The old maid of the family boiled chicken soup and made a few luxurious snacks.
I took my maid and rushed to the Lu family mansion to see Qin Shiyue and Yue Xiaoman.
On the way, I carefully calculated that, if someone blocks my path, I would take the stance of a Lu family’s future young mistress to curse them bloodily.
Those rascals should know how to behave and should allow me in cheerfully.

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Upon reaching there, the cell was quite quiet, separated by iron bars one by one, and many people lay either dead or dying inside.
The air was filled with an intense smell of burnt fumes and blood. 

This was a paradise for flies, mosquitoes, and cockroaches.

Fat rats roaming on the ground frightened my poor maid.

Yue Xiaoman and Yu Ziyang were locked in the same cell.
Neither of them was tortured, they just smelled rancid because they hadn’t bathed for days.

Yue Xiaoman saw me and pounced on me nervously.
“Bingqing, what are you doing here? Is there any news about Teacher Qin?”

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“Qin Shiyue was not locked up with you?”

“Originally, yes, but the other day, some Frenchmen came and took him away.
When he was leaving, he said that he told us not to worry and that someone would surely come to save us.” Yue Xiaoman said, “Could it be that Teacher Qin has met with an accident and is now dead?”

The muscles on my face twitched twice with difficulty at that possibility.
Maybe Qin Shiyue was killed secretly and died soundlessly.
But at this moment I could not blindly guess what was going on.
So I comforted her and said, “No, eat the snacks first and reserve your strength.
I am now the future young mistress of the Lu family.
I would have to go back and discuss with my father if I want to save you.”

Yu Ziyang, who had been silent for a long time, suddenly raised his head.
“Second Miss Ye, I would like to beg you to run to our Yu family, and when you see my big brother, please help me tell him not to come back here.
It’s just a waste of money for those sons-of-bitches guards.”

It seemed that those guards also got a lot of benefits.
No wonder even a torture device was not used. 

Naturally, I had never gone to the Yu house so I went back home to ask the third yitai.
She used to be in the tailor store and had dealt with the Yu family.
The tailor shop asked for a small number of goods, and the Yu family master refused to send them so she had to go to fetch them herself.
When she heard I was going to Yu’s house, Third Yitai gave me detailed instructions.
“Don’t stay too long, just finish what you have to say and come back.
It’s been a long time since Master had dinner at home, and he’s rarely free.
Your Mother and Second Yitai have taken the children to the Baxian Bridge to watch a play and will be back early for dinner, so don’t delay too long.”

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“The Yu family is not something out of this world.
Besides, I only met with them on New Year’s Eve, so I would come back after conveying the message, so don’t worry, Ling Yi.”

The Yu family store was located at the entrance of the alley, and the red paint on the signboard was already battered.
Although foreign cloth was more expensive than local clothing, Shanghai people, who liked new and fashionable things, always thought that things shipped from the other side of the sea were more expensive but better. 

Looking inside, the old shopkeeper was sleeping on the case, and the lack of business was indeed uninspiring.

“Old man, is Yu Zifan here?”

The old shopkeeper raised his head to pick up the old-fashioned reading glasses and wiped them slowly while asking.
“Is it an order? Our Young Master is busy, if the quantity is small, I can handle it.
The prices are clearly marked.”

“I’m looking for him for something else, is he in?”

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The old shopkeeper put on the old-fashioned glasses, squeezed his eyes hard, trying hard to hold up the sagging eyelids, and let out a gasp in his throat.
“Yo, isn’t this the Ye family’s Second Young Lady? What brings you here? My old man’s eyes are so clumsy, I’ll ask the young master to come out.”

Before the old shopkeeper went in, I heard a woman’s shrill voice coming out from inside, “It’s an evil wind that does no man any good.
Uncle Fu, you doze off as soon as you look at the store.
It seems that you really have to go back to the countryside to retire!”

She was a typical Shanghai woman, with a pair of thin and shrewd phoenix eyes, wearing a cheongsam revealing a small waist that looked like you could grab with your hands.
Her lips were very thin, like two blades, so the old boss did not dare to say anything or come back to settle scores.

“Zifan just went out, I am his wife.
I go to Master Ye and Mrs.
Ye to pay my respects on New year’s Eve.
I heard you just came back from abroad, so naturally, you haven’t seen me.” 

The first young mistress of the Yu family covered her mouth and smiled without the slightest intention of inviting me in.
“I wonder what Second Miss is looking for Zifan for?”

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“Yu Ziyang asked me to send a message not to go see him, so as not to waste money.”

The sound of a teacup breaking suddenly came from inside the house, and the young mistress Yu’s face immediately turned white as she scolded.
“It must be that unlucky cat that knocked over something again.
We have troubled the Second Miss to make a trip here.
I’ll tell Zifan when he returns.” 

I felt that this woman’s face was much disturbed as if she was hiding a secret.
There were obviously some people in the house but they were hiding from the guests and sent the woman out to talk.

As I looked at the woman wiggle her butt and go in, the maid beside me also noticed that the reception was not warm.
She rolled her eyes and said, “It’s a waste for Master to take care of their business every year.
Our Second Young Lady came over and was not even invited to have a cup of tea.
This home is surely stingy.”

“Forget it, I can’t drink this kind of crude tea either.”

The horse with silver hooves was walking on the clear stone road as if playing the piano, which sounded very nice.
But my mood was as heavy as the rainy sky.


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