[TYCDTN] Chapter 63 Part 1

Translated by: Jellylynn

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Edited by: Evening & Lynn

This novel is to be only hosted on Foxaholic; copies found elsewhere are stolen or worse, plagiarised. 

Names mentioned in this chapter (which can also be found in the glossary):

-虞襄(yú xiāng)- Yu Xiang, the female lead

-虞品言(yú pǐn yán)- Yu Pin Yan, the male lead

-林氏(lín shì)- Lin shi, Yu Pin Yan’s mother

-老太太(lǎotàitai)- Old Madam

-春梅(chūn méi)- Chun Mei, one of the tongfang that Yu Pin Yan was given

-冬水(dōng shuǐ)- Dong Shui, one of the tongfang that Yu Pin Yan was given

Chun Mei and Dong Shui received news that Lin Shi had given her approval. They got dressed meticulously the next morning, carrying two small packages as they left the sewing room. Whenever they bumped into an acquainted maidservant on the way out, they would stop to bid farewell.

“There is not a single woman around the Marquis, and I heard that those maidservants were all killed by the Marquis in the early years … ” One of the maidservant made a hand gesture across her neck and warned, “Both of you have to be careful. The Marquis is not so easy to tend to. There is no telling if it’s a blessing or a curse to have this job.”  

The other maidservant nodded in agreement. “Yeah, people call the Marquis the living King of Hell. Every day, he would leave the manor fresh and clean and he would always return with a stench of blood. The maidservants in charge of the laundry are afraid of washing the Marquis’ clothes. They often pour out big full basins of blood. It’s really scary. I heard that the reason why the Marquis is so terrifying is because he has killed too many people and that aggrieved spirits surround him all year round and never goes away. You two better be careful.” 

The maidservant who was extremely close to the two maidservants snickered, “Right, don’t say the grapes are sour just because you don’t get to eat them.[1] It’s precisely because there are no women around the Marquis that Chun Mei and Dong Shui will have a promising future. Which man isn’t lustful? The Marquis didn’t say anything before because Third Young Miss was managing the household. It would be hard for him to ask his younger sister to seek a woman for him, right? This time, it’s Madam who made the arrangements, so he would naturally smile and accept.” After she finished her sentence, the maidservant linked arms with the other two maidservants, and said in a flattering manner, “Two Elder sisters, don’t forget to give your younger sister a hand when you are in a high position and wealthy.” 

Chun Mei and Dong Shui smiled with their lips pursed together. A blush seared through both of their cheeks, making them look very pretty and adorable. They have heard of the rumours outside of the manor, such as murderous, cold-blooded, self-centered and not making any allowances for the needs of one’s relatives. However, in their eyes, those were no match for the Marquis’ incredibly handsome face and formidable power. 

It was said that wealth and rank were obtained through risks. If they were fortunate enough to be the Marquis’ first woman, what more would they want in the future? 

The both of them, each with their own agenda, were wary of each other. Their hips swaying side to side as they walked to the front courtyard. The crowd of maidservants gazed at their departure with envy, worry, and ridicule.  

Today was a day of rest. It was rare that Yu Pin Yan did not need to go to the Yamen[2] to run errands. He carried his younger sister to pay respects to the Old Madam, and then he brought her back to the study to practice calligraphy.

Yu Xiang sat at the lower table, each time after writing a character, she would glance over towards her Elder Brother, who was leaning against the window studying a book about chess. She seemed like she had something she wanted to say but was slightly hesitant.  

“Stop looking at me already. Instead look at what you need to do in your calligraphy practice book. Calculate for yourself how much homework you have held up.” Yu Pin Yan snorted lightly without even lifting his head.

Yu Xiang put down her brush and complained, “Elder Brother, it would be fine if I can just read a few words. Don’t tell me you intend to teach me to become a scholar? I don’t have that talent. Look at Xiao Jiu’er, she’s only twelve and doesn’t need to study anymore. She is just eating, drinking and having fun all day. Finally, I am not in charge of the manor anymore, you should also let me relax for a few days. Why don’t I accompany you to play chess?” 

Yu Pin Yan’s lips slightly curved but the words he spoke were filled with disdain, “For the sake of cutting class, the Ninth Princess had rolled about and acted shamelessly in front of His Majesty to get out of it. Let Elder Brother watch you roll about too. Also, your chess skill is really too dreadful. I made a concession for you by not counting ten moves, and whenever you make two moves you unexpectedly regret three moves. Why don’t I just play chess with myself?” 

When Yu Xiang thought of the scene where Little Jiu’er rolling and crying out loud without tears in front of the Emperor, Yu Xiang found it quite embarrassing. She held her forehead and lamented, “If you are talking, then just talk. Why must you expose one’s unsavoury past. I will practice, ok!” 

Once again, peace resided inside the study was quiet again. Half an hour later, Yu Xiang rapped her brush on the inkstone and exclaimed, “I have finished today’s homework. Elder Brother, come and take a look.” 

Yu Pin Yan put down the book about chess and walked over to look at it for a while. He shook his head, and sighed, “How is there no improvement after teaching you for four years? It is legible but there is no “spirit[3]”, and weak in strength. It would be shameful to even write an invitation card.” 

Yu Xiang shook her sore wrist and said angrily, “I’m just born with this amount of strength. How can I achieve the strength you expect? Elder Brother, you’re being too hard on me.” 

Yu Pin Yan smiled, took out a sheet of white rice paper and spread it out. He carried his younger sister, and placed her on his lap and held her hand that was holding the brush. He said gently, “Elder Brother will practice with you, and you can figure out on your own on how much strength to apply. Whether one’s handwriting has strength or not is not based on the person himself, but the angle of how one moves the brush and the speed of finishing the last stroke.” 

The fresh scent of sandalwood surrounded her, Yu Pin Yan’s strong arms wrapped around her underarms, her back leaning against a broad and warm chest. Furthermore, a steady heartbeat could faintly be heard through the fabric, that feeling of her heart throbbing was indescribable as she snuggled against him. Yu Xiang could not even voice the discontentment she felt in her belly, and obediently nodded in agreement as she looked at her brother’s side profile with her ears red.

Yu Pin Yan pretended to be unaware as he held her tiny hand and wrote each stroke very slowly, stroke by stroke. A few lines of poetry stretched across the paper which described someone’s secret feelings——’Fresh autumn breeze, bright autumn moon. Fallen leaves gather and scatter around the trees; Trembling crows perched and startled. Don’t know when we will meet and be intimate again. Tonight at this moment, I won’t be able to express my feeling. If you entered my deep mood of longing, you would understand my suffering for yearning. Long yearning recalls long memories. Short yearning has no end[4]…’ 

Yu Xiang murmured the few lines after they were written. Her heart, which was like a lake, felt as if there was a stone thrown in it, causing layers of ripples. A faint indecipherable feeling flashed through her mind. However, when she wanted to grasp it, it dissipated like smoke. She fluttered her eyelashes, her gaze slightly trance-like and asked, “Why haven’t you finish writing one more line?” 

There was indeed a final line——’If I knew thinking of you would make me so troubled, we might as well have never been acquainted.’ 

Yu Pin Yan carefully observed her expression and after a short while, he sighed and said, “The last sentence is quite inauspicious, so I decided not to write it.” How could they not be acquainted? Then, where is he going to give his eternal love to? 

[1] 吃不着葡萄说葡萄酸- sour grapes, fig. Talking about something they don’t know anything about, because they didn’t want others to experience it.

[2] 衙门(yámen)- Yamen was the administrative office or residence of a local bureaucrat or mandarin in imperial China. A yamen can also be any governmental office or body headed by a mandarin, at any level of government: the offices of one of the Six Ministries is a yamen, but so is a prefectural magistracy. Credits: Wikipedia 

[3] Spirit refers to “intention or idea” in Chinese. Credit: Wikipedia

[4] This poem is one of the works by a great poet in the Tang Dynasty, Li Bai. The name of this work is called 三五七言(sānwǔ qī yán). The literal meaning of it would be ‘Three Five Seven Words’ which I believe would be referring to 3, 5 or 7 syllables/characters with lines in syntactically-paired couplets. Credits: Baidu Ximalaya (for reference of the translation) and Sohu (for reference of the translation)  

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