As he thought to this point, Song Yi couldn’t help dazedly looking off in the direction of the distant capital for a while. He didn’t know what was going on in the capital, and he didn’t know when it would all get better. The prince, ah, the prince…
“Hoh…” Song Yi sighed heavily and put away all his thoughts. What would be, would be.
A while later Su Tang finished making breakfast and led Pengmo to serve it. At the same time, she pulled out a small gray pouch with no embroidery, recognizable as one of the cheapest kinds of pouches sold by the shops outside, and handed it to Pengmo.
“Happy new year Pengmo, please continue giving me pointers next year as well!”
After all, Song Yi only decided to take Su Tang as his disciple because Pengmo had brought her to see him that. Although Pengmo had only brought her over to sew clothes, by introducing them he had certainly done her a favor. It had given her a chance she otherwise wouldn’t have had.
And after that when she and her brother started coming over to the Song residence, Pengmo had often taken good care of them, especially during the afternoons when Su Tang was studying with Song Yi and Su Nuo had no other place to go, on those days Pengmo had been the one to play with Su Nuo.
Therefore, although he was a servant, Pengmo had helped her a lot, and Su Tang had always kept it in mind. Thus, for the Spring Festival, she had specially prepared a small gift for him.
Pengmo didn’t expect that Su Tang would give him a gift at all. He hurriedly put down the plates in his hands and said in a slightly embarrassed tone, “Young miss, you’re too polite, there’s no need for thanks. It’s all just what this small one should have done.”
Back then Song Yi had left the capital with only Pengmo in tow, not just because Pengmo was a reliable worker but, more importantly, because even though Pengmo looked a little dull, he was loyal and knew what he should and shouldn’t do.
Pengmo had worked besides Song Yi ever since he was a child, and Song Yi had always been a person in a high position with a lot of power, so naturally, there were many people eager to please and flatter him. Of course, as his close servant, people had also been eager to get close to Pengmo as well, but Pengmo was an upright person who wasn’t greedy benefits and who always recognized his own identity.
He was only a servant, but he was able to recognize that these people who tried to please and get close to him were actually targeting his master behind him, and their shows of generosity or respect actually had nothing to do with him.
Song Yi’s residence in the capital had many servants, and many of them had an inflated sense of self-importance. The treatment they would receive from outsiders went to their heads, and they began to feel that being the servant of a great man made them great as well.
For those servants, if they had encountered this sort of show of gratitude from Su Tang, even if they were aware she was their master’s disciple, they would still look down on the gift, and on her for giving it. After all, they would only see her as a small peasant girl from a remote place who had no knowledge of the world.
However, Pengmo was different.
He was well aware that he was only a slave. Thanks to that, even before Su Tang had become his master’s disciple he was still very polite to her and didn’t act superior. After all, Pengmo knew that if were ever to have a son of his own, that son could also only be a slave, even if his master was the Imperial Preceptor.
And, although Su Tang was ‘just’ a poor peasant girl from a remote area, she was a free citizen, which meant she had a higher status than a slave like him.
Of course, many people looked at his master, the Imperial Preceptor who only had a few people in the whole kingdom who could tell him what to do, and they would forget that simple distinction in status. They would feel that becoming part of his residence, even as a slave or a concubine, would lead to a rich and happy life where they would receive respect that they rightly deserved.
But in reality, this wasn’t the case at all. Once a person became a slave, their life became cheap. They had no status and no protection, and they were barely better than cattle, able to be bought and sold at will.
Therefore, Pengmo had always been very polite to Su Tang because he understood his identity. Later, when Su Tang became Song Yi’s disciple, he treated her even more respectfully as a young miss of the house and never overstepped his bounds, however, at the same time he was able to maintain his personality and joke around a bit from time to time.
After all, before Su Tang had arrived it had always fallen to Pengmo to coax Song Yi into better moods, so he was used to this kind of interaction. And whenever Su Tang saw this side of him, she felt impressed since a good servant like this was very rare.
Thus, when Pengmo heard Su Tang ask him for pointers, he shook his head and replied: “This small one is just a servant, how could I be qualified to teach the young miss? Rather, this small one would like to ask the young miss for advice.”
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