Reborn After Widowhood – Chapter 13
Chao Yue looked at the fire in the stove and asked Zhu’er to keep an eye on it. She wiped her hands and walked out of the kitchen.
The drizzle was still falling, a little denser than in the early morning.
She picked up the umbrella placed by the door, opened it, and walked towards the central house in small steps.
Chao Yun wiped all the rooms except for the inner and side room, and was so busy that her face turned red and her cheeks were sweating. When she saw her sister appearing at the door, she made a silent gesture, and then walked over with a copper basin. The two maids sat on a small bench and whispered under the eaves.
Chao Yue glanced in the direction of the inner room worriedly: “Princess hasn’t woken up yet? The porridge in the pot has been cook for so long, it’s almost getting thick.”
Chao Yun smiled, picked up the towel from the copper basin, and wiped her face first.
Her complexion was fair, but at this time it was a little blue under her eyes.
Chao Yue was concerned about her again: “You didn’t sleep last night, right?”
Chao Yun nodded.
There used to be four senior maids around the princess. When they were in the capital, the four of them took turns to keep night watch. Now only she and Chao Yue came to Lingzhou. Chao Yue was tired enough from being responsible for three meals a day, so the matter of keeping night watch was completely handed over to Chao Yun. Chao Yue had not been on night watch for so long, and coupled with the fact that the princess and prince consort were not diligent in that aspect when they were in the capital, so it was naturally difficult to guess the truth.
Considering that the prince consort was still in mourning, Chao Yun hesitated for a while and decided to hide the matter, not even telling her good sister who would never reveal the secret.
Just thinking about the noise she heard last night made Chao Yun’s face feel hot.
Suddenly, a clear ringing sound came from the room.
The princess has wake up!
The two maids looked at each other, Chao Yue went back to the kitchen to prepare breakfast, and asked Zhu’er to go to the water room to bring water, while Chao Yun entered the inner room with a pot of tea.
After putting down the teapot, Chao Yun came to Babu bed and skillfully lifted up the outer gauze curtain.
Hua Yang lay weakly on her back, lazily unable to exert any energy.
She looked at Chao Yun, then at the closed carved window in the distance.
The light outside the window was dim, and Hua Yang was a little confused: “Is it dusk?”
She vaguely remembered that Chen Jingzong wanted to hug her when he got up in the morning. After she chased him away, she fell asleep again. Could it be that she had slept all day?
Chao Yun smiled and said: “It’s just Sishi (9-11 am), but it’s raining and the house is dark.”
Hua Yang understood and asked again: “Where is Prince Consort?”
Chao Yun’s face became slightly complicated: “Prince Consort went to the garden. He was not afraid of the rain, saying that he wanted to take advantage of the cool weather today to finish all the remaining work.”
How could there be such prince consort? After all, he was also the fourth young master of Cabinet Elder, but he behaved like a servant doing menial work and was not particular at all.
The princess screamed like that last night. Could it be that prince consort was also torturing the princess using the methods of those country villager?
Thinking of this, Chao Yun looked at her master with concern.
It was hot summer day, so Hua Yang put on the thinnest middle coat. The thin brocade was like cicada wings, especially on the shoulders and arms, which could not hide the fragrant skin.
Chao Yun only glanced at it and found several bruises.
Her face turned pale and it was difficult to hide it.
Hua Yang followed her gaze to her shoulder, but there was no surprise, and after a short period of calm, she said casually: “I’m thirsty, bring me a cup of tea.”
Chao Yun had no choice but to pour the tea first.
Hua Yang slowly sat up.
While she was drinking tea, Chao Yun saw more traces. She couldn’t bear it anymore and asked with a tearful voice: “Princess, did Prince Consort bully you?”
If prince consort dares to torture the princess, she will risk her life to return to the capital and complain to the emperor and empress!
Hua Yang looked at her distressed and gritted expression, and said with a smile: “He wouldn’t dare.”
When she asked Chen Jingzong to turn around and hug her last night, she was already prepared to be “taken advantage” by him. Anyway, as long as she was sober, she would never let Chen Jingzong succeed like last time and risked ruining her body by eating twowithin three months.
And Chen Jingzong did not disappoint her. No matter how greedy he was, he would not dare to go against her will.
Chao Yun wiped her eyes and saw that the princess smiled dignifiedly and calmly, so she believed that the princess really did not suffer. Then she recalled the sounds she heard last night…
Chao Yun, who had never experienced the intimacy between men and women, suddenly understood a little bit what was going on. It was probably like being bitten by a mosquito, it hurt but feel good when you scratch it hard.
Hua Yang took a comfortable warm bath. After having “breakfast”, she sat by the open carved window, shaking her fan while enjoying the rain.
In her memory, this light rain should not last long, followed by a scorching summer for more than a month. Everyone was looking forward to the rain to cool off, but when the rain did come, it was a heavy rain. It rained continuously for three days and three nights.
The heavy rain continued until noon of the next day. The river section south of Shiqiao Town finally swelled up under the monitoring of the people. The river water swept up sediment and branches from upstream down towards the town. The water even reached several low-lying households, and the owner had no choice but to take his family to move quickly.
This was a flash flood.
When the flood spread to most of the town and the rain showed no sign of weakening, father-in-law made a decision to lead the people in town to move to the mountain behind.
According to local people, there were small floods here every few years, and the floods would recede when the rain stopped. Fortunately, the mountain behind have never collapsed or landslides, so whenever the town encountered a flood, the people would go to the mountain to take shelter temporarily and wait for the rain to recede before coming down again.
The common people were not surprised, and few were really afraid. However, Hua Yang experienced this for the first time in her previous life. She really felt that the sky was about to collapse! When being carried up the mountain by Chen Jingzong, she looked at the muddy water that almost flooded the entire town’s streets, and her mind was filled with terrifying image that sooner or later the flood would rush to her feet and engulf her.
She originally disliked Chen Jingzong, and then she encountered such great danger because she followed him to Lingzhou. When Chen Jingzong finally put her in a safe place, Hua Yang looked at him as if he were an enemy.
When the flood finally receded, although Chen House did not suffered major disaster, the courtyard was still covered with mud. Watching the maids around her busy cleaning up, Hua Yang felt more and more unbearable.
During those two years in Lingzhou, Hua Yang thought she had experienced all the pain in the world. Not being able to eat well or sleeping well, bugs would appear at any time, and even deadly natural disasters.
Of course she knew that there were still many poor people in the world suffering from hunger and cold, but she could not understand them without seeing them, and she only regarded her own suffering as the worst.
It wasn’t until Chen Jingzong died on the battlefield, becoming the first person around her to die unexpectedly, and until she witnessed the grief of everyone in the Chen family, that Hua Yang understood that when other soldiers sacrificed their lives, what their relatives and friends would endure.
That was the first time that Hua Yang personally felt the heaviness hidden under the simple words “victory and defeat” in war.
It wasn’t until Chen Bozong died unjustly in prison, and she witnessed other members of the Chen family walking away in despair in the cold and snow wearing thin prison clothes, that Hua Yang understood that the so-called suffering she had experienced was nothing at all.
When she was reborn at eighteen years old, Hua Yang was still Hua Yang. The Hua Yang who would never wrong herself if conditions allowed. But she had more experiences from her previous life, and she no longer found the small Siyi Hall unbearable, no longer felt that Chen Jingzong had no merit, and no longer afraid of the upcoming flash flood, which may seem terrifying but actually did not cause any casualties.
On the contrary, she wanted to use this flash flood to expose Qi shi‘s greed in advance.
The East House embezzled 120,000 taels of silver, most of which was collected after father-in-law was promoted to Chief Minister, but there were also more than 20,000 taels received before father-in-law became the Chief Minister.
In other words, that account book had already existed. When the flash flood come and everyone in the Chen family take their wealth to evacuate, Qi shi would definitely bring that account book with her!
But Hua Yang just knew that the account book was in Qi shi’s hand, and she still needed someone to be “a thief”!
Chen Jingzong was her perfect choice.
After one month and five days, Chen Jingzong finally completed the garden!
The ground was covered with pebbles, with several bluestone paths crisscrossing it. Bamboo and maple trees were dug from the mountains, and several clusters of peonies came from a rich family in town who like to grow flower. Only the set of stone tables and benches needed to send people to purchase first in Lingzhou city.
The light rain fell very timely. The bamboos and maples in the garden were green, and even though most of the peonies had withered, there were still a few buds hanging with dewdrops.
That evening, Hua Yang came to the garden to enjoy the flowers and met Sun shi and her two sisters-in-laws.
Luo Yuyan, who was already eight months pregnant, had a more obvious belly. She had a delicate face and held Sun shi’s arm affectionately while commenting on the scenery. The eldest sister-in-law Yu Xiu was not good at words and followed two steps behind.
“The Princess is here!”
Seeing Hua Yang, Sun shi smiled even more lovingly.
Luo Yuyan pursed her lips and let go of her hand knowingly.
No matter how sweet her mouth was, no matter how much she acted coquettishly in front of her mother-in-law, in her eyes, not to mention her and Yu Xiu, even her biological sons may not be able to surpass Hua Yang.
“Mom is here to enjoy the flowers too?” Hua Yang walked to her mother-in-law and said with a smile.
Sun shi smiled: “Yes, Old Four usually looks rough, but I didn’t expect him to fix the garden so well. I think there’s no need to alter anything, just leave it like this.”
Hua Yang looked around. Considering the current conditions of Chen House, this garden was indeed very good.
Luo Yuyan knew that her identity was not as good as Hua Yang, even when she was filial to her mother-in-law, she found herself overshadowed by Hua Yang because of her identity. She felt uncomfortable and touched her belly. With a smile on her face, she interjected: “Mom used to always regret that Fourth Brother couldn’t study and have to take the path of military attaché. Now you see, practicing martial arts has its own merit too. Look at how capable Fourth Brother is. He can do so many things by himself without getting tired. Unlike his Third Brother, who followed Father to farm for two days and ended up with sore back.”
This dynasty attached more importance to civil official. Luo Yuyan’s words seemed to be admiring Chen Jingzong, but in fact she was showing off that her husband Chen Xiaozong could study.
Farming was just a way for everyone in the Chen family to pass the time. No matter how well they did it, it was not worth really praising, and not as good as scholarly honor like Tanhua.
Luo Yuyan had said this many times before.
In her previous life, Hua Yang had always been ashamed of Chen Jingzong’s vulgarity. Every time she encountered this kind of situation, although Hua Yang didn’t like to hear it, she knew it was the truth and was too lazy to refute anything for Chen Jingzong.
But it was different now. She knew that Chen Jingzong would be a hero on the battlefield, so she no longer wanted to condone Luo Yuyan’s mocking.
“Third Sister-in-law, when you say it like that, do you mean that military attachés have no use except for their strength?”
Hua Yang was still smiling, but her eyes at Luo Yuyan dimmed.
She was a princess, and it was her kindness to be kind to others. If anyone dare to put their nose up to her face, Hua Yang would not care whether the other person was pregnant or not.
Luo Yuyan’s face changed drastically.
She didn’t expect that she just said it casually, but Hua Yang would actually confront her. Before, Hua Yang would have acquiesced to her behavior, and her disdain would only be directed to Chen Jingzong.
Luo Yuyan looked at her mother-in-law in panic, and subconsciously denied it: “No, the Princess misunderstood. I really admire Fourth Brother. Look at how nice this garden is. Eldest Sister-in-law, don’t you think so?”
In desperation, Luo Yuyan turned around and pulled Yu Xiu over. As long as Yu Xiu agreed that the garden was good, she would have steps to go down.
Among these four mother-in-law and daughter-in-laws, Sun shi, this mother-in-law, came from low background compared to Hua Yang and Luo Yuyan. But her father was at least awhen he was alive, and he was a teacher in the official school.
Yu Xiu was even lower. Her father was just a.
That year, Father Yu and Chen Tingjian went to Lingzhou City to attend the Autumn Festival. A carriage crashed into them on the road, and at the critical moment, Father Yu pushed Chen Tingjian away. Chen Tingjian was unscathed, but Father Yu was hit by a carriage and became lame. From then on, he could no longer take the imperial examination. Chen Tingjian was grateful for his friend’s life-saving grace and suggested that as long as Father Yu gave birth to a daughter in the future, he would marry his eldest son.
With this children betrothal, Yu Xiu was able to marry Chen Bozong, the Zhuangyuan.
Yu Xiu had a gentle temperament and was timid due to her origin, but she was not stupid and could see that her two noble sister-in-law were at odds.
Yu Xiu didn’t dare to speak in favor of anyone, only lowered her head out of habit.
Luo Yuyan shook her arm anxiously.
At this time, Hua Yang suddenly let out a chuckle, a light and short laugh, but full of mockery towards Luo Yuyan.
“Mom, please continue to look around. I will go find Prince Consort and relay Third Sister-in-law’s praise for him. He will definitely be happy.”
Hua Yang had no intention of seeing Luo Yuyan continue to make a fool of herself, nodded to her mother-in-law, and left with Chao Yun.
As soon as she left, Luo Yuyan burst into tears and looked at Sun shi with aggrieved eyes: “Mom, I really didn’t mean that. The Princess misunderstood me…”
Sun shi knew very well that if Luo Yuyan was not pregnant, she would have to reprimand a few words. But looking at Luo Yuyan’s big belly, and it was not easy for a young lady from the Marquis family to come all the way to Lingzhou, Sun shi just pretended to be confused and smiled while patting Luo Yuyan’s hand: “Alright, alright, it’s not a big deal, don’t cry anymore. Mom will clarify the misunderstanding. The Princess won’t blame you.”
With this step down, Luo Yuyan sobbed twice before stopped crying.
Following that, Sun shi went to find Hua Yang. After all, she wanted to help “clarify the misunderstanding”.
As soon as she left, Luo Yuyan no longer felt aggrieved. She turned around and questioned Yu Xiu: “Sister-in-law, you didn’t respond when I asked you just now. Could it be that you think the garden built by Fourth Brother is not good?”
She had to be respectful towards Hua Yang, but Luo Yuyan was full of arrogance towards Yu Xiu.
Yu Xiu still lowered her head and clutched her sleeves helplessly.
Luo Yuyan snorted, asked the maid beside her to hold her hands, and slowly returned to Fucui Hall first.
Yu Xiu continued to stand next to a clump of peonies, preparing to wait until Luo Yuyan had gone far before going back herself.
“Madam, you are the Eldest Sister-in-law, why should you be afraid of the Third Lady?”
The maid Bi Tao came closer, with a hint of resentment that iron could not become steel. She was the senior maid given to Yu Xiu by Sun shi when Yu Xiu just married into the Chen family.
Yu Xiu shook her head with a wry smile, bent down and squatted, then pulled out the slender weeds that had just sprouted from the peony bush after the rain.