Liu Yan stood at the door, staring straight at Liu Yu, her eyes fixed on her. She wished she could stare a hole in Liu Yu’s face with the faint light coming through the hall.
Liu Yu had long given up hope of getting close to this half-blood sister of hers. As she was stared at by her like a scowling chicken with black eyes, it seemed that she had seen this look from Liu Yan too many times. After almost two years apart1she spent 2 years in the brothel before rebirth, it didn’t feel unfamiliar at all.
Having experienced something most people had never heard of in one day and being tired from all the running around, Liu Yu was in no mood to deal with Liu Yan. She simply turned around and went to her own bed.
Liu Yan, who had been in a bad mood all day, was now met with another cold response. She snorted and said, “Don’t think that you’re all that just because you can do some embroidery. Even if you’re good at women’s work, you’re not a part of the Liu family. It’s like making a living by braiding hair accessories, the money you earn is just for buying jewelry to put on my head.”
The second sentence was filled with satisfaction and pride. Liu Yu smirked and said mockingly, “You’re right. I can’t compare to you in this household.”
She really didn’t care about being part of the Liu family.
Liu Yu’s straightforwardness caught Liu Yan off guard. It was like she had raised a butcher’s knife to start a fight, but her opponent didn’t need a knife and just pointed a finger at her, causing her to back down on her own.
Liu Yan, who had been holding in her frustration all day, suddenly found herself without an outlet. Seeing Liu Yu tidying up the bed, she pettily closed the half-opened door with a loud thud, blocking out the faint light coming from the hall, as if this would make Liu Yu feel stifled.
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Rtdsakdt bla nbkzekpb clbyhksa, Nkw Zw vssj sqq bla swvla nzsvbkdt yde zyu esod sd vbl cle.
Nkw Zyd oyp zlqv qllzkdt csale yde zyu esod sd bla sod cle. Mbl vos pkpvlap eked’v ryu ydu yvvldvksd vs lynb svbla.
Nkw Zw bye pzlrv sd zwmwakswp pkzj yde pyvkd cleekdt okvb y bktb cle yde psqv rkzzsop qsa shla y ulya. Lso, zukdt sd vbkp xyjlpbkqv “cle” xyel sq y qlo rklnlp sq osse yde vball pvsszp, pbl qlzv y ckv wdnsxqsavyczl yv qkapv. Rv pllxle zkjl vkxl bye alhlaple, cwv bla xlxsaklp olal ellrzu kdtaykdle kd bla csdlp.
Fbl vwadle shla tldvzu, yde vbl “cle” xyel y nalyjkdt pswde. Rv pllxle vbyv Nkw Zyd bye qkdyzzu qswde y alypsd vs hldv bla qawpvayvksd. Gdtakzu, pbl pyv wr, vbalo vbl czydjlv ypkel, yde tzyale yv Nkw Zw kd vbl eyajdlpp, pyukdt, “Uyd’v usw zlv rlsrzl pzllr!”
Nkw Zw eked’v lhld aykpl yd lulcaso yde ypjle bla, “Ebu esd’v usw vau pzllrkdt sd vbkp pkel?”
Rd vbl assx, vblal olal vos clep: Nkw Zyd pzlrv sd y altwzya nydsru cle, obkzl Nkw Zw pzlrv sd y dyaaso osseld csyae “cle.”
Nkw Iydtpbldt oyp y nyarldvla, yde yzz vball Nkw pkczkdtp bye zlyadle nyarldvau qasx bkx. Mbl Nkw qyxkzu yzps bye kvp sod qsalpv, ps vblu dlhla zynjle qsa osse. Rv oyp fwpv y oyu vs alxkde Nkw Zw sq bla rzynl.
Nkw Zyd oyp olzz yoyal vbyv vbl cle Nkw Zw oyp sd oswze xyjl dskpl, cwv pbl oyp fwpv wpkdt kv yp yd lmnwpl vs zlv sqq pvlyx. Mbl sze Nkw Zw oswze dlhla vyzj cynj vs bla, cwv vseyu’p Nkw Zw oyp ekqqlaldv. Gzvbswtb pbl eked’v alprsde qsanlqwzzu, pbl xydytle vs pkzldnl Nkw Zyd.
“Who would want to sleep on your broken bed?” Liu Yan muttered, then turned over and wrapped herself in the blanket, lying down.
Liu Yu smirked and didn’t make any more noise after that.
This was not difficult for her. When she first entered Liuxian Pavilion, there were rules for everything, even sleeping at night. Sleeping posture had to be proper, and the nanny would patrol at night. If she slept in a crooked position, she would be disciplined with a ruler. She had long since learned the skill of sleeping in a specific posture before falling asleep and waking up without a hair out of place.
Moreover, she couldn’t sleep at all. Even though she had spent a day with the people of the Liu family and visited Changfeng Town, Liu Yu was still trapped in a state of confusion, not knowing if it was day or night. It was all so surreal that she dared not close her eyes, fearing that if she did, she might wake up to find that it had all been a dream.
Deep down, she also feared that she might be some kind of ghost, returning to the Liu family’s village with resentment after death. But she didn’t dare to dwell on that thought.
After a sleepless night, only closing her eyes when she heard the rooster crow three times outside, she finally believed that she wasn’t some supernatural being that would dissipate at the sound of a rooster crowing. She had indeed come back to life.
Liu Yu had spent the whole night without sleep. She had just closed her eyes when Liu Yan pushed her to wake up.
With raised eyebrows, Liu Yan sneered at Liu Yu, her voice sharp and mocking, “Dad said you don’t need to do any manual labor, and you’re already acting like you’re the lady of the house. The sun’s up, and you’re still in bed. How shameless.”
Liu Yu had a splitting headache, and a flash of anger was clear in her eyes. However, she looked at the sky, remembered the appointment she had made with the little beggar yesterday, and realized she couldn’t afford to sleep anymore. She got up and started getting dressed.
Seeing Liu Yu obediently getting out of bed, Liu Yan smirked, feeling triumphant all over. Why should she be the one getting up while Liu Yu could still sleep in her bed?
Thinking about how she had been compared to Liu Yu by the villagers for so long, Liu Yan felt nothing but resentment in her heart.
Just because she and Liu Yu shared the same mother, they were constantly compared by a group of gossiping women. They compared their looks, their personalities, their needlework skills.
They compared everything between her and Liu Yu – their diligence, their skills, and anything they could think of. In the end, she didn’t receive any good reputation from these comparisons; instead, she earned a reputation for laziness and gluttony.
Thinking about this, she felt that it was time for the gossiping women in the Liu family village, who loved to discuss other people’s business, to see what kind of character the supposedly perfect Liu Yu had in private. Her father had just given her a break from work yesterday, and she immediately showed her true colors. It was clear that her previous diligence and honesty were just a facade and a result of necessity.
However, Liu Yan’s good mood only lasted until the moment Liu Yu finished dressing up.
Liu Yu had changed her appearance today, or more precisely, she had changed her hairstyle. Looking at her seemingly ordinary bun with no fancy hairpins, just a few plain hair ties here and there, it perfectly complemented Liu Yu’s persona. It somehow elevated her charm by another thirty percent.
Liu Yan didn’t understand what aura was, nor what an orchid in the empty valley was2hidden beauty. She was simply consumed by jealousy that she almost went crazy.
She couldn’t fathom, not at all, why she and Liu Yu were so different when they shared the same mother3but different father. Her face would be important for the plot later on.. Liu Yu could adorn herself with a few simple hair ties and still exude an otherworldly beauty, while she, with delicate pearl flowers in her hair, looked like a scullery maid.
Just as Wang Shi entered the hall to fetch the teapot and go to the kitchen to get the freshly boiled hot water, she saw Liu Yan standing there in a daze. She opened her mouth and scolded, “What are you standing around for at this hour? Has the courtyard been swept? Have the chickens and ducks been fed? In the next year or two, you’ll be talking to a partner. Why don’t you have any chores to do?”
These were the usual nagging words from her, but it happened that Liu Yan was feeling particularly wronged at the moment. She was so infuriated that she pushed Wang Shi aside and said, “You’re so biased towards Liu Yu. Everything good is hers, and all the bad things are mine.”
This statement had two implications. Firstly, it referred to Wang Shi’s constant praise for Liu Yu and her frequent scolding of Liu Yan. Secondly, it highlighted the fact that while Wang Shi had given birth to Liu Yu with exquisite beauty, she had only given birth to Liu Yan with a decent appearance.
Liu Yan’s anger was mainly fueled by the fact that Wang Shi had not given her the same level of beauty as Liu Yu. In her frustration, she stomped out of the Liu family’s home and disappeared without a trace.
Wang Shi nearly dropped the coarse pottery teapot she was holding when Liu Yan pushed her. She was momentarily furious and wanted to scold Liu Yan, but she was also afraid of letting Liu Kangsheng, who was inside the house, hear her displeasure. With trembling hands, she managed to suppress her anger and swallow her words.
Wang Shi was extremely fearful of Liu Kangsheng. She was so afraid that even when she was angry, she dared not scold Liu Yan in front of him. She would not entertain the thought of letting Liu Yu do household chores even if Liu Yan, who was supposed to take over those tasks, did nothing and ran away. She obeyed Liu Kangsheng’s commands without question.
This was what could be described as “completely obedient.”
This was also why Liu Yu, after confirming her rebirth, had never considered trying to find a breakthrough from Wang Shi’s side. It was not a reliable option.
In this morning’s other incident, Wu Shi’s4the third sister-in-law eyes lit up when she saw Liu Yu with her new hairstyle.
That gleam in her eyes was not the typical reaction of a woman seeing someone in a new outfit. Liu Yu was all too familiar with that greedy look; it was the same expression the Red Lady would have whenever she found a promising young talent.
Everything couldn’t withstand close scrutiny. The truth of being sold in her previous life was now vividly displayed before her eyes. Wang Shi, the second husband and wife, and the third husband and wife clearly were still unaware of it. The ones who were likely involved in the plotting were Liu Kangsheng, Liu Dalang, and their wives, at least at this stage, it should be only these three.
As for why they secretly drugged and sold her, it wasn’t hard to guess. Liu Kangsheng cared about his reputation, that was one reason. He also wanted his only grandson, Liu Tianbao, to enter the scholarly examination and fulfill his dream of changing their family’s fortune. Naturally, he couldn’t afford to have a reputation for selling women, which was another reason.
Furthermore, if the idea came from Liu Dalang and Wu Shi, then their convincing argument for Liu Kangsheng to make such a decision was probably the substantial expenses associated with Liu Tianbao’s education.
The Liu family had several granddaughters in this generation, but Liu Tianbao was the only grandson, and he was undoubtedly the apple of Liu Kangsheng’s eye.
As Liu Yu thought about this, she couldn’t help but glance at Liu Tianbao, who was currently having his face washed by Wu Shi. The other girls in the Liu family, who were a few years younger than him, were already capable of washing their own faces and eating on their own. However, six-year-old Liu Tianbao, who had started his studies in a neighboring village for over a month, still needed someone to dress him and feed him spoon by spoon, with Wu Shi chasing after him.
Liu Yu looked left and right, but apart from a bit of spoiled behavior that had developed, she couldn’t see any trace of the cleverness in this child. She couldn’t understand how Liu Kangsheng dared to dream so big for him.
At the beginning of the hour, carrying the twenty-five wen coins she had retrieved from the tree hole, Liu Yu promptly set foot on the stone bridge leading to Changfeng Town in the north.
As soon as she stepped onto the stone bridge, the brother and sister, who had been waiting on the other side, lit up. The older child held the hand of a younger one and rushed towards Liu Yu, out of breath and eager, saying, “Miss, I have news.”
A smile spread across Liu Yu’s face. Finally, there was something to make her feel at ease this morning. She smiled and asked, “Tell me.”
“Lufeng Fabric Store, Mr. Lu Sanlang has just left his home and headed to their fabric store in town.”
Sansukini: First meeting next.
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