Chapter 481 - Like a Dream
As soon as they entered the main entrance, they saw a screen wall against a decorative mountain . On top, the edge of the eaves were painted blue and there were patterns of pines and wintersweet on both sides . The circular décor in the middle was a landscape pattern . It appeared elegant and dignified .
With the support of Erya and Tanchun, Madam Liu walked to the door that connected the outer and inner courts . After walking a short distance, they had arrived at the festooned gate of the second-gate courtyard . With the help of the maidservants, Madam Liu walked up a few steps and walked through the festooned gate . As soon as she entered, a spacious and tidy courtyard appeared in front of her . When she looked to the left and right, there were corridors that connected the side buildings and main building . In the middle, there was an intersecting corridor paved with bluestone . The left and right sides were separated by a festooned gate .
There was a moon-shaped gate next to the wing rooms on both sides, which led to the east and west courtyards . On the east side, there was an exquisite garden with pavilions, a small bridge above a stream, and decorative stone mountains . It looked quite elegant . The courtyard on the west side used to be a school building, but now it had turned into the living quarters and study of the youngest son in the family, Little Shitou .
They followed the bluestone paved passage and quickly reached the main building, which had three rooms . There were also three side rooms on both sides of the building . The back of the building was surrounded by a terrace, which was spacious and tidy .
“You guys are finally here!” Lady Fang received the news that they would arrive today, so she had come to the Yu Estate to help out early in the morning . She had personally checked every single room, for fear that her adopted relatives weren’t being taken care of properly . Before, when she was in Dongshan Village, the Yu Family had often taken care of her . Now that they were in the capital, she must pay special attention and help her goddaughter with the arrangements .
Upon seeing Lady Fang, Madam Liu’s slightly anxious feelings were finally completely relaxed . She went up with a smile, pulled on Lady Fang’s hands, and said, “Aiya, I felt like I was dreaming the whole way here . My heart is finally at ease now that I see Older Sister Xia . This is such a beautiful house, is it really ours?”
“Of course! It’s really hard to find good houses in the capital . I had my husband wander around the capital for two or three months, yet we still couldn’t find a suitable place . There were many people eyeing this estate when it became vacant . Fortunately, we acted fast! You guys are also blessed . We were able to find a suitable house right after you guys made the decision to temporarily stay in the capital!” The Fang Family’s residence was similar to this estate . It was also a three-sectioned estate with side courtyards . But, after all, it was the home of a military official, so it wasn’t decorated in such a comfortable and elegant manner, like the Yu Estate .
Madam Liu thanked her with a smile, “Many thanks to Older Brother Fang and Older Sister Xia! If Xiaocao didn’t say that she bought a house in the capital and it wasn’t good to leave it empty in the first year, we wouldn’t have wasted so much energy to come all the way here…”
Lady Fang smiled and said, “Younger Sister Liu, you’re thanking the wrong person! It was Royal Prince Yang who handled all the matters regarding the purchase of the estate . He put in quite a lot of effort . It was because he personally handled the matters that we were able to buy the estate at such an affordable price! Oh, look at the time . You must be tired after traveling for so many days, right? First, go wash up and eat something . Rest earlier tonight . Tomorrow, my husband and I will treat you guys to a meal at Zhenxiu Restaurant to welcome your arrival . ”
Lady Fang, who originally had straightforward temperament, spoke to Madam Liu like she had lived in Dongshan Village for a long time . She was very amiable and there were no barriers at all .
Linglong and the maidservants in the estate took the Yu Family’s belongings to their own rooms . Some of the important items were locked in the storage room . Yu Hang settled in the east wing, which didn’t have grand furnishing but was very comfortable . Xiaocao and her sister lived in the west wing, which had three rooms .
Originally, the Yu couple had wanted Old Yu to live in the main building . However, he refused resolutely . With no other choice, Yu Hai and his wife had his father settle down in one of the three rooms in the east wing and become neighbors with Yu Hang .
After the Yu Family rested for a bit, a young maidservant came to tell them that dinner was ready . The dinner was prepared by the female cooks in the kitchen . In order to show their skills to the new masters, they made great efforts . There were a good variety of ingredients available . Not only did they have a variety of meat, but they also had all kinds of fruits and vegetables . The family had a lively and delicious dinner .
After dinner, Lady Fang noticed the tired appearance of the Yu Family members, so she got up and bid her farewells . Royal Prince Yang stayed for a little longer before leaving . The members of the Yu Family washed up with the help of the servants and went to rest .
Xiaolian originally lived in a separate room, but she couldn’t sleep well upon arriving in a new environment . Thus, she took her pillow and went to sleep on the same kang bed as Xiaocao . The winter in the capital was cold and dry . When fixing up the house, Xiaocao had specially ordered to leave a room in both the east and west wings vacant to put in a kang bed . As long as they were comfortable with their living environment, it didn’t matter what others thought . The floor in the main building was heated, so the room was as warm as spring . Thus, they didn’t need to add anything to it .
“Younger Sister, is this house really ours?” Xiaolian was no longer that ignorant little girl in the countryside from five years ago . When doing business at the docks, she had met merchants from all over the world . Hence, she naturally knew the astonishing price of the houses in the capital and how hard it was to find a house .
Along the way, she had quietly observed the surroundings from the window . The people living nearby were all wealthy and respectable families, and their neighbors were all families of officials . The houses in this kind of location weren’t easily obtainable! Although this house wasn’t as big as their house in the countryside, it was still a three-sectioned official’s estate with side courtyards . It must have been very difficult to buy this house!
Lying on the warm kang bed, Yu Xiaocao turned over to face Xiaolian and said with a smile, “If it’s not ours, then whose house is it? Shall I show you the house deed? Do you want to check if our father’s name is written on it?”
“Haha! Sometimes, I’m really afraid that these good days are all a dream . When I wake up, we are still living in the house with our grandmother . Our family is still cramped together in the rundown room beside the pigpen . Every day, there are endless chores and we also have to listen to our grandmother’s shrill scolding . We also can’t fill our stomachs… . I can tolerate all of these, but I’m most afraid that when you fall ill, our grandmother will tell us to throw you into the mass grave in the southern side of the mountains!” Xiaolian slightly choked up as she spoke .
Xiaocao also teared up . She patted Xiaolian’s shoulders and comforted in a soft voice, “Rest assured that it’s all in the past! There are still good days ahead of us . We must look ahead! You just have to wait to be a young miss of an official’s household . When the time comes, I’ll have my godmother find a good marriage for you and prepare a lavish wedding for you…”
“Humph! You only know how to tease me! How old am I that you’re already talking about my marriage?” Xiaolian blushed slightly as she thought of that tall, handsome, and tanned youth from a fisherman’s family . It must be because the kang bed was too hot . Yes, that must be it!
“You’re not that young anymore . You’ll be thirteen next year . In the previous dynasty, wasn’t it common for people to get engaged at thirteen and married at fifteen?” Yu Xiaocao teased .
Xiaolian glared at her and said, “Don’t just talk about me! We’re born on the same day, so aren’t you also going to be thirteen? Shouldn’t you also start thinking about your marriage?”
“Do I still need to worry about my marriage? Isn’t there Royal Prince Yang around? He has the status, the looks, and the ability . How many sons of officials in the capital can compare with him?” Yu Xiaocao showed off shamelessly .
Xiaolian widened her eyes and asked with a look of disbelief, “Are you really settled on Royal Prince Yang? He gives off the impression of being very cold and bad-tempered . His family background is also much higher than our family’s . Last time, Younger Brother taught me a phrase—‘incompatible due to one’s superiority’ . Are you two really suitable?”
“Only the feet will know if the shoes fit properly; only one’s heart will know if they’re suitable for each other . At present, he cares about me and I don’t dislike him . So let’s just leave it at that for now . There’s still several years until I become an adult . At that time, if he doesn’t change his heart and treats me wholeheartedly, then why not marry him?” Yu Xiaocao smiled gently .
Xiaolian stared at her for a long time, and then said, “Younger Sister, sometimes you give off the impression that you’re a wise elder, but there are also times when you seem like a childish kid . There are a lot of contradictions on you . Just like the matter of choosing a husband . Others would be bashful when talking about it, but it seems so natural when you’re the one talking about it…”
“What do you mean? Are you saying that I’m unabashed and shameless?” Yu Xiaocao reached into her blanket and attacked her armpits .
Xiaolian screamed and laughed as she begged for mercy, “No, I wasn’t trying to belittle you . I don’t know how to express it . Sometimes, I feel like you shouldn’t be born in the Great Ming Dynasty because you’re too reckless . You shouldn’t be shackled down by common customs . ”
“Wow! You’re starting to talk in a scholarly manner after studying with Younger Brother for a few days? Not bad ah . It’s such a surprise to hear such high-level terms from you!” Yu Xiaocao stopped attacking her and evaded the subject under discussion .
As the sisters were chatting, the sudden scream from a maidservant outside and Yingchun’s scolding could be heard, “What are you shouting about? I won’t spare you guys if you disturb the masters’ rest . Don’t make a fuss . These two are pets raised by the masters . They appear frightening, but they aren’t scary at all!”
“Yingchun, what’s the matter?” Yu Xiaocao poked her head out from the quilt .
Yingchun carried Tiny in from outside and said with a smile, “Young Miss, it’s nothing! A little maidservant got scared by Little Black and Little White . They are both lying in front of the door of the west wing, so we should do something about it . Where would be a suitable place for them to stay?”
Yu Xiaocao thought about it and said, “Aren’t there three rooms in the west wing? Xiaolian and I each have a room . There’s still one that’s vacant, so why don’t we just let them live there for now?”
Yingchun’s eyes darted around . With her head lowered, she stroked the head of the obedient and cute Tiny in her arms and said, “Then let’s have Tiny stay with this servant…”
“If the person you’re sharing the room with doesn’t mind the smell, then it’s up to you!” In actuality, Tiny was very obedient and would never relieve itself everywhere . At night, as long as the door was left slightly opened, it would find a place to relieve itself .
“Tiny doesn’t smell at all!” Yingchun said with a grin . She shared a room with Tanchun . Tanchun also seemed to really like the little roe deer, so she wouldn’t disagree . There weren’t any thirteen or fourteen year old girls who didn’t like cute pets .
After she said that, Wutong came in . Seeing the little roe deer in Yingchun’s hands and her excited expression, she said sullenly, “Today, I’m on duty with Qing’er . You should quickly bring the little roe deer back and rest . If you can’t get up tomorrow, the deduction of your monthly wage will be doubled!”