Reborn After Widowhood – Chapter 9
At dusk, seeing the last ray of sunset in the yard disappearing, Chao Yun finally heard a short whistle from the other side of the west wing.
She patted her chest and happily said to the princess who was sitting in the main room reading a book: “He’s back, prince consort is finally back!”
Hua Yang was slightly relieved. It was so late, and she was a little worried that Chen Jingzong had some accident in the mountains, like being bitten by a poisonous snake, or accidentally falling off a cliff or something.
She only had this one prince consort. Although he had a lot of problems, it was better than nothing.
Hua Yang liked to be the most noble princess in the capital, not the most noble “widow”.
Following a burst of steady and powerful footsteps, a tall and majestic figure appeared at the door, making the whole room a little dark.
Hua Yang raised her head, glanced at Chen Jingzong’s seemingly handsome and serious face, and quickly fell into his hands.
This time he came back without any game. His left hand carried three oil-paper bags and his right hand carried… a jar of wine!
Hua Yang frowned. She almost forgot that in her previous life, Chen Jingzong had to take two mouthful of wine almost every time!
“Where did you get the wine?” she asked in a low voice.
Seeing that her master was getting angry, Chao Yun hurriedly lowered her head and retreated.
Chen Jingzong didn’t take it seriously, stepped in, and put the wine jar on the table. He sat down again, and explained while picking up the teapot and poured the tea: “I shot two rabbits this morning, and deliberately crossed the mountain to another town more than ten miles away to exchange it with the wine.”
He said it so easily, but he had to climb the mountain and hike more than 20 miles back and forth, just for a jar of wine!
Hua Yang hated the smell of alcohol, and even more disliked that Chen Jingzong put so much effort into buying the wine.
“The meat had been eaten, so what if we’re drinking some wine?”
Chen Jingzong looked at her face and couldn’t understand her temper.
“I don’t like you drinking,” she said bluntly.
Chen Jingzong’s expression became serious, recalled for a moment, and said, “Your condition for letting me sleep on the bed didn’t include abstaining from alcohol. If you find the smell unpleasant, I promise to brush my teeth thoroughly.”
Hua Yang was silent.
Another reason why she hated alcohol was her father in the palace.
When her father emperor summoned the ministers, he looked like a wise monarch, but in private he liked to drink and indulge. When she was nine years old, Hua Yang accidentally encountered her father forcing a palace maid when he was drunk. Her father’s red face, vulgar language, and obscene behavior were all Hua Yang’s nightmares, causing her to resist seeing him from that year on. When she saw him, she couldn’t suppress the disgust in her heart.
Chen Jingzong was just drinking a little, but Hua Yang was very worried that one day he would drink too much and force himself on her like his father did on that palace maid.
In her memory, she and Chen Jingzong once went to her uncle’s house for a banquet. Chen Jingzong drank too much that day. When Hua Yang came out of the shower, she found him sitting by the bed, smelt full of alcohol, and stared at her with dark eyes.
Hua Yang looked calm on the surface and coldly told him to go to sleep in the front yard, but in fact the hands hidden inside her sleeves were shaking uncontrollably.
So what if she was a princess? When she was alone with Chen Jingzong, she was just an ordinary woman with no strength to bind a chicken. She couldn’t even break off one of Chen Jingzong’s hand.
Fortunately, Chen Jingzong still listened to her that night.
This man was like this, constantly done things that she disliked, but he always reminded her of some of his good qualities after his death.
“One bowl at most, don’t drink too much.” Hua Yang compromised again.
Chen Jingzong: “One bowl at normal time. But if there’s a celebration or something that troubles me, you won’t stop me, right?”
Hua Yang snorted: “As you like. If you drink too much, find a room to sleep by yourself. Don’t come to my place.”
But inside she wondered, he could even ignore his own father’s scolding, what things could troubled him.
Chen Jingzong was noncommittal and quenched his thirst. He pushed three oil paper bags over and said, “I also bought some snacks. There is nothing good in town. You can eat them if you like. If you don’t like it, keep them for me.”
Hua Yang glanced at the oil paper bag.
A pampered princess, let alone rough work, she couldn’t even do trivial things like removing ropes with her own hands.
Seeing that she didn’t move, Chen Jingzong scoffed, untied the rope and unfolded the oil paper.
Hua Yang saw a pack of melon seeds, a pack of dried meat, and a pack of dried apricots.
Compared with the special snacks in the palace, these three packages were much inferior in every aspect. The melon seeds were not plump enough, the color of the dried meat was not bright enough, and the dried apricots were too small.
But in these neighboring villages and towns, these three packages were already high-quality goods, and they were things that Chen Zhai, who was in mourning, could not buy right now.
The purpose of mourning was to commemorate the deceased. The more grief you show, the more people would praise your filial piety. If you were still in the mood to eat snacks, what it looked like?
Everyone knew that mourning was painful, and officials might even have to worry about delaying their future. But filial piety was paramount, and scholars like the Chen family must pay more attention to etiquette.
“Will my stomach hurt after eating it?” Hua Yang had no confidence in the food from a small town.
Chen Jingzong: “Wouldn’t you know after you try? Anyway, I’m fine after eating it.”
Hua Yang hesitated for a moment, but decided to wait until one day when she was really greedy.
“Supper is not ready yet, you should go take a bath first.”
He was covered in dust, and Hua Yang didn’t want to take another look at him.
Chen Jingzong told Chao Yun at the door: “Just bring a bucket of cold water, no need to boil it.”
Hua Yang frowned: “A bucket of water can wash it clean?” It wasn’t even enough for her to wash her hair.
Chen Jingzong looked over: “If we won’t do anything, what’s the use of washing it so cleanly?”
If she slept with him, he could take a brush and brush it thoroughly from head to toe to ensure that she was satisfied with everything.
Hua Yang’s face turned red.
She was really too simplistic at the beginning, thinking that even if the Cabinet Elder’s son practiced martial arts, he would definitely be a refined scholar!
Zhu’er went to fetch water, and Chao Yun went to the inner room to get a change of clothes for Chen Jingzong, put them on the shelf next to the bathtub, and then retreated.
Hua Yang asked her to put away the jar of wine and three bags of snacks, and continue to sit in the main room.
Not long after Chen Jingzong entered the clean room, there was the sound of splashing water, followed by particular sound of a wet towel being clenched and rubbed along the back.
It was as if the two guards from her aunt’s mansion appeared in front of Hua Yang’s eyes.
She didn’t look at their faces carefully, but she deeply remembered their broad shoulders and thin waists.
In comparison, Chen Jingzong’s body was even better-looking. His figure was more slender, his muscles were strong, well-proportioned and just right.
Luo Yuyan felt uncomfortable sitting for a long time and was walking slowly in the yard. Erlang and Sanlang were squatting under the tree and playing with ants. Chen Xiaozong, who had been teaching all day, was lying comfortably in the side room to rest.
The main house sent a maid to bring dinner, which was dumplings stuffed with three kinds of vegetables, three vegetarian dishes, and an egg drop soup.
Luo Yuyan watched the maids come in, and then watched the maids leave, her mouth was very tasteless.
People were like this, they didn’t appreciate meat when they could eat it every day, but if they couldn’t eat meat for three months, they would be very greedy!
“Mom, let’s go in and eat.” Erlang was hungry, he threw away the small wooden stick in his hand, and stood up.
Luo Yuyan nodded, and just as she was about to walk in, a wisp of stewed chicken’s smell suddenly drifted over from Siyi Hall.
Luo Yuyan looked at her two sons silently.
Erlang and Sanlang both sniffed hard.
After confirming his eyes with his brother, Sanlang happily ran to his mother: “Mom, there is meat!”
Luo Yuyan hissed, told her sons to keep quiet, and then called Chen Xiaozong out.
This time the aroma of the stewed chicken was stronger, and Chen Xiaozong could smell it too.
He smiled, that good Old Four, he lied without even blinking!
Siyi Hall’s dinner today included stewed chicken and wine, and Chen Jingzong enjoyed it very much.
Hua Yang stopped her chopsticks after she was seven-tenths full.
“There still one more bowl, do you want it?” Chen Jingzong looked at the soup pot and asked her.
Hua Yang: “You drink it.”
Chen Jingzong poured the chicken soup into a bowl and drank it in several gulps.
She knew that she would never be able to transform her prince consort into an elegant person in this life.
After she solve the Chen family’s problem, in the next life, she may be able to look for someone with outstanding appearance and demeanor.
“Prince Consort, Eldest Master asked you to go there after dinner.”
Zhen’er came over to report.
Hua Yang was surprised: “Could it be that Eldest Brother also smelled it?”
She somewhat regretted following Chen Jingzong to cheat. It was like being a thief, and she had to worry about a little wind.
Chen Jingzong thought for a while and said: “Even if Eldest Brother smells it, he will only pretend not to know if he cares about your face. He must be looking for me for something else.”
When he said this, Hua Yang remembered: “Eldest Brother also sent someone to look for you in the afternoon. I said that you were busy catching mice last night and were catching up on sleep during the day.”
Chen Jingzong: “Okay, then I’ll go over and take a look.”
After rinsing his mouth carefully, Chen Jingzong went to Guanhe Hall.
Chen Bozong stood in the corridor and watched his fourth brother coming from Siyi Hall in a distance. His hair was still half wet, so he was sure that his fourth brother had slept all day and had taken a shower when he woke up covered in sweat.
“I heard that you were busy catching mice last night. Until what time have you been busy?” Chen Bozong asked with a serious face.
Chen Jingzong said some nonsense: “I don’t remember exactly, but it was almost dawn.”
Chen Bozong: “Even so, you shouldn’t sleep all day, it’s embarrassing.”
Chen Jingzong frowned: “You don’t have to worry about my business. Just say, why are you looking for me?”
Chen Bozong: “That’s it. Not to mention what the princess thinks of you, Wan Yi went to have lunch with the princess at noon. As a Fourth Uncle, don’t you feel ashamed when your niece knows that you slept in?”
Chen Jingzong squinted his eyes and finally understood the cause and effect.
He said perfunctorily: “Ashamed, I won’t sleep in anymore.”
Knowing that the Old Four just agreed casually and pretended to admit his mistakes honestly, it was hard for him to teach him a lesson.
“His Majesty has shown great grace by marrying the princess into our Chen family. You should abide by the etiquette in front of the princess and don’t act arbitrarily.”
“Okay, I will kowtow to her three times every time we meet from now on.”
Chen Jingzong ignored him and turned around to walk back.
When passing Fucui Hall, he happened to meet Chen Xiaozong stepping out of the gate.
When they met, Chen Xiaozong smiled first, like a jade-faced fox: “Where did Fourth Brother coming from?”
Chen Jingzong stopped, “Problem?”
Chen Xiaozong walked over and caught a glimpse of a figure at the other end of the corridor. When he looked over, he only saw the corner of his eldest brother’s clothes flashed away.
“Eldest Brother is looking for you?” Chen Xiaozong asked curiously.
Chen Jingzong: “None of your business.”
Chen Xiaozong: “Okay, let’s just talk about ours. You ah, you! Yesterday the maid said she smelled fried fish over there but I didn’t believe it. Today we all smell the smell of stewed chicken over there. Does Fourth Brother still want to deny?”
His tone was teasing, with an easy-going attitude of “Although you have violated etiquette, you are my biological brother, so I won’t discipline you.”
Chen Jingzong said expressionlessly: “We only stewed.”
Chen Xiaozong smiled and patted him on the shoulder: “Don’t worry, Third Brother won’t expose you.”
Chen Jingzong pushed his hand away: “Eating is eating, and not eating is not eating. I won’t admit to something I haven’t done. If Third Brother doesn’t believe me, you’re welcome to search our kitchen. It will clear our names.”
Chen Xiaozong’s smile froze. Even if there was no princess, it would be too ugly for him, a scholar, to look through his brother’s kitchen.
Seeing that his younger brother wanted to be tough to the end, Chen Xiaozong had to change his words and said helplessly: “Fourth Brother, Third Brother won’t laugh at you for cheating. To be honest, eating a vegetarian diet for a year is really too harsh. Eldest Brother and I only read books every day and doesn’t require any energy, so it’s still bearable. But you practice martial arts and have to keep fit, how can just eating vegetarian food be enough. Third Brother understands that. Third Brother came here to see you, but it’s actually for your Third Sister-in-law.”
Chen Jingzong’s cold expression eased slightly.
Chen Xiaozong saw hope, and his expression became more sincere. He took his brother and took two steps to the side: “Your Third Sister-in-law is pregnant at the wrong time this time. Fortunately, she is doing well. She didn’t have any fetal movement on the journey, but her complexion is obviously not as good as when she’s pregnant with Erlang and Sanlang. She has no energy during the day and her legs often cramp at night, all because eating too much vegetarian food.
“She is sensible, no matter how hard, she can endure. But as her husband, seeing her suffer from cramps to the point of tears, it truly pains my heart. Besides, she can’t eat well, and our child in her belly won’t grow properly.
“Fourth Brother, Third Brother knows that you are very capable and can go to the mountains to catch game. For the sake of your Third Sister-in-law and your unborn nephew and niece, next time you catch game, can you share a bowl with your Third Sister-in-law? Just one bowl to replenish your Third Sister-in-law’s body, Third Brother doesn’t need it.”
This was said with great sincerity and was quite touching.
Chen Jingzong was silent for a moment and said: “Third Brother has a deep affection for Third Sister-in-law, and I admire it. But I really didn’t cheat. Please trust me.”
Chen Xiaozong looked at him in disbelief, unable to accept that he had already said so much but the Old Four still refused to admit it!
The next moment, Chen Jingzong said again: “But Third Sister-in-law’s health is very important. I am willing to find opportunities to go into the mountains to get her some food.”
Chen Xiaozong’s shock suddenly turned into relief. He knew that although the Old Four was crude, there was no way he would not care about brotherhood.
Chen Jingzong: “However, if father finds out about this, he will definitely punish me, and I will have to kneel in the ancestral hall for several days. If I haven’t married, I wouldn’t mind kneeling for the sake of Third Brother and Third Sister-in-law. But now that I am married, I don’t want to make the princess look down on me even more, so I asked Third Brother to write a note stating that it was you who asked me to enter the mountain, so as to save me from worries. This is also for the sake of harmony between me and the princess.”
The way Fourth Brother said that, why did he beat around the bush, and not just once?
Chen Jingzong looked at the sky and said, “If Third Brother agrees, you can go and write the note now. I’ll wait for you here. If Third Brother doesn’t want to write the note, just pretend we didn’t talk about this.”
After saying that, he waited and saw that his brother was hesitant and was about to leave.
Chen Xiaozong subconsciously grabbed his arm.
Chen Jingzong looked over calmly.
Chen Xiaozong knew that he had been tricked by this seemingly crude and unpretentious brother.
Since tonight he came to ask his fourth brother for help for his wife, if he gave up just because of a note, the deep feeling and righteousness just now would suddenly become a joke.
But if he wrote those note to his fourth brother, he would be the one who was punished by their father to kneel in the ancestral hall if they were exposed in the future.
Father wouldn’t care whether his wife has cramps in the middle of the night. Even if there were extenuating circumstances, he would still be punished!
If he had known this, if he had known this…
Can he ignore his wife’s grievances?
Chen Xiaozong, who knew exactly what he would choose, smiled, pointed at his brother while shaking his head, and said, “You wait here.”
A quarter of an hour later, Chen Xiaozong returned again, still carrying a lamp in his hand.
Chen Jingzong unfolded the note and read it carefully under the light to make sure that his third brother did not play tricks with his words. He gave him a meaningful look and said, “Third Brother is quite considerate.”
Chen Xiaozong sighed: “I just hope you will act cautiously and never let father catch you.”
Chen Jingzong: “I’ll try my best. By the way, when I bring back the game, I will ask the maid to inform Third Sister-in-law. Then I will ask Third Sister-in-law to send a servant here to cook. The princess is very strict about rules, so I’m afraid she won’t agree to let the maids around her to touch the meat during the mourning period.”
Chen Xiaozong really wanted to ask, if the princess really disdain it, could it be that the fish and chicken in the past two days were all cooked and eaten by the Old Four alone?
But the Old Four didn’t admit that he was cheating at all, and some things could only be tacitly understood. Besides, it was natural for the princess’s maid to only serve the princess.
The brothers finished their conspiracy and went home.
Chen Jingzong found Hua Yang sitting on the bed in the inner room.
“Why you gone for so long?” Hua Yang asked casually.
Chen Jingzong sat on the edge of the bed and handed her the note in his sleeve.
Hua Yang took it suspiciously. After reading it, she looked at Chen Jingzong incomprehensibly.
Chen Jingzong smiled: “With this, we can eat whatever we want from now on. If something goes wrong, Third Brother will take care of it for us.”
This was also good news for Hua Yang, who couldn’t help but laugh: “How did you get it?”
Chen Xiaozong was a veritable Tanhua. How could a crude guy like Chen Jingzong be able to trick him?
Chen Jingzong was not conceited: “Third Sister-in-law is pregnant. I took advantage of this weak point, so he can only agree.”
After hearing this, Hua Yang looked at the Tanhua’s leisure handwriting and couldn’t hide her envy: “Third Brother is so kind to Third Sister-in-law.”
Reputation was the most important thing for a scholar, and Third Master Chen willingly gave away his handle for his wife.
If Third Master Chen had not yet married when her mother empress conferred the marriage, she would have married Third Master Chen. If the couple were harmonious, how could there be so much anger over trifles.
Suddenly there was a cold sneer from above her head, and the paper in her hand were snatched away.
Realizing that her little thoughts had been seen by him, Hua Yang couldn’t help but feel embarrass. She pulled up the quilt as if she was sleepy and lay down with her back to him.
“I was the one who went to the mountains, and I was the one who hunted. It’s him who got all the good names.”
Hua Yang blinked after hearing the ridicule.
Well, the Fourth Master of Chen family was also very good. Even if Third Master Chen loved his wife, he still needed help from his brother. Fourth Master Chen directly delivered the fish, chicken and three bags of snacks to her table.
The Author has something to say:
Old Four: This is not the only thing I am better than him
Hua Yang: Tell me
Old Four: …