Chapter 12: Overnight Wealth
He Yan returned home with the silver in her possession.
Qingmei didn’t notice, so He Yan felt around and overturned a small box on the table that held rouge and powder. After the box was emptied, she threw all the silver and jewels she had won that night into it before climbing into bed in the darkness.
Perhaps because she had won the silver and resolved her worries, she slept particularly soundly that night. In her dream, she was playing games with her brothers in their military tent, and the soldiers around them were shouting, “Open! Open!” He Yan had a worried look on her face, and someone burst into laughter, saying, “General, how did you lose again?”
“Has the general won once tonight?” The vice-general shook his head, pretending to be serious. “Ah, General is not good at this.”
“You idiot, who cares if he’s good at it or not? Haven’t you heard of ‘unlucky in love, lucky in gambling’? General is unlucky in gambling, but invincible in love! You old bachelor, what do you know?”
Hearing this, He Yan burst into laughter.
Laughing in her dream, she suddenly felt someone shaking her awake. Opening her eyes, she saw Qingmei’s face. “Miss, what kind of dream did you have? You’re so happy.”
The sunlight had already reached the windowsill, and the room was bright. He Yan shielded her eyes from the dazzling light and was somewhat surprised to realize that she had woken up late.
Truly, spring days were perfect for sleeping in.
Thinking back to the dream from last night, she couldn’t help but sigh. The soldiers from back then had said that she excelled in love because she was terrible at gambling, but they were completely mistaken. However, in a way, they weren’t entirely wrong. Now that she could triumph in the gambling house but was unlucky in love, it seemed she had indeed hit rock bottom in romance.
From outside the door came He Yunsheng’s displeased voice, “He Yan, it’s already late in the morning. Are you going today or not?”
From vehemently opposing to now being accustomed to chopping wood together, it seemed like not much time had passed, He Yunsheng probably couldn’t figure out how he ended up in this situation with He Yan.
“Wait for me,” He Yan hurriedly changed into clean clothes.
Qingmei brought a basin of clean water outside, and He Yunsheng walked in. As he walked, he said, “Why are you taking so long today… He Yan?!”
“What’s wrong?” He Yan was tying the sandbag, and when she raised her eyes, she saw He Yunsheng’s angry expression. She didn’t understand. “What happened?”
He Yunsheng pointed to the chair, “What happened? Look at what happened?!”
The young boy’s tone was full of rage. If there was a fire on his head right now, it would probably set the whole house ablaze. Following his finger, He Yan looked over and saw the chestnut-colored long robe she had “borrowed” from He Yunsheng last night. After returning to the house, she had casually taken it off and thrown it on the chair. From waking up until now, she hadn’t remembered about it.
Without waiting for He Yan’s response, He Yunsheng stepped forward and shook the long robe open. Originally, the robe was crumpled into a ball by He Yan and stained with dirt. Now, with a single shake, it exposed the torn spot as if someone had slashed it from the middle, looking extremely miserable.
“This is the robe you fixed for me?” He Yunsheng’s anger was raging. He had been touched by her last night, thinking that his elder sister genuinely cared for him as her younger brother. But now… She was like a heavenly punishment sent to torment him!
“This is a misunderstanding, I can explain.” He Yan tried to calm the boy down.
“Explain? How do you explain this? Do you know…” He Yunsheng started out with an angry accusation but choked up mid-sentence. His eyes turned red, and he said, “This is my only long robe… You’ve cut it to pieces. What am I supposed to do?”
He Yan felt a headache coming on.
She truly, truly, truly dreaded seeing people cry. Especially when it was someone like this fiercely determined young boy who suddenly looked so aggrieved, tears welling up in his eyes.
He Yunsheng was also feeling wronged.
Young people always care about their reputation. As long as they are dutiful, polite, and stand tall, they are considered good sons. Although people say this, everyone has their own vanity. The chestnut-colored long robe was a gift from one of his senior brothers, and he had been patching and wearing it for many years. Since all his other clothes were short and convenient for work, this long robe always made him look like a “young master.”
Though He Yan’s clothes couldn’t compare to those of young ladies from wealthy families, she would buy one or two fashionable pieces each year. He Sui doted on her, so He Yunsheng couldn’t say much about it. Girls loved to look good, so why should boys pay attention to these superficial things?
But at this moment, He Yunsheng suddenly felt wronged.
He Yan stammered, “Th-this robe is ruined, we can buy a new one. Let’s find the most famous tailor in the capital and get a brand new one with embroidered patterns. The fabric should be of good quality. Don’t cry, I didn’t do it on purpose… Alright? Yun-Yunsheng?”
He Yan had never coaxed him so gently before. For some reason, He Yunsheng’s anger suddenly dissipated by half, but he still felt a bit resentful and said, “We don’t have any silver!”
“Who said that?” He Yan opened the makeup box to show him. “We have silver.”
He Yunsheng had just glanced at it casually, but upon closer inspection, he was stunned and asked, “Where did you get the silver from?”
In the next moment, He Yunsheng rushed forward and exclaimed, “Your face…”
Her face? He Yan was surprised. Could her face have changed? No, she had washed her face in the water basin at the door before going home last night. It should have washed off all the makeup, right?
She rushed to the mirror and heard He Yunsheng’s voice full of urgency and anger beside her, “Who hit you?”
Looking in the mirror, He Yan saw her delicate and refined features, a pair of limpid autumn-like eyes that remained unchanged. However… She lowered her gaze, and there was a faint bruise on the corner of her lips, particularly conspicuous against her fair skin.
When Qingmei called her to get up earlier, she had covered her face with her hand to block the sun, so Qingmei didn’t see it. But now, He Yunsheng had seen it.
Young Lady He’s skin was delicate and couldn’t withstand any kind of harm. Although she seemed to have taken a punch last night, it didn’t hurt, so she didn’t pay much attention to it. Unexpectedly, it left a mark on her face today.
He Yunsheng was still questioning, “What happened? This silver… this robe…” Suddenly, his expression changed drastically, and he said mournfully, “You…”
Seeing the young boy becoming more and more unreasonable, He Yan gently tapped his head. “What are you thinking? Last night, I wore your robe to the gambling house, played a couple of games, won some silver, and someone caused trouble for me. I taught them a lesson, but accidentally got injured. It’s nothing, it’ll heal by tomorrow.”
She downplayed the matter, not knowing the impact her words had on the young boy’s heart.
He Yan went to the gambling house? He Yan went to the gambling house and won money? He Yan won money and even taught those who caused trouble a lesson?
Either way, He Yunsheng couldn’t accept it. He even wondered if his sister had been replaced by someone else, doing all these unbelievable things.
“Yes,” He Yan explained calmly, “because we are so poor, I thought of trying my luck at the gambling house. Who knew I’d have such good luck? Maybe it was a blessing from heaven. I was scared when those troublemakers confronted me, but after working with you to cut firewood recently, I gained more strength and luckily won against them.” Seeing He Yunsheng still dumbfounded, He Yan continued, “If you don’t believe me, go ask around Le Tong Manor. Was there a young man wearing a chestnut-colored long robe who won a lot of money last night? I’m not lying to you.”
He Yunsheng’s mind was in a mess, and seeing He Yan so confident made it seem like she wasn’t lying.
“Oh, right,” He Yan smiled, “since we have money now, from today onwards, we won’t sell Da Nai cakes anymore.”
“What will we do then?” He Yunsheng murmured.
“Of course, we’ll go to the drill grounds. Do you want to go to school, Yunsheng?” She asked.