Edited by Larkspur
Chapter 14: Wave of Residence Fights (Part 1)
The next day when Chu Jin Yao woke up, the first thing she did was look at Qin Yi.
“Qi Ze. Qi Ze?” Chu Jin Yao called him softly but did not receive a response.
It’s over. He is angry with me! Chu Jin Yao’s heart felt really miserable. She called out a few more times, but Qin Yi made no movements. So when Ding Xiang, Shan Cha, and the rest of the maids came in, she could only hold it down without bringing it up.
After washing up, Chu Jin Yao changed into a light-red jacket with a standing collar and a seven pleated ginger-yellow skirt. She then wore a bright-red cloak before hurrying over to RongNingTang.
She greeted Old Furen who nodded indifferently.
Chu Jin Xian was sitting next to Old Chu Furen and spoke to her, “These days you all have been learning etiquette from the MoMos and this is the most important matter, so be more diligent. Although MoMo has not yet arrived, one must not be lazy and review the calligraphy lessons beforehand.”
Chu Jin Yao bowed to Chu Jin Xian. “Thanking Eldest Sister.” She then hurried over to the class.
Chu Jin Xian had reminded her to practice her calligraphy earlier… Chu Jin Yao’s head hurt upon hearing it. It seemed that after yesterday’s break, they could not take things easy from today onwards. Other than learning etiquette, practicing needlework and calligraphy were required.
Chu Jin Yao had lived in a poor family for the first thirteen years. When food and clothing were a problem, how could one talk about embroidery and calligraphy, that was enjoyed by the wealthy? However, as the saying goes, when it rains it pours, the few young ladies seemed to have allied today. After sitting down for a while, Seventh Young Lady, the Di-daughter of the Second Household said, “MoMo, Fifth Young Lady’s etiquette yesterday was the best, we sisters can see only the other’s dust and have no hope of catching up. One does not know how her needlework and four scholarly arts are like. Why not have Fifth Older Sister casually make a few strokes and allow our eyes to be opened?”
Before Chu Jin Yao could speak, Chu Jin Miao quickly said, “Yes. Yesterday MoMo had especially praised Fifth Young Lady, so one thinks Fifth Young Lady did not reveal her depth and still has many abilities that will surprise us. Fifth Young Lady must not be humble!”
The other girls also helped add on. Seeing it was so, MoMo said, “Since this is the case then Fifth Young Lady can just write a few words casually.”
Seventh Young Lady revealed a triumphant smile while Chu Jin Miao lowered her head to smile softly. During the current times, literacy was a privilege of the few. For generations, farmers had had their backs to the sun and even though they could speak, they were unable to recognise a single word. What’s more, many of the merchants in the cities were still illiterate, and there were even fewer females in the Inner Courtyard that were literate. Chu Jin Yao used to do farm work in her previous place and for a female to grow up in such a family, not to mention writing, even recognizing words would be a problem, right?
This was the common consensus of the young ladies. Eldest Young Lady had a respectable status and would soon be married off thus did not participate in the selection. Second Young Lady was the Shu-daughter of the Second Household and was fifteen this year. She was too old and was trained by Madam Yan to be agreeable to everything and thus already out of the game. Chu Jin Chan, Third Young Lady of the Marquis Residence, was Shu-born and fourteen. Her age was just right but her Shu identity was already inferior to that of her Di-born sisters.
The Fourth Young Lady was Chu Jin Miao. She was very talented and raised by Madam Zhao’s money. If she were not mistakenly carried back, the position of study companion would already be in her pocket, but things were in such a coincidence. Chu Jin Miao was a daughter of the farmer, Su family, and not a young lady of the Residence of Marquis Chang Xing. If it were not for the elder’s compassion, she could no longer live in the Marquis Residence. As it was to select a playmate for the County Princess, it was best if it were a daughter from a Marquis lineage. It would be normal were a daughter of a lower-ranked official chosen but excessive for a farmer’s daughter!
This was why Chu Jin Miao’s competitiveness had greatly reduced.
The next suitably aged young lady was Chu Jin Yao, Fifth Young Lady. Even though she was the Di-daughter, she had not been raised in the Marquis Residence for the first thirteen years. The Prince and Prince Consort could be picky about this. Then came Sixth Young Lady, Third Master’s Di-daughter. She was talented, her status and age were appropriate but her father was born from a YiNiang. Those years ago, when the Old Marquis was alive, he was muddle-headed and had favoured Third Master’s birth mother, Madam Yang, greatly that she became very arrogant and dared not to give face to the official wife. Old Chu Furen tolerated it all along, waiting until the Old Marquis passed on before immediately selling Madam Yang away. Thereon, she had rarely treated the Third Household well. Even though Sixth Young Lady was suitable in all aspects, she was a Shu-Di-born. One feared that she would not be able to pass Old Chu Furen at all.
Below Sixth Young Lady, was Seventh Young Lady. She was the Di-daughter of Second Furen, Madam Yan, and had an arrogant personality. Allowing this type of person to be a study companion for the County Princess… Sixth Young Lady and Chu Jin Miao thought it was not possible.
Seventh Young Lady was twelve and considered somewhat young. Next was Eighth Young Lady, who was obviously out of the selection as she was only six years old. So, in the end, those who could compete were Third Young Lady, the Shu-daughter of the First Household, Chu Jin Miao, Chu Jin Yao, Sixth Young Lady, the Di-daughter of the Third Household. Seventh Young Lady had been secretly struck off by many people. The four had their strengths, and also some small flaws that offset things, making everyone evenly matched. No one won nor lost.
This was also saying Chu Jin Miao, Third Young Lady, Sixth Young Lady, and the rest had reached a consensus that they were not fearful of Seventh Young Lady and should work together to expel one out so the three of them could later fight for that two positions. As such, no outsider would be able to take advantage. A Chu Jin Yao of the highest status and best appearance but without connections for she had only just returned, was the best target.
The few young ladies allied together to push Chu Jin Yao out. They knew all about her. It did not matter that she could do needlework or greetings. She could not recognize words or write, so how could someone like her be a study companion? Hua MoMo and Deng MoMo were from the Prince Residence and in some sense, they were the eyes of the Prince Consort. As long as one destroyed Chu Jin Yao’s image in the hearts of these two MoMos, the matter would be half successful.
Thus today, Chu Jin Miao was determined to force Chu Jin Yao to write before everyone, so that she would completely sweep her reputation away and have no chance of recovery. The other young ladies also helped enthusiastically.
Deng MoMo knew that she had praised Chu Jin Yao yesterday, so for her not to let Chu Jin Yao do anything today, one feared that she would not be able to convince everyone. Thus, Deng MoMo smiled and looked at Chu Jin Yao and said, “Fifth Young Lady, just casually write some words.”
Chu Jin Yao was absolutely solemn as she stood up and bowed to Deng MoMo, “MoMo, without hiding from you, I was carried away by mistake when I was just born and in a freak combination of factors, Fourth Young Lady was carried back to the Marquis Residence while I was left in the farmer family and was only brought back by Father in January. I was poor since young and cannot compare to the sisters who have lived luxuriously. I have many shortcomings in calligraphy and needlework and hope that MoMo would forgive me.”
Chu Jin Miao was quick to retort, “Fifth Young Lady’s trick of diverting the disaster to the East is used well but it is not I that harmed you. Don’t blame everything on me. Even if you want to sell yourself as pitiful, you have to be aware that both MoMos are here to select the study companion for the County Princess and not a storyteller. No matter how many grievances you have, you cannot just use it to get through things, right?”
Seventh Young Lady also chimed in, “Yes. Instruct you to write then just write. Why talk so much?”