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At night, the wind blew in through the gaps of the windows, making the flame of the candle sway slightly. The shadow on the wall reeled right and left due to the candle. He Yan looked at the little bit of money in front of her and asked: “This is all?”
“I had already asked the shopkeeper to give me more money,” Qing Mei answered with difficulty: “But the shopkeeper said that he couldn’t give more money for those jewelry.”
He Yan nodded, “You can go now.”
Qing Mei left.
He Yan picked up the little amount of money bit by bit and put them in her palm. Looking at the two broken bits of silver, she felt as if her heart was breaking together with it.
When she was in previous He Family, money was never a problem. Even if she was in short of money, she could simply pawn her jewelry and jade pendants to get a huge sum. There was no need of money when she was in the battlefield. When she came back to Jing Chen, she was rewarded a large sum of money and valuables by the emperor. This amount was enough to fill up a few of He family’s courtyards.
Just a little bit of General Fei Hong’s reward would help the He family come out of its crises. But she could never go back to her previous He family.
He Yan heaved a deep sigh. She finally understood the meaning of the saying: “A penny beats a hero”.
Nothing could replace money. He Yan also wanted to go to the drill fields. She could strengthen her body a little by climbing the hill, but that was not enough. If she wanted to really become as strong as her previous self, she needed to engage in direct combat with people, shoot arrows, and ride horses. However, He Yan was unsure if He Sui, who loved his daughter more than his life, would agree to this.
She blew off the candle and went to bed. No matter what, she had to leave tomorrow.
The next day, after chopping wood and going back home, He Yun Sheng planned to sell cakes.
He Yan watched He Yun Sheng fill the bamboo utensils with cakes. She asked: “Are you sure you’ll finish selling all these cakes?”
“The weather is warm and sunny and the market is bustling.” He Yun Sheng answered: “We will finish selling in a short amount of time.”
He Yun Sheng worked hard for his family. His knowledge on business seemed awe-inspiring to He Yan, so she patted his shoulder and said: “Then let’s go.”
He Yun Sheng’s body stiffened. He Yan’s actions, it was really… manly.
It was early when they reached the shed, hence there weren’t many vendors. The two of them found a good spot near the streets and started to take out the Da Nai cakes one by one.
It was early April, the warm sensation of summer slowly vanished as the sun gradually went down. The Da Nai cakes tasted both sweet and sour and also had the pleasant fragrance of plums. It was the best time to have these cakes. Just as He Yun Sheng predicted, the business was going well. He Yun Sheng wrapped the cakes while He Yan dealt with the transactions. They were as busy as bees when, all of a sudden, a bunch of men burst in with Wang Jiu Gui in the lead.
Wang Jiu Gui slammed his fist hard on the table. The crowd moved back, not wanting to get involved in this scenario.
He Yun Sheng was fearless and snapped: “What are you doing?”
“What am I doing?” Wang Jiu Gui snorted, “You thought I would let the matter go after you beat me up yesterday?”
He Yun Sheng rolled up his sleeves. His face was cold as he said: “You want to fight? I’m right here.”
“Bastard, you got some guts!” Wang Jiu Gui took a step back. The people who were crowded behind him advised He Yun Sheng, “Young man, don’t be too rampant!”
He Yun Sheng didn’t bother to move. At the same time, He Yan yelled: “Stop!”
He Yun Sheng and Wang Jiu Gui both turned to He Yan.
Seeing He Yan, Wang Jiu Gui smiled and said: “This little kid is immature, but since he’s your brother, I’ll give him some respect. If Miss He is willing to accompany me for a short walk, we would stop this dispute right here.”
“I see, your filthy mouth can’t even utter decent language!” He Yun Sheng was furious.
“Wait a minute.” He Yan gripped He Yun Sheng’s hand. He Yun Sheng wanted to wrench his hand from her grasp, but he couldn’t do it. Even though he tried hard, his wrist remained in her firm grasp. He Yun Sheng was startled, when did He Yan gain so much strength?
“If you have anything to talk about, don’t do it here. You’ll scare the people.” He Yan said lightly: “Let’s talk there.” She pointed far away, to a deep alley near Restaurant Zui Yu.
He Yun Sheng and Wang Jiu Gui yelled at the same time.
He Yun Sheng spoke anxiously: “You’re a girl, how could you go with them… These people are thugs!”
Wang Jiu Gui smiled: “It seems like Miss He is more sensible than you. Let’s go, I even brought a present for you, Miss He…”
He Yun Sheng wanted to stop her, but He Yan suddenly whispered in his ears: “Do you think chopping wood every day on the hills won’t reap us any benefits? Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I’ll be back after a cup of tea’s time.”
The young girl’s voice was soft and gentle, with a faint smile in it. He Yun Sheng was stunned as he watched He Yan following Wang Jiu Gui and his cronies.
He Yun Sheng wanted to go after her, but he stopped in his tracks as he remembered what He Yan had told him.
This time, he would believe her. A cup of tea’s time. If she did not return by then, he would go look for her.
At the same time, He Yan and Wang Jiu Gui walked towards the alley.
Above the alley was Restaurant Zui Yu’s wine shop. They could faintly hear the melodious music coming from the shop. He Yan had been looking forward to going to that place for a long time, but she couldn’t do it. After she had come back to the capital, she never got a chance to visit. In the eyes of the populace, she was a girl and was forbidden to go to such places.
“Sister He,” Wang Jiu Gui approached her with a hippie smile, “What did you want to tell me?”
“He shaoye*?” Wang Jiu Gui was taken aback, but he quickly regained his composure and smiled brightly. With a wave of his hand, he said, “I won’t do anything to him, you know that.” He then proceeded to take out a blue colored powder box and extended his hand to caress He Yan’s face, “You’re the only one in my heart, and we’ll be a family in the future…”
*shaoye (少爷): young master
A piercing scream escaped from his mouth before Wang Jiu Gui could finish his words.
Inside Restaurant Zui Yu, the strings of the musical instruments stopped for a second. This created a disarray of musical notes, which sounded like a scratch on a beautiful jade piece. Someone asked with curiosity: “What’s that sound?”
The edge of gauze curtain was lifted up by a fan handle. The tea cup was delicate, but the slender fingers that held it were way more delicate.
He Yan released her hand. Wang Jiu Gui’s arm fell nimbly at his side and his face was filled with horror. He Yan smiled slightly, then raised her arm. That blue colored powder box hit Wang Jiu Gui’s head and his face was covered with white powder.
“Thanks for your gift, but I happen to be allergic to cheap powders. Remember, don’t give me these things next time.”
“Bitch! Beat her up!” Wang Jiu Gui howled in pain but did not hesitate to make the men behind him take a move.
The young lady heard his words and smiled, as though she had heard some joke. Her laughter was as crisp as the mountain spring. She seemed to be jovial as the breeze blew her skirt. She had jet-black hair and skin as pale as snow—coupled with her large and bright apricot eyes, she merely looked like an attractive young lady out for a walk.
But the words she uttered sent shivers down Wang Jiu Gui’s spine.
She rubbed her wrist and smiled slightly: “You better not regret it.”
T/N: In this chapter, the ML appeared with a finger.