"If you're going to take the place of the Fourth Miss, you must learn etiquette. Did they not teach you that before?" Hui'er purses her lips while she looks at her new Fourth Miss.
Yujia looks up at Hui'er, a piece of sweet braised pork stuck between her chopsticks. Slowly, while she raises the piece of meat to her lips, she shakes her head and shrugs. There weren't too many things like etiquette in the modern world besides basic common knowledge like not speaking while eating, or apologizing if bumping into someone, and other small things like that.
"They didn't really care much about that stuff." Yujia laughs awkwardly. Then, she places the sweet braised pork into her mouth, blissfully feeling the tender fat of the meat dissolve on her tongue while the sweetness spreads through her mouth.
For tonight's dinner that Hui'er brought from the kitchen, it was a simple meal that the original Fourth Miss had every night— a bowl of plain rice, stir-fried bok choy, and three pieces of glistening sweet braised pork resting on top of the vegetables. Yujia was already finished with two of the small pieces of meat, the last one sitting alone on top of the untouched bok choy.
Apparently, while the rest of the Yang family ate together during dinner, the Fourth Miss chose to eat alone in her room, resulting in the simplicity of her meals. According to Hui'er, even the braised pork was a novelty, something the Fourth Miss only had once every two weeks.
Yujia looks sadly at the last piece of pork— it was just too delicious— and reminds herself that unless she manages to get herself in a better situation, for the next two weeks, she would barely have another bite of that meat except for situations where she decided to pay money for some herself.
Hui'er watches as the new Fourth Miss reaches forward again for the last piece of pork, shaking her head disappointedly. Staring at the girl in front of her, Hui'er couldn't believe how she couldn't realize that she wasn't her real Fourth Miss from the first minute of talking to her. She should've known earlier.
Before the Fourth Miss could even bring her chopsticks up to her mouth, Hui'er stepped forward and stopped the other, grabbing her hand.
"You can't be like this."
With wide eyes, Yujia looked at Hui'er, then back at her pork, then back at Hui'er. "Be like what? I'm just eating. Is there something wrong with that?"
"Yes!" Hui'er yanked the chopsticks out of the other girl's hands, setting the braised pork down and holding onto the chopsticks, pointing at the other. "Your posture is terrible. You eat too fast. Your tone is too accusing to be polite, and you are displaying disrespect by eating all the meat first without touching the rice or vegetables."
"It's disrespectful to… eat the meat first?" Yujia was in disbelief. How could that be the case? When was eating what she liked to eat first something disrespectful? And how was she being accusing?
Hui'er set the chopsticks down at the table. "That's simply the case. The actual Fourth Miss would've never acted like such."
"Well then, tell me about how perfect your Fourth Miss is." Rolling her eyes, Yujia reached forward for her chopsticks again, only to be stopped by Hui'er.
Sadly, Yujia eyed that last piece of sweet braised pork now sitting back where it came from, imagining the taste of the pork and that she would probably not get to eat it at this rate if Hui'er was going to act like this. She could only imagine the horror displayed on Hui'er's face if she grabbed the meat with her fingers.
"Firstly, the Fourth Miss sits straight no matter what she does, be it eating, embroidery, or simply sitting."
Quickly, Yujia straightens herself. She never thought that her posture was too bad, but then again, she could always make her back a little straighter, so maybe it was?
"Secondly, the Fourth Miss also talks very softly. She's reticent, reserved, and she doesn't speak much if she doesn't feel like it. Anyone who's been around her enough will be able to tell that you're clearly not her just by the way you speak. You have too much energy when you talk, and your tone irritates people easily."
"Irritates people easily? How so?"
Hui'er makes a face. "You sound a little condescending. Too arrogant."
Really? Yujia thinks back to her past actions. Was she arrogant? Overly confident in herself?
With her posture near perfect— or as perfect as Yujia could get herself to be— she softens her expression and lowers her eyes to appear tired. Taking a deep sigh, Yujia looks back up at Hui'er and asks, her voice calm while she speaks, "Hui'er, is this more like it?"
She expects Hui'er to agree speedily. This, was at least what she expected the previous Fourth Miss to be like, based on the descriptions she received. Someone quiet, exhausted, and quiet boring, to be honest.
Instead, Hui'er makes a frown. "You sound nothing like her."
Yujia winces. She thought that she was going to get it right on her first try! How could that be?
Or, wait— she was getting too ahead of herself again, wasn't she? This must've been the "arrogance" that Hui'er pointed out earlier. She needed to fix that. Definitely.
Yujia sighed. "Tell me about your Fourth Miss again. Let's try again."