Chapter 4 (Part 1): Conflict
It was a death-like silence under the roof. Only the very slight rustling sound of snow falling could be heard.
The servant girls and old female servants standing at the side were all holding their breath and did not dare to emit any sound. It was just that their gaze while cautiously looking at Ren Yaoqi and Ren Yaohua all carried a little nervousness.
Ren Yaohua’s cold and stern gaze was staring fixedly at Ren Yaoqi. Seeing that Ren Yaoqi only covered her cheek and pursed her lips as she looked at her without uttering anything after receiving a slap from her, and did not pounce over to return her a slap, Ren Yaohua inwardly felt that it was a little strange. But the grievances she had suffered these days caused the rancor in her heart to gain the upper hand. Without saying anything further, she raised her hand and wanted to slap Ren Yaoqi again.
At this moment, the door curtains of the principal movement moved. A wet nurse who was around forty years old, with a tall stature and slightly white hair on her temples walked out.
As soon as she saw the the two people confronting each other in the corridor, her expression changed immediately. Seeing that Ren Yaohua still wanted to hit her, she quickly moved over and embraced Ren Yaoqi in her arms to protect her. With a serious countenance, she told Ren Yaohua, “Third Miss, we have only just returned to the residence today. What are you doing? Don’t forget that Madam is still sick.” At the same time, she was silently casting a meaningful look at Ren Yaohua instead.
Ren Yaohua saw the anxiety and worry in the wet nurse’s eyes. Considering that her mother was still sick, she gritted her teeth and place her hand down but the gaze she used to look at Ren Yaoqi remained piercingly cold.
Ren Yaoqi observed their interaction. Wet Nurse appeared to be protecting her from getting beaten by Ren Yaohua on the surface but her arms which were embracing her tightly had also hugged her arms as well which rendered her unable to move. This was to prevent her from pouncing over to find Ren Yaohua to exact revenge.
“Fifth Miss. Could you please don’t make a din too? Madam, she is still sick. Go in to take a look at her.” Wet Nurse Zhou made a poker face and lowered her head as she coaxed Ren Yaoqi.
Ren Yaoqi nodded her head, indicating for Wet Nurse Zhou to release her.
Wet Nurse Zhou originally thought that she still had to argue needlessly to exhort Ren Yaoqi but she did not expect that Ren Yaoqi easily accepted her loss this time. She could not help but stare blankly for a moment, following which she carefully sized up the expression in Ren Yaoqi’s eyes.
Ren Yaoqi covered her face and her eyes were looking down slightly.
Wet Nurse Zhou tried slowly releasing her hands. Ren Yaoqi indeed did not have any other movements. She only went around Ren Yaohua and lifted the curtain to enter the principal room.
Zi Wei Courtyard’s general layout was a short width and a long depth. Therfore, although it could be considered a huge courtyard with three sections, there were only three principal rooms. Luckily, the rooms were all very spacious.
The outer room right in the middle was the main hall. The east secondary room could be used to meet guests. A kang table* placed on the kang bed-stove** was the usual place for having meals. The west secondary room was the bedroom and further in was another small lavatory. The lavatory had a small door which opened towards the north which made it convenient to send hot water in from the rear section of the courtyard.
*T/n: A small, short-legged table
An image for your reference:
**T/n: It is basically a long platform for keeping warm
An example of an image:
A Wikipedia page if you are interested:
Ren Yaoqi directly walked towards the west secondary room. A spacious bed with many carvings was placed close to the northern wall in the west secondary room. The newly changed red silk canopy was hung onto the copper hooks of the bed pillars. There was a woman who was around thirty years old lying on the bed.
That woman had an oval-shaped face and thick hair. Her visage was extremely beautiful and elegant but her complexion carried some pallidness from her ill condition. Her lips also did not have much rosiness. Maybe because she liked to knit her brows out of habit, there was a faint ‘川’ trace between her brows, resulting in her originally young appearance to be added with an elderly look.
“Mother…” Ren Yaoqi softly walked to the side of the bed. Looking at that woman who could not hold back from frowning even when her eyes were shut, she had softly called out with a sob.
Her voice was not loud but the woman on the bed moved her eyelashes as if she had realized and opened her eyes. She had a pair of charming almond eyes. Ren Yaoqi’s eyes were extremely similar to hers.
She seemed very tired but when she clearly saw Ren Yaoqi before her eyes, she smiled gently and beckoned her as she called out, “Qi Er?* Come over and let Mum see if you have grown taller.”
*T/n: ‘Er’ can be used as a term of endearment when added to the last character of the person’s name.
Ren Yaoqi quickly walked forward. She bent over at the encircling corridor outside the spacious bed and buried her face into née Li’s chest as she bawled with ‘boo hoo’.
When née Li saw Ren Yaoqi crying miserably, she could not help but be dazed for a moment. She placed her hand on Ren Yaoqi’s head and stroked it. She said in a gentle voice, “What’s the matter?”
At this moment, the curtain was lifted. Ren Yaohua and Wet Nurse Zhou walked in.
When Ren Yaohua saw Ren Yaoqi bending over and crying on née Li, her flames of fury immediately surged up. She sneered, “What can be the matter with her? Isn’t it just complaining to you that I have hit her again? I even thought that after staying in the residence for one year and receiving guidance from that bitch, she could improve much. I didn’t think that she is still so unfathomable and speaking odd things and only knows how to carry out a sneak attack from behind people!”
As she spoke, she strode forward in large steps and pulled Ren Yaoqi’s arm, wanting to drag her out.
Ren Yaoqi’s body was originally not recovered fully. Suddenly being pulled fiercely by her, she accidentally fell onto the ground. She raised her face. The five fingerprints on the left side of her face were also shockingly presented before née Li’s eyes.
Née Li cried out in surprise. She propped up her body, wanting to sit, but she lost her strength and fell back down.
“Mother——” Ren Yaoqi flung Ren Yaohua’s hand away and went forward to check on Née Li.
Ren Yaohua also did not pay attention to Ren Yaoqi anymore. She pushed Ren Yaoqi away and went forward to support Née Li. Seeing that she wanted to get up, she supported her to sit at the head of the bed and place a soft cushion behind Née Li. “Mum, you just drank your medicine. What are you getting up for?”
However, Née Li pulled Ren Yaoqi over instead and held her face with both her hands to inspect her face. She looked at Ren Yaohua reproachingly. “Hua Er, how could you land such a heavy blow on your younger sister!”
Ren Yaohua cast a sidelong glance at the five fingerprints on Ren Yaoqi’s face and coldly said, “If not for Wet Nurse Zhou obstructing me, I would’ve definitely given her a few more slaps.”
The left side of Ren Yaoqi’s face was already a little red from swelling. Née Li’s heart ached terribly for her when she saw it. Ren Yaohua’s words made her a little angry. She frowned as she said, “Hua Er! Quickly come over and apologize to your younger sister!”