Hearing voices behind her, the teenage girl turned around. She was indeed Ah Dai.
Although Ah Luo hadn’t seen her in a long time, she recognized her in a single glance. Her memory of that night was exceptionally vivid. The torch’s light had shone on the side of Ah Dai’s face as she helped Ah Luo escape from the mountain forest. When Ah Luo turned her head that night, she could see a long scar on Ah Dai’s face and her straight nose.
But now that Ah Dai no longer hunted wild animals in this lifetime, that scar was naturally missing, but the rest of her facial features were the same as the previous lifetime.
Jin Lu waved her hand at Ah Dai and called her to them, “My family’s miss wants to see your silk flowers. What kind of flowers do you have? Do you have any special ones?”
Ah Dai had indeed gone to Duke Ying’s residence’s corner gate to sell the silk flowers she had made, but her skills weren’t very good and no one was interested. She didn’t expect to have another opportunity just as she was about to go another family’s residence. She was surprised that a miss from Duke Ying’s family would be interested in her silk flowers and felt overwhelmed. She hurriedly took out the silk flowers that she thought looked the best from her wicker basket and placed them in front of Wei Luo.
“Miss, what type of flower do you want? Here’s tree peony, peony, lotus blossom, Chinese hibiscus…”
(T/N: Images of silk flowers from left to right , tree peony, peony, lotus blossom, and Chinese hibiscus.)
As Ah Dai said this, she didn’t dare to look at Wei Luo’s eyes. The difference between their statuses was like the difference between heaven and earth. One was a pampered, noble daughter from Duke Ying’s residence and the other was a lowly, orphaned girl from a rustic area.
Although the miss in front of her was only seven or eight years old, she looked as exquisite and lovable as snow white flowers. Ah Dai had never seen such a delicate and refined little girl. The children in Ah Dai’s village couldn’t be compared to her. She was wearing a white, silk top, a cherry blossom pink skirt that was embroidered with golden silk thread, and a shining silver longevity charm. She had a noble and composed aura just from simply standing there as if she were made by heaven.
Because her foster mother, Lin Huilian, wasn’t feeling well and couldn’t travel far from home, Ah Dai had come to the capital in her place. Ah Dai didn’t think it was a big deal. After all, her foster parents had adopted her, so she should naturally help them with their work. Besides, it was nice to see the world and increase her knowledge and experiences.
Wei Luo looked at the silk flowers in Ah Dai’s hands. She didn’t know if that addicting perfume had been added to them. If she breathed in that added scent too much, would she become addicted?
She didn’t dare to act rashly, so she asked, “Do you normally wear these silk flowers?”
Ah Dai was puzzled at first, but shortly after she smiled and said, “I occasionally wear them. The one in my hair right now was made by me.” As she said this, she lowered her head to let Wei Luo see the deep red rose near the back of her head.
Wei Luo picked up a random silk flower to sniff. The silk flower didn’t have any pungent smell. It seemed that the perfume hadn’t been added to the silk flowers made by Ah Dai, so there shouldn’t be anything addicting about the silk flowers.
Wei Luo silently reviewed these flowers. They really couldn’t be considered good. The numerous flower petals weren’t pretty and the flowers weren’t assembled beautifully. It wasn’t a surprise that Ah Dai wasn’t able to sell them. Wei Luo selected several flowers that she reluctantly accepted as decent and handed them over to Jin Lu.
Then, Wei Luo turned her head to ask Ah Dai, “What’s your name?” In her previous life, she was called Ah Dai. Now that Lin Huilian had adopted Ah Dai, she probably had a new name.
As expected, she said, “Miss, I’m called Bai Lan.”
(T/N: One translation of her name could be pure mountain mist.)
Lin Huilian and Bai Yang didn’t know many words, but the name they gave her was pretty good.
Wei Luo nodded and said in a milky soft voice the serious details, “In the future, come to Duke Ying’s residence every half month. I want twenty silk flowers every time. They all have to be made beautifully or I won’t want them.”
She looked at Ah Dai, “Will you be able to do this?”
To be able to regularly sell twenty flowers every half month, this was such a wonderful thing! Each silk flower was two coins. She would be guaranteed to earn 80 coins every month! With this income, her family would be well off enough to buy rice and noodles. Bai Lan was ecstatic.
She was almost about to cry in gratitude towards Wei Luo, “Thank you miss! Miss, don’t worry. I will definitely bring you the most beautiful flowers!”
Wei Luo looked at her for a moment and revealed her white baby teeth as she smiled. She waited until Jin Lu paid Ah Dai, and then turned around to go inside Duke Ying’s residence.
After this, Bai Lan would come to Duke Ying’s residence every half month with silk flowers regardless of weather conditions. Since the servants in Duke Ying’s residence knew that she was here because of fourth miss, they treated her politely. After she delivered the flowers, the servants paid her and brought the silk flowers to Wei Luo.
Wei Luo wasn’t really grown up enough to wear silk flowers yet. She only bought the silk flowers from Bai Lan so that she could check in on her situation at any time to make sure that she wasn’t in trouble.
Wei Luo distributed these silk flowers among the fifth branch’s servant girls. Each girl was given two silk flowers. Each flower was made with a different style. The servant girls were very happy with this. They were thankful and appreciative towards Ah Luo and put more effort into serving her.
Wei Luo did indeed have a hidden motive with giving them the silk flowers. She was trying to obtain their hearts and loyalty. She was still young and only had Jin Lu and Nurse Ye-shi as her trusted servants. If she later need something to be secretly done, it would be best if she had a few more trusted servants.
Ah Luo couldn’t trust Jin Ge actions and would always guard against her. And so, when Jin Ge was brushing Ah Luo’s hair, Ah Luo deliberately said that Jin Ge pulled on her hair painfully and wanted to sell her. Jin Ge kneeled on the ground and begged for mercy without stopping, but Ah Luo wasn’t moved by her actions and had already firmly made her decision.
Jin Ge had a natural disposition of being idle. She often slacked off in her work and was also very vain and liked to show off. The older mamas in the courtyard had long been displeased with her. Since fourth miss had already spoken, everyone was naturally happy to see this happening and no one tried to stop this.
In the end, Ye-shi informed the first madam and Jin Ge was sold off that very day.
Without these two eyesores, Jin Ge and Jin Ci, Ah Luo felt that Pine Courtyard was much more pleasant.
Without noticing, Bai Lan had been bringing flowers to Duke Ying’s residence for half a year. The servant girls were all very familiar with her. They would occasionally invite her inside to sit for a bit. But, she felt overwhelmed and would repeatedly refused their invitations. Later on, she heard that it was the fourth miss’s request and nervously entered the residence.
She had always felt very grateful towards this fourth miss. In addition to the money she was paid for the silk flowers, she would also occasionally receive a few rewards for her services. Sometimes it was golden melon seeds. Other times it was a silver hairpin. Bai Lan used the money from selling these items for her family’s expenses. As a result, her life had become relatively more extravagant. She fondly thought that Wei Luo already had such a kind heart at a young age. And, she would bring the beautiful silk flowers that she had sincerely made to Duke Ying’s residence.
Today, the servant girls led Bai Lan to meet Wei Luo in the fourth branch’s Plum Courtyard.
Wei Chang Mi was now seven or eight months old. This was the age when a child would start crawling everywhere. Qin-shi was worried that he would bump or knock over something and hurt himself. So, she ordered the servants to wrap the edges of the tables and the chairs in her house with cotton cloths.
Bai Lan arrived at the entrance to the Qin-shi‘s main room and saw that Wei Luo was holding an infant that was happily humming as he gnawed on her face.
Wei Luo’s face was covered in saliva from his attempts at nibbling, but she didn’t push away the infant.
Instead she blew her out her cheeks and said, ” You’re not allowed to bite me!”
Wei Luo glared at him. She could obviously easily push him away, but she didn’t.
Next to her, Qin-shi laughed as she said, “Mi-er likes you. If it were someone else, he wouldn’t be so happily chewing. Ah Luo, be good and don’t avoid him out of annoyance.”
Wei Luo stood up from the ironwood couch and took the handkerchief that Jin Lu handed her to wipe her face, “Fourth aunt, you doesn’t understand. Whenever I leave here to go back to my room, I always have to spend a long time bathing to be clean from his saliva and the smell of milk.”
Hearing this, Qin-shi burst out laughing and nodded as she saw Wei Luo’s furrowed eyebrows, then she said her sincere and earnest wishes, “Once Mi-er is grown up, you’ll understand that his affection for you is a positive thing.”
Wei Luo pursed her lips and didn’t say anything. She didn’t need to wait until Wei Chang Mi grew up to understand. The closer that Wei Chang Mi was with them, the more hopeless Du-shi and Wei Zheng felt. It wasn’t that terrible to be hopeless. But, if you kept giving a person hope and then taking away that hope, then the despair she felt each time would be truly terrible.
Wasn’t that the situation that Du-shi was currently experiencing? After she had cried and begged for a long time, Wei Kun allowed her to see Wei Chang Mi every two months. Wei Chang Mi wasn’t close to her. Every time they met, he would behave as if she were a stranger. The moment she held him, he would cry to the point that Du-shi didn’t know what to do. Her heart would feel as if a knife was twisting her heart.
However, no one felt any compassion for her. She was reaping what she had sowed.
The servant girls walked to the couch and reported, “Fourth madam and fourth miss, Bai Lan is here.”
Hearing her words, Qin-shi and Wei Luo looked towards the doorway. Bai Lan was nervously standing right outside the door.
She didn’t know what to do with her hands, so she followed the servants girls’ actions and also saluted, “Greetings fourth madam and fourth miss…”
Qin-shi was very friendly and waved for her to come closer. After she had carefully looked at her, “Were you the one who made the silks flowers for fifth branch?”
Bai Lan nodded and looked at the bottom of the couch. She didn’t dare to look at her directly. “To answer madam, it was I.”
Qin-shi praised her, “I saw them. The silk flowers were very pretty. Since Ah Luo has a preference for your silk flowers, you must have an exceptional point.”
Qin-shi looked at the servant girls in the room, “My house has twelve servant girls. I want to buy two silk flowers for every girl. In the future, deliver these flowers along with the ones you sell Ah Luo. The price will be the same as fifth branch’s and they must be made beauitfully.”
Bai Lan was unable to contain her joy and hurried to kneel and press her forehead to the ground, “Fourth madam, be assured…”
Hearing that Qin-shi was going to give them gifts, the servant girls in the room kneeled down to express their thanks. For a time, the room was filled with the sounds of “Thank you madam.”
With this new income from Duke Ying’s residence, Bai Lan didn’t need to go the market to sell silk flowers anymore. Every half month, she would timely come to Duke Ying’s residence and earn enough to support her family.
Ever since Ah Luo stopped going to the palace to study, she had lessons with Teacher Xue and Han-shi.
Ah Luo liked to fiddle with the things in Han-shi‘s room and would occasionally ask Han-shi for a few things to use in her own room. She loved beauty and knew that she was born good-looking, but she wasn’t satisfied and wanted to look even better.
One time, she saw a porcelain bottle on Han-shi’s dressing table and held it up to ask, “Aunty Han, what is this?”
Han-shi’s face showed a bit of her uneasiness as she took the bottle from her and put it back on her dressing table, “You’re still young. This thing isn’t suitable for you. Aunty Han will give you something else.”
Wei Luo was even more curious, “Why isn’t it suitable?”
Han-shi coughed once and was determined to not tell her.
Later on, Ah Luo found out that it was used on a woman’s private parts to… not only would it make that part more fragrant, it would also tighten that area. No wonder Han-shi looked so awkward at that time.
Fine, her body was still young, so it truly wasn’t suitable to use this item. After she was a bit more grown up, she would definitely asked Han-shi for this item! What girl wouldn’t want to smell fragrant?
The days had become colder once again. There was a heavy snowfall today. Ah Luo was sitting outside on Duke Ying’s residence’s red tiles looking at the charming and gentle scenery.
When she woke up the next day, the courtyard was covered in a layer of snow. There were a few servant girls sweeping the snow away outside. Wei Luo was wearing a fox fur cloak.
She held her hand stove as she asked, “Has Bai Lan not come here to deliver silk flowers this month yet?”
Jin Lu brought over a cup of rose water and nodded as she said, “It’s already the seventh day of this month. Normally, she would come on the first day. She’s probably delayed because something is wrong at home.”
Trouble at home… What could it be other than Lin Huilian’s deceased son?
Could it be that Bai Lan was now fifteen years old and had been forced to marry Lin Huilian’s son?
The more Wei Luo thought about this, the more she thought this was possible. She wanted to send someone to ask about the situation in Longsho village, but that village was too far away and she didn’t have a good reason. Wei Luo could only impatiently wait another half a month. Ban Lan still didn’t come.
The snow had just fallen today. Duke Ying’s residence was a vast expanse of whiteness. The tree branches that were covered in sparkling, white frost looked like jade. She had heard from the courtyard’s servants that Prince Jing had come to visit Duke Ying today. Currently, the two of them were in the front courtyard discussing something.
After Wei Luo heard this news, she repeatedly considered something before standing up to go the front courtyard.
She didn’t have anyone else she could ask help from at the moment. Zhao Jie knew her nature and she wasn’t afraid of him knowing more. As long as she hid the matter of her rebirth, she had a reasonable explanation for everything else.
She arrived outside the chess room. The chestnut wood doors were tightly closed. The people inside were probably still talking. She didn’t enter and stood outside to silently wait. Jin Lu repeatedly asked her to go back out of worry that she would get cold, but Wei Luo firmly shook her head.
After the time it would take an incense to burn, there was finally movement inside the room.
Zhao Jie opened the door and saw a young girl standing near the door. She was wearing cashmere clothing that had a decorative design of crimson Japanese roses. The young girl turned around to see that he had come outside and revealed a pleasantly surprised smile. She had been standing outside for too long. Her small face had paled to the point that it was almost transparent, only her nose was red.
She opened her soft lips to call out, “Big brother!”
Zhao Jie hadn’t seen her in a long time. He had been very busy lately and didn’t even have the free time to listen to Yang Hao’s reports about her. She had grown a little taller and her facial features had become more beautiful. When he walked towards her, there was a faint sweet smell. She was only eight, but her beauty was almost too shocking.
Zhao Jie smiled and reached out to stroke her hair, “Were you waiting for me?”
Ah Luo raised her head and grabbed the hand that had been placed on her head. On his wrist, there was a trace of an uneven bite mark. By now, it had become faint, but it was still possible to feel the mark.
Her eyes showed her quick-wittedness and her smile showed her two dimples, “Big brother, could you go with me to somewhere?”
The author has something to say:
Zhao Jie comes out ~ greeted with flowers and applause ~
Zhao Jie: Wifey has invited me. Should I accept? o(*////▽////*)o
(T/N: Has anyone read “Mei Gongqing”? In all Chinese novels, the MC is flawlessly beautiful and prettier than every other girl, but there isn’t any negative consequence. I liked how in “Mei Gongqing”, the root of the MC’s troubles is her incredible beauty and how she even considers scarring her face so that she could be free from her overly persistent suitors and have her desired peaceful life.)