Fu Yin grabbed onto Ling Long’s wrist, refusing to let go. Ling Long wanted her bracelet and had actually stolen it from her. She has been the one doing the chores, getting her meals reduced and even put up with Ling Long’s abuse. She could bear all this. However, she was not going to give in for the bracelet.
Ling Long was extremely greedy. “You stupid brat. You are so poor that you had to sell yourself, how can you have something valuable with you? You must have stolen it. This is a stolen good!”
“I am not a thief!” Fu Yin pushed Ling Long onto the ground.
“Do you want to die?!” Ling Long climbed up and pulled Fu Yin’s hair. “How dare you hit me! You stupid brat! Are you trying to rebel! I will kill you! I will kill you!”
Fu Yin fought back. “Let me go! Ah!”
“Stop it!” Lu Qi walked into the study room only to see the two of them fighting like street cats over food. He did not know whether to laugh or to scold them.
Ling Long looked back and quickly released Fu Yin and acted cute towards Lu Qi. “Young Master, Yin’er is a thief. I asked her where she got the bracelet and not only did she lie to me, she also pushed me onto the ground.”
Fu Yin raised her voice. “I am not a thief, this was left to me by my mother.”
Lu Qi’s gaze brushed over Fu Yin’s sorry figure and said coldly. “Housekeeper Wu was the one that bought you. If we just ask Housekeeper Wu, he will know whether you stole it or had it with you. Go and call Housekeeper Wu over.”
Soon, Housekeeper Wu came. He verified that when Fu Yin entered the residence, she already had this bracelet on her and it was an item left behind by her mother. She would rather sell herself than sell the bracelet.
Ling Long was guilty. “But…”
Lu Qi was impatient. “Have I been unkind to you? Have I never rewarded you with a bracelet? You are quarreling over a broken bracelet and even accuse someone of being a thief. If there were outsiders, my reputation would have been ruined.”
Ling Long wanted to try and charm him but Lu Qi behaved as if he was trying to chase out a housefly and asked her to leave. Fu Yin moved to exit as well.
“Pour me tea.” Lu Qi knocked the table. He saw that Fu Yin did not respond to him and was about to step out of the room. “Yin’er!”
It was only then that Fu Yin stopped and turned around with a blank face. “Ah?”
Lu Qi snorted, “Didn’t you hear me? Pour tea.”
“Oh.” Fu Yin turned back to the table and took her time to pour the tea. Lu Qi took a sip before looking up at Fu Yin. He saw that she was standing uncomfortably. “Why do you look so dazed?”
“I don’t normally serve you, it is a little…” Fu Yin forced out, “...foreign.”
“Do you know how to prepare ink?” Lu Qi tilted his chin towards the ink slab. “Oh, yes.” Fu Yin hesitated for a second before replying.
At this moment, Lu Yingying entered. “Elder Brother, you are looking for me?”
Fu Yin had never seen Lu Yingying before and thought that she was beautiful. She couldn't take her eyes off Lu Yingying.
“Last time, I promised to help you paint a picture of beauties but did not have time. How about we do it today?” He realised that Fu Yin was staring blankly again and Lu Qi reached out to lightly hit her head. “You really don’t know how to serve. How can you not know how to serve a cup of tea?”
“Oh, yes.” Fu Yin hurried to retrieve a cup.
Lu Yingying assessed Fu Yin. “Is this your new maid for your study room? She has defined features and is very cute. Much better looking than Ling Long.”
Lu Qi scoffed. “She is good looking but a little slow.”
“There are benefits to being slow. I like those that are slightly slow, since they won’t talk too much. Elder Brother, if you don’t like her, you can give her to me.” Lu Yingying genuinely wanted Fu Yin.
“Who said that I don’t like her?” Lu Qi switched the topic. “Yingying, where is that pearl dress of yours? Go and wear it. The picture will be nicer if I drew that.”
Nanny Fan replied, “It is gone. When the incident happened previously, we gave everything that was valuable to Lu Hanxing to plead for help. Young Lady’s pearl dress has also been given away.”
Lu Yingying smiled, “These are all external items. It is sufficient that Father and Brother returned home safely.”
Fu Yin finally poured the tea and offered it. “Please have some tea.”
“Mmhm, you look beautiful, have a nice personality and a nice voice. Your name is Yin’er, right?” Lu Yingying’s gaze fell onto the bruise on Fu Yin’s wrist. “Eh, why do you have a bruise?”
Fu Yin withdrew her hand and carefully covered it. “I was careless and accidentally knocked into a pillar.”
Lu Yingying, however, understood immediately. “You are really a silly girl, you don’t even know how to lie. How can a bruise from a pillar look the same as one with scratches? There is no need to ask. Ling Long must have done this. The previous few times Housekeeper Wu bought new servants, none of them stayed.”
Lu Qi could not help but find it strange. “Yingying, when did Ling Long offend you?”
Lu Yingying pouted. “She did not offend me, but whenever I see her, I feel uncomfortable. Okay, she is your servant, I am too lazy to bother. Yo can draw me next time, I am going out.”
Lu Qi quickly stood up. “Out? Eh, let me accompany you in case you get lost again.”
Lu Yingying rejected him. “I don’t want you to follow me. You are so fierce. When you stand behind me, the entire street of people run away because they are afraid of you. How can I shop in peace?”
Lu Qi hesitated. He was not comfortable with her going alone.
“Elder Brother, don’t forget what Father said. I am frustrated about the cancellation of marriage with Duke Cheng’s son and I have to frequently go out to stroll to relax. Father said that I can go alone. If you do not agree, we can go and talk to Father.” Lu Yingying was confident with her father backing her.
“See Father over a small matter like this?” Lu Qi was having a headache, “Okay, okay, you can go. Be careful.”
Lu Yingying had already walked out of the study room as she casually waved. “I know.”
Fu Yin saw this exchange and thought that Lu Qi was a good brother.
Failing to paint a beauty, Lu Qi changed to draw an old tree. However, he was not satisfied.
“What is going on? Why do my branches look so weird even after I have tried so many ways? It's just a few broken branches, why is it so difficult to draw?”
Fu Yin muttered to herself softly, “It has nothing to do with the branches.”
Lu Qi turned and glared at Fu Yin. “If it is not the branch's problem, then what's the issue?”
Fu Yin did not respond. Lu Qi suddenly became fierce towards her. “Speak!”
“Tree trunk.” Fu Yin was shocked and blurted out. “When you draw a tree, you have to gain momentum starting with the trunk. A tree can be upright, slanted, straight or crooked. This is all determined by the tree trunk. You are drawing an old tree and only by using the blunt edge can you illustrate the strength and age of this tree. Moreover, when drawing the trunk, the transition between different strokes has to be particularly clean. That is the only way to demonstrate vigour in different positions and make the painting come to life. If the trunk were to lose its boldness, no matter how many branches you add, it will not matter.”
Lu Qi glanced at the painting. “What you say makes sense.” He turned and realised that Fu Yin was in a daze again. He became mischievous and silently bumped the side of her body. “You learned to paint before?”
Fu Yin was not staring blankly. Instead, she was recalling the good times when Du Ning taught her how to paint. When she refocused, she realised that Lu Qi’s face was extremely closed to hers and she reached out to push him away.
Lu Qi grabbed hold of her hand. “Are you trying to rebel?”
“Let go of me. You…” Fu Yin quickly shuffled backwards. “You can’t do this…”
Lu Qi wanted to laugh as he asked, “Did you forget that you are a servant in my study room? Not only can I do that, I can also do this.” He pulled hard and Fu Yin slammed into his chest.
Fu Yin cried out and knocked over the ink slab, causing Lu Qi’s shirt to be stained black.
Lu Qi, who had initially been playing, suddenly got angry. He raised his hand to teach her a lesson. “Stupid brat. I dote on you a little and you show your true self!”
Fu Yin covered her head in fear and she pulled herself into a ball. Brother Du Ning was better. When she accidentally spilled ink on Brother Du Ning’s shirt, he still smiled warmly.
Lu Qi looked at how sorry she looked and retracted his hand. “Get lost!”
Fu Yin was choking on her tears as she dashed out of the study room and back to her own room.
“Little beauty, who bullied you?” Wiping her tears away, Fu Yin felt her goosebumps. She looked at the door and saw Lu Hanxing looking like he was trying to hold back a laugh.
He entered without permission. “My clothes are torn and I wanted to ask Ling Long to help me to mend it but she was not around.”
Fu Yin became guarded. “There are seamstresses in the residence. Why don’t you ask them to help you?”
“I am very picky and only appreciate good skills. Ling Long is much better than them. How about you? How are your sewing skills? If you help me mend my clothes, you will gain a lot of benefits.” Lu Hanxing’s attention shifted to the ink and painting on the table. “Eh? You know how to paint? Is this a picture of the ocean?”
Fu Yin stared at Lu Hanxing’s back and looked around. Finally, her gaze landed on a scissors in a bamboo basket. She walked over quietly and picked it up. She slowly approached him.
“You draw pretty well. Did you learn to paint?” Lu Hanxing flipped over a piece. “Eh? Isn’t this Lu Qi’s picture? All you servants desire to grab the highest branch and give your innocence to Lu Qi. There are several that could be my aunt. Why not…” Unexpectedly, he picked up Lu Qi’s picture and turned around.
Fu Yin could not lower her hand in time. Lu Hanxing raised his brows. “What are you doing with the scissors?”
“I…” Fu Yin’s gaze shifted. “I want to neaten the sides of the painting before presenting it to Young Master. Young Master has recently been learning to draw and knows that I know how to paint. He became interested and asked me to show him. If you don’t have anything else, I need to arrange these paintings.”
“I don’t have anything else, you can do what you need to do.” Lu Hanxing was clearly jealous. “Other than my uncle, Lu Qi is the biggest in this house. If he is waiting for you, I don't dare to hold you back.”
Lu Hanxing left and Fu Yin breathed out a long sigh. Determination filled her eyes.Previous Chapter Next Chapter