The Rebirth Of An Ill-Fated Consort
Chapter 14 part1

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Chapter 14: Casting the Bait (Part I)
Chinese Woman Embroidering
Winter passed quietly. The thriving places were bustling with activities, while the quieter places become pronouncedly quiescent. As no one had visited Jiang Ruan's residence for a long time, the trio experienced a period of idle solitude that was usually hard to come by.
In the refreshing early morning air, Bai Zhi and Lian Qiao sat at the entrance of their residence mending clothes. Their clothes were as old as they could be, needing continuous mending. Although both of their embroidery skills were extraordinary, and these clothes could be worn again after being patched with flowery patterns, brightly-colored threads were extremely valuable to them. On normal days, they did not need such exquisite patchwork.
A girl sat quietly at the window, attentively reading the pages in front of her. The sunlight shone on the side of her pretty face. Her long, winged eyebrows quivered lightly above a clear, yet beautiful gaze. She had a kind of gentleness that moved people's hearts.
Lian Qiao unintentionally turned her head around and was entranced by the vision of her mistress. She felt that her lady was a kind of complete beauty that was rare in the world. When she was quiet, she was as gentle and soft as if she were a piece of tranquil scenery painting. However, when she became ruthless, her harsh and frigid demeanor exuded a kind of charisma. As mentioned in the idiom when "a married lady was calm and composed, but once she made a move, she would be similar to a shrewd and nimble rabbit", it must have been referring to a lady like Jiang Ruan.

Bai Zhi saw that Lian Qiao was lost in her thoughts, and she also followed her eyes. She spoke pensively, "Our lady has grown quite a bit this year and has become much taller. In the future, it might be harder to fit her into her clothes. Spring will be coming soon. We should find some time to make some new clothes for her to wear."
"It is easy for you to say," Lian Qiao recollected herself and continued sewing the button on a piece of clothing in front of her, "At this time of the year, the allowance distributed by those people has been halved. Two sets of new clothing require a lot of materials. Where can we find those? I think that we need to hike the mountains to pluck a few medicinal plants to trade for some money so that we can buy some material to make clothes for our lady." She paused for a moment, "Our lady is so beautiful, yet the clothes that she wears are so shabby. At such an age, other ladies are dressed up as beautifully as flowers, but our lady is not so fortunate. She does not even have a pair of brightly-colored clothes. It is such a waste of her good looks. If our lady wore those pretty clothes, she would definitely defeat all the ladies in the entire capital."
Hearing Lian Qiao's words, Bai Zhi could not help but laugh, "You are bragging. You are speaking about the capital right now, but I don’t even know when can we return to the manor."
As soon as the matter of returning to the manor was mentioned, their moods dampened slightly. After a while, Lian Qiao shook her head, "Don't think too much about it. Didn't our lady tell us previously that we will return soon? I think that our lady already has a plan. We don't need to feel anxious."
Bai Zhi nodded her head, "Our lady is smart. Just that- I hope that there won't be any mishaps."
While they were chattering away, someone knocked on the door outside. It was a maid named Xiao Yuan who came to deliver firewood. The residence did not allocate coal, but firewood, to them. After all, it was abundantly clear who Zhang Lan received her orders from. To the trio, every winter was the most sufferable time of year to bear, especially more so when the firewood was rationed and giving them more was out of the question. Zhang Lan really was not afraid that she would cause the trio to freeze to death.

Xiao Yuan greeted Jiang Ruan and removed the firewood from her basket swiftly. Lian Qiao helped her from the side. After they were done, Xiao Yuan glanced at the clothes in Bai Zhi's hands and smiled, "Senior Bai Zhi's hands are so skilled. This needlework is done so meticulously, yet so finely that one can not tell that the clothes have been mended."
Bai Zhi chuckled, "It was merely sewn casually. Furthermore, who would notice this when worn in our everyday lives?"
"Senior Bai Zhi, you are wrong." Xiao Yuan shook her head, "This year, my mother made me a new peach short coat. Unexpectedly, while I was working, I tore an opening under my upper arm. I thought about mending it properly but that part of the clothing is not easy to mend. When I am not careful about concealing it, others can even see the hole. I am very frustrated about this. If I possessed a skill like yours, I wouldn't need to feel worried about it anymore."
"What is so difficult about this?" Lian Qiao returned the basket to Xiao Yuan, "It will be fine. Just let Bai Zhi mend it for you."
"Really?" Xiao Yuan looked at Bai Zhi with pleasant surprise. She could not conceal the expectation that filled her eyes.
Bai Zhi nodded in amusement, "Of course, I can. It is just that I don't have any peach-colored thread here. You will have to give me a spool."

Translated by : togekiss
Edited by : Anks ~ Ely ~ Minodayz