Chapter 6 – Unclear future prospects makes it hard for the heart to feel secure
Without stopping for rest, they journeyed for half a month. Chu Qing-Yan felt as if her whole body was about to scatter from being jolted by the horse carriage. Mother also lightly hammered at her shoulder from time to time. Fortunately, Daddy felt that being jolted to and fro was very fun, his entire person bounced about vivaciously and didn't seem to ever be exhausted.
Only, Chu Qing-Yan's heart had some faint uneasiness. This Old Woman Li and group made all haste through the wind and rain, not even stopping to rest. They drove towards the Capital as if their lives depended on it. This made her feel somewhat incredulous, as if she and her parents weren't being picked up to be reunited with Chu family. Rather, they were being rushed to the Manor for a banquet set up to murder them, this thought made her tremble from head to toe.
Just at this time, the horse carriage came to a stop. Chu Qing-Yan raised an eyebrow in puzzlement. Immediately after, she heard the sound of horse's hooves approaching. Chu Qing-Yan lifted up the window curtain in the carriage, only seeing Wang Ting sitting straight up on the horse. When he saw her head stretching out to explore, he immediately said, "Ninth Miss, today, after going over this mountain top, we'll arrive at the Capital. This servant came to tell you this."
Chu Qing-Yan nodded her head, following which she let the curtain down.
Wang Ting saw that this Ninth Miss always treated people coldly and distantly with very few words. Before, he thought that this was because this little girl from the countryside didn't understand etiquette. However, in this short time of coming into contact with her, he discovered that the Ninth Miss didn't say much, but every time she spoke, she always hit the nail on the head. Knowing when to advance or retreat was more appropriate, really didn't seem like a person who grew up in the wild mountains and fields. Using that action from just now as an example, although she didn't say anything, that bright and cold gaze already made him, a person who was a servant for more than 20 years, feel a slight fear. Wang Ting thought about it, although Ninth Miss's entire family returning to Chu family could be said to be inauspicious, however. because this was what was called extreme sorrow turns into joy, maybe the Ninth Miss could fly to the top of the branches to become a phoenix (1). He should not be as rude as before, in any case, it's not like he would lose a chunk of meat for being a bit more polite. Just in case, when the time came, he could ride on her success and could also ask for a good job.
As a result, Wang Ting decided, he wouldn't be like Old Woman Li who was polite on the surface but secretly disdainful of this whole family.
Chu Qing-Yan didn't know that the careless action she revealed would bring about this kind of result. Although, following this, Wang Ting was a lot more attentive to her, making her somewhat suspicious. But all of her attention was focused on them about to arrive tomorrow to meet the family.
At that time, when Daddy became a soldier, going to war to bring honor to his family. They regarded Daddy as a hero in the family. However, when Daddy lost the war and was subjected to the censure of the common people, they didn't stand in front of Daddy to protect him. Instead, they drove Daddy who was seriously injured out of Chu family, even driving out her delicate mother and the her who was not even two month old.
This was called 'it's easy to add flowers to something already decorated perfectly. but difficult to find someone to provide help in one's hour of need'.
Chu Qing-Yan withdrew from her train of thought and turned around to look at her tired and napping mother and her daddy with his eyes opened wide. She couldn't help but to stop Daddy's hand that was just about to pull at mother's hair. Her expression became fierce to scare him and said.
"Daddy, Mother is tired, if you wake her up, then daughter will ignore you from now on."
Daddy Chu immediately retracted his hand and spit his tongue at his own daughter. Afterwards, he obediently sat there properly, a face full of innocence as he looked at her, "Cai Cai, just now, that large horse face said very soon, we'll arrive at the Capital. Isn't it saying that very quickly, I'll be able to see the inserted in backwards scallion?"
Large horse face? Chu Qing-Yan couldn't help but to smile. The nickname Daddy chose for Wang Ting was quite fitting. However, after hearing the following sentence, the smile on her face, all at once, froze. She originally thought that Daddy hadn't mentioned that purple-faced person for a long time because he had tossed it to the back of his head. How could she have known that he would mention it again right now. Suddenly, she didn't know how she should respond.
Haven't detected daughter's embarrassed expression, Daddy Chu, with a yearning expression, continued to say, "Inserted in backwards scallion must have already finished weaving the net and is waiting for me. When the time comes, I'll bring both of you to go fishing!"
The corner of Chu Qing-Yan's mouth couldn't help but twitch. She hoped that when the time came, Daddy not being disappointed would be good.
The sun that set over the mountain top once again rose. Another day had passed, and Chu Qing-Yan's group of people had already arrived at the Capital of Western Xuan Empire.
"Eldest Master, Eldest Madam, walking past this street, we will arrive at our Manor." Wang Ting rode a horse along the side of the carriage and said.
Chu Qing-Yan had already lifted up the window curtain of the carriage when they entered the city. She was enjoying the most lively and bustling capital city of Western Xuan Empire. It was worthy of being the Capital. Whether it was the people walking on the street or the stall keeper of the stores, all of them gave a person a different kind of feeling. Like when she went traveling to Shanghai as a tourist during summer vacation. It's only when she placed herself in this ancient smells, with ancient appearance and lively ancient capital, did she finally accept the fact that she had really crossed over a thousand years, to this nation that had been drowned out in the river of history.
The dazzling stores made her recall the 'Three Squares and Seven Lanes (2)'. Only, the buildings in front of her gave her eyes the shock that this was real. Rather than being separated by the long river of time, where she would stand on tiptoes fantasizing about how ancient people lived, it was because in front of her eyes, this was all happening.
Retracting her gaze, she turned to see the excitement in Mother's eyes and the curiosity on Daddy's face. She suddenly felt that perhaps, the decision to come to the Capital was correct.
The more they walked along this road, the more secluded it became. The stream of people became more and more sparse. Chu Qing-Yan understood that the richer and nobler a family, the quieter the place of their residence would be.
Chu Qing-Yan's pair of eyes sized up the surrounding environment, continuously using this reason to comfort herself. However, the more they continued down this road, the more she was unable to calmly believe in her own lies.
Weeds, broken roof tiles, motley doors and walls, grounds that were full of potholes….
Was this really the area of the rich and noble residence? This ought to be considered the slums, right?
The horse carriage passed a small alley, then, a lot of beggars swarmed around, barring the carriage from moving, wanting to beg for a little bit of food to eat. The womenfolk were all scared until all of them moved to hide inside the horse carriage. Wang Ting and the little boy servant immediately drove away the crowd, only then did they continue on their way in a normal manner.
Mother Chu lightly patted her chest and said, still in a panicked state, "Clearly, ten years ago, this place was still flourishing. How has it become so desolated now?"
Having heard Mother's words, Chu Qing-Yun couldn't help but to ask, "Mother, then, ten years ago, what did this place look like?"
Once she mentioned the past, a luster appeared in Mother Chu's eyes. She grabbed her daughter's hand and said, recalling the memories, "Before, this was known as the street of generals. Every household had produced a general, many people often came and went about these streets. It was very lively. The common people all felt that it was an honor to live here, only afterwards——"
Speaking towards the end, Mother Chu's expression became gloomy, "Only, that year, your dad lost in the war, with the entire army wiped out. And the high-ranking officers and common soldiers that were sacrificed, most of them came from this street. After that event, those wives and children of the soldier’s' family couldn't accept the condemnation of the common people. Discouraged, those that could move, moved, some scattered, and this place become more and more bleak."
"However, this daughter remembers that our Chu family produced literary government officials, how could we have lived here?" Chu Qing-Yan asked with some doubts.
Mother Chu sighed, having heard what was said, "The Chu family, for many years, didn't produce a literary government official. Gradually, it nearly declined to the point of disappearing, until your father made a name for himself after a battle. Your father received care from the emperor and was bestowed this residence. Only then did the Chu family move here."
"What? Mother's meaning is that the Chu family that was about to be removed from the minister records are actually staying in Daddy's residence?" Chu Qing-Yan's eyes opened wide.
Mother Chu lamented and nodded her head.
Chu Qing-Yan was immediately full of anger, so, it turned out that the three of them were chased out of their own home, then, they were swept out of the door! How could she not be angry!
Then, she must meet and experience this shameless family!
1) Fly to the top of the branches to become a phoenix: This means marrying into the royal family, climbing to the top to become queen. Or simply marrying into a good family and becoming the female head of the family.
2) Three squares and seven lanes is a well-preserved city block in the center of Fuzhou, China. This area is full of ancient houses all the way from the Ming Dynasty.