Reborn After Widowhood – Chapter 15
The closer the carriage got to the foot of the mountain, the rougher the road and the more severe the bumps became.
Chen Jingzong finally helped Hua Yang put on the silver chain pearl earring on her right ear again. Just now, he took it off because he thought it was in the way.
He sat upright and looked at Hua Yang again. The taut face was red, even angry, but it was still very charming.
The princess was very particular about respectability. In order not to reveal any traces when she got out of the carriage, she would rather cooperate than struggle at all. In this way the hairpin on her head was not messed up, and the plain white skirt on her body did not have any unnecessary creases.
Just like a fairy who suddenly lost her magic power and couldn’t move, allowing ordinary people to get close to her and do whatever they wanted.
Chen Jingzong picked up the round fan that she had left on the couch, and fanned her apologetically, while thinking to himself that he would definitely try it in the carriage again after the new year.
Hua Yang didn’t bother to look at him and slightly raised the curtains next to him to let the wind in and blow away the stale atmosphere in the carriage.
Behind the carriage was the clatter of hooves from the four guards’ horses. Hua Yang recalled for a moment and was very sure that she did not make any noise.
Her heartbeat slowly calmed down, and the heat on her face gradually cooled down.
With the sound of the coachman sound “sha”, the carriage stopped.
“Princess, Prince Consort, the mountain is ahead.”
Hua Yang looked at the cabinet next to Chen Jingzong, her curtain hat was placed on the top of the cabinet.
They didn’t bring any maid on this trip, so what the maid should do naturally fell on Chen Jingzong.
Chen Jingzong picked up the curtain hat and put it on for Hua Yang.
A hazy white gauze hung down lightly, blurring the princess’s face. Only a pair of red lips still showed their bright color through the gauze.
Chen Jingzong glanced at her lips for the last time, got off the carriage first, and then turned around to help her.
Stepping out of the carriage, a refreshing morning breeze immediately enveloped Hua Yang. She savored a few breaths of the fresh air and then, gazing ahead, saw a small mountain covered in lush greenery. Between the trees, she spotted winding stone steps and several weathered tombstones showing the vicissitudes of life.
Chen Jingzong asked the coachman and the guards to stay where they were. Holding a bamboo basket containing incense paper and other items in one hand, and Hua Yang’s arm with the other, the couple walked forward side by side.
Hua Yang found that the stone steps here were very clean, so she asked, “Do the mountains behind your house also have such stone steps?”
Chen Jingzong: “How is it possible? Those are barren mountains. This is a place where families bury their relatives. They often come to worship and have specially built several stone steps.”
Just as Hua Yang was about to speak, a small black insect with wings buzzed over, scaring her so much that she quickly grabbed Chen Jingzong’s arm and hid behind him.
Chen Jingzong waved his hand and swatted the flying insects into the grass on the roadside.
Hua Yang no longer had the leisure to enjoy the scenery. She just wanted to finish paying homage to the old lady and go down the mountain quickly.
The mountain breeze occasionally blew her veil, and Chen Jingzong saw her frowning tightly with a slightly pale complexion, showing a look of disgust that he was very familiar with.
He mocked: “I told you a long time ago that the old lady won’t mind what we do. You insist on being particular, come to climb the mountain in vain and suffer.”
Hua Yang had her own thoughts.
The Chen family was considered a wealthy family here in Shiqiao Town, coupled with Chen Tingjian’s rise to the top after becoming Zhuangyuan, the people in the old house renovated the area around the ancestral tomb which occupied a separate hilltop, and the path in front of several tombs were all paved with neat stone slabs, making them easy to clean.
From the foot of the mountain to the Chen family’s ancestral tomb, the couple only climbed the mountain road for about a quarter of an hour. Even so, Hua Yang was panting from exhaustion.
Chen Jingzong took off her curtain hat: “In a place like this, no one can see you except for a group of ancestors in our family.”
Hua Yang looked back at the mountain road she came from and didn’t reject him.
Chen Jingzong told her to rest. He took a broom and swept all the tombstones, and then placed incense paper, food and other offerings in front of the old lady’s new tomb.
After everything was ready, he turned back and called Hua Yang: “Come here.”
Hua Yang walked to him, looked at the hard stone slab under her feet, and frowned.
Growing up, except for imperial ancestor worship, she had never knelt down. In front of her father emperor and mother empress, she mostly just bowed when greeting them.
And this kind of hard stone was very uncomfortable to kneel on.
Chen Jingzong knew what she was thinking at a glance. He snorted, then took off his outer coat, folded it several times and spread it on the ground.
Hua Yang smiled. This person was a rough man, but he was quite good at taking care of others.
When she knelt down, she heard Chen Jingzong saying to the old lady’s tombstone: “Grandma, you are lucky. You have your granddaughter-in-law princess coming to worship you. There are so many old ladies in the world, but you are the only one who have the same treatment as the nobles in the imperial mausoleum.”
This was such an undisguised tease that Hua Yang stretched out her hand to twist his waist. As a result, Chen Jingzong tensed up slightly, but his thin waist did not allow her to twist the flesh.
“Don’t groping around in front of grandma.” Chen Jingzong scolded her seriously.
Chen Jingzong lit three incense sticks and handed them to her.
Business was important. Hua Yang took the incense and looked at the old lady’s tombstone. She closed her eyes and whispered softly: “Old lady, Granddaughter-in-law came to mourn you sincerely, and never thought of violating the etiquette. It’s the rascal Prince Consort who forced himself on me.”
He did force some things, but he didn’t force her to eat those game meats, right?
“Although Prince Consort breaks the rules many times, I know that he sincerely filial you.”
Chen Jingzong was startled, his gaze fell on her fair face. Her long and thick eyelashes were drooping, as pious as if she were offering incense in front of the Buddha.
“Granddaughter-in-law is here today, firstly to apologize to you, and secondly to ask the old lady’s spirit in heaven to bless Prince Consort to be well in this life. Doesn’t need to be appointed prime minister or conferred noble title, only ask to turn bad luck into good luck and live a long life.”
Speaking until here, Hua Yang opened her eyes, and there was a hint of water in her eyes.
Ignoring Chen Jingzong who was frozen on the side, she solemnly bowed three times, stepped forward and inserted the incense into the incense burner.
Chen Jingzong: “You…”
Hua Yang just put on her curtain hat and said calmly: “Let’s go back.”
Because of her abnormality, on the way back to Chen House, Chen Jingzong was very honest and only looked at her inquiringly a few times.
After offering incense to the old lady, Hua Yang returned to her usual life, reading or practicing calligraphy during the day, and occasionally letting Chen Jingzong served her at night.
It tasted good, but it was unbearable to taste it every night, so Hua Yang would not blindly indulge Chen Jingzong.
It’s late Sixth Month in the blink of an eye.
That night Chen Jingzong was sleeping soundly when he suddenly heard Hua Yang scream, and she pressed against him in panic.
Chen Jingzong turned over and lifted Hua Yang, then took big strides away from the babu bed before setting her down. He quickly examined her hair and her back, asked, “Did a bug crawl on you?”
First, he would make sure that the bug was not on her, and then go back to the bed to check and kill it.
Hua Yang shook her head and threw herself into his arms again: “There are no bugs, it’s just a nightmare.”
After hearing this, Chen Jingzong relaxed, patted her on the shoulder, picked her up and sat back down.
“What kind of nightmare? Tell me about it?”
It was rare for her to be so weak, and Chen Jingzong’s voice was softer than usual.
Hua Yang rested her head on his shoulder, intertwined her fingers with his, and said with lingering fear: “I dreamed that there is a heavy rain here, and the next day, the river in front of the town swelled, and all the muddy yellow water flooded the town.”
Chen Jingzong frowned slightly. He had indeed experienced this situation twice, but the flood was not deep, the rain stopped and receded. The people cleaned the courtyard and continued to live as they usual.
But he didn’t dare telling her this, fearing that the princess from the capital who had never experienced anything like this before, would be frightened all summer long.
“It’s just a dream, don’t take it seriously.” Chen Jingzong continued to coax.
Hua Yang grasped his middle coat tightly: “I know it’s a dream, but everything in it seems to really happened. The water is rising higher and higher. Father wants us all to go to the mountains to take shelter from the rain. You’re afraid that I won’t be able to walk, so you carry me all the way…”
Chen Jingzong’s action of patting her shoulder became a little slower. Dreaming about floods might be common, but she could still dream of their family moving to the mountains?
Before he could think deeply, his body actually changed because Hua Yang stick to him too tightly.
The princess who had relied on him so much just now suddenly punched him in the chest, and ran away angrily.
He chased after her, pressed her down and said, “Let’s kiss for a while. You won’t be afraid after kissing.”
Chen Jingzong, who had a warm and soft jade in his arms, fell asleep half-satisfied after serving the princess. After dawn, he saw that Hua Yang no longer took the dream seriously, so he also put the matter at the back of his mind.
Unexpectedly, another day passed, and the sky in Shiqiao Town seemed to have a big hole, and it began to rain heavily.
Chen Jingzong put on his raincoat and ran to the small garden at the back, busily covering several peonies with wooden boards to protect them from the rain.
After all, it was planted with his own hand, and it was something she liked. Chen Jingzong was reluctant to let his hard work go to waste.
After sorting out the peonies, Chen Jingzong hurried back to Siyi Hall. When he entered the courtyard, he saw a carved window of the inner room was open. Hua Yang stood by the window in a daze, and the cold rain made her beautiful face look paler, with a bit of sadness.
Their eyes met and Hua Yang waved to him.
Chen Jingzong stepped on the water and ran to the door of the main room. He stood under the eaves and took off his dripping raincoat. As for his trouser and shoes, they were already soaked through.
After handing the coir raincoat to Chao Yun, Chen Jingzong walked to the inner room.
Hua Yang was still standing by the window, looking sideways at him, and noticed his wet trouser. She was puzzled: “It’s just a few peonies. If they die, then just transplant new ones, why you need to brave the rain to protect them?”
Chen Jingzong: “A peony costs a few tael of silvers, so why waste it? You, on the other hand, are not afraid of catching cold just standing there.”
In Chen Jingzong’s eyes, Hua Yang was exactly a peony that was beautiful but could not withstand strong winds and heavy rains, delicate to the core.
He walked to Hua Yang and wanted to carry her to bed.
Hua Yang took his arm, pointed at the gloomy clouds in the sky and said, “It’s just like what I dreamed, no wind and heavy rain.”
Chen Jingzong finally understood the reason for the worry in her expression.
“Are you afraid that dream will come true?”
Hua Yang nodded: “It’s too coincidental. I just had such a dream, and it rained like this right away. Do you think it was the old lady who heard what I said and deliberately used the dream to warn us?”
After being reborn, Hua Yang had many things to change. It was difficult for her to do everything alone. She needed Chen Jingzong’s help.
But she couldn’t tell Chen Jingzong about her rebirth.
She was afraid that Chen Jingzong would be frightened by the fact that he died on the battlefield in her previous life, and she was even more afraid that Chen Jingzong would resent her brother because of his punishment of the Chen family.
After all, she was still the imperial daughter. She not only wanted everyone in the Chen family to have a good ending, but also wanted her father-in-law and others to continue faithfully serve the court.
She hoped that in this life, her younger brother and her father-in-law would have the relationship where the monarch trusted the courtier, and the courtier loyal to the monarch, and work together to create a peaceful and prosperous world!
She was ambitious, but Chen Jingzong’s teasing sounded above her head: “If the old lady really want to warn us, she should warn me, her own grandson. Why she didn’t give me a dream?”
Hua Yang glared at him: “I am the one who wanted to go offer incense, I am the one who apologize, and I am the one who begged the old lady for protection. What does it have to do with you?”
Chen Jingzong wanted to refute, but Hua Yang added: “Besides, if the old lady wants to reveal some heavenly secret, how can ordinary people bear it? Maybe the old lady failed to find you first, and then she turned to me, the princess, to entrust her dream.”
Although it was nonsense, there was still a little bit of truth in it. If one believed in ghosts and gods, they might be really convinced by Hua Yang.
But Chen Jingzong did not believe in ghosts and gods, let alone admit that Hua Yang’s flesh and blood were really more noble than his.
What dragon’s sons and descendants, which dynasty’s founding emperors were not ordinary people or ordinary officials at the beginning? They all gained the dragon robe through hard work in the later period.
Hua Yang was just lucky enough to be reincarnated in the empress’s womb. From then on, she was pampered and loved by everyone, and everyone around her fawned over her.
For Chen Jingzong, Hua Yang’s beauty and body were far more useful than her status as a princess. If she didn’t look like what he wanted, Chen Jingzong wouldn’t bother to serve her.
He pulled the worried princess into his arms, looked out the window and said, “Giving dream is too unreliable. Maybe it’s just a coincidence. It will stop raining tomorrow.”
Hua Yang didn’t expect to be able to convince him today, so she agreed, “I hope so.”
At noon, Hua Yang took a nap accompanied by the rain, and Chen Jingzong quietly went out.
He was wearing a raincoat and a hat. In the pouring rain, even if the neighbors passed by, they wouldn’t recognize him.
Chen Jingzong came all the way to the river section south of the town.
The heavy rain caused the river surface to swell a bit, and the river water was turbid and yellow, and the rapids were rolling.
Even if it wasn’t for her dream, the town should take precautions against such heavy rain.
Just when Chen Jingzong was thinking about going back and warning the old man, a voice suddenly came from behind: “Cabinet Elder, be careful, there is a mud pit here.”
Chen Jingzong turned sideways.
Through the dense rain like curtains, Chen Jingzong saw several hurried figures. The leader was wearing a raincoat, striding into the puddle in the middle of the dirt road, and walking towards the river bank with a determined face.
Chen Jingzong withdrew his gaze and deliberately took a few steps away.
In addition to the village chief, Chen Tingjian was also accompanied by Chen Bozong and Chen Xiaozong.
Observing the water across the river, Chen Tingjian touched his long beard that was wet by the rain, and ordered the village chief: “From now on, send two people to monitor the river surface at all times. If there is a flood, one person will inform you and me, and the other person will inform the people near the river to move to avoid disaster first.
“Are there any orphans, widows, elderly, frail, or disabled people living alone in the town? Ask people to register them immediately. If there is a flood, send people to help these families to move.
“Notify the night watchman to start the watch, and remind the people to move their food to high places to avoid getting damp.
“We also need to arrange a few people to inform other villages and towns along the river to take precautions.”
The rain was pouring heavily, but the sound was sonorous and powerful.
The village chief responded one by one.
Chen Tingjian continued to stand by the river, his eyes swept across a tall figure covered by a raincoat ten feet away, and then moved away again.