Yan Yan’s pregnancy was pretty stable.
She didn’t get any nausea or other symptoms. Her stomach merely swelled up extremely quickly.
June arrived in the blink of an eye. The Yun Province’s summers weren’t hot, and along with Luo Huai Yuan’s care, Yan Yan didn’t feel unwell despite summers supposedly being unbearable for pregnant women. Perhaps it was due to her martial arts training over the years. Overall, Yan Yan was quite well-adjusted.
The cries of cicadas sounded ceaseslessly. Several towering trees stood by the lakeside, filling the surroundings with shade. The summer’s fierce sun was completely blocked off, and the breeze added an additional layer of comfort.
Under the trees was a chair, upon which sat a person.
That person leaned against the back of the chair with eyes squinted in pleasure. A fishing rod stuck out towards the water. The surface was calm, occasionally disturbed by some ripples.
Suddenly, the person’s eyes opened and he sat up. He exerted some force with his hand and pulled on the rod. A fish was actually hanging on the end of the line.
This fish wasn’t big but it also wasn’t small. It was just the right size for a stew. Luo Huai Yuan’s left cheek revealed a small dimple as he took the fish off and put it into a bucket next to him.
“I knew you’d be here!”
A girl’s voice sounded out. Yan Yan walked over from the distance. She wore red robes embroidered with gold-threaded chrysanthemums, paired with a verdant skirt with cloud and ripple patterns. Her little stomach was extended but it didn’t seem to affect her movements. She walked over graceful as usual.
“Aiyo my great aunt, walk a little slower….”
Luo Huai Yuan leapt up extremely nimbly and threw the rod to the side. He swiftly went up and took her by the arm.
“What are you all good for? Don’t you know to urge the consort to walk slower!?”
Lan’er and Liu’er pursed their lips and didn’t dare argue. The two of them were Yan Yan’s new personal palace maids after Mei Xiang’s group got married off.
“Enough, you shouldn’t blame them. I’m just pregnant, it’s no big deal. It’s only been a few months!”
With Luo Huai Yuan’s support, Yan Yan went and sat in the chair. She took a glance at the bucket.
“Oh, pretty good. There’s three of them already.”
Luo Huai Yuan put his hands on his waist and said smugly: “Precisely. We’ll take it to the kitchen later and have them make carp and tofu soup for you to drink.”
Yan Yan smiled and didn’t say anything.
Ever since Yan Yan was confirmed to be pregnant, Luo Huai Yuan had started busying himself. He still mostly busied himself with making food for Yan Yan.
Eating too much seafood would get stale, so he started getting some freshwater fish. When the Yun Prince Estate was constructed, they built a large garden in the back. There was a lake in the garden that initially had quite a lot of fish. Luo Huai Yuan felt there wasn’t enough variety and brought back quite a few hatchlings and shrimp. After a few months, the small fish gradually grew bigger, and along with the original fish, there was plenty of shrimp and fish for Yan Yan to eat.
Furthermore, it was also a source of amusement for him. During these idle summer afternoons, he would take a fishing rod over and go fishing, using the excuse of wanting to supplement the consort’s dinner.
Luo Huai Yuan clapped his hands together, seemingly having recalled something. He looked around and saw that Xiao An Zi had appeared at some point. He waved for him to go check the net hanging by the shore.
The net was woven with fishing lines. The mesh was extremely fine, and when it was lifted up there were things moving inside. Luo Huai Yuan received it and opened it for a look. He immediately smiled.
“My dear, how did you get in here? Don’t you at all these small ones.”
As he spoke, he lifted a large blue crab brandishing its claws, and threw it back into the lake. He then said to Yan Yan: “Look, there’s also some freshwater shrimp. We’ll stir fry them for you to eat tonight.”
Yan Yan glared at him, “Eat, eat, eat. Look how I’ve become!”
Luo Huai Yuan squinted in a smile and said: “Not fat, fat not.”
During this time, Yan Yan had gotten fatter compared to before her pregnancy. However, she wasn’t like most pregnant women who would swell up like balloons. In the past, her figure was slender, upright, curvaceous and delicate. Now, she had gotten quite a bit rounder. She was white, tender and rosy, her fine complexion making others jealous.
Someone had already brought over another chair and a small table. There were a lot of snacks and fruits on the table, along with a cup of fresh milk.
This was Yan Yan’s afternoon snack. Everything was requested by Luo Huai Yuan.
He said that pregnant women needed to eat well and be well for the baby to come out healthy and cute. Yan Yan had laughed at him. He hadn’t given birth before, so why did he know more than someone who was pregnant? That fellow had put his hands at his waist and said he was proficient in everything. To put it plainly, he was just being considerate. Who said men couldn’t be concerned just because they couldn’t give birth? When a woman’s husband was more concerned than her about her body, she would feel very blessed.
This was probably happiness.
Yan Yan had never regretted marrying Luo Huai Yuan. Perhaps it wasn’t just a lack of regret. There were probably many other things, but it wasn’t very clear to her. She just felt she was very happy, as though drifting in a warm ocean.
Yan Yan lifted the cup of milk and took a small sip. This thing actually wasn’t tasty. It had a faintly raw taste, but after drinking it for a while it wasn’t hard to swallow. Luo Huai Yuan held a cup of Holly Tea. His large physique made him suffer in the summer. While others didn’t feel it was hot, he felt it was unbearable. But since Yan Yan was pregnant, they couldn’t put anything cold in the room. Therefore, hiding in the shade of the trees was the best place to spend the summer.
“You should lose weight. Not only is this bad for your health, you will also suffer.”
The tea was clearly cold but Luo Huai Yuan was covered in sweat after drinking. Yan Yan couldn’t watch any longer and helped him wipe it off with a handkerchief.
“I know, I know. I will definitely eat less and exercise more in the future.” Luo Huai Yuan said.
Yan Yan gave him a glance and ignored him.
Having been married for so long, no one knew better than her when he didn’t mean something. His words were clearly just for show. However, Yan Yan also knew this wasn’t the time for Luo Huai Yuan to lose weight. The two of them had discussed this in the past. Luo Huai Yuan’s reasoning was very sufficient and convincing.
His words were thus:
“I’m tall and upright like a tree facing the wind. I’m outstanding and handsome. It’s not an exaggeration to say no one was ever as good looking, and no one will ever be. Why would I remain fat for so many years? It’s because I don’t want to steal those people’s thunder. Think about it. My current appearance is already deeply rooted in the minds of others. I’m just a fat, stupid and timid person. If I suddenly underwent a major change, wouldn’t it scare everyone!? How eye-catching would that be?! What if I accidentally attrcact jealousy? It’s better to remain fat….”
Yan Yan was struck quite hard by his self-confidence.
It had to be admitted that based on his features, Luo Huai Yuan wasn’t an ugly person. When he was young, he was cute and chubby. However, it wasn’t to the extent where his looks were unrivalled like he was saying. To put it plainly, he was just lazy, too lazy to move. Regardless, Yan Yan had never seen him exercise or practice martial arts.
Whenever he could sit, he definitely wouldn’t stay standing. Whenever he could lie down, he definitely wouldn’t stay sitting. Furthermore, he liked to eat. He ate whatever was tasty. Based on how he whipped up food for Yan Yan, it was clear how he bulked up over the years.
Of course his words weren’t unreasonable. This truly wasn’t a good moment for him to attract any attention. It was best if they laid low and lived their own lives.
At this moment, a eunuch hurried over and reported that the consort’s mother, Madam Shen, had arrived. The carriage was outside the Gates of Righteousness.
Yan Yan stood up with a swish, her expression extremely astonished.
She had only sent word last month to the capital about her pregnancy. Since she was still supposed to be in mourning, she didn’t make a big announcement. Only the people in the Yun Prince Estate were aware of it, as well as the Zhenguo Duke Estate and Shen Qi in the Fu Province.
After sending the letter to the capital, there had been no response. How did her mom end up coming over to the Yun Province? This place was thousands of miles away!
Yan Yan felt impatient and vanished with a step of her foot.
Lan’er and Liu’er’s jaws dropped in astonishment. Luo Huai Yuan was the same way. However, he snapped out of it faster than the other two. He called out “great aunt” while chasing after her.
When Shen Yi Yao received Yan Yan’s letter, she had been unable to sit still.
She was a woman and knew a woman’s suffering. When she first got pregnant herself, she had been both pleasantly surprised and worried. She was especially emotional and missed her mother. She would return home whenever she was free and stay by her mom’s side. Her thoughts were all over the place and along with her body’s discomfort, she was tormented quite a bit.
Now, she wondered if Yan Yan was the same way. Her daughter and son-in-law were in the distant Yun Province, and it was hard to see them. Shen Yi Yao thought about this day and night, and her eyes couldn’t help but turn red. In the end she couldn’t endure and decided to make a trip.
No one in the Shen household stopped her. They all felt it was good for her to go. If the situation had permitted it, Second Madam Shen and the Zhenguo Madam would have gone as well. Although the Zhenguo Duke looked steady on the surface, he was also a little worried about his granddaughter.
Since Shen Yi Yao was going, Yan Mo was naturally not going to be left out.
Ever since the Weiyuan Marquis Estate was no more, Yan Mo started studying diligently, intending to stand out through the imperial exam. This was an important moment in his studies. He had been planning on taking the exam next year to try it out. Now that his sister was pregnant, she was naturally more important in his mind. The relationship between brother and sister had always been very good. After not seeing her for several years, to say he didn’t miss her would be a lie. Shen Yi Yao didn’t want to let him go at first, but couldn’t talk him out of it. Therefore, the two of them packed up and departed.
They rode the carriage wearily to the Yun Province. Only after reaching the Yun Prince Estate’s gates did the two finally feel relieved.
It naturally wasn’t possible for Shen Yi Yao to be travelling lightly. Not only did she bring a bunch of maids and grannies, she also had quite a large retinue.
The long line of carriages were stopped outside the Gates of Righteousness, giving off the air of a wealthy household. When the name was given, someone hurriedly went inside to report.
Then they waited for a good amount of time. The closer they were, the harder it was to wait patiently. Shen Yi Yao frequently lifted the curtains and looked outside, hoping to see her daughter right this instant.
A weathered yet stalwart man in his forties got off his horse and came to the carriage window.
He was tall and sturdy, dressed in a slightly worn cloth robe. He didn’t look handsome and seemed quite ordinary. However, the radiance within his eyes revealed that he wasn’t simple.
“Sis Yao, don’t be anxious. This prince’s estate isn’t small and it’ll take some time to report.”
Shen Yi Yao nodded and looked a little sour, “It’s my fault. I should have listened to you and had someone send the news in advance. I just felt that since we were about to arrive, there was no need to go through the trouble.”