New Chapter: Luoyang Brocade Ch. 18
Chapter 18: Befriend
“Ah Shu, you look so beautiful. From the first time I met you, I was moved by you.”
The vague face of a man got closer and closer. His eyes were flashing with fervent desire and twisted pleasure. He relentlessly pressed the helpless her under his body. “Now, you are finally mine.”
‘No! Get away from me!’
‘No matter how greedy and lascivious you are, you should never put your hands on your own daughter-in-law. By doing this, how are you different from a beast?’
‘When Lu Hong come back, as a father, do you still have the face to see him?’
“You are still thinking about Ah Hong? You had better stop this wishful thinking. He is already staying in the Princess Palace, living together as man and wife with the Princess. Once Prince Yan is enthroned, he will be the emperor’s brother-in-law. Hitching a ride to the sky on the dragon and phoenix, he will be noble beyond words. He has long forgotten about you.”
‘No! It can’t be.’
He once vowed to marry her and grow old together with her. In this lifetime, he would never betray her, so it must be because he had some hidden trouble that was too difficult to mention. He would never throw them, mother-and-child, away.
In the dark, she struggled and cried, helpless and hopeless.
However, no one came to save her.
The man who was pressing on top of her, did whatever he wanted, bringing her endless humiliation and pain.
Ling Jing Shu suddenly opened her eyes. She sat up straight, her heartbeat was like a beating drum and her palms were covered with slippery cold sweat. She gasped sharply for a few mouthfuls of breath before her heaving chest finally calmed down.
Her face seemed somewhat cold. She did not know when her face was full of tears.
After her rebirth, she kept telling herself that everything in her past life had become a thing of the past. She forced herself to suppress all the feelings of hatred. She had calmly faced Madam Ling, whose heart was as poisonous as a scorpion; Lu Qian, who had been deeply in love with her yet eventually harmed her; Lu Hong, who had ruthlessly abandoned her and their son.
Until Lu An’s appearance, the real nightmare of her past life had truly appeared before her. It was then that she realized she couldn’t forget her past humiliation.
“Miss, why did you suddenly wake up?” Bai Yu who was sleeping on the floor, was awakened by the slight movement. She rubbed her eyes and got up, lifted the gauze curtain and asked, “Did you have a nightmare?”
Ling Jing Shu composed herself. She used her sleeve to wipe away the beads of sweat on her forehead, her voice could still be considered calm, “Un, I had a nightmare and was awakened by it. Don’t worry, let me be alone for a while and I will soon be alright.”
Bai Yu was hesitant. She said in a low voice, “If Miss doesn’t mind, maidservant could sleep together with Miss!” With someone accompanying her, she could have a better sleep for the rest of the night.
Ling Jing Shu made a sound of agreement to the suggestion.
Bai Yu was quick to climb onto the bed and sleep beside Ling Jing Shu.
With Bai Yu’s warm body temperature, the cold chill in her body was dispersed. Ling Jing Shu snuggled up close to Bai Yu and closed her eyes.
Bai Yu continued to close her eyes in a fake sleep. After hearing Ling Jing Shu’s gentle and calm breathing, determining that she had really fallen asleep, Bai Yu then secretly sighed. She opened her eyes and looked at Ling Jing Shu’s sleeping face.
Miss was not stable even in her sleep. Her eyebrows were slightly knitted.
Ever since Miss woke up from the sickness, she was very different from before. Some things could still be concealed from others, but it could not be concealed from her personal maid servant.
‘Miss, what are you hiding? Why are you so restless these days?’
Bai Yu frowned for a long time, but she couldn’t come up with an answer. She then decided not to think about it anymore. She carefully lay her head close to Ling Jing Shu’s head and fell deeply asleep with her.
Next morning, when Bai Yu opened her eyes, Ling Jing Shu had already woken up. She had finished washing up, was dressed neatly, and was sitting in front of the vanity mirror combing her hair.
Bai Yu hurriedly got out of bed, while self-blaming, “Maidservant slept too heavily. Miss had woken up and yet I didn’t know about it. I am really outrageous; Miss, please punish me.”
Ling Jing Shu smiled, “I saw that you were in a deep sleep, so I did not wake you up. I deliberately let you sleep for a little more, so there’s nothing to blame for that. Alright, you should go wash up and dress yourself first. After that, come and comb my hair.”
Her expression was natural, and her tone was relaxed, it was no different from her usual self. There was no trace of last night’s nightmare.
Bai Yu glanced at Ling Jing Shu, felt reassured, then responded with a smile.
After tidying up everything, she ate breakfast as usual and then went to Yong He hall to greet Old Madam Ling. With yesterday’s meeting, Ling Jing Shu felt calmer when she saw Lu An. After greeting them, she stood beside Ling Jing Yan, and took the initiative to talk with her.
“Cousin Yan, the jade hairpin on your head is exquisite and good-looking. It must be the latest style in the capital! I’ve never seen anything like this in Ding Province.”
Just these two short sentences put a smile on Ling Jing Yan’s face. She replied proudly, “This accessory is the latest style and it is from the capital’s Zhen Qiao workshop. Even the concubines in the palace get their jewelries customized from Zhen Qiao workshop! This jade hairpin itself, costs about eighty silver.”
Buying a ten-year-old maid servant would only cost about forty silver. This jade hairpin was enough to buy two maid servants. What a luxury.
Ling Jing Shu’s face timely showed an envying look, “I heard that the capital city, Luoyang, is prosperous and luxurious. Unfortunately, I do not have the chance to see it. Cousin Yan is so fortunate. You are able to stay in the capital with Big Uncle.”
Ling Jing Yan felt very satisfied when listening to these words. She smiled proudly and said, “Cousin Shu, you do not need to look down on yourself. Who knows, one day you may have the opportunity to have a long stay in the capital.”
Although she said it like this, her heart thought otherwise.
For so many years, Fifth Ling Master did not have any progress at all for the imperial examination. He could only stay in the Ling’s Old Residence. How could Ling Jing Shu have the chance to go to the capital?
Ling Jing Shu noticed Ling Jing Yan’s subtle change in look. She continued to smile, “I do not have such blessing. By the way, didn’t Cousin Yan say that you wanted to give me some pointers in planting peony? If you are free, why don’t we do it today?”
Originally, there was a competitive meaning, but when it reached Ling Jing Shu’s mouth, it became “pointers”.
Ling Jing Yan’s vanity was greatly satisfied. Ling Jing Shu suddenly became more pleasing to her eyes. She then smiled and nodded.
Initially, Ling Jing Yan’s heart was full of arrogance. After having a walk with Ling Jing Shu in the garden, her arrogance was suddenly dissipated by more than half.
Ling Residence’s peony garden had many famous peonies planted. It was the beginning of April, a season for flowers to bloom. The peony flowers of various colors were hidden among the green branches and leaves. Those flowers that were waiting to be released, had a certain graceful charm.
Ling Jing Yan had seen many famous peony gardens in the capital, and Ling Residence’s garden was not inferior.
When Ling Jing Yan saw the Luoyang Brocade in full bloom, she was even more surprised. She subconsciously stopped her footsteps.
Ling Jing Shu did not take the opportunity to ridicule her. Instead, she smiled intimately, “Cousin Yan, this dual-colored peony’s common name is call Er Qiao. Its alternative name is Luoyang Brocade.”
“Cousin Shu, how did you plant this Luoyang Brocade?”
Ling Jing Yan did not show any arrogance. She asked with curiosity, “The flowering period for the peony is middle-to-late April. It’s just the beginning of April, this Luoyang Brocade is already in full bloom. It must have begun blooming in March!”
Ling Jing Shu said with a smile, “There are indeed some tricks to it. If Cousin Yan is interested, I will tell you in detail. First, you have to pick the peony species that you want to graft. Then, you should graft them during the hottest month, which is in August.”
She did not hide any secret. She elaborated and shared the years of experience she had in cultivating peonies.
Ling Jing Yan also had a lot of experience in cultivating peony. Upon hearing what Ling Jing Shu had said, she was naturally able to hear that she was indeed trying to teach her everything she knew. She was touched and somewhat flattered, “Cousin Shu, this is the unique secret art that you have been honing for a long time. Just telling me like this, I will feel very guilty.”
Ling Jing Shu smiled with closed lips, holding onto Ling Jing Yan’s hand, saying, “Indeed, I am not willing to let other people know about this. But, when Cousin Yan asked me, my heart did not mind at all. I only wish to tell you everything that I know. It seems that this is also the fate between us.”
The bright and sincere smile made the surrounding area looked dull. Her beauty was clear and transparent, exquisite and innocent. It even made people incapable of being jealous of her.
At first, Ling Jing Yan was stunned. After that, she held onto Ling Jing Shu’s hand and smiled, “Yes, I also think that we are fated!”
Ling Jing Yan’s temper was just a little arrogant and self-assured. Other than that, she had no other quirks. After getting familiar with her, she was actually not difficult to get along with.
Ling Jing Shu intentionally wanted to be friends with Ling Jing Yan. When she talked to her, she would deliberately lower her status. The words that she said were all about pleasing Ling Jing Yan. In just a few days’ time, the two of them had become close sisters. When they talked to each other, it had also become less formal.
“Tomorrow is grandmother’s birthday. Second Uncle finally made it back in time.” Ling Jing Yan said with a smile. “If he couldn’t make it in time, he wouldn’t be able to face grandmother next time.”
Although Second Ling Master was just a seventh rank county magistrate, he was still the parental official of a county. Usually, he was very busy with various tasks. Finally, he was able to free up his time this time to come back home. On the way back, he was delayed for a few days due to sickness. He only managed to reach Ling Residence yesterday.
Ling Jing Shu smiled and nodded, then sighed, “Second Uncle also brought his concubine and illegitimate son back. Second Aunt’s forced smile was really hard to look at.”
She didn’t have much good impression towards the sharp and unkind Madam Yue. But yesterday, after watching Madam Yue put on a forced smile, she couldn’t help but pity her.
A man could have three wives and four concubines, embracing women left and right. On the other hand, a woman must obey her father, husband and sons, and must also obey the four virtues of morality. The inner house was their whole world. Once their husband got tired of them and favored another woman, the woman could only resent helplessly.
A short distraction brought back the painful memories of her past.
Ling Jing Shu threw those annoying memories to the back of her mind. She calmly changed the topic, “Let’s not talk about this. Cousin Yan, I have never been to the capital. Can you speak about some things regarding the capital to broaden my horizon?”
Such a topic, Ling Jing Yan was most willing and happy to share as she could also show off. She smiled immediately and asked, “I have told you a lot about the popular clothes and jewelries in the capital. What else do you want to hear?”
Ling Jing Shu had long prepared for it. She replied immediately, “Cousin Yan, can you tell me who are some of the famous doctors in the capital?”