Her voice attracted the attention of Wei Kun and Duke Ying, the several adults lowered their heads one after another. Wei Kun spoke surprised: “Ah Luo? Why are you here?”
Wei Luo raised her clear and bright small face, dimples showing as she smiled. Her words were especially sensible: “I’ve come to give big brother Prince Jing this medicine, since big brother Prince Jing’s hand has an injury. Applying the medicine, it should get well right away.”
Finished speaking, she kept her short arms up, but seeing that Zhao Jie didn’t move to accept, she simply gripped his big hand and pried his fingers open, placing the white glaze porcelain bottle inside. “Big brother, apply this every day twice a day, it’ll get better very quickly.”
The little girl’s voice was sticky sweet. Looking down from this angle, her eyelashes were long and thick, hiding that pair of bright and lively big eyes. What expression did that pair of eyes show right now? Sly or sincere? Zhao Jie wondered pensively, then closed his palm and put the bottle in his pouch, the edge of his lips lifting slightly in a smile: “How did you know my hand was injured?”
Wei Luo’s shoulders flinched. She retreated two steps to meet his line of sight. Compared to her, he was much taller. At her current age, her height was much too inferior, looking up at people almost made her neck snap. There wasn’t the slightest hint of shame on her face as she crisply spoke: “When we met at the front courtyard a moment ago, big brother’s sleeve fell back, and Ah Luo saw.”
It actually could be explained that way.
Zhao Jie smiled and reached out to stroke her head, his thumb rubbing her forehead. With a deep tone, he said: “Thank you, you’re considerate.”
His fingers were long and strong. In the sunlight, they seemed to glow like white jade, really like a pair of hands raised in a respectable house. He accidentally parted the bangs on Wei Luo’s forehead, only to find a bright red small birthmark between the little girl’s eyebrows. Set on her white and tender small face, she appeared even more delicate, charming, and cute. The longer he looked, the more it seemed as if she had walked out of a picture, her lips like cherry, her teeth like pearls. Zhao Jie turned away, and didn’t look at her again. Together with Duke Ying, he walked out of the Duke’s residence.
Wei Luo stood in the yard pondering. The stuff was received, it should mean she was forgiven, right?
She couldn’t see through Zhao Jie’s thoughts, only feeling that this person’s thoughts were deep, complex and hard to fathom. She searched through the memories related to the previous life’s Zhao Jie. He was intelligent and outstanding, noble and handsome, the Retired Emperor’s favorite. He was conferred the rank of Prince at twelve years old. His methods were firm and shrewd, very quickly gathering a group reliable aides. After the Retired Emperor passed away, Emperor Chong Zhen, who was unhappy with his (Zhao Jie’s) growing ambitions, soon found an excuse to send him off to Wurong to toughen his body, for the duration of exactly three years. Calculating the days, he should have recently come back from Wurong. After returning, he discovered that the structural changes in the Imperial court were very big. Emperor Chong Zhen vigorously supported his younger brother Zhao Zhang, even intending to establish him as Crown Prince…
If memories served right, Zhao Zhang was Noble Consort Ning’s son.
Was the Emperor’s mind blinded by love, letting go of the perfect from head to toe legitimate son, and insisting on backing up the illegitimate one?
Wei Luo had a few words of silent critique in her mind, the secrets of the royal family were too many and too complex, she couldn’t possibly grasp it all in such a short time. In any case, as far as she could remember, Zhao Jie would later become someone, who would overturn all levels of society.
After sending off Zhao Jie, Wei Kun took Wei Luo along to return to Pine courtyard.
As for Ginkgo courtyard, it was still restless. Madam Du couldn’t see Wei Kun, so she thought of a method and got in touch with the third madam Liu. Weeping loudly, she poured out her great sufferings in front of Madam Liu, then asked her to go to Pine courtyard and persuade Wei Kun to bring her back, as she couldn’t go on living in this place anymore.
Wei Kun flung his sleeves and remained unmoved: “If she can’t go on living there, then let her return to Count Zhongyi’s residence!”
Returning to the maternal home divorced and pregnant, how big of a disgrace was that? What would other people think? They would certainly assume Madam Du had had an affair with someone, that the child wasn’t Wei Kun’s, so Wei Kun couldn’t put up with her. At that time, not only would Madam Du’s reputation sweep the floor, the rest of the young ladies in Count Zhongyi’s residence wouldn’t be able to marry.
Madam Liu hadn’t expected that even after several days, his anger still had not dissipated one bit. Drinking a mouthful of tea, she advised: “How can fifth brother-in-law say that? Fifth sister-in-law has followed you through thick and thin for five years, in these five years she’s helped you manage the home. Even without earning recognition, she has worked hard… Now she’s only made one mistake due to confusion. Making the mistake, fine, it’s good that you punished her, but refusing to compromise for so long is not the way to go.” She glanced at Wei Luo, who was in Wei Kun’s arms, with a veiled expression, “After all, fifth sister-in-law is pregnant, she should take good care of herself, yet she’s living in that place, without any people to care for her. If the child is a son, Ah Luo will gain another younger brother, then continuing to live in that place is even more unacceptable…”
Wei Luo didn’t like the expression in her eyes, it made her feel uneasy all over. Thus, she burrowed deeper in Wei Kun’s embrace and ignored her.
Ah Luo’s intuition was really accurate. The past life’s Madam Liu didn’t like her, and in this life it was still the same. Madam Liu was very nice to Wei Zheng, but towards Ah Luo and Changhong, she wasn’t particularly warm. Sometimes there was even a trace of loathing. The cause of that, the Ah Luo from before couldn’t have understood, but she could partly see it now…
That day in the reception pavilion, when they had discussed how to handle Madam Du, she had been peeping from outside, and had naturally also seen the conflict between third uncle and father. Afterwards, third uncle had come out and had looked at her with a somewhat distracted expression, as if he was looking at someone else.
Ah Luo wasn’t a fool. Third uncle’s behavior had been so obvious, she had to be slow-witted not to have guessed correctly.
Wei Kun wasn’t saying anything. Wei Luo was worried he would relent, so she muttered a protest within his arms: “I only have Changhong as a younger brother, I don’t want any other younger brother.”
Her worry wasn’t unfounded. Wei Kun’s disposition was mild and easily swayed, and the third aunt was silver-tongued. Perhaps Wei Kun would be persuaded in a few words. How was that alright? That would be letting Madam Du off too lightly.
Madam Liu looked at her with a weird smile, “Madam’s son is your younger brother, how could Ah Luo say you don’t want him?”
Wei Luo didn’t look at her. She lowered her head and opened Wei Kun’s hand to play with his fingers, going over each and every digit back and forth, mumbling as though she felt wronged, “Ah Luo just doesn’t want.”
For the most part, the child had gone through a great trauma on her way back from Huguo Temple, to the extent that she couldn’t help but shiver at the mere mention of Madam Du. Wei Kun watched her affectionately, his arms enveloping Wei Luo even closer, as he said to Madam Liu: “Third sister-in-law doesn’t need to persuade me again. Madam Du has made a mistake and deserves to be punished. As for her child, be it a son or a daughter, wait for her to give birth first, then talk! I won’t discuss this matter again, third sister-in-law should go back.”
In other words, Madam Du should at the very least reside in Ginkgo courtyard until she gave birth?
Madam Liu’s expression wavered. Whether she had more to say or not, she didn’t have a good reason to stay behind. She got up to take her leave. She didn’t directly return to the third branch house, but turned around midway to head for Ginkgo courtyard, so she could personally deliver Wei Kun’s words to Madam Du.
Madam Du listened in a daze. Sitting in an armchair, she couldn’t come to her senses for a long time.
Still eight more months to live here, but she couldn’t go on staying here for even a day longer! The house was simple and crude, with only two maidservants by her side. Although the servants didn’t treat them harshly, it was very different compared to her previous lifestyle after all. It had been a life of luxury before. Dozens of maidservants and old servants all around, whoever saw her would be courteous and respectful, calling her fifth madam. Now she was trapped inside this small courtyard, seeing her own daughter’s face was already difficult. How could she accept such a downgrade?
Notes: Zhao Jie almost turned into a lolicon there >_<…
Still not sure whether Wurong is an army base, a remote city/area, or a different country that they may or may not be at war with. I guess it’ll become clear later on in the novel.
The chair in this chapter was actually called eight immortals chair. I always see these fancy and auspicious names for everything, furniture or food (last chapter’s table was also eight immortals table). I’m not sure whether there’s a good translation for that, but here’s a picture to see what the chairs look like (dust and all lol). I imagine there’d normally be a pillow on the seat.