Chapter 484 - Intimidated
He Wanning hurriedly hid the vial behind her back, crinkling her nose at Yu Xiaocao, “Do people do things like you? How can you take back things that you’ve already given away? If you can guarantee that my skin won’t become this dark even when I’m constantly going out, then whatever, I’ll be your living signboard!”
It was already near noon by the time she sent the two of them away . Yu Xiaocao rubbed her shriveled abdomen . She originally intended to sleep in, and, as she had not expected to be aroused so early, she only had a cup of jasmine tea and two pieces of honey cakes . She was so hungry!
“What’s wrong? Do you have an upset stomach?” Zhu Junyang disregarded common practice and took long strides into the inner courtyard . He was even faster than the little maidservant who came to report his arrival . Seeing Yu Xiaocao clutching her stomach, he worriedly went to support her .
“I’m hungry~” Yu Xiaocao mewed, and the sound tickled Zhu Junyang’s ears and heart .
Seeing the little lass’s unenergetic form, Zhu Junyang’s heart ached and he scolded, “Are all these servants dead? Why aren’t you hurrying to the kitchen to prepare a meal? Do you not see how starved your mistress is?”
“Er . . . don’t yell at the servants . I told them not to prepare my meal, since Godmother said we’d have lunch at Zhenxiu Restaurant . If I ate now, I wouldn’t be able to eat later!” Yu Xiaocao noticed that his expression began to darken whereas her maidservants started to tremble while their faces turned pale . She was afraid that this black-faced devil would scare away her maidservants .
“Second Young Miss, the madam is asking if you’re prepared to leave? If you are, we can head out to Zhenxiu Restaurant now!” Erya was indeed a very dense person . She excitedly rushed over, smiling sweetly at Xiaocao while she prattled on . She even shot the other maidservants a curious look when she saw them looking a little odd .
The maidservants all thought, ‘Sister Erya is so great . She is unfazed by Royal Prince Yang’s oppressive aura . ’ Inwardly, they were a little less contemptuous of this undisciplined little girl who came from the countryside .
Meanwhile, Erya thought, ‘Royal Prince Yang is angry? Aiyaya, is this for real? Why didn’t anyone remind me? I wouldn’t be thrown out, would I?’
The other maidservants: …
“Why didn’t you wear a cloak before you came out? If these maidservants can’t do things right, just send them away, I’ll give you some disciplined ones!” Zhu Junyang was displeased when he noticed that Xiaocao was only clad in a thin layer of clothes . These wretched maidservants—did they feel contemptuous of his little lass? Was that why they were so careless in serving her? This cannot do—he must request his lady mother to send a few of her maidservants over, lest his little lass suffer any grievances .
The maidservants present dropped to the ground on their knees, pale-faced and begging for mercy . Only Erya was dazedly standing beside the second young miss, thinking, ‘Why did everyone kneel all of a sudden? Can anyone explain? What should I do? Should I continue to stand, or should I kneel like the others?’
“You’re so impressive, Royal Prince Yang! You have an even greater authority here than I, the mistress of this residence! Don’t you think your actions have crossed the line?” Yu Xiaocao rolled her eyes at him, gesturing for her maidservants to get up .
The maidservants discreetly glanced at Royal Prince Yang, unsure of whether to rise or not . Erya rushed them, “Second Young Miss told you to rise, so why aren’t you guys listening to her? No wonder Royal Prince Yang is mad! Hurry and rise, or are you waiting for your mistress to come and help you up?”
There were a few clever ones among the maidservants who quickly understood . They were the servants of the Yu Residence, so even if Royal Prince Yang had a high status, it was still a taboo for them to disregard their master’s good intentions for an ‘outsider’ . These clever little maidservants quickly got up, and though they were still pale-faced and fear was still present in their hearts, they still stood respectfully beside their mistress . A second-rank maidservant who had been assigned to Yu Xiaocao asked for her permission before running towards the west wing . Royal Prince Yang was angered because the young miss was too thinly clad; she must quickly bring the young miss her cloak .
"Alright! Stop frowning, you're scaring the little maidservants . It's not good even if you only scare the flowers and grass! Erya, go and tell Godmother that I’m prepared to leave at any time!” Yu Xiaocao said to Erya after comforting the little maidservants while she put on her arctic fox fur cloak .
Once Erya received the order, she immediately ran towards the inner courtyard . Zhu Junyang witnessed this and his eyebrows creased . What was this? There’s no sense of propriety at all!
Soon, the Yu Household had donned their best clothes that were mostly commissioned by Xiaocao when she was in the capital . They were the authentic crafts from Exquisite Garments . Although they were not made by Modiste Jiang herself, they still came from the skilled hands of the seamstresses of Exquisite Garments .
“You prepared such a bright set of clothes for me, and your sister, Xiaolian even coaxed me into wearing it . I think it’s better if I change it…” The Yu Family was already used to Royal Prince Yang’s appearances . Madam Liu only politely nodded at him before she complained to her youngest daughter .
Yu Xiaocao saw that her mother was wearing a dark red Qi-style attire that paired with an azure blue, pleated skirt . A lotus pattern was embroidered on the collar, cuffs and hemline of the skirt . The outfit made her mother look younger by several years . Not to mention, Madam Liu’s skin was fair and her waist was slim . No matter how one looked at it, she didn’t seem like a woman who already had a child over the age of ten .
“Mother, you look very spirited and young when you wear this, almost as if you’re only in your early twenties! If we stood together, others would definitely only think that we’re sisters, not mother and daughter!” Yu Xiaocao couldn’t stop complimenting her mother as she clutched onto her arm .
Yu Xiaolian wore a light blue Qi-style attire underneath a light yellow jacket . Fox fur had been sewn at the hem of her collar and sleeves, making her seem youthful and cute . Hearing Xiaocao’s compliments, she also chipped in, “You see, Mother! Don’t you trust Youngest Sister’s beauty standards?”
Yu Xiaocao saw her gleeful father at one side and smiled, “Mother! You really look good wearing this . If you don’t believe me, ask Father!”
Yu Hai’s eyes lingered on his wife for a long time and, upon hearing this, grinned, “Beautiful, you look really beautiful! You’re as beautiful as when I first met you!”
Madam Liu’s face flushed with color when she heard his words . She glanced at her daughters who were smilingly watching them and embarrassedly glared at her husband, “What nonsense are you spouting?! Are you not afraid that the kids will laugh? Let’s leave now, best not to let our adopted family wait for too long!”
Madam Liu and her two daughters got into a horse carriage, while Yu Hai and Yu Hang each rode on a horse a small distance behind Royal Prince Yang . The three of them would occasionally softly exchange a few words .
Zhenxiu Restaurant had opened branches in both the east and west side of the capital . The east was where the wealthy people lived, whereas esteemed families would live in the west of the city . During the development of the capital in the previous dynasty, the officials would choose to live in the western side of the capital to make it easier for the emperor to summon them . The residence that Xiaocao bought could also be considered as the residence of an official of the previous dynasty . It was bought by Assistant Minister Li after he moved to the capital for his duties . As such, it was only a few minutes away from the Zhenxiu Restaurant at the west side of the city .
Third Young Master Zhou, Zhou Zixu, was currently discussing certain matters with the manager of Zhenxiu Restaurant . He had arrived early and waited at the restaurant’s entrance as he heard that General Fang was holding a welcoming feast for the Yu Family today . From afar, he saw Royal Prince Yang atop his horse and beside him were both the father and son of the Yu Family . Then, his gaze moved to the horse carriage that followed behind them and smiled as he went up to greet them, “I’ve been waiting for you, Royal Prince Yang!”
Royal Prince Yang had already somewhat sensed Third Young Master Zhou’s feelings towards Xiaocao, so he only coldly grunted before he led the company into the restaurant . Zhou Zixu knew that the well-known Royal Prince Yang had always been cold and aloof, so he did not take his response to heart . Instead, he turned to Yu Hai and ardently said, “Uncle Yu, it’s been a long time since we last met . I didn’t think that I would meet fellow villagers in the capital . This is also a kind of fate . Let me show my filial piety by treating you to this meal…”
“Zhou Family’s little brat, didn’t I say this meal is my treat? What are you doing, cutting in? Brother Dahai and his family will be staying in the capital until after New Year, will you be unable to find a chance to treat them to a meal?” Fang Zizhen angrily scolded Third Young Master Zhou when he came down from a private room upstairs and overheard his words .
Zhou Zixu hurriedly rectified, “It’s my lack of thorough consideration . How about this, on the sixteenth of the last month of the year, I’ll treat both Uncle Yu and General Fang’s families to a meal . Please be sure to honor me!”
‘The sixteenth of the last month of the year? That’d be three days from now . This little brat is quite considerate . The Yu Household would’ve had enough time to settle into their new home and rest in three days . ’ Fang Zizhen boldly patted his shoulders, “Alright! I agree on behalf of Brother Dahai . Now hurry, bring out the good wine and dishes, don’t let our esteemed guests wait!”
“How could I? Uncle Yu is like my elder…” Zhou Zixu trailed off when he caught sight of a small, familiar figure stepping down from the horse carriage, and his face immediately lit up .
Xiaocao and Xiaolian were helped down first . The accompanying Wutong and Qing’er, learning from the morning’s lesson, rushed to help their mistresses don their cloaks . The two extremely similar girls then reached out to a beautiful woman in her thirties and helped her down the horse carriage . The scene was quite pleasing to the eye .
“Oh? Your Imperial Majesty, isn’t that the newly titled feudal princess, Miss Yu, down there?” Sitting by the window, Su Ran still had the heart to appreciate the view even on such a cold day . His eyes shone with surprise as he commented to the emperor who had come out in plain clothes to have a change of palate .
Zhu Junfan stood up and walked over . He hesitated for a moment when he saw two girls that looked almost the same, and said with uncertainty, “That . . . Yu Xiaocao is the one wearing the rose-colored jacket, right?”
Although the two little misses looked extremely similar and even their height and postures were about the same, Su Ran was still able to recognize Yu Xiaocao at one glance . Her clear gaze and animated expressions gave her away . “Your Imperial Majesty is wise . ”
“Yu Xiaocao actually has a twin sister? We heard that many among the common folk would send away one twin when they were born for fear that they wouldn’t be able to raise the both of them together . Either that, or they would drown one of them . Is that the truth?” Zhu Junfan’s eyebrows creased together . This was all because of poverty!
Su Ran thought about it and said, “There are some that send away or drown their child, but because the conditions of most families aren’t good, often times, the milk of the mother isn’t enough to sustain two children, so they can only choose one to feed, while the other’s survival would depend solely on divine will, as its own body would be weak and frail . ”
“Ai… Giving birth to twins was such a joyous occasion in the future, but our people… When can we truly become a strong country with prosperous people?” Zhu Junfan mumbled to himself, upset about these circumstances .