The Mei Family prepared a good deal of stuff for Mei Ruohan, of which there were several bedclothes. Guo came and helped Su Li after she cleaned up her miss’s room. The three finally cleaned up the yard before dark.
“Li, I didn’t expect that you are so deft in housekeeping.” After getting along with each other for one day, Mei Ruohan called Su Li casually and she wiped the sweat on her face and said encouragingly, “It seems that I need to be more independent.”
“Ah, Miss!” Guo hurriedly said, “You can’t do such dirty and tiring work. Just let me do it. It is the only thing that I am capable of. I will be thrown out of your home once you learn it!”
Guo said so seriously that Su Li and Mei Ruohan laughed. Su Li thought if there were a quick-witted little girl like Guo around her, maybe her life would be more interesting.
Guo giggled immediately after hearing the two laughed. All of a sudden, she seemed to recall something and said mysteriously to Su Li,
“Miss Su, here is something you don’t know yet. When I went out, I’ve heard that the yard where your sister lives is 1000 meters away from the school. The rent there is only 200 taels per month, so she has to get up earlier to be in school on time!”
Su Li was not surprised after hearing that. Zhu Yan doted on Su Zipei, but she nearly ran out of money and couldn’t afford a yard in a good position.
In the evening, after dinner, the three girls went to sleep. A lot of things happened in the day, so, Mei Ruohan and Guo were very tired.
Su Li had inborn cultivation, and she would remain energetic even if she stayed awake for days. She woke up on time after a night of sitting in meditation. Then she dressed up and cooked a pot of delicious corn porridge in the kitchen. After that, Su Li concocted fillings with some available materials and made three crispy unleavened pocket-bread with sesame. The taste of the unleavened pocket-bread with sesame dramatically improved with the addition of the seasoning that she carried around.
“It smells so good!!”
Guo stretched herself and got up. She took a deep breath before she went into the kitchen. She was so drunk with the flavor that she even looked as if she was at loss.
“Guo, what’s the breakfast? It smells so good.”
Mei Ruohan stepped out of the room before she got dressed. With her eyes sparkled, she looked like a small gluttonous cat.
Guo shook her head, “Miss, look, it’s not dawn. I just got up and haven’t make breakfast yet.”
“I see...” Mei Ruohan looked disappointed, “Maybe it’s the flavor from the neighboring yard. I didn’t expect that we could smell it.”
Guo nodded. She would even have asked for some food from the neighboring yard if they were familiar with each other.
“Miss, you should get some more sleep. I am going to make breakfast.”
After saying that, Guo opened the kitchen door and was submerged into a strong fragrance in an instant. She blankly watched the figure in the foggy kitchen and suddenly screamed out.
Mei Ruohan was frightened from the screaming. She ran out of the room, grasped Guo’s hand and said in panic, “Guo, what’s wrong? Do not scare me.”
Mei Ruohan was worried about leaving home for the first time, after all, she was only 16. Guo’s scream really scared her.
Guo grasped Mei Ruohan’s hand, pointed to the kitchen and said incoherently, “Ah ah ah! Miss, look, it’s our kitchen! It’s our kitchen!”
The corner of Guo’s mouth hung a hint of saliva as she said. It smelt so good that she wanted to eat!!
At this time, Su Li walked out from the kitchen and saw the master and servant. She was stunned and surprisingly said, “Why are you standing here?”
Mei Ruohan tried to understand the scene in the kitchen with Su Li. She swallowed down her saliva and asked, “Li, you can cook? What are you cooking? Why does it smell so good?”
Su Li smiled gently after hearing that, “I am a guest in your place, and want to show you how I appreciate that. Fortunately, I can cook. So, I decided to cook meals for you on my own. Do not blame me for that.”
“No, no!” Guo shouted out before Mei Ruohan, “We are very glad. I’ve never smelt so good a breakfast… it must be delicious! My miss is crazy about delicious food!”
Mei Ruohan flushed and pretended to be angry.
Su Li broke into laughter and said, “Since you are all awake, we should have breakfast after you dress up. Or it may cool down and affect the taste.”
The two little girls immediately nodded together and ran into their rooms.
“Miss, slow down, I will help you wash yourself in a minute!”
“No, I will do it myself!!”
Su Li stood in front of the kitchen and felt strange, because she felt that…it’s like she kept two pets.
However, the presence of these two little girls relieved her depression which had haunted her for a long time.
After a while, Mei Ruohan and Guo finished washing. Su Li put the breakfast on the table, one unleavened pocket-bread with sesame for each of them. Guo served the corn porridge for them, stepped back and couldn’t help drooling.
Servants had the rules of servants, so she could eat only after Su Li and Mei Ruohan finished their eating.
Mei Ruohan smiled after seeing this and she filled another bowl of corn porridge and said, “Come here, we are not at home. There aren’t so many rules.”
Guo was happy after hearing that, but she still dared not to come over.
Rules were rules. Su Li was also a miss from a big family. Guo dared not sat by the table without her permission.
Su Li was in a daze for a while and immediately smiled in silence. Mei Ruohan saw her with expectations, so she beckoned to Guo and said softly, “Guo, come and sit down. I have never regarded you as a servant.”
Guo was so moved and she almost dropped tears after hearing that. Even the miss hadn’t said that to her.
Su Li smiled with closed lips. She had been through such similar circumstances, but her situation was not like that of Guo’s. She was a miss from the Su Family in this life, but she couldn’t eat together with her mother and father and no one had ever treated her like she treated Guo.
Guo sat down and wiped her hands. She grasped and bit the unleavened pocket-bread with sesame, which made a crispy sound. The fragrance of the coarse food grain mixed with fillings of shrimp eggs seasoned by refined salt tasted so good on the tongue tip, which was beyond expression.
Mei Ruohan stared at the unleavened pocket-bread with sesame in her hand. It looked almost the same in appearance as those sold on the streets, but how could Su Li make it so tasty!
Guo hadn’t eaten any gourmet food and she almost bit her tongue. She hadn’t even eaten ordinary unleavened pocket-bread with sesame, even though it was sold in her town. All of a sudden, she could eat such delicious food and was so touched that she almost burst into tears. God… no, Miss Su Li was so nice to her.
A bite of unleavened pocket-bread with sesame and then a mouthful of moderate hot corn porridge woke Mei Ruohan up from the morning sleepiness as if this simple breakfast opened all the pores of her body and injected vitality into her.
“Li, the food you made is really delicious. If you can’t be a female official in the future, you can definitely make a fortune by opening a restaurant!”
Mei Ruohan’s eyes were full of admiration, “However, I believe that it will be very easy for you to become an official if you take the imperial examination with your talent and knowledge!”
Su Li shook her head, “It can’t be that easy. Let’s not talk about it. It’s time for class, and let’s go now.”
Mei Ruohan screamed when she found that time was running out. She and Su Li ran out of the yard, leaving Guo to stay.
Mei Ruohan looked at Su Li in a different way after they got along with each other for one day. She would feel at ease whenever Su Li was near her. Although she was actually one year older than Su Li, she was more like a little kid.
Mei Ruohan was shocked. Though it was true that there was always someone who was more learned, her excellence turned out to be dull when compared with Su Li.
She had to work harder!
The first class in the morning was literature. Su Li left Mei Ruohan, and came to the door of the Class Jia. Ning Yunzhi saw her and gave her a kindly smile, “You’re here. Find a place to sit down.”
Such performance of Ning Yunzhi made many people look Su Li in a surprising way. However, no one asked any questions and they restrained their thoughts and went back to review their lessons.
Su Li sat down, took out the Dictionary of Dahan and began to review it.
Ning Yunzhi couldn’t help but slightly nod after seeing that.
The girls that could sit here were all from wealthy and influential families. They were all elegant, intelligent and well-behaved girls. Maybe one day they would have official careers and bring honor on their ancestors.
After the morning reading, Ning Yunzhi began to lecture. He had experienced a lot at his age. When coming to the wonderful points, he could always quote extensively. His students were so interested and even Su Li had learnt something.
Ning Yunzhi was observing Su Li as she listened to his lecture. He was even more satisfied with her after one class. She could have such achievement in scholarship at such an early age and still studied very hard in a modest and prudent manner. Her temperament was far better than most.
Ning Yunzhi directly left after he finished the first class and didn’t talk to Su Li in case someone got annoyed. However, some classmates immediately asked Su Li for some information after he left. Su Li handled the situation with ease and then went to the classroom for the second lesson, leaving a group of misses who were all admiring her in secret.
Although Su Li looked only fifteen or sixteen, she had experiences and great communication skills. They tried very hard to coax her, but they didn’t obtain anything useful.
Su Li found the classroom of the second lesson according to the information on the board. She saw dozens of embroidery tables when she came in.
The second lesson was embroidery.
Although a few women in Dahan Country would work as officials or became military officers to defend the country, most of them were men’s properties. They married their husbands and bore the responsibilities of serving both their husbands and children, so they had to master the skill of embroidery. They could also help to relieve the economic pressure on their husbands if they were good at embroidery.
Su Li looked over her classmates and saw Su Zipei and Mei Ruohan at a glance. They were divided into different classes for reading but in same embroidery class. Therefore, the students learning embroidery were still the group of people that entered the school together.
Su Li took a seat when a tall and slim noblewoman walked in. The noblewoman had high cheekbones and her slips were as thin as two sheets of paper, matching with the thin and long eyebrows. Although her makeup was delicate, she still looked unkind.
“I am your girls’ ethics and embroidery teacher.” The woman’s voice was sharp, just matched her mean look, “You can call me Lecturer Cui or Madam Yang. But... I prefer Madam Yang.”
The look of a few misses, who came from the Muyang Town, slightly changed after hearing that. There was only one well-known Yang Family in the Muyang Town. That lecturer Cui could be from that family…It was truly something that could be proud of.
However, she showed off so directly, which exposed that this Madam Yang was self-contemptuous and shallow. How could such a tacky woman be their teacher?
Many girls instantly had doubts in their heart.
Madam Yang didn’t perceive their thoughts. She felt more complacent when she saw several misses who came from wealthy and influential family changed expression. Then she began the lecture and only her voice could be heard in the classroom.
After seven or eight minutes, the unimpressed look on many misses’ faces disappeared.
The truth that Madam Yang could be a lecturer in the Muyang School manifested that her knowledge of embroidery was indeed admirable. The Dahan embroidery of the Dahan country was lifelike when she described it.
Although the misses have already practiced the Dahan embroidery at home, they didn’t systematically learn it. The history and skills of the Dahan embroidery that Madam Yang introduced supplemented their meager knowledge
Half the class passed after a brief introduction. Madam Yang stopped for a minute and the students thought she would continue. However, she asked,
“Who is Su Li? Stand up!”