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Title: ChongFei Manual
Chapter: 168.5 out of 171
Today, Wei Luo was shaking a rattle drum in front of little watermelon. The pellets attached to the red strings on the sides of the toy repeatedly struck the surface of the toy and produced a “ding dong ding dong” sound each time. Little watermelon’s large black eyes followed the movement of the rattle drum. His laugher never stopped as he stretched his hand out to try to grab the toy in Wei Luo’s hand. Wei Luo used a silk handkerchief to wipe to drool from the corners of his mouth.
“Look at you. You’re drooling again. Little watermelon, you’re so dirty.”
Little Zhao Xi didn’t understand her words. He just wanted the rattle drum.
Wei Luo didn’t give him the toy. She deliberately moved it slightly farther away and shook the toy in the air. “Do you want it?”
Little Zhao Xi was very anxious. He gurgled as he continued to stretch his hand out. Unfortunately, his soft, fleshy arm was too short. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t reach the toy.
Wei Luo didn’t tease him for too long. She soon put the rattle drum in his hand and little Zhao Xi happily held it. He was young and his hand was small, so he didn’t have a good hold on it, much less know how to play with it. There was only way to express his fondness – putting it in his mouth. Only a short time had passed before the sides of the toy was covered in his saliva. His large, limpid eyes that didn’t understand anything yet looked at Wei Luo and he opened his mouth to babble.
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Wei Luo took the rattle drum from his hand, wiped the drool from his chin again, and furrowed her brow. “Aiya, why are you such a glutton? You can’t eat this. It’s dirty.” As she said this, she scratched little Zhao Xi’s nose.
Little Zhao Xi didn’t understand her actions, but he didn’t fuss. His eyes turned and he looked behind Wei Luo.
Wei Luo noticed his gaze and turned around to look. Zhao Jie had recently come inside. There was a strong, cold wind blowing outside. When he came inside, he brought in a gust of the cold air inside with him. He didn’t directly walk to Wei Luo and Zhao Xi. First, he went to the nearby fireside to warm his hands. When the coldness in his body has vanished, he went over to them and asked, “What happened? Is watermelon not listening to you?”
Wei Luo shook her head and said, "No." She helped Zhao Jie take off his fox fur cloak and asked, “Did you go to the palace? How is His Majesty’s health?”
Zhao Jie’s tone was calm as he said, “It’s not good. He couldn’t even leave his bed yesterday.”
Wei Luo didn’t say anything after hearing these words.
Since Empress Chen moved to Shan An Temple two months ago, Emperor Chong Zhen fallen gravely ill and hadn’t recovered. Medicine hadn’t been effective. He had been a perfectly healthy person, who had suddenly fallen ill without any prior symptoms. During the past two months, the imperial physicians had taken turns trying to treat Emperor Chong Zhen to no effect. Emperor Chong Zhen hadn’t gone to the morning court to listen to the courtiers and decide on political affairs for over half a month. He had ordered Zhao Jie to act as a temporary regent and handle the governmental affairs on his behalf. Thus, Zhao Jie had been very been busy lately with this work. He would frequently leave early and return late. He hadn’t been able to properly spend time with Wei Luo for a long time.
Zhao Jie held Wei Luo’s hand, furrowed his eyebrows, and said, “Why is your hand so cold?”
Wei Luo said, “The weather is too cold. I recently went outside to sweep some of the snow from the plum blossoms. I can use it to make tea in the coming year.”
Zhao Jie felt heartache. “In the future, have the servants do this instead. What if you freeze yourself doing this?”
Wei Luo said, “This type of thing is only fun if I do it myself. It won’t be fun if someone else does it for me.”
Zhao Jie didn’t argue about this with her. He had servants bring in two more burning charcoal basins, brought Wei Luo onto his lap, and warmed her hands with his hands. Zhao Jie’s big hands firmly wrapped around Wei Luo’s hands and very quickly warmed them up.
Lately, it was rare for Zhao Jie to come home in time for dinner. After they finished dinner, a wet nurse carried little Zhao Xi back to the side room. Zhao Jie and Wei Luo washed up before lying down on their Chinese cedar bed that was decoratively carved with clouds.
Zhao Jie stretched his hand out to pull Wei Luo closer so that his chest was pressed against Wei Luo’s back and his chin was placed on her shoulder. He slowly and quietly said, “Ah Luo.”
Wei Luo was slightly sleepy and said, “En.”
Zhao Jie was silent for a while as if he was deliberating something, “I might not come back tomorrow. You and Xi-er have to properly stay home. Don’t go anywhere.”
Wei Luo opened her eyes and became less sleepy. “Why won’t you come back? Where are you going?”
Zhao Jie hugged her tighter, but his voice was as calm as always. “I've been busy with the governmental affairs recently. Imperial father hasn’t recovered from his illness, so I have to stay in the palace to deal with his work. Once these matters are handled, I’ll come back and spend time with you and Xi-er.
Wei Luo turned around and burrowed her soft, fragrant body into his arms. She spoke in a low voice, “Then, quickly finish your work. Don’t tire yourself out.” After saying this, she added, “We have spent time together in a long time. I kind of miss you.”
Zhao Jie felt deeply touched by her words. He lowered his head to kiss the top of Wei Luo’s head. “Okay, in the future, I’ll stay with you every day.”
Wei Luo quietly said, “En.” Soon after, she fell asleep.
Zhao Jie moved slightly back and parted Wei Luo’s black hair back to see her small, soft, white face that was as lustrous as gems. Zhao Jie carefully stroked her face, from her eyebrows to her nose, from her nose to her mouth. Every time he moved his hand, he felt reluctant to let her go. After he had touched enough, he finally said, “Wait for me to return.”
The next day, Zhao Jie left before the sun came up. During the past period, he had always left this early, so Wei Luo didn’t think anything of it. Like every other day, she washed her face and ate breakfast before going to playing with little Zhao Xi.
When noon arrived, Wei Luo went to sit in the verandah while holding little Zhao Xi. It was cold outside, so Wei Luo had little Zhao Xi tightly wrapped up and only his black eyes were exposed. It was clearly noon, but the northern side seemed as if it was being burned. It seemed as if half the sky had turned red with orange clouds.
Wei Luo looked at the sky for a moment before deciding that it was too cold here and carried little Zhao Xi back inside.