Edited by Larkspur
Chapter 4: Under Someone’s Guidance (Part 1)
“Straighten the waist. Raise your chin and don’t compress your face.”
Chu Jin Yao followed Qin Yi’s instruction and practiced the greeting postures awkwardly. She thought secretly that even though Qi Ze sounded like he had a bad temperament, she did not expect that when he was teaching, he was patient, correcting each of her individual mistakes, and did not even scold her at all.
“I too don’t want to shake,” Chu Jin Yao said with difficulty, “But I cannot control it.”
Qin Yi seemed satisfied with this ‘disciple’ who was fortunate enough to be guided by him. Even though Chu Jin Yao was clumsy, she was willing to suffer hardship and would immediately rectify after he pointed out a mistake. She was much better than all those chirping Palace women.
Qin Yi then said, “Take a break when you are tired.”
Sweat had formed on Chu Jin Yao’s forehead but she shook her head. “No. I just made the right movements. If I were to rest, you will still need to correct me again. I will keep this position until I have memorized it.”
When Qin Yi heard it, he was impressed with Chu Jin Yao. He had not expected that she was one who could bear hardships. Which normal young lady would be willing to make things difficult for themselves?
After Chu Jin was sure that she had remembered, she fell onto the ground and quickly pounded her calf, “It is so sore.”
Qin Yi intended to tell her not to sit on the floor and not to expose her legs out of her skirt as this was more severe than giving the wrong greetings, however, when he saw Chu Jin Yao’s whitish lips, he said nothing in the end.
When Chu Jin Yao had rested enough, she took the initiative to stand up and said, “Let us continue practicing.”
“All right.” Qin Yi watched Chu Jin Yao’s shy figure and said lightly, “I will teach you how to sit. Go to the stool and sit down.”
“Alright!” Chu Jin Yao hurriedly went to the round stool. There was a brocade cushion on it making it very comfortable when sitting down. Her slightly shaking legs felt much better afterwards. After waiting a while, Chu Jin Yao could not help but ask, “What then?”
Qin Yi wanted to sigh at her foresight. He could only say, “When greeting, other than bowing, attention should be paid to what was said. Different people will say different things, and even if it were the same person, different greetings would be said in different situations.”
Chu Jin Yao nodded her head as she learned. Qin Yi continued, “You are a female so your etiquette is considered much easier. If towards the elders, you make a mistake accidentally, you can explain it to your elders. Especially since you are in ShanXi, other than the Chu family, there are not many other big families. There would only be people that offend you and there is no such thing as you offending others. So you need not be this sincere and fearful. When elders are present, you do not need to care about people of the same generation and just let them greet you. On the contrary, you have to pay attention to people below you.”
Chu Jin Yao vaguely felt that something was wrong. What did it mean that one did not care about people of the same generation? Even if the sisters of the same generation greeted her, she dared not accept it. However, since he was explaining it, Chu Jin Yao would not interrupt ignorantly and instead asked humbly, “Why the need to pay attention to people below?”
“Subordinates must be utilised well. It is not possible for you to do everything yourself. To know people, to use people, to deter people, and to pretend to be deaf and mute. These are all Palace… Important for the inner courtyard. For example, in your Mother’s room today, the maid that parted the curtains, was willing to discipline the servants for you. That Mama, she definitely feels conscience-stricken, thus you can use her when appropriate.”
Chu Jin Yao was stunned, “You went out with me for a day and understood so much?”
“I have knowledge of people, so one does not even need a day.” A displeased Qin Yi then reminded, “Listen carefully and don’t interrupt.”
“En.” Chu Jin Yao quickly sat down. She was considered rather knowledgeable and Qi Ze was only a recently established jade pendant spirit, but he was even better than her in understanding the ways of the world. Chu Jin Yao was lost in astonishment. Could it be that her jade pendant spirit is especially intelligent? She asked, “You said that one can use Zhang Mama… What does that mean?”
“You know how to cry in front of me, so why are you muddled about this?” Qin Yi spoke coolly, “Go be pitiful and cry in front of her. She is the Mama of the inner courtyard and feels conscience-stricken towards you. She only needs to wave her hand casually and your life would be much better. For example, dealing with the two maids in your room.”
“You mean Shan Cha?”
Qin Yi smiled lightly, “You are not silly and at least could understand three points out of ten.”
Chu Jin Yao’s lips pursed to a smile. It was not at all easy to gain a compliment from Qi Ze. She sighed as she smiled and said, “I have seen many in the village who hide their treachery and act slickly. Shan Cha is incomparable to the auntie next door in concealing. Just like today, if I had not had Ding Xiang lock the brocade up, Shan Cha would definitely use the excuse of me not understanding how to cut clothes and even hide away many of my stuff! But Ding Xiang is honest, so it is all right to keep her.”
“En.” Qin Yi apparently agreed with Chu Jin Yao’s opinion. He later added, “You are indeed absorbed in wealth.”
After speaking, Qin Yi was a little stunned himself. Did he just joke with someone? And the other party was even a little girl?
“It is not me that is absorbed in wealth. How much does a brocade cost! Even Eldest Young Lady and Fourth Young Lady smile upon seeing it. They have used so much good stuff and to be favoured by them, how would I not manage it closely?” Chu Jin Yao did not notice anything amiss with Qin Yi and spoke with a smile.
Qin Yi felt very complicated but upon hearing Chu Jin Yao’s words, he no longer cared about what he was thinking and instead retorted, “You like brocade a lot?”
“Of course I like it. Who would not like things that are as brilliant as clouds?”
Qin Yi replied with an “En” sound and did not continue. However, he was thinking that when he returned, he would instruct people to send a batch of it to Chu Jin Yao and it would not be under his name.
Chu Jin Yao recalled what the brocade looked like and smiled, “The colour of the brocade is good and it is also plain, thus it would look stylish. I only need to make a short jacket, enough to be used to greet guests. As for the remainder, I want to send it to Older Sister. Because she stuffed me two sets of clothes in front of everyone, I fear that it would be difficult for her in her husband’s family. Since I have no shortage of clothes to wear, it should be given to her. When she gives birth to a nephew next year, it can also be made into clothes for the nephew.”
When Qin Yi heard it, he remained silent for a moment before asking, “You like that brocade so much, then why give it away?”
“I suddenly came to the Marquis Residence from a farmer family. I should be content that I need not live in a life of poverty and still have people waiting on me. Even though Father did not care after throwing me here, I am still grateful for him. Without him, how would I have such a life today? Father does not lack anything, so I do not know how to repay him and can only slowly think about it in the future. But with regards to my Older Sister, it can be done immediately!”
Chu Jin Yao thought about the family that she lived with for thirteen years, her eyes became nostalgic. Although the Chu family was her real family, during the thirteen years, she had truly treated the Su family sincerely as her own family. As she recalled the past, she spoke softly, “Father Su and Mother Su always did not show a good expression to me. I had thought that it was because I was a female and did not have a likable personality. It is now that I know that actually, they had always known who I was. They loved their real daughter and transferred her to the Marquis Residence to enjoy fortune. I understood their heart of parents since it is difficult to live in poverty. Letting their daughter enjoy good fortune was something natural. but what I cannot forgive is that they sacrificed me! I was separated from my parents and sisters since young and even though I have returned, I am like a stranger to them. Who should apologise for disturbing my life? Su family has raised me and I appreciate their effort and would not step on them when I have power, but I cannot continue to be filial and grant their requests. I have become a Young Lady of Marquis lineage and am not lacking food and clothes, but am not willing to lend a hand to my adoptive parents. Do you think I am particularly selfish?”