☆ Chapter 104
儿 | er | (lit. child) diminutive marker used as a form of endearment
时辰 | sichen |time system comprising of 12 two-hour periods of the day; one sichen is the equivalent of two modern hours
Ruan Zhu gaped at the horrendous man opposite her, confusion in her eyes: “How did you become like this?”
Liu Fei Xu grabbed his head and furrowed his brows in shame, causing the sores on his face to wrinkle into a lumpy mess. His voice came out almost like a wail: “I also don’t know what happened. Why was I infected with this strange illness?”
“Zhu’er, don’t be lead by him.” Wang Jin Yan tightly clasped his wife’s hand, revealing his disgust: “Liu Fei Xu, you are lying. Having caught such a dirty and shameful disease, you do not repent, and instead, have the nerve to try to win sympathy?”
A dirty and shameful disease! Ruan Zhu had thought he was suffering from some kind of skin infection. She knew Liu Fei Xu was outrageously debauched and had dallied with innumerable women from his activities as a flower thief and also from using the identity of Wan Zi Yu. Even the Crown Princess had become a member of his ‘women-I’ve-chased-and-conquered’ army. After many years of hunting geese, he had finally been pecked by one in his eye–wasn’t this considered karma?
“I remember that this young madam had ordered some jewelry at our Ming Xiang Cui Yu before, correct? Aiya, it is rare for this honorable guest to visit; please, come on in.” Manager Yu’s memory wasn’t particularly good, but the accessories that Ruan Zhu had custom ordered that year had left a deep impression on him. He hastily called out a greeting after deducing–from the lady’s distinguished bearing and the four unordinary bodyguards accompanying her–that a wealthy customer had arrived.
Ruan Zhu pulled on her hubby’s hand and headed inside. There was a faint thought in her mind–Ming Xiang Cui Yu was very quickly turning into a sinking ship and it was extremely likely this large clan that had been operating for several centuries had been implicated by Liu Fei Xu.
Since the beginning and even til now, Liu Fei Xu had continued to have an affair with the Crown Princess. Having caught such a shameful disease, how well could the Crown Princess be faring? And how could the Crown Prince be any better?……Liu Fei Xu had lost his mind regarding the circumstances and had also given up hope. However, if one were to only calm down and think about it, they would then clearly understand the implications. The person on the spot is baffled, the onlooker sees clear. It wasn’t strange that she was able to see through the situation better than him.
“Our two esteemed guests, this way please. These past several years, our Ming Xiang Cui Yu has added quite a few new designs. Is the young madam designing something to order or purchasing something ready-made this time? I can give the madam a twenty percent discount.” Manager Yu enthusiastically peddled his wares at Ruan Zhu.
Right at this time, Liu Fei Xu bolted inside the room and knelt down in front of Ruan Zhu, pleading: “The Eldest Miss of the Ruan clan, I know you are the imperial consort of both His Highnesses the Prince of Qi and the Prince of Yong, who runs Hua Nong Ying Glass Workshop that is as wealthy as a nation, and also controls the largest intelligence network in this country. Even the Crown Prince is extremely apprehensive of all of you because of your skills and strength. Eldest Miss, I am asking you to please look at our history of being acquaintances and lend this small commoner some assistance with great compassion and mercy!”
Liu Fei Xu prostrated himself with both hands and repeatedly kowtowed while his tears, mucus, and the pus from the sores on his destroyed face dribbled onto the ground.
Ruan Zhu backed up two steps in disgust. Anger suddenly rising, she retorted: “Please clean your mouth. When was I ever your acquaintance? Don’t mistake another’s intentions and fail to differentiate good from bad. Ma Ping, go over and slap his mouth for me.”
As soon as he heard her words, the imperial bodyguard made to go over! But Wang Jin Yan had already become unable to restrain his anger and furiously shouted: “Shameful thing!” When Ruan Zhu had been molested, he had wanted to kill Liu Fei Xu after discovering he was the perpetrator. But who knew the other’s legs would be so fast in running towards the Crown Prince’s official residence?
He abruptly lifted his foot and aimed it under Liu Fei Xu’s chin……This kick held enormous strength and Liu Fei Xu flew several meters before finally dropping onto the ground, smacking against a counter in the process and causing the precious stones and accessories to shatter.
Manager Yu was dumbstruck. It turned out this young madam was precisely the brilliant Princess Ruan who had become famous in recent years. Reportedly, she was skilled in writing verses and in matters of agriculture. Even the current emperor treated her favorably. He had truly been blind in slighting this honorable guest.
It took Liu Fei Xu a very long time to crawl back up from the ground. Face black and purple, he spit out a large mouthful of blood mixed with teeth and panted for air like a weary stray dog that had stopped by the wayside.
He kneeled in front of Ruan Zhu: “Just base it on that time you stabbed me with a dagger. Can’t you have pity for me once?”
“That time?” Ruan Zhu lightly gave a smile full of contempt: “You even have the nerve to bring up that time. I’ve always regretted not being able to send you to hell with one strike, but now I feel better. Seeing this appearance of yours really makes me feel refreshed.”
Thankfully, she had been able to pump the brakes at the most critical point that year when he had drugged her with the aphrodisiac, otherwise this life would have been ruined.
Liu Fei Xu screamed: “You have so much money, what’s wrong with giving out a bit to help others?”
The former exceedingly handsome, insufferably arrogant Mister Peacock now lived without the least bit of dignity!
Bemused, Ruan Zhu responded: “Look at your appearance. Even dogs have more dignity than you. Is there any meaning in living like this? Rather than shaking your tail and begging for pity while suffering from the disease, wouldn’t it be much better to completely solve the problem by using a rope and hang yourself?”
Liu Fei Xu hurriedly shook his head: “I don’t want to die; I want to live. I’m only twenty five and still have many years before me.”
“Regretting now? Why did you do it then? Zhu’er, don’t bother with this person.” With a slight snort, Wang Jing Yan pulled his wife towards the entrance of Ming Xiang Cui Yu.
At the entrance, Ruan Zhu turned back around and with ridicule clear in her eyes, spoke the most ruthless words in a clear and pure voice: “But you have no option but to die, and it will also be an extremely wretched death. Your family will also be implicated because of you.”
Not too long ago, news had arrived that said the Crown Princess still frequently grinded with Liu Fei Xu. She didn’t believe the Crown Prince had avoided being indirectly infected. It was rather horrifying how feudal societies treated those who were guilty of their crimes. Now that the heir apparent of the dynasty had caught a sexually transmitted disease, even the imperial clan had been humiliated.
It’s said that saving a life is more meritorious than building a seven-floor pagoda, but to throw oneself into a bad predicament just to save someone that had nothing to do with her–After some self-reflection, she concluded she wasn’t that noble.
If the Crown Prince had truly been infected by the disease, there was still some good out of it. It would touch on the majesty of the imperial clan so at that time, the Son of Heaven would be furious. For the culprit to be able to live–even if she was beaten to death, she wouldn’t believe it.
Liu Fei Xu stood there blankly and seemed to have suddenly recalled something as infinite panic set in his eyes. His entire person started trembling as if he was a pan being shook for gold.
Shock was all over Manager Yu’s face. As he thought about the influential people the Young Boss had come into contact with, his face instantly became ashen and he hollered in panic: “I quit being manager. I want to go home, I am going home……” While yelling this, he continued to retreat until he had reached the door and then ran out like he had lost his mind.
This timid manager was completely petrified and no longer even wanted the money he had painstakingly earned.
“Jing Yan, let’s go home! Ai, it was a mistake to come outside and shop today.”
Ruan Zhu’s original excitement for going shopping had completely disappeared. Signaling a bodyguard to call for a carriage, she rode it back to Guan Ju Villa.
“Jing Yan, do you think it’s possible the Crown Prince had been infected?” Ruan Zhu stared outside the window at the Ming Xiang Cui Yu that was gradually growing further away. If the Crown Prince was truly at that status, could there possibly be anything good left for him? Gossip was a fearful thing. Even if by luck he were to survive, it was very likely his position as the heir apparent had come to an end.
“Does that still need to be asked? It’s clear just by looking at Liu Fei Xu’s expression.” Wang Jing Yan didn’t care. Even if the Crown Prince died, it had nothing to do with him. Although he had been born into an official’s family, he had grown up deep in the mountains and the concept of patriotism was far from his mind.
“What a pity for Ming Xiang Cui Yu’s centuries-old reputation. Before, I had wanted to open an identical jewelry store and had even wanted to transfer his family’s shop into my ownership. Then afterwards, I somehow started farming and after going through that large drought that caused so many to die, I just really wanted to allow everyone to be able to eat their fill.”
“You think too much. Whether or not the commoners are able to eat enough is something that only the Emperor can do. We can only try to live our days well.” Wang Jing Yan patted his wife’s shoulder, laughing: “Although I had said that, the Department of Agriculture will of course throw in one hundred percent of our energy because that is your heart’s work.”
Ruan Zhu also laughed. As early as the Department of Agriculture had been handed over to him, a farming institute had been established that provided free tuition for children of peasants who normally would not be able to afford to go to school. The wealthy felt it was beneath them for their children to become farmers, and the relaxed conditions for entering the school was to attract the poor.
“It’s good as long as you understand.” Ruan Zhu gave her husband a displeased glance and rose to sit in his lap, saying as she wrapped her arms around his neck: “Lord Husband, since you’ve done well, I’ll give you a kiss. Do you want it?”
“Only a fool wouldn’t want it.” Wang Jing Yan’s face leisurely brightened. A smile overflowing in his eyes, he leaned down and kissed the beautiful woman in his embrace.
The husband and wife continued to kiss for a while. When she felt his breathing had become rushed as if he could no longer bear it, she softly soothed him: “Tonight is still yours. Endure it a little longer. Once we return, I’ll help you.”
It was like Wang Jing Yan hadn’t heard her as he continued to kiss her and also pushed his hands into her clothes……Because it had been a long time since she’d breastfed her children, her breasts had become swollen and painful. With one single touch from him, milk immediately flowed out.
Wang Jing Yan’s eyes suddenly blazed. His left hand covered a breast as his mouth took one of her tender buds……The warm liquid flowed into his mouth and it was unexpectedly incomparably sweet. Losing his mind, he swallowed down large gulp after gulp.
These men all liked to have her……This was also good. Being sucked like this by him no longer made her feel as bloated and sore as before. She hugged the head on top of her chest, letting him have his fill.
Exiting the city, they arrived at Guan Ju Villa.
Zhi Xi and the two elder twins weren’t home. It was only after asking around that she discovered Zong Zhi had led them outside to play. As for Min Zhi, he hadn’t yet returned from Hong Lu Office.
“Perhaps they went to ride horses again.” Jing Yan laughed as he shook his head: “The two boys are very wild and it would be good if Bo Ya doesn’t learn that from her older brothers.”
“I think girls also need to learn something. Learning how to ride is a good thing. If it was possible, I’d also want to learn.” The corner of Ruan Zhu’s mouth was slightly raised and envy leaked from her eyes. Unfortunately, because she had been bitten by a dog once in her childhood, she now felt timid whenever she saw any large animal.
“If you want to learn, I can teach you.”
“All right, but on the condition that you must hold me when we’re on the horse.”
“With pleasure.” Wang Jing Yan smiled, his jade-like pupils brimming with love.
“Jing Yan.” Ruan Zhu thought for a moment: “Don’t buy the present for Father-in-law outside; just pick something from the storage room. Something that’s from outside may not necessarily be better than what’s at home. That’s decided then. Go back and rest for a while; I just so happen want to look at Bo Zhao and Yu Ze.”
“All right. Wait for me tonight in Yi Zhu Cottage. It’s hard work to restrain myself.” Thinking of his sneaky actions in the carriage, his heart felt ticklish and his mood became tumultuous again.
“I got it.” Ruan Zhu quietly responded and waved her hand at her husband.
She saw Xing Yun and Liu Shui right when she left, which caused her to remember her sister was pregnant. Ruan Zhu called them over to have the kitchen prepare some supplemental foods for Ruan Yu and also proceeded to list out the dishes that must be avoided as well as remind them to properly attend to her sister to prevent anything tragic from happening.
Having finished with her commands, she then turned around and strolled through a promenade to arrive at the courtyard next to Yi Zhu Cottage.
As soon as she entered the bedroom, the two wet nurses immediately stood up to give their greetings upon seeing the mistress of the house had entered.
Ruan Zhu allowed them to rise and saw the two twins sleeping soundly in their cribs. She gave a content smile. With the exception of eating, the only thing these two babies that were less than two months old knew how to do was sleep.
Returning to Yi Zhu Cottage, she had nothing to do so practiced some yoga atop her bed. She became a bit hungry after exercising but because it was not yet time for the evening meal, she called for servants to arrange some delicacies at Shui Xie Ark as well as ledger books so she could look over the accounts while snacking.
The view from Shui Xie Ark was spectacular. Facing an entire pond full of rippling blue waves that flowed under a small bridge with wisps of the lotuses’ sweet scent floating over on the gentle breeze……Any and all who came here would become refreshed and invigorated. Not even half a sichen later, she had completely organized a pile of ledgers.
“Wife, I’ve been looking for you everywhere.” Min Zhi’s voice came over from the long bridge walkway, and his tall and robust figure could be seen walking over with a valiant air.
“You’ve returned.” Ruan Zhu smiled and rose from the padded cushion to stretch.
“I’ve just returned yet didn’t see you, causing this heart of mine to always be anxious.” Min Zhi stepped over and pulled his wife into his arms, only letting go after a very long kiss.
Ruan Zhu contained her anger: “Are you saying I need to wait at the entrance to welcome you home?”
“If my Zhu’er insists on waiting outside to greet me every day, of course it’ll be the best. It will be exactly what this husband is looking for.” Min Zhi gave an easy smile, eyes brimming with love towards his wife: “Zhu’er, I heard you came across that disgraceful Liu Fei Xu today?”
Ruan Zhu recalled the unpleasantness at Ming Xiang Cui Yu and silently nodded.
“Hoho……That guy’s done for?” Min Zhi sinisterly smiled. Hearing his wife’s en of confirmation, the smile on his face became even brighter. He sat cross-legged on a soft cushion on the floor and pulled his wife onto his lap.