☆ Chapter 88
儿 | er | (lit. child) diminutive marker used as a form of endearment
When Yun Shi Yi received the news that his wife was returning home, he had immediately boarded a ship and followed the Lan River downstream. He anxiously waited every day, hoping that his beautiful woman would suddenly appear before his eyes. The longing that he felt increased with the passing of each night.
On the day that he approached the Chang Jiang River, a thousand white sails emerged from the horizon, becoming more obvious as the distance between him and them shortened.
His heartstrings immediately became taut as he stared unblinkingly at the scene before him.
But right at this moment, emergency measures were imposed. A bailiff of the yamen sailed in a small boat, continuously going back and forth, as he drove the other vessels away, requesting them to make way for the Emperor’s large fleet of ships.
Yun Shi Yi was forced to land, but his eyes remained glued on the river as before.
The first to appear was the squadron of ships belonging to Xuanyuan Zong Zhi’s troops that served as bodyguards for the imperial clan. Their brocade banner fluttered in a majestic way that seized the eyes of every person. Yun Shi Yi saw a Xuanyuan Zong Zhi covered head to toe in shining silver armor standing at the bow of the ship. His heart shook for a moment as he hastily looked next to the man in search……The result was disappointment. The figure of the person printed in his heart was clearly not here. But among the thousands of white sails, which vessel was she aboard?
The feeling of wanting to meet her was unexpectedly that pressing–to the point where he couldn’t even wait a single moment.
He raised his head towards the soaring mast beside him. To someone who practiced martial arts, this sort of height didn’t mean anything. The elevating qinggong technique that he had learned before was much more difficult in comparison. Lifting the hem of his long gown, he secured it at his waist before gripping the mast with both hands and climbing up in an extremely nimble manner. There was an inner voice: Since he cannot find her, he would let her find him.
It was as if Ruan Zhu had telepathy. The closer she was to her hometown, the more excited she became, and she so dearly wished Yun Shi Yi could appear in front of her at this moment in some random ship by the banks of the Lan River or perhaps among the commoners who had gathered to watch the bustle in the coastal area.
Ruan Zhu stepped out of the ship’s cabin. A vast crowd was on the riverbanks–they were all commoners who had come to watch the awe-inspiring Emperor. Various kinds of vessels were also stopped by the banks and each person had their head tilted to watch the crowd of ships go by.
“Ma, bird……big bird fly fly……” Little Zhi Xi pulled at his mother’s skirt while his other hand pointed at another ship.
“What problems are you causing? Quickly, go find your uncle to play. Don’t cause trouble here.” How could Ruan Zhu have the patience to deal with her son? She lifted a hand to call out to Yun Shi Wei: “Second Cousin, come quickly to take your Yun family member away.”
Zhi Xi bounced on his toes while pointing towards their own ship’s mast and cutely babbled: “Fly fly, me also want fly fly.”
Yun Shi Wei strode over and picked up Zhi Xi: “The mast is too tall and too dangerous for Zhi Xi to go up there. Wait until we have reached the shore and Uncle will take you to climb some trees.”
Ruan Zhu searched in all four directions for a while but it only left a fleeting and nameless melancholy in her heart. She turned around, intending to head back inside the cabin, when she felt a burning gaze that made her feel incredibly uncomfortable. Her eyes roved around for the source when suddenly, the figure of a tall man standing atop a mast on a vessel several dozen meters away from her caught her entire attention.
She rubbed her eyes. It was him, it was him–there was no way she could be wrong! It was the man who, from the very moment she crossed over, gave her infinite happiness with a heart full of gentle feelings and would always instantly console and encourage her every time she frowned.
Ruan Zhu felt a wave of dizziness and then rushed towards the ship’s railing, looking all the while at the Yun Shi Yi who was not too far off.
“Zhu’er, I have something I want to ask you.” Xuanyuan Min Zhi had just chatted with his subordinates and happened to talk about matters between men and women. When his men had told him it was impossible for a woman’s monthlies to be that long plus the fact that for the majority of women who were breastfeeding, their monthlies would not arrive too soon, that was when he realized he had been tricked.
“Stop the boat, I want to get off!” Ruan Zhu hit the sides of the boat with her hands.
“Zhu’er, what’s with you? What are you wanting to get off the boat for without any reason? I want to ask you, that……that thing about your monthlies was false, right?”
“Hurry and stop the ship!” Ruan Zhu was impatient and lifted her arm to wave at Yun Shi Yi. Even though they were separated by several tens of meters, she could still feel the gaze that was packed deep with emotions. As for what Xuanyuan Min Zhi had said–none of it had entered her ears.
“Eh? It is Head Yun. My Heavens, Eldest Master has come to pick us up.” Nuan Chun carried a basin of laundry water to pour into Lan River and saw the man atop the mast on the banks of the river with a lift of his head: “Eldest Miss, look, it’s Eldest Son-in-law. I saw Eldest Master.”
“Yes, yes.” Ruan Zhu’s eyes were filled with happiness. In a split second, her throat became choked from emotion and the rims of her eyes couldn’t help but become moist. She hastily took Zhi Xi into her arms and lifted him up as high as she could for Yun Shi Yi to see: “Zhi Xi, your Pa has come. Quickly look at the person up there–he’s your father!”
Yun Shi Wei had also seen his older brother and happily said: “Spouse, don’t be so rushed. I’ll have someone halt the ship over there and it’ll be done in just a moment.”
“En, hurry, hurry.”
The ship finally reached the shore and Ruan Zhu rushed to climb aboard her Lord Husband’s ship.
Yun Shi Yi had also long come down from the mast. Seeing the incoming beautiful figure, he opened his arms wide to greet her: “Wife, welcome home.”
Ruan Zhu didn’t care how many pairs of eyes were watching and ran over to throw herself into her husband’s arms. It was only at this moment that she felt this place was so incredibly warm. She was locked inside those powerful arms, and just like how cottonwood fluff drift in the spring breeze, her body was completely relaxed and without any strength.
“Eldest Cousin, I’m back.”
“I know, Wife, I missed you so.” Yun Shi Yi saw the wife he had long-awaited and thirsted for and finally fulfilled his wish of holding the beautiful and soft figure in his arms……The emptiness that had been present in his heart for a very long time was, at this moment, incomparably filled.
Aboard the Prince of Qi’s ship, Xuanyuan Min Zhi watched as the man and woman mutually held each other. He had not been married for long and hadn’t yet been able to be intimate with his wife. Seeing his wife fall into another man’s embrace, his heart immediately followed and he lifted his foot, intending to step onto the ship opposite his……
Yun Shi Wei had long guarded against the him that wanted to break up the married couple. He shouted towards the other ship: “Xiao Feng, leave quickly; send the ship out.”
Yun Feng was quick-witted and hastily instructed the boatmen to depart.
After the boatmen received the news, the oars on the large ship firmly pushed and the hull slid out for over ten meters. The small ship was light and since it was being propelled downwards, the speed was very fast. Within a few breaths, the vessel was far away.
Xuanyuan Min Zhi’s wife was heading further and further away, and as he could not chase after her, he stomped his feet in anger.
Inside the cabin of the ship, Yun Shi Yi had placed his wife atop the bed. His hand gently caressed her cheek, then gradually slid to her body. His movements were light, as cautiously and carefully as if he were handling a rare treasure, all of his actions filled with unlimited affection and love. But in contrast with his movements, his eyes were burning like a smoldering flame that could be ignited with a simple breeze. Lowering his head so that his lips covered that dark red mouth, he sucked on the fragrance found between her two lips, and the beauty of it all from amidst his memories suddenly became clear.
“Wife, Wife, you are still so beautiful.” That deep and husky voice was right by her ear and his faintly red eyes were filled with dense **. He removed the troublesome clothes that were in the way one by one, kissing the skin that was like snow before rubbing one tender plum and taking the other into his mouth.
“En……Eldest Cousin……” She pushed her chest towards him. Being nibbled by him sometimes roughly and sometimes gently, an electric current-like feeling passed through her body. Both her arms wrapped around his neck, her fingers interlaced so that his head was locked against her.
He separated his wife’s slender and long legs and stared hungrily at the dripping wet flower petals……His eyes immediately hazing over, he used his finger to separate the petals, exposing the pink color underneath that was perfect and without any blemishes.
“Eldest Cousin, quickly come inside……Zhu’er needs you……” Ruan Zhu had been teased by him until she couldn’t bear it any longer and she lowly moaned out her demands.
“Wife, you are so beautiful.” Yun Shi Yi held his swollen stiff member as he entered. He finally felt that tightness in the velvet tunnel that made it feel as if his soul had separated from his body, and the warm, exquisite feeling attacked what was left of his rationality. He could no longer endure and violently twitched as he impatiently thrusted his hips.
The ship’s cabin was filled with rough and romantic gasps and moans that mixed with the smell of sweat……Two people finally merged into one, making it so it was impossible to distinguish one from the other.
The husband and wife set free their feelings amidst the torrential flood, their hands trembling as they only hugged each other afterwards.
“Eldest Cousin, how have you fared this past year?”
“When we had just arrived in Lan Zhou, I had to work, and this was the time when the famine was the most severe. Fortunately, I had heeded the advice you gave while we were in the south to stockpile foodstuffs and used that to stabilize the price of grain, preventing many commoners from starving.”
“I have heard Second Cousin mention that you are now considered the great benefactor to the commoners of Lan Zhou, and no matter where you go, you will be well-received.”
“Being revered and the focus of too many people is meaningless as whoever meets me must now always be polite and respectful. I would much rather prefer to lead a simple life as before.” Yun Shi Yi thought of all that had occurred in this past year and lamented: “At that time, I had just returned to Lan Zhou but still had to resolve the issues of food. Then not long after, Maternal Uncle received the imperial decree to buy horses in Mongolia and dropped a large pile of work for me to handle. During that time, I nearly went mad from missing you so much but luckily, I could pass the time with all the work that had to be done. Ai, I was truly too busy and frequently only had time to miss you when I entered my dreams very late at night……”
“I also missed you, incredibly missed you……” Ruan Zhu rested her head on her husband’s arm, feeling incomparably relaxed. This man that was like a mountain always made her feel completely at ease.
“Wife, I’ve followed what we’ve discussed before and built a very large courtyard on the banks of the Lan River. With pavilions and kiosks, curved paths that lead one around the magnificent scenery, there’s also the taihu rocks you mentioned before in your letters that I had transported from Jiang Nan. If we all go inside the pavilion, we can see an integration of water and mountains. Nothing could be more beautiful–it is comparable to paradise on earth.”
Ruan Zhu had received news while she was in the capital that Yun Shi Yi was preparing to build a new residence in Lan Zhou. Thus, she had personally and carefully drawn up a blueprint and also wrote out what her ideal garden was before handing it to the relay station to send to Lan Zhou. When Yun Shi Yi received letter, he had been amazed at his wife’s concepts and thrown his entire enthusiasm towards its construction.
“The new residence is surely very beautiful. I’m already a little impatient to move in.”
“But of course. I can guarantee the new residence is the first in all of Tian Chu to have the most idyllic and charming courtyard. Ours and the children’s rooms were all designed according to your plan, using a lot of warm color tones……” This term was one that his wife had written before in her letters and he had thought it was very original: “Right, how is Zhi Xi?”
“Our child is now sixteen months old. This child is very wild; at ten months, he could walk; before he turned one, he could call ‘Ma.’ Unfortunately, you weren’t around……”
“I really shouldn’t have left you at that time.” Yun Shi Yi’s eyes were filled with regret. They had been separated for too long; though he was holding his beloved woman in his arms, a part of him was convinced it was just a dream. He deeply sighed with sorrow: “How many dreams have I had, where I held you like this and you disappeared after I woke?”
“Eldest Cousin, I’ll never leave you again.” Ruan Zhu’s eyes were filled with a layer of mist: “You are my number one and also the most important one……” From him, she had continuously felt the love of a brother and of a father, allowing her to feel mentally and physically warm.
“Being able to hear my wife say this, this husband is content.” The Heavens knew how worried he was–anxious that their long separation would have caused her feelings towards him to fade. Sticking himself against her lips, he kissed her for a long moment, his eyes full of warmth and affection: “Does Wife still want more?”
Ruan Zhu’s eyes brimmed with love and she nodded with a smile on her face.
Yun Shi Yi changed her position and pressed her down……
The small ship continuously floated downstream and finally turned around three days later. By the time they eventually reached Lan Zhou, it was already ten days after. The husband and wife pair had just landed on the banks when they unexpectedly met Nuan Chun and received the news that Yun Shi Wei had led their entire group to the new courtyard situated on the banks of Lan River.
TN: Thank you for all the well-wishes! I do feel better and have translated the next chapter, but it hasn’t been edited yet. Rather than trying to rush to get it done and then leave everyone on a spicy cliffhanger as nothing else is finished yet, I will be taking a break from posting from February 1 (Sat) to February 8 (Sat). I apologize for the short notice, but I will be back on February 9.