Chapter 13 – The Spirit in Her Palm (2)
Ye Zhen smiled in return and asked Dai Mei to help her change her clothes. Now that she is in good shape, she could no longer pull off her pretense and keep holed up in her chamber. Her deep hatred couldn’t be quenched by staying idle.
That’s why after breakfast, Ye Zhen and her maid came to the hall to greet Old Madam Lu.
Just as she got out of her small courtyard, Ye Zhen saw Fourth Miss Lu coming gracefully from the other side. From the last time she saw her, Fourth miss Lu’s temperament wasn’t any brighter. She must be given credits for this, Ye Zhen thought amusingly, for her lofty and aloof aura made her look like a lady of high standing rather than just a daughter of a merchant.
“Fourth Sister,” Ye Zhen took the initiative to approach her and acknowledge her presence. If she wanted to gain trust of the family, she must start off first by being cordial to everyone, including the fourth miss no matter how she behaved like a little hellion from the seven hells!
“Are you going to greet Grandma too? Perfect because I was about to —”
Fourth Miss Lu looked at Ye Zhen coldly and proudly said, “What time is it now that the third elder sister decided to pay her respect? If you wanted to pretend to be filial, you can at least show some sincerity.”
Ye Zhen stupefied for a moment that how mean and direct Fourth Miss Lu was. She got up late because of nightmares and was thus, late in paying filial piety. Still, this didn’t bother her at the least, it was all just an act after all.
“I’ll bear that in mind, Fourth sister.” Ye Zhen smiled sweetly, not letting people see the sarcasm in her eyes.
Fourth Miss Lu gave Ye Zhen a contemptuous look and proudly left with her chin up. Her heart was really proud. She didn’t even bother to hide her disgust towards Ye Zhen whom she deemed as some pathetic rat from the border town — the wild girl who was not worth to be called her cousin.
“Third miss, please don’t take offence of Fourth miss’ words. She is just like that because she is attending the women’s college where she gained the praise of one certain professor. Lu family is quite popular in the capital and Miss Lu bears the pressure of having the surname.” Dai Mei worried that Ye Zhen might take it to heart and so, she comforted her in a low voice.
According to Fourth Miss Lu’s temperament, Ye Zhen could see that her popularity got to her head.
Ye Zhen smiled faintly, “I have just arrived in the capital and I don’t know a lot about them, so I need you to say everything you tell me everything about my family.”
Dai Mei hurriedly said no, but she told Ye Zhen all about the temperament of the girls.
Old Madam Lu held great importance to the the girls of the Lu family, Second and Fourth Miss Lu was no exception despite being daughters of concubines. She had Lu Lingzhi send them to the women’s college to study. Second Miss Lu who entered the college earlier didn’t graduate until she reached the age of 16. It took her longer than anyone else in her batch to graduate. As a result, she didn’t get any marriage prospects even after she earned the degree because of her mediocre performance back at the academy. So, she stayed home, unwed.
After the new emperor ascended to the throne, the Lu family rose on the ladder of status. Fourth Miss Lu’s reputation in the academy became more and more prominent. Therefore, she regarded herself more as a lady of a respectable family, fed in her popularity. Even her second older sister was disdainful of what her sister had become.
A woman of noble status, Ye Zhen also had her fair share in the hardship the academy offered. Nonetheless, she was an exquisite student. She was talented and did an excellent job in her studies. Unfortunately, she had to stop attending the college when she married Mo Rongzhan at the ripe age of 13.
She and Mo Rongzhan didn’t consummate their wedding. Some said that he deemed her as child, but others who fostered envy of her said that Mo Rongzhan didn’t find her interesting at all.
With the absence of Mo Rongzhan, Ye Zhen then returned to the college and it only took her one year to finish her studies!
Wang Fei of Qin Country used to be a legend in the women’s college, but no matter how hard she tried, she was just an insignificant person to Mo Rongzhan. Not a letter of felicitation was sent by the emperor regarding her success.
“The capital’s most famous college is not an official school but a women’s college. It is said that it was opened by Empress Duan Hui of the former dynasty 100 years ago.” Dai Mei thought that Ye Zhen did not know the origin of the women’s college and introduced it to her patiently.
How could Ye Zhen not know how the women’s college came into being? It was the Empress Duan Hui of the previous dynasty who personally opened the college. She was the true legend that not only won the exclusive favor of Emperor Rui Wu, but also changed the status of women all over the continent!
Whenever Ye Zhen was bored, she liked reading biographies best, and the Empress Duan Hui, a powerful figure in the Qin dynasty who broke all the bounds of gender, was the woman she always yearned to follow.