Chapter 2: Liu *
(*Liu shi 氏-Ms.Liu, shi means clan name)
The person who arrived was the second wife of Count Southern-lands manor. Her surname was Liu* as in jade. Several years ago she was received in the manor by Count Southern-land. Her clans background was rather profound, in three generations they held a position of honour. Therefore when she married Count Southern-land to become a concubine, there were many discussions in the capital. People were very curious as to what the Liu family were thinking to have promised their daughter to Fan Jian.
(*Liu means willow and pronounced yu (jade))
Although Fan Jian had received an order of feudal nobility, after all he was only distantly related to the influential Fan clan. It was only within the last ten years that Count Southern-land had prospered, gradually becoming a high official. His talent only served the Liu family and the woman’s sinister gaze.
But the strange thing is that the fair and reasonable Count Southern-land, had not corrected her*. The theory was that he was yielding due to the status of the Liu family. No matter the conditions it seemed unreasonable.
(*I’m assuming when she plots etc. almost like she can get away with murder- which she did ~the first wife)
Fan Xian had an affectionate smile across his face as he deeply bowed towards the second wife*, “Xian, son greets aunt*.”
(*yi niang-fathers concubine)
Liu also smiled broadly, however a trace of an indescribable expression flashed through her pupils. She appeared to tensely listen to the youngster refer to her as aunt, in a manner unlike others who appeared to address her as second wife.
The difference between wife* and aunt, was like the difference between the clouds and mud.**
(*太太Madam, 太-greatest highest)
** The difference between cloud and mud; great difference in social standing.)
Liu smiled while saying “Come in. Why come all this way to sit under a rain eave in a daze? If outsiders were to see this, they would say that the people of our Fan manor are intolerable to others.”
Can’t be tolerant of other people? Naturally these people cannot tolerate him residing here. Fan Xian lightly sighs in his heart. He was aware that his aunt was reminding him of his status as an illegitimate child. He did not fail to admire his counterparts beautiful speech. Originally he did not prepare many words to provoke the other side, for he knew perfectly well that that the other side has been managing the manor in the capital for a while. It would be fun to take a verbal advantage, but he soon thinks, since both sides have irreconcilable contradictions of interests, that there was no need to once again make many concessions?
He felt in his heart, that he should not foolishly imagine that this aunt and his past differences were over; she was still the sinister woman he imagined her to be. Four years ago, during twilight, this married woman killed many people by poison.
Following behind the second wife towards the hall, not too far away from her was a lady whose unique and delicate fragrance spread to Fan Xian. He smelt it for a while longer, thinking that this perfume smelt even better.
At this moment he was still able to think of these trivial matters. Fan Xian was somewhat satisfied with his current state of mind. Smiling as though they were discussing idle* matters.
(*it’s also his name Xian)
The aunt* together with the juvenile, actually appeared to genuinely play the role of a somewhat compassionate mother and obedient son.
The tea was served, it was authentic from Wu Feng (*north west) known for gathering the best tea. The light refreshments came from Jiang Nan (*south), which was known for the small delicious round flaky pastries. They spoke of regards to the Old Madam in Danzhou*, the sea side scenery and unusual places in the capital, until there was nothing more to say.
Thereupon Ms. Liu and Fan Xian simultaneously had a mutual understanding to keep the silence. Both sides were aware that the other is not easy to deal with. The amusement of probing speech was insignificant, that being the case it was better to simply remain in silence.
Therefore the drawing room* had a rather awkward atmosphere. The attending maid servants were as quiet as a cicada in winter**, even when serving tea their footsteps were very light.
(*room for arriving guests
**idiom-keep quiet out of fear /keep silent)
Only Fan Xian and the second wife were not awkward. They occasionally held the teacup and shared a mutual glance, a soft and gentle gaze, soft and gentle like a knife.
Ms. Liu felt a bit serious, she discovered that the juvenile before her was truly different from what she expected. In this situation he responded with ease, not the least bit uncomfortable with nerves. He was rather mature. Unexpectedly he appeared like her husband but in comparison he seemed more cautious.
It seems like she should not have listened to that persons provocations four years ago, making this youth her enemy for no good reason. Now that he is aware, he is not easy to handle and many methods are now useless.
She immediately realised that the silence made her look weak, after all she was the elder here, so after two light coughs she began, “Your father has been assigned the position of Vice Minister of Finance*. He is returning to the capital. Will you be preparing for next imperial examination or directly advance to the Ministry of Finance to work?”
(*Minister of Revenue-Finance)
Fan Xian smiled while answering truthfully, “I will obey my father’s command.” He paused before continuing, “I am merely unaware of when my father, the lord* will return.”
(*da ren- lord, term of respect for an adult)
To be honest, there were several people he wished to see in the capital; naturally the lady in front of him was amongst them, teacher Fei Jie and younger sister. But the one he was most curious of was of course, his father.
He was very curious of how Count Southern-land met his mother. The richest woman in the world*, leaving her home was a very curious matter. In the depths of his heart, he only recognized the dead woman as his mother, but refused to recognize Count Southern-land as his parent. This is probably just another strange notion in a man’s heart.
(*Is this true? I haven’t caught up on all the chapters due to above reasons)
“Your father will be back soon.”
As they were speaking, the entrance into the inner courtyard became slightly noisy. Maidservants anxiously rushed to greet the newcomer. But the sounds arrived too quickly and so the maidservants all made way for a young lady to walk.
The young lady was not beautiful, and between her eyebrows was a frown. Her disposition was weak with a trace of indifference. This indifference was not the same as an iceberg beauty*. The indifference was not based on contempt; rather it was based on some unknown confidence, but her cold bearing brought about a sense of conflict in the surroundings.
Fan Xian’s heart was slightly moved. A look of apathy appears on the young lady’s face, the same look many nobles have. It really was not an agreeable appearance.
The young lady looked straight at Fan Xian’s face. The frown between her eyebrows gradually began to disappear until finally there was no trace left. Her mixed emotions caused a slight blush to appear on her cheeks. She opened her mouth, desiring to speak but then paused and took half a step back, seemingly shaken. The young lady fixed her garments before curtsying, in a clear and soft voice she began, “After meeting, I hope to get along with elder brother.”
Fan Xian smiled humbly as he reached out his hand to support her, ‘Ruoruo*, younger sister need not be so polite.”
(*She stayed in Port Danzhou with him)
Their gazes accidently met, it was an honest gaze without any signs of impurities just happiness. For several years they had exchanged letters, it may be assumed that in this world the two people who knew each other most, was this pair of brother and sister.
They did not know how to express themselves after being separated for ten years. It really felt amazing for brother and sister to be reunited again.
“Hello, are you Fan Xian?”
Fan Xian turned towards the voice. A boy who was looking in from the outside stepped in on the doorstep. He was a juvenile with a fat figure and a few annoying moles on the left side of his face. He had a face of resentment*, therefore it was slightly disgusting to look at him.