☆ Chapter 35
The azure sky was calm with not a cloud in sight, but saying that in itself was a little strange. Ever since the beginning of spring, the weather had been extremely hot and not a single drop of rain had fallen. All the farm crops drooped lifelessly, appearing even more wretched than the withered and dry grass in late autumn.
Ruan Zhu sat on top of the brocade mattress, resting against the window as she stared outside. She inwardly sighed. Surviving in an era that relied on the Heavens was not easy. It looked like this year’s harvest was over, but the consequences of famine were probably not as serious as how they portrayed it on TV, right?
“What are you thinking, hmm?”
Yun Shi Yi felt bored since the start of the journey. He always read to pass the time, but the books he preferred, Ruan Zhu didn’t understand them. She had also stayed silent, which he was unaccustomed to.
“Look, the crops in the fields are all dying. Why have the Heavens not made it rain yet?” Ruan Zhu turned her head around and suddenly remembered something: “What will happen to the tenant farmers of Yun clan? Would’t it be disastrous if the crops don’t grow?”
“Since they are our tenants, how could Mother and Father turn a blind eye and not care if they starve to death? Following the previously set standards, we will lend them a portion of foodstuffs and they will reimburse us with the next year’s harvest.”
Ruan Zhu made an oh in response. Were all feudal landowners like this? Or was it just specific individuals? Or else how could history have recorded the deaths of so many people from starvation, even reaching the atrocity of human consumption? But thinking more deeply about this, perhaps cannibalism wasn’t that terrible and frightening? In 《Robinson Crusoe》, before Friday had become civilized, his race was fond of eating human meat. If he hadn’t been saved by Robinson, he would have long been taken by others and thoroughly cooked and consumed.[a]
In that world, they ate human meat even when there was no shortage of actual food–the Europeans were indeed uncivilized.[b] Fortunately, she had transmigrated into the motherland and the country of Tian Chu that she was currently in could be classified as the Song dynasty from her previous space-time. At this time, Europe was going backwards as smallpox ran unchecked and famine was everywhere. If she had transmigrated there, it was obvious how idiotic of a choice that would have been. Hee hee……[c]
“What are you foolishly laughing for?” Yun Shi Yi gently tapped her head with the book in his hands.
“Who is foolishly laughing?” Ruan Zhu wrested the book away from him and cast it into the corner of the carriage. “Looking at the current situation, this autumn’s famine may be critical. How about stockpiling more foodstuffs? At that time when the price of food soars, there would be quite a bit of profit, hmm?”
An outstanding businessman required foresight. By buying in bulk at the opportune times and then reselling when the occasion is right, the profit earned by these transactions would not be able to be counted.
Yun Shi Yi’s eyes turned frosty and a cold voice issued from his mouth: “I will not profit from something that goes against my conscience. Soaring grain prices has always been unfair as it forces the common people to have no alternative but to lose their family fortunes and at worst, sell their sons or their daughters in order to afford a mouthful of food. Even if they did end up surviving in the end, they would have nothing left to their name.”
Ruan Zhu looked at him at a loss, with equal amounts of admiration and gloominess swirling in her eyes: “Who asked you to earn such dirty money? The common people will surely resent and bear grudges against the merchants that take advantage of the famine to raise the price of grain. If at that time, an utterly fearless person supplied them with reasonably priced grain that stabilized the market, that person would see both fame and fortune and become the big hero of the common people inside the city walls of Lan Zhou. What you currently lack is not money but reputation. When you have reputation, even if the local authorities want to move against you, they have to first consider how the commoners in Lan Zhou would react. If the officials lose the popular sentiment, then they won’t be able to wear their wushamao for long.”
Wasn’t there a sentence for this circumstance? It was better to offend the Heavens than to purposely stir up anger by going against public opinion.
“Are you fifteen years old?” Yun Shi Yi looked at her in a daze: “I usually see you not worrying about anything and your conduct is also relaxed and stingy. When we went to eat a meal at a restaurant, you wanted to take it all home since we couldn’t finish it. For you to have such a profound understanding, it’s truly unexpected. How had I not seen this side of you before?”
“Where am I stingy? I am living my life well.”
Ruan Zhu became bristled in resentment at his sarcastic words and pounced on him……
Caught by surprise, Yun Shi Yi fell onto the brocade mattress with the petite body on top of him. His heart relaxed and he felt invigorated. Holding her tightly, he flipped them around and kissed her as his body pressed down on hers. “The things you come up with in that little head of yours all have some justification. When we get off the carriage to stay at the next location, I’ll write a letter and send it home to Third Father Chu, telling him buy foodstuffs in bulk.”
Third Father Chu was the third secondary husband of her mother-in-law, who was naturally gifted in business. In Lan Zhou, he had opened over ten rice trading companies. With the exception of Master Yun, he was the one that was most in Madam Yun’s heart. She had become pregnant with his children twice so had given him three sons, two of which were twins.
The two of them were in the midst of their conversation when the sound of hooves came from the front and Yun Shi Yi’s mount, Hummer, appeared in the window.
“Eldest Brother, Spouse, what are you guys doing?” Yun Shi Wei sat on the horse’s back and leaned his body to look inside the window to discover that the two figures had intersected into one on the floor. He started shouting as if he had caught the couple in the act: “How could you two eat behind my back?! We’ve already been traveling for over a dozen days and I still haven’t been able to touch a hair of Zhu Zhu’s. I’m restraining a fire inside of me, you know. I don’t care anymore, when we stop at the next inn, Zhu Zhu has to sleep with me.”
His voice was not soft and it would have been weird dumb to think the coachman of their carriage had not heard through the wooden partition. She even heard the sound of someone trying their hardest to stifle their laughter. Immediately angry, she babbled incoherently: “Only pigs will sleep with you……” Eh? That wasn’t right. She tried again: “Only you will accompany pigs……”
That was even more wrong! From the corner of her eye, she saw the pile of books on the table and without thinking, threw the entire stack at Yun Shi Wei. Pi pi pa pa. All of the books clattered as they fell out the window.
Printing in the ancient era was not an easy thing to do, so books were very precious, and Yun Shi Yi treated them as treasures. It wasn’t that he did not have the money to buy them again; it was that some of them were basically no longer available for purchase. Thus, he hurriedly called for the driver to stop the carriage and jumped out to pick them up.
As for Yun Shi Wei, he knew that he had just caused a mishap and had long rode off, not leaving a trace behind.
The sky was dark by the time they reached Mao Er Town. Why was it called ‘Mao Er’?[d] Well, that was because it faced the water on three sides and the shape of the actual land bore an extreme resemblance to a cat’s ear. Although the name was quite peculiar, the town bordered the country of Nan Ling in the south and shared a common border with the country of Tu Bo in the west. There was also a large fair here once a month. On that day, merchants and other commoners would come from Nan Ling and Tu Bo would come to Mao Er Town to peddle goods and purchase items.
It is called a town but in reality, the population size had reached the standard of a county seat. The local official had repeatedly applied to establish themselves according to the county standards but had been completely suppressed by the local county magistrate at each turn. As for the reason, everyone clearly understood why–they wanted to profit using underhanded means. Who here didn’t know that the taxes earned from the large amount of trade in this town was enough to make others green with envy?
Finding a pretty good inn to stay the night at, Nuan Chun and Nuan Qing greeted the shop assistant that had already prepared bath water. The two servants placed a clean set of clothes by the bathtub and changed the sheets on the bed to the high-quality ones of their own residence. After everything had been tidily set up, they withdrew from the room.
Yun Shi Yi saw his own wife’s beautiful white figure stepping into the bathtub and peeled off his own clothes to join her. Pulling the tender and delicate body into his arms, his left hand splashed water onto her body while his right washed her clean.
“My wife is extraordinarily beautiful. ‘Like a pear blossom bathed in springtime rain’, is not that phrase precisely used for this sort of situation?”
“Certainly not. It’s to describe the scene of a heart-broken Yang Guifei weeping.” That phrase was for when one was leaning against a railing, feeling deeply hurt and lonely. The source of this line came from Bai Ju Yi. Not long after Tian Chu was founded, this famous poet was born and his verses were circulated extensively as they were easy to understand.[e]
Although this space-time’s history seemed to veer in a different direction, there should still be some of the same famous personages, right! If Tian Chu continues being so powerful down the line and there was no Mongol Empire, then all of those famous poems from her previous world that she had memorized would not emerge at all in this era! It was a bit unfortunate that just like Yue Fei’s Man Jiang Hong, those poets like Xin Qi Ji and Lu You that wrote all those patriotic verses and withstood outside barbarians, would also probably not exist here.[f]
“That is because the person who wrote that did not understand what grace is. If he knew that there was someone even more beautiful than Yang Guifei, he would not say that.”
“Someone more beautiful than Yang Guifei? Who is it?” Ruan Zhu stared at him blankly. Had her husband also transmigrated and met Yang Guifei? Or had he met someone that was more good-looking than her? There was a bit of jealousy in her heart.
“Precisely the foolish little girl sitting on top of this husband’s lap.”
As the young husband and wife were playfully bantering, a voice suddenly sounded from the door.
She knew it was Yun Shi Wei without thinking.
Ruan Zhu hung her head dispiritedly with a look of defeat.
Yun Shi Yi sighed. Moving Ruan Zhu off his lap, he got out of the tub, draping a robe over himself as he went to open the door.
As soon as the door opened, Yun Shi Wei impatiently rushed inside. Seeing Ruan Zhu was currently washing, he immediately revealed a deliriously happy expression and foolishly laughed as he carelessly flung his clothes off. The wild beast jumped into the tub and immediately hugged her, indiscriminately moving his hands up and down as he groped her.
Ruan Zhu was like a rag doll as she was rubbed everywhere by him. This despicable fellow had gone through so many pleasant experiences that touching her was so familiar, he could do it with a hand tied behind his back. He knew where she was most susceptible. His fingers caressed her upper body, kneading and pinching. In addition, he used the tip of his tongue and light grazes of his teeth to tease her.
“Zhu Zhu, I know you like this. I’ll definitely make you comfortable and won’t make it painful.”
“Don’t use too much strength.” She knew he could not be obstructed and could only be resigned to accept misfortune as fate and let him fiddle with her.
“I know, don’t worry. I’ll definitely be gentle.” He thought it was about time so he flipped her over so that her back was facing him and her hands were supported on the tub’s edge. His hand held onto his already painfully swollen member and abruptly thrust inside.
“Ah!” She screamed in pain. “Gently, it hurts!”
“Shi Wei, if you continue to misbehave, do you believe I won’t throw you out the door this instant?” Yun Shi Yi threw off his robe. Walking closer, he saw his wife with a conspicuously pale complexion and his heart immediately tightened.
“I know, I’m being gentle.” Yun Shi Wei hurriedly replied.
Yun Shi Yi stood outside the tub, supporting his wife as he moved her to rest on his chest. His hands massaged her plump breasts, hoping it would help relieve some of her pain.
After his promise, Yun Shi Wei was delighted. Even with only his tip inside, he immediately became dazed by the tight warmth that caused his entire body to feel so comfortable. Unable to endure it, he grabbed both her hips and rushed headlong into her like an out of control wild horse.
Yun Shi Yi knew words would not move his brother and could only use his own methods to let their wife join in the pleasure. Lowering his head to kiss a red plum, his hands gently slid across her fair flesh, finding the most sensitive little bead on the female’s body, and using his fingers to lightly tease it.
“Nn……Eldest Cousin, I want to kiss you.” He was both her Lord Husband and her gentle dearest Eldest Cousin, and she was reliant on him.
Yun Shi Yi’s mouth let go of the bud on the chest in front of him and moved to her lips, swallowing them whole. His kissing technique was incredibly good after going through so many practice sessions and she became engrossed not a moment later.
The ramming at her back was still intense, but it was no longer as painful.
When he finally arrived at the highest peak, Yun Shi Wei sent his fiery passion into her and tightly hugged her from behind.
By this moment, Ruan Zhu’s body was already soft and was entirely supported by Yun Shi Yi in front.
“Wife, are you all right?” He worriedly looked at her.
“Lord Husband, my stomach is a little painful.” Her face was deathly white and the sweat at her temples trickled down. Sprawled on his chest, her body slightly shivered. It wasn’t that it was just a little painful, it was so painful she thought her whole body would start cramping.
“Still haven’t scrammed?!” Yun Shi Yi furiously shouted at his brother.
“I……I got it.” Yun Shi Yi hurriedly let go of her, completely at a loss.
Yun Shi Yi carried his wife out of the bath tub. Walking a few steps to the bed, he placed her down, yet discovered that she had already fainted. There was no trace of blood in her face that was as white as a piece of paper.
He felt this was not right and touched the spot between her legs. Yet when he held his fingers up, he found them to be completely bloodstained.
“What’s wrong, what happened, what happened to Zhu Zhu?” Yun Shi Wei came over, all helter-skelter.
Cold eyes looked at him, so cold it seemed as if ice could shoot out at any moment. Those frosty eyes expressionlessly looked at the man in front of him. A leg was abruptly raised and a ruthless kick was aimed over. This kick was not light, and caught unaware, Yun Shi Wei slammed into the wall, knocking over the clothes hanger in the process.
After he crawled back up, he heard Yun Shi Yi’s furious roar: “Still haven’t gone to invite a physician?!”
“I’ll go there at once.” He knew he was the cause of this catastrophe. In his heart, he thought: If she met with disaster, he would commit suicide in repentance. Randomly throwing some pants on, he didn’t even bother to put on an upper garment and ran outside half-naked.
[a] Robinson Crusoe is a famous European novel about a stranded man who saves a young prisoner which he names ‘Friday’. Friday was on course to being eaten by cannibals. (Wikipedia)
[b] Just wanted to point out that her reasoning is false because Crusoe had actually been stranded near South America when he met the cannibals.
the more u know
[c] Song dynasty was from 960-1279. According to Wikipedia, smallpox devastated Europe during the Early Middle Ages (~400 to ~900) and became an endemic again in the 1700s. So I guess the author’s claim is not too far off since it’s very possible/likely smallpox also rampaged in Europe between 900-1700? idk.
[d] 猫耳, literally translates to cat ear
[e] 杨贵妃 Yang Guifei, famous Tang beauty that was a consort of the Emperor Xuanzhong, killed as a scapegoat during the An Shi Rebellion | 白居易 Bai Ju Yi, famous Tang poet that wrote the poem ‘Song of Everlasting Regret’, where the line comes from | Entire poem and translation can be found on Wikipedia.
[f] All three men were great poets from the Southern Song dynasty and very patriotic. As far as I can tell, Lou You (and maybe the other two) called for the re-unification of China and to expel the Jurchen from northern China but was shunned by his peers. Man Jiang Hong is a patriotic poem that many believe was written by Yue Fei (Translation on Wiki)
TN: Ahh…translating this was tough in more ways than one. So many ifs…if RZ had been more accepting of YSW; if YSW actually listened for once; if YSY had stopped YSW….