Fang Yunxiu shouted after her, but Fang Jinxiu had disappeared like a wisp of smoke.
A young servant boy was waiting at the side entrance with a horse. Fang Jinxiu nimbly mounted the horse and sped away. Fang Yunxiu was helpless to stop her.
Fang Jinxiu learned to ride horses when she was young. The sisters, since they had to operate the family business, could not just sit at home all day. Inevitably, there would be one that had to travel outside.
It was hard work to travel outside. You had to show your face in public in wind and frost, rain and snow. A girl raised like a boy. Fang Jinxiu scrambled to learn horsemanship when she was just seven or eight years old; at that time, even boys might not have started learning yet, but she toughened up and learned it.
Fang Yunxiu stood outside the side entrance, anxious and distressed.
Just as Fang Jinxiu had chosen to be the one to travel outside, she had fought with Jun Zhenzhen without caring for her reputation. Any sort of difficult, reputation destroying, disadvantageous thing, she would be the first one to volunteer.
"Eldest Sister," Fang Yuxiu's voice came from behind.
Fang Yunxiu turned around and grasped Fang Yuxiu's hand.
"You couldn't stop her?" Fang Yuxiu asked.
Fang Yunxiu sighed and nodded.
"Prepare the carriage. I will go too," she said.
Fang Yuxiu did not let go of her hand, her expression contemplative.
"Eldest Sister, please, don't worry. I have a feeling nothing will happen," she assured.
Fang Yunxiu thought she was talking about the arrangements Grandmother made.
"Since Grandmother has prepared, I feel a bit at ease. I hope she doesn't take it the wrong away and chase Grandmother's people away," she said restlessly.
Fang Yuxiu moved her lips, but no words came out.
Actually, she didn't think that because of Grandmother's arrangements. She just thought that since Jun Zhenzhen wanted to go out, there definitely wouldn't be any mishaps, at least, nothing that would be disadvantageous for her or the Fang Family.
Today came the first spring rain of the year. The streets were slippery; horse hooves echoed against the bluestone cobbles.
Fang Jinxiu sped along the streets on horseback.
She knew that no accident would occur with Grandmother's arrangements, but the reason she was going along was not because she was worried that women would cause trouble.
In reality, she was going in order to cause an accident.
It was this kind of situation. That woman, no matter how she abused Chengyu, even if he were to die, no one would do anything to her because everyone thought of him as someone close to death.
For sentiment and reason, Grandmother and Mother had no choice but to let her stay in the Fang Family.
But for what reason!
For example, now she insisted on going out with the malignant person. Grandmother had to wholeheartedly send people to look after her because of her complaints.
She simply wanted something happen to her— the bigger, the better. Even if the Fang Family became implicated, she wanted to destroy her reputation. If there was an excuse to drive her out of the Fang Family, everything would be worth it.
As long as there is a bit of green on the mountain, there is no need to worry about having firewood to burn . The eastern mountain could rise again. But with this disaster still here, the Fang Family could not be at ease.
So the reason she followed along was not because she wanted to stop anything from happening, but in order to stop the people protecting Jun Zhenzhen.
She wanted Jun Zhenzhen to encounter a mishap.
Fang Jinxiu was this sort of vile person.
She held the reins tightly and squeezed the horse's middle.
The horse whinnied, then passed between people at the opening of the street.
As they passed by, there were shouts, followed by cheers.
"It truly is the blooming youth, tender and beautiful as fire."
Two young men were chatting pleasantly.
"This young miss' horse skills are extremely good, very valiant and formidable."
"It truly is pleasing to go for a walk in the spring," said the other. He turned back to look at the person behind him. "Yunzhao, what do you think?"
Because of the fine drizzle, Ning Yunzhao was holding up an umbrella. At the address, he shifted the umbrella slightly and exposed his face.
Compared to the Lantern Festival in the winter, the streets in spring were filled with more young men and women. They were wearing their spring clothing, exchanging tender and bashful smiles. The spring rains only added to the feelings sprouting.
"It's very nice," he said with a smile. A trace of frustration but also expectation crossed his face.
Spring was a very nice season. That girl should come out.
He couldn't quite remember her face, only that her eyes that shone like stars.
But she was not like those stars that would flit by sometimes; he hadn't seen her since then.
It was really a situation of regret.
After all, he still hadn't solved that Go arrangement; he wanted to ask for her thoughts on it.
The rain was chilly as it hit the carriage windows; the drizzle also created a fog between them and the passersby.
Miss Jun was engrossed with the scene outside the window.
Actually, she had never seen the spring scenery here before. It was slightly overcast, incomparable to the red flowers and green willows of Jiangnan, but the there were many young men and woman on the street. They were wearing beautiful spring attire, riding horses or sitting in carriages or strolling along the avenues. Their cheerful chatter and laughter was steeped with the joy of spring.
Envy shone in Miss Jun's eyes.
When she was young, she had travelled far with her master, but it was always through mountains or forests, places where signs of human life were rarely seen. Except for with her master, she had never relationships with other people.
So much so that she even played Go by herself.
She would return home once a year. Because the period of time was too long, her sisters became unfamiliar. In addition, status prevented them from interacting even more.
Youth was a time to cry, to laugh, to play with your companions, as well as for throbbing affection.
Just like now, the young people on the streets met gazes, smiled bashfully, their affections glowing.
She had never done such things before, so she felt like she had never really experienced youth. Without youth, she had died, like a flower withering before getting to bloom.
"Zhenzhen, are you cold? You should close the window, "suggested Miss Lin.
When she saw Miss Jun's grieving face, she understood.
Before, Jun Zhenzhen was always itching to promote herself in front of many people. Wielding her good-looking face and waving the title of the Ning Family's future daughter-in-law, she pushed herself into the limelight, afraid that people wouldn't recognize her. But now, she was silently sitting in the carriage; of course, that was because she felt ashamed.
Once a young miss of an bureaucrat family, but now a merchant's wife. Moreover, she was soon to be a widow. This disparity was a huge blow to a person like Jun Zhenzhen.
Miss Jun pulled away from the light, understanding what Lin Jin'er was thinking. She lowered her head.
"Close it," she said quietly.
Lin Jin'er considerately closed the window.
"Zhenzhen, how about we go out of the city for a walk," she suggested. "There are many people in the city; Ning Yunyan and them are going to the Jinyun Hall."
Miss Jun thought somewhat naughtily.
If she answered like that, this might just end here.
It was getting quite interesting.
But she knew if she answered like that, Lin Jin'er would just make other plans. She had no time to engage in such trickery; it was still better to blaze through a fight.
She snapped her head up, her eyes shining.
"Jinyun Hall," she repeated slowly, without any other thoughts. "That's right, I have often heard of the Jinyun hall; I heard it was a nice place. As it happens, women can only go play there on the 3rd day of the 3rd month."
She pulled open the carriage curtains.
"To the Jinyun Hall."