This chapter was a two-in-one according to the author.
With Xie Mao’s participation, things developed a little easier than expected.
The three parties carried things out individually. Yan Zhi was responsible for sourcing copper and asking people to purchase large amounts. Xie Mao had a little more to do. Not only did he have to send subordinates to help Yan Zhi, he also had to find skilled craftsmen and prepare workshops and the other materials needed for making copper coins. Luo Huai Yuan’s tasks were relatively easier. He just had to instruct his subordinates to gather copper coins and send them to the Yun Province. He also ordered those below to use only copper coins instead of silver or banknotes when sending up the dividends. This increased the burden on his subordinates. Just the transportation was extremely troublesome.
Time feels like it goes by quickly when it’s busy. Luo Huai Yuan had arrived at the Fu Province prior to June, and it was now entering winter. Even in winter, the Fu Province was extremely warm. It couldn’t compare to the Yun Province at all. There, they already had to wear large fur coats while in the Fu Province a single layer was enough.
The ships exporting the first batch of copper coins had already returned. The results made Xie Mao extremely pleasantly surprised. Just a simple exchange had netted them almost three times the value in silver. Then, he ordered the people to distribute the silver in exchange for more copper coins and gathered them in the Fu Province again.
Because transporation wasn’t too developed in this era and the process of gathering copper coins was also extremely troublesome, the entire process took around two or three months. This was to say they could only do this sort of exchange four or five times a year.
However, just this frequency was already enough for a pleasant surprise. This explosive profit was easy money.
On the other side, the craftsmen and workshops were already set up and had long since started producing coins. They experimented with all sorts of different proportions in the formula for copper coins, trying to find the best quality product that most closely resembled what was on the market.
Actually there were quite a few people who cast their own copper coins in the past. However, the ones made by the court had more accurate proportions. Having a little higher copper content than necessary meant operating at a loss, and having a little less meant the coin would have inferior quality. The commoners were able to tell if the coins were privately made and didn’t really accept them as currency. Therefore, the amount of people doing this in the Grand Xi dwindled and there were now extremely few. The profits weren’t high and there was the risk of the goods being confiscated and losing their lives.
Having seen the explosive profits in exchanging copper coins for silver, Xie Mao wondered why Luo Huai Yuan was putting so much effort into sourcing copper from overseas to craft into coins here.
Luo Huai Yuan didn’t know how to explain the concept of deflation, and could only use a simple analogy. There were still a lot of impoverished citiens in the Grand Xi. If they took all the copper coins on the market, which was the standard currency, there would be nothing for commoners to use. If it were more serious, they would have to use silver to exchange. At this time, the purchase power of “coins” would decrease significantly and it would become worthless. What would be the use of having a lot of silver? It would have been wasted effort. Therefore, it was best to keep a sort of equilibrium.
Xiao Mao understood this reasoning. He knew that they shouldn’t overdo this sort of exchange. It would be most suitable if they found a steady source of copper overseas. It was best to take from those who had excess. Therefore, he started paying close attention to places with copper mines.
Soon, the end of the year approached and Luo Huai Yuan needed to return to the Yun Province.
He handed over the matters to Yan Zhi and Shen Xuan, as well as his own aides. After saying farewell, Luo Huai Yuan hurried back to the Yun Province, trying to get there before the New Year.
Having been apart from Yan Yan for almost half a year, he had missed her. However, he understood this separation was so they could be together for a long time in the future. The occasional letters were long since unable to satisfy the thirst in his soul. Luo Huai Yuan’s heart was set on speeding home.
On the other side by the Yun Prince Estate.
Yan Yan was extremely bored while Luo Huai Yuan was gone. The Yun Prince Estate’s system for internal and external affairs had been set up extremely clearly. Everyone had been methodically arranged and followed procedure in handling things. There was no need for her to do anything normally.
Now that she was idle, she put her thoughts onto Mei Xiang, Yi Yun and Yi Meng.
These three personal maids had already become old maids. They never spoke up and Yan Yan didn’t know what to say. But seeing that they weren’t young but were still unmarried, Yan Yan couldn’t bear it considering they had been with her for a long time.
Without any other choice, she could only forcibly give the orders for the three of them to find a partner and get married before the end of the year.
Actually, it wasn’t that they weren’t worried about this matter, but having stayed inside the inner residence, the number of boys they met could be counted on one hand. They all knew they should be getting married, but who should they marry? Would they have a good life after marriage? Wouldn’t it be better to remain by the consort’s side? These were all things to consider.
Especially since these people were all born into the household. They had often seen their sisters or maids with good connections get married. The next time they saw them, these young lasses had all become women with worries in life. This truly made them tremble in fear.
Of course, Mei Xiang’s group weren’t like the others. They were the Yun Consort’s palace maids after all. They had come with her to the Yun Province from the Weiyuan Marquis Estate. Yan Yan naturally wouldn’t match them with someone random. Furthermore, Yan Yan had also said they could pick whoever was suitable within the estate. As long as they had their eye on someone, she would send people over for matchmaking. There shouldn’t be any difficulties.
Of course, choosing someone suitable needed some consideration. They were of rather low birth, and although they didn’t have to worry about being on the slave registry since Yan Yan just had to say the word to release them, just what sort of partner was suitable? The three knew they couldn’t delay any longer and discussed things in private. They all decided to have the consort choose for them.
Thus the difficult problem was thrown back at Yan Yan.
In her helplessness, she could only spread the news that her three personal palace maids were looking for a husband. Those who were interested should come propose. The requirements were to be of similar age, no bad habits, decent appearance and a good character. Of course, just because you came to propose doesn’t mean you could carry a beauty back home. They had to get past Yan Yan first, and then get the approval of the bride-to-be.
When the news was released, there were many hearts stirred.
The people in the front and rear residences were all eunuchs and palace maids. Within the entire estate, those who suited Mei Xiang’s group of three most were the estate’s guards. These guards were of different ages. Those who followed the Yun Prince over certainly didn’t have great backgrounds. They were mixed in with a bunch of crude fellows year round. To be able to marry a beautiful wife, who was even the consort’s personal high-ranked palace maid, was essentially a blessing from the heavens. They all started evaluating themselves to see if they were suitable, and whether they would be spurned if they stepped up.
The estate guards suddenly started showing off their good sides. They used to be a bunch of coarse fellows who didn’t care about their appearances. Recently, they started taking care of themselves.
When the news was sent back to the Xianyun Hall, Yan Yan couldn’t help but laugh for several days. Mei Xiang’s group turned red and were incessantly shy. Only now did they feel they seemed to be on the verge of marriage.
Seeing that everyone had some thoughts, there would inevitably be some impatient people who secretly sent word to the Xianyun Hall.
When the first one appeared, the second and third followed soon after. Yan Yan didn’t respond and instead collected these people’s information. She sorted through them and picked out some suitable ones for the three to look through.
This was a long process. Not only did Yan Yan put in quite a lot of effort, Mei Xiang’s group were also putting in a lot of effort at this stage. After finding some potentially suitable candidates, they started privately investigating them on their own. During this time, many low-ranked palace maids and eunuchs went out of their way to stop by where the guards lived.
The guards also understood what this meant. Those who didn’t meet the requirements all teased those who had put themselves forwards. Those who were being teased couldn’t help but wonder whether they were being eyed.
This won’t be mentioned for now. In the end, the choices were made.
Yan Yan found an excuse to have those three young guards come speak with her.
The questions were just a pretext. They were actually there to be seen. When the three guards left, Mei Xiang’s group who had been hiding behind the screen all bashfully and timidly nodded their heads.
The marriage was thus settled. Yan Yan said the wedding would be arranged when his highness returned.
The Xianyun Hall’s servants were all aware that the Yun Prince wasn’t in the estate. In theory he would hurry back before the end of the year, but no one knew if this would truly be the case.
The weather started getting colder. The end of the year approached day by day.
Because Luo Huai Yuan wasn’t present, Yan Yan announced that they wouldn’t make such a large fanfare this year. Of course, this announcement supposedly came from the Yun Prince. Since the Yun Prince didn’t receive summons back to the capital this year again, everyone assumed he was in a bad mood and didn’t think too much of it.
Although things were simplified, what needed to be arranged still needed to be arranged. Such a large estate required quite some preparations if they wanted to have a sumptuous New Year’s.
The bestowals were handed out and the entire estate was in high spirits. However, Yan Yan who had just finished all this work felt a little listless.
In the past she would always feel that fellow was annoying when he clung onto her the whole time. Now that he was really gone, Yan Yan realized that she had frighteningly gotten used to it. Not only was it hard to get used to sleeping alone, even during her martial arts practice when she was the most focused, Yan Yan had started getting easily distracted.
On the twenty-eighth, Yan Yan had given up hope that he would return by the end of the year.
The snow was falling heavily outside and the Yun Province’s winter was extremely cold.
On the twenty-ninth, Yan Yan was unexpectedly lazy. Not only did she skip her practice in the morning, she was even too lazy to move. She spent the entire day curled up on the kiln, idly flipping through the military book in her hands.
The palace maids in the hall all held their breaths, and even spoke more quietly than normal. This lasted until late evening when Yan Yan suddenly threw the book down and returned to her room to sleep.
She slept for a while and was suddenly startled awake. Before she could react, she was pulled into an embrace still filled with the chill from outside.
It was soft and wide. Before she could express her pleasant surprise, her mouth was blocked by his kiss.
This person seemed to have rushed back and didn’t tidy up his appearance. The stubble on his chin prickled Yan Yan’s tender skin painfully. His hands kneaded and groped under the blankets like a vicious wolf. Yan Yan wasn’t able to react before being swept into the storm.
It was swift and urgent, making Yan Yan forget herself and also making her feel a little startled after it was over. Tha person seemed to have noticed her surprise. The skin on his face trembled as he leaned in shamelessly once again.
“When did you get back? Do you need to eat something?”
That person’s hands and mouth didn’t stop, “The only thing I want to eat now is Ah Yan. I’ve been starved….”
His muttering was cut off because Yan Yan truly couldn’t listen to his lewd words any longer and blocked his mouth.
Compared to the urgency of the first time, Luo Huai Yuan was much more laid back the second time. He was no longer in a rush, and also knew to change up the angles and positions, taking it slowly and carefully. In the end, he lifted Yan Yan onto his body and said he was truly out of energy from hurrying back the entire way.
Seeing that this person had truly gotten tanned and seemed extremely haggard, Yan Yan went along with his wishes. They tossed and turned like this until the next day before finally resting.
They had the servants prepare water and a change of clothes. After washing up, Yan Yan ordered for a table of midnight snacks to be prepared. Luo Huai Yuan had a good meal before the two went back to bed.
Yan Yan felt she had spent the entire New Year’s in bed.
Luo Huai Yuan said he had rushed back the whole way from the Fu Province, and that he had suffered hardship, was very pitiful, and needed to rest up properly to recuperate. This so-called resting meant making Yan Yan stay in bed with him. It was naturally impossible for them to only be chatting under the blankets. Things would often get twisted until it became crooked.
The overly frequent rounds made Yan Yan a little worried.
She was currently in mourning. Altough the two of them didn’t really view it as something important and the people by their side wouldn’t dare speak about their personal matters outside, they hadn’t done it too frequently in the past, relatively speaking. The two were intentionally trying to avoid getting pregnant in the capital, and after she was in mourning, it would naturally inappropriate to get pregnant. Therefore, they continued to take steps to avoid it.
Yan Yan had been drinking birth control soup the entire time. This sort of soup naturally wasn’t the low quality kind that was harmful to the body. This was a secret formula from Luo Huai Yuan that didn’t harm women’s bodies. Instead, it even had some nourishing effects.
It’s just that this birth control soup needed to be drunk half a month in advance to be effective. When Luo Huai Yuan was present, Yan Yan never stopped taking it. After he went to the Fu Province, she had stopped. Who would have thought he would hurry back and be in such a rush? This meant that they didn’t use any protection during these days.
Yan Yan had forgotten about this in the heat of the moment. By the time she remembered, several days had already passed. Yan Yan was a little hesitant about taking that medicine again. Perhaps she had already gotten pregnant?
When she told Luo Huai Yuan about this, he seemed a little rascally. He said might as well not drink it for now. They could discuss it when her period was due next month.
Yan Yan was very tangled up due to this matter and naturally wasn’t willing to let Luo Huai Yuan touch her anymore. She insisted on waiting until they found out the result. But this fellow hadn’t gotten any meat for over half a year. Now that this fragrant, spicy and justified meat was next to his mouth, how could he not eat?
For the sake of achieving his goals, he duped Yan Yan by saying he had another temporary solution.
Unable to overcome this thick-skinned person, Yan Yan tried it out. She listened to his explanation and saw the method in action. It seemed like it would be effective so Yan Yan no longer insisted.
Luo Huai Yuan spent the entire month in an extremely happy manner.
Days spent away were truly not suitable for people. Holding this soft, warm, fragrant bundle in his arms was what he was after in life.
When the date of her period approached, Yan Yan started getting nervous.
The day of, there was no period.
Yan Yan had always taken good care of her health and her period was rarely not punctual. However, it was still normal for it to delay a couple of days. Might as well wait a little longer.
Two days later, it still hadn’t come.
She was nervous to begin with, and seeing that person smiling sneakily, Yan Yan didn’t hold back and gave him a good beating on the kiln. Luo Huai Yuan suffered a round of superficial punches before pulling Yan Yan into his arms and coaxing her.
He always had some twisted reasoning, and after a round of it Yan Yan was coaxed into not being so worried anymore.
This was truly the case. What was there to worry about?
Getting pregnant during mourning could be treated as something serious, but also as something trivial. It depends how they and others looked at it. First of all, Yan Yan didn’t have any good feelings towards the old madam and Yan Ting, so she didn’t feel ashamed. Secondly, Yan Yan didn’t need to observe this mourning period. As mentioned before, she was part of the royal family now. The royal family’s status was higher than anything else. Their daughter-in-law didn’t have to observe a mourning period unless it was her next of kin.
Even if it was, it could be decided based on the situation. Those who were filial or who were afraid of being judged naturally had to put on appearances. Back then, Yan Yan put on mourning robes which showed she was in mourning. Therefore, whether she maintained it for three years didn’t really matter. It’s just that Yan Yan was used to thinking of herself as in mourning so Luo Huai Yuan followed along.
Now that things were different, it was ok to use some twisted reasoning to wave things away.
Especially since the matter of children was more important than the heavens for the royal family.
Although they had left the capital, Luo Huai Yuan still knew the circumstances of the other princes. The crown prince didn’t have a son yet. The Jin Prince and the Qi Prince were the same way. Despite having married, it wasn’t clear if there was something wrong with their genes. The two princes had gotten concubines pregnant like the crown prince, but they either miscarried or gave birth to girls.
As of now, the principal wife Yan Yan was pregnant. Even if she was in mourning, would anyone dare say anything? Only if they were tired of living!
Along with Yan Yan’s pregnancy, Luo Huai Yuan thought of the dangers from the other princes, making him raise his guard.
He didn’t believe in whatever fate that made it hard for those surnamed Luo to have children. To put it plainly, the so called difficulty was merely due to people scheming against each other and harming each other.
The crown prince consort didn’t show any signs of pregnancy. The eastern palace had quite a lot of concubines, but he merely had two young daughters. Since the crown prince hadn’t given birth to a son, would his faction who had struggled with Senior Concubine Xu’s faction for so long allow them to have a son? It wasn’t clear how much effort Empress Xiao put into this!
Also, who would dare say Senior Concubine Xu had nothing to do with the crown prince having difficulty conceiving?
Because it was still early, it wasn’t possible to tell via her pulse. Therefore, Luo Huai Yuan didn’t call for a doctor from the medical center. He merely ordered Yan Yan’s people to pay attention normally. By the time the month was over, Yan Yan’s period still hadn’t come.
There was no more need for guessing. She was definitely pregnant.
Because things were different now, Yan Yan’s lifestyle underwent some drastic changes.
First of all, she couldn’t practice martial arts anymore. Secondly, she had to eat and sleep well, and couldn’t get angry. Therefore, Luo Huai Yuan fell just short of putting her on a pedestal and worshipping her as an ancestor.
Becoming a dad for the first time and raising his child with a woman he loved, this sort of feeling was far too wonderful. Luo Huai Yuan no longer wanted to do anything and put all his thoughts on Yan Yan and the child in her stomach.
He racked his brains and squeezed all his relevant knowledge from the modern world dry.
It was said women lacked calcium when giving birth, and needed to drink more milk and other nourishments. Therefore, Luo Huai Yuan put in a lot of effort and managed to bring over some cows from other places. He had people meticulously feed them so they could produce milk for his wife’s nourishment.
Pregnant women also needed to eat various fruits and vegetables to replenish their vitamins. Knowing that the Yun Province’s climate was cold, Luo Huai Yuan was already planning on constructing a warm room despite it almost being spring. This was so the fruits and vegetables could be grown in the cold for his wife to eat.
Also, she had to eat more fish and seafood since it was good for the body. The Fu Province happened to have all sorts of seafood. Now, Luo Huai Yuan’s subordinates had another task: to send seafood to the Yun Province.
Couldn’t be kept alive? Already dead by the time it arrived?
No matter. The smart and resourceful Yun Prince had already thought of a way to transport seafood over a long distance. However, based on the Grand Xi’s level of technology the cost was a little high. It was even higher than the cost of the Tang Dynasty’s emperor procuring fresh lychees for his concubine who liked to eat them.
But what was money?
To Luo Huai Yuan, money was something that could be spent one day and earned the next!
He didn’t have much of anything except money.
His wife wanted to eat fresh seafood?
Eat! There’s plenty!
He was clearly the one forcing Yan Yan to eat it! Based on the Grand Xi’s lacking knowledge, how could they know eating seafood replenished protein and calcium?
Yan Yan hadn’t felt any nausea from pregnancy at first, but after being tormented by him like this she had some problems swallowing the food.
Seeing Yan Yan’s lack of appetite, Luo Huai Yuan was even more worried than she was.
First he urged her, and when that didn’t work he went into battle himself. The Luo Huai Yuan who had earned his first bit of money with meat skewers was revived once again. He mastered the art of various snacks overnight.
Of course, he only knew how to instruct, and not how to make it himself. Therefore, the cooks in the Xianyun Hall’s kitchen got quite the headache.
When the things were brought over, Yan Yan was able to eat a few bites.
She understood now that this person worried too much. If she expressed any signs of not being able to eat, he would make an even bigger fuss.
Looking at this person busying himself all day so she could eat a bite of food, and not getting tired of fussing back and forth, Yan Yan’s eyes couldn’t help but turn wet.
With a good husband, what more did she need!?
Yan Yan’s lack of appetite spontaneously recovered.