My name is Dai Yue. And actually, I do have a surname. It’s Jun.
I’m a branch member of the Jun Clan. Technically, the Prime Minister should refer to me as Elder Cousin.
Ever since I could remember, everyone around me kept drilling into my head the fact that my life belonged to the little mistress of the Jun Clan, Jun Liyou.
I was told to be loyal to her. I had to protect her with my life.
At the time, I didn’t understand these circumstances and couldn’t help feeling a bit rebellious. So, I often ran away from home.
The first time I saw her was at a restaurant.
I had run away from home for several days by then and long since squandered all the money I’d taken with me. Facing the threat of starvation, I could only try to sneak into a restaurant to steal something to eat. But I was caught and beaten.
It was then that I saw the little girl, as delicate looking as carved jade, standing on the second floor of the restaurant and looking down at my situation in curiosity.
And of course, I saw my mother at her side.
My mother was her wet nurse. At the time, I didn’t like this little mistress. After all, she had stolen my mother and even wanted me to devote my entire life to her.
While I was being beaten, my mother simply held her back, telling her not to look with a soothing voice. She did not spare me a single glance.
Because of my pride, I bit my lip and refused to call out to my mother.
But then, I heard her speak in that soft voice to my mother, “It’s Dai Yue-jiejie! Nana, hurry up and make them stop!”
She actually recognised me…and knew my name.
Mother dispatched people to bring me upstairs.
I had filth all over me, but she didn’t care as she dragged me over to the food and presented it to me. She was like a busy little bee as she buzzed around me.
But I disliked her even more for this.
Perhaps it was because my rebellious years came early, for I got so annoyed that I reached out to shove her away.
She was merely 5 at the time. My shove caused her to fall to the ground. And then she used a very…aggrieved and innocent look on me.
I think I felt a bit guilty then.
But upon thinking that everything I suffered was because of her, my guilt instantly vanished into thin air.
As a result of my actions that day, my mother slapped and punished me, forcing me to kneel in the ancestral hall.
At the time, this was what confused me the most: why did someone who was clearly my mother hit me for someone else’s sake?
I believe it was late autumn then. I knelt in the ancestral hall alone as this question filled my mind, yet I could not find an answer.
I hadn’t expected her to secretly run over. Her tiny body was carrying a quilt that nearly buried her completely, her small face red from the cold.
She chatted with me a lot, but now I can’t remember what it was about. I only remember the warmth of her body beside mine, as we curled up together beneath the quilts.
The next morning, my mother brought people to search every nook and cranny for her. When she found her with me, I was nearly disciplined then and there. But it was her who stopped my mother and said that if she wanted to hit someone, then my mother should hit her instead. In the end, this matter was forgotten.
Ever since then, I have served at her side.
At the time, she was a very cute, soft, and lovable thing. She was adorable whenever she spoke with childish innocence.
At first, I hadn’t been willing to serve her. But after interacting with her for a long time, I’d long since forgotten the childish oath I once made—to never serve her, even on pain of death.
It was only after joining her side that I realized how much more she had to learn than me.
But she would always obediently finish her studies. She would always work hard to finish her homework, so she would have time to bring me out to play.
As time wore on, everyone else knew she liked me, so they treated me more politely.
It was then that I discovered just how important her preferences were to them.
The day my mother summoned me for a talk was a snowy day. A very snowy and cold day.
I still remember her expression. It was a mix of sternness and concern.
She spoke, “Child, the little mistress bears the entire Jun Clan on her shoulders; she doesn’t have it easy. That you could serve as her aide is an honour and a responsibility. You have to serve her well, respect her, and protect her…”
Outside the room, flurries of snow came down.
My mother spoke for a long time. After she was done, she hugged me and cried. She said she had let me down. But not doing so would’ve spelled the end for the Jun Clan. Only if the little mistress was fine could people like us be fine.
I don’t know how I left my mother’s room. I only knew that when I emerged, I saw her standing close by, face red from the cold as she waited for me.
When she saw me, a smile immediately bloomed on her face.
Against the snowy white background, her smile seemed to be filled with the most brilliant radiance that almost burned my eyes.
My heart seemed to be enveloped in warmth that dispelled the bone-piercing cold that winter brought.
Ever since then, I studied those tough and obscure subjects with her. Every time I came across something I didn’t understand, she would patiently coach me.
On the third year, Ying Yue was sent to serve by her side.
Ying Yue was younger than both of us. When she first arrived, she appeared rather timid. I didn’t understand why she had been chosen to serve by her side.
But then I learned that Ying Yue was a fast learner and had practised martial arts from a young age. She had just been a bit shy during our first meeting. After we became familiar, it turned out Ying Yue was a very lively girl.
The three of us have been together ever since.
Before she turned 13, her character was still rather gentle. But in the summer of the year she turned 13, the former Prime Minister summoned her to the study for a private conversation lasting a whole night. When she emerged, her eyes were red, and she hugged Ying Yue and I as she cried for a long time.
We asked her about it, but she refused to say anything.
Ever since then, she seemed to turn more reserved. We could no longer tell what she was feeling from her expressions, and she no longer told us what she liked or cared about. She wasn’t picky about food anymore.
I don’t know when it started, but the people serving her grew fewer in number. In the end, only Ying Yue and I were by her side. Even my mother was no longer around.
When she was 15, the former Prime Minister suddenly passed away. It was then that I realized: she must’ve known about this since she was 13. She must’ve known her mother didn’t have many days left in this world, so she had to take on the burden of supporting the vast Jun Clan on her own.
And as it turned out, she did a great job.
Often, I felt like I would always accompany her through both good times and bad…
But one day, a man appeared at her side. Only then did I understand that she shouldn’t only have us by her side. She should have someone to love. That person should be the one to accompany her through happiness and sorrow…to grow old with her.
I hadn’t expected that she would exit politics when she did. That seat up above was clearly within reach, yet she gave it up just like that.
For a long time, I didn’t understand, much like how I didn’t understand why my mother had slapped me all those years ago.
Only after many years did it occur to me that she most likely had never liked that life.
She was just never given the choice to retreat. For the sake of the Jun Clan which had nearly a thousand members, she had no choice but to take on those burdens.
Once she had the strength to be able to leave without suffering any losses and arranged everything for the Jun Clan, the new life she chose…was probably the best for her.
But no matter what type of life she leads, Ying Yue and I will always be there for her.
“Dai Yue, what are you thinking? Your Gu Su’s run off to Sir Ling Yue again. If you don’t go over now, Her Excellency’s going to mince him!” Ying Yue popped up from somewhere, scaring me half to death.
I weakly facepalmed.
Gu Su…had at some point started being referred to as ‘mine’.
“Come on!” Seeing that I hadn’t made a move, Ying Yue pulled me along with her as she ran out. “I’m not blaming you, but can’t you talk things out with him? Her Excellency doesn’t like him being so close to Sir Ling Yue…”
I know Her Excellency doesn’t like him going near Sir Ling Yue too, but what can I do?
 This isn’t what the raws said, but I think nana is a common short form for nanny that children are more likely to use.