Chapter 13: All The World’s A Stage, Acting Skills Are At Stake
Xia Chunyu heard the noise and looked up, his eyes visibly brightening at the sight of her. She looked so simple, elegant, and coquettishly charming with that?white overcoat and crimson hundred pleat dress. Her attire contrasted against her blushing face, her eyes sharp and intelligent, beautiful and moving. Indeed, the simple and elegant style definitely suited her better.
“Have you eaten yet?” Xia Chunyu picked up the cup, taking a sip of tea.
“Yes, I had a bowl of porridge. What are you doing? Are you coming up with a battle plan?” Ye Jiayao glanced at the map and saw an encircled place – Xin Yi town.
Xia Chunyu calmly drew the map away. Even if she was technically his wife, he still had to be careful and put his guard up. He could not tell anyone what his true plans were.
Ye Jiayao curled her lips angrily, forcing herself to stay quiet.?I would not understand it even if you let me see it!
Xia Chunyu leaned back leisurely, sipping his tea. He pointed to the seat beside him, motioning for her to sit.
“Where did you get your culinary skills from?” Xia Chunyu asked casually.
Was he suspicious? Ye Jiayao put on a miserable and helpless expression immediately, replying sadly, “I learned it from my family’s chef. Although I am the eldest daughter of the Ye family, my father is not very fond of me and I rarely get to see him. Even during morning and evening visits, my stepmother would find ways to stop me from seeing him. She would either say that my father was too tired and had already gone to rest, or that he was in a bad mood and I should not disturb him. I am a dispensable person in the Ye household, Chunyu. I decided to take up cooking so that at least I could give my father something to remind him of me.”
Ye Jiayao spoke in a low voice, trying hard to force out her tears, letting them well up in her eyes. She was portraying the pitiful child lacking parental love, whose life was made difficult by her stepmother.
As the saying goes, all the world’s a stage, putting her acting skills at stake.
That speech was craftily mixed with truths and lies. Ye Jiayao’s host did learn cooking in order to win her father’s favor. However,?the dishes she made were never delivered to her father. That just went to show how little she was valued in the household. Even the host’s marriage with the Wei family had to depend on her maternal family’s power in order to come to fruition.
Although pitiful, Xia Chunyu was still suspicious with the validity of her words. Just as he was about to ask her, she sniffed and wiped her tears, saying self-deprecatingly, “Sorry for getting a bit emotional. That’s why you kept saying that I do not behave like a proper lady. I am indeed no proper lady. I did not learn the four arts, only learned how to cook a few dishes from a chef. So, in the future, I can only make you food, wash your clothes and serve you tea.”
With her eyes still red with unshed tears, she looked so miserable that Xia Chunyu couldn’t help but feel sympathetic.?“Well it’s better than nothing,” he consoled.
“Will you despise me?” Ye Jiayao asked.
Xia Chunyu thought about it for a long while. He did not have any expectations of her so he could not really despise her. He wondered it if saying that would be too straightforward as he looked at her hopeful gaze.
Is it really that f*cking difficult to answer??As a lady from a wealthy family, marrying a bandit like him was considered marrying down.?I am just being humble you arrogant git!
“Forget that I even asked.” Ye Jiayao waved her hand resentfully, getting up to leave.
Xia Chunyu frowned, replying unhappily, “What do you mean forget it?”
Ye Jiayao stopped in her tracks. “I’m just afraid of hearing something I want to hear, and also afraid of something I do not want to hear.”
“What does that mean?” Xia Chunyu asked, genuinely confused.
“It means that it was a senseless question.”
After saying that, she left, leaving Xia Chunyu staring after her in bewilderment.??What the f*ck??Did she mean that she really didn’t care either way whether he cared about her or not?
Xia Chunyu could not stay calm and chased her to their room.
“Hey, make yourself clear. Why was that a senseless question?” Xia Chunyu demanded.
Ye Jiayao was arranging her new clothes and shoes, marveling over their prettiness. Truthfully, the ancient attire looked way better than modern clothes. They were just?a little troublesome to wear, and even on a hot day, she had to cover herself tightly. It would be a wonder if she did not get heat rash.
“I have a name, can you not call me hey?” Ye Jiayao said, not even bothering to raise her head.
“I like calling you that, so deal with it.” Xia Chunyu said carelessly. “Answer my question.”
“If you are going to call me however you like, does that mean I can do the same too?” Ye Jiayao rolled her eyes at him.
“The husband is your guiding principle, do you know that? I have the right to call you whatever I want,” Xia Chunyu raised his voice at her pompously.
Ye Jiayao rubbed her ears, thinking that he must’ve been the god of rage in his past life.?Why does he love shouting so much?
“Ah, so you admit that you really are my husband?” Ye Jiayao suddenly smiled. “I thought so. How could you despise me when you treat me so well?”
When did he treat her well?
“Don’t deny it. You took out the fatty meat from the buns so meticulously and even went down the mountains to pick Sargasso for me. I heard that those herbs grow at the edge of cliffs and are very difficult to pick. Feifei… I mean, Chunyu, I will treat you well, don’t worry.” Ye Jiayao said, opening the cupboard and taking his clothes out before putting hers in.
The corner of Xia Chunyu’s mouth twitched with indignation. She was acting like the person who was worried about being despised was him. Xia Chunyu said angrily, “That is because I can’t stand how you keep being overly suspicious.”
“Whatever you say. I just want to let you know that I appreciate your intentions.” Ye Jiayao tidied her clothes which took up the whole cupboard. She was unable to squeeze any of his clothes back in.
“Hey, you took up all the space! Where am I going to put my clothes?” Xia Chunyu protested.
Ye Jiayao looked around and carried his clothes to the Rohan couch. “We’ll leave it here first!?The furniture seems to be lacking with more people in the house. Chunyu, go find another cupboard and bring it back.”
Why did that sound like?he?was the extra person?
Xia Chunyu walked over to open the cupboard and threw her clothes out.?This is unacceptable! How dare she take over my place??
“Hey, hey, what are you doing? Are you going to fight with a woman over a cupboard? Aren’t you afraid to become a laughing stock when the word gets out? Can you just be more gentlemanly?” Ye Jiayao snatched her clothes off the floor, placing them back into the cupboard again.
Xia Chunyu was speechless as she stared at this shameless woman. He was furious and felt an indescribable sense of defeat. She was being unreasonable, yet, it was as though he was the one being stingy. It was true, what the ancient people had once said, that?only women and vile characters are difficult to raise. He could finally understand why his father would rather go to the borders than stay at home to face a bunch of women. He could barely manage with just one!
Ye Jiayao pouted, acting like a proper young wife who was bullied.
Forget it! A gentleman should not fight with a woman.
Xia Chunyu flung his sleeve angrily and went to leave.
Ye Jiayao shouted from behind him, “Chunyu, come back early tonight. I will make you a delicious dinner.”
She rolled her tongue on purpose when pronouncing the word ‘yu’ so that it would sound like dumb.
Xia Chunyu closed his eyes in fury, knowing that the days ahead were going to be insufferable.
Since third-in-charge was in a bad mood, all the bandits were punished. Initially, it was agreed upon that there would be no training today. Therefore, some of them went back to sleeping, some gambled with dice, and some loitered around, all of them feeling contented. However, a wave of hurried bugle horn stirred them all, disrupting their peace.
One by one, the bandits rushed to the training grounds, only to see third-in-charge holding on to a command flag in the middle of the training ground. He looked like a mighty thundercloud, ready to blast everyone and everything in his wake. The gang knew that the third-in-charge holding onto the command flag meant that today will be a formation practice. There would be a real fight and it simply came down to either beating someone into a pulp or getting beaten to a pulp.
For a moment, everyone felt as though they were going to face their deaths; their visions blurred, their knees trembled.
Oh heavens, they wondered what provoked third-in-charge this time.
The whole afternoon’s training left everyone on the grounds with a bruised face. They dared not to voice it out but they were all screaming with pain on the inside. It wasn’t until it was dinner time that they saw the light at the end of their dark, torturous tunnel.
Song Qi ran to the training ground and called, “Third-in-charge, sister-in-law called you back for dinner.”
Everyone was so spent and drained, they were about to cry.?Thank f*ck, sister-in-law is finally going to collect her?man!
Unexpectedly, third-in-charge behaved as though he did not hear Song Qi. He ignored him and shouted, “Single line formation!”
The command flag fluttered in the wind, and the bandits ran like crazy, screaming for mercy in their head.
Song Qi remembered sister-in-law’s instructions then braced himself and shouted again, “Third-in-charge, sister-in-law said that if you don’t go back, she would personally come down to call you.”
Xia Chunyu blank face finally showed some emotions as he thought of how she would call his name, rolling her tongue purposefully. If she came here screaming at the top of her lungs, everyone in the stockade would probably be calling him dumb donkey behind his back.?Darn woman!??She was getting braver! How dare she threaten him?
This was the first time that Xia Chunyu started to hate his name.
Peng Wu went up to him, smiling as he said, “Third-in-charge, the sky is turning dark and sister-in-law is waiting for you to go back. Let’s just continue tomorrow.”
Without a word, Xia Chunyu withdrew the command flag and handed it to Peng Wu.
Peng Wu waved the command flag in the air. “Dismissed!”
Everyone suddenly fell on the ground, their tongues hanging like a dog, huffing and puffing. If this went on, they would all be tortured to death.
Song Qi kept quiet as they trudged back to the house, dutifully following behind third-in-charge, secretly laughing at him. He thought that sister-in-law’s method was indeed effective if she could get him to come to her so easily.
Xia Chunyu remained silent the whole way back, thinking of how to deal with his errant wife. He could not continue to indulge her stubbornness and fiery attitude. He finally realized that she was not a simple character. She was merely playing dumb in order to climb all over him. He gave her an inch and she took a yard.
She had painted a pitiful picture of herself but from what he could see,?her stepmother was no match for her at all.