☆ Chapter 107
Ruan Zhu was also deeply worried and sick at heart. Calling over some eunuchs to remove the food on the table and exchange them for some fresh and gourmet ones, she invited Madam Yun to take a seat. Nuan Chun stood by her side in attendance and used a small plate to select delicious and inviting dishes and desserts and placed it before them.
“Nuan Chun, there’s no need for this. You’re probably also hungry since it’s this late so take some to eat in the heated room!”
If it was like normal, Ruan Zhu could let him take a seat so they could have the meal together, but this was not possible with a guest present as it would seem she didn’t respect the guest.
Her husbands all had their own careers and there was usually only Nuan Chun who devotedly stayed by her side. The feelings she felt towards him naturally didn’t need to be said.
“Cough cough, Nuan Chun, since your mistress has allowed you to eat, then just do as you were instructed. In any case, I am not an outsider so why have any qualms, hmm?” Madam Yun really liked this daughter-in-law of hers that also had the status of an imperial consort. Since the birth of a princess in the Yun clan, which relative–close and distant–didn’t look upon them with more esteem? She often secretly harped to Master Yun about how the Yun clan that had been commoner-born for so many generations was now even the emperor’s relatives.
“Eldest Miss, I am not hungry and will wait until you have finished to eat in the kitchen.” Today was not the same as other days. Master was returning and Eldest Miss’s mother-in-law was also present; he could not cause any inconveniences.
“I really can’t do anything about you. You’re truly sweet and devoted, hmm?” Ruan Zhu spoke, seemingly out of helplessness and praise.
“Now that your father has returned home after a long journey, I wonder if he had come across Shi Yi while traveling?” Madam Yun ate two bites of rice but her mood turned sour upon thinking of Ruan Zi Xu, and she started to grumble: “It has also been two years since Shi Yi, that child, left home and even now, there has not been a single letter. Shi Wei also headed to the battlefield to fight against the rebels over three years ago. I do not even know how the two brothers are now after having left our home for so long. I have heard there are many bandits on the seas who specialize in looting merchant ships. It would be best if nothing happens.”
After speaking for a spell, Madam Yun suddenly lost her appetite, tears silently dripping.
Ruan Zhu put down her chopsticks. It was like her stomach had been plugged with an enormous stone. Every night, when all was silent and slumbering, that was the time when she felt especially melancholy. The swan goose flies far but not past the light; the ichthyosaur dives through water but remains stationary.
The swan goose who sends letters is capable of flying far away, but it cannot follow the moonlight towards the one it longs for. The ichthyosaur can dive far into the ocean but it cannot swim to be next to their beloved’s side and could only stir up ripples upon the water’s surface.
The two Yun brothers were the ones who had continuously been at her side ever since she had first transmigrated into this period. Shi Yi’s affection, Shi Yi’s warmth, Shi Yi’s careful attentiveness, Shi Yi’s steady earnestness like a lofty mountain……they always caused her imagination to roam and after waking up from her midnight dreams, she could never help but to become disappointed and frustrated as if she had lost something.
“Mother doesn’t need to worry. Eldest Cousin’s fleet is being protected by the navy so nothing will happen.” She could only console Madam Yun this way.
The year Shi Yi left, Zong Zhi had provided the accompanying navy with a new type of catapult, gunpowder, and five hundred large crossbows that could fire off three hundred arrows at once. The navy’s arms and personnel had all been carefully selected. Who knew how much stronger they were compared to neighboring countries, much less a few pirates in the seas.
In terms of safety, Ruan Zhu didn’t need to worry about her husband staying safe. Perhaps a few accidents may crop up because of the stormy sea, but the fleet was made up of several dozen ships so there was always the strong possibility of assistance and rescue.
Madam Yun was still shedding tears: “Since he was born, Shi Yi has always been one who causes no trouble and is very capable. Shi Wei is sincere and honest and can be a little rash at times. But they are my firstborn children, and I have even higher expectations of them than of the other children.”
Right as she said that, Xing Yun dashed inside, beaming as he shouted: “He’s returned, niang niang, he’s returned! He’s currently in the front courtyard and rushing here, but this small one ran over first to give niang niang the good news.”
“Father’s back!” Ruan Zhu was stunned. She hadn’t expected Ruan Zi Xu’s return to be this sudden. Springing up in joy like a little girl, she blurted: “Xing Yun, quickly go report this to the Second Miss. Don’t let her heart continue to be taut with worry. Oh right, also carry Yu Ze over to let Papa also share in the joy.”
She had not forgotten that Ruan Zi Xu had always been worried about the heir of the Ruan clan so on the day she had given birth to the twins, she didn’t wait for the emperor to bestow names. She went ahead and gave the second son the Ruan clan’s surname, planning on giving him a temporary name and then have Ruan Zi Xu settle on another once he returned.
“Eldest brother is back.” Madam Yun cried out and headed outside with a lift of her legs. The forty-year-old woman was still very nimble and exited the hall in an instant.
“Niang niang, this small one has not yet said the one that returned was Master Yun, ah!” Stunned, Xing Yun scratched his head, but Ruan Zhu had already followed Madam Yun out of the hall, not hearing his words at all.
The mother-in-law and daughter-in-law pair passed through the reception pavilion and ran into a person on the promenade.
That individual was a young and full-bodied general with an imposing build, bronzed skin, sword-like eyebrows, lively and bright eyes, and sharp facial features. His entire being appeared majestic with a black brocade cloak draped across his shoulders that gave him an immense aura and extraordinary bearing. The four soldiers behind him were similarly muscular and followed him with stern and respectful expressions.
As soon as Ruan Zhu’s eyes caught sight of the person, she couldn’t help but to tremble all over. Eldest Cousin! She silently repeated that appellation. This face that didn’t appear in her dreams–for it to suddenly appear before her was really inconceivable.
The young general’s eyes first lingered on Ruan Zhu before he then kneeled in front of Madam Yun and formally paid his respects: “Esteemed Mother, this son Shi Wei has returned to see you.”
Madam Yun strode over and supported her son up before suddenly bursting into tears and hitting her son’s shoulders: “You heartless thing. Upon leaving, you do so for so many years without returning and have caused Mother and Father’s hearts to break with worry.”
It was Shi Wei, not Shi Yi. The two brothers were twins with nearly identical appearances. She had unexpectedly mistook them and momentarily couldn’t tell whether she felt joy, disappointment, sweetness or bitterness……All sorts of emotions twisted in her heart!
Lost in thought, Ruan Zhu forgot to walk over and stared blankly at the youthful general.
“Haha, haven’t I returned now?” Yun Shi Wei goofily grinned but he swept a glance at his budding wife.
“You child, why did you not even send someone to deliver some news and instead returned home from out of nowhere?”
“Hasn’t this given Mother a pleasant surprise?”
“You hothead! Already a general but still do things so impatiently. You deserve to be hit.”
Madam Yun hammered her son again and pulled him into the main hall, nagging endlessly. Because her mother-in-law was present, it wasn’t right for Ruan Zhu to butt in so she quietly steeped tea and poured it for the two people, regardless of his burning gaze. Finished with that, she then silently sat by the side, playing the role of an obedient and intelligent daughter-in-law.
Madam Yun spoke of what had happened at home these past few years; spoke of how after Shi Yi had left, she herself had managed the stores; spoke of how Master Ruan had returned to Tian Chu but had disappeared. As a filial son, Yun Shi Wei continued to listen to his mother’s chatter, though his face became more and more absent-minded while his eyes peeked, from time to time, at his wife that was sitting on the sofa.
Madam Yun had long noticed her son’s movements and lamented how once one had a daughter-in-law, the mother would be forgotten.
But it was no good for her to become angry. First of all, she was unwilling to hurt her son’s heart and secondly, it wouldn’t be good to express it against her daughter-in-law.
She would have previously dared to impose a mother-in-law’s might before, but now, she didn’t even dare to think of it. Just solely visiting Guan Ju Villa and seeing the two Princes made her heart tremble. Her daughter-in-law truly was skilled to receive concubines that were each more outstanding than the other. To ordinary people, there was very little discrepancy between the imperial Xuanyuan clan and the immortals and gods in the nine layers of Heaven.
“Aiya, look at how Ma monopolized you with our chat. Quickly go look at your wife!” Madam Yun patted his thigh and pushed her son up.
Yun Shi Wei stopped in front of his wife. The thousands of words in his mouth turned into a fixed stare……He abruptly picked her up and steadily headed towards Yi Zu Cottage, not caring at all that they were in the presence of his mother and the several soldiers he had brought with him.
Although he hadn’t returned in several years, Yun Shi Wei still knew the villa like the back of his hand. Passing through the long promenade, they wound around a flower wall and crossed a bridge. Underneath the bridge was a jade pond that rippled with waves from the wind.
After crossing the bridge, they reached Yi Zhu Cottage. It was a building constructed among the trees and flowers with a blazing double phoenix and morning sun motif carved onto the entrance. With his right hand carrying his wife, Yun Shi Wei pushed open the door with his left to enter the hall and directly turned towards the bedroom on the left-hand side.
He removed his shoes and then stepped onto the long, woolen carpet, walking towards the bed to place her on top of the brocade-covered large bed.
Ruan Zhu raised her bright eyes towards her lover that had just returned from afar. Tears of endless joy blurred her vision: “Second Cousin, welcome home.”
“Spouse, Zhu Zhu, I always thought of you in my dreams. Have you been doing well these past few years?” Yun Shi Wei’s arms had never moved from their position around his wife and remained on her body to take in her beauty. He suddenly lowered his head to kiss her.
Ruan Zhu held him close as she returned his kiss, using her enthusiasm and passion to celebrate her husband’s long-awaited return. The previously immature youth now gave her a steady strength, like a kind of manly flavor.
Yun Shi Wei continued to kiss his wife for a very long time, only releasing her lips when he noticed her chest kept moving up and down and she had difficulty breathing. He saw that her mouth had become swollen from their kiss but it only added to her alluring appeal. He chuckled. “Spouse, I thought you would have forgotten me because we had been separated for too long.”
“You are my Lord, our family’s Second, and also Zhi Xi’s uncle and Second Concubine-Father. Look at how many titles you have. Even if I forget someone, I can’t forget about you.”
The words were playful, but Yun Shi Wei felt great after hearing them.
He pushed his hand inside her collar to play with the soft mounds that he hadn’t had the chance to touch for a long time, softly sighing. Milk dribbled out onto his rough fingers and he placed them into his mouth for a taste. His eyes couldn’t help but to narrow: “En, Zhu’er still tastes as delicious as before.”
Ruan Zhu understood. He most likely couldn’t control his physical desire and normally, she would perform a wife’s duties. But at this time, her mother-in-law was still in Guan Ju Villa and no one knew when her father would return. As the mistress of this residence, how could she duck into her bedroom in broad daylight with her husband to ooxx?
The lapel of her flowy pink gauze top was pushed aside by a large hand, exposing two plump hills that were like trembling cotton balls. The two vermilion points were particularly captivating……Yun Shi Wei’s breath hitched and he pushed his head forward to suck on one of them.
She shivered all over from the contact, both eyes fluttering shut: “We can’t.”
Yun Shi Wei understood what his wife was thinking and pressed kiss after kiss on her chest for a good while before lifting his head and straightening her collar: “Spouse, I’ll let you go but you must properly accompany me tonight.”
Ruan Zhu suddenly felt gratified. Second Cousin had truly matured, becoming steadier and knowing when to restrain himself. “I will definitely make you happy.” She laughed, hooking both her arms around his neck.
Her second cousin was just as sturdy as in the past and his chest was just as warm and just as firm.
“Zhu Zhu, being able to be together with you is truly nice.”
It was like Yun Shi Wei had received a precious treasure as he continued to hold his wife while strolling around the room. It was in the manner of holding a baby with one hand on top and one hand on bottom. After all of these years, he still didn’t often use the princess carry to hold her.
But Ruan Zhu very much enjoyed this position and wrapped her arms tightly around his neck.