Xiao Hua became numb to the pain.
Perhaps at first she had wanted to curse, to struggle, as she experienced the pain that reached her marrow. Now, she no longer had the strength.
The numbness spread, the pain grew evermore distant. Her bloodshot eyes were no longer able to clearly see the repulsive faces around her as her vision faded to red.
Heh, she used to be one of them. However, the winner is king, while the loser is trampled underfoot. She, as the loser, was thus being held down and beaten to death, while they stood smirking at the side…
Her hearing went next…
She could no longer hear them jeering, no longer hear them adding insult to injury, and no longer hear them condescendingly denounce and curse her.
Heh—let she who is without sin cast the first stone. Who here in this courtyard was clean?!
The “clean” ones just had deeper closets for their skeletons.
The rag in her mouth prevented her from spraying blood, which trickled slowly down the corner of her mouth instead.
Xiao Hua opened her eyes wide, her face resting on the cold stone-tiled floor. She suddenly felt cold, the same coldness she felt on that day, many years ago. Cold that penetrated her core despite the ambient temperature outside.
That scene slowly flashed across her eyes. The memory that she normally avoided and forcibly repressed.
As the favorite concubine of the Jinyang Marquis Estate’s 4th young master, how could she dwell on the unbearable events of her past?
Yet why was it that at the moment of her death, she ended up recalling those events long ago…
“…Xiao Hua, you mustn’t blame your father!”
The stooped peasant caressed her young head with his calloused hands, then turned around and stumbled away.
Fine rain drizzled in the cold air, yet could not match the chill in her heart.
She was five years old at the time. Without crying or chasing after him, she watched his figure disappear in the distance.
She’d already understood: her father sold her for money.
The housekeeper next to her let out a sigh, patted her small head and led her through the gate.
How could she blame him?
Her hometown had flooded, starving victims filled the land and everything in her house was washed away. Her parents fled the disaster with her and her two younger brothers. They had no food, no water, and no one to offer them shelter.
Her brother fell ill right as they found a temporary shelter. With their backs against the wall, they were forced to sell the children.
Her…they were forced to sell her….
She did resent them, once upon a time. As she was sold over and over again, as she endured starvation and beatings daily, she resented….
Why did they sell her off? Just because she was a daughter? Were daughters really worthless?
In the end, she no longer resented them. She only resented her fate!
Resented the heavens for not giving her a good background. Why wasn’t she born in a wealthy household…?
How lucky were the young mistresses of those households. To be clad in gold and silver, surrounded by servants with no lack of food and drink. No need to worry about being starved and getting beaten if their work was not done well.
However, she wasn’t them. She could only struggle by herself….and her present condition was the result of her struggles.
Regrets…so many regrets…in fact, she had started to regret a long time ago. Yet having taken that first step meant she had no room to retreat. If she did not struggle, she would be swallowed up by her merciless lot in life. Thus she struggled, she forced herself to struggle. Struggled and fought until she realized that some things cannot be obtained by mere effort.
If… if only she could start over…if she could start over she swore to turn over a new leaf…remove herself from the filth that led her astray…and become an honest person.
Unfortunately, there were no do-overs in life…
Her vision faded from red to black…
“Fourth young madam, she’s no longer breathing…”
The robust old crone holding the bloodied plank in her hand reported to the beautifully dressed madam on the steps, as she checked the body for signs of life.
The fourth young madam glanced at the crowd of cute and charming girls around her, the corner of her lips twitching ostensibly as she carelessly waved her hand.
“Roll the body up in the mat and toss it out.”