Chapter 9 – Sharp eyes and keen nose sniff out the plot
The hot tea was overturned to spill on the table, Shan Cha immediately started to tidy up in a flustered manner. While she was tidying up, she also responded in a rush, "Nothing happened in the manor. It's been very good."
"Oh?" Chu Qing-Yan looked at Shan Cha who was clearly rattled by her words. She raised an eyebrow and her tone became more forceful.
"Shan Cha is clumsy, Ninth Miss, please forgive me. Shan Cha will pour another cup for you." Shan Cha, having been made to feel guilty by Ninth Miss's misleading tone, immediately poured another cup of tea to conceal her current mood.
Chu Qing-Yan smiled shallowly, "No harm."
Accepting the teacup Shan Cha once again passed over, Chu Qing-Yan lightly sipped a mouthful. In a manner of discussing something ordinary, she said inadvertently, "Shan Cha, do you know why Elder Master Chu would suddenly want to welcome our entire family to return?"
"It ought to be because Elder Master Chu misses Ninth Miss, Elder Master and Elder Madam." Shan Cha responded with her eyes lowered.
Chuckling, Chu Qing-Yan couldn't help but to coldly sneer in her heart. At that time, Old Woman Li had also said the same thing in Mao Village. However, just now, in the main reception hall, she only saw Elder Master Chu with an old-fashioned expression and indifferent treatment towards Daddy and Mommy. He didn't even warm the seat for long before wanting to leave. Maybe in his eyes, they weren't even worth the painting he wanted to enjoy for his amusement. Wherefore could he still have the appearance of missing them? If she still couldn't see this, then she really had turned into a blind person.
"Shan Cha, I heard that I have several older brothers and younger sisters (1). Why didn't I see them today?" Clearly, this Shan Cha knew something, so Chu Qing-Yan decided to use a roundabout way to worm the facts out of her.
"The Elder had invited a teacher for the young masters and misses. As a result, the young masters and misses are all attending school. Wait until class is over, Ninth Miss will be able to see them." Seeing that Ninth Miss didn't continue to ask about that issue, Shan Cha let out a breath of relief and immediately answered cheerfully.
Shan Cha's mood change didn't escape Chu Qing-Yan's eyes. She understood clearly in her heart. She sat down on the chair with both hands holding her chin, a face full of innocence as she asked, "Then in the future, I can also go to school together with my brothers and sisters?"
"I'm afraid in the future Ninth Miss won't be able to…" The words that were blurted out immediately stopped. Shan Cha looked at her with a very awkward expression and followed quickly to say, "Ninth Miss, this servant remembered that the water is still boiling in the kitchen, I'll leave first to have a look."
Finished speaking, she didn't even wait for Chu Qing-Yan's answer before she had already left the room. As if there was a dog chasing after her.
Chu Qing-Yan looked after Shan Cha's panicked fleeing figure, and her body that was curved at the table slowly straightened. The innocent smile on her face also gradually retreated. Her gaze peacefully stared at the tea in her hand, her inner heart already in complete disorder.
Just now, she was merely using words to probe Shan Cha, she didn't expect to really get some clues.
Something huge must have happened in Chu family recently, as a result, their entire family was brought back. It was not because Chu family missed them, rather, it was because of some conspiracy. Otherwise, Shan Cha wouldn't have hemmed and hawed, and she even said that she wouldn't have a chance to go to school together with her brothers and sisters.
If her guesses were correct, Chu family's real target could be her. Because, since the beginning, when she entered Chu family, everyone's gazes rotated around her body. However, no matter how much she thought, she couldn't understand what could the Chu family possibly conspire on her body? She didn't have exceptional martial arts, also didn't have a hidden treasure map, what could she possibly have that people would want?
This was the area she couldn't understand after much thought.
She sat in the room for a stick of incense worth of time before Shan Cha slowly arrived again. This time, she brought dinner, even though it was merely some pickled vegetables and tofu, but it was richer than any meal she had since crossing over. Only now, the matter was heavy on her mind, so she simply didn't have any appetite, and she casually ate two mouthfuls.
And Shan Cha who was waiting on her at the side silently looked at her own feet. In the afternoon, she was almost out maneuvered by this seemingly easy to bully but in actuality very clever and gab Ninth Miss. Before the arrival of Ninth Miss's entire family, everyone in the Manor was ordered to have their mouth sealed. They were absolutely not allowed to mention that matter to Ninth Miss, otherwise, they would be punished using family law. Just thinking about it scared her.
Chu Qing-Yan ate absent-mindedly, while Shan Cha at her side was scared witless. Afraid that she would ask something again that would touch upon that taboo subject.
After she was done eating the meal, the color of the sky also was quickly getting darker.
Chu Qing-Yan stood up, and Shan Cha promptly asked, "Ninth Miss, do you intend to take a bath?"
"No, I just ate and am very full. I want to walk a bit to help digest the food. How about Shan Cha bring me to Mother and Father's place for a walk?" Chu Qing-Yan once again restored that innocent and naive expression of a young lady. Using her pair of large eyes, blinking innocently at Shan Cha.
Shan Cha originally wanted to say that the time of day was already late, they'll go tomorrow. However, under Ninth Miss's pair of pure innocent eyes, she couldn't say it. Although Second Madam had made clear that they couldn't divulge that matter to Ninth Miss, but also didn't restrict Ninth Miss's freedom. Consequently, she nodded her head and said, "Then, this servant will bring you over there."
Chu Qing-Yan's face was immediately full of joy as she followed behind her to walk towards where Mommy and Daddy lived.
Walking over along the way, besides being remote, it was more remote. It simply could be said to be an abandoned courtyard. Chu Qing-Yan's expression became more and more heavy, until Shan Cha told her that in that simple and crude room up ahead, lived her mother and father, and she accelerated her footsteps to walk past Shan Cha and enter the room.
At this moment, Mother Chu and Daddy Chu were just eating dinner, seeing their daughter coming in, Mother Chu immediately joyfully said to her, "Cai Cai came."
And Daddy Chu also waved his chopsticks at her, expressing the joy in his heart.
Chu Qing-Yan stepped forward to hug Mom, then hugged Daddy, before exposing a smiling expression. However, when she saw the food on the table from the corner of her eyes, the smiling expression on her face became rigid again.
She walked to the side of the table, picked up that dry, cold and having-turned-rancid steam bun, as well as that cooked rice mixed with stones. Then, she surveyed the room full of cobwebs, with shabby windows that couldn't block the wind, and she couldn't help but to feel angry.
"Cai Cai, it doesn't matter. Able to eat till we're full is good." Mother Chu patted her hand, and said in a consoling manner.
Having heard what was said, Chu Qing-Yan couldn't help but to hug Mother with wet eye sockets, "Mom, why is it that when you guys returned to Chu family, and live a life that is more bitter than in Mao village. Maybe it's better if we go back now!"
"Foolish child, what nonsense are you saying. We have already come, how can we say such demoralizing words so lightly from such a trivial matter?" Mother Chu smiled softly, stroking her long hair and quietly said.
Because Shan Cha stood far away and the dialogue between mother and daughter was said in a low voice, she thought it was because Ninth Miss had just come to a strange place and was red in the eyes because she hated to be parted from her parents. So, she didn't detect something was wrong with Chu Qing-Yan.
Chu Qing-Yan suddenly recalled that there was an outsider by her side, she straightened her body and then said to Shan Cha, "I want to say some private words to my mom. You wait outside for us and guard the door. If someone comes, then knock on the door."
"Yes." Shan Cha answered and withdrew, in passing, she closed that door that was on the verge of collapse.
Chu Qing-Yan had no hope that Shan Cha would help to notify and disclose information to her. She merely seized the opportunity to send her away.
Only their family of three remained in the room, before Chu Qing-Yan got to the point and said, "Mom, don't you feel something is strange? It's not because Chu family really misses us and then went to pick us up to bring us back to the Capital. Moreover, everyone's gaze when looking at us seemed somewhat strange. Taking a step back to say, daughter's place is clearly much better than yours. This makes daughter feel that it is very unreasonable."
1) The brothers and sisters refers to her cousins, traditionally, people in the same family of the same generation call each other brothers and sisters even though they are cousins.