They set out again, but this time Zhou Sheng picked up speed.
Zhou Sheng and Yaoniang gazed at each other in speechless.
The young man was frightened by Yaoniang and he dared not to offend people from Jin Wang mansion. What's more, the man changed his attitude and even apologized to them. They left soon without having meal because they were afraid of being retaliated as he got to know Yaoniang was from Jin Wang mansion.
After keeping silent for a while, Zhou Sheng said to Yaoniang, "You take a tense situation calmly. It's creditable to your good sense. I am so flurried at that time."
"I have to extend my appreciation to you. You strived to protect me in face of danger," replied Yaoniang gratefully.
Indeed, Yaoniang was touched since Zhou Sheng didn't run away but stayed to protect her. Yaoniang rarely contacted with men, except for the father and son of Su family as well as Yao chen, her brother-in-law. Su Xiucai was an old-fashioned and inflexible man while Su Yuchen was fond of eating and averse to work. But Yao Chen treated her well as if he was her natural brother.
Yaoniang also needed to get contact with Jin Wang, but he was not an ordinary man, so indeed Zhou Sheng was the first man for Yaoniang to come into contact with besides her family members.
"I am stupid. I thought we'd better not to catch other's attention so I parked the carriage in a privy place. If I parked it in front of the restaurant, I am sure the hoodluma would not come to offend us. You must be frightened today. I am sorry for this," said Zhou Sheng again.
There was a remark of Jin Wang mansion on the carriage which was equal to a pass check and they could go anywhere in Jin Zhou with this pass check.
"Don't chastise yourself. You did a good job and you just didn't expect such an emergency," consoled Yaoniang.
When they were chatting, a man in black suit riding on a gallant horse whistled at the other side of the fimber. The whistle sounded like bird's singing and it was hard to notice. But soon a black eagle flew down from the sky and stopped at the man's shoulder.
The man took out a thick bamboo tube and poured out a slender and charcoal pen as well as a slip of paper from it.
The man didn’t get off the horse but wrote something on the paper which read Yaoniang met local ruffians on the way, but the carter risked his life to protect her. Both of them are safe now.
The man was hesitant since he was not sure if he should add that Yaoniang scared off the local ruffians with Jin Wang's reputation. But after thinking for a while, the man decided not to add because there was no place for him to write. It was better to be brief. After finishing that, the man put the paper into the bamboo tube and tied it to the feet of the black eagle and then let the eagle fly into the sky.
When everything was done, the man quickened his pace to catch up Yaoniang and Zhou Sheng again.
Before nightfall, Yaoniang and Zhou Sheng finally arrived at Linyun county.
When the carriage was stopped at the gate of Yao family, Yaoniang was hesitant to get in for lack of diffidence. Zhou Sheng noticed that and helped her to knock the door. "Anybody here?" said Zhou Sheng in a loud voice.
Soon the footsteps sounded inside and the door was opened.
It was Yao Cheng who opened the door.
He was surprised when he saw Yaoniang get off from the carriage. “Yaoniang, you are back!”
Yao Chen greeted her and was about to shouted back to the yard. But soon he changed his mind and turned to Yaoniang. “Get in.”
Yaoniang walked into the yard while Zhou Sheng was also invited in by Yao Cheng.
Yao Cheng invited Zhou Sheng to have a meal and said he must be tired. Although Zhou Sheng declined, he finally accepted Yao Cheng’s invitation. Indeed, he didn’t care about the meal, and he just wanted to cherish the chance to get along with Yaoniang.
As soon as Yaoniang walked into the yard, Huiniang, who heard the news of Yaoniang’s back, rushed to her.
“You haven’t come back in a long time! What a heartless woman!” complained Huiniang, bursting into tears.
Yaoniang also sobbed. They hugged with each other as soon as they met. Seeing this, Yao Cheng looked face to face with Zhou Sheng. After for a while, Yao Cheng noticed that Zhou Sheng was staring at Yaoniang not near far with his sourful eyes. Yao Cheng wondered and was absorbed in his thought.
Yaoniang thought Mrs. Li would satirize her. However, to her surprise, Mrs. Li changed her attitude and instead she was enthusiastic to Yaoniang this time.
What’s more, Mrs. Li was even kind to Zhou Sheng. Yaoniang felt it was so weird when Mrs. Li asked Yao Cheng to buy some dishes to go with wine. Mrs. Li said that they needed to treat Zhou Sheng since he was an honorable guest.
Yao Cheng followed her words and went out to buy some food while Yaoniang helped Huiniang to prepare for dinner. In the homes of the ordinary people, everybody sat together to have the meal. It was a lively moment when they started to eat.
But Yan’er didn’t join them.
Yaoniang was not clear about what happened in Yao family recently, but she also paid no attention to Yan’er who pushed Yaoniang into a dilemma at that year. Although Yaoniang never strived to take a revenge on her, she casted no attention to Yan’er since then.
Mrs. Li asked Zhou Sheng many questions.
She asked his family address, his family background and his job in Jin Wang mansion. Yaoniang didn’t know why Mrs. Li was so curious about Zhou Sheng, but Yao Cheng and Huiniang knew what she was planning, so they kept interrupting Mrs. Li. And soon Mrs. Li had her spirits dampened, but she felt lucky since she had a general understanding of Zhou Sheng.
After the meal, Yao Cheng asked Zhou Sheng to stay here for a night and this time Zhou Sheng didn’t decline Yao Cheng’s invitation, because he knew it was not safe to set out at night.
After settling Zhou Sheng down, Yao Cheng and Huiniang came to chat with Yaoniang.
Yaoniang was playing with Xiaobao who was adorable in his six months.
His hands were plump and his legs were like lotus root. Yaoniang even wanted to take a bite on his chubby cheeks. Xiaobao was born in an ordinary family so there was no ice for him to drive away the summer heat. There was only a basin of cold water in the room. Therefore, Xiaobao wore very few clothes with a red loose covering for the breast which made him look so cute.
After several days’ rest, Yaoniang’s milk was growing again. She scraped up for the whole day so as to feed Xiaobao. Therefore, when Xiaobao rubbed lightly in front of her bosom, she walked into the inner room to feed Xiaobao.
It seemed that Xiaobao also recognized Yaoniang and even didn’t resist her but started to suck. Yaoniang felt so pleased to see this when she noticed Xiaobao’s increasing food capacity.
Yaoniang looked carefully at Xiaobao and found he was alike Jin Wang.
She stared at Xiaobao and found his slanted eyes were familiar with Jin Wang.
Yaoniang’s eyes were different from Xiaobao since her eyes were as round as apricots and her eyes tilted slightly which made her look soft and mild.
It meant that Xiaobao looked like his father.
Thinking of this, a feeling of antipathy raised in her heart.
Yaoniang was unwilling to recall the painful memories. In fact, Yaoniang didn’t see clearly the villain who raped her that year.
Yaoniang was reluctant to recall and then changed another side of her breast to feed Xiaobao. Soon Xiaobao fell into sleep.
Yaoniang patted his head, gazed at him and generated a strong affection to her son. Xiaobao was growing and he looked different from when he was born. But Yaoniang’s affection to him never changed, because they were connected.
“Yaoniang, are you here?” Huiniang asked her and knocked the door.
Yaoniang hastily put Xiaobao on the bed and went to open the door.
Huiniang and Yao Cheng were standing outside and Yaoniang invited them to get in.
Both Yaoniang and Yao Cheng had a load in their mind.
When Yaoniang and Yao Cheng started their conversation, they found they concentrated on the same matter. Someone from Jin Wang was inquiring about Yaoniang’s details.
After a while, Yao Cheng continued to say, “Don’t be afraid. I think Jin Wang might attach great importance to you so he asked someone to investigate your background. The princess is not an ordinary person and she is born with honorable status, so the background of her wet nurse should be blameless.”
It might sound reasonable if Yaoniang didn’t have a special relationship with Jin Wang. Yaoniang felt it was not a simple case.
However, she couldn’t figure out the reason, so she had no choice but to put this case aside temporarily.
“Will people believe in that? Will they try to find out if I' m married or have children already?” asked Yaoniang worryingly.
Yao Cheng was confused and asked, “Why would they investigate on this? I think they would only focus on if you are innocent. Your father is a Xiucai and I am working in the government office. You do have a blameless family background.”
“I don’t mean that…” Yaoniang wanted to explain but stopped because she was afraid of spilling the beans. She didn’t hope Yao Cheng and Huiniang to get to know her relationship with Jin Wang since she was only a wet nurse in Jin Wang mansion.
Yaoniang was married in her last lifetime but what was done can’t be undone. Yao Cheng and Huiniang also knew this.
Huiniang was aware of Yaoniang’s hesitance and was amused by her. “That’s enough. I know you will be worried about it. Do you think we did nothing for you in this period?”
Yaoniang looked confused while Huiniang showed a smile and explained, “I went back home after you left and I have told our parents as well as brother Zhu to announce you have married with a street vendor, and since he is not a local person so you held wedding in a hurry.”
“But the neighbors should know this news if I get married with someone,” said Yaoniang.
Huiniang smirked and replied, “I asked them to say you held wedding at Yao family.” After all the neighbors knew that the daughter-in-law of Su family always played tricks on Yaoniang. Huiniang even made a scene in Su family when she went back to pick Yaoniang to Yao family, because Huiniang was not going to make a compromise since her sister was bullied.
Yaoniang was in astonishment when she heard this.
Huiniang continued, “As for the neighbors around Yao family, I presented them some candies and they must think you held the wedding in Su family.”
Huiniang was argute because no one would be suspicious and it was impossible for them to let the cat out of the bag. The neighbors of Yao family and Su family had no chance to meet and discuss this with each other since it was far apart, so they would never knew the fact.
Looking at Huiniang who looked tired under the light, the tears of Yaoniang surged up again. “Huiniang, you are so kind.”
“Don’t cry. You are a mother now. You have to be strong,” consoled Huiniang. She touched Yaoniang’s hair and soon her eyes were also filled with tears.
Yaoniang lived a miserable life and what Huiniang could do was to prevent her from being forced to leave her hometown and ensure yaoniang could show up before the public naturally.
Yaoniang sobbed and then took out her bag that she brought back from Jin Wang mansion.
“These are some gifts from Jin Wang mansion. There are some clothes and ornaments.” Yaoniang took out the gifts while saying. “These clothes and ornaments are suitable for you. Take it and you can also make some clothes with the materials for Ming’er, Hong’er and Yao Cheng.”
“I don’t need this. You can keep yourself. You can keep this for your future life or you can also take these things for money,” said Huiniang.
“Huiniang, listen to me. If you refused to take these things, I will feel sad. I have caused many troubles to you and you even help me to raise Xiaobao…”
Yaoniang raked up the old matters and it reminded the sorrowful past again. Huiniang interrupted her and began to pick up some gifts from the bag.
To readers: I know you might dislike the plot, but I have no choice since I need it to push the story.
If yaoniang kept flirting with the street vendor, I am sure Jin Wang was still seething in his mansion. And Jin Wang would only come to Yaoniang at night so as to have sexuality with her.