Reborn After Widowhood – Chapter 33
As the Twelfth Month entered, officials from all over the country began to deliver memorials to the capital, firstly to report on this year’s political achievements, and secondly to wish the emperor an early New Year’s greeting.
In the study room, the finest silver frost charcoal was burning. Hua Yang wrote letters home to her father, mother, and brother. After she stopped writing, she rubbed her hands.
“Princess, please get up and take a walk. It will be warmer if you move around.” Chao Yun said distressedly.
The windows in the ancestral house of the Chen family were all made of paper. If you open the windows in winter, the cold wind would blow in, but if you don’t open it, the sunlight would not come in. It was not as good as the glazed windows used by the nobles in the capital. With the earth dragons burning in the house and the sunshine penetrated inside, it was warm and cozy even without burning charcoal.
Hua Yang held the hand stove and walked around the room. Seeing Chao Yun clearing the table, she said, “There’s no rush. I have to write a letter to my aunt later.”
The only person in the capital who could make Hua Yang call her aunt was Grand Princess Anle.
Emperor Jingshun had a total of four sisters, three of whom died early due to illness. Only Princess Anle survived safely.
Princess Anle was thirty years old, a full twenty years younger than Emperor Jingshun. Emperor Jingshun basically regarded her as his daughter. Although they were half-brothers and sisters, he rather doted on her.
Princess Anle got married at the age of seventeen and became a widow at the age of twenty. She was used to being willful and did not want to find another prince consort, nor did she want to live with lonely nights, so she gradually supported a few male pets.
A censor once complained to Emperor Jingshun about Princess Anle, believing that it was scandalous for a grand princess to indulge in male beauty, and hoped that Emperor Jingshun would come forward to reprimand her.
Emperor Jingshun was a very protective person. His sister just kept a few male pets to relieve her loneliness. They were harmless to the country, so why should he interfere?
Under the connivance of Emperor Jingshun, Princess Anle became the most carefree and happy woman in the entire capital and even the dynasty.
On top raising a few male pets, Princess Anle was also good at having fun. She liked Hua Yang and often brought all kinds of novel and interesting gifts to Hua Yang from outside the palace. The relationship between the aunt and niece thus became increasingly close. If it weren’t for Empress Qi’s restraint, Hua Yang would have wanted to live in her aunt’s house for a while and have a lot of fun.
After sitting down again, Hua Yang looked at Chao Yun and asked her to go outside to guard the door.
She wanted to ask her aunt for advice on how to prevent pregnancy. This kind of content, it was best for even the maid not to see it.
After all four letters were written, they were put into envelopes and sealed with ink pad. Hua Yang ordered Chao Yun to send them to her father-in-law and wait to hand them over to the post messenger together.
In the second half of the month, Chen Jingzong suddenly remembered and asked her: “The New Year is coming, why don’t you write letter to His Majesty and Niangniang to wish a happy New Year?”
Hua Yang: “I’ve written it. It’s probably be in the capital by now.”
Chen Jingzong looked at her indifferent face and asked, “Have you written to Grand Princess?”
Hua Yang glared at him, but did not deny it.
Chen Jingzong smiled, but felt a little regretful: “Since Grand Princess has a solution, before we leave the capital back then, you should go visit and get some advice.”
Hua Yang turned a deaf ear and didn’t even want to glare at him.
From this day on, Chen Jingzong began to look forward to the letters from the capital. Unfortunately, the post office had been on holiday for the New Year, so the letter from the grand princess would probably not arrive until next year.
On the night of New Year’s Eve, the Chen family had a very simple New Year’s Eve dinner amid the sound of firecrackers in other houses in town.
The food was still vegetarian, but the sadness in everyone’s hearts had faded away. Compared with missing the old lady, everyone was looking forward to the new year more.
Back at Siyi Hall, Hua Yang soaked her feet and got ready to sleep.
Chen Jingzong also finished soaking and told Chao Yun to just retreat and rest, there was no need to turn off the lights.
Hua Yang, who was already lying on the bed, glanced at him suspiciously.
Chen Jingzong sat cross-legged on the edge of the bed and looked at her seriously: “Last time you gave me a handkerchief, as a courtesy, I also prepared a New Year’s gift for you.”
Hua Yang should be looking forward to it, but this was Chen Jingzong after all. In the past he also looked more solemn than now, but all he said were nasty words.
She waited indifferently.
Chen Jingzong put his hand into the lapel of his middle coat, paused, and added: “Because I can’t go out openly, I can only go to the neighboring town to look for gifts. Don’t dislike poor things from small place.”
Hua Yang still looked indifferent.
Chen Jingzong finally stretched out his hand. His fingers were long and well-defined, and they looked very powerful.
At this moment, his fingertips were holding a neatly folded red satin.
“Open it and take a look.” Chen Jingzong handed over the red satin.
Hua Yang looked at the red satin. With her eyesight, she could naturally tell that it was a Shu brocade, perhaps the treasure of the embroidery shop in town.
Shu brocade was expensive, and the things wrapped in it were definitely not vulgar things. Chen Jingzong was just deliberately being modest.
Hua Yang finally had some expectation, lifted up the quilt, sat up, and slowly unfolded it.
She looked at the satin, and Chen Jingzong looked at her.
The princess originally had a porcelain-like skin, and now sitting under the lamp, her neck and hands appeared even fairer, with a translucent quality.
Such fairness, even with ordinary beauty, could make a man’s blood flow accelerate, not to mention that she was as beautiful as a peony.
Hua Yang opened the last layer of red satin, only to find that it was empty.
She looked up in confusion.
Chen Jingzong smiled: “What are you looking for? This satin is the gift. We will finish the mourning in half a month. The clothes you brought from the capital were all plain clothes. Now you can make this satin into clothes and wear them after a while.”
Hua Yang looked at the satin again. It was such a small piece. Apart from making a pair of socks or two handkerchiefs, it could only be made into…
Hua Yang finally realized his intention, dropped the satin, turned around and got into bed.
Chen Jingzong quickly followed, hugged her from behind, and kissed the side of her snow-white neck: “You are fair, and you look best in a red underwear.”
Hua Yang secretly clutched the quilt.
Chen Jingzong kissed her shoulder again: “His Majesty really think highly of me by marrying a princess like you. Fortunately you are a princess, otherwise on the night of our wedding I could make you…”
Before he could finish speaking, Hua Yang turned around in shame and covered his mouth.
Chen Jingzong grabbed her wrist, looked at her and said: “On the ninth day of First Month, it will be exactly three months. The medicine is not only Niangniang’s kind intention, but also the thing you brought all the way from the capital. How many servants and horses have worked hard for it? If we don’t use it, wouldn’t it be a waste of their efforts?”
Chen Jingzong: “Make it into an underwear and wear it on the night of the ninth day of the New Year. If you don’t make it, I will praise your whiteness every night from now on.”
Hua Yang wanted to scold him, but Chen Jingzong quickly jumped off the bed and turned out the lights. When he came back, he lay on the quilt next to her without saying a word.
Hua Yang couldn’t help it anymore and kicked him hard.
Chen Jingzong didn’t move. Hua Yang was tired from kicking him and angrily threw the satin on his face, she then turned her back to sleep.
After a few days, the third pill was not wasted after all.
At the end of First Month, in addition to finish mourning period, appointment documents from the Ministry of Personnel for Chen Jingzong and his brothers alongside rewards from the palace arrived at the same time.
Chen Bozong was appointed as the prefect of Lingzhou. Like his previous Vice Minister of Dali Temple, he was a fourth-rank official.
Chen Xiaozong was appointed county magistrate of Jiangping County under Lingzhou Prefecture. Like his previous editor of the Hanlin Academy, he was a seventh-rank official.
Chen Jingzong served as the commanding officer of Jinyiwei before leaving the capital. Now he was temporarily appointed as the commanding officer of Lingzhou Guard, and his rank was also equivalent.
Three brothers of the same family all worked in Lingzhou Prefecture, placed it on other families, it would be impossible. However, Emperor Jingshun relied heavily on Chen Tingjian, so there was no harm in making a small exception. Moreover, everyone knew that the three brothers of the Chen family were only temporarily serving in Lingzhou for more than a year. Next year, they would return to the capital with Chen Tingjian and resumed their original position.
Chen Tingjian led his family members to thank the imperial edict.
This time, it was still Xiao Ma gonggong who was sent by the palace. He only helped deliver the documents from the Ministry of Personnel by the way. His main task was to deliver rewards.
Chen Tingjian’s family all received rewards. There were eight bamboo trunks in total, including gold, silver, jewelry, and silk and satin.
Luo Yuyan looked at Hua Yang in confusion. The eight bamboo trunks were all for the Chen family. Why didn’t the emperor give a separate reward to his daughter this time?
As soon as she finished her thoughts, she heard Xiao Ma gonggong said to Hua Yang in a delicate voice: “Princess, Prince Consort has to go to the guard station to work. The guard station is closer to Lingzhou City. In accordance with His Majesty’s decree, this servant have already arranged a courtyard for you and Prince Consort. This time His Majesty gave you and Prince Consort a reward, this servant also took the initiative and brought it directly to the mansion, for fear that when you move in two days, you will have to move it back again, delaying the time. Princess, you don’t blame this servant, do you?”
Hua Yang looked at her parent-in-law, and said with a smile: “Since Father Emperor gave us the house, Prince Consort and I will live up to his kindness. Gonggong’s arrangements are considerate and thoughtful, and I will reward you.”
After she finished speaking, Chao Yun stepped forward, smiled and put a money bag into Xiao Ma gonggong’s hands.
Xiao Ma gonggong thanked her happily. After thanking her, he suddenly slapped the top of his head: “Look this servant, so anxious to see the Princess’s beauty and almost forgot something.”
After saying that, Xiao Ma gonggong hurriedly ran out of Chen’s house, took out a two-foot-square brocade box with a red seal from the carriage he was riding in outside the gate, he then hurried in again and said to Hua Yang with a smile: “Princess, Grand Princess misses you so much that she specially prepared a gift and asked this servant to bring it over. She said there is a letter inside, and you will understand after reading it.”
Hua Yang’s heart was beating faster and faster.
She was only glad that she had been with Chen Jingzong for a long time, as the one who was close to the ink was black, so she could keep a normal expression at this time, instead of blushing.
“Is it heavy? I’ll take it.”
Chen Jingzong took the brocade box one step ahead of Chao Yun and felt that the weight was average.
Hua Yang asked casually: “What’s going on with this seal?”
Xiao Ma gonggong said with a smile: “Grand Princess said that this is a treasure that she found with great difficulty. It’s extremely precious and must be sealed with a seal and opened personally by you. Don’t worry, Princess, all the way here this brocade box is well kept in this servant’s carriage and no one else touches it except for this servant.”
Hua Yang nodded: “Auntie takes a lot of trouble. When you go back, you must convey my gratitude to my aunt.”
This brocade box that looked like it contained treasures naturally attracted everyone’s attention in the Chen family.
Among them, Luo Yuyan was particularly curious. The imperial family had no shortage of gold, silver and jewelry. So besides jewelry, what else could Princess Anle value so much?
Xiao Ma gonggong stayed at Chen House for half an hour and then left.
Once they returned to Siyi Hall after talking to Chen Tingjian, Chen Jingzong asked Chao Yun to retreat and pulled Hua Yang into the inner room.
The brocade box sent by Princess Anle was placed on the table.
“Do you open it or do I open it?” Chen Jingzong asked.
Hua Yang knew that there must be something indecent inside, so she sat on the bed with her face turned sideways, not looking too concerned.
Chen Jingzong smiled and tore off the seal and opened the lid of the box.
Inside there was a letter and another box beneath the letter.
He handed the letter to Hua Yang.
Hua Yang held the letter, but with her peripheral vision, she paid attention to Chen Jingzong.
After a while, Chen Jingzong pinched out a thin, almost transparent long bag-like object from the second box. He looked at it for a moment, frowned and asked Hua Yang: “Strange shape, do you know what it is?”
This shape, and they needed a contraception. She had already guessed it, so how could he really not understand this as a man?
It’s nothing more than pretending to be serious again!
TN: I once looking up a Chinese word, 偷腥. 偷 means ‘to steal’ and 腥 means ‘fishy smell’, it’s a metaphor for cheating on one’s spouse or have an affair. So before the invention of condoms, Chinese people used fish bladders as contraception. People who have extramarital affair of course doesn’t want to get pregnant, so they use this. Fish bladder has strong fishy smells, so every time people have sex, they would smell fishy. Later on the word 偷腥 gradually used to refers to people who have secret sex.
So now we know what that thing is probably made of.