Reborn After Widowhood – Chapter 24
When Emperor Jingshun’s replies and reward arrived at Shiqiao Town, it was already the second day of Eight Month.
More than a month had passed since the heavy rain. The flood had long receded, the streets in town had been cleaned up, and the people were preparing for the autumn harvest.
Noticing that a group of people were heading in the direction of Chen House, the people in the fields whispered to each other.
“I seem to have seen a Gonggong. Could it be that someone from the palace is here?”
“I heard that Qi shi had embezzled a lot of money. Did the matter exposed and affect the entire Chen family?”
“No way. Cabinet Elder Chen is a good official. How can he be blamed for what Qi shi did?”
“Exactly. Qi shi replaced the old lady’s ginseng and gave the old lady fake medicine. The Chen family had already sent the divorce letter to the Qi family. The Qi family is in the wrong and doesn’t dare to say a word.”
That day, the prince consort beat his uncle and Chen Jizong from the second branch screamed injustice, which was heard by many people. After that, some rumors started to spread about the Chen family.
Some brave people even chased the group of people towards the Chen family’s ancestral home, hoping to see some excitement.
Everyone in the house was in mourning at their own place. When they heard that the imperial edict had arrived, Chen Tingjian and Sun shi rushed to the front yard and sent people to inform the east and west houses.
What Qi shi had done had already spread throughout the Chen family, and everyone in the house knew that Chen Tingjian had handed an apology memorial to the palace, so they were not surprised that there would be a decree coming.
Hua Yang and Chen Jingzong left Siyi Hall and met Chen Bozong and Chen Xiaozong in the corridor.
Everyone else was fine, but Luo Yuyan was due to give birth within a few days. Her belly was bulging up under her skirt, looking very troubled.
When all three families got together, Chen Bozong spoke.
When they arrived at the front yard of the main house, they saw that in addition to Chen Tingjian and his wife, a family of five from the east house had also arrived, but Qi shi‘s hands were tied with ropes.
During this period, Qi shi and her cousin Steward Yang were both locked up in the firewood shed in the east house. Now they were thin and haggard, and had long lost the arrogance and swagger they used to show around town.
“This servant has met the Princess.”
Xiao Ma gonggong was chatting with Chen Tingjian when he saw the princess coming from the corner of his eye. He immediately left Chen Tingjian behind, ran a few steps to Hua Yang, knelt down and kowtowed.
He was the godson of Ma gonggong next to Emperor Jingshun, and he also had quite a face in front of the emperor. Hua Yang naturally recognized him and asked in surprise: “Why are you sent here?”
Xiao Ma gonggong raised his head and replied with a smile: “His Majesty and Niangniang missed the Princess, so they asked this servant to bring a reward to you. Before leaving, His Majesty gave many instructions, asking this servant to take a good look at the Princess to see if she has lost weight.”
As he said that, he really looked at the princess carefully.
These eunuchs in the palace were accustomed to please people, and they did so naturally, without any embarrassment, awkwardness, or affectation at all.
Hua Yang smiled and asked him to get up and talk.
Xiao Ma gonggong wanted to take another look, so when he returned to the capital he could report more to the emperor, but suddenly a sharp gaze came over him. Xiao Ma gonggong looked over and met the stern face of the Prince Consort.
Xiao Ma gonggong secretly slandered, he was an imperfect man, and he was ordered to pay attention to the princess. Why was the prince consort so petty?
“Everyone is waiting, you should announce the decree first.”
Hua Yang didn’t want to delay Xiao Ma gonggong for too long, and took Chen Jingzong to the row behind her father-in-law and mother-in-law.
Xiao Ma gonggong also became serious and walked up to everyone in the Chen family with the imperial decree.
Chen Tingjian led his family members to kneel down.
Because of Luo Yuyan’s big belly, even with Chen Xiaozong supporting her, she was still a step behind everyone, and her face became bitter.
Xiao Ma gonggong did not pay attention. Seeing that everyone was kneeling, he read the imperial decree loudly.
When Qi shi heard that she had been sentenced to hanging, her vision suddenly went dark and fell to the ground.
After all, Chen Tingshi had been married to her for more than twenty years, and despite any grievances and anger, he had loved her for more than two decades. Upon hearing that Qi shi had come to such a miserable end, he felt a chill run through his body, his face as pale as if his soul had been spirited away by a ghost. Chen Jizong lowered his head, wanting to cry but not daring to. Tears streamed down his face.
“His Majesty’s leniency, this minister humbly express gratitude for His benevolence.”
Chen Tingjian kowtowed to the imperial decree.
Xiao Ma gonggong handed the emperor imperial decree into his hands, relayed a few words of encouragement from Emperor Jingshun to Chen Tingjian, then turned his attention to Hua Yang again.
Hua Yang then said to Chen Tingjian: “Father, I will take Xiao Ma gonggong to Siyi Hall for some tea.”
Chen Tingjian nodded.
Xiao Ma gonggong followed her with a smile. Chen Jingzong guessed that Hua Yang wanted to ask him about some matters in the palace, so he wisely did not go back immediately.
The prefect of Lingzhou sent a few official. After meeting Chen Tingjian, they went to take Qi shi and Steward Yang away.
Chen Jizong could no longer control himself and rushed over to hug Qi shi‘s legs, tears streaming down his face.
Qi shi looked at the brothers Chen Tingjian and Chen Tingshi in despair and numbness, suddenly smiled with unknown meaning, dragged her tired body, and followed the official obediently.
A group of people gathered outside Chen House to watch the excitement. They could clearly hear the imperial decree just now, and they were all pointing at Qi shi.
The boy servant closed the gate of Chen House to block out the noise.
Chen Tingjian looked solemnly at the family members and said sternly: “Today Qi shi’s disaster should be taken as a warning. If anyone dare to offends again, I will still deal with it in accordance with the law. No one can expect me to tolerate it!”
Chen Tingshi only felt that he was the one his eldest brother wanted criticize, moreover the decree also wanted his brother to punish him. His legs trembled in fear and he knelt down again.
Sun shi quickly winked at her sons.
Chen Bozong and Chen Xiaozong walked over quickly and helped their uncle up.
Chen Jingzong smiled, turned around and walked towards the west house.
Qi shi‘s death was more than deserved.
The laws of this dynasty severely punish children for being unfilial, including daughters-in-law. Setting aside Qi shi‘s corruption, just because she dared to feed the old lady fake medicine, she had already committed a serious crime of unfilial piety.
Xiao Ma gonggong had to rush back to the capital, so he left after giving four boxes of rewards and three family letters for Hua Yang.
Family letters came from the emperor, the empress and the prince respectively. Hua Yang leaned on the couch next to the window in the side room and read with gusto.
At this time, Chen Jingzong came in.
Hua Yang moved inside cautiously and at the same time picked up the other two family letters, as if guarding against Chen Jingzong’s prying eyes.
Chen Jingzong did not approach her, but saw that four bamboo trunks were still in the room. He opened them one by one and looked at them. They were all silk and satin, as well as high-quality fur cloaks to keep out the cold. All of those things, she had obviously brought a few boxes herself.
“His Majesty and Niangniang really loves you, they’re afraid that you will suffer here.”
Sitting on the chair, Chen Jingzong made sarcastic remarks to the princess on the couch.
Hua Yang looked at the letter, seemingly indifferent: “Who asked me to attract people’s love? Unlike some people.”
The contrast in treatment from their respective parents couldn’t be more distinct.
Chen Jingzong drank tea calmly: “You attract people’s love because you marry me.”
Is he deprecating himself or is he proud?
That night, the couple slept soundly when they were suddenly woken up by a loud noise.
Chen Jingzong listened attentively and guessed: “Third Sister-in-law is probably going to give birth.”
Hua Yang blinked.
She knew that Luo Yuyan’s baby was a daughter, but she didn’t remember the specific day when the child was born. Not to mention her niece, even Chen Jingzong’s birthday she only remembered after his death.
Why she remembered? Because Chen Jingzong’s death anniversary and birthday were the same day.
When he was alive, she didn’t care about it, and his family would no longer went out of their way to celebrate the birthday of a grown man who had a family and a career. In the first year after Hua Yang got married, her mother-in-law mentioned it to her. Hua Yang gave her mother-in-law face and asked the kitchen to make longevity noodles for Chen Jingzong that night. This guy actually thought she was hinting at something, took a good bath and tortured her until midnight.
The next year, her mother-in-law tactfully reminded her again, but Hua Yang was afraid that Chen Jingzong would mess around again, so she just pretended not to know. Chen Jingzong didn’t seem to remember it at all, and he went out early and came back late as usual to do his errands.
Later, he died on the battlefield. When the death news came, Hua Yang listened to her mother-in-law crying about why it was that day. Then she realized that he died on his birthday.
How could there be such miserable people?
In the darkness, Hua Yang hugged Chen Jingzong sympathetically.
Chen Jingzong was stunned for a moment, then immediately hugged her back, moved her messy long hair away with one hand, and kissed her neck.
She twisted his arm.
Chen Jingzong inhaled deeply, propped up his upper body, looked at her and said, “I thought you wanted it.”
Hua Yang: “A woman giving birth is like going through the gate of hell. Since I know that Third Sister-in-law is going to give birth, how can I have that kind of thoughts?”
Chen Jingzong: “She’s the one that giving birth, what does it have to do with you?”
Hua Yang just pushed him down.
Chen Jingzong, whose hope was dashed, lay on his back and tried to calm his body while looking at the ceiling.
This side was quiet, but the movement in Fucui Hall at the front became louder and louder. Not long after, Luo Yuyan’s painful cry could be heard.
This was the second time Hua Yang heard her scream, but it still made her feel uncomfortable. Even with Chen Jingzong here, she was still scared, unable to imagine how agonizing childbirth must be.
Eager to divert her attention, she reached out and patted the man next to her.
Chen Jingzong: “Since you don’t want it, don’t do anything.”
Hua Yang took back her hand, lay facing him, and whispered: “I’m afraid of pain. We will only have one child in the future. What do you think?”
She didn’t like to get close to other people’s children, but she wanted to have her own flesh and blood, but one was enough, no more were needed.
Chen Jingzong’s breathing that had just calmed down immediately became heavy again: “You really want to talk to me about this in the middle of the night?”
Hua Yang: “I’m telling you something serious.”
Chen Jingzong: “Can seriousness gives birth to a child?”
She turned her back angrily.
But Chen Jingzong came over and hugged her tightly with his slender and strong arms, not allowing her to hide.
He bit her earlobe gently, biting her strength away.
After a while, he asked: “Do you really want to give birth a child for me?”
Hua Yang’s breath was unstable: “What do you mean giving birth for you? That is my child too, I gave birth to it myself.”
Chen Jingzong: “Okay, as long as the children is mine, you can have as many as you want. One is not too few, even ten wouldn’t be too many for me.”
These words were full of impropriety. She just had this one prince consort, if the child was not his, could it be she will cuckold him?
Hua Yang continued to pinch him.
Chen Jingzong held her hands down, obviously knew he couldn’t do it, but he still insisted on wasting his energy.
Hua Yang’s middle coat was also made of silk material and was very thin. If he damaged it, it would be embarrassing for the maid to see it.
“That’s enough.” She tried to sound like she didn’t like it at all.
Chen Jingzong stayed for a while longer, then lay down on the side while breathing heavily.
Hua Yang looked at the blurred outline of his face and couldn’t sleep, various thoughts running through her mind.
After a while, she touched Chen Jingzong’s arm: “I want to have children, but I don’t want to have it too early. Can we wait a few more years?”
Chen Jingzong tilted his head and said in a cold voice: “What do you mean? I’m not allowed to touch you for all these years?”
Hua Yang: “No, just have children later, there are always other ways to prevent pregnancy.”
The prince consort of her aunt, Princess Anle, had died a long time ago, but the handsome companions at her mansion had never been absent. She must have a clever idea on how to prevent pregnancy without harming her body.
Next year after the mourning was over, she would write to ask her aunt.
Right now she couldn’t do it, lest her aunt think that her not wanting to have a baby was false and wanting to fill the loneliness during mourning was real.