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The complicated family environment taught Cheng Yujin how to get the best result at the least expense. What other girls only learned after three or four years of marriage, she knew it when she was ten years old. Not only that, she also became smooth and slick in everything, and extremely egoistic. When licking other people’s boots, she didn’t care about her own face. She also didn’t crave the love of her parents, nor did she care about love.
Cheng Yujin only loved herself.
When the Old Madam Cheng finished her simple ablutions, Ruan-shi had been exhausted physically and mentally. She saw Cheng Yujin, who was standing on the side with arms folded and graceful posture. The scene somehow lit up an evil fire in Ruan-shi’s heart. She smiled and asked, “Why eldest sister-in-law still hasn’t come?”
Ruan-shi also couldn’t tell why she asked such a thing. When Cheng Yujin was very young, Ruan-shi clearly understood that the girl didn’t know which mother treated her the best. But the inexplicable maliciousness in Ruan-shi’s heart made her speak again and again, provoking Cheng Yujin’s relationship with Qingfu Junzhu. If Cheng Yujin had a bad life, Ruan-shi would be distressed. However, seeing Cheng Yujin having a good life and treated Qingfu Junzhu like a real mother also made her heart burned with jealousy.
Lian Qiao’s expression was not very good. Inwardly she cursed Ruan-shi: Second madam is truly disgusting. She can’t see the eldest miss being good! While her servant girl was filled with indignation, Cheng Yujin herself was very calm. Her heart had long turned indifferent. Instead, she smiled at Ruan-shi: “Mother needs to take care of father, and also look after my younger brother. So mother asked me to do the filial piety in her share and serve grandmother.”
Just look at Cheng Yujin’s words. She didn’t answer why Qingfu Junzhu didn’t come, only that Qingfu had to take care of Cheng Yuanxian and Cheng Enbao, and just in one sentence had saved Qingfu. Old Madam Cheng was happy. In her eyes, of course son and grandson were the most important. Her daughter-in-law was serving her son, this made Old Madam Cheng felt comfortable.
Old Madam Cheng smiled with satisfaction. When she got up, she shot a glance at her other daughter-in-law. Ruan-shi suddenly felt scared, and did not dare to breathe under the Old Madam’s suppression.
Old Madam Cheng walked out to the eastern chamber and asked, “How are the other children?”
“Replying to Old Madam, the second miss and second young master Xu are washing their faces in the green gauzed cabinet. Miss Nian says there is no face powder she usually uses here, and went to the lady’s courtyard to dress up.”
Not to mention the outsiders, even Cheng Yumo’s biological mother Ruan-shi also wanted to shake her head. Being the same age as Cheng Yujin, Cheng Yumo and Xu Nianchun were still childish. Their elder has woke up for so long and did not come to pay respect. Instead, they went out and dressed up. In contrast, Cheng Yujin’s sensibility wasn’t like a typical young girl.
Ruan-shi couldn’t stand it and secretly sent a servant girl to the green gauzed cabinet to call Cheng Yumo over. Cheng Yumo and Xu Zhixian walked in with a loose hairdo and greeted the elders in unison: “We pay respect to grandmother.”
Old Madam Cheng nodded and said: “The three of you grew up together. I have enough help here and don’t need your serving. Go and play outside.”
Xu Zhixian replied happily. Cheng Yujin noticed that Old Madam Cheng was deliberately creating opportunities for them. As for which kind of opportunity, it was hard to say. It stood to reason that such an opportunity was rare and between, but Cheng Yujin contemplated a bit before giving it up: “Grandmother, I’m afraid I can’t.”
Old Madam Cheng felt strange: “Why?”
Cheng Yujin said: “Grandfather told me yesterday to learn calligraphy with the ninth uncle.”
Old Madam Cheng felt even more strange: “Why do you need to do that?”
“Soon will be his majesty’s longevity feast. Grandfather wants to send an embroidered screen of calligraphy to celebrate the emperor’s longevity and let this granddaughter embroider it. I’m afraid that I’ll be busy these days. After paying respect to grandmother in the morning, I have to learn calligraphy with ninth uncle.”
An even heavier silence fell in the main room. Preparing a gift for emperor’s longevity feast, how honorable was it? Such a chance was actually given to Cheng Yujin. This was an honor that the daughter-in-laws Qingfu Junzhu and Ruan-shi didn’t have, and even Old Madam Cheng, the Marquis’ legal wife, also never had. Both Ruan-shi and the Old Madam had a mixed feeling. Xu Zhixian and Cheng Yumo exchanged a glanced and dared not to speak.
Even if they were not sensible, they knew that Cheng Yujin’s task wasn’t trivial and even more important than what their own mother had.
Finally, Old Madam Cheng said: “Since the Marquis has spoken, you have to go. If you don’t have enough time, you don’t have to come to pay respect to me in the future.”
“How can I do this.” Cheng Yujin sternly refused, and then gave a proper curtsy before retired, “Grandmother, second aunt, I will take my leave first.”
After she came out, Lian Qiao jumped and whispered, “Miss, you didn’t see the face of the second Madam and the Old Madam just now. Our miss has a great honor, are they comparable? No need to say others, I’m afraid that the second Madam never even dared to imagine getting this kind of honor.”
“Enough.” Cheng Yujin warned Lian Qiao lightly. “Hold your tongue. It’s not too early anymore. We should hurry, lest we are late.”
Lian Qiao responded briefly, but the corners of her mouth were still raised. This was just the beginning; when the embroidery was presented, their eyes would be red with envy!
Cheng Yujin got up early today. Although there was some delay at Old Madam Cheng’s courtyard, she was still very early. Unexpectedly, when she arrived at the Chenming Courtyard, Cheng Yuanjing had already tidied up. It seemed that he had already finished many routines.
Cheng Yujin was very surprised: “Ninth uncle woke up so early?”
Cheng Yuanjing glanced at her lightly, too lazy to answer a useless question. He pointed to the ink and said, “Can you write calligraphy?”
The smile on Cheng Yujin’s face was very bright. Between her clenched teeth, she asked back. “What does ninth uncle think?”
Cheng Yuanjing did not deliberately look down on Cheng Yujin. But in his eyes, to write was equal with writing well. After all, writing documents was the most basic job of an official. Whether it was the Grand Secretary, Grand Tutor, the eunuch serving the emperor, or Cheng Yuanjing’s teacher, all had excellent penmanship.
Cheng Yuanjing didn’t care about Cheng Yujin’s being offended and just took a glance, “Write one word first.”
Cheng Yujin inwardly scolded, who did he look down to? The eldest miss Cheng has a good reputation. She mastered the four arts of chess, zither, calligraphy, and painting. Her womanly arts such as embroidery were also exceptional. However, the skill she actually best at was calligraphy.
Cheng Yujin walked to the table, picked up the brush, and, after a short contemplation, started to write.
Cheng Yuanjing’s gaze involuntarily fell on Cheng Yujin’s injured left hand.
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