Chapter 1: EMBROIDERY HOUSE
ED: Azusky, JSmith
Republic of China, Year 1923, Spring. Suzhou City.
It was the morning of March during spring. The continuous rain in the last few days had finally dispersed, revealing colourful hanging branches glittering in the sunlight.
“Chirp chirp”, the birds sang. A flowery aroma followed the wind and breezed by, bringing with it people who were heading to the morning market. At Suzhou City Center’s outer perimeter located a courtyard decorated in the style of the previous time period. Inside, servants were busily going about their duties. From the kitchen, the delicious scent of food being cooked flowed out, signaling the start of a new day.
Overlooking Suzhou City was the famous “Embroidery House” — the Su Family. The Su family dwelling was distributed into many small courtyards divided by curving paths. Interspersed between them were elegant pavilions and lakes, flanked with lush blooming flowers and shrubbery. It had to be said that the Su Family’s head really knew how to enjoy their wealth, causing others to feel appreciative.
“Where is your Young Miss?” The Su Family Eldest Young Master Su Tingyi did not pay any attention to the polite greetings from the surrounding servants as he walked through the exquisite courtyard. He made great strides towards the large room facing the direction of the rising sun and asked the two maids cleaning inside it.
The two maids glanced at each other strangely. The tall skinny maid hurriedly replied in a polite tone, “Dear Eldest Young Master, earlier today Young Miss was woken up and told to go to the Patriarch’s courtyard. The one who sent for her was you.” Speaking up to here, her voice slowly got weaker and weaker. Based on the young master’s expression, it seemed like someone else had used his name to get the Young Miss to go outside.
Su Tingyi’s frowned. He immediately turned around and left. His destination was Su Family’s most prestigious area – the Patriarch’s courtyard.
Before he even made it to the courtyard, there was a loud scream that echoed from afar. Su Tingyi’s frown deepened, his pace quickening.
“A Fen, quickly inform Master and Eldest Young Master, I’ll get the Mistress.”
Following that were the succession of rapid footsteps from the two panic-stricken maidservants as they ran towards the Patriarch courtyard’s direction.
“What happened?” Su Tingyi called out to the oblivious maidservant who was too busy running along to even notice their surroundings.
“Ah! Eldest Young Master!” The two maidservants seemed like they had just met a savior, and began to weep hysterically.
“What’s going on? Have you seen the Young Miss? Did that old man…” Su Tingyi quickly asked, not paying mind to their rudeness as they clung to him tearfully.
“Eldest Young Master, it’s… it’s the Young Miss… the Young Miss, she…” One of the maidservants was still too upset to speak, while the other one was just rambling on.
Su Tingyi gave up in getting anything useful from them. Instead, he pushed them off and ran towards the Patriarch’s Courtyard. Damnit! He could only blame himself for being careless. If something happened to Shuilian because of this, he would definitely not forgive this mother and daughter pair, no matter how much that man loved them.
While consumed in fury, he finally arrived at the courtyard of the Patriarch. Su Tingyi pushed the main hall’s door wide open and rushed in while hurriedly calling out: “Shuilian! Shuilian!”
Not in the main hall, not in the side hall, and not in the left hall. Su Tingyi had looked all over the place in a short period of time. When he reached the right hall curtained entrance, he immediately detected a putrid scent, causing him to hastily enter inside. As the curtain behind him crumbled, a scene appeared in front of his eyes that made him weak at the knees.
“Shuilian… Shuilian…” Su Tingyi hands trembled. He took several steps forward before falling to his knees. He gently lifted up the figure lying on the ground. It seemed like the person’s head had hit the table’s corner, revealing a small wound that bled constantly. The blood dyed the girl’s green clothes red as her face grew pale.
“Shuilian, you will be alright. Big brother will bring you to the hospital, you will be alright.” Su Tingyi face turned ghostly white in a blink of an eye. He hugged the girl and lifted her up. While mumbling under his breath, he made his way out of the door.
On the way, he called out loudly, “Servants, prepare the car.” He did not spare any effort as he ran as quickly as he could. Occasionally, he glanced down at his pale sister that did not display any signs of life, his forehead wrinkling.
“Mother, you said she wouldn’t…”As Su Tingyi ran with everything he had, he ran passed a detailed and beautiful reproduction of a hill. Inside, the conversation of the mother-daughter pair rang out.
“If it’s true, that’s even better. From now on let’s see who will dare to pressure you.” A middle-aged woman in garish and expensive clothing’s face was slowly revealed, her expression full of hatred.
“But this matter will definitely not get ignored by the Patriarch. It happened at his own courtyard!” A young girl who seemed to be at sixteen years of age twisted her lips, her expression flustered.
“What are you scared of? How would they even investigate? This was an accident. Nobody has any proof, and would they be able to blame the accident on us? Furthermore, Su Shuilian is dead. Only the talented are favoured by the Patriarch. Now that Su Shuilian is dead, you are Su family’s number one in both name and title. Why would they go out of their way to punish you?” Under her veil, the woman reached out with her index finger and poked her worried daughter’s forehead, urging, “Even if your father the Patriarch asked, you will not shoot your mouth off, remember? Regarding that ‘Along the River during Ching Ming Festival’, you should hurry outside and dispose of it.”
“I understand, mother. But I’m scared that Big Aunt and Big Brother…” Thinking about that older brother from a different mother and the quiet but solemn aunt, who seemed to be able to see through people at a glance. Who also happened to be the Headmistress of the Su Family, Su Shuiyan could not help but tremble.
“Good for nothing!” The middle-aged woman who was the Su family second mistress Su Deng Yun, gave her own daughter a glare. She waved her handkerchief: “Go back. For the next two days, the house will not be very peaceful, you should prepare an embroidery room for me to practice in. Tomorrow is the big event, the Patriarch would definitely make you go to represent us. Don’t you dare make me lose face.” Deng Yun glanced at her daughter. In order to save her daughter from the experience of being the lowly mistress that could not keep her head up, she had plotted all of this to give her a better chance at finding a good husband. If not for that, why would she have spent all this time and effort?
Su Shuiyan comply by bowing her head. In her heart there was still a sense of unease. Even if that over-achieving older sister that had always sat atop of her head would survive by some miracle, it would still be very difficult for her to attend the big competition tomorrow. Un, mother’s right, she had prepared for this for a long time. If she performed well in the competition, won’t the title of Embroidery House’s honorary head becomes hers easily? As for Wang Patriarch, he would definitely choose me to replace Shuilian. Since the Wang Patriarch would pick her, it was as if the Su family itself had chosen her! Su Shuiyan’s heart was full of confidence as she followed her birth mother back to their own courtyard.
Su Family’s Great Study.
“Peng!” A loud bang came from the table. The blue and white porcelain was shattered. On the seat glowering was the Su Family Patriarch.
“Who was the one who passed on those orders that caused Shuilian to head to my courtyard? Even though I have built this family from the ground up, I’m still not yet dead!” Even though the patriarch was nearing eighty in age, when he was furious, his aura was still as intimidating as ever.
“Father, please calm your anger!” Su family eldest son Su Fanghua quickly stood up on the Patriarch’s left side and begged, “For the past two days, I have been busy preparing for the big competition and did not know that Shuilian had met an unfortunate accident. The people who investigated said that it was Tingyi’s servant who had came to Shuilian’s place and told her to come meet him at father’s courtyard. Shuilian then headed to the courtyard, but did not catch sight of either you nor Tingyi’s shadow. Somehow, she ended up hitting her head on the table corner… this, I’m not so sure about.”
Su Fanghua spoke all the facts, but in his heart there was still some lingering doubts. Shuilian was always calm and collected, why did she rush out without even bringing her maids with her? According to Shuilian’s two maids, before leaving she even brought with her the embroidery meant for the upcoming exhibition. But afterward, according to what the two servants’, who first discovered her, words, they did not see any large piece of embroidery. He was afraid that this matter was no ordinary accident, but instead a ploy by somebody. But now…
“Where is Tingyi’s maidservant?” The Patriarch also thought up to this point, and asked.
“I have already sent people out to look for her, but unfortunately she has already… drowned in the lake.”
“Shit!” The Patriarch slammed down on the table in rage, “How is this an accident? It’s definitely a plot by somebody! Shuilian little brat… Ah… Quickly, go bring as many people with you as you can and investigate.” The patriarch frowned at his eldest son, and then added, “For now… get that Shuiyan brat ready, no matter what Su family must attend this big event.”
“Understood. I will go inform her.” Su Fanghua bowed and replied.
“What did the doctor say?” Outside the hospital operating room, a 40 something-year-old refined lady latched onto Su Tingyi and urgently asked. This was Su Family Head Mistress, first wife of Shu Fanghua, Li Ruxi. Right now, how could she maintain her usual calm and quiet posture? Her expression was one of endless concern towards the life and death of her own child.
“Mother.” Su Tingyi gripped Li Xuri cold hands, his voice soft. In the end, he couldn’t muster the courage to continue speaking, and only shook his head.
“Tingyi, what do you mean by that? Li Xuri could not hold on for much longer and her eyes began to rain tears. The maidservant by her side also looked at the Eldest Young Master intently, hoping the result would not make her mistress lose all hope.
“The doctor said…” Su Tingyi internally organised what he have just learnt from the doctor. He chose to mention the less frightening possibility, “The doctor said.. Little Sister, Little sister had incurred a brain injury. The blood clots in her head have not dispersed, and she may be unconscious for several days.” This was the first possibility, but the possibility for this as astoundingly small. The possibility with the most chance of happening was… From now on she would become a vegetable. If she did not wake up in a half a year, she would unfortunately… when Su Tingyi suddenly thought of such a scenario, he couldn’t help but fall to the nearby wall in weakness.
“Eldest Young Master!” Li Xuri’s maidservant called out in panic.
Li Xuri looked at her own son. Hearing his words, her mind gradually calmed down. Her son was probably furious about the people who had caused Shuilian such injuries. She tried to comfort him, “It’s okay, as long as it is not life threatening. As for the rest, we should not sit here and do nothing. The maidservant who had passed on the orders has died mysteriously, but there is no need to even guess who was behind all of this. It is definitely those two bitches. Tomorrow, I’ll go talk to your grandfather. I heard that Deng Family’s two useless sons have recently tried to start something, and have been raising money left right these past few days… Humphed, I don’t believe I can’t grasp those bitches’ weak points. I will make sure their entire family bite off their own tails.” Li Xuri spoke coldly, her eyes overflowing with incorruptible will. You dared to injure my daughter, you must be tired of living!
Chapter 2: CROSSING OVER
ED: Azusky, LtBeefy, Jsmith
When Su Shuilian woke up from her stupor, the surrounding environment was not that of Spring 1923 Suzhou City’s Foreigner Hospital. Instead, it was a lush and overgrown jungle.
A jungle? Su Shuilian’s blinked in confusion. She propped up her frail body and looked around in a daze, before returning her sight to her own body, “Huh?”. These clothes are not what she remembered wearing before losing consciousness. Could it be that while she was under the maidservants had changed her clothes? Then why are these clothes so extravagant? She had always requested for comfortable clothing instead of precious or luxurious garments. The two maidservants who had served her since youth knew this well. From inside to out, she always usually wore plain cotton or silk, instead of this seemingly gorgeous and expensive clothing that was uncomfortable and hot with no ventilation. This was definitely not something she owned herself.
She inadvertently swept her eyes past her two hands, causing her frown to deepen. These two similar looking hands was smaller than her own by a size, and they were covered in wounds, presumably due to thorns. However, these were definitely not her own original pair of slender white hands that excelled at embroidery.
She was definitely Su Shuilian, the “Embroidery House” five consecutive times number one seamstress and granddaughter of the Su Family Patriarch. It can’t be that it was all an illusion? For the past nineteen years, was it all a dream? Was her real body one of a weakly and useless woman incapable of even bearing a child? Wait no, it would be more correct to say that this is the body of a young girl. Basing on the body composition it would not be any older than even Shuiyan.
Thinking about her half younger sister Su Shuiyan, Shuilian cannot help but burst out a sigh. Who would have thought… really, who would have thought. Shuiyan has always behaved rationally towards everyone, she clearly respected aunty, her personality was lively, and she even had beautiful looks. However, due to jealousy of my sewing and wanting to get revenge, she and aunt had borrowed big brother’s name to fool me to the Patriarch Courtyard, stole the precious embroidered artwork “Along the River during Ching Ming Festival” that has taken me four moons to complete, and then even pushed me to the ground.
She shook her head lightly. It felt a tad heavy, but there was no other pain. Could it be that before when she was pushed onto the table corner, she has lost consciousness and right now she was currently in a hallucination?
Su Shuilian forced her weakly body to stand up, and was once again convinced that this small frail body was definitely not her own.
Her suspicious eyes did not dissipate as she picked up a branch besides her. She put her entire body weight onto it and shakily walked. Her bewildered mind slowly calmed down as she observed her surroundings.
Several steps away was a small shrubbery, on which hung a heavy looking bundle. Su Shuilian approached it to take a closer look, and guessed that the current body is the original owner of this bundle. Her movement did not stopped as she took a look inside for any clue that could indicate her current identity.
Unfortunately, inside the bundle was only a three piece underwear set made from golden silk, a once filled empty gourd, a refined looking dagger, a sandalwood comb, a palm sized bronze mirror, and a few pieces of silk-wrapped jewellery: a jade hairpin, a gold flower pin, a white jade bracelet decorated with twin phoenixes, as well as a heavy small pouch. Inside the pouch was five block of silver and several small coins.
Su Shuilian was once again confused: the jewellery, she wasn’t sure about, but isn’t the use of silver and gold coins as currency already outlawed? Years before, it’s true that silver casted coins was still in use, but since last year didn’t they switched to a full credit system? Why is there twelve ingots worth of silver and silver coins in this bundle? These clothes also do not look like they belong to a mountain hermit. Regarding the mirror, it took until midday for the reflection to become clear enough to see. She could now see a face and a figure in the mirror, and it was not Su Shuilian. What’s more, over her head was a bun of rolled of up hair that flowed down past her shoulder with her smooth forehead out in display. Su Shuilian was convinced that this person was not her, or at least not the original Su Shuilian with swallow-tail bows and combed bangs hair.
Su Shuilian put down the bundle and sat down on a thick tree stump, depressed. She stretched out her two legs and painfully puzzled over her current situation. After thinking for awhile, she still couldn’t figure anything out, and was reprimanded by her stomach: she was feeling weak and hungry.
She suddenly thought of something: could it be that this body had already died due to starvation, and was possessed by her soul? Heavens! Isn’t this robbery? Is this the legendary “Taking advantage of the empty corpse to reincarnate” situation? Su Shuilian was stunned. If so, where’s the real Su Shuilian? Is she dead?
Shuilian wasn’t allowed to think much further when suddenly a beastly roar came from nearby, followed by the sound of a fierce struggle. She snapped out of her stupor and remembered that she was still inside a jungle, and there was a real chance wild animals killing and eating people. She needs to quickly go find a hideout.
She hurriedly picked up the bundle and use all her strength to run in the opposite direction of the roar. However, after the life and death struggle sound ended, the surrounding area resumed its normal silence.
Su Shuilian stood still in place and listen intently. After determining that there was no sudden angry growl, she headed directly back to the place where the sound had came from. She hoped that she had imagined it all. Su Shuilian gripped the branch in her hand and the bundle tightly, her heart beating wildly. If she guessed wrong, she will lose even this borrowed life.
Looking at the bloody scene in front of her, Su Shuilian forced back her urge to throw up. Propping her falling body, her pale lips curved, revealing the happiness inside her heart. That’s right, now she could continue to survive.
However, at a glance, it won’t be that easy.
A large White Tiger the size of four people and two Giant Wolves.
She shakily approached the three beast figures who had fought each other to death. She took out the impractical dagger, but did know where to begin.
Skinning, cutting the meat and then barbecuing them. These are the things she have read about in her spare time but never thought should be doing it herself one day.
Being the direct descendant of the Su Family as well the five times chief seamstress of the “Embroidery House”, her day to day life was nothing less than exquisite. Furthermore, Su Family was famous in Suzhou City, and she did not need to use her own hands to do the chores. Her hands was dedicated to sewing.
But right now, she could no longer sit idle by and wait for food to be fed to her. Only she can save herself in this place. Even though this body was not Su Shuilian, this soul was. From now on, it is Su Shuilian, and Su Shuilian was it.
After thinking for a while, the sun was beginning to set. Su Shuilian still did not dared to get closer to the three corpses. She tightens her fist, breathe in deeply and decided to begin the training exercise. That’s right, training. Using the excuse of training herself, she did not believe that she would not be able to surpass her inner fear and anxiety.
Just as she was about to step forward, strange “shroosh shroosh” sound came from behind her. Suddenly, there appeared two small puppies. Watching as they took turns licking the two big dead wolf corpses on the ground, Su Shuilian realised that these two puppies were wolf pups. They have ventured out to search for their parents.
Su Shuilian eyes became misty and felt guilty for wanting to skin and eat these two wolves just before. Coming forward to pick up the two newly born puppies, she quietly whispered, “Don’t worry, I’ll help you bury them.” The two pups did not try to avoid Su Shuilian even though she has gotten close to them. “Woof woof” was their reply. Looking at their moist, bright eyes, Su Shuilian felt that they were able to understand the meaning behind her words.
Putting the puppies gently down onto the grass, she held the dagger and dug a pit. It took half a day before she successfully made a small hole, and Su Shuilian grew anxious. It was getting dark, and she did not know when more ferocious beast would appear at night to hunt, and she was alone by herself along with two small wolves, where could she go?
She turned around and looked at the two clever little wolves who was patiently sitting behind her and smiled knowingly. Who would have thought she would meet these two little brats before running into humans.
The little wolves also looked at Su Shuilian’s eyes and saw that she was staring at them intently, they puzzledly barked “Woof woof” twice, then tumbled to her side and licked her. They then began to follow her example and tried to dig. Seeing their adorable action, she also stopped dwelling in her own thoughts and continued the unfinished business at hand. She continued to dig until the hole was big enough to bury both the large wolves.
“All done.” Su Shuilian left a small circle of rocks next to the large wolves’s graves so later on she and the puppies would be able to return and find this place again. Even though right now she was not sure she would be able to get out of this situation alive, and neither was she sure we would be able to return here, but it was always her habit to leave behind a mark on whatever she had made.
Kicking up some dust, she struggled to drag the body of the White Tiger. She looks toward the two small pups, “Where do you live? Can you bring me there?”
The two small pups circled the grave several times before replying to her with several “woof woof”. They bit down on the White Tiger’s legs and helped her drag the body, as well as indicate to her where they should go.
About fifty metres later, she followed the little wolves through the bushes, and in front of her appeared a two metre wide hole. Su Shuilian suddenly understood that it was the wolf cave, or else the little wolves would not be so familiar to it.
Leaving the White Tiger at the front of the cave, she followed the pups inside.
Inside, aside from strange scent, there was no real dirtiness. The ground was cushioned with foliage, and each of her steps produced scraping noises that echoed in the cave. The cave was not large, and it was also long and narrow. It was around ten metres before she reach the end of the cave. There lied a puddle.
Wait, no, this isn’t a puddle. This was a natural formation of stalactites. Along the long and sharp stalactite was drips of stone milk. At the centre of the stalactite lied a recessed area that contained a few scoops worth of a transparent green crystal like liquid.
What is this? Su Shuillian dipped a small finger in and tasted it. The flavour was delicious and refreshing, causing her mind to grow clear and her spirit to rise, losing all of its previous weariness and hunger.
What exactly could this be? It seems to have dripped down from above and stored up in here. Looking up, there was a slightly damp area that seemed out of the ordinary. However, for a drop to condense from there, how long would it take? Ah, no wonder this recess of crystal green liquid did not show any sign of overflowing. This must have been gathered in this reserve for a long time.
Su Shuilian thought back and forth for half a day. In the end, even when she used all her mind power she could not figure out what the green liquid was.
Chapter 3: A MONTH AMONG THE MOUNTAINS
ED: Azusky, LtBeefy, JSmith, Rainbowdash
On the tenth day.
Su Shulian used a stone to carve another line on the wall.
She couldn’t help but feel anxious in her heart. Escaping from this jungle would be in her best interest.
Originally, thinking that she was at the edge of the forest, she looked around for six days straight in all directions, but the results were fruitless. There wasn’t any change in the scenery, no matter which direction she spent half a day marching in. In the end, she could only helplessly return.
Looking down on the happily playing baby wolves by her side, “Xiaochun” and “Xiaoxue”, Su Shuilian couldn’t help but smile. Luckily, she had them to keep her company. If not for them, she wouldn’t have been able to survive these past ten days. Even if she didn’t starve or freeze to death, she would have already become some wild beast’s meal.
Thinking up to this point, Su Shuilian went inside the cave and walked towards the few simple drying racks made from branches, on which hung some dried meat.
Next to the drying racks lied two pieces of White Tiger fur, which Su Shuilian had skinned herself.
That’s right, it was the same White Tiger that had perished along the two Giant Wolves, which had taken Su Shuilian two days to skin. The two baby wolves had lead her to the nearest water source — a roughly thirty metres long, curved and narrow water stream. After washing the tiger fur thoroughly, she hung it out to dry.
After a round of sunbathing, the tiger skin began to slowly shrink, drying up softly. Thinking about how tonight she would be able to sleep on the soft warm White Tiger fur and avoid being stabbed by the uncomfortable dry branches on the ground, Su Shuilian couldn’t help but smile.
She softly massaged her roughened hands. Due to having to do more labor since coming here, her hands had gained many injuries and cuts. She could only sigh deeply: there wasn’t a guarantee that she would be able to escape this jungle, so she couldn’t even begin to think about sewing. She had to survive first before thinking about anything else.
Luckily, when she was eight she would often follow her brother, who was four years older than her, outside her grandma’s home to play, so at least she knew some camping skills. Furthermore, while sewing she had read many books to entertain herself, some of which written about the many customs and methods used by indigenous people and the exotic food they had eaten. When dealing with the White Tiger, she was able to recall the many survival methods taught by those books.
She was able to strip the tiger’s fur thanks to the decorative dagger found inside the bundle. Right now, the knife was neatly tied to her calf with a hemp rope. While exploring, if anything happened she could quickly and easily use it to defend herself.
She would have never thought that she would come to depend on the little dagger so much. While on the outside it looked extravagant, it was also extremely sharp, to the point where it could rival those legendary weapons which could cut through iron like mud.
Thanks to the dagger, she did not have to exert too much force while stripping the tiger of its skin. Of course, due to her own inexperience, she had sliced through the skin many times, accidentally cutting herself. Once, she made a cut so deep that blood wouldn’t stop flowing. If she hadn’t once washed her hands in the stalactites puddle after coming back from an exploration and discover that the crystal liquid could quickly stop bleeding wounds, Shuilian would have probably ended up passing out from losing too much blood.
The crystal clear liquid was definitely some sort of ethereal nectar. Not only was it beneficial for the body and restored her mental tranquility, it could also stop bleeding and heal wounds. Looking at her body that has been tempered by several drops of the nectar, her mind felt refreshed and her bones felt strong. She had quickly lost the unbearably weak body she had woken up in.
Haha, Su Shuilian couldn’t help but laugh softly once more. Even though the experience of crossing over to another world into another body was bewildering, she was able to meet the two baby wolves, find this resting place, and even came across this mysterious treasure. At this moment, Su Shuilian was calm.
The ancient once said: If you’re already here, might as well make yourself comfortable. If the heavens did not let her soul vanish into the void but instead had kept her alive by putting her here, then she should do her best to survive. Mother, big brother, please feel relieved, for your little girl will not give up, she will continue to struggle for her life.
The remaining crystal liquid must be used sparingly. She reckoned that there was about two small spoonfuls left, and before she could make her way out of the jungle she must not use them carelessly. In regards to leaving, Su Shuilian decided to stay around for another period of time. Based on the amount of remaining dried tiger meat, there was enough for around 10 to 15 more days.
By that time, “Xiaochun” and “Xiaoxue” would grow big and strong enough to follow her for longer distances. She had already prepared quite a large amount of food. Recently, she had found no small amount of wild berries when she went out. Looking at the red peck marks left by birds, the fruits were most likely not poisonous.
Tomorrow she planned to go and carefully explore further. It would be great if she could find new types of fruits. In the past few days, when not drinking water, she would have some meat, but she didn’t want to eat unless she was truly starving.
Even though the roasted tiger meat was very delicious, there was no honey, seasoning or spices, so she could only eat a few mouthfuls at a time. Looking at the two small baby wolves happily eating, Su Shuilian quietly turned around to go look for some salty fruit. As described in the foreign journals, certain fruits could be found in the wild and would work as seasoning in place of salt. Su Shuilian’s memory was working overtime as she tried her best to recall all her previous knowledge and apply them to the current situation.
“Xiaochun, Xiaoxue?” Su Shuilian walked inside the cave and woke up the two baby wolves which were still sleeping deeply, joy glowing from her pale white face.
“Woof”, The two wolves’s eyes shot open. Seeing Su Shuilian, they trudged over and curled their slightly cold bodies around her. They whined softly before closing their eyes and once again enjoyed bathing in the morning sun.
Su Shuilian laughed and gently placed them back on the tiger fur, letting them continue sleeping.
She took a shortcut and made her way to the stalactites puddle while taking out a few fruits which caused a smile to bloom on her face.
That’s right, these few pieces of ugly shriveled berries were just like those described by the foreign journals as salty fruit, and they could be used in place of salt.
Once she had found them, she cautiously tasted some. They were definitely savory, if not also a little bitter. It seemed like she needed to process them like it was described in the foreign journals. Su Shuilian couldn’t help but feel glad from the bottom of her heart. She softly sang a small Suzhou folk song while processing the salty fruits. She removed their skin, picked out their seed carefully by using the dagger and put the meat of the fruits inside a stone bowl.
The so-called stone bowl was in reality just a piece of rock in a similar shape to a roof tile, and could be used as a small water container. She had found it on the side of the small water stream and brought back two in total. She gave one to the two baby wolves to use. On the other hand, she also had a jar shaped stone, and she often use it to make stew by putting it on the fire.
Regarding spoons and chopsticks, she had carved some out herself using the dagger from some relatively solid wood. Even though it took several days to find, the effects were very excellent. She carved the spoon handle with floral patterns during her spare time, while the two chopsticks that were made from rougher wood were carved with two mushrooms like round heads, giving off a sense of artistic bliss.
Using the dagger to carve instead of sewing with needles and threads meant that Su Shuilian was not very experienced with the actual process itself. She ended up wasting quite a few pieces of wood that she had found during the day, but in the end there were two pieces of tableware that in her eyes were worthy of the being called proper woodcraft pieces. It’s like the saying: First Time a Student, Second Time a Master. It basically meant that while it may be unfamiliar at first, with practice any skills will become accessible.
She used the wooden spoon to grind the salty fruit flesh into pieces, and the total of five savoury fruits that were stripped of their seed filled up half the bowl. Su Shuilian felt that this was already very good, if this processing method succeeded, she would return with a woven basket to pick more. Even if she plucked that particular bush clean, there would still be hundreds more. Maybe due to the actual taste not being that pleasant, birds and animals have generally avoided them.
Su Shuilian brought the fruits in the stone bowl which were immersed in water and rested it on the largest stalactite in the cave. Half an hour later, she mixed in the wild berries she had previously found. Even though the flavour was still a little sour, this was the simplest method of processing the fruit based on the foreign journals. However, she did not find the exact tangerine-like species described in the book, but instead she found the kind that usually stood upright with mulberry-like skinless fruits.
Dipping the pointy end of the chopstick, she gave the concoction a lick with a resounding “smack” of her tongue. Her eyes immediately brightened, there really was no bitterness. It was both salty and sour, and definitely enough as seasoning. Un, today she can finally cook a savoury meal instead of the usual bland broth.
Looking at the two baby wolves still sleeping soundly like before, she did not call out to them, but instead went ahead outside. She carried with her a gourd of water and a woven basket as she decided to go pick more of the sour wild berries and the salty fruits. While she was at it, she wanted to see if the nearby wild grass was also edible.
Based on the temperature of the air inside the jungle, it had to be almost May. The flower buds on the branches were starting to blossom, and as she came to the field of wild grass she also discovered that some red had began to show through the trees. Counting the days, she had been unwillingly sent to this place for a month.
The clear stream of water followed the terrain and flowed by aggressively. Su Shuilian put down the basket and gourd of water on a nearby flat piece of stone and pulled up her sleeves. She took off her almost unrecognisable sewed shoes and put both her delicate feet into the gentle mountain stream.
Hoh, she breathed out slightly. It was an early May morning, and the water stream was cold to the bones. However, after drinking several drops of the crystal liquid, her body’s constitution had been getting better and better everyday. In the past couple of days, Su Shuilian was used to going to the water stream to soak her blistered feet. She couldn’t simply have a cheerful bath, but at least she was able to relax by the riverside.
Taking out a sandalwood comb from inside her pocket, she straightened her shoulders and casually tied her hair into two braids.
Before, when she was still in the Su Family, all the intricate and beautiful hair styles were maintained by the maidservants. Thinking about her past self, aside from the daily hand washing and incense offerings after an embroidery session, she did not have to do any manual labour.
Gathering her mind, she turned her attention towards the silk clothing. The gorgeous dress she wore previously had already been folded and tucked deep inside the bundle. Even though she did feel some admiration towards the dress, if she didn’t make it out of the jungle by the time the season fully changed, she would be needing the dress to survive the winter. Even though she didn’t know how cold it could get here, the dress would at best serve as an outer coat. And having something was better than nothing.
Right now, Su Shuilian was no longer the Su Family’s fragile granddaughter who didn’t even need to voice her thoughts before her every demand was met. Instead, she was someone who relied on herself for her own survival.
Thinking up to this point, Su Shuilian’s lips slightly curved. Strange, this kind of life seemed to also be good in its own way, at least she no longer had to watch her every single step to avoid getting in trouble with the ancient family’s laws, and she also didn’t have to put up with being told to act with dignity and grace all day long. If the Su Family Patriarch and her parents knew about the current her who did not have enough clothing and with her feet full of blisters, what would their reactions be?
Ha ha, Su Shuilian reluctantly laughed. She really shouldn’t be laughing about such a thing. She had survived in the wild for more than one month, so her mind had also grown more carefree over time. Thinking of her strict but kind mother and her caring bigger brother, Su Shuilian suddenly felt some pain in her heart: Mother, even if your daughter’s life have changed, she will still do her best to live. Please, don’t suffer because of me.
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