Chapter 2: Rebirth
The black and white big courtyard, the floors were slabs of limestone, the pillars were vermilion red and there were complicated Begonia patterns engraved on the railings. After an entire night of rain, the rain drops slipped down the leaves and onto the ground.
The purple gold incense burner was made exquisitely like small animal and was currently emitting costus root scent which smelt exceptionally fresh in the early autumn.
In each corners of the bed, small brightly coloured tassel sachets of fragrance were hung. By the side of the couch, two tall maids were carefully fanning the person on the bed.
“The fever should be serious as one fell into the water in such a cold weather. Young Lady had been sleeping for a day and night and the physician said that she should be awake by now. Why is there still no movement?” The green clad maid face could hardly conceal her anxiety.
“Gu Yu, it’s almost half a shichen (1 shichen = 2 hours). Why have the doctor not arrived yet?” The other maid clad in purple said.
“The Second Mistress was looking on closely and this was considered an shamful matter so the residence is concealing the matter.” Gu Yu looked at the person on the bed, “Furen and Master are not in the capital and Eldest Young Master is also not in. Lao Furen was also bias towards the East courtyard. Seeing that Bai Lu and Shuang Jiang had yet to return after finding for a physician, it must be that they were stopped. Isn’t this as good as pushing Young Lady towards her death road! This cannot be done. I have to go out and see.”
When the words were spoken, the person on the bed who was listening uttered in a weak voice.
“Young Lady is awake!” The purple clad maid called out in surprised and quickly ran to the bedside to see the young female rubbing her forehead as she slowly sat up.
“Jing Zhe…” Shen Miao mumbled.
“This servant is here.” The purple clad maid smiled as she held Shen Miao’s hand, “Is Lady feeling better? After sleeping for a day and night, it seemed that the fever had subsided but she is still not awake. This servant was thinking of getting a physician over again.”
“Does Young Lady want some water?” Gu Yu handed a cup of tea over.
Shen Miao looked somewhat puzzled at the two person in front.
She had four first rank maids, Jing Zhe, Gu Yun, Bai Lu and Shuang Jiang. They were all very intelligent and quick-witted girls. Unfortunately at the end, not one was left.
When she was a hostage in Qin, in order to protect her from being humiliated by the Crown Prince, Gu Yun died in the hands of the Crown Prince of Qin. Bai Lu and Shuang Jiang, one die along with Wan Yu’s marriage journey, another died in the fight for favour with the Mei Furen in the Inner Palace.
As for Jing Zhe, she was the prettiest of them. In the beginning, in order to help Fu Xiu Yi ascend to the thrown and win over the officials, Jing Zhe was volunteered to be a concubine and used her beauty to lure the official’s support but at the end was killed by the official’s wife with a random reason.
After knowing the dead of Jing Zhe, Shen Miao cried so much that she almost had a miscarriage.
Now seeing Jing Zhe standing in front of her with her usual beautiful self and Gu Yu smiling at her, the both maids were at a good age of fourteen fifteen years old put Shen Miao in a momentary trance.
After a moment, she then bitterly smiled and closed her eyes, “The illusion one see before death was just so real.”
“What is Young Lady saying?” Gu Yu put the cup aside and touched Shen Miao’s forehead, “Has the fever confused you?”
Feeling the ice cold hand that touched her forehead that were both comfortable and real, Shen Miao suddenly opened her eyes and her eyes sharpen. She slowly lowered her head and looked at her own hands.
There laid a pair of fair and delicate hands with nails neatly trimmed. One would see that it was a pair of pampered hands as it was smooth and adorable.
That was not her hands.
Dealing with the matters of court with Fu Xiu Yi, her hands were already getting rough during that situation. She copied every account book and was like a servant who was bossed around in Qin country like a servant, battled in the Inner Palace because of Fu Ming and Wan Yu and washed clothes in the Cold Palace that her hands were filled with calluses and her joints were swelling. How would they be in such a delicate appearance?
“Bring me a mirror.” Shen Miao said. Her voice was still very weak but her tone was firm.
Gu Yun and Jing Zhe looked at one another in dismay and at the end Jing Zhe brought a mirror out and handed it over to Shen Miao.
In the bronze mirror, the young lady’s face was round with a full forehead, a pair of large almond eyes were slightly red, a rounded nose and a small mouth. It was still a child-like face and was not very beautiful but was lovely and refreshing and had a well behaved and shy appearance.
This was a young lady’s face that the Royal family praised for being one that could ‘bring fortune to one’s husband’.
The mirror in Shen Miao’s hand suddenly landed on the floor and a clear sharp sound rang out. When the sound of the shards resonated in her heart, it set off a large stormy wave.
She pinched herself ferociously and two rows of tears fell.
The Heavens did not turn its back on people. The Heavens did not turn its back on her!
She had returned back!
Gu Yun and Jing Zhe jump up in fright. Gu Yun quickly went to pick up the pieces on the floor and anxiously said, “Young Lady must be careful not to hurt one’s legs.”
“Why is Young Lady crying?” Jing Zhe wiped Shen Miao with a handkerchief but saw Shen Miao looking strangely back as she mumbled, “I have return back…”
She grabbed Jing Zhe asking, “What year is it?”
Jing Zhe was somewhat afraid but replied honestly, “Ming Qi sixty-eight year. What is wrong with Young Lady? Is any part of the body is unwell?”
“Ming Qi sixty-eight year, Ming Qi sixty-eight year…” Shen Miao eyes widen. She was fourteen in Ming Qi sixty-eight year. It was when she came upon Fu Xiu Yi and fell foolishly in love with Fu Xiu Yi that she forced her father to marry her off. It’s the year when she forced Fu Xiu Yi to marry her!
And now… She heard Gu Yu words by her ear, “Young Lady shouldn’t scare us servants. The fever just subsided a little, it could be that her mind is still unclear. Eldest Young Lady is really too vicious, this is practically calling for Young Lady’s life…”
In the past lifetime, Shen Miao was most of the time by Fu Xiu Yi’s side running tasks for him and the days in Shen residence was completely bland. But she could remember this event clearly, she could remember everything related to Fu Xiu Yi clearly.
Shen Qing told her that Fu Xiu Yi want to come to Shen residence to visit Second and Third Shu, so she pull her over to secretly see. Reaching the garden, Shen Qing however pushed her down from the rock garden.
After being fished out from the pond, there were also other officials around and it saw it as Shen Miao’s joke. Her obsession with Prince Ding for the past half of the year had been spread throughout the capital and with this incident, it only made her a laughing stock.
In her past lifetime, after she woke up she accused Shen Qing for pushing her into the pond but no one believed her. Shen Miao suffered grievances and was punished by Old Furen to confine in the temple and was not able to get out till after mid-autumn festive. Shen Yue secretly let her out and brought her to the Yan Bei Hall’s chrysanthemum appreciation feat and she committed many blunders.
Shen Miao closed her eyes.
There were three households in the Shen family, Shen Xin heads the first household and he was Shen Miao’s father and was the son of old General Shen and his Yuanpei Furen. The Yuanpei died during her middle age and old General Shen married a second wife and she gave birth to Shen Gui from the second household and Shen Wan from the third household. After old General Shen died, the second wife became current Old Furen. The Shen family were not separated and all three bothers support one another mutually with good relationships and this became an anecdote.
The Shen family had a lineage in military. When reaching Shen Xin generation, other than the first household who was holding to military power, the second and third household were taking the route of literary officials. Shen Xin was often away for military expedition and Shen Furen followed her husband’s army. Shen Miao was left in Shen residence under the care and teachings of Old Furen and two Shenshens.
After teaching this and instructing that, she did not get anywhere and was still ignorant and incompetent straw bag that will stick to the men she meet shamelessly.
In her previous life, she only felt that her aunts and Old Furen treated her particularly well and both Shen Yue and Shen Qing needed to learn rules and etiquette and she didn’t need to. Now it seemed that it was a plan to cause her to fail badly due to excessive praise from them.
Bullying her because her parents and older brother were not at her side and showing a side in front and showing another side when backs were turned, this let Shen Xin and Shen Furen felt that this daughter was even more like a straw bag each time they came back to the residence.
In this lifetime, she would like to see how these people would shamelessly repeat the same old tricks!
Just as she was thinking, she heard the girl who was outside sweeping the yard ran in and said, “Young Lady, Second Young Lady is here to see you.”