Pearl in the Palm: Chapter 6 Part 1

A maidservant happened to bring water out and saw Ye Fu’an and Ye Jiayou enter the door. She quickly called out: “Master and young master are here!”
  
The maidservant at the door informed the people inside.
  
Ye Lizhu had just woken up and eaten some plain rice porridge. She was drinking tea when she heard that her father and brother were coming.
  
Ye Fu’an pulled Ye Jiayou: “Hurry up. Your sister has a soft temper so don’t make trouble in front of her.”
  
Ye Jiayou followed Ye Fu’an into a hollow-carved mahogany door, and then inside, past the room partition,[1] he saw a woman in a light green dress coming over, followed by two maidservants.
  
It’s Ye Lizhu.
  
Ye Lizhu first looked at Ye Fu’an, then looked down at Ye Jiayou: “This is Jiayou?”
  
Ye Fu’an pushed Ye Jiayou forward: “Hurry up and call her ‘older sister’.”
  
Ye Jiayou thought about his sister’s appearance, and even secretly painted her. The most beautiful woman he had ever seen was the Empress. Ye Jiayou thought that his sister would be as dignified and gentle as the Empress but after finally meeting Ye Lizhu, he realized that his sister was much more beautiful than the Empress.
  
It was a beauty that one cannot even imagine.
  
Ye Lizhu pulled Ye Jiayou over and rubbed his cheek: “My brother is so tall.”
  
Ye Jiayou was as tall as Ye Lizhu’s shoulders. He raised his eyes to look at her.
  
Ye Lizhu’s eyes were red, and she thought of her mother again. After returning, she was able to see the father and brother she had never seen before, but she would never get to see her mother again.
  
She didn’t want to mention her mother again in front of her father and younger brother and make them sad for nothing.
  
Ye Lizhu wiped her tears and said, “Sister only got to see you when you’ve already grown up so big.”
  
Ye Jiayou felt bad when he saw his sister crying.
  
He was afraid that Ye Lizhu would dislike him and be unfamiliar with him. Now looking at Ye Lizhu’s appearance and her loving eyes, Ye Jiayou knew that Ye Lizhu loved him.
  
Moreover, Ye Lizhu is different from Wu-shi, Liang-shi, and Zhou-shi. Her love comes from the heart.
  
Ye Fu’an pulled Ye Jiayou away: “Your sister is weak, don’t keep pressing on her.”
  
Ye Lizhu touched Ye Jiayou’s hair: “It’s okay, father, I am also happy to see my brother.”
  
Ye Fu’an asked Ye Lizhu what she had eaten when she woke up and whether she had taken any medicine. After asking, he said to Ye Jiayou: “Early tomorrow morning, before going to school, come and see your sister again. Go back now. Your sister also needs to sleep.”
  
Ye Jiayou didn’t want to be separated from Ye Lizhu, he said, “I will stay here tonight.”
  
Ye Fu’an said: “How can this be done? What if you make a noise in the middle of the night, making your sister unable to sleep?”
  
Ye Lizhu smiled and said: “It’s okay, there are maids watching and there is a bed outside the partition, Jiayou will sleep there.”
  
After all, Ye Jiayou was still young, just a child so there was no need to avoid taboos between siblings. Seeing that the two get along very well, Ye Fu’an spoke a few more words to Ye Jiayou, telling him that he’s letting him stay so he better not make a disturbance.


As soon as Ye Fu’an left, Ye Jiayou took out a pack of pastries from his sleeves: “Zhuzhu, I specially asked the palace eunuch to go to Worthy Consort.[2] The jujube cake made by an aunt in the Consort’s palace is the best, made from jujube dates that can only be found in a desert in a small country in the northwest. It’s really sweet.”
  
The imperial consorts and the outside world are inextricably linked. The Worthy Consort is the younger sister of Prince Chen. Ye Jiayou and Prince Chen’s heir are on good terms. The two are young and have sweet mouths. The emperor often allowed them to enter the palace. When they entered the palace, they both go to the Worthy Consort to beg for food.
  
From the side, Mama Chen rushed to say: “It’s already late at night, young miss is not allowed to eat this, or you might get heartburn later. Young master, don’t exhort the lady to eat indiscriminately!”
  
Ye Lizhu smiled and said, “It is getting late. Mama, please go out and rest for a while. I will pay attention.”
  
Ye Jiayou said, “Zhuzhu, you can’t eat everything you want?”
  
Ye Lizhu shook his head: “It’s fine, I’ll just taste a little bit. Of course, I want to try something that my brother brought for me especially.”
  
She took a piece of jujube pastry. The pastry was round, half a palm, and as thin as a cicada’s wings. Layer after layer, Ye Lizhu broke it carefully and took a bite.
  
The taste is really good; although the jujube paste was sweet, it wasn’t greasy at all.
  
After eating two bites, Ye Lizhu took a sip of tea and said, “Did you have a good time at the palace today? What interesting things did you encounter?”
  
Ye Jiayou was worried that his sister would ask about his homework, didn’t expect Ye Lizhu not to ask about it.


The two were sitting on the heated brick bed[3] when Ye Jiayou remembered what Mama Chen had said. He allowed Ye Lizhu to eat only a small piece of the jujube cake, before having the maidservants put it away.
  
Ye Jiayou said: “Today I met Prince Qin. Zhuzhu, Prince Qin is so good-looking. The Crown Prince is known as a beautiful man, praised for his tall and graceful appearance, exquisite like jade. But, even standing in front of Prince Qin, he was somewhat overwhelmed by Prince Qin’s elegant bearing. They will visit our residence in a few days. Zhuzhu, I’ll take you so that you can take a peek.”
  
There was a smile hidden in Ye Lizhu’s eyes: “How did you know they will be coming to our residence?”
  
Ye Jiayou vowed: “Trust me, they will definitely come.”
  
He’s still somewhat insightful, knowing that Prince Qin came to the capital, it was unlikely for him to let go of the opportunity to win over Ye Fu’an. Prince Qin talking to him in the palace today was evidence of that.
  
Ye Jiayou suddenly remembered something and took out the sandalwood beaded bracelet given by Prince Qin from his sleeve.


Ye Jiayou said, “This is what Prince Qin rewarded me today. You are Zhuzhu, and this is also a zhuzhu.” [4]
  
Ye Lizhu raised her hand, lightly tapping on Ye Jiayou’s forehead: “‘older sister’.”
  
Ye Jiayou said: “Zhuzhu is better. I will call you ‘older sister’ in front of outsiders.”
  
He was afraid that Ye Lizhu would argue against it, so he hurriedly said, “father calls you Zhuzhu, I also want to call you like that.”
  
Ye Lizhu neither cared about this little appellation nor did she care about unnecessary and overelaborate formalities.
  
She said: “You can call me whatever you like, just don’t let dad hear it, or he will definitely scold you.”

Notes:

1)bìshāchú (碧纱橱) : a type of foldable partition with a wooden frame (usu. hardwoods) carved with elaborate designs. It has a green gauze and serves as a screen to keep mosquitoes and flies out during summer.

2) xián fēi: Able/Worthy/Virtuous Consort; one of the 4 consorts of the Emperor.

3) kàng(炕): a heated brick bed

4) zhū (珠) means “pearl” but it can also be used to refer to “beads” and bead-like objects.

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