ROHYX Chapter 28 : Choices

After Yuxi returned to her courtyard, she wrote a hundred characters, sat down in her chair and did not speak for a long time. Nobody knew what she was thinking.

Only Moju was brave enough to interrupt her, "Miss, it's time for supper."

Only then did Yuxi pull out from her thoughts and ask, "What did you make today?"

Moju brought a sweet white porcelain bowl and said, "Miss, it's three silky silverfish soups." Her Master had been very fond of eating fish since she got well. The kitchen had been cooking fish three to five times a day. There were many ways to do it, such as braising in soy sauce, steaming, boiling in water, fish porridge, fish soup, etc.

When Yuxi finished eating the fish soup, Moju tentatively asked, "Miss, what were you thinking just now? You looked so engrossed. "

Yuxi glanced at Moju and said, "I'm thinking about something." It was better to save something of yourself, untold to others, even if this person was your close subordinate.

Moju was somewhat disappointed after hearing Yuxi's reply.

When Yuxi arrived at Magnolia Courtyard the next day, she was surprised to see Teacher Song air-punching in the yard. She did not want to disturb her, so she asked Old Woman Ding, waiting by the sidelines with a towel, "What is Teacher Song doing?"

Old Woman Ding said with a smile, "This is wuqinxi. Ma'am insists on keeping fit every day. After years of persistence, she seldom falls ill even till this day."

----------xx Wuqinxi xx----------


Unbeknownst to Yuxi, Teacher Song was seriously ill a few years ago. After her illness was cured, she felt that her health was not as good as before. So, later on, she learned this set of wuqinxi and had been sticking to it all these years.

Yuxi's eyes brightened when she heard the words 'keeping fit'.

Seeing the yearning in Yuxi's eyes, Old Woman Ding smiled. "If you want to learn wuqinxi, you must persist day by day. If you cannot, it won't work very well."

Yuxi earnestly looked at Teacher Song, practising without saying a word.

After Teacher Song had done practising wuqinxi, she went inside her room and cleaned herself up. At that time, Yuchen also arrived. Yuxi looked with a red face at the maid behind Yuchen holding a qin. She didn't even think about bringing a guzheng. Well, actually, she didn't own one, either.

The musical instrument room was Yuxi's former resting room. As soon as she entered, she saw two tables with a qin and a guzheng.

Shishu went up to one of the tables and took the qin on top of it. Then, she wiped the table and chair. Finally, she placed the qin they brought on top of the table.

As if Yuxi hadn't seen what the maid was doing, she went to the table with the guzheng and plucked a few strings, making a harsh sound.

Yuchen frowned slightly.

Du Yao
Image credit | Hunan Museum
When Teacher Song entered the room, she saw the qin in Yuchen's hand at a glance. The surface of the qin was painted with black and red paint, with broken lines of plum blossom and snake belly interwoven. While at its back, there were broken lines of ox hairs. She asked, "Is this Du Yao[1]?"

Yuchen nodded and said, "Teacher, this is a unique relic left by my mother."

Teacher Song nodded and said, "Then you should learn the qin well and be worthy of it when you can play exciting pieces of music in the future."

Yuxi had never heard of Du Yao[1]. Despite that, she knew that this qin must have been very valuable. Otherwise, she would not have seen the surprised look on Teacher Song's face when she glanced at it. Then, Yuxi looked at Yuchen's clothes made of brocade. She had never worn clothes made of brocade in her whole life. Thus, she didn't want to be compared with her, as it would only make her feel depressed.

Yuchen had been studying qin for more than a year, so it was not a problem for her to play it fluently. However, after she finished playing a piece of music, Teacher Song commented, "Well, it's perfect, and your technique is quite skilled, but it is still lacking. So, you need to practice more." This was the outcome of learning the skills first, then the others later.

After instructing Yuchen, Teacher Song went over to teach Yuxi. Since Yuxi had no foundation in playing guzheng, she must be taught the basics. "When playing, use the four fingers of the right hand to pluck the strings." After giving a demonstration, Teacher Song continued, "While your left hand should be on the left side of the guzheng column. Your left-hand job is to adjust the tension and control the change of the string sound. This is for adjusting the pitch and perfecting the melody."

Then she talked about fingering methods when playing the guzheng, "The right hand has to hook, support, split, pick, wipe, pick, pick, beat, shake, pinch, etc., the left hand has to press, slide, rub, tremble..."

----------xx Fingering Methods xx----------


Listening to these, Yuxi felt so dizzy that she didn't know what she had learned the whole morning inside the class.

Because of their tight schedule, both Yuchen's and Yuxi's maids send their morning meal directly to Magnolia Courtyard, where the two were.

Yuchen looked at the eighteen dishes placed on her desk, then at the six ones on Yuxi's desk. "Si Mei[2], let's eat them together!"

Yuxi shook her head and answered, "No need." Yuchen had a wide variety of dishes, but the amounts were relatively small. She was afraid Yuchen would not have enough to eat if she ate some. This would surely make the Old Lady come over to settle accounts with her.

Yuchen felt a little apologetic at Yuxi, but she also knew that if she said too much, Yuxi would surely be disgusted with her.

The morning course was not bad for Yuxi as she could understand it. Unfortunately, for the afternoon class, it was the opposite. She had never come into contact with chess and painting, while Yuchen had studied them for more than a year. The two people were not on the same starting line, but Teacher Song still sputtered, causing Yuxi to complain bitterly in her heart.

A noob translator, きつね, translated this noob translation. Please read this chapter at If you read this in another location other than, it has been taken without the translator's permission. Please don't support this kind of act.

After class, Teacher Song gave Yuxi two introductory books. "This is the qipu[3] and picture album. Take it back and have a good look." Learning chess depended not only on talent but also on constant practice.

Yuxi took the two books and said sincerely, "Thank you, Teacher." Added to the music scorebook, she now had three books to study.

Back in the Rose Courtyard, Yuxi sat in a chair and recalled today's events. She could not help herself but sigh with emotion. Yuchen studied the Four Arts as if she were playing. However, Yuxi seemed to be climbing a mountain, especially when it came to guzheng, which could be said she was ignorant of. Fortunately, she had been working hard all her life and had a lot of ability to endure it. If it were someone else, she would have been tired of learning about it a long time ago.

When Yuru was in the main courtyard, her face changed as she heard that Teacher Song had started teaching the Four Arts. After she returned to her yard, she ordered Zhuxuan, "Go and inquire if Teacher Song has started teaching the Four Arts."

Zhuxuan heard the news yesterday evening, but she hid it from Yuru, afraid that Yuru would feel uncomfortable once she heard it. Now, she couldn't hide it anymore.

When Yuru heard the news was true, her fingernails pierced her palms as she clenched her hands. "Why didn't you tell me that Teacher Song will teach Four Arts from the beginning? Why didn't you tell me she will teach them now?" She thought Teacher Song only taught Four Arts to her recognised student. She did not know that she would teach them after a month. If she had known earlier, she would have insisted, even if she knew it would be tough for her.

Zhuxuan spoke out her guess, "I think Teacher Song must have taken a fancy to the Third Miss and Fourth Miss." This meant that Teacher Song would accept Yuxi and Yuchen as her students.

Yuru shook her head. "Impossible. Teacher Song is only willing to teach one student at a time. She can't make an exception for Yuxi. "Yuxi also didn't have such a big reputation for Teacher Song to make an exception for.

Zhuxuan gently advised, "Miss, whatever Teacher Song does, it has nothing to do with us." They were no longer qualified and for them to argue over this matter was a meaningless act. 

Hearing this, Yuru immediately felt discouraged.

Sometimes, it was not enough to rely on hard work alone when learning something. For example, Yuxi, who had been studying for less than half a month, still played a disturbing noise. Most importantly, she didn't even know what she was playing, which made her feel too ashamed.

Moju saw Yuxi's depressed look and tried to comfort her by saying, "Miss, the music that the Third Miss played was so beautiful because she had a good qin. If Miss also had a good guzheng, Miss could play beautiful music too."

Yuxi said as she went speechless, "This requires natural talent. It has nothing to do with whether the musical instrument is good."

Moju saw that Yuxi had gotten angry, which made her not dare to say more. These few days, her Master's look had not been looking good, presumably because of Third Miss' performance which was too good to be beaten.

The next day, Yuxi went to see Teacher Song after class. She looked depressed as she expressed, "Teacher, I don't want to learn guzheng."

With Yuchen in the background, Teacher Song knew that Yuxi was under tremendous pressure. However, she was surprised that Yuxi would give up. She always gave her the feeling that she was strong and would not sound out the difficulties and retreat to avoid defeat[4]. So, Teacher Song said, "To learn something needs a lot of perseverance and strong willpower. You can't give up only because you can't learn it well."

Yuxi shook her head. "Teacher, although chess and painting are complicated, I have started to get a hold of them after learning these days. But I have learned guzheng for a long time, yet I still don't know what I have learned. Teacher, I heard that learning music depends on one's talent. Without talent, even with perseverance and willpower, it is still useless." What she meant was she had no talent for music.

Teacher Song looked at Yuxi and asked, "Do you want to give up halfway?"

Yuxi corrected Teacher Song's words, "Teacher, it is not that I give up halfway, but I don't have the talent in this aspect. Even if I stick to it, it will be a waste of time." Yes, in a way, she did give it up so easily. It was because she had no talent on the one hand. While on the other hand, she felt it was useless to learn musical instruments. Since it was useless, it was better to use this time to learn something more useful.

Teacher Song then said, "You even dare to argue with me. You really have a lot of guts."

When did Yuxi have a lot of guts? She was being pressured. "Teacher, I can't keep on learning it. I don't know why, but when I was practising music in my yard, all my maids and old women wished they could plug their ears with pieces of cotton."

When Teacher Song heard this, she could not stop herself from laughing.

Seeing that Teacher Song still didn't respond positively, Yuxi said, "Teacher, San Jie[5] learned this two years earlier than I did. She's a quick learner. I am afraid I will be unable to keep up with her progress if this continues. Without learning music theory, I would have more time to spend on other lessons."

When Teacher Song heard this, she finally nodded. "If you don't want to learn it, then forget about it." Judging from Yuxi's performance these days, she could see that Yuxi didn't have any talent in this art. She only taught chess and painting twice to her, and Yuxi could easily understand them. However, when it came to guzheng, even if she taught her more than 10 times, it was still useless.

Yuxi felt ashamed of herself.

Then, Teacher Song smiled and said, "Although you have no talent in music theory, you have a good grasp of colour. If you study hard, you can certainly learn painting well." Qualification was essential, and so was talent. Yuxi's capability was outstanding, and she also had a knack for painting. Teacher Song didn't want Yuxi to waste it.

Yuxi was somewhat ashamed. "Thank you, Teacher." After a pause, she added, "Teacher, I want to learn wuqinxi from you."

Teacher Song felt somewhat strange, so she asked, "Why do you want to learn wuqinxi?"

Yuxi answered, "I have been in poor health since I was a child, and I often get sick. Mama Ding said that after learning wuqinxi, one will not get sick frequently and no longer need to take bitter medicine."

Teacher Song looked at Yuxi, who was ruddy in complexion and asked suspiciously, "Do you often get sick?" Looking at Yuxi's appearance, she didn't look like a sick seedling.

"I used to get sick, but now I feel much better," Yuxi answered sheepishly.

Teacher Song understood her situation but wouldn't respond to Yuxi's request for now. Instead, she said, "Let's talk about this again next year!"

Yuxi did not know why she had to wait until next year. It was already the eleventh lunar month, and New Year would arrive in another month. Well, came to think of it, how hard would it be for her to wait for two months more?

Footnotes Full List
  1. lit. solitude and seclusion
  2. si=fourth, mei=younger sister, short form for Meimei
  3. Chinese chess record
  4. Chinese idiom: withdraw or quit after learning of the difficulties, hardships, etc.
  5. san=third, jie=elder sister, short form for Jiejie

Noob Translator's Musing

I translated Chapter 29 as Chapter 28. If I didn't notice it earlier, I would have posted it as Chapter 28. 😓


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