Xiao Hua suddenly awoke in the middle of the night.
She appeared to have heard someone calling out her name and looked around.
The moon seemed to be bright tonight. The moonlight shining through the boarded windows allowed her to see the room clearly. Liu Ye and Cui Lan both looked to be sleeping, cuddled together in a corner.
Xiao Hua heard someone calling her softly once again, so she followed the voice and slowly made her way to the window.
Only after peeking through the gaps between the boards did she realize Grandma Wang had come.
“Granny Wang, why have you come?”
Grandma Wang’s old face was stretched tight, seeming extremely sad but also afraid to upset Xiao Hua.
“You silly lass, wasn’t it because I heard the news and was worried about you?”
Xiao Hua felt a little like crying, but was also afraid to upset the old woman and managed to smile instead, “You don’t have to worry about me granny. I’m doing fine.”
Grandma Wang finally couldn’t stop herself from crying any longer. Afraid of being overhead, she covered her mouth. “You silly lass, how can you be fine if you’re getting sold off? Unfortunately there isn’t anything I can do. I can only watch helplessly.”
Xiao Hua raised her head a little to stifle the tears that were about to flow out, took a deep breath and forced a smile: “Granny, you’re looking down on me too much. No matter what, I, Xiao Hua, have been sold so many times. If I couldn’t even get over this point, I wouldn’t have been able to survive this long.”
Grandma Wang was amused into both tears and laughter. Xiao Hua also raised her little fist and waved it around, “Granny, you shouldn’t underestimate me. I am after all a little wild flower1 in the ground. The winds and rain can’t blow or beat me to death. Even if I wilt this time around, I will bloom again next year.” She blinked with all her might, trying to blink her tears back. “Oh, right. How did you know we were locked up in here, granny?”
Grandma Wang wiped away her old tears, “I’ve stayed in this estate so many years, would there be a place I wasn’t familiar with? People who are getting sold off are usually kept in this pavilion. It’s unfortunate that the estate is well guarded, and the area outside this pavilion passes through several gates. Otherwise granny really wants to secretly set you free.”
Xiao Hua twisted her lips and acted nonchalant: “Granny, you’re also silly. Even if you released me I have nowhere to go. Where would a little girl like me find a place to live in this world? I have no home, and my contract isn’t in my hands. An escaped servant’s fate is even worse.”
Grandma Wang muttered to herself, “Ai, that’s true –”
She passed a small cloth bag through the window gap, “Here, take this. There’s some food and silver inside.”
Xiao Hua pushed back, “Granny why would you give me silver, I don’t want it.”
Grandma Wang said urgently: “You silly lass. Getting sold off in such a rush, you definitely don’t have any coins on you. At least take some with you, so if something really happens you can have some means to protect yourself.”
Xiao Hua thought about it and realized she was right. She accepted the small bag and gripped it tightly with her fingers.
“Granny, thank you.”
“No need for thanks. What use does an old grandma like me have for the silver? But there isn’t much, just use it as a safety measure.” Sensing the awkward atmosphere, Grandma Wang spoke again: “This grandma wasn’t able to find out where you guys are being sold off to, but one thing is certain. The madam shouldn’t be selling you guys off to some filthy place since those two have been intimate with the young master.”
The line of thought happened to coincide with Xiao Hua’s earlier thoughts. Hearing this, Xiao Hua was able to fully put her heart at ease.
The two spoke a few more words before Grandma Wang prepared to leave. As she was about to walk away, she forced a smile and said: “This grandma had been worried you would be depressed. If you’re able to maintain that same spirit you had just know, there isn’t anywhere you wouldn’t be able to survive.”
“Take care, granny.” Xiao Hua mumbled.
“Little lass, you take care as well.”
After Grandma Wang left, Xiao Hua curled up in the corner again. She looked at Cui Lan and Liu Ye, who were still asleep on the floor.
She opened the cloth bag, and found a couple pieces of silver coins and two pastries. The pastries were small, only the size of a palm. Grandma Wang had probably known the window crack wasn’t large and so gave her smaller pieces.
The tears that had been held back for so long flowed out all at once.
She grabbed a pastry and peeled off pieces into her mouth. Her mouth chewed the pastry while her face was filled with tears.
She told herself repeatedly that it was fine, it was just being sold, it wasn’t as if she hadn’t been sold before. She was the little wild flower that couldn’t be beaten to death. Wherever the wind takes her is where she will grow.
Although her thoughts were such, the tears wouldn’t stop flowing.
She ate one of the pastries and put the other into her robes. Xiao Hua looked at the few pieces of silver, and after some thought used the cloth bag and a torn strip from her clothes to bind it around her leg.
Luckily she didn’t have any pieces of jewelry on her, otherwise she wouldn’t know where to hide them.
Having readied herself, she closed her eyes and continued to sleep, forcing herself not to think about anything.
When she awoke it was already bright daylight, though she wasn’t sure when. Cui Lan had started pounding on the door again, this time to yell for food instead of the young master.
Yet no matter how she yelled no one showed up. Cui Lan saw that there truly didn’t seem to be anyone outside, and since this place was very remote no one could hear their sounds of activity. She turned around and looked at the other two in alarm, “They wouldn’t starve us to death here right?”
Liu Ye didn’t say anything, though her breathing grew heavier.
Xiao Hua saw her pitiful appearance and felt a little sympathy, giving her a glance and saying: “There’s no way. They will sell us off before we starve to death. Therefore, you should save your energy so you can last until then.”
Cui Lan wanted to cry again, but Xiao Hua’s latter words made her hurriedly stop herself.
The three of them found their own spot to curl up in, with none of them talking to each other. Liu Ye and Cui Lan would faintly sob occasionally, but Xiao Hua who was curled up in her corner couldn’t be bothered to respond to them.
The room went from bright to dark to bright again, during which time the second pastry was secretly eaten by Xiao Hua.
Only on the third day did they hear the sounds of people outside. Xiao Hua and the rest had been starved to the point of exhaustion.
Especially Xiao Hua, who was in her growth phase but having only eaten two pastries. If she hadn’t already carried the expectation of being starved, she wouldn’t have been able to last.
Two sturdy old crones walked in with stern expressions, holding a plate of buns and a pot of water.
After walking in, they used their feet to nudge Cui Lan who was on the floor, and told them to eat.
Xiao Hua’s eyes lit up, shakily standing and making her way over.
She first poured herself some water before heading over to the buns.
Although Cui Lan and Liu Ye were extremely hungry, they had yet to fully adapt to their new status. They each took a bun and nibbled on it as they sat. Xiao Hua saw their refined mannerisms and showed no modesty, grabbing three buns from the plate. With two cradled in her bosom and one in her hand, she also sat down and started chewing slowly.
The short and stocky old crone said with a rough voice: “All of you eat quickly. After you’re done it’s time to be on your way.”
The old crone’s words sounded frightening2 but Xiao Hua knew what she meant. She was saying they were about to be sold.
Xiao Hua had also anticipated this, otherwise she wouldn’t have grabbed the extra buns. Once you get to the trafficker, that’s when you’ll know what it’s like to be missing meals.
Cui Lan finished her bun in a single breath and felt she was no longer hungry. She started pleading with the old crone to let her see the young master.
The short stocky crone gave her a look of disdain and said: “The young master won’t see you guys, so stop thinking about it. If you behave well and don’t cause any trouble, I won’t let you suffer.”
Cui Lan wanted to beg and cry once again, but quieted down after getting pushed back by the tall and sturdy old crone.
Seeing the three of them finishing up with their meal, the two crones gave Cui Lan and Liu Ye a glance over, and reached their hands out to take off all their silver hairpins and accessories.
Liu Ye shrieked: “What are you guys doing? That’s mine!”
The taller crone spat in contempt, “What’s yours? You’re getting sold, nothing is yours.” While speaking, she and the shorter crone pinned the two of them to the ground and rummaged over their bodies, removing anything remotely valuable.
Cui Lan and Liu Ye had never experienced such rough treatment before, letting out yelping cries while paralyzed on the floor.
After the two were done with Cui Lan and Liu Ye, their eyes looked towards Xiao Hua’s body. They saw the skinny and shriveled little lass with her face full of soot, unadorned hair and wrists, a skinny body that could barely hide anything, and two protrusions around her chest area.
Xiao Hua saw their gaze and hurriedly took out the two buns hidden in her robes, and acted aggrieved: “I had just been promoted to senior maid a few days ago, and worked as a sweeper girl before. I’ve only lived nicely for a couple of days before being implicated.” As she was speaking, she burst into tears.
The two crones also knew the situation, and didn’t say anything else. They yelled at Cui Land and Liu Ye to get up, and made the three of them follow them out. They walked out of the deserted pavilion, passed through a few gates and arrived at a small house.
Inside the house stood a tough-looking old woman. Upon seeing the two old crones, she started nodding and bowing, her originally fierce expression instantly transforming into a gratifying smile.
Xiao Hua saw this familiar trafficker and was suddenly dazed.
Trafficker Qian. To think it would be her.
She had initially been sold into the capital by this trafficker. This old woman was vicious and merciless, her character unreasonable and unkind. Of course, this was only towards the slaves under her control. Towards those with wealth and status, she was a completely different person.
“The two of you old sisters in charge came over, is it the three of them?”
The shorter crone spoke: “Trafficker Qian, these three will be handed over to you. Our madam has ordered that they be sold outside the capital, sold far away.” Thinking of the orders she received, she spoke again: “Sell them to people as servants, you know what to do.”
Trafficker Qian smiled and said fawningly: “That’s for sure, that’s for sure. Your estate can be assured of the way I handle things.”
As a trafficker, she not only bought and sold servants, but also helped some rich households take care of a few shameful secrets. For those that offended their masters, the orders would be to sell them to some awful places. Those that have been intimate with the estate’s young masters or old masters would get a little more consideration.
Sometimes she didn’t understand what these people were thinking. Since they had already decided to deal with them, why bother being so picky with where they ended up? After all, what the eye doesn’t see, the heart doesn’t grieve over. But the reason she had such a network of rich households was because she dutifully carried out their orders. As long as they ordered it, she would accomplish it.
Glancing at the two sorry looking maids who were clearly “good saplings”, trafficker Qian felt regret. It was really a shame about these two good saplings.
Trafficker Qian finished her transaction with the two crones, and waved her hand to let her own crones come in and drag the people away. Since Xiao Hua had been trafficked by her before, and also having heard that they were to be sold as servants, she followed behind without resistance.
Cui Lan and Liu Ye still wanted to struggle, but after being given a slap each by trafficker Qian’s crones they became well behaved.
Some readers have remarked that the plot is moving a little slow, this is a very profound problem.
I personally believe that these reincarnators or transmigrators need to experience things from a young age to mature. Xiao Hua hasn’t experienced much in her two lives. In her first life after growing up with suffering she entered the Jinyang Marquis Estate where the small Jinxiu Pavilion became her whole world. Her time spent after reincarnating was very short, and while she had experienced the pain of death in her past life and knows she can’t go down the same path, she still has the past experience of several years spent living the “good life”. Therefore returning back in time there are still a few things she wasn’t able to get used to right away, and having to face getting sold again she is inevitably very scared….this kind of obstacle in her heart is something that needs to be overcome before being able to revert to her original character. Kind of like rebirth from the flames….
Alright, did you guys understand what this author is saying? I don’t really know what I’m saying myself.
Regarding the plot moving slowly I will pay attention to this problem in the future, but I will also say this novel is a little slice of life, sweet and cute novel. The main draw will be the interactions between the male and female lead, with some sprinkling of household and palace drama. The simple things will be the base, with some plots and schemes as seasoning…this will be the planned plot looking forward. However, this author also likes to go off plan, and once things go off it’s like a wild horse that refuses to be bridled….
Furthermore, our male lead is quite moe3. This kind of cute needs to be revealed slowly. If in the end his cute points aren’t revealed, it means that my idea is of cute isn’t quite the same as everyone else’s, and I will definitely cry myself to death. I’ve rambled too much, hiding under a lid and escaping….