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Royal Twelfth Uncle was doted on by Grandfather because he was the youngest, so he was always throwing his weight around.

As a result, he was even more domineering too Zhu Zan who had just returned to the capital. As a result, he got into a fight with Zhu Zan.

Zhu Zan hit him, then pretended to be dead and struck with a muck-rake[1].

Royal Twelfth Uncle was angry to the point of death.

At that time, Master was in the capital as an imperial physician. Royal Twelfth Uncle requested Royal Grandfather to get Master to go and give him a "miraculous resurrection" in order to harm Zhu Zan’s face.

At that time, she was fully into begging Master to cure her Father, and wanted to secretly run over to Master to beg him to be her teacher and teach her his arts.

That day, she managed to exit the palace with great difficulty by hiding in a float when Master was called to go cure Zhu Zan.

She had no choice but to go to the Duke of Chengguo’s residence. In the end, it was harder to get into the duke’s residence than the imperial palace.

After much struggle, she climbed a large tree to clamber over the wall but was caught by someone. That person was not lenient with her just because she was child. It was simply frightening.

Good thing the people Father sent to find her arrived and saved her, bringing her back to the palace.

As for what happened between Zhu Zan and Royal Twelfth Uncle in the end, she didn’t remember quite clearly. She just remembered his name because of this instance; she never saw him.

After that she followed Master, returning to the capital once a year while Zhu Zan was with the Duke of Chengguo in the northern territory. She didn't’ know if he had returned to the capital in that period of time, at least she had never heard or seen anything about it.

But she did have an impression of the Duke of Chengguo because Father really liked him. When she was small, she had sat in his embrace in his study while he received the Duke of Chengguo, and he had treated him as a friend.

She remembered the Duke of Chengguo as a scholarly man. He didn’t look as boring and dull as the other cabinet members, inclined to being over cautious or half-hearted or wearing fake smiles.

His smile was very warm and sincere. When he saw her anxiously looking at the tables, he passed her a small dish of honeyed food when Father wasn’t looking.

She liked to eat honeyed foods, but it was terrible for her teeth. Father and Mother and Big Sister looked after her to the death, so they didn’t let her eat sweets.

She managed to hide the Duke of Chengguo’s sweets for a day, but in the end was found out by the palace maids.

She felt the brotherhood between her and him and didn’t rat him out.

When she thought this, Miss Jun couldn’t help but smile, but a sourness tinged her heart.

Father and Mother were no longer here. That time had passed.

Liu’er was frightened by the glistening tears in Miss Jun’s eyes.

"Young Miss…" she asked uneasily. "Is someone bullying you?"

She shook her head and smiled.

"No." She caressed Liu’er’s head. "I just thought of my parents and family."

Master and Madam had already passed. Having no family was indeed a sad thing.

Liu’er’s eyes reddened too.

Sadness was an easy emotion for people to sink into. Once opened it was like a flood breaching a dike.

Sadness was something without meaning.

Miss Jun forcibly curbed her emotions and rolled up the map.

"Take this map. If Manager Gao comes, give it to him. He has use for it," she instructed.

Ling’er said ‘en’ and took it.

"I’m going to the medicine room to look at Young Master’s medicine," she said, exiting.

"Young Miss is so tired yet still makes medicine. It really is too much suffering," said Liu’er with passion.

Miss Jun shook her head.

"In order to get something there is a price. There are no free things in this world," she lectured. "I don’t find it to be hard. This is not true suffering. It is fairness. Liu’er, you should learn this."

Liu’er tilted her head and considered it carefully.

"So you’re saying there is nothing cheap in this world. And if you are too greedy, you’ll suffer a big loss," she said. "If you want something, you have to work hard, yes?"

Miss Jun smiled and rubbed her head.

"Yes, Liu’er gets it," she praised.

Liu’er smiled sunnily.

As the late hour continued upon them, every courtyard started to boil water for the evening wash.

Concubine Yuan who was walking by stopped, inhaling a heavy scent in the air.

"This medicinal scent is very concentrated," she said.

Concubine Su also took a whiff.

"Young Master is over there. Every night he takes a medicinal bath," she answered.

Curiosity passed over Concubine Yuan’s face.

"Big Sister, do you think it’s of any use?" she asked quietly.

"Lady didn’t say much about it, so it should be effective," answered Concubine Su.

A light twinkled in Concubine Yuan’s eyes.

"How effective could it be?" she said. "So it’s really curing his sickness so he can have sexual intercourse?"

Concubine Su coughed lightly and frowned at her.

Concubine Yuan did not care and grabbed her sleeve.

"Let’s go look," she whispered.

Concubine Su made a ‘hey!’ sound, and pulled back her sleeve back.

"Young Lady said no one was allowed to go," she said. "Several servant girls have already been sold. Don’t provoke her, or else she really will sell you. Old Lady and Lady won’t protect you."

She smiled.

"It’s that serious? I see Young Lady’s temper is very good," she said. Although she said this, she still didn’t move.

"Whether she’s serious or not doesn’t mean you need to go try it," said Concubine Su. "This is being overseen by Old Lady and Lady. We just need to do our own jobs."

Concubine Su’s words were boring, just like her personality.

Concubine Yuan giggled.

"Big Sister, I really cannot imagine how you managed to be happy when you married Master," she said. "As it happens, he fancied you."

Concubine Su wore an embarrassed expression.

"How could he have fancied me, could it be you weren’t?" she asked.

Concubine Yuan latched onto her arm and stifled a laugh.

"But you were the one to birth Third Miss," she said with a laugh. "Master must have rested a lot in your room, isn’t that because Master liked you?"

Although she had become a mother so many years ago, when she heard this teasing, she couldn’t help but feel embarrassed.

"Stop with that nonsense," she said, flustered. "Master is not here any more, what’s the use of talking about happiness."

Yes, the men were no more. What’s the point of talking like this.

Concubine Yuan sighed, her mind drifting.

It had already been so many years that her recollections of that man had become funny.

"I recall being so leisurely back then. The whole day I was focused on getting Master to look at me," she couldn’t help but say. "How could I know…"

How could she know that she would be okay without a man, and that there was another side to the world.

Concubine Su stared at her.

"You say that like you’re happy Master is not here," she said.

Of course not.

Concubine Yuan smiled bashfully, but when she thought of how that man had treated her... Lady treated her better. She could say that she was sad when he passed, but it was more like worry for the future that made her sad. But later she found that the sky didn’t collapse because there was no man.

"Okay, hurry along now. Tomorrow the management is coming to check the accounts. If we make a mistake, those shopkeepers will laugh," reminded Concubine Su.

At this, Concubine Yuan’s expression took a more pleasant turn.

"If you want to make a joke at my expense, it won’t be that easy," she retorted with a smile.

She began to leave. Concubine Su followed after her and shot a look at Fang Chengyu’s courtyard.

The medicinal scent was getting stronger.

The scent wasn’t gone by morning.

"Young Lady, go to the greenhouse for a turn," advised Liu’er, opening the window. "This study is far too smelly."

Miss Jun did not plan on going to the greenhouse. She planned on doing some archery.

Liu’er excitedly collected their things and made the servant girls go with her. She would manage the internal affairs of the courtyard.

Actually there wasn’t anything to arrange. The most pressing thing was preparing Young Lady’s meals. She decided to make a personal trip to the kitchens when she heard laughter coming from Fang Chengyu’s rooms.

The laughter burst forth for an instant before the room sunk back into silence.

Fang Chengyu had a lot of things to do in the morning, like relieve himself, change clothes, wash etc.

Liu’er didn’t feel like going to check.

"Don’t let anyone come in," she warned the servants by the courtyard gate before leaving.

In the room, Lingzhi covered her mouth as she pulled away from the window, blushing and smiling at Fang Chengyu.

"What could be so scary? Not letting too many people wait on me, and they won’t even let you laugh?" Fang Chengyu said.

Lingzhi blushed and smiled.

"It’s better to be more stable. Several sisters have been chased away already," she replied. She looked at Fang Chengyu with worry and sadness. "If I was chased away, what would Young Master do."

She had let her tongue slip, and her face blushed even harder.

"I mean, the new people are not as familiar as us. We can wait on Young Master better," she amended quickly.

Fang Chengyu looked at her flushed cheeks and squeezed the armrests of his wheelchair.

"Lingzhi, is this story nice to listen to?" he asked.

Lingzhi looked at the book in Fang Chengyu’s hands and nodded.

"It’s very nice to listen to."

His eyes narrowed slightly, and his voice became gentler.

"I have a better book, with a better story. How about I read it for you?" he asked.

She nodded.

"Yes," she said happily.

Fang Chengyu looked at the bed.

"The book is on the bed. Help me to it. We can read it on the bed," he said softly.

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