Exploring Pine Courtyard at Night
“Second young miss should not!” Man Xi was truly afraid and crawled forward a few steps, wanting to hug Feng Yu Heng’s leg. As she raised her two hands, she remembered the infections on her fingers. Her hands froze in mid-air. She could neither advance nor retreat.
Feng Yu Heng actually completely reversed from her earlier attitude. She suddenly grabbed both of Man Xi’s hands and brought them towards her own face.
“Second young miss.” Man Xi wanted to pull her hands back but found that she absolutely could not.
“Don’t move. Let me take a look.”
Man Xi was both ashamed and afraid. Her nails had already had this appearance for over half a year. To prevent others from noticing, she had been getting up in the middle of the night to apply nail polish. Even during the day, she would pick work that avoided being near water. Only through doing this, did she manage to keep it hidden. Now…
“Man Xi.” Feng Yu Heng studied her finger nails, “Youu know what my grandfather used to do, right?”
Man Xi was surprised, then subconsciously nodded her head. “I- I have heard.” Not a single person in the Feng manor did not know of the Yao family.
“Hm, from little, I was close with my grandfather. I’ve also read a decent number of medical books and learned a good number of medical treatments. At that time, I was young and extremely curious. I have taken a large number of prescription medications. If I said I could treat your infection, would you believe me?”
Man Xi instantly froze. Sometimes, joy can hit too suddenly, leaving one unable to resist. The girl’s mouth opened and closed repeatedly for a while, yet not a sound came out.
Feng Yu Heng abruptly patted her on the shoulder, only with this did she regain focus. The sound of a cry sounded out: “Really?”
“Not really.” She pushed both hands away and leaned back against the chair, “What were we talking about before? Oh right, I need to go inform mother and grandmother.”
“Second young miss!” Man Xi’s heart was erratic. It fluctuated constantly, sometimes dropping to the pit of her stomach and sometimes rising up to her throat. “Second young miss, would you please just take mercy on this servant! I beg second young miss to save me! I beg of the second young miss!”
Feng Yu Heng shook her head, “You are a top maidservant at mother’s side. Even if you want someone to save you, you should ask mother for help. I’m just a concubine’s daughter who is not well liked. How could I save you?”
Man Xi was also rather intelligent and understood what Feng Yu Heng was saying. In order to protect one’s family, status and life, they must be clear on the matters before them. The head wife was, without doubt, her master, but she was not a reliable master. She had always been a top maid servant, but from time to time, she would be punished with her monthly wages being deducted. Under strict rules, she could even be beat by a cane. If she had a choice, she obviously would not choose to serve such a master. Even more so the case with her being handled in Feng Yu Heng’s hands. If she didn’t express her sincerity, she might very well be chased from Feng manor tonight.
Thinking of this, Man Xi no longer hesitated. She retreated two steps and properly knelt once more and seriously bowed towards Feng Yu Heng: “This servant recognizes her master. The first reason being it was assigned by the manor, there was no choice. The second reason is for my personal well being, this is the choice I have made. So long as the second young miss can treat this servant’s infection, then this servant will be utterly obedient.”
Very good, Feng Yu Heng nodded her head, “Raise your head.” She welcomed Man Xi’s eyes, as their eyes met.
Man Xi felt that the second young miss’ eyes were full of inquiry. It was as though she wanted to completely see through her, such that not even the tiniest thought could escape that person’s gaze.
After quite a while, Feng Yu Heng retracted her inquiring gaze and asked Man Xi: “Do you have any other requests? Just add them now.”
Indeed, Man Xi still had a request, and it was seen through. When people lie or contemplate matters, their pupils would visibly contract at a special frequency. The abilities and knowledge that she had learned in the Marine Corps were not wasted.
Man Xi was also quite happy. Hearing her ask, she responded: “I beg the second young miss to also save my mother.”
“Your mother?” Feng Yu Heng understood, “Your mother also contracted a fungal infection?”
“Yes.” Man Xi replied, crying: “My mother’s illness is more severe than mine. She first fell ill over three years ago. It isn’t just affecting her hands but her feet too. She was originally a servant here too, but after this weird illness was discovered by a housekeeper, she was chased away. I beg the second young miss to save my mother.”
So it was like that.
“I can help treat the fungal infection for you two, but this illness is not something that can be treated in a day or two.”
“This servant understands.” Man Xi wiped her tears, “In the future, so long as the second young miss orders it, this servant will not display any flaws. I will also promptly report any happenings with the head wife.”
What a joke, even if the second young miss did not treat her, she knew of her illness. How could she afford not to listen?
“Very well.” She gestured for Man Xi to stand. Looking at her finger nails once more, she reached in to her sleeve and pulled a small bottle of nail polish out of a drawer in her pharmacy. “Come, I will help you hide this for a few days. Wait for me to stabilize in Feng manor, then I will see how I can treat your illness.”
The treatment was just an afterthought. Man Xi felt that the polish that the second young miss had spread on her nails was many times better than her own nail polish! Furthermore, the second young miss had said that this polish was waterproof, would last seven days after being applied and it was prettier than her own nail polish! With this, she would no longer need to wake up every night to sneakily apply it.
That is why it is not necessary to spend money to capture a person’s heart. To capture a person’s heart, the most important thing is to know what they desire.
After applying the nail polish, Feng Yu Heng called granny Sun in to replace the barrel of water. Man Xi remembered that she had used her hands to check the water temperature. The second young miss truly was attentive. It seems the illness was contagious. The more Man Xi thought, the more she was worried. She hoped that she would be cured of this weird illness soon.
Not allowing Man Xi to help, Feng Yu Heng took care of washing herself. She left Man Xi to stand by and tell her of what Chen shi hoped to accomplish by sending the three here. She also wanted to know what secrets the Feng manor had.
Not failing her expectations, the Feng family truly did want to off her en route and grant Feng Chen Yu her seat next to the ninth prince. This morning, Feng Jin Yuan suddenly changed his mind, and this made Chen shi flustered. Feng Jin Yuan, however, was resolute on this matter, so Chen shi could only make sure that Willow courtyard was supervised to preserve her daughter’s interests.
After the bath, Man Xi brought in a new set of clothes.
“This is from the manor’s servants. The three masters will each have one set. There are also inner garments. Since it is late, young miss should change directly in to the inner garments.” Man Xi said while bringing the garment for Feng Yu Heng to wear.
After putting on the inner garment, Feng Yu Heng went to look at the dress. It was a decent-looking bright-pink color; however, when she reached to feel the material, it was hard like a blade and the texture was rough like sand. Wearing this sort of material, it would be odd if it did not scrape at her skin.
“Who brought these clothes?” She asked.
Man Xi replied: “It was granny Li. This servant and Bao Tang were only sent to wait on the second young miss. Relations with the main hall are all managed by granny Li.” As she spoke, she went to feel the dress then frowned. “Why is it so rough?”
“That old servant has served as Chen shi’s wet nurse. She has no right to make her own decisions. Obviously, it seems that Chen shi wants to try and trip me up.”
“Man Xi fretted: “What shall we do? If I were to go to the main hall to ask for clothes, the head wife will definitely find out.”
She waved her hand, “It’s fine. Just don’t speak to anyone of it. I have an idea for this matter.”
Man Xi nodded her head. One basin-full at a time, she emptied the used bath water outside.
Only after the girl had finished with cleaning, did Feng Yu Heng have some time alone.
Even if she had experienced life in the 21st century, she had to admit that the amount of information she had received since returning to Feng manor was truly too much.
The highly intricate interpersonal relationships of Feng manor and the many-faced so-called family relations had opened her eyes. Although she had taken in the servant, Man Xi, the two words- personal safety- remained out of reach. In this sort of place, there was no such thing as clear proof. Aside from the brainless Feng Fen Dai, each and every person was an expert in working from the shadows.
Personally, she had never been afraid of an openly wielded blade, but a hidden sword was something she had not dealt with in many years.
It seemed that she would need to get some practice and temper herself. However, there was a matter that she could not ignore. Why exactly did Feng Jin Yuan suddenly change his mind?
Her eyes looked out her window. It seemed that in the dead of night, she had to take a stroll around the Feng manor.
The matter of wandering around Feng manor was only possible thanks to that bundle of old clothes Feng Fen Dai and brought.
Although the clothes were from a few years ago, they were now mostly too short. Thankfully, the years they spent in the village were spent malnourished, so her body was unable to maintain its growth. Her small body had not grown significantly. She could make do with these clothes, either way, they were better than that sandpaper-esque dress. Since she had just taken a bath, she did not want to wear the dirty clothes during the day.
Feng Yu Heng decided that she would wear her old clothes and stroll about inside the manor. She couldn’t always let other people hole her up inside her courtyard. She had to be a bit more proactive and bring some misfortune to those that are truly too bored.
It was fifteen minutes to midnight when a small and thin shadow swiftly floated out of Willow courtyard.
Following her memories from that morning, she followed the path back towards main hall in Peony courtyard.
The Feng manor at night was without the noise it had during the day. Aside from the late-summer winds that blew threw branches and leaves, it was dead silent all around.
Her goal was Feng Jin Yuan’s study; however, she was not familiar with the layout of Feng manor; furthermore, her legs were short. By the time she reached the study, she was out of breath. Feng Yu Heng immediately decided to make improving her physical strength a part of her daily routine.
Feng Jin Yuan’s study was located in Pine courtyard. The name truly matched with the courtyard’s appearance. There was rosin scattered around the yard. This helped her understand Feng Jin Yuan’s conduct, but she felt that the pine tree really did not suit him. The yard was planted full of pine trees, but it didn’t improve his style. It did, however, allow the rosin to spread all over.
Upon entering the yard, she could faintly see the main light of the building was still lit. Every now and then, a person’s shadow would flicker in to view. She knew that she had gambled correctly.
She already knew that Feng Jin Yuan would not sleep early tonight. The happenings of the day were much too sudden. The truth behind what was whispered needed to be uncovered. The sooner she understood the news, the better.
She did not dare advance any further in the yard. There was no way a great family’s study would be left unguarded. Being rash would be an irrational act.
The weather of late summer was very prone to change. The moon was suddenly covered by black clouds, Feng Yu Heng took advantage and hid behind the rockery.
Inspecting her surroundings, she ignored the small pines and looked at the tall cypresses.
She took account of her body condition and desired something from her previous life that would help her climb around, but that was presently unrealistic. Even more so, Feng Yu Heng was on guard, how could she not account for the hem that could faintly be seen from between the tall cypresses.