☆ Chapter 112
儿 | er | (lit. child) diminutive marker used as a form of endearment
Yun Shi Yi felt as if he was in a dream. To him, living abroad these past few years had caused the yearning he felt towards her to penetrate deep into his marrow. “Nn……darling……just like that……exactly this feeling……” In the years that he had left her, he hadn’t experienced this once. Of course, there were other methods to resolve the issue, but no matter which one, it would all blaspheme her.
He hugged her head, pushing himself towards her mouth……
She devotedly kneeled before him, lifting her head to see his dark eyes were half-closed, his expression bewitched……At this moment, she only wanted him to be happy, so she took him in even deeper. She could feel him entering her throat, throbbing.
“Nn……Wife, this husband cannot wait any longer.” Yun Shi Yi roughly gasped for air and pried open her small mouth, removing his own member. Before she even had time to react, he pushed her down and in a few movements, stripped her of her clothing.
In the past, Yun Shi Yi was very gentle and always considerate in bed. But after restraining himself for so many years, he had become insane for the first time and only wanted to desperately have her. “Eldest Cousin!” She was a little panicked, but at the next second, her body had been flipped over so that her chest was towards the bed while her back was to him.
She dizzily felt a stiff thing entering her, and as soon as it did, it slowly started twitching. But he seemed to have taken her enjoyment into account. One hand slid towards her front, looking for her sensitive spot and lightly fiddled with it. A mere while later, his fingertips were completely wet and delicate moans started to trickle from underneath the broad man.
“Wife, this husband will move now.” He lowly notified her, wanting her to make preparations.
“Nn……Lord Husband……okay……” She propped herself on her two arms and raised her butt extremely high, allowing him to demand anything he wanted from her. The thrusting staff inside her became even more enthusiastic.
A short moment later, her entire body shuddered and an incomprehensible pleasure spread through her. She screamed: “Eldest Cousin, I……I’m coming!”
But it was like the man behind her hadn’t heard at all. He clutched her buttocks and his movements became more hurried. Very quickly, she heard his yells and a large gob of scalding liquid flowed inside her.
But he hadn’t stopped his movements and was still thrusting.
He had vented his feelings twice but still tightly held and pierced her, as if wanting to recover the beauty he had missed out on these past few years.
But she no longer had the strength to respond to him. Her upper body was entirely pasted to the bed and only her derriere was arched up high. She felt extremely tired and both her legs also had lost feeling. She had no choice but to pitifully wail: “Eldest Cousin, my……my legs are numb.”
“Oh……Wife……one more time, just one more time……” Yun Shi Yi then flipped her over, placing her two slender legs on his broad shoulders. Supporting her buttocks, he continued to thrust, only stopping once the fiery liquid inside him had been released.
Gasping for breath, he looked down at her body, his face filled with happiness. “My lovely wife, I have troubled you. You must be exhausted?”
“Although I’m tired, I’m very happy.” Ruan Zhu whispered her response, but her red face gave her away. Even though she felt as if her body was falling apart with four limp limbs and her legs unable to close, she didn’t feel any pain or soreness at all and even felt a kind of unprecedented pleasure.
He held her as he laid down on the bed, giving her a full body massage with his fingers finding her acupuncture points. After a while, she felt much better and softly recited: “After separation–we meet in memory; my soul dreams of embracing my Lord. Tonight–I clutch a silver light, fearing reunion is but only a dream.”[a]
Ever since our parting, I have always missed you so much. How many times have I dreamt that my soul was with you? Tonight, I looked even more closely with my silver lamp, afraid that our meeting is also fantasy.
When she had first recited this poem, she had felt there was a kind of melancholy beauty to it. But at the time, she hadn’t ever experienced the pain of being parted from one’s lover. Now, she understood, and reciting the poem made her nose feel sour. Thinking about how he hadn’t been by her side these past few years, she felt especially grieved.
“Eldest Cousin, don’t leave me anymore.” She laid in his arms, her entire body feeling warm and cozy. The feeling he gave her was one that the other five men could never provide. “Do you understand? Just like what you said originally–No matter how many men I have, you are the most important one. It really is like that. Maybe you’ve put a spell on me but no one can ever take your place.”
“Silly girl. Originally, I was even scared and on edge, but hearing you say this, I feel reassured.” He pulled her closer and smiled. Just like before whenever he was happy, he used his finger to gently tap her nose.
“Eldest Cousin, Papa returned from Persia and caught wind of your news. He said you had gone to Da Qin–did you really go there?”
“I did. We only arrived after traveling quite a bit and it was not easy. But Da Qin was not nearly as beautiful nor prosperous as I had imagined. On the contrary, it was very disordered–extremely impoverished and backwards. Some areas that we passed along our way could even be considered primitive. The people did not wear clothing and lived like the early savages. It was only after I left that I realized Tian Chu was the most affluent country and the world’s paradise.”
This was indeed correct. Ruan Zhu was familiar with history and was clear on this.
At night, over a thousand years ago, cities all over the world were pitch black, and only the cities of China were brilliantly lit. At night, over a thousand years ago, cities all over the world were covered in silence, and only the cities in China moved with the streams of its people, filled with their songs and laughter. A thousand years ago, how big was the disparity between the rest of the world? Over a thousand years ago, there was only China that had major cities exceeding over a million inhabitants.
In the eleventh century, the largest cities in Europe were the United Kingdom’s London, France’s Paris, and Italy’s Venice and Florence, but the population in these cities were merely in the ten thousand range. In contrast, China’s capital had 1.5 million civilians. Over a thousand years ago, China had six cities with populations over two hundred thousand and forty-six cities over one hundred thousand.
Over a thousand years ago, the disparity between the rest of the world and China was not only a little gap, nor was it double or several-fold more. A thousand years ago, China was far ahead of the rest of the world.
“Our Tian Chu’s silk, porcelain, tea, and mirrors can be sold outside for sky-high prices. When I arrived in Da Qin, a bolt of average silk could even be sold for over a thousand gold coins. Zhu’er, do you know of gold coins? It is what the Westerners use as money, with decorative motifs on both sides.”
Ruan Zhu nodded her head. In order to wear the gorgeous silk that came from the East, the ancient European nobles would cruelly force their slaves to perform the most arduous tasks.
The ancient Europeans did not know how to manufacture porcelain. They only had the very primitive pottery. Upon seeing China’s white jade-like chinaware, they were all surprised by its beauty. Until the Qing dynasty, every time there was a feast and porcelain was used to entertain the guests, the host would assign a servant to each guest, but in all honesty, it was to prevent the visitors from pilfering the dishes.
“Each item I brought with me could be sold for exorbitant prices, and on our return, the dozen or so large ships were filled with the Westerners’ gold coins, seeds, and also the books that you had previously instructed me to bring back–astronomy, science and technology, agriculture and farming, economics, and mathematics. Every time I landed in a new country, I especially collected books on these subjects. Because I did not understand their language, I also brought back a group of translators.”
“Were those translators willing to leave their homelands?”
“I gave them generous offers and allowed them to bring their families along. Quite a few of them were also bought as slaves.” Yun Shi Yi smiled. He had not forgotten he was a merchant of low birth status, which is why he had paid more attention to the interest of his country. He wanted to make everyone clearly understand that merchants did not only chase after money; merchants could also serve their country and its people. “Based on the profits I have earned this time, I will be paying enough taxes to equal several years worth of what Tian Chu receives. I also intend to use my money to build a thousand free schools in Tian Chu.”
Ruan Zhu’s eyes glistened: “Your idea is wonderful. We are already quite wealthy and having more money is of no importance to us. It is truly best to use the money in exchange for improving environment and reputation.”
“Zhu’er, I brought back chili seeds from Tian Zhu and many beautiful sapphires from Persia for you. En route to Da Qin, I had to detour south for thousands of miles. I took my people to a very primitive land. You surely do not know this, but the people there have such dark skin, like the bottom of pots. With the exception of their white eyes and teeth, they are entirely black. But that area is rich in a particular kind of beautiful gemstone that shines brilliantly with a dazzling light. I brought back quite a few. Once we return, I will show you; you will most definitely like them.”
Ruan Zhu’s large and delicate eyes were filled with a smile. My God! This fool, it was very possible he had reached South Africa and obtained their diamonds. The diamonds of South Africa were famous all over the world. In her past life, she had seen some before in a mall and had truly gasped at their beauty. But she hadn’t had the courage to take a second glance as the attendant’s eyes had been disdainful, causing her to not dare linger.
Yun Shi Yi and his wife continued to stay in the boat, drifting along with the current. They lived contently on Lan River like spending a honeymoon, completely forgetting the outside world and the many things that needed to be done.
Guan Ju Villa.
Zong Zhi’s cold face was turned towards Yun Shi Wei, angry that he hadn’t brought their wife back. As for Min Zhi, his face had long cooled until it was like a block of ice. Jing Yan sat to the side, especially furious towards Yun Shi Wei’s nonchalant attitude.
Nuan Chun kept silent. As long as it was something his mistress wanted to do, he would support her.
Zong Zhi no longer glared at Yun Shi Wei and asked everyone: “Who went to the wharf the day the ships arrived in port?”
Everyone shook their heads. What would they go to the wharf for? And, none of them knew Zhu’er would be present that day. The old couple in the Yun manor seemed to have gone to look for their son, but by the time they arrived, Yun Shi Yi had long disappeared.
Zhi Xi sat next to Zong Zhi and the little child that was like an adult said: “Grandfather and Grandmother went, and I also went too. Uncle Nuan Chun took me there, but I didn’t see Father and didn’t see Mother either as we arrived late. Third Concubine-Father, don’t be so anxious. Mother won’t throw us away. She said the earth was round so no matter which direction one goes, one could always return home.”
Zong Zhi stroked his head, warmth in his voice: “Your mother tells a good story but you must not speak these words outside lest you are mocked by others for being ignorant.”
Zhi Xi blinked: “I think what Mother said is reasonable. Mother says the earth rotates around the sun, not the other way around. While the earth circles around the sun, it continues to rotate, which is why we have the four seasons and day and night. Mother also said that when I grow up to be as big as Father, I can travel across the entire earth by ship and confirm everything for myself.”
Zong Zhi gaped at him, not knowing what was best to say. To him, the words Zhi Xi just spoke of were outrageous.
“Mother also said the ancients were much smarter and understood the concept of ‘acting in a way that defeats one’s purpose.’ They purposely went to search for the truth themselves while the people of today only know how to use their ancestors’ works to describe situations and don’t analyze many reasonable arguments. On the contrary, they mock those who do. That is truly the behavior of fools who do not wish to see growth.”
Sweat dripped down from Zong Zhi’s temples. Look at him–what kind of woman had he married? All kinds of strange and absurd arguments could be put so clearly and concisely by her.
“Third Concubine-Father, you don’t believe Mother?” Zhi Xi was disappointed. He had always worshiped his mother and believed she understood everything. Even if his mother’s head was sometimes a little muddled and her memory was also not too good, she understood many things that others did not.
“Even if your Third Father does not believe, your Fourth Father does.” Min Zhi stood up and picked up Zhi Xi: “When Zhi Xi grows up, the three of us–you, your mother, and I–will personally go see if this world is round. However, I believe your Mother, so let’s tentatively consider the earth as round.”
“Fourth Concubine-Father is the best.” Zhi Xi cheered. But after saying that, his brows wrinkled and he added after pondering a bit: “Second Concubine-Father and Third Concubine-Father are also good, Fifth Concubine-Father is also good, and so is Uncle Nuan Chun.”
Min Zhi scratched his nose: “Look at you, unwilling to offend anyone.”
Disdain seeped from Zong Zhi’s eyes: “You actually intend to travel the entire earth by ship?”
The corner of Min Zhi’s mouth curved into a perfect arc and in a graceful manner, he easily responded: “I am only following our wife. Wherever she goes, I go. She better not think of abandoning me.”
Yun Shi Wei chuckled: “If that day really comes to pass, count me in. I can resign from the post of deputy of the Privy Council as long as it continues to be a golden age. I am merely an insignificant general and my presence or lack thereof won’t have any impact on the situation.”
Jing Yan stood up: “Practically each experiment at the Ministry of Agriculture has achieved satisfactory results. Grafts have been done between horned melon and cucumber; pear trees and apple trees; and apples and grapes. Fruit production has increased, they are more resistant to diseases and pests, and the flavor has also improved. Rice fields have also achieved the result of yielding four dan per paddy. When the imperial court saw the benefits, they vigorously supported the plantation industry and a large group of talented individuals emerged. The current Ministry of Agriculture no longer needs me. Although as a man I should have a grand career for my wife and children, I currently desire to have some time off to enjoy life.”
Min Zhi threw Zong Zhi a taunting glance: “As for you, if you still want to be heir apparent, then straighten your mind; don’t let your imagination run wild. You can’t entirely possess both the country and the beauty.”
Zong Zhi snorted: “When have I ever said I desired to be the heir apparent? If you like it, you should have the position instead.”
Min Zhi didn’t even spare him a glance: “Power and wealth are the same as dung to me. If I coveted those things, I would have long gone to assume position of Duke at Nan Ling. Would there have been a need for old man Sima to beat his chest and stamp his feet every damn day?”
Half a month later, Yun Shi Yi returned to Guan Ju Villa with Ruan Zhu.
Several years later, at the Lan River wharf, ten large ships lined up one by one and left the harbor in succession, sailing towards the open seas. On a luxurious and enormous ship was Yun Shi Yi and Ruan Zhu, in addition to her five husbands and children……
This time, they intended to circle around the entire world.
** The end. After this, I’ll write two extras to present their married lives many years after.
[a] This is the second half in 《鹧鸪天·彩袖殷勤捧玉钟》《Partridge Sky·Bright Sleeves Politely Cupping a Jade Goblet》 by the Song poet 晏几道 Yan Ji Dao. The first part is of their meeting, while the second part is of longing.
TN: The end of the main story! There’s actually seven extras and I’ll get them up as soon as they’re done.