Arriving at the Bo Villa, a servant hastily led Luowei and Yujia to the courtyard Rong Tianyu was brought to. There was a physician at the courtyard, an old man who looked to be in his sixties. He was currently taking the pulse of Tianyu, who laid down in a bed shrouded by a veil, likely to preserve her reputation. Even her wrist that the physician touched was covered with a thin layer of fabric to prevent skin-to-skin contact.
Luowei, now a married woman, had less rules over her reputation. Yujia, on the other hand, quickly drew her veil out of her sleeve and tied it around her head again. Luowei already gave her a cloak to wear around her when they arrived at the villa, so there was no need for Yujia to worry about not being in the proper clothes.
"Is Miss Rong awake?" Luowei questioned with a quiet voice to the servant that brought them over.
The servant bowed and replied, "Madam, Miss Rong is still unconscious…"
Luowei wrung her hands together. Her eyes were fixed on the shadow of Tianyu lying on the bed. "Poor Tianyu," she whispered, "To think that she would have to experience such bad luck today."
While Yujia and Luowei both observed the doctor, one maid walked up to them, holding out a tray of folded robes and bowing. "Madam," the maid spoke up, "here are the robes you requested."
"Oh!" Luowei's eyes fixed on the robes, recognition appearing. "Younger Sister Yujia, we look about the same size, and I recently commissioned a set of new robes from a tailor. These are completely new, so— why don't you try them on behind that folding screen in the adjacent room, and tell me if it works?"
Gratefully, Yujia nodded and silently walked over to the other room, behind the folding screen that Luowei described. The maid carrying the tray of robes followed, assisting Yujia in changing out of her wrinkled inner robes and into the full set of robes that Luowei offered.
Yujia discovered upon putting on the robes that the Bo Family Luowei married into was indeed as wealthy as they were famous for.
The robes, made of delicate silk, felt like a luxury on her skin. They were as light as feathers brushing her skin. With the fabric so lightweight and delicate, Yujia expected it to tear at the slightest movement. Yet surprisingly, it held up well to a few tugs Yujia made on the sleeves, and as she wore it, she found herself warming up too. Somehow, it was crafted to keep the cold spring weather out, but it also regulated temperature well enough that Yujia felt absolutely comfortable.
Though there were no mirrors, Yujia could look down at the robes, realizing that the embroidery was just as fine and intricate as the technique used to weave the silk fabric. The robes themselves were an almost-white shade of teal, with white embroidery of lotus flowers and butterflies all over it. Because of the similarity in color, the embroidery and silk merged into one, creating a unique effect. From far away, the simplistic robes looked elegant for a mysterious reason, but once close up with all the embroidery in their full detail, one could notice the breath-taking details in the embroidery. A few touches of iridescent-silver thread that glinted in natural sunlight added an even better effect.
Once the robes were all on correctly, Yujia stepped out and walked back in front of Luowei, who finally tore her gaze away from Tianyu to look. The moment Luowei saw the robes on Yujia, some joy finally appeared in her expression. Her soft pink lips turned upwards.
"I knew that this dress would suit you more!" She stepped closer to Yujia, raising her sleeves and observing them. "Ah, when I first saw this fabric, I knew it would look good as a robe. You are the first person to wear robes like this, made of this kind of silk— did you know?"
"Really?" Yujia couldn't help but feel her mood lightening. Things like this— distractions— could always draw her mind away from all the unpleasant thoughts.
Thinking about it, in both times that she saw Zhou Luowei, Luowei always wore cool colors like green and blue, similar to what the Fourth Miss liked to wear. These robes were the same kind of colors. Truthfully, Yujia preferred warm colors, especially pastel pink and persimmon orange, but she was fine with wearing any color. And with robes as stunning as the one she had right now, she had no room to complain.
Luowei took a step back, observing Yujia from head to toe before gesturing at the maid who dressed Yujia. She ordered, "Go bring me the veil with the jade beads and the matching jade hairpin from my jewelry box."
The maid obediently left and returned within a few minutes, carrying the two requested items to Luowei in a tray. Luowei took the veil first, unfolding it and revealing a sheer white silk connected together by two strings of jade beads that could clasp and unclasp. Holding it out to Yujia, Luowei pointed out, "The veil you wear around your face normally is too unrefined. To match these robes, use this veil instead."
Yujia immediately raised her hands and shook them, her eyes widening. She had a faint idea that this was what Luowei intended when she told the servant to fetch those objects, but seeing them in person now, they looked far too expensive than anything she ever owned. Even the veil had detailed embroidery that matched the robes she wore.
"I can't take this! Perhaps temporarily, but…"
"Oh, just wear it," Luowei insisted. "These, along with the robes, you can keep. The veil I have no purpose for. I'm no longer an unmarried woman. As for the hairpins, I bought them to match the veil and robes, so you keep them too. The robes look better on you than they would on me, anyways."
Yujia paused, hesitantly looking at the tray with the hairpins.
Luowei smiled encouragingly. "Take it. I'm glad to give these small objects to someone who looks better in them than me. And… it's a distraction. From these other things." She glanced over at the physician and Tianyu, then brought her gaze back to Yujia.
At that moment, Yujia realized that this game of dress-up was the same purpose for Luowei as it was to Yujia. They both needed a light-hearted distraction from everything occurring in the same room.
So, Yujia relented. She untied her veil, then clasped the one with jade beads that Luowei gave her. Luowei then helped her by threading the two jade hairpins through Yujia's hair, nodding appreciatively.
"It really looks all put-together now," Luowei sighed with a soft smile. "Robes like this look best with simplistic hair ornaments."
Yujia smiled back. "Does it really look good?"
Now that everything was on her, Yujia realized more and more the true extent to the Bo Family's wealth. Expensive and heavy hairpins were the kind that Luowei could call "small objects" without hesitation despite their exorbitant price.
"Wonderful. Younger Sister Yujia is truly a beauty; anything you wear looks good."
Though she couldn't stop her cheeks from heating up, Yujia complimented Luowei back. "But Older Sister has her grace that this Younger Sister cannot compare with."
Before Luowei could respond, the physician walked up, bowing. His diagnosis for Rong Tianyu seemed to be completed.
Luowei's posture immediately stiffened, the smile on her face fading away. "Is she fine?"
The old man spoke his words slowly. "Do not fret, Madam. Miss Rong is perfectly fine. She only took in a little water, caught a little cold, and has some shock, but she'll get better in no time. Her pulse is steady and strong." He fumbled to his side, pulling out a paper prescription. "This prescription will help."
Hearing these words, Luowei finally relaxed. Her fingers, which were tightly clenched together, unraveled. She gestured at Yujia to the physician. "Miss Yang has received some shock too. Please check up on her."
"Of course." The old man nodded, making a gesture for Yujia to sit over at the chairs at the side of the room.
Yujia laid her wrist down on the table flat. The physician took the same thin fabric he used for Tianyu, laying it over her skin. Then, he pressed his fingers down, feeling her pulse.
For a long moment, the old man only looked down, no expression displayed on his blank face. His fingers continued pressing down on her wrist, unmoving to the point where it began to get a little uncomfortable for Yujia.
She observed him take Tianyu's pulse, which only took a minute or two. But more than five minutes have already passed, and he was still taking her pulse. She knew that she was chronically ill, but was it really necessary for him to take her pulse for so long?
Finally, the physician seemed to come to a conclusion. He lifted his fingers, speaking even slower than before. "Miss, you've indeed gotten a bit of shock… but that's not the biggest issue here."
"Then what is?" Yujia's brows gathered together. "I have always been ill. This is something I know."
"Ill?" The old man let out a small laugh of disbelief. "No, Miss, you are not ill. Your pulse… it's completely irregular. It indicates signs of poison."