It was early spring in Dasu Town. Bits of snow were still hanging on the withered and yellow trees in the forest. As the wind blew, fine snowflakes would fall down from the tree.
In the bleak wind, there were a few whispers from the old maidservants.
“The second daughter of the Su family has been thrown out!”
“She deserves it! I heard that she destroyed the prospect of the first young master of the Su family. She’s lucky she didn’t get killed!”
The sky emitted a dull glow. On a mountain road, a bent-over old woman made her way through the cold air. Every few seconds, she wiped the frost from her eyebrows When she reached a shabby and airy hut at the foot of the hill, she opened the door and squeezed in. Then she closed the wooden door as if it could keep out the cold.
The charcoal fire inside the hut went out a long time ago. The old woman frowned, her webbed face full of distress. She took a few steps to the bed, uncovered the iron-hard quilt and revealed the little girl whose face was purple with cold.
“What a sin! The Second Madam is so cruel to do such a thing to the second daughter of the Su family!”
The old woman wiped her tears. From under her shawl, she brought out a bowl of steaming rice soup to feed Su Erya. She made a charcoal fire for the hut, held Su Erya in her arms to warm her for a while, and then left in a hurry.
In a few hours, the Third Miss would get up, and she had to go back and take care of her.
Even though she knew that the Second Miss would not live through the early spring, the old lady still kept a trace of hope in her heart. So, she sneaked out every morning to take care of her.
Not long after the old woman left, Su Erya, who remained motionless on the grass couch, suddenly got up. Her eyelids trembled, revealing a pair of dull eyes.
The charcoal fire continued to burn. As time went by, Su Erya’s eyes moved, then her little head turned slightly, and her eyes focused on the fire.
In her previous life, her face was destroyed by a charcoal fire.
Su Erya murmured. She pulled the thin quilt tightly around her and struggled to get out of bed, finally leaning on the edge of the charcoal brazier. She felt the sharp chill receding a little. A small heap of charcoal was piled in the corner of the hut. She knew that they were stolen from her third sister’s room by Nanny Li. Her third sister was their mother’s favorite daughter. Her mother distributed about 100 pounds of charcoal to her in winter, which she couldn’t possibly use up.
Looking at the tender shoots on the bare branches outside the hut, Su Erya’s eyes grew confused. But the confusion was fleeting and quickly turned into a bottomless gloom. Scenes from her previous life flashed through her mind.
She had been the Second Miss of the Su family, but her life in Su’s mansion was no better than a servant girl’s. Her parents didn’t like her, and she wasn’t even given a proper name. Only when she was ten years old was she given her name, Su Li.
Previously in the Su family, only her oldest brother Su Qingtan and fourth youngest brother Su Qinghao gave her a reason to live. But since the disaster, even the oldest brother had distanced himself from her. Tortured by her mother, she had lived in hell every day.
Over the next ten years, due to her heavy workload, she suffered from many diseases. She was only in her twenties but looked like a woman in her forties. Compared with her third sister Su Zipei, who was one year younger than her, she looked more like her mother.
The Su family tried to find her a husband to get something out of her. But because her face was disfigured no one wanted to marry her. Finally, the Su family figured that she was no use to them. At Su Zipei’s suggestion, she married a lame poor young man.
Not as a wife, but as a concubine.
But it was the happiest day of her previous life. She was so frightened by her mother’s torture that she was glad to escape.
Her husband was surprisingly kind and even gentle to her. The next year, she gave birth to a son for him.
She thought she was finally out of her misery and had found a better place.
But within months, her husband was beaten to death in the street and her son was strangled to death. With that she was thrown into the worst part of the Army.
Later, she learned that all these changes were only because of the General’s wife Su Zipei’s simple words. “Even if she is my sister,” she said, “that would not erase the fact that her husband is a progeny of a traitor.”
In just a few months, she returned from heaven to hell.
Meanwhile, Su Zipei got a good name by placing righteousness above family loyalty.
Only after that was Su Li willing to become a devil and she secretly learned toxicology. She wanted to poison the Su family. But in the end, she accidentally poisoned her biological father…
Su Erya closed her eyes in pain and cried. When she had been executed, she dreamed of an afterlife. But she did not expect that God would send her back to being herself at fourteen years of age. A sound from her belly brought Su Erya back to reality.
She lived on rice soup from Nanny Li this month. It was okay when she was unconscious. But she was awake now and felt very hungry.
Su Erya wrapped up the quilt and opened the door. The dazzling sunlight made her narrow her eyes. She thought for a moment, put down the quilt and walked into the cold wind in a thin gown made from a single layer of cloth.