☆ Chapter 105
儿 | er |(lit. child) diminutive marker used as a form of endearment
Ruan Zhu thought about her encounter with Liu Fei Xu. As a matter of fact, she felt a little regretful. The ill will she currently held towards him wasn’t that strong, perhaps because every woman had a tendency of being fond of attractive men. When all was said and done, that man had previously been incomparably handsome and adored by countless women. She studied the smile on her husband’s face, not quite understanding: “Liu Fei Xu is done for and his life may soon follow. Seeing how you’re so pleased, does this have anything to do with you?”
It should be extremely difficult in this age to cure a sexually transmitted disease, right? During the final years of the Qing dynasty, there had been an emperor who kicked the bucket after he had visited a low-grade brothel and been infected with a lecherous disease.
“How could there not have anything to do with me? After all, this drama was completely directed by yours truly. That moronic man surnamed Liu would let his pants fall as soon as he sees a beautiful woman so it serves him right to be doomed.” Ruan Zhu had imperceptibly influenced all of the people at her side, and Min Zhi unconsciously imitated his wife’s manner of speaking.
“What did you direct?” Ruan Zhu didn’t understand and blankly stared at him: “You didn’t place an unclean woman by Liu Fei Xu’s side, did you?”
“My wife seems to not be stupid to need only a little hint. It’s very strange–why do they all say your brain seems to be missing something?”
“Hurry up and answer the question.” Ruan Zhu pushed her hand into his clothes to tickle his underarm, but it seemed Min Zhi was naturally not ticklish as he didn’t mind even after she had kept at it for a while. She gloomily gave up.
“I located a pretty woman who had the illness and gave her a sum of money to wreck Liu Fei Xu. I also promised to give her another payment if she was successful.”
“Did you really give it to her after she succeeded?” Ruan Zhu had her doubts.
“I truly gave it.” Min Zhi took in his wife’s disbelief and hurried to add: “I swear it. I am not one who goes back on my words and honoring promises is how I conduct myself as a person.”
“Lord Husband, I didn’t say that you aren’t trustworthy. I’m just afraid that even if the woman received the money, she would have no breath with which to spend it.” In the past, he had eliminated Zhao Hai and the jailer in Shun Tian Hall in order to protect a secret. It’d be a wonder if he had agreed to let the woman live this time.
“Wife, you’re so smart. I indeed gave her the money, but whether she’ll live to be able to spend it is something that doesn’t concern me. I merely believe that only the dead can guard a secret forever.” How could he have possibly left behind such a large trail? Having suffered so much before, how could he not have learned from his setbacks?
“You treacherous man.”
“I am only treacherous because of you and our family. There is no benefit to us if the Crown Prince lives. We can see that Father-Emperor is becoming older. If he transfers his position to the Crown Prince, our family can be considered completely done for.”
“But if by chance the Crown Prince was to be discarded, then who should take up the mantle?”
“Whoever wants to receive the mantle can go receive it. As long as it’s not ol’ Second, it’s fine.” The Crown Prince was the second oldest among the many brothers. Min Zhi didn’t have any respect towards him which is why he addressed him as such.
“Min Zhi, do you wish to sit in the Dragon Throne in the Gold Palace?”
“There’s a reason why I returned late from Hong Lu Office. You don’t want to ask the reason?” Min Zhi’s eyebrows twitched, not even replying to his wife’s question.
“You really do seem to have returned rather late tonight. Which country’s envoy came to our Tian Chu this time?” She remembered he hadn’t yet eaten. Picking up a bowl of floating fern cold noodles, she used chopsticks to feed him.
Floating fern cold noodles was an extremely aromatic dish. The juice from floating ferns was used to knead the dough and Chinese perch, bass, and shrimp were used as ‘toppings’ to create a beautiful and distinctive flavor. Du Fu previously had written a poem in praise: A cold palace hall a thousand miles away; open up a cold jade vial. The sovereign king revels in the cool evening; flavor demands pause til the set while.[a]
“Today, Nan Ling’s Prime Minister Sima came to our Tian Chu with a group of retainers to have an audience with the Emperor, and Father-Emperor instructed for me to receive them. I didn’t feel like paying attention to them and directly sent them to the post station with the intention of leaving but Prime Minister Sima loves to chatter away and prattled at me the entire time.”
Min Zhi grabbed the chopsticks from her and sent a few bites of the noodles into his wife’s mouth……She opened her mouth to accept the food, but who would’ve thought he would then push his head forward and plant his lips on hers–all so she could feed him directly, mouth-to-mouth.
“Prime Minister Sima–he was so idle as to be a pain the ass?” She was never crude when together with refined men like Yun Shi Yi and Zong Zhi, but when with Min Zhi……haha, she seems to be more open.
“Ever since the Red Eyebrow Army suffered defeat after defeat, the road that connected Tian Chu with Nan Ling that had been blocked for several years had finally cleared so it’s not strange at all that the envoys of Nan Ling would ask to have an audience with the Emperor. But the odd part is that the Prime Minister himself came. Zhu’er, think about how important a Prime Minister is. That is one who has reached the highest official position and doesn’t rashly leave the country. Guess what important matter he came to Tian Chu for.”
“Could it be that Prime Minister Sima’s position in Nan Ling isn’t secure so he fled to our Tian Chu to seek asylum?”
Min Zhi lifted a crystal prawn dumpling from the table and placed it in his wife’s mouth. Waiting for her to take it, he then leaned his head forward again, demanding the food back. Eating the food that had been moistened with her saliva tasted particularly sweet. “Prime Minister Sima invited me to return to be the Duke.”
“Be the Duke?” Ruan Zhu slowly repeated the words before suddenly becoming alarmed. Grabbing his shoulder, amazement in her eyes: “They want to invite you back to Nan Ling. But why? I vaguely remember the heir of Nan Ling is called Wang Kun and he’s the bastard son of the Duchess of Nan Ling and one of her concubines.”
The Duke of Nan Ling was the same as the current emperor of Tian Chu in that they both did not have biological offspring; instead, all of the children at their knees were born from their respective wives and her various concubines. But where the Duke was even more pitiful was that none of his bastard sons were of the royal blood which meant none of them had the right to inherit his title. Thus, Min Zhi was adopted at a young age and became the orthodox heir. When the old Duke became seriously ill, the palace became chaotic and the Duchess collaborated with Wang Kun to launch a rebellion. Xuanyuan Min Zhi took advantage of the confusion to run and was able to flee to Tian Chu after a narrow escape.
“It’s precisely Wang Kun, that idiot without any prospects. But in his process of wresting away the position of heir, he was killed the year before last by the other brothers. A few other bastard sons died with him. As the mother of all of those useless siblings, the old Duchess had worried herself to sickness because her sons were massacring each other, with death not too far off.” Min Zhi’s face held a bitter smile while endless loathing filled his eyes: “The current Nan Ling is a country without a leader, and its court is in turmoil with the bastard sons brawling to no end over that position. Prime Minister Sima finally couldn’t stand it and traveled a long way to Tian Chu with the intention of bringing back someone who can lead and take charge of the whole situation.”
“Your meaning?” Ruan Zhu attentively watched her husband, a kind of expectation rippling in her eyes. She didn’t like the idea of him becoming a duke that lead a country. She wanted him to stay in Tian Chu, to stay by her side. Bo Zhao and Yu Ze needed their father. All five of her children were her heart and soul. If he truly wanted to leave, she wouldn’t allow him to take them with him.
Min Zhi hugged his wife and leaned his stubbly jaw against her tender cheek. The movement immediately caused comforting swells to undulate from his heart. “If it was the me that had yet to meet you, I would choose to follow them back to Nan Ling. But now I don’t value that position. There is nothing in this world that can cause me to separate from you. How could I, Xuanyuan Min Zhi, be the kind of person who goes when one is beckoned and is stepped under someone’s foot when not needed? Being Duke……hmph! Others seek but fail to get it, well I don’t desire it.”
“You really don’t desire it? And, you’re also unwilling to leave me and the children?”
“Don’t desire it and also unwilling to leave you and the children.”
“What will you do when Prime Minister Sima comes to persuade you? He is your old friend and the two of you are fellow countrymen.”
“While I was in danger, old man Sima saw my plight and didn’t lift his hand to save me. I’m disinclined to pay him any attention.” He currently didn’t feel as strongly as he did before towards fame and reputation. Only those who had experienced the roller coaster of life would understand that happiness was hard to come by.
Ruan Zhu’s anxious heart relaxed and a thread of a smile hung from her lips. But not speaking at all, she firmly pushed with both hands so that her husband fell on top of the soft cushions and then pounced……Kissing that red mouth, the tip of her tongue explored the inside of his mouth to tease his tongue.
Min Zhi kissed her for a very long time and finally let her go after detecting his wife was gasping for air. He lowly laughed: “Zhu’er, wanting to use a kiss to appease your lord is rather indulging in fantasy. I want more.”
“Then what do you want? Tonight is Jing Yan’s and I can’t do anything that doesn’t conform to the rules.” Whether or not a large family was harmonious wasn’t based on what the masters should do but rather on what the mistress did to achieve equilibrium among them. Madam Ruan had not been able to do that which is why she had lost.
“I don’t want tonight……” He whispered a sentence right next to her ear.
Here? Ruan Zhu glanced at their surroundings. There was nothing near Shui Xie Ark to cover them–not even a shrub! She shook her head and grabbed some Seven Skills pastry to throw into her hubby’s mouth. The tip of her finger lightly tapped his nose: “It’s broad daylight so be a little more well-behaved for me. No touching lest we give the passing servants a topic to gossip about.”
Min Zhi swallowed the pastry and then closed his mouth around the delicate finger, barely mumbling: “It’s still Zhu’er‘s finger that’s delicious. Much more tasty than a pastry.” Binding his arms around her, he turned them over so that he was pressing on her from above and taking in his wife’s quiet and exquisite appearance: “Zhu’er, what happens if I want to touch?”
Ruan Zhu could feel a hardness pressing against her lower half and lowered her voice: “Min Zhi, why is your appetite still not satisfied? Didn’t you already ask for it yesterday?” Last night, the four men had gotten together and thoroughly tossed her until the middle of the night. At the time, she had been so tired that her body felt extremely limp and painful but now that she was reflecting on it, her heart felt full from the sweetness of being tenderly loved by her husbands.
“Zhu’er, I only want to do it with you one-on-one. Besides, wasn’t your first time with Nuan Chun here?”
He had actually peeped! Ruan Zhu was annoyed: “That was among the lotuses so it doesn’t count.”
“Let us also go among the lotuses.”
The season had already entered the sixth lunar month and the lotuses had all completely opened. White that was pure white; pink that was a light pink; red that was a romantic red–the innumerable blooms stood tall within the jade pond while the faint breeze brushed by like a fluttering, light muslin.
Min Zhi carried his wife into a small boat. He unhurriedly moved the oars, slowly sliding them into the lotuses.
The lotus leaves were much taller than the water surface and they were as dense as a deep forest, spreading out in layers among layers, tightly encircling the two people in the center. Min Zhi first undressed his wife before removing his own clothes. In the afterglow of the setting sun, they carefully looked at each other’s bodies.
Min Zhi held his breath as he stared at his wife’s beautiful and seductive **. Turning her around, he then held her tight……He liked this position because he could use his body to completely envelop hers and he could also touch the places he was most fascinated with.
He lowered his head to kiss her full earlobe. Both hands wrapping around her front to prop her prominent breasts, he slowly teased them, fingers pinching each bud and lightly pulling.
“Lighter……it hurts……” She cried out, but her voice was coquettish and more resembled one in pleasure.
“Zhu’er……” He groaned her name.
“Nn……Lord Husband……what do you want to say?”
“I want to eat you……”
“Ai……then why haven’t you kneeled……”
Min Zhi fell down on both knees before his wife. She slightly leaned, using her hands to support and push over her full and soft mounds……His mouth opened and immediately closed around a bud, lips moving as he took in the taste of her body into his stomach.
Her starry eyes were half-closed and both her hands were wrapped around his neck. Why did her husbands love to chase after her chest like a little child? But she liked them acting like that as every time it happened, a sort of maternal love rose up within her.
With the exception of the two Yun brothers, her other four men all had lonely childhoods and had experienced innumerable bumps on their roads in life.
She sensed from their emotions and knew from experience that they all longed to be pampered and spoiled by their mothers. If it could make them happy, she didn’t mind acting as their joint ‘mother.’ Actually, her childhood was also a little tragic so at the same time that she doted on them, she also sort of considered them to be like a father or an older brother.
She and her loved ones were actually all pitiful children who had suffered. But it was because they had experienced pain and hardship that they were more able to value the feeling of being cherished.
She lowered her head to look at her husband that was still sucking milk. This healthy man, who always gave her an impression of being like a steep mountain summit, endured everything silently and was cunning, yet also treated her with enthusiasm and with the most possible care.
Even if she had to pitch in a little bit of hard work to return his love, it was nothing. She only wanted him to be happy from it, and what’s more, she didn’t lose out at all. Every time her man demanded some love, he never forgot to satisfy her.
Min Zhi had his fill of tasting his wife’s upper half but still wasn’t content. Spreading out their clothes on the boat, he carefully pushed her down so she was facing upwards and then lowered his head again to taste her bottom half.
[a] Du Fu was previously mentioned and this poem is called 槐叶冷淘 Floating Fern Cold Noodles. I butchered the translation but I tried.