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239 Amnesia and the Artis

    This was a first for Yujia.

    When was the last time that she hugged her own mother?

    Thinking of it made her heart twist in her chest. And thinking about how to deal with this unexpected situation in front of her, Yujia leaned forward a bit warily.

    She thought she would deal with a hysterical woman, one that would scream at the sight of her. That was what Hui'er made Yujia expect, after the entire "she thinks that you're possessed" deal.

    Madam Liu's current attitude, however, was anything but that. Since Yujia wasn't prepared to play out the role of a dutiful daughter to a loving mother, she was definitely hesitant in her actions. Nevertheless, Yujia ended up hugging the woman in front of her stiffly, simultaneously managing to keep herself from flinching away.

    As Liu Yuxi embraced her, one of her hands went up to stroke Yujia's hair. "Daughter, I was thinking of you earlier. You haven't seen me in so long, and even your maid... what was her name again? Little Hui? She visited me more than you, and she said... she said..."

    The woman's dry voice paused. She was silent for a few moments, as if remembering something.

    Then, she violently jerked back, pushing Yujia away.

    Yujia staggered back at this sudden push, eyes widening. Madam Liu recoiled back in her bed, grabbing her blankets close to her, a hand reaching up and trembling, pointing at Yujia.

    "You- you-"

    Within a moment, Madam Liu transformed from that caring, warm-hearted figure to a horrified woman, clutched to her blankets, all tense in fear, and her entire body shaking. Her jaw was clenched. Her sunken eyes frantically glanced at Yujia and all over the room, darting back and forth.

    "I-" Yujia began.

    Her words were cut off. "You are not my daughter! I- I- I remember what she said- that maid- your personality change- she said- there- there was no explanation... no explanation... you must've been possessed! A demon, monster..."

    Her mad rambles continued.

    Yujias arms reached up to hug herself, gathering herself closer. Yet after the sudden push, which did catch her off guard, Yujia found herself becoming much more collected. She actually found this scene in front of her, though much more aggressive than before, easier to deal with.

    This- the unstable woman in front of her right now- was what Yujia prepared herself for. This was what she was worried that she would see. This is what she thought of solutions for.

    It was actually a bit amusing to think of how taken aback Yujia was to receiving motherly love. Yet when dealing with this sort of hostility, she was much more accustomed.

    Hui'er had worried in the past that Yujia would be frightened by this sight. Except, now thinking about it, wasn't this Madam Liu in front of her acting the same way to Yujia as her actual own mother in her past life did? The accusations, the blame...

    The more Yujia looked at the aging woman in front of her, the more she saw a reflection of her actual mother.

    Yujia decided to speak calmly in this situation. Raising her voice or showing signs of being distressed by the shouts of Liu Yuxi would do no good to Yujia's purpose of being here.

    Catching a brief pause in between Madam Liu's rambles, Yujia cut in, "Mother. Mother. Calm down."

    "You are not her- you are not my Yujia- what did you do to her? Return her to me." Madam Liu spat in response.

    "Who told you that I am not your Yujia, Mother?" Yujia smiled. She tilted her head. "Hui'er? That maid... she is just misinformed."

    "Misinformed?" Madam Liu's eyes narrowed, her head shaking. "No. No, no, no..."

    "I am not possessed. I am not a demon, a monster, some sort of spirit taking over the body of your daughter. It is me, Yujia. How can you not see, Mother?"

    Yujia took a seat on the side of the bed, her movements slow so that Madam Liu could see that she posed no threat. She clasped her hands in her lap, her posture relaxing.

    "Mother," Yujia went on, "when Hui'er went to visit you a few weeks back, she was misinformed. The truth is, I lost my memories."

    Indeed- Yujia was playing the classic "amnesia" card.

    She thought about what she could tell Liu Yuxi which would be believable. The entire "I transmigrated from the future" honestly did sound like a bunch of spiritual possession and demonic kind of stuff. So, Yujia decided to draw references from modern media, and the stories with the main characters that transmigrated.

    What did they always resort to? Amnesia.

    And truly, that was the best choice to make in a situation like this.

    Yujia continued speaking after a pause, "Since such a long time had passed, I have slowly started to gather bits and pieces of my old memories back. I believe that this case of losing my memories had to do with this time where I drank a little too much, and hit my head. And ever since then, I woke up unsure of my identity and all of my past. That, I suppose, is why I had a personality change, which led to Hui'er going to you and telling you these things."

    Madam Liu still shook her head, possibly in denial. "That's... that's..." she stuttered.

    "It's the truth." Yujia reached forward to grab Liu Yuxi's hand, and though the woman flinched a bit at first, she allowed Yujia to touch her hand. "Mother, how could I be anyone but your Yujia? Why would any demon want to possess me? Don't you believe me?"

    It really wasn't the truth. Yet unlike Hui'er and her master that Yujia was willing to tell the truth to, she had to use these lies for someone like Madam Liu.

    "You said you were regaining some of your old memories. If so- to prove that you are truly my daughter- tell me the things that you've regained," Madam Liu demanded.

    It seemed like though this woman was a bit delirious, possibly due to the constant sickness that plagued her, she still had plenty of sanity. Yujia needed to do a bit more convincing lying than what she had done so far.

    But that was alright. Yujia was prepared for this too. She had a list of things that had to be memories the old Fourth Miss shared with her mother, based on logic and deduction. Hopefully, these would be enough to win over Madam Liu as well.

    "I... remember when you taught me embroidery, Mother. I remember- oh- how you taught me how to stitch butterflies. Butterflies on blue cloth. And I remember..." she paused, thinking back to the cutting board she saw outside, "when you used to cook me my favorite dishes, since they didn't feed me well in the villa. You always fussed over that. And.. and... I remember gardening." This idea came from the plants she had seen growing outside, "You taught me how to grow certain plants- I just can't remember what they were."

    The more Yujia spoke, the more Madam Liu nodded. Her eyebrows slowly raised, her eyes growing larger and larger, the shakes of disbelief transforming into nods of encouragement.

    At the end of Yujia's words, Madam Liu burst out in a bright, welcoming smile. "You really are my Jiajia! My daughter! Those plants I taught you how to cultivate were medicinal herbs. That was from so many years ago, but you still remembered, out of all things?"

    Yujia forced a nod and a smile. "I suppose these were my most precious memories." At this, though, Yujia looked down, biting her lip. "It's just... such a pity. These are the only things that I remember. I came today to talk to you, since Mother, I really want to remember my past better. I want to know the things that make me who I am, and there is no one else to talk to. Yet when I walked in, you called me... possessed... do you believe me now?"

    "Oh, Daughter." Madam Liu sighed, gripping Yujia's hand tighter and placing her other hand over both of their hands. She coughed slightly as she spoke, but her spirits were notably better. "I believe you! Of course I do!"

    Yujia wordlessly smiled a bittersweet smile.

    Madam Liu kept saying, "You know I only said those things because I was worried about you. I know that those are all wrong now. I was wrong. And to know that my daughter, all along, was suffering from this loss of memories... It does hurt me, as a mother, do you know that? You must tell me more about how you lost your memories. Is your head still alright? Have you seen a physician to get medicine? If you need any money for medicine, you know that Mother can support you. You do know who I am, but has this caused you any terrible trouble the past few weeks?"

    Though these were questions of concern, they were fired at such rapid speed that she honestly didn't think that Madam Liu expected answers to all of these. Yujia decided to only give answers to some.

    "It's been fine. A bit tough to adjust to everything, but the people by my side helped. I should've visited Mother sooner, though."

    "My poor, poor daughter..." Madam Liu mourned, her eyes watering up, "To think of how much you must've suffered."

    Yujia immediately assured, "The worst is over. Do not feel bad, Mother."

    A long bit of silence fell between them.

    Then, Madam Liu eventually filled in, "You said you came here to listen to me talk about your past?"

    "Yes. I want to see if this helps me regain any memories. And," Yujia purposefully nudged the conversation in a certain direction, "I want to know more about Mother's past too. Surely, you have told me stories before, but now, they are all forgotten. I don't want all of these stories to go to waste. So, for today, can we just talk about all of these things?"

    "My past?" The woman visibly tensed up. She let out something that was a mix between a cough and a laugh. "My past is a boring one."

    "Boring or not, don't you think that as your daughter, I deserve to know?" Yujia insisted.

    "I suppose." Madam Liu sighed, patting Yujia's hand. "Well then, let us talk. I will tell you some things, and I hope that they can help your memories." She brushed a hand against Yujia's face. "It is a pity for my daughter to forget all these things. I will do my best as a mother to help."

    Yujia picked up the basket by her side. "I brought soup, so that Mother can eat and talk."

    "My daughter, with memories or without, is still as considerate as always," she responded proudly.

    Only capable of keeping her smile, Yujia nodded.

    As Madam Liu began to speak of the past, Yujia also let out a sigh of relief. This was why she picked the amnesia card. There was simply no better way to do it.

    She hoped that she could learn something new today.
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