I WILL SHOW YOU HOW TO CHOP
He Yun Sheng frowned and asked: “What did you say?”
He Yan stood still and repeated earnestly: “I said, you cannot chop wood like this.”
He Yun Sheng was impatient: “He Yan, you are a sick person so go and rest indoors. Don’t pick on me.”
“If you continue chopping like this, you won’t get it done until midnight.” He Yan didn’t move.
Seeing her being so obstinate and disrupting his work infuriated He Yun Sheng. The axe with which he was chopping slid from his hands and landed on the blue stone floor with a bang. He took a step forward, and growled: “If it wasn’t for you getting sick and useless, our father wouldn’t have sent the manservant away. You may not know, the money with which father paid the manservant was used for your treatment. You understand clearly that I will not get this job done until midnight, so stop bossing around since you don’t know how to chop wood, either! Oh, if you think you are so good at it, go ahead and do it yourself!”
He Yan fretted… so this household did have a manservant who was sent away because they needed the money to get her a doctor. This young boy had to do the manservant’s jobs in his stead. Seeing his little faced flushed with anger, He Yan knew he had been carrying a grudge against her for quite some time. He continued rambling on without wasting a second to catch his breath.
Yet, there were certain advantages of being poor. For example, there was no one in the courtyard to see the awkward situation between the two siblings. If it was the He or Xu Family, the maids might have already crowded to enjoy the show.
After finishing his long speech, He Yun Sheng waited for He Yan to stamp her foot and start swearing, but to his surprise, this time He Yan refrained herself from doing so. Instead, she bent down and picked up the axe he had thrown to the ground.
She was nearly pulled down by the weight of the axe and her thin wrist looked shockingly weak, as if it could not even withstand the weight.
He Yan stared at her hand and frowned slightly. This body couldn’t be used to even lift up an axe. Compared to her previous body, this one was too frail and fragile.
He Yun Sheng was stunned by her action. He asked doubtfully: “What are you doing?”
“I’ll show you how to chop,” He Yan answered.
He Yun Sheng was even more annoyed when he heard that. “Stop fooling around, you…”
A loud ‘thud’ sound interrupted his words.
He Yan had already lifted the axe and chopped a piece of wood neatly into two.
“See,” she explained gently, “It’s easy. You cannot hold near the blade because it will take more effort to chop the wood. You have to hold the axe firmly at the end of the handle, like this…”
He Yun Sheng gave her a blank stare. In an instant, his face flushed, with a voice filled with anger, he pointed his finger towards her and shouted: “You… you… you…! I know you carry ill intentions towards me! Your hand… father will definitely scold me when he sees it! He Yan, you are really malicious and treacherous!”
“Huh?” He Yan was puzzled. The next moment, a young female voice sounded, full of panic, “Miss, you’re bleeding!”
He Yan subconsciously lowered her head only to see her palm all torn up. Her heart stirred at the sight of those distinctive blood stains.
She only used an axe to chop a piece of firewood and her hand was already torn? Just how weak was this body? The eldest young miss of the He Family had never even moved a finger to work, what was she made up of, cotton and tofu?
He Yan was lost in her thoughts. The maid, Qing Mei, had rushed over to pull her inside the house.
She spoke in a hurried tone: “We should apply some medicine on it first, who knows if it will leave a scar behind…”
He Yun Sheng glared at her hatefully and left saying: “He Yan, keep being phony and it will lead you to death sooner or later.” Then, he turned and ran away.
He Yan didn’t know if she wanted to laugh or weep, throughout her previous life and until today it was really the first time someone had used the word ‘phony’ to describe her.
She felt rather strange. To a General, ‘phony’ was a distant word.
Qing Mei let He Yan’s hand rest on her knee as she applied the medicine on her palm carefully with her own fingertips. Her tears fell freely as she said: “What if you leave behind a scar? We need to think of a plan to buy some scar removal cream.”
“It’s fine.” He Yan couldn’t bear seeing a girl cry, especially a girl of around fifteen or sixteen, a beautiful girl who was younger than He Yan in her past life. She comforted her: “Let the scar be, the important thing is to recover.”
Qing Mei’s eyes were wide open; she even forgot to dry her tears. She stared at He Yan without uttering a word.
“What’s wrong? He Yan asked.
“N-Nothing.” Qing Mei wiped away her tears and stood up: “It’s fine if Miss isn’t angry about it.”
This kind of tone… He Yan looked at the table full of cosmetics and jewelry and suddenly comprehended the situation. The original eldest young miss of the He family was someone who was proud of her beauty. Her flawless skin seemed to be taken care of so well that even a small cut on it could turn the household upside down.
Did God give her such a fragile body, a body which could not withstand any suffering, to let her experience a girlish life she hadn’t in her past life? After all, she had led a manly and rough life in the past.
Qing Mei said: “Miss, let me pour you a cup of hot tea, it had just stopped raining, and you might catch a cold.”
“Wait,” He Yan stopped her, “After waking up, I seemed to have forgotten a few things…” She looked at Qing Mei and asked cautiously: “How did I get sick in the first place?
There was a manservant before, but he was sent away in exchange for the doctor. It meant that she was not sick at birth. Plus, after waking up she did not feel uncomfortable or sick anywhere. Yet, everyone in this household treated her as if she was something fragile and delicate, as if she was prone to accidents. He Yan had a strange feeling about this.
Qing Mei was scared out of her wits when she heard her question. She grabbed He Yan’s hands, her tears freefalling again: “Miss, you’ve already been upset on Fan gongzi’s account once, so please don’t do it again! Even if it’s not for you, please take your beloved father and brother into consideration.”
Fan gongzi? A man?
He Yan asked: “Who is Fan gongzi?”
“Miss, what do you mean…? Oh yes, Fan gongzi was so ruthless, he was clearly not the right match for you, it’s good for Miss to forget about him. I won’t mention Fan gongzi again, I only want Miss to lead a content life.” Qing Mei wiped her tears again after she finished talking.
This little maid really liked to cry much for no particular reason; the newbies under her command hadn’t even cried much during their first battles. Now, her maid’s clothing was already wet, if she continued to cry like this, she might even flood this place up.
“Alright.” He Yan said helplessly, “Then we shall not mention him, go and change now, your clothes are already wet.”
Qing Mei looked disbelievingly at He Yan, seeing He Yan so calm and composed, she said hesitantly: “Then I shall go change, please wait for me, I’ll be right back.” Saying this, she finally left.
The room was silent again.
He Yan extended her hand and opened her palm.
The medicine Qing Mei had applied for her was still on her palm. She looked at her slender and delicate hand in a daze. A girl’s strength was obviously lesser than that of a boy. In her past life, ever since she was young, she would slip out of the backdoor before the sunrise.
She would then climb Mount Jing Cheng Dong Huang, to reach the temple at the top where she would carry water and chop wood with the monks just to increase the strength of her hand. Her skin had torn several times the first few days, but it became better as her hand gradually gained strength. She was then able to lift two buckets of water easily and also practice shadow boxing with stones tied to her wrist.
She had to use cheap tricks to increase her strength. The process did not complete overnight, only after a long period of time was she qualified enough to fight with a man.
But now, she was back to square one. Forget about regaining everything she had lost; with this fragile and delicate body she wouldn’t even be fight the thorny dead end she was heading to.
“Then I’ll train,” He Yan told herself, “Just like the old days.” This may be a test God had given her, as a price for her rebirth. There was nothing to be afraid of.
It was only starting everything from scratch.