I’m back home! Sorry for the delay.
On this day, the entire Xianyun Hall was busy.
There were many palace maids and eunuchs going in and out. They all had their assigned roles. Matron Zou put aside all her tasks and kept an eye on things.
On the other side, Yan Yan’s contractions had started. Due to being experienced, she wasn’t flustered. She had Lan’er and the rest prepare hot water for a bath. After the bath, she ate a little in a calm manner.
Little Niu Niu was also there. She wore a crimson little jacket and small cotton trousers. She was being held and fed food by the wetnurse. As she ate, she looked curiously at Lan’er and Liu’er who seemed to be preparing for a great battle.
Niu Niu had grown up. She pointed at Lan’er’s group and stared at Yan Yan with large eyes, seemingly asking what was going on.
Yan Yan’s forehead was covered in sweat. She glanced at the people calmly and told Niu Niu: “They saw Niu Niu was obedient and ate a lot today, so they feel Niu Niu is very awesome.”
Hearing this, Niu Niu was happy. Her little face bloomed in a smile.
“Eat more, eat more.” She instructed the wetnurse to continue feeding her.
“Mom will be busy in a bit and cannot stay with Niu Niu. Niu Niu has to behave, ok?”
After Luo Huai Yuan left, Niu Niu stopped throwing tantrums before long. The only thing was that she became very clingy with Yan Yan. Otherwise, Yan Yan wouldn’t make the effort to explain all this to her one year old daughter.
Niu Niu widened her eyes and repeated before nodding her head obediently.
Seeing this, everyone let out a breath.
After the meal, Lan’er’s group supported Yan Yan and hurried over to the delivery room. As they left, Niu Niu was playing with her toys on the kiln by herself.
When they walked out of the doors, everyone’s expressions changed. Yan Yan wasn’t even able to walk and had people carry her into the delivery room on a palanquin.
This birth wasn’t as easy as her first. She struggled for over half the day. Only when Yan Yan felt exhausted did she manage to give birth with difficulty.
It was a boy.
Along with the baby’s cries, Yan Yan slowly drifted into the sweet darkness.
When Luo Huai Yuan returned, he encountered the following scene.
The older one was crying for her mom while the younger one was crying in the delivery room.
Niu Niu didn’t cry easily but when she started, no one could coax her. When the servants saw his highness had returned, they hurriedly sent Niu Niu over.
Luo Huai Yuan held his daughter whose face was red from crying. There was also a little red dumpling wrapped in a bundle in front of him, bawling with his eyes closed. At this time, Luo Huai Yuan really wanted to cry as well. He was tearing up with joy and excitement.
When Yan Yan woke up, there were three faces in front of her.
The small face had its eyes closed and slept soundly. The two other faces, one large and round, one small and round, both had round and shifty eyes.
Yan Yan suddenly had a thought. Would her daughter become as fat as Luo Huai Yuan when she grew up? She involuntarily imagined her cute daughter with her husband’s large physique. Yan Yan felt it was unacceptable. She definitely couldn’t let her daughter become as fat as Luo Huai Yuan…
Right as she was thinking nonsense, their voices rang from next to her.
“Why isn’t mom waking up?”
“She’ll wake up once she’s fulled rested.”
“This, came from mom’s stomach?”
“This is Niu Niu’s little brother.”
Seeing that she was being overlooked, Yan Yan shifted.
Niu Niu’s brother soon got his name.
Jian, chosen to signify a foundation.
Niu Niu didn’t really like this younger brother. She realized that mom no longer liked to hold her, and liked holding her little bro instead. She couldn’t breastfeed anymore but her brother could….
To comfort little Niu Niu’s young and unbalanced little soul, Yan Yan and Luo Huai Yuan had to give Niu Niu more attention than Jian’er. Niu Niu was older and Jian’er was still a baby. When a baby cried, he would be given milk. When a child made a fuss, they would inevitably get attention. Therefore, the pitiful Jian’er who couldn’t speak and wasn’t able to protest became neglected by his parents.
Having two children in rapid succession was both good and bad. The good part was that the siblings could develop affection for each other early on. The bad part was that the parents would inevitably have their attention diverted.
Therefore, Jian’er never really got a nickname. He would always be called Jian’er or Niu Niu’s little bro. The latter was used more. Luo Huai Yuan said that this would help his daughter develop a sense of responsibility as the older sister.
The days passed busily, filled with sweet vexation.
Because he hadn’t been by her side during this birth, and also having heard from Lan’er that Yan Yan had a difficult pregnancy, Luo Huai Yuan was filled with guilt. He put all his thoughts onto his wife and children.
Time passed like flowing water. Three years passed in the blink of an eye.
Three years later.
Yan Yan was stunned for a moment after receiving the letter from the capital.
Luo Huai Yuan saw her strange expression and hurriedly grabbed the letter for a look.
The letter was from Second Madam Shen. The general message was that Shen Yi Yao might be about to get married.
Since there had been no news regarding Shen Yi Yao and Shen Ran’s matter, they gradually let it fade. Yan Yan had almost forgotten the story Luo Huai Yuan had previously made up. Unexpectedly, after so long, this suddenly popped up, making everyone incessantly startled.
Along with Second Madam Shen’s letter came a letter from Yan Mo.
Compared to her vague summary, Yan Mo’s letter was much more detailed. He gave an account of the situation and also mentioned that her mom had already agreed to Shen Ran’s proposal. She would probably send Yan Yan a letter herself soon. The reason it had yet to come was probably because she was trying to figure out how to tell her daughter.
This matter naturally included some help from Yan Mo. He believed Shen Ran could bring his mom happiness.
No one knew how the taciturn Shen Ran managed to move Shen Yi Yao. Regardless, everyone was pleased at this turn of events. The Shen household knew everything about Shen Ran, and had also noticed the efforts he put in over the past few years. Towards Shen Yi Yao thinking things through and wanting to remarry, they were always very supportive.
This matter didn’t stir up any waves in the capital.
Shen Yi Yao was a widow and it was also her second marriage. They naturally couldn’t make a big fanfare about it. Along with the tense situation in the capital, for the sake of remaining low-key, the Shen household decided to hold a small event. They would just go through some of the rites.
Despite this, how could the Zhenguo Duke’s daughter’s wedding remain under the radar?
However, everyone saw that they weren’t planning on making it a big occasion so they pretended not to know. People close to them sent over congratulatory gifts while others merely watched silently.
Those of the same surname couldn’t marry. For the sake of marrying Shen Yi Yao, Shen Ran gave up on the surname he had used for half his life, and changed his surname to Qi. Qi Ran.
They chose an auspicious day. An extravagant and not at all low-key bridal sedan came to the Zhenguo Duke Estate’s doors and took Shen Yi Yao away. Qi Ran wore a crimson groom’s outfit and rode upon a mighty steed, unable to conceal the smile on his face.
The Qi Estate was very lively today. Lanterns and colored banners were hung up and red was hanging everywhere. Firecrackers sounded endlessly in front of the doors and carriages came in an endless stream.
Qi Ran was overjoyed today and gathered some friends, coworkers and subordinates for a wedding feast. The so-called keeping it a small occasion just meant they didn’t send out invitations. The guests who showed up by themselves were still welcomed.
Shen Yi Yao had a crimson veil as she sat in the bridal chamber listening to the sounds outside. Her heart was pounding. It wasn’t her first marriage but she was similarly nervous.
Someone seemed to have come in. The matron of honor’s voice sounded and she spoke some long-winded auspicious words.
Shen Yi Yao’s sight brightened and she saw a familiar yet foreign face in front of her. The familiar part was this face she had known for decades. The foreign part was the ecstasy and excitement in his eyes.
She was subconsciously dazed.
The matron of honor had left at some point. Qi Ran was a little reserved and said: “Sis, Sis Yao, wait here for a bit. I’ll go entertain the guests and will return soon.”
Seeing Qi Ran’s nervous appearance, Shen Yi Yao instead was no longer nervous. She smiled and nodded.
Qi Ran left the room, seemingly fleeing.
The room grew quiet.
Taking this step for Shen Yi Yao had been extremely difficult. However, she ultimately couldn’t bear letting that man suffer so. When she hadn’t been aware of it, she was able to turn a blind eye. However, when things were revealed to her, she could no longer act as if she didn’t know.
Her heart would involuntarily tremble.
Towards the taciturn man who exposed his passionate heart to her, Shen Yi Yao had avoided things until she could avoid no further, and fled until she could flee no further.
This matter involved Luo Huai Yuan’s influence, and was also due to Qi Ran burning all paths of retreat. He wanted to make her happy. He wanted to accompany her himself for the rest of his days. This sort of feeling became stronger and stronger until he went against his usual conduct.
Of course, this was also in part due to Yan Mo and Yan Yan’s support. Yan Yan hadn’t waited for Shen Yi Yao’s letter and had sent her own over strongly supporting her mom marrying again.
Qi Ran only returned after a long while.
He seemed to have gotten drunk. His usually reserved self had drank freely for the first time.
“Sis Yao, I will definitely treat you well.”
Will they be happy?
It was already deep into the night.
The area in front of the Qi Estate’s doors gradually fell silent. The red banners and lanterns hanging were the only signs of the previous festivity.
A black carriage was stopped in the corner. It remained in the shadows and couldn’t be seen at a glance. However, there were many carriages that had come and gone on this day to the Qi Estate so it didn’t draw attention.
No one knew that this carriage had already remained here for a very long time. It was here before the bridal sedan entered the Qi Estate.
“Lord, it’s time to go.” The carriage driver spoke inaudibly.
A low sound of agreement rang out and the carriage slowly moved forward.
It drove for a while before stopping outside a residence.
Before long, someone stepped out.
The side of his face was sculpted and handsome. As he lowered his head in getting off the carriage, quite a lot of hair fell from his temples, casting a shadow over his cheek. He was tall and upright, wearing a black robe with dark patterns, giving him an imposing air. However, when he took a step, there was some faint indication.
This person was actually lame.
He walked with a limp despite already forcing himself to appear normal. However, his leg had been previously injured and his body couldn’t match his intent.
He walked in the dark for a while before arriving at a brightly lit area. The guards at the doors didn’t stop him. They merely bowed and opened the doors.
In the study, a man was sitting behind the desk reading.
Seeing him come in, he didn’t even raise his eyes and asked: “You’re back?”
He silently nodded.
“Was the matter accomplished?”
“It is done. Tomorrow, the capital’s investigation bureau’s right imperial censor will be discovered dead in the Chunxiang Chambers. The cause of death will be overexertion during intercourse.”
The man behind the desk nodded and said: “Since we can’t get him on our side and we can’t shut him up, might as well have him die. Dying under the peony flower makes for a frivolous ghost.”
The lame man didn’t respond.
Seeing this, the man behind the desk waved his hand. The lame man turned and slowly walked out.
“Didn’t go see that wife of your’s get remarried?”
His entire body turned rigid for a moment but he didn’t stop, walking towards the outside.
Behind him, a faint and mysterious laugh sounded out.