Another two-in-one chapter. Next chapter is also another one. I have a business trip this week (first one in forever). I’ll try to keep up with translating but don’t hold it against me if I don’t manage to do so.
Yan Yan stretched her neck for a look.
Within the small crimson bundle was a cute little thing with chubby cheeks and tender skin. Some dark baby hair was on her head. Her brows were faint and she had some bags under her eyes. However, it was clear she would definitely by a large-eyed little doll in the future. The small mouth squirmed as though she hadn’t eaten her fill, making her look pitiful.
“Has she been fed?” Yan Yan asked.
“The wetnurse has fed her already.”
Yan Yan nodded and felt her slightly swollen chest. She had Lan’er bring one of the grannies her mom brought over, wanting them to check if she already had milk at this point.
Soon, the granny arrived.
The granny ordered the servants to prepare a basin of warm water and a clean towel before asking the Yun Prince to leave. Although Luo Huai Yuan was dying of curiosity, he still carried his daughter and left.
Seeing that the Yun Prince had left, that granny had the palace maids undo Yan Yan’s clothes and expose one of her breasts. She then washed her hands in the warm water and reached out to feel Yan Yan’s chest.
Yan Yan’s breast was extremely swollen and hurt when touched. That granny saw Yan Yan involuntarily frown and first asked for forgiveness before washing the towel in the warm water and wringing it dry. She covered Yan Yan’s breast with it. The heat made Yan yan tremble involuntarily. The granny didn’t look at her expression and merely asked her to endure a little before starting to massage it.
The massaging motions were light at first before gradually becoming harder. There was a sudden pain and Yan Yan felt something squirt out.
“It’s done.” That granny revealed a pleased expression.
Then, the clothes were adjusted and the same thing was done for the other side. Soon, both sides had been cleared.
After the granny left, Lan’er brought over a basin of clean warm water and helped Yan Yan wipe down both sides. Right as they were done, Luo Huai Yuan came back inside with the small bundle. It turned out he hadn’t gone far and had been waiting behind the screen on the side.
“Hand our daughter over. I’ll try to feed her. Let’s see if she’ll eat.”
Yan Yan carefully brought the little princess close. Her actions were inexperienced. After struggling for a while, she finally found the appropriate position and put her nipple in the baby’s mouth.
Although she was still asleep, she seemed to react instinctively. The moment something entered her mouth, she started suckling. At first she did it lightly, but seemingly sensing this was her mom’s milk, she subconsciously started using some strength. Luo Huai Yuan watched as his daughter suckled while her eyes were closed.
What should he do? He was so jealous. Would his wife be willing to spare him a mouthful?
However, he knew this was impossible. Luo Huai Yuan could only watch the blessed little person enviously.
The Three Washes Ceremony1 was held in the delivery room’s reception.
They didn’t have other relatives in the Yun Province to begin with. Therefore, it was just held with the people who were present. During the striking of the basin, the little princess cried especially loudly. Shen Yi Yao smiled and said Yan Yan had been the same way back then. Everyone had said this signified that the child would definitely be healthy in the future. As expected, Yan Yan had always been very healthy.
Yan Yan was extremely bored during her puerperium.
She wasn’t allowed to get off the bed and wasn’t allowed to sit for too long. She could only sleep. When she had nothing to do, she slept. Yan Yan was about to die of boredom. Her only source of amusement was watching her daughter grow day by day.
The saying that a newborn was constantly growing referred to precisely this.
The previously crimson little person became white and tender within a few days. Yan Yan and Luo Huai Yuan were both fair so the little princess seemed especially fair and tender. Her chubby little arms were like lotus roots, looking especially cute.
The little princess was a very obedient child. When it was time to sleep, she never made a fuss. When she was awake, she merely looked at you with large and dark eyes, melting Yan Yan’s heart. Luo Huai Yuan ruined it by saying that babies her age weren’t able to actually see anything. Yan Yan didn’t bother with him. Afterwards, Shen Yi Yao confirmed that this was indeed the case, but Yan Yan didn’t want to hear it. She felt her daughter was looking at her.
Soon, the one-month anniversary of the little princess arrived.
Her name had been decided long ago. Luo Huai Yuan had spent several days considering before coming up with it. Actually, he had thought of many names previously, both for boys and girls. Only when the little princess was born did he start choosing from amongst the girl names. Despite this, he still struggled for a long time. It was Yan Yan who couldn’t stand the dad being so indecisive and made the final call.
She would be called Luo Yue, and her nickname would be Niu Niu.[Nickname means little girl.[/efn_note]
Niu Niu’s One Month Banquet was extremely grand. She was the Yun Prince’s first child. Although she was a girl, it was still significant. The Yun Province’s officials all gathered at the Yun Prince Estate. All sorts of congratulatory gifts were piled up in the storage.
Afterwards, Yan Yan was organizing the record ledgers due to her idleness. Luo Huai Yuan held the child as he took a glance. He smiled and said that turns out having children brought in quite a lot of profit. In the future, he and Yan Yan would have many more so they could hold this ceremony every year. At that rate, their children’s dowries and betrothal gifts would come flowing in by themselves.
This fellow was amused by himself and didn’t notice Yan Yan glaring at him.
This oblivious fellow!
Since the year was coming to an end, Shen Yi Yao decided to spend the New Year’s before leaving.
Actually, she was reluctant to leave. There was only Niu Niu in her heart. Even Yan Mo was put to the side.
The weather was cold so it wasn’t convenient to have the wetnurse bring Niu Niu to her own residence. She was scared the child would catch a cold. Therefore, Shen Yi Yao spent most of her time hanging around in Niu Niu’s room, making Luo Huai Yuan grumble secretly quite a bit.
His mother-in-law was always stealing his daughter from him. How could Luo Huai Yuan endure it!?
He kept crossing his fingers for the year to end. Then, he would hurriedly send his mother-in-law away. At this time, he completely forgot about his previous offer of having his mother-in-law live with them. Even if that was going to happen, they could wait until Niu Niu was a little older.
Time passed day by day under Luo Huai Yuan’s urging.
This New Year’s was extremely lively. Due to the presence of Shen Yi Yao, Yan Mo and Shen Ran, it was much livelier than with just the two of them. Furthermore, the presence of a newborn baby was also a source of cheer.
After the fifteenth, the New Year’s could be said to be over. Luo Huai Yuan finally let out a breath of relief.
His mother-in-law was finally leaving. So happy!
While one person was heartlessly hoping to shoo her away, Yan Yan was extremely reluctant to part. If it weren’t for the fact that Yan Mo’s studies couldn’t be delayed further, Yan Yan really wanted her mom and brother to stay in the Yun Province.
Shen Yi Yao left in tears. Yan Mo was at his wits end and mentioned several times he could return by himself. His mom could stay with his sister. However, he was refused by Shen Yi Yao.
Ultimately, they all had their own lives to live. Her daughter was very happy so Shen Yi Yao was very gratified. Now, she could put all her efforts onto her son.
With their departure, Yan Yan and Luo Huai Yuan’s lives gradually returned to normal. No longer having to share his daughter made the Yun Prince very happy. He put all his attention on Niu Niu. Sometimes, it was hard for Yan Yan not to get a little jealous.
This lasted until several letters came from the Fu Province which disrupted their sweet life.
The situation in the Fu Province was currently very complicated. Several spheres of influence from the capital were reaching out due to the wealth there, but had been temporarily unable to make any progress. Luo Huai Yuan’s businesses continued to run methodically. With Xie Mao and Shen Qi’s support, the speculating was also relatively stable. The letter from the Fu Province had come because Xie Mao had discovered a copper mine. However, there were some complications that required Luo Huai Yuan to personally deal with.
Niu Niu was now over eight months old. Because of the warm weather, she only wore a little red chest wrap embroidered with carp and lotus leaves. Her chubby figure was already able to sit steadily. Her stubby limbs and chubby tummy were white and cute like a little dumping.
At this moment she was playing with her daddy. Actually it was just Luo Huai Yuan hiding a toy for her to find. Little Niu Niu crawled back and forth on the large kiln which was covered by a mat. Whenever she encountered an obstacle, she would surmount it. Unfortunately her dad was too mean, hiding it so she couldn’t find it.
Niu Niu had inherited Yan Yan’s personality. She was overbearing with a quick temper. It was already a miracle that she could diligently search for so long. She knew that it was definitely the adult causing mischief. Her large round eyes glared at her daddy. Luo Huai Yuan stared back with large innocent eyes. However, it seemed he wasn’t able to fool her. This was because the countless times before had proved that this was a mean daddy.
Niu Niu stretched out her little hand towards Luo Huai Yuan. Her brows were knit and she looked at him argumentatively. She seemed to be saying “why aren’t you handing it over, you meanie!”
Luo Huai Yuan shook his head and revealed his empty hands for her to see. He seemed to be saying “I really don’t have it!”
Niu Niu looked around anxiously, almost twisting her little neck, but she still didn’t find it. She let out another loud “oh”, her expression seeming a little angry. Her gaze fell upon her mom who was sitting by the side. She hurriedly crawled over to Yan Yan, seemingly planning on tattling.
However, how could such a small child know how to tattle? Yan Yan had thought her daughter wanted her to help find the toy. Unexpectedly, the little thing crawled over and made straight for her target.
Because Yan Yan was sitting, Niu Niu used her little hand to tug at her. When Yan Yan was pulled lower, she stuck her little face towards her chest. She rubbed against Yan Yan’s chest with her face before tugging at her clothing. She persisted until Yan Yan opened it up for her.
She suckled a few times before finding a comfortable position in her mom’s arms and continued to drink milk. As she fed, she looked at Luo Huai Yuan, seemingly saying that she had something he didn’t.
“Hey, this little thing has learned to show off!”
Luo Huai Yuan’s tone was slightly sour but his expression was completely different. His fatty face was all smiles, seeming very proud of his daughter.
Yan Yan had long since become speechless at the usual antics of the father daughter pair.
Luo Huai Yuan truly cherished his daughter a lot. He gave her everything she wanted. Ever since Niu Niu grew slightly older and learned to crawl, he seemed to have found a new source of amusement. He would often tease Niu Niu until she warbled randomly. Luckily Niu Niu wasn’t a child who easily cried. She would at most grumble angrily and throw things at Luo Huai Yuan.
Whenever this weird dad saw that his daughter was angry from his teasing, he would sidle over and coax her. Niu Niu didn’t hold grudges and would soon be pacified. Then, father and daughter would reveal a shameless (toothless) smile2 and seem in perfect harmony.
Yan Yan would often want to facepalm when she saw it.
Niu Niu wasn’t actually hungry so she stopped after drinking a few mouthfuls. Luo Huai Yuan called out “Niu Niu, Niu Niu” on the other side and she agilely turned her little head in her big fat dad’s direction.
She seemed to be struggling, considering whether or not to forgive him. However, she soon let bygones be bygones and smiled brightly as she crawled over.
She went over and mounted a “small hill”. She then looked at the largest “mountain” in front of her and continued forward.
Pant, pant, pant.
Niu Niu was very exhausted from climbing. This “mountain” was truly forbidding. Niu Niu used a lot of strength before managing to climb up. However, it was fine. Her past experience told her she just needed a little more to succeed.
Seeing his daughter’s tired little legs floundering, “past experience” secretly helped give her a lift from behind. Niu Niu didn’t notice and panted once again before finally mounting the peak.
Niu Niu sat on the “large mountain”, her two hands raised in the air. She smiled and proclaimed her victory.
Having seen the entire process and looking at her happily bouncing daughter on her husband’s stomach, Yan Yan couldn’t help but start laughing.
Luo Huai Yuan also laughed. As he laughed, his face ended up turning bitter.
“Our Niu Niu is really cute!” He sighed.
Niu Niu heard him talking about her and let out a couple of “oh”s.
“Wifey, I really don’t want to go to the Fu Province. I don’t want to leave you and our daughter.” He spoke mournfully, his little tears seemingly about to fall.
However, Yan Yan couldn’t be bothered to respond. Ever since the letters arrived, this fellow frequently lamented. Yan Yan had prepared herself for her husband’s departure. However, he didn’t leave after one day, and then another, and then moped around a few times the next. Afterwards, Yan Yan ignored him. When he thought things through, he would naturally leave.
“Yan Yan, aren’t you reluctant for your husband to leave?”
His aggrieved gaze failed to win the slightest hint of pity. Yan Yan seemed not to have heard. Seeing his wife ignore him, Luo Huai Yuan turned to his daughter for comfort.
“Niu Niu, if daddy disappears, will you miss daddy?”
“Oh, oh….” I have no idea what you’re saying!
The indignant and sorrowful tears almost burst out.
Wuwu, my wife and daughter don’t love me anymore!
Despite dragging it out, he ultimately had to leave.
Luo Huai Yuan especially chose a morning while his daughter was still sleeping to leave.
After seeing her husband off, Yan Yan felt a void in her heart.
Luckily she still had Niu Niu. Otherwise it would be hard to get used to.
It wasn’t just Yan Yan who wasn’t used to it. Niu Niu was the same way. After waking up, she waited for her big fat dad to come play with her. But after waiting and waiting, he still didn’t show up. Niu Niu started losing her temper. The wetnurses weren’t able to coax her, and even when Yan Yan stepped up it was no use. Seeing her mom arrive, Niu Niu no longer threw a tantrum and merely went “oh, oh”, seemingly asking where dad was.
Yan Yan had never been an emotional person but at this time her tears almost fell.
That entire day, little Niu Niu seemed very taciturn.
At night, Yan Yan especially brought her daughter over to sleep with her. When she got to the large familiar bed, but still not seeing that big fat dad, Niu Niu who rarely cried actually started crying. She cried with all her might, and before long her voice turned hoarse. Yan Yan and the maids took turns comforting her but it was no use.
They finally settled her down. Actually, she had just fallen asleep after exhausting herself from crying. Looking at her daughter who was still sobbing in her sleep, Yan Yan felt loathing for the first time in her life.
Even back then, she hadn’t loathed that hateful Concubine Pei so.
She loathed this lousy world (thiese words had originally come from Luo Huai Yuan), loathed that imperial palace, and Luo Huai Yuan’s identity and many other things. If it weren’t for those things, their family of three would definitely be living happily.
These emotions came and went quickly. After all, this loathing was a little too vague. She hated that she couldn’t solve everything. However, time continued to pass and life kept going.
Yan Yan soon no longer had time to think about all that nonsense. This was because she seemed to be pregnant again.
After giving birth to Niu Niu, Luo Huai Yuan and Yan Yan didn’t resume birth control. With the cute Niu Niu, the two of them didn’t object to having another cute child descend. In the few months after the puerperium, Luo Huai Yuan was still a little careful. Afterwards, he stopped worrying about anything and decided to let nature take its course.
Unexpectedly, it happened at such a time.
Niu Niu fussed for a few days before stopping. Children didn’t have much memory at this age. Perhaps she hadn’t been used to it at first but it soon was placed in the back of her mind. Children at this age were simpler than adults made them out to be. They only knew to eat, sleep and play.
Luckily this was the case. Otherwise, Yan Yan really didn’t know how to coax her.
Despite being the mom, she didn’t hold Niu Niu as much as Luo Huai Yuan did. She also didn’t play with her as much as he did. Whenever Luo Huai Yuan was there, she almost didn’t have to care or worry about anything. Now that he was gone, Yan Yan finally started learning how to be a proper mom. She also had to assume the dad’s responsibility.
With effort came results. Niu Niu was now especially clingy with Yan Yan. Because Yan Yan suspected she was pregnant, she could no longer hold her personally. Niu Niu had thrown a couple of tantrums but was fine afterwards. Now, Yan Yan sat to the side while Niu Niu sat by herself and played under the eyes of the maids or wetnurses. She no longer insisted on being held by Yan Yan.
The matter of Yan Yan’s pregnancy was sent via letter to the Fu Province.
However, Luo Huai Yuan wasn’t there in person so it was sent to Shen Qi. Shen Qi said he wasn’t there because he had to go overseas for some matters.
Yan Yan hadn’t seen what the ocean looked like before, but knew it was definitely very dangerous. She couldn’t help but worry a little. Just what had happened for him to personally make this trip?
In the letter, Shen Qi told her not to worry. There wasn’t anything major. Yan Yan could only do her best not to show too much worry.
She currently couldn’t afford anymore burdens.
When she was pregnant with Niu Niu, Yan Yan hadn’t felt any burdens at all. There was no nausea or other discomfort. This second fetus seemed to be a troublesome one. It was still early but was already tormenting her. Yan Yan threw up whatever she ate. Even with her well-trained body, she was having a hard time enduring.
The consort’s condition truly frightened the people around her. His highness wasn’t here and the consort was in such a state. His highness’s absence still had to be hidden from everyone. Yan Yan’s people had quite the headache. Luckily, Matron Zou’s group had organized things extremely well back then. There wasn’t any resulting chaos.
As for Yan Yan’s nausea, they had tried everything. The medical center’s doctor had come and taken a look. He had prescribed methods against the nausea but it didn’t seem to be effective. Furthermore, it wasn’t possible to eat all sorts of medicine since it would harm the fetus. Yan Yan directly ordered not to prescribe such medicines. Just let her throw up since there was no other solution.
At this time, Yan Yan really needed someone close to her to help take care of Niu Niu and control the situation outside. Matron Zou’s group had suggested she might as well ask Shen Yi Yao to come over. However, the capital was far away and Yan Yan directly shot the suggestion down. She had always been a strong person. Despite being in a bad situation, she didn’t feel it was insurmountable.
Especially since the Zhenguo Duke Estate had kept many things hidden from Shen Yi Yao and Yan Mo. Yan Yan didn’t plan on letting her mom find out.
Due to the fuss from Yan Yan’s pregnancy, this matter wasn’t able to be kept from the subordinate officials within the estate. Everyone knew the consort’s pregnancy wasn’t so smooth. They didn’t have any other thoughts about the Yun Prince, and merely assumed he was accompanying his wife and child daily.
After getting to know him these past couple of years, everyone knew the Yun Prince was someone without much prospects. The adjutant’s office had the hardworking Sun Shi Min running things so there wasn’t anything that was reported further upwards. It had to be said, this was quite fortunate.
At this time, what was Luo Huai Yuan’s situation overseas?
Luo Huai Yuan was in a very bad spot!