Edited by Larkspur
Chapter 3: Words from a Jade (Part 1)
Upon reaching the partitioned room, Chu Jin Yao’s eyes opened wide. This was the most beautiful and exquisite fabric that she had ever since. Yes, this was not cloth but brocade.
The young ladies cheered and flew over to take a look. Even the most dignified and graceful Chu Jin Xian also revealed a smile and walked quickly. The young ladies of Chu family picked the brocade up and discussed enthusiastically, comparing the different flower patterns. Chu Jin Yao went up to the crowd and stared with wide surprised eyes. She carefully touched it as if it was some rare treasure.
Chu Jin Yao was amazed at the sensation. Brocade was a special tribute silk fabric from YingTianFu. It was as lustrous as clouds, thus named YunJin (brocade). The cost of manufacturing brocade was so high that only the two most skilled weavers had to coordinate to weave around a Chun (1 Chun = 1 inch) a day. This was how the saying of ‘a Chun of brocade, a Chun of gold’ came about. All these rare and exquisite brocades were sent to the nobles in the Palace. Only those with connections could buy a few bolts, but these were also small quantities and could not be sold in public. As such, one can only imagine the prices the brocade would fetch in the open market.
Even the young ladies that grew up in the Marquis Residence felt that it was rare, much less Chu Jin Yao. She could not resist touching it again but did not expect this time something would go wrong. She still had calluses on her fingers due to the farm work that she did. When these calluses touched the delicate brocades, they actually hooked a thread out.
Chu Jin Yao quickly retrieved her hands but her actions had alerted the rest. Seventh Young Lady of the Second Household, Chu Jin Jiao, saw it and immediately shouted, “How could you pick the thread out from the brocade?”
Chu Jin Yao held her hand tightly as the rest looked over with peculiar gazes. Chu Jin Miao’s delicate fingers ran across the brocade and a trace of laughter was formed at the corner of her lips.
Sure enough for someone from the countryside. Just too inferior to show in public
Chu Jin Xian frowned and scolded, “That’s enough. It is only a bolt of brocade. Since everyone will be picking a bolt, then this bolt will be Fifth Young Lady’s, and her own things are at her disposal.”
Seventh Young Lady pouted, “That flower pattern is purple hydrangea against a white background. I like it too, so why give it to her?”
Chu Jin Xian put up a solemn face and brought out the bearing of the Eldest Di Sister before staring at Seventh Young Lady. It was only then that Seventh Young Lady stopped speaking with indignation.
This episode quickly passed and the young ladies happily threw themselves into the selection of flower patterns. Even though nothing was seen on their faces, Chu Jin Yao knew that they were all laughing inside.
Once the flower patterns were selected, the young ladies still stayed together to do needlework. Unmarried young ladies would only focus on a few things and since there were only those few good-looking flowers, many of them started to quarrel. Chu Jin Yao had not been very happy and since the room was in chaos, she walked over to Chu Jin Xian and said quietly, “Eldest Sister, I will leave first.”
Chu Jin Xian looked at Chu Jin Yao and wanted to say something but in the end, she only sighed, “Go then.”
Chu Jin Yao returned to her room and did not speak or stop for a break all through the journey back. Ding Xiang held the brocade and did not speak since her master did not speak. Shan Cha followed behind Chu Jing Yao and as the latter walked faster and faster, she started panting.
Shan Cha was thinking in her heart that growing up in the countryside was indeed different from a proper Young Lady. Young ladies would pant after walking two steps, unlike this one. A maid like her, was already somewhat panting after walking from Rong Ning Hall to Chao Yun Yuan, but it was nothing to Chu Jin Yao.
Chu Jin Yao stayed in Chao Yun Yuan and even though it has a nice name, the location was rather remote. The Residence of Marquis Chang Xing faced the South, with the North at the back. It was divided into three routes; Eastern, Middle and Western. The noblest and luxurious courtyard at the Northern side of the Middle route belonged to Old Chu Furen. The Marquis and Furen, Madam Zhao, stayed in the courtyard that was located at the middle of the Middle route and the other households were located in the other routes. As Chu Jin Xian was the Di daughter of the Eldest Household, she should stay with Madam Zhao but Madam Zhao stayed in the main courtyard with Eldest Young Lady and Fourth Young Lady in the two side courtyards. Eldest Young Lady’s courtyard was the biggest. There was even a separate small courtyard at the back, where the rest of the Shu-born Young Ladies stayed, thus they cannot be moved. There was a small courtyard at the back of Fourth Young Lady’s courtyard and Madam Zhao’s dowry was located there. Zhang Mama proposed to move the dowry to the back room and give Fifth Young Lady this courtyard but Madam Zhao said the back room had high moisture and feared for her mahogany wood chests’ condition and thus found an empty courtyard at the Eastern route for Chu Jin Yao to live in.
Chao Yun Yuan was located at the Northern corner of the Eastern route. It was far and remote, thus there were only a few who were willing to come this far. When Chu Jin Yao arrived here, she had an independent courtyard and from afar, it looked bigger than Eldest Young Lady’s courtyard but the meaning behind it was completely different.
Chu Jin Yao silently thought, even in their village, children would live together with their parents. However, she was assigned to stay by herself, it could be seen how much Madam Zhao did not like her and did not want to see her at all.
Shan Cha caressed the brocade with joy as this was a tribute brocade. Since Fifth Young Lady did not know, in the end, it would be them who would be cutting it up. When making clothes, she could also make some dowry for themselves.
Shan Cha was unable to tear herself away from the white brocade with purple hydrangea patterns but Chu Jin Yao was completely uninterested, “Keep it.”
“Keep it?” Shan Cha was reluctant and did not want to let go of the brocade. Ding Xiang took it but Shan Cha was still grabbing on the other end, unwilling to let go.
Ding Xiang gave her a stern glare and spoke, “Did you not hear what Young Lady said?”
Shan Cha then reluctantly loosened her hands and watched as Ding Xiang locked the brocade away and even kept the key.
“There are no more matters at my end, you can go out first.”
Ding Xiang and Shan Cha looked at one another. There must always be someone at Young Lady’s room… However seeing Chu Jin Yao’s bad expression, they dared not disobey and bowed, “Young Lady, then we will go out first?”
Only when the room was completely quiet did Chu Jin Yao sit on the bed and hug her knees before leaning helplessly against the bed frame.
In this residence, Mother turned a blind eye to her, ZhuMu was aloof and Father, who brought her back, was not to be seen for the few days. She did not have anyone close to her and was feeling helpless and at a loss. Even Younger Tang Sister deliberately picked on her but she did not know how to retort.
Chu Jin Yao had always thought that even though everyone was not used to her at the moment, it would get better in the long run. Even though she worked hard at learning, she still could not integrate into the Marquis Residence. She did not understand these noble etiquettes, but was this her fault? Why did everyone not give her a chance at all?
As Chu Jin Yao thought about it, she unknowingly teared up. It was said that children of the poor would mature early, even Chu Jin Yao’s cries were silent. This was because she knew that even if she cried loudly, no one would coax her and instead would cause Older Sister Su Hui to worry.
After a while, a voice suddenly rang out in the silent room, “Don’t cry.”
A horrified Chu Jin Yao jumped and suddenly forgot to cry. There were still tears on her cheeks but she had stood up and was looking around the room.
Was there someone in the room?
But she had clearly instructed everyone out… That’s not right. That voice was as clear as water striking jade and just from listening to the tone, it was obviously a male.
Chu Jin Yao looked around but did not see anyone in the room. All the hair on her body stood straight up. This courtyard was far and remote, one heard that it had been deserted for a long time. Could it be… That this place was haunted?
Chu Jin Yao’s face turned pale and she stammered, “What sort of scared being are you?” But her feet were slowly moving towards the door, planning to open the doors immediately to call for help.
That voice did not appear for a long time. After a while, the other party smiled lightly, and there was some trace of a smile in the voice, “You think I am a ghost?”
Chu Jin Yao paused and retorted, “Are you not?” Her heart was still beating loudly like drums. Why did she feel that this voice was getting closer and closer to her as if it was around her…
“There is something behind you!”
“Ah!” Chu Jin Yao screamed and hugged her knees. The other party laughed happily upon seeing that those casual words had been able to scare her like this. This laughter was different to those just now. The laughter just now was extremely cold and seemed to be the result of years of habit but this laughter was uncontrollable.
The other party’s voice was nice to listen to and it was the best voice that Chu Jin Yao had ever heard. However, this could not conceal the repulsiveness of the other party. She could now pinpoint that the voice came from her jade pendant!
Chu Jin Yao pulled off the jade pendant and threw it onto the bed, scolding, “You scoundrel!”
The jade pendant bounced twice on the quilt and quickly landed on the brocade. The other party seemed surprised and asked, “What did you say?”
When he spoke, there were no fluctuations in his voice but his tone was slightly higher at the end, sounding extremely threatening. Chu Jin Yao was almost scared to death after hearing this scoundrel. To think he was still that arrogant, she became angry and quickly walked to the side of the bed, took the pendant out, and threw it onto the bed, “You are the one scaring others, now you have reason at your side?”
Chu Jin Yao had grown up in the village. Since her family was not particularly peaceful, she did not have a submissive temperament. During this period of time, she was totally wronged in the Marquis Residence. First, she was intimidated by the luxurious Marquis Residence. An Emperor would even be in fear and trepidation in the Heavenly Palace, much less a thirteen-year-old young girl like her who had arrived at a place that she did not know anything or anyone. How could she adapt? Secondly, Chu Jin Yao wanted to get along well with her real relatives. So, no matter who she met, she would always show a smile and worked hard to learn and imitate etiquettes like greetings and speech.
Although it seemed so, she was not very optimistic at the moment.
Now, upon encountering an unidentified being that was playing pranks and was particularly arrogant, the stomach full of anger that Chu Jin Yao was carrying, immediately burst forth. Even though she was straightforward, she possessed an astute mind. She threw the jade pendant forcefully but towards the bed. This was the protective jade pendant that she had been carrying since young, so she would definitely be the most upset if it were to bump into something. Even if it were to discipline the unidentified being, she would not break her stuff!
The voice in the jade pendant obviously did not expect that there would be a day that someone would dare to treat him like that. He did not speak as he was thrown around but after it stopped, he sneered, “You are Chu Jin Yao of the Residence of Marquis Chang Xing. Wait and see.”