Inner Residence arc ー Chapter 10 (Part 1): There is a Female in the Xie Family who is going to Come of Age
Just like that, Miss Zhao messed up the matter of us setting out to volunteer treating the citizens. I was afraid that hear about the matter while Song Zijing was also afraid of falling into the Miss Zhao’s devil talons. For the time being, the two of us resumed the regular and dull teaching and learning life.
On an afternoon with the brilliant radiance of spring, I was diligently studying medical skills while Song Zijing was playing chess by himself.
Outside, there were birds on the tree singing and flowers blooming at the tip of a branch. The weather had turned warm and we had changed into relatively thinner clothes. Among the warm breeze and flower fragrance, I suddenly remembered about Zhang Ziyue.
I reminisced that during countless similar afternoons in the past, he would sit beside me and help me with my homework.
He would patiently explain a formula five times and would also carefully edit every mistake in my English essays.
Actually, asking him to guide me in homework was the biggest mistake my mum had made. With the person I like at my side, how would I still have the mood to study? Of course all my attention would be transferred from my reason to my sensory organs.
His straight nose bridge. His soft hair. His deep and gentle voice. His tepid and smooth skin which I would inadvertently touch.
I suddenly opened my mouth to ask, “Teacher, have you ever liked someone?”
Song Zijing lifted his head to look at me. “What?”
I stared at his handsome visage and repeated, “Have you liked someone before?”
Song Zijing indifferently asked, “Why did you ask this?”
“Have you or have you not?”
He put down a piece of chess and said, “I guess I have.”
I was curious. “How does she look like?”
Song Zijing smiled and was lost in his memory. “She is a daughter of an eminent family and was educated and well cultured. We exchanged poems a few times at the scholar gathering while separated by screen. She is full of talent which is rare among girls. She was originally engaged and afterwards she married someone according to her parents’ decision.”
I waited for a while. When he resumed playing the chess, I asked, “That’s all?”
“That’s all,” Song Zijing said.
“You don’t even know how she looks like?”
Song Zijing smiled. “I don’t know.”
I was disappointed. “What’s this even? Didn’t you fight for her?”
After saying that, I knew that I had spoken wrongly. Even if Song Zijing was highly talented, he was only a pauper. In Dong Qi where the social ranking system was so strict, how his wish be allowed to be fulfilled?
Song Zijing smiled simply and elegantly. Everything was understood without saying anything.
I continued to focus on studying the medical book.
Zhang Qiuyang wrote this book to pass down all the knowledge he had acquired in his lifetime to later generations and originally possessed the selfless spirit of exchanging information so the writing was not jerky and it was not too hard for me to read. Furthermore, the section about the ‘Canon of Poisons’ was very interesting, some of it were just as described in the wuxia stories.
Some country A’s personage, Tom, engaged in an illegal martial arts battle with country B’s personage, Dick, when Dick poisoned Tom with his clan’s exclusively secret prescription that was only passed down to males where one piece was better than five pieces, the mysterious poison, ‘Heart Breaking Powder’. Hence, Tom experienced excruciating abdominal pain as if his stomach has been wrenched and and his four limbs became swollen. Dark spots appeared on his body and suffered pain for all forty-nine days* before he died from a split abdomen and rotten intestines. For this, the detoxification method should be like this, like that, then like that.
*T/n: To put it very simply, the forty-nine days has something to do with a belief in Buddhism. I think there’s this tradition where one is supposed to pray for 49 days after a person has passed away. If you are interested, you can inform me and I’ll provide a more detailed explanation.
Some country C’s personage, Harry was dating a country D’s woman, Xiao Cui. After their relationship fell apart, Xiao Cui gave Harry with her clan’s exclusive copyrighted invention, blue bottles with new packaging of the rare poison, ‘Lingering’. Hence, as long as Harry touched another woman, his whole body would itch and red rashes would appear all over his face. He would then scratch repeatedly with much force until the skin is lacerated, his flesh rotten and all his blood flowed out before it could be over. For this, the detoxification method should be like this and then like this.
There was another some N sect who gathered everyone to go to F religious sect to provoke them. They greatly violated the ‘Public Order Management and Punishment Regulations’ and were the F religious sect’s protector, Xuan something something poisoned them with their latest developed, nationally recognized and the honored recipient of the advanced invention award, a strange poison named, ‘Thousand Despairs’. Those poisoned would have their whole body’s skin turn blue, become itchy and yet painful, causing the skin to rot rapidly and the flesh to rot and the bones to break down until the whole person dissolves into puddle of blue ink. The detoxification method is…Elderly Zhang wrote: There’s no cure, just prepare the coffin.
I was laughing when Yun Xiang came for me. “Miss, Madam called for you to go over.”
“Ah?” Since I was guilty of something, I immediately became restless. I thought to myself, ‘It can’t be that Madam Xie already found out that I sneaked out?’
Madam Xie sat with a dignified bearing in the main hall. Standing at her side was Eldest Sister-in-Law whose lower abdomen was still flat even though she already wearing a maternity dress and also pretending to support her waist. There was also Xie Zhaoke who was beautiful like peaches and plums yet as cold as frost from beginning until the end as well as practically neglected and silent snail, Miss Bai Yan Er.
The key point was that these few women were all amicably smiling while looking at me which caused all my hair to stand on end.
Madam Xie began, “Xiao Hua, on the eighteenth next month, you will be fifteen years old and no longer a little girl.”
So it was about this. I let out a breath of relief.
Xie Zhaoke flashed me a devastatingly beautiful smile. “Congratulations to Little Sister for becoming an adult soon.”
Oh? Only now did I remember it was exactly fifteen years old when girls in ancient times seemed to become an adult. After that, could discuss about marriage.
No wonder the way Madam Xie looked at me was like a farmer looking at his large white radish which he had personally planted in the field or like a breeder looking at a pig that has been fattened up and possessed the delight when the working people have an excellent harvest.
Madam Xie said, “The hairpin ceremony is a grand ceremony, we can’t be careless. We’ve decided to begin preparations now and you also need to make a few new clothes. You don’t have to attend lessons in the afternoon anymore. The imperial clothes bureau will come to our doorstep to take measurements for you. We are benefiting from the imperial family’s favor this time. When your Third Elder Sister came of age that year, she only wore the clothes made by ‘Cloud Tailoring Pavilion’.”
Xie Zhaoke happily said, “Mother, Younger Sister had been very pitiful in the past. We should carry out a grander hairpin ceremony this time so that we can also make up for it a little.”
Madam Xie nodded her head in satisfaction and said, “You should also go and choose some pieces of fabric to make gowns in the afternoon.”
Eldest Sister-in-Law also suspended her voice to say, “Fourth Younger Sister is really lucky, see how Mother cares of you. If you marry a good husband in the future, don’t forget your maiden family alright.”
I was continuously giving a hollow laugh at the side.
Just like this, I didn’t had a chance to go out all the way until the day of my birthday.
The new clothes were done and sent over. The colors were resplendent and the fabric was light and graceful, which made me love it that I was a little unable to tear myself away from it. However, when I turned my head and saw Xie Zhaoke wearing new clothes, it was so beautiful as if anytime she could become an immortal that mounts the clouds and harness the mist, I was immediately struck until I sank into dust. The genes really determine everything.
Currently, Xie Zhaoke frequently came over to stroll around the academy and send a little some freshly made fruit pastries. She would meticulously dress herself up every time and beauty emanated from the influence of love was extremely dazzling, making others unable to even open their eyes but this expert, Song Zijing was unexpectedly still aloof.
To be honest, I sympathized with Xie Zhaoke a little. Although she was extremely rejoiced for herself over my conundrum and didn’t sympathize with me enough.
Just like this, my grand fifteenth birthday finally arrived.
Translated and Edited by: HaruOngy and LalaKurouds