Chapter 11 – Family Dinner (2)
Next came the much awaited family dinner and old Madam Lu asked Ye Zhen personally to sit beside her; the same seat where Lu Lingzhi was supposed to sit if not for his sudden appointment. This invitation, more like an order, made the Fourth miss Lu to send a fleeting glare towards the timid Ye Zhen.
As expected, Lu Family, even with their advancement in society, didn’t still regard table etiquette. They were no nobility and Ye Zhen saw it quite easily. As a member of a noble family, she was honed on the standard requirements of aristocratic woman and she was always forbidden to chat at the dinner table.
But Old Madam Lu was persistent in asking her of her life in the border town even if it was clear that she was unwilling to speak. Finally, she simply forgot all the rules she learned through years of discipline and talked rigorously with the old madam, coaxing her into liking her all the more.
“Border town is fun. Fourth brother taught me how to catch sparrows. We roasted sparrows in the mountains and ate them fresh from the grill.” Ye Zhen looked mischievously at Lu Xiangzhi and continued to speak, “There was one time that he stole father’s wine, but he only let me drank a small amount.” This earned gasps from everyone on the table and some shake of heads towards the beet-red Lu Xiangzhi.
“-and in summer we went to the river to do fishing. This miss didn’t know what’s gotten into him but Fourth brother stayed underwater far too long that I thought he was in trouble! So, I desperately cried for help. I couldn’t save him myself, I can’t swim. The next thing that happened is one thing I shall never forget.” Ye Zhen looked at the people around her with her hand on her chest. All of them hanged into her every word.
“He jumped up from underneath the water surface and scared me causing me to lose my balance! I fell hard into the river and went home drenched and freezing that day.”
Old madam Lu listened to Ye Zhen’s story with delight. She laughed and looked at Lu Xiangzhi sitting on the other side of her and scolded him in jest “Such a naughty boy! Bullying her sister!”
“Grandma, these are all things of the past. Don’t you know this girl is also very unruly?” Lu Xiangzhi begged for mercy and there was laughter at the dinner table afterwards.
Ye Zhen saw that Old Madam Lu turned her attention to Lu Xiangzhi, putting a faint smile on her face, glad that she could now enjoy her wine in peace.
As the night progressed, Ye Zhen felt her energy slowly slipping out her body. She had just recovered her health and had spent most of the day trying to please the Old Madam. But now, she couldn’t stand it any longer.
Seeing that her daughter was tired, Pei approached Ye Zhen and sat down to examine her face before whispering, “You should retire to your chamber now.”
Ye Zhen looked at Pei’s loving eyes and felt awkward. She had no affection for all the Lu family. But her sister was raised with tremendous love. She should not condemn and hurt the people to whom she owed his sister’s great life to. Nonetheless, she deeply knew that this was futile, a pointless whim, for once she asks for the price of the vile deeds against her and her family, there would be no sparing them.
Old Madam Lu also noticed the tiredness in Ye Zhen’s eyes and asked her to retire and rest early. “It has been only a few days since she recovered from her illness. She must have a good rest now.”
Ye Zhen could not bear it any longer so she went to the courtyard, catching some breath of fresh air.
Several brothers also withdrew from the hall and drank wine in the warm pavillion on the east side of the mansion. .
Wine glass clanked as Lu Tingzhi touched his glass with his cousin, Lu Xiangzhi. “How have you been in the border town, fourth brother?”
“Well, at first, I was not used to the simple life at the border town but I gradually fell in love with it.” Lu Xiangzhi said with a smile. “Elder brother must go to the border town when he has the chance. I’ll show you around.”
“It’s your disposition that spoiled the third sister.” Lu Tingzhi laughed. “You always had the heart for adventures. Bet she became your
“Haha. You are wrong. Second brother must know that Yao Yao has been a restless girl since she was little. She beat other girls on her first day of school without me teaching her.” Lu Xiangzhi shook his head with a smile.
Lu Tingzhi laughed at the news, “Didn’t you go to the border town when your sister was born?” He asked as he remembered that he had never heard of his third aunt’s pregnancy. How could she have a daughter as soon as she arrived in the border town?
Lu Xiangzhi went to the border town with his parents when he was three years old. Lu Shiming run a medicine business with Pei Shi in his aid in border town. . But how perplexing it was for Pei bore a daughter after just a few months of leaving Kyoto.
“From what I can remember, mother gave birth to my sister earlier than she expected. As a result, Yao Yao was not very well when she was born and mother took care of her for a long time. Father said that the bumpy road at that time left a bad root in my mother’s womb … Fortunately, mother survived the delivery.” Lu Xiangzhi said with a smile, he did not want others to know that Yao Yao was adopted.
Lu Xiangzhi knew that the revelation affected Yao Yao even if she tried to not show it. That is why, he was afraid that Yao Yao would think too much of this and feel inferior, an outcast now that she was in the Lu family’s mansion.
Lu Tingzhi nodded and there was no doubt in his mind.