Seeing the two elders arguing more and more, Second Madam Shen rubbed her brows and said: “Dad, mom, you two should stop arguing. Ah Yan is still sitting here.”
The Zhenguo Duke’s old face turned red and he shut his mouth. The Zhenguo Madam glared at him and folded her arms, falling silent as well.
After a while, the Zhenguo Duke finally cleared his throat and said: “Ah Yan, you’ve done very well.” His gaze was a little complicated: “Better than grandfather expected. As for your mom, don’t bother about her. If she scolds you again, just come tell your grandfather. Grandfather will support you. Grandfather will deal with that doctor, and won’t let him off. As for that Concubine Pei, it’s not easy to interfere with women in the rear residence. However, isn’t she part of the Pei family? Humph!”
Yan Yan had also considered this, but—–
“They won’t admit to it and there’s no proof. Also, my mom…..”
The Zhenguo Duke waved his hand unconcernedly, “Our Shen household has never needed proof to take action. If we’re sure she’s responsible, then that’s how it is. Proof isn’t needed to vent our anger. None of them are clean in any case.”
The Zhenguo Duke’s words were excessively domineering, and broadened Yan Yan’s experience once again.
That’s right. I know you’re responsible, why the need for proof? Crafty people never left behind evidence when doing things. If one needed proof to go against others, wouldn’t one be stifled to death?
Actually, Yan Yan also understood this reasoning. Didn’t she vent her anger that day without caring about reason?
I’m more powerful than you are. So what if I hit you? Go ahead and hit back if you are capable! However, since she was young, she didn’t understand the reasoning behind this despite knowing to do so subconsciously. Hearing the Zhenguo Duke’s words, she suddenly understood.
Therefore, everyone had their own ways of doing things. For example, she recognized those imps and devils as being intelligent people who planned far ahead, didn’t leave evidence and were very pleased with themselves. But to someone of higher status or someone who was more powerful, they were making fools of themselves, and didn’t even realize it.
If I want to step on you, what can you do about it? Go ahead and step on me in return if you’re capable.
It had to be said, although the Zhenguo Duke’s thoughts were simple and his actions were crude, this was actually wisdom in disguise. I don’t need to waste any thoughts on you. If I know you’re responsible, then you’re responsible! It’s not convenient for me to deal with you as a woman in the rear residence, but don’t you have family? They’re all surnamed Pei anyway, and those surnamed Pei aren’t anything good.
The militant Zhenguo Duke had always been indomitable, and would never bicker over things with women. However, as he understood the Weiyuan Marquis Estate’s rear residence more and more, he grew to detest the two women surnamed Pei.
Of course, these two weren’t the main culprit. That person wouldn’t be let off either.
“Yan Ting might be returning soon. You don’t have to worry about anything at that time. Just take care of yourself and Ah Mo.”
Yan Yan quivered, looked at her grandfather and nodded.
“I’ve asked Lady Hui. She has some confidence in adjusting Ah Mo’s condition. Let’s give it a try first. If it doesn’t work, grandfather will think of something else. Don’t be afraid, Ah Yan. Grandfather is here.”
Yan Yan’s eyes reddened and she was extremely moved.
She didn’t think that her grandfather would have already arranged everything without her knowing. Although it wasn’t apparent, she had been under a lot of pressure these few days, and felt that many things rested upon her shoulders.
Resentment, sullenness, anger and helplessness….all sorts of emotions intertwined, making her more and more prickly like an alert hedgehog. She knew that the maids around her had been scared of her these days. This was because she was like a wolf preparing to pounce. The slightest misstep would result in getting bitten. She would only loosen up when she was with Ah Mo.
Hearing these words now, she felt a wave of relief.
“If anything happens, just have someone send a letter over. Aunt has already made things clear to those maids and grannies.” Second Madam Shen added.
“Grandmother is here as well. If your mom scolds you again, tell your grandmother. I’ll call her back and discipline her for you!” Yan Yan knew how much her grandmother cherished her mom. Although her words were a little unreasonable, Yan Yan could feel the concern and protectiveness contained in them.
“Stop talking blindly you old woman. I’m telling you, if that Shen Yi Yao doesn’t change her ways, she shouldn’t even think about stepping through our Zhenguo Duke Estate’s doors!” The Zhenguo Duke banged the table again.
The Zhenguo Madam pouted but didn’t dare object. Although she cherished her daughter, she also understood the seriousness of the matter.
Yan Yan nodded heavily and choked back her emotions.
Second Madam Shen glanced at the door and suddenly smiled, saying: “Qi’er, why are you hiding by the door? You look like a thief.”
Shen Qi laughed awkwardly and trudged in. He first saluted the Zhenguo couple before walking to his mom’s side.
“Mom, I wasn’t. I just saw that Ah Yan had come and wanted to bring her out to play.”
Shen Qi’s appearance made everyone in the room laugh. The Zhenguo Madam smiled and said: “Alright, alright. Enough talking. It’s not often the child comes over. Let them go play properly. Ah Yan, go play with Qi’er. Take Ah Mo as well.”
Yan Yan went to fetch Yan Mo in the side room and led him outside. Yan Mo was small and frail, and could only walk slowly. Shen Qi who always liked to run around wildly had no choice but to slow down.
As they left the Ninghui Hall, Sheng Qi complained: “Little fatty Luo knew you were coming today and started preparing bright and early. He said he was going to make something called beggar’s chicken for us to eat. I wanted to see it in advance but he didn’t let me. He insisted it was prepared for little sis Yan.”
Shen Qi didn’t realize that this beggar’s chicken was actually intended to lure him instead of Yan Yan. It wasn’t convenient for Luo Huai Yuan to appear in front of others, and could only lure Shen Qi to pull Yan Yan over. He naturally couldn’t tell anyone about the thought he put into it. For the sake of seeing the little consort, Luo Huai Yuan went all out. Recently he had used countless methods to coax Shen Qi, trying to have him suggest bringing the little consort to the Zhenguo Duke Estate.
They walked all the way to the Tranquil Garden, and to the covered terrace by Calm Lake. Luo Huai Yuan was already waiting there.
He saw people coming over from afar and fidgeted with impatience. He wanted to rush over but felt it would be too obvious. He could only remain seated, though it was as if he sat on pins and needles.
Only when Yan Yan reached the terrace did he stand up in pleasant surprise and say: “Little sis Yan, you’ve come.”
He thought he had forced himself to remain calm, but scarcely realized even Shen Qi had a teasing expression, let alone Yan Yan who also was full of smiles.
“Little fatty Luo, you’re so eager to see little Ah Yan. Look how anxious you are.”
Luo Huai Yuan laughed awkwardly but still sidled over. “Is this little sis Yan’s little brother?”
Looking at the frail and skinny little boy holding the little consort’s hand, Luo Huai Yuan identified him as his little brother-in-law from his past life, Yan Mo.
His brother-in-law also had this sickly appearance in his past life, and was always bedridden. The little consort spent a lot of effort on him.
The group sat within the terrace. Yan Yan placed Yan Mo onto a chair before saying: “This is my little bro Yan Mo. Ah Mo, this is big bro Luo.”
“Little Ah Mo, just call him big bro fatty. Don’t you think he’s very round?” Shen Qi teased.
Luo Huai Yuan glared angrily at Shen Qi before sidling over to his brother-in-law with a smile, “Little Ah Mo, don’t listen to that stinky brat. I’m your big sis’s good friend. You can call me big bro Luo.”
Yan Mo was a very obedient child. He cutely called out: “Greetings, big bro Luo.”
His large eyes, translucently fair skin and slender body made him look like a porcelain doll. He was extremely adorable.
Luo Huai Yuan stroked his head and crisply agreed, shooting Shen Qi a satisfied look. Therefore, Shen Qi ran over to Yan Mo and coaxed him to call him big bro Qi instead of cousin. Yan Mo obediently changed his form of address.
Yan Yan’s face was filled with black lines as she looked at them and smiled.
After messing around, they sat down. Before long, some servants brought over all sorts of food. Yan Yan’s group finally saw what beggar’s chicken was.
A large clump of clay was brought over. After it was broken apart, there was surprisingly a whole chicken inside. It appeared glossy in color, smelled delicious, and tasted fresh and succulent. The skin was crispy and the meat was fragrant. It was truly delicious.
Little Ah Mo also had a couple of pieces. His stomach was weak so Yan Yan didn’t dare let him eat too much. In the end, little Ah Mo could only helplessly watch Shen Qi gorge himself as Luo Huai Yuan heckled him to leave little sis Yan some more.
After eating, they cleaned their hands.
Luo Huai Yuan sent Shen Qi away, having him take Yan Mo for a walk. He went somewhere else to speak with Yan Yan. Xiao An Zi was also sent to play with Yan Mo. Luo Huai Yuan asked in a low voice whether Yan Yan had been well recently.
Yan Yan naturally understood his meaning. She nodded and said it was passable. She had already moved her little brother to her own courtyard.
Luo Huai Yuan approved of this move. He felt that this was the most reliable method for the moment. Without worrying about the Weiyuan Marquis or anything else, wasn’t it the smartest choice to just watch over Yan Mo?
Luo Huai Yuan didn’t dare ask about Shen Yi Yao’s attitude. Although he was worried, since Yan Yan didn’t mention it, he didn’t know how to bring up the subject. Don’t judge him based on his normal lack of filter and wacky behavior. He still knew what he should and shouldn’t say.
Due to their last heart to heart, Yan Yan now trusted Luo Huai Yuan a lot. She spoke about some of the things she had encountered back home. Luo Huai Yuan helped analyze things briefly and brought up a few possible solutions. This was different from what the Zhenguo Duke and the rest had said. Luo Huai Yuan’s solutions were completely considered from Yan Yan’s position, based on his past life’s knowledge. He hit the mark on many occasions, making Yan Yan feel he was very helpful.
After they finished speaking, Yan Yan said gratefully: “Thank you, big bro Luo. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have known what to do.”
Luo Huai Yuan felt wonderful, but still put on an act. He waved his hand, “This isn’t much. We’re best friends, right? It’s normal to be concerned for each other. Furthermore, little sis Yan is extremely smart. I merely gave a few suggestions.”
In his past life, Yan Yan had at most viewed Luo Huai Yuan as a friend. Having returned in this life, Luo Huai Yuan had thought things over. Affection was something best developed early on. Didn’t he see many brats in the modern world start dating at seven or eight years old? He would infiltrate the enemy lines, and start off as a trusted friend. Wasn’t this extremely wise?
By the time they’ve matured, Yan Yan would have a good impression of him. He would then do this and that, and the little consort’s heart would be completely set on him. After they got married, things would naturally be harmonious and loving.
Luo Huai Yuan’s heart trembled in excitement as he thought about their future. He truly couldn’t be blamed for being vulgar. This was his third life, and he had been adults in his past two. It was normal for him to have more mature thoughts.
Thinking of how the consort didn’t like frivolous men, Luo Huai Yuan secretly made up his mind. He would definitely keep himself pure for the consort. No matter what exceptional beauty offered herself to him, he would be unmoved.
He didn’t realize he was overthinking things. Based on his appearance, what exceptional beauty would be blind enough to offer herself to him. In his past life, none of his concubines had been wooed over by him. They were all offered as gifts by others.
At the mention of mutual concern, Yan Yan recalled Luo Huai Yuan’s situation and asked: “What about you? Is the prince’s estate almost finished?”
Speaking of this, Luo Huai Yuan felt aggrieved. His expression was miserable. This was also why he was so anxious to see Ah Yan.
“I’ve heard it’s completed already. I might have to move to the prince’s estate in ten or so days.”
“It’s said that they used an old estate as the foundations, so it was completed faster.”
It was rather fast!
His initial desire to have the estate quickly completed had long since vanished. At that time, he hadn’t realized the little consort would come to the Zhenguo Duke Estate. He naturally wanted to quickly move into his own place before planning a wonderful chance encounter with the consort.
They ended up having their chance encounter already, and had even become good friends. They could even see each other every once in a while. To Luo Huai Yuan, the completion of the prince’s estate meant having to move out, which meant it would be difficult to see the little consort in the future. No wonder he was miserable.
“Little sis Yan, it’ll be hard to see you and little second Shen in the future for a long, long time.” Shen Qi was just an afterthought. “My heart is breaking….”
Luo Huai Yuan’s expression was miserable. He clutched his chest with his chubby hands and acted heartbroken.
“Err, is it that exaggerated?”
Luo Huai Yuan’s expression made Yan Yan feel a little at a loss. If a small leaf slowly floated down and landed on his head, it would be even more fitting.
She said comfortingly: “Think of it like this. You’ll be safe after going to the prince’s estate. It’ll be your own place after all. I’ll find opportunities to bring big bro Qi to play with you.”
This guy doesn’t want you to bring big bro Qi to play, ok? Unfortunately Yan Yan didn’t understand.
“I’ll definitely be lonely living by myself.” Luo Huai Yuan looked pitifully at Yan Yan. “It’ll just be me in such a large estate…..”
Hey now, won’t there be servants around?
Yan Yan also felt bad for big bro Luo having to live by himself at such a young age, and being unloved by his parents. Although she was the same way, she at least had grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, as well as Mei Xiang’s group and Ah Mo by her side.
But big bro Luo didn’t have anyone….
“Big bro Luo, don’t worry. I’ll definitely bring big bro Qi to play with you often.” Little Ah Yan patted her chest.
“How often?” Luo Huai Yuan asked pitifully.
“How about, once a month?”
“So long—–” He was about to cry.
“How about, half a month?” Yan Yan looked at Luo Huai Yuan’s expression, feeling nervous. “Any more frequent might not be possible.”
His miserable expression immediately became a wide smile that made his eyes squinted.
“Then it’s a promise!”
Yan Yan kept feeling like she overlooked something, but seeing the smile on this large and chubby face, she also felt things seemed pretty good this way.