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Soon, musicians carrying chimes, Yao zithers, Guzheng, flutes, and other musical instruments came in. Great Yan’s traditional music “Yun Shui Jian” played.
The girls danced with the music. Imitating clouds and flowing water, numerous white satins gently swayed with the music. It was like countless butterflies accompanying the music, graceful as dragons and flying like geese. The song was like a flowing stream in the mountains and the dancing butterflies were like fairies. Even their hair was dancing.
Very beautiful! Zi You noticed a girl between fourteen to fifteen years old. Her waist was especially soft. Her dance, unlike others, held a hint of sadness.
The girl’s facial features had character and weren’t particularly beautiful. But there was something abnormally enchanting about her.
Zi You had never seen Cao Xueqin’s character, Lin DaiYu [from Dream of the Red Chamber], or she would have thought this was the living version of her.
Two curved smoky eyebrows, a pair of happy, yet unhappy eyes; a hint of worry on her face from an illness; specks of glistening tears, faint breathing. She was calm like flowers in water. Her actions like a weak wind.
Compared to Wang Yiping’s ample charms, this girl was fragile and delicate. Zi You wondered who would be better able to entice Mu YingRui, that slag man.
Zi You didn’t say anything and watched the dancing, having made up her mind already. Without staring at the girl, she merely flicked her eyes once towards her. “Proprietress, what is the price?”
The proprietress stared blankly, but immediately smiled. “Gongzi, you want all of them? If not, who do you fancy? The price is negotiable.”
Treating me like a kid to be coaxed? If I really said who I fancied, you would ask for sky-high prices.
Zi You faintly smiled. Her dark pupils held ridicule. She coldly spat out, “The price.”
The proprietress gnashed her teeth and helplessly said, “Luxiu is 1,600 silvers and the one in red is 1,500 silvers…”
Finally, she knew the sickly Xishi [One of the four legendary beauties of China] was called ZiDai. They turned out to share even the same character in their names. [The “Zi” is the same in both their names]
Among the twenty-two girls, her price was the lowest, at 420 silvers. The reason was, of course, she was sick.
The “Dai” in her name was also the same as Lin “Dai”Yu’s. Both had bronchial asthma, a problem of the lungs.
Zi You bargained to death, speaking about how dangerous and serious the disease was. In the end, it was a bargain at 310 silvers. She successfully obtained ZiDai’s slavery deeds.
Zi You felt that, for that scum Mu YingRui, even 300 silvers was a waste.
Zu You changed Zidai’s name to YouLian and took her onto the horse carriage.
After asking, Zi You found out her last name was originally “Shui.” She was an official family’s xiaojie. Although could not be considered proficient in the zither, chess, calligraphy, and painting, she was still skilled.
Her father was originally an official in the Shaanxi Province. He was beheaded because of corruption. The whole family was demoted to slaves. Some were killed, some were jailed and some were sold. Her mother died of excessive sorrow on their journey to banishment. She was taken by traffickers and after several rounds of reselling, came to be Chuyao Guan’s Qingguan.
Zi You whispered a lot of words into YouLian’s ears. Finally, she confidently told her, “You just have to do what I tell you. I promise to cure your disease. I guarantee you, for the rest of your life, you would have support in the General’s Manor.”
Shui YouLian repeatedly nodded her head. Finally, she shyly said, “I will listen to Xiaojie. I will never betray Xiaojie.”
In the carriage, she found out Zi You was female when the latter reverted back to female clothing. Shui YouLian needed to come up with plans to obtain Mu YingRui’s doting and go up against the legitimate wife.