“This...is a bit too much, right?” Yu Xiaocao didn’t expect that her own family’s newly built residence would be so ‘nouveau riche’ in style. This type of building was considered quite luxurious for the standards of Tanggu Town, let alone a tiny fishing village.
Zhu Junyang, who had followed her in from behind, didn’t have the same thoughts, “Although it can’t compare with the residences one can buy in the capital, it’s still considered quite decent!”
Yu Xiaocao rolled her eyes at him and said, “Do you know what’s written all over this house ah?”
“What? A residence? How come I don’t see anything written on it?” Zhu Junyang had a perplexed expression on his face. Did he miss something earlier?
“The words, ‘We have lots of money’, are written all over the residence in large, shiny characters. You didn’t see that? We don’t have that many people in the family yet we built such a large residence. Let’s not even talk about keeping it clean but isn’t this clearly telling everyone else: ‘We have lots of money, quickly come steal it’?! The next time the Wokou pirates come to raid the coastline, they will definitely head straight for our home first!” Yu Xiaocao had nothing more to say.
Zhu Junyang thought that she was worried about her family’s safety and stated in a confident manner, “No worries, this prince will send a few guards over to patrol the area! As for the cleaning, it’s not like your family lacks the money to buy a few servants, right? If you don’t feel like spending the money, then I’ll buy them for you!”
“This is not a question of money! I’m afraid that the villagers might get other thoughts after seeing this!” In the past, her family didn’t have much. When they originally split from the main Yu Family, their circumstances were worse than most of the others in the village. Now they were at a point where they could be considered a local wealthy despot, so wouldn’t that bring resentment towards them?
Zhu Junyang used a finger to tap on her head and said, “Do you believe that if you guys built your home like everyone else’s that no one would talk behind your back? Let’s not talk about other things but your family has a thousand-mu farmstead and the greenhouse vegetable business in town. That’s more than enough to make others feel jealous! If you want to prevent other people from acting maliciously from jealousy, then you need to increase the gap between yourself and those people. That way, you become something that everyone else can only look up to, a mark that they can only hope for!”
His reasoning was very clear. If you wanted to reach a point where other people couldn’t pull you down, then you needed to climb to a height, like the clouds, where other people couldn’t touch. That way, those who envied you and were jealous wouldn’t dare to have those feelings Yu Xiaocao wasn’t a slow-witted person. After hearing his words, she immediately understood his reasoning. The current Yu Family wasn’t like before. Her father was now a seventh-ranked official and the emperor placed great importance on herself and had even given her the title of a feudal princess. Even if their residence was even more grand and large, other people would think that it was right and proper. In fact, if they tried to be more discreet, it was likely that there would be people gossiping behind their backs stating that they were pretending to be poor. What was the point then?
The scenes that occurred at the mouth of the village flashed through her mind. The villagers who used to have amiable or indifferent expressions now all had fawning fake smiles on their faces. Even Auntie Yangfan, who was relatively close to them, had a bit of cautiousness added to her friendly manner. Before she had noticed it, she and the Yu Family had suddenly become an entity that was high above the other villagers at Dongshan Village. The times had changed and there was no way to go back…
“Dahai’s wife! Xiaolian! Quickly come out and see who has come!!” Old Yu loudly announced as he stepped inside. From his steady gait and clear voice, it could be seen that Old Yu had been very healthy these past two years. His old body was still sturdy and strong!
Madam Liu and Xiaolian were in the back courtyard taking care of the greenhouse harvest. They could vaguely hear the noise in front and impatiently rushed out without even taking the time to wash the mud off of their hands. When she saw Xiaocao, Madam Liu couldn’t restrain her emotions and ran forward to hug her daughter as her eyes filled with tears, “You’re finally back! You’ve gotten thinner…”
“Mother...you’ve smeared Younger Sister’s clothing with mud!” Xiaolian also felt tears well up. Her once tiny and skinny little sister, who previously resembled a starved kitten, was now an elegant and pretty young maiden! Although she was only a few minutes older than Xiaocao, she had acted as a protector of her younger sister since they were very young. The fact that her younger sister, who the doctors had proclaimed wouldn’t live long enough to reach adulthood, was able to live until today was heavily related to her care.
“No worries, isn’t it just a set of clothing ah? If it gets dirty, then we can just wash it! Mother, I missed you!” Yu Xiaocao could sense that Madam Liu had hesitated for a moment and hurriedly hugged her mother back. She made herself whine a little as if she was a little kitten begging for attention.
Wutong, who was behind Xiaocao, sneered inwardly, “Young Miss, this will cause other people to hate you, okay? There are so many young maidens in the capital who lust after a custom-designed set of clothing that is personally made by Modiste Jiang. You on the other hand, merely say ‘it’s only a set of clothing’. If those proud and arrogant young ladies could hear you now, what would they do?’
Just earlier, seeing her youngest daughter attired in expensive satin and silk damask gave Madam Liu a sense of strangeness. However, when her daughter started to act spoiled in her arms, it allowed her to find that her Cao’er was still the same. She wiped the mud off onto her own clothes and then patted her youngest daughter’s back and smiled, “You must be tired, right? Quickly go into the room and rest on the kang bed. Mother will make you some mutton stewed with noodles. It’s the perfect dish for the cool weather!”
As she talked, she pulled her daughter into the room and had her sit down. Then she left the room to start making lunch for her daughter. From start to finish, Madam Liu only had eyes for her daughter. Despite being tall, Royal Prince Yang had been neglected this entire time.
Royal Prince Yang: …
However, in front of his future mother-in-law, he couldn’t put on the airs of a royal prince. The road to chasing a wife was long so he still needed to work hard!
“Xiaolian! Did you not eat enough this past year? I’m already taller than you ah!” Yu Xiaocao sat across from Xiaolian and grinned mischievously at her.
It was only after the two sisters had a good chat that Xiaolian noticed Royal Prince Yang, who had been ignored this entire time. She asked in a somewhat reserved manner, “Royal Prince, you’re also visiting? What kind of tea do you want to drink? This commoner will go make some…”
“This prince only drinks the tea that Xiaocao personally makes!” Although Xiaocao’s twin sister, Xiaolian, looked very similar to her, Zhu Junyang could faintly tell the difference between the two. Besides looks, Xiaocao’s demeanor seemed to be a bit more clean and pure compared to her older sister. In front of other people, this fellow resumed his usual cool and lofty attitude.
Yu Xiaocao didn’t even give him a look as she pulled Xiaolian down to sit again, “Don’t bother with him. The tea leaves and hot water are all on the table. It’s up to him if he wants to drink any or not!”
“Is that...really alright ah? He is a royal prince after all!” Xiaolian was still a bit apprehensive whenever she was around the expressionless Royal Prince Yang.
Yu Xiaocao reclined comfortably on the warm and toasty kang bed and pinched up a few roasted pumpkin seeds from the table on the kang bed. She cracked them with pleasure, “No worries! No one is an outsider here, so there’s no need to be so restricted. That being said, he may be a royal prince but I’m a feudal princess now! Hmph——”
Zhu Junyang looked somewhat helplessly at this ‘arrogant person relying on favor’. He shook his head and chuckled lightly. After refusing Head Steward Liu’s suggestion to have him brew tea, the prince personally picked up the hot water and steeped a cup of hot tea for both him and Yu Xiaocao. Yu Xiaocao gleefully received the hot tea and cheerfully took a small sip——one shouldn’t spoil a man too much!
“Oh ho ah! Tiny!! What were you doing to cause you look in such dire straits?!” Yu Xiaocao spotted a murky little creature coming in from the door. After a closer look, it was unexpectedly the little roe deer who was muddy from head to toe.
When it heard the sound of Xiaocao’s voice, the little roe deer excitedly plunged in and raised its forelegs in an attempt to climb onto the kang bed. Before it could jump up, Erya grabbed it from behind.
“Young Miss, you’re finally back. I’ve missed you so much!! This time, are you going to abandon me here again when you go back to the capital?” The silly and honest Erya held the little roe deer as she impetuously inquired.
Yu Xiaocao looked at her and grinned, “Looks like Erya has gotten taller and fatter! Don’t worry ah, when I go back to the capital again, I’ll be bringing the whole family along to celebrate the New Years there!”
“That’s fantastic! In this life, I never thought I’d have the chance to go to the capital. Is this servant dreaming right now?” Before Erya had entered the room, she was likely in the greenhouse pavilion in the back courtyard, helping with the planting. She was covered in mud too and wasn’t much cleaner than the little roe deer. In addition, she had an ordinary appearance and her skin was on the tanner side. Her whole body was covered in dirt and she really resembled a wild girl in the countryside.
Wutong sneered and remarked in a voice that was neither loud or soft, “Young Miss said that she was here to bring her ‘family’ to the capital to celebrate the New Years. What status do you have to dare to consider yourself one of Young Miss’s family?”
Erya glanced at Wutong and Yingchun, who were wearing clothes that were more beautiful than the young girls in town, and then picked at her own clothes in embarrassment. She scuttled to Xiaocao’s side and quietly asked, “Young Miss, are these two older sisters like Older Sister Yingtao? Are they also maidservants you brought from the capital ah?”
“They are, what’s wrong?” Yu Xiaocao shot a faint look at Wutong and grinned at the straightforward maid in front of her.
“Are all of the maidservants from the capital this fierce ah? Older Sister Yingtao scolded me as soon as she met me and this older sister is doing the same!” Erya felt a bit aggrieved. They were all maidservants, so why did the other have to bully her?
Wutong was also a bit upset after being stared at by the young miss. She stammered an explanation, “Young Miss, this maidservant hasn’t been instructed properly, so how could she serve you right now? She’s not even trained enough to do the work of a third-ranked maidservant!”
“No one is born knowing how to do everything! As her senior, shouldn’t you know how to teach her ah? Erya is a maidservant that I personally bought. She may not have anything else but I can definitely vouch for her loyalty!” Yu Xiaocao had other thoughts about this matter.
Wutong felt even more wronged now. It was clear that making a mistake once could steer the trajectory of one’s life. She might not be able to make up for her error even if she tried hard for the rest of her life. However, she was going to do her best to let the young miss see that she had changed. Wutong vowed not to act like before and harbor other motives within her heart.
Throughout this, Zhu Junyang peacefully sipped on the wild tea that Xiaocao had personally roasted herself. At this moment, he raised his eyes to look at Wutong for a second and then looked down again. That lass Xiaocao had a group of pretty good servants around her. At least, none of them had impure thoughts. This maid called Wutong perhaps had other motives in the past but now had been infected by the lass’s ‘personal charm’ and had promised to mend her ways. He would just let her be for now. If she wasn’t suitable in the future, then he would find some excuse to let her go.
When Madam Liu went to serve the piping hot mutton stewed with noodles, she finally noticed that there was a large man in the room. She stared blankly for a second and then hurriedly said, “Your Highness, thank you very much for escorting that lass Xiaocao back home! Please eat the mutton stewed with noodles too while I go saute a few dishes for you...”
Zhu Junyang wanted to look at the sky in exasperation and howl, ‘This prince is over 180 centimeters in height, but why is my treatment so poor here? Everyone is ignoring me for some reason.’ However, he didn’t have the guts to question his future mother-in-law at the moment, so he quietly replied, “Auntie Yu, there’s no need to trouble yourself! Mutton stewed with noodles is perfectly fine!”
“Aiyo ah, I dare not accept this honor, dare not…” What did the royal prince just call her? Auntie Yu? Goodness gracious! How could she, a mere village wife, possibly allow this?Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s Thoughts: Hahaha, this is probably the first time in his life that he’s been so thoroughly ignored by the people around him.