Translator: Casse Choco
It rained the very next day.
He Yan asked He Yun Sheng to grab some money to hire a craftsman to repair the dilapidated roof. Spring was nearing its end and summer was approaching. Chances of rain would only increase, and the roof of her room was the only one intact in the He family’s house. Both He Sui’s and He Yun Sheng’s rooms had copper pots strewn all over the floor to catch the dripping water droplets, and upon entering their rooms, it looked rather like they were selling pots.
The roof was quickly repaired with solid green tiles. He Yan pondered for a while and changed the quilt and pillows in the house as they had cotton peeking out at some places.
He Yun Sheng stepped into the house and beckoned, “He Yan, come and take a look.”
He Yan was baffled when she saw He Yun Sheng pull out a piece of paper from his bosom and told her, “Yesterday, I wrote down all the academies in the capital that are still viable. Would you like to check them out together today?”
“Now?” He Yan asked. “Are you asking me to come with you?”
He Yun Sheng’s face flushed a little with annoyance as he turned his back to her, “I just told you.”
“Oh, well, then how about I accompany you?” He Yan replied.
This young man had an awkward temperament, but he was quite cute and relatively harmless. When He Yan walked into the yard, she saw that the horse Xiao Jue had given He Yun Sheng yesterday was standing in the corner, and He Yun Sheng had also built it a simple stable.
The family, being poor, was unable to raise horses. Only chickens and ducks had been raised in the yard. At this time, there was a giant animal, which was really strange. The horse was eating grass with its head down, the forge wiped clean and the yard neat and tidy.
Seeing He Yan looking at the horse, He Yun Sheng proudly praised, “Xiang Xiang1 is very beautiful.”
He Yan almost doubted that she had heard it wrong, “What did you call it?”
“Xiang Xiang!” He Yun Sheng replied matter-of-factly, not noticing her tone as he continued, “I noticed yesterday that she’s a female horse. Since she’s with me now, I’ve given her another name. Xiang Xiang is a name that girls will definitely like.”
He Yan: “… as long as you’re happy.”
He Yan had already advised him to study more, but He Yun Sheng refused to listen. If a person as fastidious as Xiao Jue found out that the horse he had casually gifted was given such a name by He Yun Sheng, it would definitely be the ultimate disgrace in his horse-giving career.
He Yun Sheng didn’t feel that there was anything wrong with the name. Though he tried hard to hide it, he couldn’t stop being happy; and He Yan was too lazy to be bothered about him.
The He family didn’t have any horses before and naturally no horse-carriages, so He Yan and He Yun Sheng both walked on the streets with umbrellas above their heads. He Sui went to the drill fields early in the morning. After He Yan got up in the morning, she saw that the bruises at the corner of her mouth had healed up and were barely visible, so she decided to go out without wearing a veil.
There were no benefits in going out while wearing a veil. Now that she had a different identity, she could observe the town without worrying. After careful selection, He Yun Sheng noted down the names of a total of four schools on the paper. When He Yan looked at it, she found that those schools gave most priority to martial arts.
That was good, too. With his appearance, He Yun Sheng didn’t seem like he intended to take the civil service route——then again, he really wasn’t made for that kind of job, otherwise he wouldn’t have named his horse ‘Xiang Xiang.’
The two shopped and ate to their hearts’ fill, but managed to visit all the schools on the list in a day. After they discussed the schools, they decided to choose the one nearest to their home. This school had more martial arts masters and the homework was also arranged properly. He could also go to the school to practice martial arts after completing his studies. The tuition was not extravagant, just one or two tales of silver a year. The money that He Yan had won, would be enough for him to go to school for several years.
Although He Yun Sheng didn’t say it, he was obviously ecstatic. On the way back, he even skipped a little as he walked. When they passed by a tailor shop, He Yan suddenly remembered He Yun Sheng’s coat that she had torn up at Le Tong. After thinking about it, she said, “I had agreed to sew you clothes before. Since we’re already here, doing it today is better than waiting for tomorrow. Let’s check it here.”
Most of He Yun Sheng’s clothes were He Sui’s hand-me-downs, which had been stitched and mended repeatedly for at least three years, with very few new clothes. He had never before set foot in a tailor shop, so when he heard her words, he hesitated, “Forget it, I can just wear the clothes I have.”
“You will be going to the academy. If you don’t carry yourself well, you will be ridiculed.” Saying this, He Yan dragged him inside the shop. The old tailor smiled kindly, “Are the clothes being made for the young girl or the young boy?”
“Do it for him,” He Yan pointed to He Yun Sheng. “Clothes for both spring and winter seasons, preferably long-sleeved and long trousers. Better looking and suitable for a young man like him. Don’t use too deep colours but don’t use very light colours either. The pattern can be kept simple.”
The old tailor smiled and answered in affirmative.
“What about you?” He Yun Sheng was shocked and stood up, “I can’t wear all those. They’re too much.”
He Yan pushed him back onto the chair, “I have a lot of clothes to wear, my wardrobe is already full, how can you compare with me? After all, you look so dashing. It would be such a waste of your handsome face if you don’t dress well.”
He Yun Sheng flushed red. “What nonsense are you talking about?”
When the old tailor heard the words, his smile widened, “Young man, your sister loves you a lot.”
Love? He Yun Sheng was a bit dazed. He had never expected to shop with He Yan like this one day, just like other siblings. But… she did help him a lot. She was reluctant to spend money on making clothes for her herself, but she did so much for him. Everyone knew He Yan was the one who liked to dress the most.
He Yan didn’t know He Yun Sheng’s inner thoughts were jumbled up right now. She was just thinking that she couldn’t wear the clothes of the original owner of the body as they were way too charming and was not of He Yan’s taste. Every time she wore those long skirts, she fell down after stepping on the corner of the clothes. Whenever she had to hold the hem of her clothes, her face would be filled with despair.
Even when she was living at the Xu family, her clothes were always simple and elegant. Therefore the original owner’s clothes were not suitable for her. Not to mention that she couldn’t even practice martial arts in those clothes. She thought that it would be better if she asked the tailor to make two sets of male clothes, but it should not be in front of He Yun Sheng, otherwise, she would have to spend an infinite amount of time explaining it. She would have to do it when she is alone, secretly.
While the tailor was measuring He Yun Sheng, He Yan was walking around looking at the bolts of fabric intending to pick one or two pieces for him. At that moment, someone called her name.
He Yan turned around to take a look.
After she turned around to look, she saw an extremely handsome and richly-dressed youth, whose appearance was fair, but his eyes had a hint of black and blue underneath them, making him appear sullen. Tailing after him were a few young manservants. Seeing He Yan turn around, his eyes lit up and he suddenly dashed ahead to grab her hands.
He Yan swiftly avoided his hands.
Seemed like the original owner was quite famous in the town. He Yan was going insane, internally, discovering acquaintances wherever she went, first that Wang Jiu Gui, and now this one.
The youth was shocked when He Yan avoided his hand, but then immediately looked crestfallen, holding his chest where his heart was, “You… are still mad at me?”
What did that mean?
He Yan was still quite lost, but a young calf-like boy had already rushed out like a whirlwind and blocked He Yan’s way.
“Fan Cheng you dare to come!”
‘Fan?’ He Yan came to a sudden conclusion. This person was the legendary ‘Fan gongzi’, the ex-lover of the original He Yan.
1 香 (xiāng): xiang literally means ‘fragrant, aromatic, sweet smelling.’ A weird name for a horse lol