Chapter 31 – You’re Late!
Original and most updated translations are from volare. If read elsewhere, this chapter has been stolen. Please stop supporting theft.
Upon returning to her courtyard, Ji Yunshu pulled out all the pearl hair pins holding her hair in place and wiped off all the makeup on her face.
Luan’er, next to her, watched her before quietly inquiring, “Miss, did the Wei family leave?”
“I don’t know.” She watched her reflection in the copper mirror and took off the ceramic earrings.
“Then, do you want to change clothes and go out now?”
“No.” Ji Yunshu gave a concise reply.
“Then what are you planning to do?”
She was extremely sleepy. She fought vainly against her closing eyes as she took off the rest of her accessories and walked to her bedroom. Then, she nestled her head in her pillow and wrapped herself into a bundle with her quilt. She rolled on her side and snored away. Perhaps, even if thunder struck, she would no longer hear it!
Luan’er was startled by Ji Yunshu’s actions and stood at the same place, foolishly looking at her. Finally, she reacted and walked over. She moved the warm furnace next to the bed, and tossed two coals inside, afraid that her young miss would get cold.
Ji Yunshu’s nap ended up lasting until late evening.
When she opened her eyes, the sky was covered in darkness. She got up from her bed and changed into clean men’s clothing. Then, she rolled her beautiful jet-black hair into a bun and fastened it beneath a hat.
Luan’er came in with a big and beautiful box in her hand. She was sweating from the effort. “Miss, you’re awake.”
“What is that?” Ji Yunshu inquired.
“Master delivered these boxes to our courtyard earlier. He said that they’re the betrothal gifts from the Wei family. He sent a few boxes for Miss to keep them.”
Ji Yunshu smiled, the irony not lost on her. ‘How generous of him!’
Luan’er took everything and properly placed them in the house. Then, she turned around, wearing a mysterious expression as she looked at Ji Yunshu like she was holding onto an earth-shattering secret. “Miss, guess what I heard earlier.”
“I can’t guess. Just tell me already.” Ji Yunshu was full of interest as she continued to open all the boxes that she received. If it wasn’t porcelain, it was medicinal ingredients.
Luan’er confided, “Miss, earlier in the front yard, I heard from Bao and Yu that the Wei family’s young master didn’t want to marry. He was saying something like how his wife will throw him in the pond to feed him to the fishes. He was making a big ruckus and talking nonsense while determined to drag Madame Wei back home.”
“Oh? So, something like that happened?” Ji Yunshu pretended to be stupid and ignorant, and continued to open box after box.
Luan’er continued to gossip happily. “Bao and Yu said that Lord Wei and Madame Wei were turning green with every passing moment. It seems they gave Young Master Wei a slap to stop him from spouting such nonsense again.”
In other words, this marriage wasn’t due to the will of Wei Yi but was set up because the Wei family wanted a daughter-in-law. Afterall, perpetuating the ancestral line was a very important matter.
“I saw Young Master Wei. He doesn’t fit you. How can I put it… He… he’s an idiot.” Her voice became more and more inaudible as she beat the air with her fists.
Luan’er’s indignant appearance was quite comical in Ji Yunshu’s eyes. She even found it adorable.
“I don’t care, so why do you care?” Ji Yunshu narrowed her eyes as she looked at Luan’er.
“This servant is feeling sorry for Miss. Why did Master allow the Wei family’s fool to marry you while the Eldest Miss is…?” Luan’er wasn’t able to say ‘the crown prince’s future consort’.
Ji Yunshu had already cut her off with an, “Alright, stop talking.” Anyway, it was impossible for her to marry. At this moment, she was rummaging through the medicinal ingredients inside another brocade box.
Muskroot-like semiaquilegia root, 1this was a rather common goods in modern times.
Ji Yunshu casually swept a glance over the content. “I didn’t expect they would give me this!” Ji Yunshu exclaimed in pleasant surprise. Then, she took it out and examined it under the candle light.
‘The color outside is light orange, the inside is blood orange. Hmm! High quality goods!’
“Miss, what is that?” Luan’er came closer to look.
“This is called a semiaquilegia root. After you grind it, add liquor and brown sugar, then apply it on a knife wound, it can help with removing scars.”
“How wonderful!” Luan’er exclaimed.
Ji Yunshu put the semiaquilegia root back in the box before closing the lid and gave the box to Luan’er. “Soak them in water overnight. The effect will be better. Tomorrow, I will have to make a trip to the Zhou mansion.”
“Why are you going to the Zhou mansion?”
“The Zhou family’s housekeeper received a knife wound on his face. I’ll just deliver it to him on the way.”
Hearing such words, Luan’er became anxious. “It’s such a good medicine, but you intend to give it to someone else?”
Ji Yunshu glared at her. “What? You really want to receive a knife wound? Or you wish for me to get stabbed or cut? What’s the use of keeping this medicine with us?”
“No, that’s not what I meant. The medicinal roots have such a wonderful effect; I feel regretful giving it away.”
“This girl! Don’t feel regretful.” Ji Yunshu poked Luan’er on her forehead lightly before she continued, “I’m going out now. I might return late.”
Suddenly, Luan’er realized that her young miss had changed into men’s clothing. She scratched her head. “Is there another case in the yamen?”
“Hmm…” Ji Yunshu answered ambiguously.
She packed her things and took a lantern with her before secretly leaving the Ji mansion in the direction of the memorial hall.
Jinjiang city’s memorial hall was located inside the city, more specifically, in the west side of the city. From the Ji mansion, Ji Yunshu has to walk for about the time it takes to brew a cup of tea before reaching her destination.
In winter, the sky was already dark at the hour of the rooster.
In the dilapidated ancestral memorial hall, a frigid cold wind of the night blew almost straight through the place. The place was permeated by a strange and eerie atmosphere, with broken shutters creaking with the wind. The final touch, the occasional rustle of the leaves, was enough to put one’s mind on edge, leaving a greater impression of dreadfulness.
At the entrance of the memorial hall hung a red lantern. The inscription at the entrance of the hall had long faded away.
Fortunately, it wasn’t the first time Ji Yunshu had come here, and she wasn’t afraid of the place.
Her courage had been honed when she was working in the archeology shack!
She pushed open the doors and proceeded into the courtyard. Ji Yunshu hung the lantern she was holding, and for a short moment, her mouth hooked up. She patted the dust from her clothes.
Fu Bo, the memorial hall’s keeper, came out, holding onto a big incense stick. He was a hunchback, wearing coarse hemp clothes full of holes and a hat that had seen better days.
He wasn’t surprised when he saw Ji Yunshu arrive. “Teacher Ji, a young master has been waiting for you for a very long time.”
‘Serve him right! Who told him to come early. It’s just the hour of the rooster now.’
She nodded and walked until she was next to Fu Bo. Then, she took a few incense sticks from his hand and paid her respects to the place. After she was done, she stuck the incense sticks in the crack of the coffin.
“Fu Bo, why don’t you go and rest early?”
“There’s no hurry. There are still several old friends that haven’t eaten yet.”
His so-called old friends was referring to the unclaimed and nameless corpses that were sent to the memorial hall. Fu Bo gave each occupied coffin their three meals of three incense sticks each day, without a single day’s negligence.
“Then, I won’t disturb you.” Ji Yunshu bowed her head and proceeded inside the house.
As soon as she came in, she saw Jing Rong standing in front of the rows of name tablets. He was attentively looking at the names with a dignified expression. Who knew what he was thinking of? Because he was too focused, he didn’t perceive Ji Yunshu’s arrival, even when she came up right next to him.
“Could it be that Prince Rong recognizes the names on the memorial tablets?” A voice interrupted Jing Rong’s reflexion. He frowned at the familiar voice and glanced sideways at Ji Yunshu.
“Did something happen on the way here?”
‘Huh?’ Ji Yunshu shook her head.
“Did your legs have a problem?”
Ji Yunshu looked at her legs. Apart from being dirty with mud, there was nothing wrong with them. So, she still shook her head in reply again.
“You’re late.” Jing Rong slammed the irrefutable fact home.
‘Bastard! Damn bastard!’
- The complete name is Semiaquilegia adoxoides(DC.)Makino. It’s used in traditional medicine to treat heat toxins (inflammation, etc.) and make swells and nodules subsize. There’s some fictional elements added in the novel. ↩