First Arc ー Chapter 4 (Part 4): Decorative Mirror
On the contrary, Xue Cai composed himself at this moment and gently supported her arm as he said, “Aunt, Xiao Cai has come to see you. If you have any words, let’s go in and say.”
Xue Ming saw Jiang Chenyu standing at one side and knew in her heart that now was indeed not the time to be sentimental. She immediately wiped her tears and said, “I forgot myself for a moment and have let Miss Jiang seen a joke. Please come in.”
“There’s no need already.” Jiang Chenyu thought, ‘This pair of aunt and nephew probably has a lot of innermost feelings they wanted to say so it wouldn’t be convenient for me to remain.’ Hence she said in an apologetic tone, “My elder sister is still waiting in the palace. Chenyu will be going back first and come back after two hours* to receive Little Gentleman.”
*T/n: One shichen is two hours.
Xue Ming gratefully said, “In that case, many thanks to Miss Jiang.”
Only after waiting for her figure to leave until it was no longer visible did Xue Ming changed to a stern countenance and grasped Xue Cai’s hand as she said, “Come with me.” The two of them entered the room. She looked around once to check and only locked the door of the room after ascertaining that no one was monitoring them. She turned around and attentively sized Xue Cai up once. The tears in her eyes were sparkling and translucent. “Child, you……have suffered……”
‘Thud’, Xue Cai bent his knees and knelt down. Xue Ming exclaimed, “What’s this for?”
Xue Cai said, “Little nephew has already learned that it was Aunt who interceded with Princess and the others. That’s how my life was able to be preserved.”
Xue Ming became dejected and did not call for him to rise. The expression beneath her eyes changed again and again. Finally, she said in a low voice, “I rescued you, but it wasn’t for your good……”
Xue Cai raised his head. Due to his face which was the size of a palm being skinny, his pair of eyes appeared to be even larger and jet-black like black ink.
“If it’s really for your good, then I should have you leave along with Elder Brother, Elder Sister-in-law and the rest. Although you will end up with a bad reputation of a traitorous official, everything is over with one death and you no longer have to suffer. But I protected you, I want you to live. Xiao Cai, do you know why’s that?”
Xue Cai’s plain white face had no colour in the cheeks. He said in a low and deep voice, “Aunt wants me to……take revenge for the Xue Family.”
Xue Cai fiercely slapped him once on the face until Xue Cai was fell onto the ground. She said in a stern voice, “You say it again!”
Xue Cai gritted his teeth and bore the pain as he repeated, “Aunt wants me to take revenge for the Xue Family……” Before his voice had died away, Xue Ming gave him another heavy slap. “You, say it again!”
The corner of Xue Cai’s lips was already oozing with a trickle of blood but the unswerving determination in his eyes became even stronger. He enunciated every word, “I make a vow to take revenge and revive the family clan again!”
At this point, Xue Ming sighed and extended her hand to support him up. “Very well. You must remember these two slaps Aunt hit you today, remember this feeling of pain, and remember the vow you made today.”
Xue Cai pursed his lips tightly and did his utmost to keep his back ramrod straight. Xue Ming took out a handkerchief from her chest pocket and helped her wipe away the blood on his lips. As she was wiping, she suddenly reached her hands out to embrace him and started to weep, “Sorry……Xiao Cai, sorry……”
A faint mist surfaced from within Xue Cai’s eyes.
“Aunt has let you down, the Xue Family has also let you down. Not only were we unable to give you a stable life and let you live your whole life with carefreely without a worry, we even forcefully pushed such an enormous, such a heavy burden to you. What you need to face from today onwards will be a life even scarier than hell. Furthermore, you’ll need to face it alone, be isolated and helpless. You can no longer trust in anybody, rely on anybody, count on anybody. You’ll also no longer feel those wonderful and warm things in life, you can’t be like other children and grow up blissfully and comfortably……Therefore, sorry.” As Xue Ming was speaking, she knelt onto the ground and paid the most formal large bow and respects to him.
Xue Cai was startled. His eyes were opened even wider but he could only stand there rigidly and was unable to move.
“However, I thank you on the behalf of the thousand people of the Xue Family’s 49 generations! Thank you for taking revenge for them, thank you for not letting the Xue Clan go extinct here and now, thank you for letting it become splendid once again! Xue Ming clutched his hand tightly and sobbed as she said, “Xue Ming, thanks you for your great favor!”
Xue Cai’s expression changed over and over again. Finally, his knees also bent to kneel down. He did not say anything but only slowly bent over and kowtowed three times on the icy cold floor.
Due to repeatedly kowtowing on the ground, the old wound on his forehead which remained from the dispute with Xihe that day split open again, causing blood to flow down.
Xue Ming silently watched him bleed and accompanied him in shedding tears.
The sunlight passed through the shabby screen window and illuminated the two aunt and nephew with a touch of some solemness and bleakness.
After two hours, when Jiang Chenyu came to receive him and bring him back to Jia Ning Palace, she saw his two cheeks swollen with a bump. Although she was unclear of the reason, she knew that he had still suffered a beating in the end. Thus, she took a a warm hard-boiled egg to help him rub. Xue Cai initially wanted to refuse but she said, “You’re now Lord Marquis’ slave, what you represent is Lord Marquis. If I let you leave the palace in such a state, Lord Marquis will lose face.”
Only then did he not move and stand there obediently for her to apply it on his face.
After rubbing for roughly ten minutes*, a palace maid came to report that Marquis Qi Ao’s horse carriage had arrived and wanted to bring Xue Cai back. Jiang Chenyu asked, “Did Lord Marquis come?”
*T/n: Time taken for a tea to turn cold enough for it to drunk
The palace maid replied, “I only saw the horse carriage and didn’t see his person.”
Jiang Chenyu was a little disappointed. Jiang Huayue made fun of her at the side as she said, “Look at that good-for-nothing appearance of yours! I heard that the wedding date has already been set, isn’t it? Another half a month and you’ll be marrying him. You can’t even wait this moment?”
Xue Cai’s gaze flickered for a moment and was a little surprised.
Jiang Chenyu said with a red face, “Elder Sister, you’re laughing at me again……”
“It’s alright if I laugh at you, what I’m scared of the most is that the people in the world all laugh at you. You’re someone who’s almost getting married and you still don’t try to avoid arousing people’s misunderstanding?”
“I……I’m not talking to you anymore!” Jiang Chenyu pulled Xue Cai’s hand and said, “I’ll send you out.”
After Xue Cai followed her to walk a few steps, his footsteps became slow. Jiang Chenyu lowered her head to say, “What’s wrong?”
“You……” He bit his lips and had an odd expression. “You’re Marquis Qi Ao’s fiancée?”
Jiang Chenyu thought about it for a moment before she beamed with joy. “That’s right, that’s also your furture female master. Did you remember about currying favor with me now? Too late!”
Xue Cai drooped his head and no longer spoke.
Outside Jia Ning Palace, the Ji residence’s horse carriage was waiting silently. The carriage driver jumped down to open the carriage door. Xue Cai was about to enter but turned his head to glance at her once. For some reason, when it fell in Jiang Chenyu’s eyes, she suddenly had a very strange feeling as if she was being seen through by him and also as if she saw something omnious from within his eyes.
She returned to the palace in low spirits. Separated by the gauze curtain, she saw her Elder Sister speaking with Old Imperial Physician Jiang. As their voices suppressed until they were very low, she did not know what they were talking about. Not long after, Old Imperial Physician Jiang rose and took his leave. Elder Sister sent him all the way to the door with a serious expression and her eyebrows knitted in worry.
She just wanted to ask what had happened when she saw a palace servant leading a person in. That person was tall and slender, his blue clothes fluttering. Wasn’t this Jiang Wanyi?
After Jiang Huayue conversed with him in low voices for a while, she entered the inner chamber once again and for her pulse to be taken and brought a few things for him to take a look. An hour later, Jiang Wanyi stood up and walked out while carrying his medicine box.
Jiang Chenyu who had been sitting on the chair and observing hastily stood up and looked at him and her Elder Sister while a little befuddled. She did not know if she imagined it wrongly, but her Elder Sister’s complexion appeared to be more concentrated with melancholy.
After Jiang Huayue had also sent Jiang Wanyi out, she stood at the side of the door and was motionless for a long time. Jiang Chenyu could not refrain herself from going forward to tug her sleeve lightly and saying, “Elder Sister, what’s the matter with you?”
The rim of Jiang Huayue’s eyes reddened and her tears fell down.
These tears flowed so suddenly and frightened Jiang Chenyu with a start. She anxiously said, “What’s the matter? What happened? Don’t cry, what did the imperial physicians say?”
Jiang Huayue grasped her hand and shivered nonstop. She opened her mouth a few times but she was sobbing until she could not speak. Seeing this situation, Jiang Chenyu could only support her into the inner chamber again. After dismissing the palace servants, she lowered her voice to say, “What exactly is the matter?”
Jiang Huayue raised her head. Her face was full of tears. She was not able to care about wiping them and only grabbed her hand as she called out nonstop, “Chenyu, Chenyu……”
Every time she called out once, Jiang Chenyu would reply once, each time her voice being more gentle than the previous time’s.
“Chenyu, I, I……what should I do? What do I do?”
Next release will be the last part for this chapter 🙂