Chen shi’s death did not come across as odd to anyone in the Feng family. Her death-seeking methods were there for all to see. Feng Jin Yuan’s attitude was also clear, but after the matter was resolved, he still sighed. He originally thought that she would make a resurgence upon returning from the temple. He did not, however, think that it was just a final spark before death.
Man Xi’s words caused Chen Yu, who was holding a cup of tea and speaking with the matriarch, to immediately stand up. Not caring that the tea spilled on her dress, she appeared to have gone mad and ran out.
The matriarch became anxious, fearing that Chen Yu would become extremely sad then meet with some misfortune. She quickly yelled to everyone: “Why aren’t you quickly following after her! Don’t let Chen Yu run around randomly!”
Only then did everyone react and quickly rush towards Jin Yu courtyard.
Chen Yu, in the end, ran really fast. She arrived before Chen shi a step before everyone else. At a glance, she saw that her once fat and round mother now looked as though someone had removed a few layers of her flesh. Although her body did not appear wrinkled, it was also not as bloated as in previous times. The face was especially apparent. Her entire facial structure had collapsed. The bridge of her nose seemed to have been broken, while her cheeks appeared bruised. Her eyes remained open in a death stare, as her eyes bulged from the head, almost as though they were ready to fly out.
Chen shi’s dead appearance was very scary. Her unwillingness to die showed plainly on her face.
But what of it?
Chen Yu staggered forward and dropped to her knees at Chen shi’s bedside.
She felt some regret. Why had she been so cold when Chen shi had been locked away in Jin Yu courtyard. She didn’t even go to take a look at her. This was her mother. She had given birth to her and raised her. How could she have become so disliked that she simply passed away on her own?
Chen Yu’s tears fell one by one, as she suddenly felt a great resentment towards Feng Jin Yuan.
Trembling, she held Chen shi’s cold hand. Chen Yu suddenly began crying loudly, casting aside the reserved and steady appearance she had maintained since she was young. She no longer cared for how she looked and began sobbing on Chen shi’s corpse like a little child.
The people who had come in behind her could not help but sob. An shi raised her hand and wiped a tear, while Yao shi also gave a sigh. Both felt a bit of sympathy towards Chen Yu.
The matriarch was the last one to enter the room. She glanced around then turned and left, saying: “Send someone to wait at the court gates. Once court is adjourned for the day, have Jin Yuan return. Contact housekeeper He to prepare for the funeral.”
The matriarch gave these orders and the people in the courtyard set to work.
After all, Chen shi was not very popular. Aside from Chen Yu, nobody felt sad as a result of her passing. In fact, everyone actually let out a sigh of relief. Chen shi had finally passed. The manor would finally enjoy some peace.
Yao shi, however, was not optimistic. She was someone from a large family, so she naturally understood that in a manor, the position of head wife could not be left open forever. Chen shi’s passing simply meant the arrival of a new one. Whether it was someone distant or someone familiar, this was still unknown.
When Feng Jin Yuan left court and returned to the manor, the instant he entered the gates, Chen Yu rushed before him and collapsed on the ground: “Father!” Chen Yu’s eyes became swollen from crying so much, and she could not be bothered with worrying if she was pretty or ugly. She was single-minded in her crying and begging: “Father, mother passed away. I beg father to allow brother to return to send mother off!”
Feng Jin Yuan originally did not want to have Feng Zi Hao send Chen shi off. In fact, he had chosen to send Zi Hao away right as Chen shi’s passing approached. But now, Chen Yu begged him like this seemed to have triggered something in him. He recalled how Chen shi had treated him well back in the old home, how she had taken care of the matriarch, and how she had helped him out while he prepared for the Imperial exam.
Feng Jin Yuan could not help but let out a long sigh. Pulling up Chen Yu, he said: “Alright, father will send someone to bring Zi Hao back. Do not cry anymore.”
Because of Chen shi’s death, the Feng family’s concubines and children were all given mourning apparel. Even Jin Zhen, who was still in postpartum care, wore it. Han shi’s body never did recover fully, so when she wore the white mourning clothes, her face appeared even paler. Feng Jin Yuan wanted to ask Han shi many times about her illness, but he also felt that Chen shi had only just died, so he should avoid some taboos. Thinking about the first seven days after Chen shi’s death, he would only go to his harem after that period had ended.
The mourning hall was built in Jin Yu courtyard. Housekeeper He Zhong had completed the job in a very orderly manner. A group of people who specifically managed funeral arrangements for the manor was called. After busying themselves for a couple hours, they constructed a proper mourning hall.
Feng Jin Yuan specially invited a doctor as a formality to determine Chen shi was indeed dead. Only then did he announce it to everyone.
Regardless of how Chen shi was in the manor, she was still the Feng family’s head wife. The matriarch had something to say: “Arrange for a large funeral!” This was not to give Chen shi face. This was to complement Chen Yu’s face.
He Zhong brought in people from a coffin shop, and after consulting with Feng Jin Yuan, they arranged to have the most expensive sandalwood coffin to hold Chen shi.
That night, all of the young ones kept watch over the coffin.
After a full day of public mourning, when only some servants remained with the young misses and young master who kept watch over the coffin, it finally became a little more peaceful.
Chen Yu knelt beside the brazier and continued burning joss paper.1 She was not as emotional as she was during the day, moreover, she had reapplied her make up. Her face had once again returned to being exquisite.
“Mother.” Chen Yu put one piece after another into the brazier. She seemed to be muttering to herself, but she also seemed to be speaking for those beside her to hear: “Father has already said that Chen yu will always be the Feng family’s daughter to the first wife, no matter what happens. Regardless of who becomes the official wife, that person can only be considered as filling in that position. The children they gave birth to, be they daughters or sons, they can not compare with Chen Yu.” She fell silent for a while before continuing to speak: “Mother, you can depart in peace. There is no need to worry about Chen Yu or brother. Those that harmed us will not meet with a good end.”
The mourning hall was already quite gloomy, but Chen Yu’s resentful words made everyone who heard absolutely terrified.
Fen Dai had a broken arm and was already in a pain. Hearing Chen Yu speak, she felt even more irritated. Wanting to leave, she stood up but was stopped by Chen Yu’s servant: “Where is fourth young miss wanting to go? Tonight, you need to keep watch over the coffin. This is the matriarch’s order.”
Fen Dai glared at her, “I am going to the latrine.”
Yi Yue gestured for her to go on: “Fourth young miss, this servant will accompany you.”
Fen Dai was furious and really wanted to send this servant flying with a slap. She also wanted to curse her as someone who bullied others using the backing of a powerful person, but in the end, Feng Chen Yu was present. No matter how much anger she felt, she did not dare speak out any further.
She returned to the coffin’s side and never brought up the latrine again.
After Chen Yu finished burning the last of the joss paper, she left the brazier and went to kneel to the side. Feng Yu Heng, however, stood up and went forward. Holding some joss paper, she began burning it in place of Chen Yu.
“Thinking about it, the life is unpredictable, huh.” She spoke quietly, referencing the matter with the Yao family that year, “Who would have thought that a prosperous clan would cause that sort of trouble. That is to say, do not speak today of tomorrow’s matters. Only when you have seen the sun rise, have you seen another day. Just like you, mother, when A-Heng just returned, what a dignified air you had. How could anyone have imagined that you would fall ill and pass away. That is to say, life is unpredictable. Life is unpredictable!”
Her saying life is unpredictable so many times in a row caused Chen Yu’s head to go numb. This was to remind her, life is unpredictable. The previous Feng Yu Heng, look at how preciously the manor treated her. The previous Yao shi, who dared to offend her? The previous Yao family, that was a family that even the Emperor had to give face to. What about now?
That was to say, who could ensure that Feng Chen Yu would definitely remain the Feng family’s daughter to the first wife? What if, at some point, another fortune-telling bastard comes along and suddenly pointed to Fen Dai and said she was the aspect of the Phoenix? What would happen then?
Thinking of this, Chen Yu truly began to panic.
But thinking further, she was already fourteen years old. Once the new year came, she would be of age to marry. Thinking about it, the family had also begun to take her future into consideration, so she just had to endure for a little while longer.
Feng Yu Heng’s words reminded Chen Yu, but they also reminded Fen Dai.
That’s right. A proper daughter to the first wife like Feng Yu Heng became a concubine’s daughter because of something that happened with the Yao family. Then if something also happened in the Chen family, would Chen Yu also become a concubine’s daughter? When the time came, if Han shi put in some effort, it was possible that she really could be promoted to the head wife’s position. Her dream of becoming the daughter to the first wife no longer seemed too distant.
Everyone who kept watch over the coffin stayed there until half past 6 in the morning before returning to rest. Zi Rui was already tired to the point of collapse. Xiang Rong was worried about him and allowed Zi Rui to lean against her for the latter part of the night. Upon getting up, his legs became weak, as he nearly fell back down.
Feng Yu Heng quickly supported him and pulled out two pieces of chocolate from her sleeve, giving them to Xiang Rong and Zi Rui. Zi Rui had eaten this stuff before and did not find it to be strange. This was the first time Xiang Rong saw it. She looked at the black thing and did not know what it was. She even assumed it was medicine.
She saw Zi Rui stuff it into his mouth, and a look of enjoyment and satisfaction appeared on his face. The drowsiness completely disappeared. She could not help but feel curious. Copying Zi Rui, she also stuffed the chocolate into her mouth and was immediately surprised.
Her second sister was a treasure chest! Xiang Rong felt her faith become even more unswerving after this!
Everyone returned to their own courtyards to rest, and they all slept until noon when they ate. After eating, they had to rush over to Jin Yu courtyard to get back to work.
Feng Jin Yuan was still the current court’s prime minister and his manor’s head wife had passed away. How could the number of people who came to offer their condolences be few?
People started coming to the manor at the crack of dawn. When the children had woken up and returned to Jin Yu courtyard, the line of people waiting to offer their condolences stretched out of the manor’s gates.
Housekeeper He Zhong was so busy that he never stopped moving.
Feng Jin Yuan put on a sad appearance and gave thanks to the people that came.
It was at this time that a loud yell came from outside the manor’s gates “Mother!” Then, a young person could be seen clumsily rush in. While running, he screamed: “Mother! How did you die such a terrible death! Son only left for a few days, how did that wretched Feng Yu Heng cause you to die!”
The person that came was none other than Feng Zi Hao.
But the words he screamed out along the way were truly too unbearable. Feng Yu Heng stood not too far from Feng Jin Yuan and could not help but glance sideways: “Father, who taught eldest brother these words?”
Feng Jin Yuan felt his dignity dropping from the things his son did. He angrily balled up his fists and yelled furiously: “Vile creature! Cease your nonsense!”
But Feng Zi Hao was an unreasonable person! How could he care about such things. In his eyes, Chen shi was killed by Feng Yu Heng returning to the manor. The bullying Chen shi and Chen Yu suffered was something they had told him about. He had even personally experienced Feng Yu Heng’s ferocity. Ever since that time, he had not had the chance to get revenge. Now, he took advantage of the tiny shred of courage he found in grieving his mother’s death and made full use of it.
Feng Zi Hao rushed straight to the mourning hall. Without paying his respect, he pulled out a sword from some unknown place and wildly slashed towards Feng Yu Heng!
1: Pieces of paper that are burned as an offering to the dead, so they can afford nice things in the after life. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joss_paper