Chapter 20: Acknowledgement
Atlas Studios Atlas Studios
Old Mr. Mo strolled in the backyard garden after leaving Wen Xinya’s room.
The sight of the viburnum tree made him recall the memories of Yao-er and himself planting the tree when she was much younger. Although the memory had long faded, he vividly remembered Yao-er wearing a white long dress with a pink butterfly knot tied to her waist.
He remembered they sat beneath a tree and the little girl kept asking, “Father, Father, when will the viburnum tree grow taller?”
“Father, Father, it was mentioned in the books that the petals of viburnum flowers are big, pure as jade and look magnificent when they blossom. The center of a viburnum flower looks like a white pearl, surrounded by five petals and the flowers grow in multiples of eight. The books described it as beautiful as butterflies surrounding the pearl, thus it was also known as butterfly flower. There’s also another name—the eight deities flower because it also resembled eight deities dancing elegantly. Liu Chang expressed in his poem: Millions of oriental plants competing for distinction, but none can compete with the viburnum flower! I wonder when we can see the flowers blossom?”
More than 30 years had passed, and this viburnum tree had grown and blossomed with the most beautiful flowers. It was just as innocent as the smile on the face of the little girl who danced around this tree years ago.
The servants gathered around and their conversations could be heard from a distance away.
“Young Mistress really resemble the late Mistress in terms of looks and temperament. She’s very different from Wen Ruya. When Wen Ruya first came to the Mo Family, though she looked obedient and adorable, her rounded eyes seemed to harbor evil intentions. It just made us feel uncomfortable.”
“Yes, that’s right. Every time she visited the Mo Family’s bungalow, she had her eyes on the valuable antiques. We all knew she wasn’t a simple girl.”
“We really didn’t like the way she behaved. Though she was such a young girl, she always displayed arrogance as if she was above us all. There wasn’t any resemblance of the late Mistress. I already had a strong feeling that she wasn’t the late Mistress’ child.”
“Stop saying nonsense. How can she even be compared to Mistress? Both Old Master Mo and the late Old Madam are descendants from literary families. They value virtue above anything else. Mistress had been brought up in such a positive environment, thus she had acquired good virtues and ethics. How can that wild sparrow have the same quality standards just because she was lucky enough to enter a phoenix’s nest?”
“Exactly, she’s just a wild sparrow.”
At this point, everyone felt contempt for this person and stopped commenting.
“Uncle Zhang, do you know what’s Young Mistress’ favorite food? So that we can prepare some. The late Mistress used to like to eat dessert after a meal, do you know if Young Mistress has the same habit? Oh no… youngsters nowadays prefer to remain slim, they might not like to eat dessert, especially at night…”
“I saw that Young Mistress is very skinny. She must have suffered during all these years. Let me prepare some red date black chicken soup to give her some nourishment.”
“There was a student of Old Master who gave him wild ginseng as a gift. I heard it was extracted from the Baekdu Mountains. Shall I add some of this ginseng and angelica to the soup? It’ll greatly enhance the nutritional value.”
“I think not! Young Mistress is still young, over-nourishment might not do her good. Maybe she should drink more soup filled with different vitamins, and over time her health will improve.”
Uncle Zhang was gladdened to see everyone’s excitement. They had started to prepare for dinner early that day. “Let me check with Young Mistress what’s her favorite dishes. Please carry on with the preparation. Don’t forget about Old Master’s favorite dishes too. He must be elated about Young Mistress coming home today and may have a good appetite,” he said.
“Exactly right. Since Mistress left, I’ve not seen Old Master as happy as today. I hope Young Mistress can continue to stay here as long as possible.”
“We never know, Young Mistress may be staying here for good. Look at the way the Wen Family treated her. I doubt Old Master will let her return to the Wen Family and let her suffer.”
Old Master Mo never imagined the Mo Family would be this lively again. Wen Xinya’s return had an ecstatic effect on the dead and silent Mo’s bungalow.
Uncle Zhang looked up and noticed Old Master Mo standing at a distance away from them, thus he immediately walked towards his Master.
“Old Zhang, come and take a walk with me!” Old Master Mo said plainly.
Uncle Zhang agreeably walked beside him.
Old Master Mo abruptly commented. “She is a good child.”
Uncle Zhang smiled. “Yes, indeed. Young Mistress has a good temperament. Though she does not have the virtues of late Mistress yet, I can see the potential of turning her into a great piece of gem with some training.”
Old Master Mo laughed. “Yes, you are right. I think she has a stronger character than Yao-er. Though Yao-er had good virtues, she had an unyielding character with no intention to compete for anything. She did not even fight for the man she loved, thus losing his love for her. Xinya is quite unlike her Mother. When I found out from Old Mr. Wen she was the one who wanted to come and stay with the Mo Family, I knew she was different!”
Wen Xinya knew how to make concessions in order to gain some advantages, and not everyone could do it as well as her.
“Young Mistress led a wandering life starting a very young age. She has been through hardships and sufferings. Therefore, she knows better how to protect herself. The late Mistress grew up under your care. She never had to experience the cruelty of the outside world and hence became an unyielding and less petty-minded person.”
Old Master Mo sighed. “Your observation makes good sense.”
Uncle Zhang responded with a smile.
Old Master Mo felt emotional. “During my younger days, my mother brought me to a fortune-teller. He told me I am the reincarnation of the Star of Wisdom. He said I would achieve great success in life, but my kinship with my family would suffer a different fate and I am destined to be alone. I was young then and chose not to believe in destiny. Who would have expected both Yuqian and Yao-er to die from dystocia, and my only granddaughter went missing. I had no choice but to resign to fate. When I saw in her eyes the trust and faith Xinya has in me, I knew that was the family bond I was waiting for. Though I am not blessed to have many children and grandchildren, having the accompany of one granddaughter is all I can ask for,” he said.
What Old Master Mo didn’t know was, he did die a lonely death in her previous life.
Uncle Zhang saw the look of satisfaction in Old Master Mo’s eyes. He said, “I don’t believe in destiny either. However, I believe a good person will be rewarded. You are a well-respected person and will be blessed with good fortune.”
“In fact, due to my negative experience with Xia Ruya, this time I did not carry high hopes for Xinya either. Though I was aware she returned to the Wen Family recently, I only watched her closely from far away. I didn’t do much other than that and let the poor child suffer in the Wen Family,” Old Master Mo said with regret, knowing his granddaughter was almost driven out from the Wen Family.
Uncle Zhang frowned and agreed. “The Wen Family fetched Young Mistress back but did not treat her well. When I saw the servants unpack her luggage, she had very little belongings. I feel sorry for Young Mistress.”
Old Master Mo’s face turned sour. “The people in the Wen Family have always placed their own benefits as the priority. Xinya has an unglamorous past, thus the Wen Family naturally won’t accept her. Moreover, she has a stepmother and stepsister with evil and greedy intentions. They will definitely hatch some plans to make the people in the Wen Family detest her while she doesn’t have any strong relationships with the family. In this way, they will become the rightful heirs to the Wen Family’s wealth!”
Uncle Zhang sighed. “Young Mistress’ fate is pitiful. She started leaving a stray life at a young age. Finally, when she had the opportunity to reunite with the Wen Family it turned out to be a dragon and tiger’s den. One wrong move and it could cause her to go on a path of no return.”
Old Master Mo said coldly, “It depends on how Xinya sees it.”