[TYCDTN] – Chapter 5 Part 1
Translated by: oinkoink
Edited by: Averalllisa
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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
When the groggy Yu Xiang finally regained consciousness, it was already noon the next day. It was quiet inside the room and no one was around keeping watch. From beyond the door, the chatting voices of maidservants and several pozi could be heard, engaged in lively discussion punctuated by snorts of laughter.
Yu Xiang knitted her brows and yelled, “Somebody come. Pour me some water.”
The laughter outside the door stopped instantly but quickly picked up again, with no indication that her order had even been perceived.
Gloomily, Yu Xiang unleashed her fury and once again shouted loudly, “Somebody come. Pour me some water.”
“Coming, coming, I am here!” A maidservant came in, annoyed.
As the teapot had been left inside the room the whole night, the tea had long turned completely cold. Yu Xiang admonished herself repeatedly, telling herself that this was the Marquis Yongle manor, not the home of her elder brother and hers. That knowledge was enough to make her suppress her anger and gulp down mouthfuls of the bitter tea.
“Wipe my face,” she coldly ordered as she placed the teacup down.
The maidservant inwardly rolled her eyes. She went out and ordered the two new little maidservants to attend Yu Xiang. Neither the Madam and Old Madam were fond of Yu Xiang, and even her only elder brother treated her nonchalantly. Though she did not have to worry about her basic necessities, the respect deserved for a daughter of her stature was nevertheless non-existent. Even Yu Si Yu’s livelihood could be considered more comfortable compared to hers as her maidservants and pozi were left behind by her yiniang*; hence, she could easily order them around.
Compared to her the manor’s young miss, Yu Xiang’s two main maidservants had always been more unruly and discourteous. This wasn’t even taking into account the late wet nurse who had known and regarded her as a bastard all along.
The two new little maidservants, on the other hand, were utterly deferent. They carried out their tasks with nimbleness and dexterity. They wiped Yu Xiang’s exposed skin thoroughly and went out to replace the pot with hot tea before serving it to their master.
Yu Xiang released a deep breath and her gloomy expression lightened slightly. If her elder brother was still around, no one would dare slight her like this. But she must not think about it; it would only bring tears to her eyes should she continue pondering over it.
In her previous life, she had been spoiled and doted on under her elder brother’s care. She had never come across any suppression. Her temperament was delicate; easily prone to flights of weeping and capricious bouts of temper. Now that she was here, her life had been downtrodden. Everything must be carefully thought out and restraint exercised, with a practiced austerity that could turn her into Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle!
Her nose felt sourish which prompted her to raise her chin up, fighting to stop the tears from streaming out. Even if she cried, who would empathise her? It would be better to conserve her energy and use it for more deserving matters.
As she sat there blankly for a while, the main maidservant led the two little maidservants in. One was carrying a bowl of medicine while the other held a bowl of bubbling hot porridge. She then gestured for both to set the bowls down on the table. The maidservant disdainfully said, “Young Miss, first drink the medicine, and then the porridge.”
“I don’t want to drink it. You stay behind. Let the two little maidservants leave.” Yu Xiang leaned back against the soft pillow and shut her eyes.
The main maidservant beckoned the two little maidservants out. She then stepped forward and repeated, “Young Miss, drink the medicine. It won’t be as effective once it gets cold.”
Yu Xiang opened her eyes. Those deep and serene pupils filled with coldness, and word by word she mouthed, “When I said I do not want to drink means I do not want to drink. Why are you so annoying!” Her fingers then flipped the tray, completely knocking over the bowl of medicine and the hot porridge.
The heat of the boiling water, fresh out of the stove, would definitely scald off at least a layer of flesh at contact. The maidservant immediately ducked and cried out in fear, which attracted the maidservants and pozi outside to run in and access the situation.
The somber expression Yu Xiang had borne for the entire morning gradually eased. Sluggishly wiping her hand with a handkerchief, she said, “Go to the front courtyard and ask my older brother to come over. Just explain that I refuse to drink the medicine. Let him find a solution.”
The main maidservant snapped out of her frightened stupor and exclaimed, “At this moment, the Marquis will surely be in the study room. Disturbing him will surely result in planking punishment. Please don’t make things difficult for us, Young Miss.”
Almost all the servants nodded their heads in agreement. However, the new little maidservant offered to undertake the task, raising her hand, “Young Miss, please wait a moment. Nubi will go and invite the Marquis over!” She then sped away after voicing those words.
“That’s my good maidservant.” Yu Xiang then shifted her soft pillow and stared at the discontented main maidservant, babbling and humming a tune, “Su San left Hongtong county, letting oneself on the street, miserable inside unable to speak, listen to me, gentlemen…”(Verse from a Peking opera )
Although Yu Xiang was a disabled in her previous life, she had lived in a dignified manner compared to anyone else under her older brother’s protection; laughing merrily or cursing angrily to her own inclinations. When had she ever needed to care about other dispositions? Regardless of how the original plotline developed, and since she had taken the place of ‘Yu Xiang’ she would be the one having the final say of the way she would live.
The main maidservant observed her abrupt changes in moods, from raging up violently and then laughing playfully. It was obvious she was deliberately tormenting others. She cursed inwardly: both legs were paralyzed and the temper became more perverse. Just keep up the act, the Marquis will soon be disgusted with you!
As ‘Yu Xiang’ wet nurse had known all along that ‘Yu Xiang’ was not the Marquis lineage, she had merely appeared affectionate while actually treating her irreverently. Under her apprenticeship the two main maidservants imitated her approach, resulting in their disrespectful and insolent attitude. To make matters worse, ‘Yu Xiang’ had been slow-witted since youth, thus unable to suppress and control this group of bond servants. She was obviously the master, but her life was even more depressing compared to that of the maidservants.
*姨娘 (yí niáng) – father’s concubine