[TYCDTN] – Chapter 15
Translated by: oinkoink
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Names mentioned in this chapter (which can also be found in the glossary):
-永乐侯府 (Yǒng lè hóu fǔ)- Marquis Yongle manor
-馬嬤嬤 (mǎ mó mo)- Old Madam’s personal maidservant
-翠喜(cuì xǐ)- Female lead’s first-ranked maidservant/main maidservant
-翠屏 (cuì píng)- Female lead’s first-ranked maidservant/main maidservant
-桃紅 (táo hóng)- Female lead’s little maidservant
-柳綠 (liǔ lǜ)- Female lead’s little maidservant
Yu Si Yu only realized that her elder brother was also in the room when she got closer. One of his hands was hugging Yu Xiang with a gentle and soft expression on his face that she had never seen before. She was obviously a bastard yet steadily took the Di daughter’s position of the Marquis Yongle manor that her grandmother and her elder brother had the tendency to spoil her even more. Yu Si Yu looked at her coldly as she somewhat couldn’t reckon what witchcraft Yu Xiang had used on both of them.
Not able to reckon was another matter, but without Yu Xiang’s financial assistance as well as evoking the detest of both mother and grandmother, her days were indeed not easy at all. The maidservants in her courtyard were completely substituted that using them was absolutely inconvenient for her. Lin Shi had also purposely sent over a fierce old pozi who would follow wherever she went and tenaciously watched over her.
This sort of oppressive feeling of being controlled of every word and action could really make one go crazy, but what made Yu Si Yu truly despaired was grandmother had not brought her to socialize for more than two months. She was now twelve years old and ought to meet up with as many womenfolk of other families for the prospect of getting a good marriage in the future.
If grandmother didn’t match her up, it would be rare for a noble family to request a marriage with a Shu daughter like her. She would possibly just be married off casually when she reached the marriageable age to maybe a six-ranked principal or a seven-ranked official registrar which could be regarded as the best choice then her future livelihood wouldn’t be as peerlessly rich and powerful as in the Marquis Yongle manor anymore.
The more she thought about it, the more she felt unwilling, thus she had no choice but to come over to brazenly fawn on Yu Xiang again. Just as she got closer, she heard her annoying laughter just like a little hen, thus due to her inner misery, she couldn’t help but say some words to assist the maidservants. She didn’t think she had done anything wrong but she was startled by Yu Pin Yan’s cold glance.
What was the big deal of being paralyzed! Elder brother and grandmother would soon spoil her rotten! She should be taken care off and dropped dead when the real Yu Xiang comes back!
Yu Si Yu was secretly pondering in vileness yet her face carried the gentle faint smile as she greeted Yu Pin Yan then turned towards Yu Xiang and unjustly uttered, “Elder sister shouldn’t be meddlesome as long as younger sister is happy.”
Yu Pin Yan was looking at her nonchalantly by the side thus she was unable to utter any of the bottled-up words at this moment and just stood awkwardly outside of the window.
Yu Xiang propped up her cheek with one hand while leaning by the window without taking any initiative to inquire about her visit or invited her into the room and simply let her stand under the hot scorching sun. The smile on her face was three tenth sluggishness and seven tenth vileness. Both Cui Ping and Cui Xi had long retreated to the root of a wall.
Yu Si Yu repeatedly inhaled to calm her mind before she gently commented, “It’s Autumn Festival today and the Empress had ordered to put up nine hundred and ninety nine palace lanterns in Xihe Garden for the public viewing. Did elder brother see it when you came back from the feast in the palace?” The so-called public viewing was merely limited to the first-ranked and the honorable noble families. The Marquis Yongle manor was certainly qualified, however she was afraid that if Yu Xiang was not able to go then grandmother might not bring her along.
“You can only enjoy the lantern at night.” Yu Pin Yan massaged the little girl in his bosom and asked, “Will Xiang’er go?”
“Not going.” Yu Xiang rejected without even giving it a thought. How could that few palace lanterns be more interesting than the neon lights? She would feel edgy with so many people around.
“No, you must go. Elder brother will come to pick you up at three quarters of chenshi (7pm-9pm).” Yu Pin Yan made the final decision as he would not allow Xiang’er hide herself in her little courtyard all her life, living in loneliness and humbly. He expected her to be able to live happily, flamboyantly and carefree.
Yu Xiang pursed her lips and was about to protest when she saw Yu Pin Yan getting down to wear his shoes then abruptly left without giving her a chance to speak.
Yu Si Yu hurriedly chased after him and imploringly asked, “Can elder brother bring me along? It will be better if I come along too. I can look after Xiang’er as it’s not convenient with the condition of her legs.”
Yu Pin Yan briefly nodded then quickened his steps and left.
As it was not necessary to fawn on Yu Xiang anymore, Yu Si Yu stood at the entrance and smiled complacently before hurriedly left leading the old pozi along. She must hastily return to get herself dressed for the evening. The lantern festival was set up in Xihe Garden and the Empress had appointed the Crown Princess to preside over it. All the womenfolk of the other families would also be attending this event. It would be beneficial for her future if she could get into good graces with some eminent person or make friends with daughters of the dukes and marquis.
Seeing that the Elder Young Miss and the Young Marquis had already left, Cui Ping and Cui Xi threw away the string bags with eyes filled in bitter resentment. They took their leave without even bothered to ask to be exempted.
Tao Hong pointed at their backs and huffed out, “Young Miss, they are so rude to you behind the Marquis’ back. Why don’t you tell the Marquis?”
“It’s not urgent. I will naturally sort them out when I have enough fun.” Yu Xiang waved her hand and instantly felt dispirited when she thought of the sort of crowd at the lantern festival tonight.
Though this Han Dynasty was not the Han Dynasty that Yu Xiang knew, the social culture was utterly similar where the restrictions for women were rather lenient. Unmarried young girls were allowed to join any big gatherings as long as she was accompanied by a servant. There was still restraint between interaction of men and women, however it was not as severe. It was not difficult for married women to remarry. Some high-ranking noble ladies had kept remarrying until they found the right husband.
Xihe Garden was crowded with men and women from old to young at the end of chenshi (7pm-9pm). All the titled nobilities got together inside the You Shui Pavilion for a feast of wining and dining, while indulging merrily in loud and empty talks as not many were truly interested in viewing the festive lanterns. The official wives were gathered in the main hall paying their respects to the Empress and the Crown Princess, incidentally talking about the domestic trivialities.Those single men and women as well as children mostly would escape to the most brightly-lit and lively rear garden where the festive lanterns were set up.
Yu Pin Yan pushed Yu Xiang to the rear garden entrance and softly urged her, “Elder brother has something to discuss with His Highness Crown Prince. Be a good girl and wait here. Elder brother will find you once elder brother is done. Look, there are a lot of beautiful festive lanterns over there. Just ask Tao Hong and Liu Lu to push you over there if you want to see them.” He threw her an encouraging look after he finished his words then departed in large strides.
Urging your sister! You really thought that the reason I, Yu Xiang didn’t want to come was because of self-abasing. Was that why you were urging me to take the initiative to engage the crowd? My foolish elder brother, you had really belittled me. I was only snubbing these festive lanterns as they were not as interesting as the neon lights at all!
Yu Xiang secretly scoffed, then perked up her chin to look forward.
The atmosphere was filled with the smell of burning lamp oil and the faintly incense fumes. Many young men and women were seen congregating under the swaying festive lanterns chatting and laughing. Children were playing and boring around their legs letting out occasionally silvery laughter. It was indeed a very joyous and thrilling sight.
Yu Xiang couldn’t help but leaned her body forward.
Yu Si Yu who was standing beside smilingly asked, “Does Xiang’er want to go over? I can push you.”
She gave the wheelchair a hard push. The wheel lightly slid forward as there wasn’t much friction with the surface of the glossy marble paved garden and managed to bring Yu Xiang out from the shadow.
Many people looked over from afar when they heard the rolling sound of the wheelchair. Some with eyes that were full of curiosity, interest, disdain or other demeanor. Several noble girls even pointed at Yu Xiang’s legs with variance expressions and soon she was solemnly regarded as the main topic for gossip.
Yu Si Yu grinned and persuasively said, “Xiang’er, let’s come with me. They have not seen you for a long time and most probably miss you a lot. Have a chat with them today.”
If they had truly missed her, they would have come to the Marquis manor for visitations in these past months and not waited till now. Yu Xiang was inured to her disabled body but that didn’t mean she was willing for others to look upon her like a monkey. These people would empathize and sympathize with her overtly but secretly, they would deemed her sufferings as the nourishment of their delight and the breeding ground of their superiority.
Yu Xiang obviously didn’t need this deformed and morbid kind of ‘friendship’.
“You go ahead. I will just wait here.” She turned her face slightly to admire the crape myrtle tree besides her.
Several noble girls waved their hands at Yu Si Yu. As they might probably from illustrious family background by their extravagant dressings and jewelries, Yu Si Yu daren’t delay as she abandoned Yu Xiang then diligently and gladly walked over.
“Having this lame sister as the topic of conversation, Yu Si Yu will surely be very well-received tonight.” Yu Xiang laughed then pointed to a quiet corner where the flowers bloomed most beautifully and commanded, “Push me over there.”
The sound of footsteps was heard from the end of the dim pathway a moment later. Yu Xiang turned her head around and saw a chubby little girl of seven or eight leisurely walking out from the shadow holding a piece of nibbled pastry followed by a harsh-looking old Momo.
The little girl’s hair was tied into two buns with a round little face, round nose, round eyes and baby-fat cheeks which were wriggling nonstop. The corners of her mouth were stained with the pastry crust that trickled down as she walked. She evidently didn’t notice that there was another person here and was rather in daze when she saw Yu Xiang. Her eyes opened wider and rounder when her line of vision freeze at the blanket covering Yu Xiang’s legs full of curiosity without a shred of disdain or contempt.
Aiya, where did this little ball roll out from, couldn’t she be more adorable! Yu Xiang’s heart almost melted by her cuteness but she still put forth a three tenth of haughtiness and asked fiercely, “What are you looking at, have you never seen a crippled before?”
She had always loved to act as a villain to intimidate children. The sight of them getting frightened then crying out loud or reddened nose then bawling out loud made her feel extremely amusing. (What kind of person is this!)
She somehow seemed to have forgotten that she was also a little ball herself now. After several months of lying down with only eating and sleeping plus the attainment of good fortunes, her emaciated body had put on a lot of soft meat. Her skin had turned fair and tender while the ordinary facial features had also grown out, just like a simple drawing that was meticulously painted with a variety of rich colors and became magnificent.
She bared her white teeth with her eyes and nose scrunched together that somewhat without any appearance of ferociousness but instead was rather comically funny.
The old Momo was about to berate this unbridled little girl when she heard her master chuckling with laughter that more pastry crust on the corners of her mouth trickling down when she responded in a clear sound, “Never see before.”
The old Momo hastily shut her mouth and started to size up Yu Xiang. Someone had secretly tried to kill her master before she was born, thus not only was she born three months too early but also bore the fetal poison that was unable to be rid of. She could only walk when she was three and started to talk when she was six. Besides her parents and biological brother, she had never said a word to other people. She would make a detour and walk away if she sees a stranger. She was extremely antisocial in nature and her only interest was eating.
All kinds of coercion as well as cajolery were adopted to make her willing to attend the palace’s feast tonight. It was rather unexpected she would take the initiative to actually have a conversation with someone! The old Momo was shouting with excitement in her mind.
When the little ball first arrived, she noticed a wisp of fragrant and sweet smell which smelled like her favorite lotus seed cake, hence she couldn’t help but to approach the source of this smell with a drooling smile.
This little ball’s smile was too silly and too cute that Yu Xiang had to cover her chest as her heart was going to melt into a puddle of water while suppressing herself from shrieking out loud due to this brimming cuteness. She had also wanted to rub her chubby little head.
“Come over.” She extended her evilish forefinger making an enticing action, “Elder sister will let you have a quick look at elder sister’s leg and you will let elder sister rub you once.”
The little ball pondered over it then cheerfully nodded her head. The old Momo stared at them, not daring to even breathe heavily as she was at a loss whether she should berate this audacious little girl or to let her touch her master.
In the flowering shrubs not too far away, a light laughter was abruptly heard and disappeared as swiftly.