Fuchen looked at Jin Wang who wore a bleak face and couldn't figure out why he was in a low spirit.
Jin Wang also heard the news that Yaoniang had asked some days leave since she needed to go home. However, although Jin Wang was reluctant to allow her to go back, he said nothing but just seethed and asked people to report what happened in the lateral courtyard every day.
Jin Wang learned that Jin Wang consort and side consort Hu all presented some gifts to Yaoniang. In order to curry favor with Jin Wang consort, the concubine Feng as well as lady Li and lady Tao also granted some gifts to Yaoniang.
Mammy Mu also gave her some gifts.
Generally speaking, as a host of Jin Wang mansion, Jin Wang had to award Yaoniang something as a reward since she made many contributions to Jin Wang mansion. Moreover, she also kept a special relationship with Jin Wang.
But Jin Wang acted so weird and only asked people to find out what kind of gifts she had received. Jin Wang gave nothing to Yaoniang when it was his turn to grant a reward.
In accordance with Fuchen's experience, Jin Wang was seething again.
But it happened frequently between Yaoniang and Jin Wang. It was easy to tell the difference from Jin Wang's visiting time to the courtyard recently. He came to Yaoniang at midnight or sometimes he might change his mind and went to the courtyard after he had put up for the night.
Fuchen was speechless and he thought there was no need to sulk with Yaoniang at all.
But Fuchen dared not to persuade Jin Wang who might be enraged by him.
The servant came to tell Jin Wang that Yaoniang was about to go home a few minutes later. Although Jin Wang wanted to say goodbye to her, he hesitated. And it was not until Yaoniang almost arrived at the gate, he then made an excuse to go out. But to Fuchen's surprises, he didn't expect Jin Wang happened to see the scene when Yaoniang was chatting with Zhou Sheng cheerfully.
Fuchen looked at Yaoniang who was talking to the young carter and thought the man's smile was so wired.
'Does he also like Yaoniang?' thought Fuchen.
The idea gave him a start of surprise and when Fuuchen looked back at Jin Wang's face, he found Jin Wang looked worse and his eyes were chill.
Fuchen compared Jin Wang's gloomy face with the young carter's warm smile and thought perhaps Yaoniang was more willing to talk with the young man.
When Fuchen was still absorbed in his thought, Jin Wang left with a snort.
But neither Yaoniang nor Zhou Sheng noticed this interlude behind the door.
Yaoniang got into the carriage and they set out soon.
Zhou Sheng was a skilled carter and the carriage went so smoothly that Yaoniang didn't feel jolt.
Indeed, it was also because the carriage was in good quality. Mammy Mu placed her order and Zhou Sheng picked a good carriage which was prepared for the consorts. The carriage was spacious and there was even a staw mettress inside.
Yaoniang got to know this from Zhou Sheng.
"Will I bring troubles to you?" asked Yaoniang. She was a veracious woman without any evil thoughts, so Yaoniang worried that she would cause troubles to Zhou Sheng because of her private affairs.
"Don't worry. The consorts of Jin Wang mansion rarely go out. But the workers still need to maintain the carriage in daily life. It is a total waste if the carriage is not put in use," replied Zhou Sheng in a casual tone.
After a small pause, he then added, "Let me be frank with you. The carriage is also used by some servants who find favor with their masters. The conservators turned a blind eye because they also don't want to offend people. But this time is different since Mammy Mu placed her order personally. No one could pick holes."
Yaoniang was relieved by Zhou Sheng.
It seemed that Zhou Sheng was familiar with the route and he hurried on with their journey without stop.
The weather was hot and Yaoniang opened the widow to take a breath.
Zhou Sheng was glad to see that because it was convenient for him to talk with Yaoniang. They chatted and time passed by quickly. They had a better understanding to each other through their conversation.
Yaoniang got to know the background of Zhou Sheng as well as his family situation while Zhou Sheng also learned something about Yaoniang. She told him that her husband was a street vendor who died in an accident and left Yaoniang and their kid alone in this word.
“Don’t be depressed. People always need to move on. You have to be positive,” comforted Zhou Sheng. He was not a man who was good at consoling others.
Yaoniang was amused by him and then said with a smile, “Thank you. I am fine. I just want to make some money in Jin Wang mansion so as to bring up by kid.”
Zhou Sheng took a glance at her with his split vision secretly and then asked, “Aren’t you planning on getting married again?”
In their time, widows were not allowed to get married again. But Jin Zhou was near to the frontier and their folkway was enlightened.
Shocked, Yaoniang lowered her head and responded on a low voice, “I am a widow with a kid. Who would like to get married with me?”
Zhou Sheng really wanted to tell her that he would like to marry her, but he was a coward.
Yaoniang frequently appeared in his dream recently since he was too fascinated with her. Zhou Sheng was eager to tell her that he wanted to marry her. But when he got a chance to express himself, Zhou Sheng was lacking in courage in face of Yaoniang.
He was so nervous that his heart was pumping. Trying his best to cool down, Zhou Sheng made some compliments to Yaoniang.
It might be his first time to praise a woman, he looked a little embarrassed. Yaoniang was amused by him.
“I am so appreciated, Zhou Sheng.”
Yaoaniang was moved by him and extended her appreciation. It was easy to tell he was kind.
Zhou Sheng stopped at a small restaurant at noon.
Zhou Sheng led Yaoniang in and it seemed that he came here for many times.
It was a barrack that only offered drinks and bread.
Zhou Sheng felt regret. He hurried to take Yaoniang to this small restaurant because he was afraid she might get hungry, but he forgot the food stated bad here.
Yaoniang took out a box from her bag and opened the box which contained several meat pies.
“The kitchen in the lateral courtyard prepared this for me to avoid inconvenience on the way.”
“Eat it. You must be hungry. I can buy some bread for lunch,” replied Zhou Sheng.
“There are several pies and I can’t finish them. Don’t stand ceremony with me.”
Zhou Sheng stopped declining her and started to have lunch.
Zhou Sheng enjoyed his meal and felt Yaoniang was a good woman.
They drank some tea after their meal and then went to the toilet.
Zhou Sheng was afraid something bad would happen to Yaoniang since it was a desolate place, so he waited her outside the toilet in case of any emergency.
Yaoniang walked out with her face flashed. She felt embarrassed since a man was waiting outside for her when she went to the toilet.
There was a big water tan outside. A basin and a water ladle were put aside. It was provided for the visitors to wash hands.
Yaoniang was going to wash hands while Zhou Sheng bailed the water for her.
“You are so considerate. I must bring you inconvenience,” said Yaoniang.
“Don’t say like this.”
When they were chatting with each other, a carriage form the imperial palace stopped at the open space of the restaurant.
Four men got off from the carriage. The leader was a young man with three large men following behind. Although the young man was dressed plainly, it was easy to tell that he was the leader.
“Master, this is the only restaurant in this desolated place,” said one of the men.
The young man looked impatient. “What kind of food can we eat in such a place?”
Yaoniang leaned to one side when she found someone was coming and then said to Zhou Sheng, “It is time to leave now.”
Zhou Sheng nodded and was about to leave without washing his hands.
When they passed by the four men, they were stopped.
“Excuse me, the young lady.”
Yaoniang pretended not to hear and was about to keep moving on, but soon a man blocked in front of her.
“Hey, I am talking to you. Don’t you hear me?” The young man stared at Yaoniang and didn’t expect such a beautiful woman would show up in this remote place.
This young man was the son of a rich business man. He was spoiled by his parents since he was the only son in his family. Now that he came from a rich family, this man acted so arrogantly. He even visited the whorehouse frequently at his young age.
The man was good for nothing and he only focused on enjoying himself which enraged his father. The man was expelled by his father and was forced to be a street vendor by his father so that he might become mature someday. The young man’s father hoped his son to inherit his family capital someday so that their family would not decline someday.
However, this man had been living a wealthy life for many years and he was unable to endure any hardships. What’s more, now he had no money to visit the whorehouse.
They had been on their way for two days and rarely met people except for some elders. Now it was a rare chance to meet such a beautiful woman, and the young man was attracted by Yaoniang.
The man was experienced in flirting with woman and had good knowledge about women. He liked the young married women but didn’t like those young girls. It was because he thought the married woman was sexy but the girls had no fun on bed.
He had sexuality with many women, but he seldom met a woman as beautiful as Yaoniang. Although she was well-wrapped in clothes, her slim figure was partly hidden and partly visible. Her plump bosoms jumped slightly when she was walking. She must be experienced to have sexuality with men.
The man looked up and down carefully at Yaoniang. The other three men all smiled bitterly but they didn’t stop their master.
Yaoniang felt intolerable under his gaze and she put her hands across her chest and tried to avoid the man. Zhou Sheng stepped forward and stood in front of Yaoniang.
“I am wondering why you are blocking our way,” said Zhou Sheng.
The man looked up at Zhou Sheng and said impatiently, “Get away. Don’t talk nonsense here.”
The man pushed Zhou Sheng who staggered since he didn’t stand firm.
“Zhou Sheng…” Yaoniang tried to hold him.
“Look at you! It seems you are a couple. But it doesn’t matter. I like married woman very much!” he said and tried to pull Yaoniang. Zhou Sheng protected her and the young man was getting annoying. “Why are you sitting there? Come to help me!” shouted the man to his three followers.
Although the three men looked helplessly, they headed to the man without hesitation. It was not their first time to do this.
Zhou Sheng realized they were caught in a trouble. He gave Yaoniang a sign and asked her to run while at the meantime Zhou Sheng tried to play for time. “Who are you? Where are you from? Do you know where we come from?”
“I don’t care about it. Get out of here!” said the man indignantly.
As soon as the man finished his words, he gave Zhou Sheng a punch. Seeing this, Zhou Sheng exerted himself to push them away and shouted at Yaoniang, “Go. Run away!”
“Zhou Sheng!” Yaoniang was so flurried.
She took a few steps but then ran back to Zhou Sheng.
“I am not going to run away,” said Yaoniang with her eyes filled with tears. “We come from the Jin Wang mansion. Are you going to bring about your own destruction?” Yaoniang yelled at them.
She tried to act in an aggressive manner as side consort Hu, but she failed because she was a delicate woman.
The young man stopped subconsciously.
“You are from Jin Wang mansion? Bullshit!” said the man who squinted at them.
Yaoniang looked around and happened to see their carriage not near far.
“We are taking the carriage of Jin Wang mansion!” said Yaoniang in a loud voice.