked a bit confused. On second thought, maybe here was a better idea. She wasn't entirely sure she could stand talking to her family, right now, when they were the whole reason she'd given up her daughter in the first place.
Most of the time, she was just angry at them.
Well, she didn't want to be a bother, so instead of going in, she just shuffled out of the way of the gate, settling down against the wall, instead. It was peaceful, here. Much more peaceful than home was, at any rate, and maybe she just needed a few minutes to think.