After that day, Ying Lu would often come to accompany me, occasionally bringing some fun things to help me feel freshened up. And I too, restrained from pulling a horrible face from day to night, getting along with her like nothing is wrong.
“Ah-Lan!” She excitedly holds up her skirt as she steps in, “Is Xiao Hei here with you?”
I glance at the happily rolling black pig on the bed, “En.”
She finds it angering yet laughable, “This pig, since you’ve come, it doesn’t even know who its owner is, just running over to you from day to night, not even afraid of being abducted and slaughtered along the way!”
Xiao Hei’s rolling action seems to have come to a pause, but very quickly, it grabs the blanket and continues rolling, in extreme comfort.
I find it difficult to not crack a smile, “Who doesn’t know that you, Young Lady Meng’s favoured one is a black pig, like they’d dare to slaughter it? Unless they’ve eaten the guts of a leopard.”
“Heng.” She blows up her cheeks, “There will definitely come a day I cook it.”
Xiao Hei stops rolling around upon hearing this, moving its round body to my side and nudges me, seemingly trying to please me. I pick it up and tug at its pig tail, saying to Ying Lu: “Don’t forget to bring me along when you cook it.”
Xiao Hei violently twists its body, a pair of black eyes blankly looking at me, but complaints and dissatisfaction is vaguely seen within.
I cannot help but pause, as time passes, perhaps the one that hasn’t changed, is only this guy.
Ying Lu sounds a clear ringing laughter, patting Xiao Hei’s head, “Oh right, has Brother come to see you?”
I shake my head, Meng Shao Jue has not come here since that day, perhaps avoiding me, perhaps planning something again.
She rests her chin in hand, “Brother seems to be very busy lately ah……”
A deep and attractive male voice sounds in this moment, “Calling out my name like this, could it be that you miss me?”
Ying Lu’s eyes curls into smiles, loudly saying to that tall and slender figure at the doors: “Truly the case of ‘speak of Cao Cao and Cao Cao will arrive’!”
Meng Shao Jue chuckles, phoenix eyes lightly brushing past me, then stops at Ying Lu, “Heard the maid from your courtyard say you always come running here, have you memorised the books Teacher told you to?”
“I’ve come out to find Xiao Hei.” Ying Lu makes an excuse, pouting again as she says: “Also, the books that Teacher arranges for me, are so dull and boring, makes me want to sleep once I start reading.”
Meng Shao Jue raises his handsome brows, “Why don’t I see other family’s young ladies fall asleep with one look?”
Ying Lu grins, “That’s because none of them are me – Meng Ying Lu.”
My throat suddenly feels itchy, I reach up to rub at it, then continue to hold Xiao Hei, quietly listening to them talk.
Meng Shao Jue could neither laugh nor cry, “Only you would know how to make such excuses.” He once again looks at me, yet his question is directed at Ying Lu, “Since Xiao Hei has been found, are you able to return now?”
“No.” Ying Lu shakes her head, “Brother, I’ll return after playing around for a bit longer, if not, how boring would it be ah, don’t you think so?”
The look in Meng Shao Jue’s eyes as he looks at me slightly warms up, yet his lips lightly say: “En, it is rather boring to be alone, accompany her more then.” He draws back his line of sight, unable to make out his feelings in those long and narrow eyes, “I still have some matters, shall be leaving first, I’ll come see you again next time.”
Ying Lu lowly laughs as she ridicules, “Just don’t know who it is you’re wanting to see.”
Meng Shao Jue shows a seeming smile, not saying a word as he turns and leaves.
“Ah-Lan.” Ying Lu is full of smiles, “Brother’s eyes are practically about to stick onto your body.”
I just lightly respond: “En.”
She thinks nothing of it as she shakes her head, “You sure are calm about it.”
I hook up the corners of my lips, without any happy means, should I not be calm, then could it be that I should happily go and welcome him?
Truly a joke.
Ying Lu stays with me for another sichen before preparing to leave, but in this moment, Qing Ya comes carrying in a tray, gracefully smiling when she sees us: “Young Lady, Young Lady Lan.”
Ying Lu curiously looks at the two bowls placed on the tray, “Why are you sending in desserts now, isn’t it still early?”
Qing Ya places the bowls in front of the two of us respectively, lifting the lids to release the steam, “Young Master says that the weather has been rather warm these days, afraid that Young Ladies will be too fired up , specially told the kitchen to make some sugar rock stewed with snow pear and white fungus.” She turns to me, smiling much sweeter, “In particularly Young Lady Lan, your throat has been feeling a little unwell these days, eating this will help relieve the heat.” (refers to the concept of hot and cold qi in the body, for more info see: http://blog.tutorming.com/expats/chinese-medicine-shang-huo-zhao-liang)
Ying Lu meaningfully makes an “oh” sound, “Brother sure is considerate ah.”
I lower my eyes, not giving any response.
Forget whether he’s being considerate or inconsiderate, what’s it got to do with me?
Compared to my initial disturbing fears and unrest, these days, I have clearly calmed down a lot. The scene I had witnessed inside there, has of course pained me, but it also tells me that Yuwen Rui currently has no life-threatening danger. I know that the current me can no longer act so restlessly like a headless turtle, what I should be doing, is think of how to send out the address of where Yuwen Rui is being held in.
Ying Lu is the key.
I naturally will not directly ask Ying Lu, if she can help me pass on the news to Yuwen Rui’s people, the result from this would be none other than awkwardness and failure. I understand that I should not be acting rashly like spreading fire, but to gather together the patience I once had, and wait for the opportunity.
What I’m waiting for is just one opportunity.
Ying Lu has been a little strange these days.
A few days ago, she would be very happily having fun here with me, holding my hand as she tells me what matters she had encountered in the six months we haven’t seen each other, be it happy or sad, be it interesting or uninteresting, all in all she would speak in high spirits, heart filled with happiness. As for these few days, although she is holding my hand to tell me this and that, she would often look at me with other thoughts in mind, eyes containing concern for an unknown reason.
I gather all this into my eyes, but say nothing, patiently waiting for the moment she cannot hold back anymore.
“Ah-Lan.” Ying Lu plucks at leaf from the pot on the table, “These few days……how have you been feeling?”
I lie on my side on the soft couch, lazily saying: “Not bad.”
“Oh.” She says in response, falling silent for a moment before acting like she’s just casually asking: “Oh~, why have I not been seeing Brother lately? Could it be that Brother’s and my timing hasn’t been matching up?”
I narrow my eyes, my mind shaken, then say as if it’s nothing: “Your Brother has not been coming here recently.”
Ying Lu’s expression clearly pauses, “That’s how it is ah……”
I turn a page of the book, causally asking: “What, you miss him?”
“Hehe, that’s right ah, I haven’t seen Brother for so long now, presume he has been very busy lately.” She sounds a few laughs, smile looking a little forced.
My heart is shaken, but my face remains normal, not saying anymore.
The next day, Ying Lu comes to me with a frown on her face, chest rapidly rising and falling, sitting at the table huffing and puffing, filling her mouth with a cup of water. I raise my brows, “Who provoked you?”
“If it isn’t Leng Yang that idiot!” Ying Lu angrily says: “Haven’t seen such a dull and unmoving (stubborn) wooden block like him before!”
I smile, teasingly saying: “Wooden blocks are originally dull and unmoving, how bright and intelligent are you expecting him to be?”
“But he’s still too much of a wooden block!” She heavily places down the cup, “Whatever people tells him, whatever he will believe, too nice and honest for his own good, could it be that he cannot even consider the idea that people are deceiving him? Even after finding out he’s been deceived in the end, he would only laugh and say it’s nothing, does he think that being like that, people will think he’s nice? Pei! They all treat him as a fool!” Having said all that, a trace of heartache rapidly flashes past her eyes, followed by the surging of more anger.
I thoughtfully nod, by the sounds of it, these words don’t seem to sound quite right ah, this Leng Yang…… “You’re very concerned about him.”
“Him?” Ying Lu widens her eyes, “I pei! Who’s concerned about him?! I just find him to be such an eyesore!”
“Oh, an eyesore ah.” I say: “Then why should you care about what he does? Even if he get schemed to his demise by someone, it shouldn’t have anything to do with you.”
“Pei pei pei! You crow mouth! As if he would die!” Ying Lu stands up with her hands on hips, “How could he die with me here?!”
I deliberately ask: “He wouldn’t die with you here? Who are you to him?”
Only now does Ying Lu realises she has been toyed with by me, walking up to my side and pinches my cheek, “Wretched lass, you’re actually toying with me!”
I let out a few sounds of laughter, lightly asking: “Ying Lu, is Leng Yang the person you like?”
Ying Lu sits at my side, resting her chin in hands as she says: “He says he likes me.”
“What about you?”
“Me?” She pouts, “In fact, I don’t know either, just feel that everyone around me are all so calculative, he’s not like that, and acts truthfully and sincerely to me, with no other means in mind.”
“Silly.” I use the book to knock her head, “People like that are the good ones.”
“Not good, he always get deceived by others, he only knows when I tell him!”
“Then isn’t it fine if you remind him when he gets deceived in future?”
“I……” Ying Lu pauses, a slight pink glow surfacing on her cheeks, “Ah-Lan, you really think that he’s good?”
I pinch her nose, “How could Ying Lu possibly like someone that’s no good?”
“Already said I don’t like him.” She waves her hand, but under my gaze, she mumbles: “Alright, just a tiny bit, a tiny bit.”
I smile and say nothing.
Ying Lu’s eyes makes a turn, “What about you, what kind of man do you like?”
I lift a lock of hair and play with it, slowly saying: “The man I like needs not be handsome, needs not be wealthy, needs not be intelligent, needs not be a sweet-talker……but must only give his heart to me, never to let another woman into his eyes again.”
She quietly speaks up, “You like such a man? Only like one like that?”
I lightly smile and say: “En.” The feelings that women wants, is in fact very simple, only wanting one scoop of water to drink from the river running thousands of miles, but just how many men are capable of doing this in this world?
Afraid that the most simple thing is the most difficult.
She falls silent for a long time, hooking up the corners of her lips with slight concern, “Is that so ah, Ah-Lan is so amazing, there will definitely be someone like that.”
I subtly hook up the corners of my lips, Ying Lu, if you don’t say it now, it’s fine, I am in no rush, I will patiently wait for you to tell me.
The next day, Ying Lu enters the room with a darkened face, “Ah-Lan.”
I slowly raise my head, “En?”
She bites her lips, wanting to speak but holding back, “I……”
My thoughts subtly make a move, getting up and pulling her hand to make her take a seat, “What’s wrong? Has Leng Yang made you angry again?”
“No.” She shakes her head, her hold on my hand a little tight, “Has Brother come to see you lately?”
Meng Shao Jue again.
I half lower my eyes, quietly saying: “No.”
Ying Lu takes a deep breath, the look in her eyes unfathomable.
I smile, “Silly, your brother may be very busy lately, that’s why he isn’t able to come see me……”
“Of course he’s busy! Busy with getting betrothed to another woman!” She loudly blurts out, full of resentment.