This person was surprisingly Shen Qi.
The fourth lord gave him a faint glance and put the teacup in his hands down. “No need for you to tell me. I’ve already sent out all the men I can.”
Shen Qi sat down across from him. His facial hair was unkempt and his eyes were bloodshot. “Who knows where little fatty ended up? Could damned pirates really have….no, no, little fatty is so quick-witted. He definitely wouldn’t give up so easily!”
But in the vast ocean, how would he escape if he really encountered pirates? The reason Shen Xuan’s group had eradicated the nearby pirates was merely to vent and comfort themselves. They knew that pirates would never leave behind evidence after plundering.
Of course there were those who were lucky or cunning. Perhaps they really managed to escape and everyone was just unaware.
Seeing his younger brother’s depressed expression, the fourth lord couldn’t help but comfort: “Don’t be anxious. I’ve already given the orders. Since they dared plunder, they will ultimately have to reveal themselves. We’ll follow the tracks back to the source at that time.”
Shen Qi nodded and said: “Alright, let’s not talk about this for now. Are you really planning on drifting about outside without going back? Mom is constantly worried about you. You should at least bring sis-in-law and my two nephews back for a visit.”
The fourth lord’s face turned rigid and he smiled bitterly: “This isn’t an appropriate time to return. I’d merely be bringing the household trouble if I did. It’s already pretty good like this. When the time comes, I will naturally make the trip.”
Shen Qi hesitated: “Mom and dad aren’t aware that you’ve gotten married. Should we tell them? Mom has always been concerned about this matter.”
The fourth lord hesitated, “Let’s not rush to tell them about it yet. They would only have more to worry about if they knew. Just let them think I’m travelling about outside and don’t want to return home.”
“You can really keep secrets!”
Wasn’t this the case? If it hadn’t been for Luo Huai Yuan’s disappearance, Shen Qi wouldn’t have known his own brother Shen He was on Yeluo Island. Not only that, he was Yeluo Island’s renowned fourth lord. Shen Xuan was probably aware of this matter but he had always been taciturn and incredibly tight-lipped. To have him bring it up was harder than ascending the heavens.
“Enough, you should also take a rest. The guest room has already been prepared. Hurry and sleep. This matter can’t be rushed. We’ve done everything we should. We’ll know if there is any news.”
Shen Qi nodded. He stood up and walked out.
Ever since he found out Luo Huai Yuan was missing, he had accompanied the navy in searching for his tracks. If it weren’t for Shen Xuan forcibly pulling him off the ship this time, he would probably still be at it.
No one was willing for such a thing to happen. But since it had happened, anything they did was useless no matter how unwilling they were. They could only do their best and leave it to fate. They hoped Luo Huai Yuan could really turn misfortune into blessing.
Since Shen He had spoken, he naturally wasn’t shooting in the dark.
As expected, due to the navy and Yeluo Island’s actions, many hidden pirates weren’t able to remain still. This naturally included Kana Jougen’s group.
Kana Jougen wasn’t a wise person. He was merely a little better at scheming than others. He had thought highly of himself in the past and was arrogant, but he had mellowed out after his experiences these past few years. He had become vigilant and cautious. It was thanks to this that he had been able to get through the many deadly situations he encountered.
That day, after rushing back they realized Luo Huai Yuan had escaped by boat. Kana Jougen ordered for the ship to sail around in a circle. After failing to find the people, they swiftly brought the merchant vessel back to their den.
During this time, he hadn’t dared try to exchange the goods he had obtained. The more he delayed the more frightened he became. Pirates naturally had their own information network. The major movements of the navy and Yeluo Island made them frightened. He did connect this matter to the fourth prince, but the fourth prince had already escaped. Could he have failed to make it back?
Of course he kept all these thoughts to himself. The navy and Yeluo Island were wiping out pirates everywhere. Kana Jougen’s group was only able to remain safe due to their den being rather hidden. However, the sense of danger grew more and more serious. No one knew how long they could remain hidden.
They had been in desperate straits to begin with. The rations on the stolen ship allowed them to last for a while but it was about to run out. This problem needed to be solved. As the leader, Kana Jougen had to bear the brunt of things. Therefore, being a leader wasn’t that easy.
After some consideration, Kana Jougen decided to pose as a merchant and make the exchange.
Merchants and pirates were two sides of a coin to begin with. Pirate ships were mostly stolen merchant vessals. After taking off some of the things that shouldn’t be there and changing parts of the exterior, it would become a merchant vessal again. As for the merchants, they naturally chose some of the more genteel and friendly-looking pirates and gave them a change of clothes.
Kana Jougen was extremely good at this. He used to be a daimyo after all.
It could be said that this was what he was best at!
This Kana Jougen was rather intelligent, but unfortunately he failed to account for Shen He’s hidden trap that was waiting for them to fall in. Kana Jougen was smart enough not to exchange at Yeluo Island’s black market, and found an unobtrusive one. Unfortunately, before he could even exchange anything, he was captured.
Kana Jougen naturally refused to admit anything, but the evidence was irrefutable. The list of cargo on the missing vessel was already in Shen Xuan’s hands. By comparing it to the goods, they had found their target.
Seeing that he wasn’t able to deny it, Kana Jougen could only confess obediently. Luo Huai Yuan’s trail was thus discovered.
Since they had escaped in a lifeboat, they naturally couldn’t have gone far. Shen Xuan narrowed down the range to the deserted islands around the place where the ship was plundered.
Luo Huai Yuan’s group was found on one of those deserted islands. By the time they were found, they were pretty much about to collapse.
This island was rather far from the ship. It wasn’t clear how they managed to get there.
The island was very small, around half a kilometer in circumference. It was filled with rocks and had very few plants. When the exhausted group arrived, they no longer dared set sail to try and find other land. They could only wait here for passing ships.
Those memories were very traumatic.
There was nothing to eat on the island. They could only scoop up fish, shrimp, oysters and clams to eat. The rawness was one thing. The most important part was that there was no freshwater on the island. Luckily they had a bout of rain. Luo Huai Yuan saw it was about to rain and ordered them to dig a pit. They stored quite a bit of rain which was how they managed to last until now.
Luo Huai Yuan had never suffered so much in all his lifetimes and the experience was carved into him. They were far from civilization and took turns waiting by the shore, but no ships had come by. Luo Huai Yuan had only brought three Cloudpiercing Arrows. He had set one off on the merchant vessal back then. After some consideration, he had set the other two off, but unfortunately the empty ocean was his only response.
Just as they were about to despair, rescue had finally come. After figuring out the situation, Luo Huai Yuan fell unconscious for three nights and days.
After waking up, he ate a huge meal as though he was the reincarnation of a ghost that starved to death. Only then did he regain his spirits.
For the sake of finding him, the Shen household had almost turned this part of the ocean over. After resting that day, Shen Qi had set sail once again and searched without rest. Luo Huai Yuan was incessantly moved and hugged him, saying they weren’t good brothers in vain. This made Shen Qi turn furiously red.
He naturally learned from Shen Qi that Yan Yan was pregnant again. He was both glad and sorrowful and hurriedly sent a letter back in case she was worrying in the Yun Province.
Luo Huai Yuan approved of Shen Qi keeping news of his disappearance hidden. This matter truly wasn’t appropriate to tell Yan Yan. Based on her personality, she would definitely have rushed to the Fu Province. She was pregnant and also had little Niu Niu with her. How could she endure it?
This won’t be mentioned for now.
Yan Yan had repeatedly sent letters to the Fu Province but only heard that Luo Huai Yuan had yet to return from overseas.
Gradually, a layer of gloom settled on her heart.
Her pregnancy this time wasn’t stable and she had never stopped throwing up. The people around her were bedraggled and she herself wasn’t well. She tried eating all sorts of things but helplessly threw it up right after. Yan Yan knew that she couldn’t afford to worry due to her condition, but worry was inevitable. Luo Huai Yuan had merely left for over four months but she became haggard.
The weather gradually grew colder. The Yun Province’s winters always came early.
The Xianyun Hall’s heated vents started burning early.
The hall was warm like spring and a thick Persian rug was laid out in the middle. Niu Niu was practicing walking on top of it.
Yan Yan carried her large stomach and naturally couldn’t step up herself. She was reclined on the kiln, her five-month pregnant stomach protruding. This contrasted with her increasingly frail body which looked like a gust of wind could blow her over. Despite her frailness, she didn’t look depressed. Her eyes were still as bright as before.
“Consort, how about a cup of pork broth jujube and wolfberry soup?” Lan’er brought over a tray.
Now that they were experienced, the people around Yan Yan naturally knew what was good for pregnant women to eat. Without mentioning the kitchen’s efforts, everyone was now familiar due to Luo Huai Yuan’s constant fussing back then.
The servants naturally learned everything and constantly switched things up for Yan Yan. It was thanks to these varied foods that Yan Yan’s situation didn’t get worse. With so many options, no matter how much she threw up, she was still able to keep a few things in. That was a good thing since pregnant women needed all sorts of nourishment.
Yan Yan received the soup and took a small sip.
Only after waiting for a while did she take a second sip.
This was what she had learned during this time. Drinking too quickly would make her throw up. Taking it slowly meant she wouldn’t react as much. Furthermore, there was only soup in the bowl. All the ingredients had been fished out and the oil was also completely removed. These days Yan Yan could only rely on clear soup for her basic nutrition.
She took small sips as she watched her daughter tipping over and getting up again. Yan Yan’s thoughts involuntarily wandered and she started thinking of Luo Huai Yuan who had yet to return.
At this moment, Liu’er walked in with a joyful expression.
This sort of expression rarely appeared on the people around Yan Yan recently. The consort wasn’t feeling well and there was no news of his highness. No one in the Xianyun Hall was in the mood to smile. Therefore, Lan’er was a little astonished at seeing Liu’er’s expression. Her eyes revealed curiosity. Liu’er winked and arrived by Yan Yan’s side.
“Consort, there’s a letter from the Fu Province. It’s written by his higness.”
Luo Huai Yuan’s letters were different from other people. There was a special seal. The moment Liu’er received it, she hurriedly brought it over.
Yan Yan straightened up, her expression pleasantly surprised.
She received the letter and broke the seal, scanning over the familiar handwriting.
Luo Huai Yuan naturally only reported the good news. He summarized his experiences abroad and even told Yan Yan some interesting anecdotes. In the end, he said he won’t be able to return for now due to the many things he had to do. He knew about Yan Yan’s pregnancy and asked her to take care of herself. The moment he was done, he would immediately hurry back.
Yan Yan read over this letter for a long, long time. She read it from beginning to end several times before finally feeling at ease.
It’s wonderful that he was fine.
Luo Huai Yuan recuperated on Yeluo Island for a month before gradually recovering.
His stomach was weak, perhaps due to eating raw seafood for so many days. After returning, he would crap out whatever he ate. Even plain porridge made him have incessant diarrhea. Only after recovering for half a month did things get a little better.
During this time, he remained in Yeluo Island’s Luo Estate. He naturally met the fourth lord Shen He. Only then did Luo Huai Yuan find out the Shen household’s rebellious Shen He who drifted around outside unwilling to return home was actually on Yeluo Island. He even built up a good foundation and was well known.
As for why Shen He came to Ryukyu and how he got to know the “Jade-faced Shura” Luo Qiong, no one knew.
Luo Huai Yuan knew a little from Shen Qi. It was said when Shen He arrived at Ryukyu, he was plundered by Luo Qiong’s subordinates. She had only reverted to her old ways to make a living, but unexpectedly ended up catching a husband.
The two of them got along well and their relationship was loving. They had two children together.
Luo Huai Yuan saw Luo Qiong once. As expected of someone known as the Jade-faced Shura, her appearance was extraordinary. However, unlike her nickname, Luo Qiong was an extremely gentle person. She didn’t look fierce at all.
This won’t be mentioned for now. By the time Luo Huai Yuan recovered, the year was almost over and he naturally couldn’t make it back to the Yun Province. Luckily he had already realized this and reported it to Yan Yan long in advance. He also sent over two carriages of gifts for his wife and daughter.
Luo Huai Yuan spent the New Year’s with Shen He, Shen Qi and Shen Xuan. Everyone gathered at Yeluo Island. The climate was comfortable and things were lively. The Grand Xi’s New Year didn’t seem to have any effect over here. The merchant vessels from various nations continued operating as normal.
Afterwards, Luo Huai Yuan started getting busy.
With the local boss Shen He’s help, the island with the copper mine was easily acquired. The people he had prepared long ago were all sent over.
Luo Huai Yuan seemed to be returning empty-handed from his trip and even suffered a calamity. However, he had gained much more than expected.
Firstly, he got the copper main. Secondly, he get to know Shen He and knew that there was a path of retreat for him here.
Luo Huai Yuan had always been focused on the latter, but didn’t expect someone else had made preparations even earlier than him. In Luo Huai Yuan’s opinion, both Shen Xuan and Shen He were escape routes for the Shen household. Shen Xuan seemed to have been planted by the Shen household by Shen He didn’t seem like it at all.
Especially after hearing that the Shen household wasn’t aware of Shen He’s marriage and children, Luo Huai Yuan felt it was preposterous. Of course he was also impressed. He felt Shen He definitely wasn’t just staying here for his wife’s sake. Of course, it wouldn’t be incorrect to put it that way, but Luo Huai Yuan still felt that was just the byproduct.
Shen He naturally had his own thoughts, and no one knew what he was thinking.
After wrapping up everything, Luo Huai Yuan hurriedly left the Fu Province and headed towards the Yun Province. According to the timing, Yan Yan was about to give birth and he wanted to get there before she did.