The character list will be released after chapter 1 is published. Hope you enjoy the story!!! Please be kind with your comments!!! (I have a soft mushy heart)
Edited by Larkspur
Chapter 1: The Daughter Returns (Part 2)
Marquis Chang Xing flew into a rage when he heard about the news that he did not have the mood to celebrate the New Year. In his anger, Marquis Chang Xin sent people to rigorously interrogate the servant who leaked the information. Later, she admitted that she had a drink with Furen’s dowry maid years ago and it was Zhang Mama that accidentally spoke of it. Zhang Mama held suspicions all those years ago but it was difficult to be clarified, thus, she could only bury it deep in her heart. Afterwards, when she was drunk, she revealed it to this servant, and many years after, Marquis Chang Xing heard about it.
Marquis Chang Xing mulled over it for several days without alarming Madam Zhao or his Mother, Old Chu Furen. Instead, he secretly sent people to search for the midwife that helped deliver that year. Marquis Chang Xing sat in the room for a long time before making his mind up to search for his flesh and blood.
Even if it were just a daughter, his bloodline cannot be in disorder.
Just after the New Year, Marquis Chang Xing casually used an excuse to leave the house. At that time, Madam Zhao complained about it. Why the need to go out in the first lunar month? Marquis Chang Xing ignored it and headed all the way South and found Chu Jin Yao in a small village, on the western side of ShanXi.
At that time, Chu Jin Yao was still called Su Yao.
Su Yao got up early that day and as usual, went out to collect firewood for the house. When she returned while carrying the firewood, she sensed something and turned her head. She saw a man with a majestic air standing not far away, silently staring at her.
“This uncle, who are you looking for?”
Marquis Chang Xing was silent and stared for a long time before he looked up to the skies to sigh.
The little girl in front was thirteen years old. Due to the constant farm work, she was taller than the Young Ladies in the residence of Marquis Chang Xing but was extremely thin, also her complexion was dark due to the sun. Her face was slim and sharp and did not look healthy but that pair of eyes was surprisingly good-looking. They looked so good that it made others think they should not appear in this kind of village but instead on an exceptional beauty and raised in the Palace, beloved by tens of thousands and served by hundreds of people.
There was no mistake. This young lady’s eyes and nose looked almost exactly the same as his Younger Sister, Chu Zhu. On the contrary, Fourth Young Lady, Chu Jin Miao, looked plainer as she grew up and nothing like him.
Marquis Chang Xing slowly approached and asked, “What is your name?
Su Yao felt that it was strange but replied with a sweet smile, “I am Su Yao. You must not be from around here. Are you lost?”
Marquis Chang Xin did not answer to Su Yao’s question but asked, “Yao? It does not sound like a name that villagers would use as a name.”
“It is because my mother said that a Taoist priest gave me a piece of jade when I was born and also the name ‘Yao’. Thus, everyone in the family calls me that.”
Marquis Chang Xing looked at Su Yao’s jade. It was a piece of clear white jade with red flakes floating inside. From the quality of it, it was very valuable. The red flakes were very exquisite, like the blood that dripped into clear water and imprisoned in the white jade. Marquis Chang Xin thought back to the stories of discovering families through blood coagulation.
In the year when Su Yao, or accurately Chu Jin Yao, was born, a Taoist priest came to Tai Yuan Province. It was said that he was filled with treasures and was carrying a jade that was worth an entire city, could bring the dead alive and it was on earth looking for its master. Marquis Chang Xing did not believe in such rumours but thinking about his soon-to-be-born child, regardless of the gender, it was always rare to have a Di-born bloodline. Thus, he wanted to search for a good jade so as to make a jade pendant for the child. As such, he personally approached the Taoist priest. However, the latter took a look and said, “The jade has a fate with your daughter but one cannot give it to you.”
At those words, Marquis Chang Xing scoffed and left with a flick of his sleeves. He was a Marquis and it was already condescending to look for a Taoist priest, but this person did not appreciate it and instead spouted nonsense. What’s with the jade has a fate with his daughter but he could not give it to him, the father? Don’t mention whether Madam Zhao was carrying a daughter or not if the Taoist priest did not give him, how would it end up in the hands of his daughter? This was just seizing the opportunity to raise the price!
Not long after, the Tatars invaded the borders and Marquis Chang Xing had to lead the troops against the enemies and thus quickly threw this matter to the back of his mind.
It was only after thirteen years, when Marquis Chang Xing stood in front of Chu Jin Yao, that he recalled this matter.
“This uncle, it’s time to recover to one senses!” Chu Jin Yao said with a smile, “Just follow this road all the way North and you will be able to leave the village. I have to go back to chopping wood and boiling water and cannot send you off. Else when my mother wakes up, she will scold me again.”
Marquis Chang Xing frowned, “You are just a little girl and you need to chop wood and boil water?”
In the Marquis Residence, not to mention the Young Ladies, even the maids that served the Young Ladies would not work on these heavy manual labour. His Di-born daughter, the Eldest Young Lady, and Fourth Young Lady had a nanny, two first ranked maids, and four second-ranked maids to serve at their sides since birth. There were also many other attendants that were sent by the elders. It could be said that there never was a moment when they were without anyone. When Fourth Young Lady, Chu Jin Miao, was learning needlework and pricked her fingers, everyone would fuss around her, apply medicine, and invite the doctor over. However, Chu Jin Yao had to wake up early in the winter like this to gather firewood and upon returning home, boil water and clean the yard. Chu Jin Yao is real daughter! Marquis Chang Xing knew how the Eldest Young Lady and Fourth Young Lady lived and as such felt very uncomfortable upon hearing what Chu Jin Yao said. However, the more annoying thing was that this farmer family had deliberately switched their daughters during birth and the original farmer’s daughter, Chu Jin Miao, was enjoying glory and luxury while the real noble young lady was being raised in their home, not a good environment. Also, they even instructed her to work!
Marquis Chang Xing was furious. At that moment, he had made up his mind to bring the little girl back to the residence, retain her name, follow the clan’s generation naming for females and call her Jin Yao. As for the surname Su, let the farmer keep it for their daughter.
Chu Jin Yao did not know what Marquis Chang Xing was thinking at this time and was seriously answering Marquis Chang Xing’s questions. “Yes. Older Sister is married and I am the only female child in the family so naturally, I should do all the housework. Ah, my mother would have woken up, I have to return…”
“No need to return.” Marquis Chang Xing said, “Your surname is not Su. Leave with me.”
What happened afterwards was very vague to Chu Jin Yao. Father Su, who usually scolded and beat, shrank at a side and dared not speak. Mother Su, who usually suffered under Father Su, wept loudly while Su Sheng, the Younger Brother, became a quail. Eldest Sister, Su Hui, who rushed back home after receiving the news, was suddenly silent as she looked at Chu Jin Yao.
Chu Jin Yao was scared upon receiving such gazes and afterwards she was taken away without any explanation. She sat in the gorgeous carriage that she had only seen once in her life as she leaned out of it to look at her family. None of her parents who lived with her for thirteen years came out to send her off and only Eldest Sister cried and ran out to force her to accept a cloth bag from the carriage window.
There were two sets of clean cotton dresses in the cloth bag and those were the rarest and decent clothes at home. Chu Jin Yao knew that Older Sister would definitely be scolded by Father Su and Mother Su when she gave it to her. If Father Su was furious, it was possible that he would hit her. As for Older Sister’s husband’s family, one did not know what they were going to say.
Chu Jin Yao cried hard. When she got out of the carriage, her eyes were still red.
When the carriage stopped, Chu Jin Yao looked up and saw the majestic looking residence of Marquis Chang Xing.
Only then did Madam Zhao know what Marquis Chang Xing did when he left the house.
Chu Jin Yao lowered her head as she stood in front of Madam Zhao, with a sense of yearning and bashfulness. For a moment, she did not know where to place her hands and feet.
However, her real mother swept her eyes up and down at her a few times and waved her hands in disgust, “Take her out. The odor of soil is just too suffocating.”
Chu Jin Yao was very embarrassed. The conditions at the farmer family were bad and coupled with the rush journey back, she did not take a bath. After Chu Jin Yao had freshened up and changed to clean clothes, she had gone to see her biological mother happily but instead heard from outside the muslin curtain, “Furen, you look like you do not really like… Young Lady Yao.”
“What kind of Young Lady is she? How would I know who she is when she appeared out of thin air? The Marquis is just too much. To think there is rain when one hears the wind and bring whatever cat and dog back. One does not know if someone deliberately set up a trick to deceive him.”
“Furen…” Zhang Mama whispered softly. Since Zhang Mama was aware of the matters of the past, upon laying her eyes on Chu Jin Yao, she felt that she was the genuine one. She, as an outsider, could see it clearly. But Madam Zhao had doted upon Chu Jin Miao as a daughter for thirteen years and thus, within a short period of time, was unable to accept a sudden appearance of a daughter.
“Chase her out. I do not want to see her. I do not have a daughter like that. Where is Miao-er? Call Miao-er over!”
Chu Jin Yao’s face was already covered with tears. She bit her lips and made sure that she did not make any noise as she left quietly.
Upon returning to the room, Chu Jin Yao threw herself on the bed and cried loudly. The jade pendant that she wore since young fell out, and one of the red lines in it disappeared silently.