Fields Of Gold / Fields of Gold Chapter 522
Just as Yu Xiaocao turned to leave, the entire table of noble maidens looked at Wu Junling with disdain and ridicule in their eyes. Did she really think that anyone could cozy up to Feudal Princess Jinan? And she even wanted to make a connection with Royal Prince Yang. She was truly overestimating her own abilities! If she truly was a relative of Imperial Prince Jing, then would Official Wu still only be an idle fifth-level official?
Wu Junling was so infuriated that she almost ripped the handkerchief in her hands into shreds. She hatefully thought, ‘Isn’t she just a rural bumpkin?! No matter how good she’s at raising crops and despite the fact that she’s been titled a feudal princess, she’ll never get away from her muddy peasant roots! Other people may look up to you but this young maiden won’t!’
However, did Wu Junling ever think that just a few seconds ago that she was trying to worm her way into Xiaocao’s good graces to get some benefits?
Naturally, for the rest of the birthday banquet for the Left Assistant Minister’s daughter, Wu Junling was snubbed and ignored by the other guests. As for Yu Xiaocao, she had personally made a three layer birthday cake for this celebration and had astonished everyone present with it. The cream and jam cake had the sweet and pure flavor of cream. As soon as one ate a piece, it melted in the mouth. The cake was soft and bouncy with a very fine texture. Everyone there praised it to the skies.
When the maidens there found out that the Yu’s Frozen Dessert and Pastry Store now had many types of fancy birthday cakes available for sale, they all sent their servants to the shop as soon as they left the Yu Residence to reserve a birthday cake in advance. After all, everything that Feudal Princess Jinan came out with was a smashing hit in the capital. Everyone who was somebody rushed to snatch her latest goods. By reserving a cake early, it would prevent them from having an awkward situation later on where they didn’t have a birthday cake when everyone else did. Not only would that cause the host to lose face but they would also receive the disdain of their fellow noblewomen in the future.
Other than this fancy and beautiful looking cake, Yu Xiaocao also gave a set of skincare items that was especially suited to Yu Wanqing’s skin. The items had moisturizing and protective abilities and were packaged in a delicate and beautiful gift box, making it look very high-end and classy. It was obvious that this set of skincare items was worth quite a lot. Even after getting a discount, it would cost another customer around a few thousand taels to buy! Although the Yu Family didn’t lack money, sending gifts required one to think of the recipient’s likes and dislikes. Otherwise, even the most expensive gift may not make the person happy.
For Yu Wanqing’s birthday feast, they had booked Zhenxiu’s Restaurant’s head chef in advance to be in charge of the menu and cooking. If it wasn’t for the fact they had a good relationship with Xiaocao, Head Chef Wang wouldn’t personally come to cook!
He was the most skilled chef at Zhenxiu Restaurant and the one who knew all of the recipes. Thus, he very rarely ‘left his mountain’. The banquet that he created obtained the compliments of every guest present, so Official Yu had gained a lot of prestige from this. The guests all ate happily, so as the host, he was naturally very happy. However, the person who was the most pleased by all of this was Yu Wanqing as this was the first time she held such an event at her home and had made so many new friends.
The only person who was feeling unhappy today was Wu Junling. After all, anyone who was being snubbed and pushed out wouldn’t feel very good about it. When she got home, her father, who had consumed so much alcohol that he was in a drunken stupor, even repeatedly asked her if she had managed to make a good connection with Miss Yu. It made her very irritated!
However, there were more troubles ahead of her now! That night, Wu Junling had nightmares without end. The dreams all featured vengeful spirits who demanded another chance at life and there was a thick scent of monsters about. After being scared awake, she felt like her entire room was full of ghostly presences. The usually warm weather in early autumn actually felt incredibly chilly to her and caused her to have goosebumps.
Even with a few of her personal maidservants surrounding her and having all of the candles and oil lamps lit up in her room were not enough to give her a sense of security. After being tormented for an entire night, she wasn’t able to sleep a wink. The next day, she seemed quite spiritless and lacking in energy.
Her miserable days continued in the same vein. Every night, the neighbors next to Official Wu’s residence could hear the mournful cries of fear and the pitiful sounds of weeping next door. When Jiang Meiyi saw that her precious daughter had trouble going to sleep every night, she became extremely worried. Every mother sincerely cared about their own children. Jiang Meiyi felt her heart hurt after seeing her daughter suffer every night, so she spent every night next to her daughter to help her calm down. However, the effects were miniscule. Her daughter continued to clutch onto her, shivering with cold and claiming that there were ghosts around…
Jiang Meiyi couldn’t help but recall what her daughter was like prior to turning three. Back then, she also said that she could see ghosts and was often so scared that she turned feverish. She had gone to countless temples and monasteries to beg for protective amulets and had also invited senior monks over to drive these monsters away for her girl. However, the results were unsatisfactory. It continued until a gloomy-looking middle-aged Taoist priest dropped by and claimed that he could fix her daughter’s problems.
By then, she had seen many swindlers and didn’t harbor much hope for this man. However, that Taoist priest said that if what he did had no effect, then he wouldn’t charge them. Only then did she make a decision to have him try. She didn’t expect that once her daughter started wearing the protective amulet that he made she was finally able to sleep without any problems!
Over a decade had passed since then and they never had another episode of her daughter ‘seeing ghosts’ again. She originally believed that the problem had been resolved once and for all. However, suddenly, her daughter’s old problem had come back again! The world was vast and boundless and that Taoist priest didn’t leave them a way to contact him. Where would they find him now?
Since she was being frightened to death every night and didn’t have much energy during the day, Wu Junling, who used to be beautiful and full of life, very quickly wilted like a dying flower. Her complexion was deathly pale and there were obvious dark circles under the eyes. If she wanted to act in a horror movie, she wouldn’t even need to have makeup done to fit in. If this continued on for much longer, it was possible that she might lose her life one day.
That couldn’t happen! It absolutely couldn’t happen! Jiang Meiyi had heard that the Grandmaster Yuanhui of Huguo Temple was an experienced senior monk. In fact, in the past, the emperor emeritus himself had asked him to divine his fortune for the future! Although Grandmaster Yuanhui no longer interfered in the mundane world and had gone into closed door contemplation to recite sutras in the past few years, saving a life was more meritorious than building a seven-floor pagoda. If it involved her daughter’s life, Grandmaster Yuanhui wouldn’t just sit idly and watch her die, right?
Jiang Meiyi lowered her head and asked Concubine Qiu for permission to leave the residence. After obtaining it, she brought her daughter along to go to Huguo Temple, which was outside the capital. The temple was located on top of a small scenic mountain surrounded by quiet lands and their teachings emphasized having a sincere and honest heart. Thus, all carriages and sedans had to stop at the foot of the mountain and believers had to ascend to the mountain by foot using the stone steps in order to enter the temple.
After being tormented for days and days, Wu Junling was at the edge of either a physical or mental breakdown. It was only with the support of her mother and maidservants that she was finally able to ascend the stone stairs to Huguo Temple after taking many breaks along the way.
However, when they inquired after the grandmaster, they discovered that he had gone traveling. After asking in more detail, they discovered that Grandmaster Yuanhui would only be back in about a dozen days. Jiang Meiyi and Wu Junling felt their hearts drop in despair. It had only been half a month and Wu Junling had been worn down until she was starting to resemble a ghost herself. If she continued to have ‘ghosts swirling about her’ for the next dozen days, she might not be able to hold on and become a ghost herself!
Fortunately, the person left in charge of Huguo Temple, Grandmaster Huiming, who was also the head disciple of Grandmaster Yuanhui, felt sympathy for these two women after hearing their story and had them sent into one of the side courtyards to live in until Grandmaster Yuanhui came back. The two women listened to scriptures every day and were living on consecrated temple lands now. Only then did Wu Junling’s ‘nightmares of seeing ghosts’ stop and she was finally able to sleep comfortably for a few nights in a row.
By the time Wu Junling and her mother had reached Huguo Temple to wait for Grandmaster Yuanhui to come back, the grapes on the back mountains of the Imperial Plantation had ripened. There were green grapes, purple grapes and the milky-white long white grapes. All of them were sweet and fresh and left a delicious flavor in a person’s mouth. When they came on the market, they were as blazingly popular as the honey peaches and caused a sensation. Naturally, the lines to buy these grapes grew longer with every passing day.
He Wanning, Royal Princess Minglan, Ning Donghuan and the other people who had gone picking peaches last time all succeeded in receiving invitations from Yu Xiaocao to go to the Imperial Plantation for a fun outing. In addition, they also added on Yu Wanqing, who had just reached the age of thirteen.
Originally, Lady Yu was planning on accompanying her on this trip. Her daughter had almost never left her side since she was small. Because her face had that issue, she took special care of her and raised her in a way that made her very sheltered and almost everything had to be decided by her. Suddenly, her daughter was about to go out with a bunch of young masters and maidens out to play and she even heard that they were planning on hunting. How could Lady Yu feel comfortable about that?
This was the first time Yu Wanqing did her best to resist her mother’s intent. She acted spoiled and whined that the other older sisters didn’t have their parents accompanying them. If her mother came along, then those older sisters would definitely laugh at her.
However, Lady Yu’s thoughts were that her daughter was the youngest out of the group and had never gone out alone. In fact, she had only started learning how to ride a horse. The more she thought about it, the more anxious she became…
Yu Wanqing then brought out Older Sister Xiaocao as an example and stated that when the other girl was around eight to nine years old, she was even doing business at the docks, selling recipes to Zhenxiu Restaurant, planting vegetables and watermelons…when Xiaocao was ten, she was starting to help Royal Prince Yang plant the newly brought over crop from the western hemisphere, corn, and coming up with ways to breed crops to make them more high-yielding.
“When Older Sister Yu was titled as a sixth-rank agricultural official by the emperor, she wasn’t even as old as I am today! Even then she rode a horse daily to go back and forth between the capital and plantation. Although I’m not as smart and capable as her, as her friend, I can’t be too weak. Don’t you think so too, Mother?” This was one of the main reasons why she managed to convince Lady Yu.
Yu Wanqing had been bright and considerate since she was young. It was only because of her face that she had been bound to the inner courtyard for long. Although she was a bit more on the shy side and a bit more cowardly, she was still optimistic and strong in spirit. In fact, she frequently helped to comfort her mother, who loved her dearly.
Lady Yu didn’t believe that her daughter was inferior to other people. She was incredibly intelligent and was skilled at all of the four arts. Her poetry was very lively. If it wasn’t for the fact that her skin disease had hindered her, she might even be a very famous and talented young maiden in the capital at this point!
Lady Yu felt her heart soften after looking at her daughter’s eyes, which were full of expectation. In addition, her husband had also said that it would be hard for a pine tree raised in a pot to reach the skies, and that chicks raised under a mother’s wings found it hard to fly. It wasn’t as if she didn’t understand these concepts. Thus, although she was still worried, she still agreed to her daughter’s request.
That day, everyone ate to their fill and were able to play to their hearts’ content, especially the little lass Yu Wanqing who had run around ecstatically. She had picked bunches of grapes, trapped wild hares, gone on a picnic, helped brew some wine…she even tried crushing grapes with her feet and enjoyed the experience. She was incredibly happy after this outing!
When she got back, her face had turned red from sun exposure and the smile on her face was exceptionally bright. She chattered happily about everything she had experienced that day and talked endlessly to her father and mother. She even gestured excitedly with her arms and hands and let out small peals of laughter. Compared to that timid and gutless Yu Wanqing who pretended to be strong, it was as if another person had appeared.
Official Yu, Lady Yu, and Yu Wanqing’s older brothers were all incredibly gratified to see the change in her. An optimistic, open, and lively Yu Wanqing was a complete stranger to them but they were also glad to see her in this way.
Lady Yu decided that the two best decisions she had ever made in her life were this: One, she had persevered in marrying her husband despite her parents’ opposition; Two, on that warm spring day, she had nervously brought her daughter into ‘Blossoming Beauty’s’ doors.
Her first decision had led her to have a husband who loved her dearly and a blissful and happy family. The second decision had given her a healthy, beautiful and confident daughter! She truly felt like she had hit the jackpot in life and was now pleased with everything!