Zhu Geng had said she only had a stomachache from overeating. From Zhao Jie’s current glance, that didn’t seem true. If it were an ordinary stomachache, she would have recovered within three days, but she remained listless even now. Not only was she still sick, she looked worse than before. On the square, Chinese cedar table near the front of her bed, there was a bowl of medicine that was probably meant for her to drink. Zhao Jie didn’t say anything.
Next to him, Wei Kun said, “Ah Luo, Prince Jing came here to visit you under the Empress’s order. Are you feeling better? Did you obediently drink your medicine?”
Wei Luo looked at the medicine. She shook her head twice and said, “Before I had time to drink it, daddy had come here.”
Although Empress Chen was concerned about Wei Luo’s health, she didn’t expressly say anything. She only hoped that he would show a gesture of goodwill towards Wei Luo. She wouldn’t have expected that Zhao Jie would personally visit her.
Zhao Jie looked at that delicate, small face. He sat down on her bed and stretched out his hand to pick up the white porcelain bowl that had blue water lilies. He scooped up a small spoonful of medicine and brought it to her lips.
“Liu Li has been bored since you haven’t been going to the palace. She asked me to tell you that she misses you.” He was smiling as he said, “How did you get sick when you were perfectly all right before? Could it possibly be the result of you eating too many grapes that time?”
It was okay when he didn’t mention that time. As soon as he said those words, Wei Luo was angry. That blabbermouth!
Wei Luo’s puffed out her cheeks and looked at him resentfully. Her small face was helplessly adorable.
“Big brother, don’t mention that again.”
Zhao Jie couldn’t resist laughing. Okay, he won’t mention that anymore. She was sick, so he won’t continue teasing her.
“Come here and drink your medicine.”
Wei Luo opened her mouth to drink. The bitter and smelly medicine quickly filled her mouth. She pursed her lips and the rest of her face scrunched up in distaste. Although medicine was bitter, it still had to be drunk.
Zhao Jie fed her the medicine spoonful by spoonful. By the time she finally finished, her eyes were gleaming with tears. Zhao Jie used his thumb to wipe away her tears.
With a smile on his face, he said, “Since you know it doesn’t taste good, recover quickly so that you won’t have to keep drinking it.”
As he spoke, he saw her take out a small enamel case with a lotus pattern from beneath her pillow. She opened the box to take out a purple candy to eat. The suffering on her face quickly disappeared and only a sweet satisfaction was left behind.
Zhao Jie contemplatively asked, “What’s that?” His voice was neither too fast nor too slow.
Ah Luo held the box carefully as if it was treasure.
With a proud look, she informed him, “Chang Hong gave this to me. There are many different types of candy inside. They’re all very sweet.”
Zhao Jie unhurriedly said, “Oh.” His expression didn’t change and he was stilling looking at her.
Wei Luo quickly thought. Since she had already taken her candy out, should she also offer him one to try? Otherwise, he would think she was too stingy. Without a better option, she picked out an orange round candy from the box and reluctantly brought it close this face.
“Big brother, try one.”
Zhao Jie curved his lips. He usually didn’t like to eat sweet things. But since this girl had brought it to his lips, he didn’t refuse. He ate it directly from her hand. It was indeed very sweet. Underneath the first layer of sugar, there was an overwhelming tangerine filling that poured out. His mouth overflowed with sweetness and he almost didn’t hide his reaction. Seeing the young girl’s hopeful expression, he couldn’t resist rubbing the spaced between her eyebrows.
“En, very sweet.”
When Wei Luo smiled, her eyes were like crescent moons and her sickly face looked better. Her entire body became spirited.
Zhao Jie missed seeing her vigorous and lively self. When she was like a fiery chili pepper, his mood couldn’t help but improve when he saw her. He put down the empty bowl on the square table near the bed.
He stood up and said to Wei Kun, “This prince’s residence has rare and precious medicine. If fourth miss needs it, don’t hesitate to send someone to request it. Just say that it was this prince’s gesture of goodwill.”
(T/N: I almost forgot that Wei Luo’s dad was also in the room with them.)
Wei Kun was overwhelmed by this favor and profusely thanked him. In fact, after the doctor had issued his instructions, she was mostly okay. But, it was rare of Prince Jing to show such considerate and kind feelings. Even if he later didn’t fetch that medicine, he still had to thank him.
Everyone in the capital knew that the fifteen-year-old Prince Jing was person who would seek revenge for the smallest grievance. His methods were vicious. If a person provoked him, then that person wouldn’t have a good ending. Conversely, if you could obtain his good graces, then you wouldn’t have to worry about anything in the capital.
Last time in Huguo temple (where Ah Luo was almost sold off to slave traders), he saved Ah Luo. And now, he also came to visit her when she was sick. These two people could be considered to be fated together. No wonder, Prince Jing was more caring towards her compared to how he treated other people.
Since Wei Luo wasn’t Zhao Jie’s daughter, it would be inappropriate for him to continue staying any longer. He left her room with Wei Kun.
Standing in the outside corridor, he said, “Let Ah Luo focus on recovering from her sickness the next few days. She doesn’t need to rush going back to the palace. It won’t be too late for her to go back once she feels better.”
Wei Kun nodded. He respectfully walked him to the entrance to send him off. After Wei Kun saw him siting down in his imperial carriage, he turned around to go back.
Inside the carriage, Zhao Jie opened the curtains to hand over a handkerchief to Zhu Geng.
He leisurely said, “Check what’s in here. What was its purpose?”
Zhu Geng opened the handkerchief to look. Inside, there were the remains of a medicinal decoction. He was surprised for a moment, and then he raised his head to look at Zhao Jie.
“Your highness, this is…”
Zhao Jie wasn’t willing to say more. He let go of the curtain.
He quietly said, “Just follow my order.”
They had just visited Duke Ying’s residence. This could only be fourth miss’s medicine that the prince had personally helped her drunk. The answer was obvious… But Zhu Geng couldn’t understand, why would the prince trouble himself over a girl? He couldn’t figure that out. He could only follow Zhao Jie’s order.
The information arrived quickly.
Originally, he had thought it was only ordinary medicine used to treat stomachaches. Unexpectedly, it was a medicine to cure poison! Zhu Geng hurriedly reported the news to Zhao Jie.
After Zhao Jie heard, he was silent for a moment.
He asked, “Ginko nut poisoning?”
Zhu Geng nodded and repeated the doctor’s words, “While it’s okay to eat cooked ginko nuts, raw ones are poisonous. Children would be especially sensitive. Duke Ying’s fourth miss must have been poisoned by this.”
He couldn’t help feeling bad for this fourth miss that was poisoned in her home. He didn’t know who poisoned her or who would be cruel enough to want to her kill her. When Zhao Jie thought of this matter, it was evident that her situation was bad. He carefully pondered for a moment. He thought of that storeroom where the servants hadn’t finished storing treasure boxes when they visited. These two things were probably related.
He ordered Zhu Geng and Yang Hao to investigate Duke Ying’s residence and tell him the results one by one. They checked who had acted strangely in the past few days and the reasons for their strange actions.
This translation belongs to FuyuNeko. Meow.
The two quickly found out that this time it was Duke Ying’s third branch’s Liu-shi. They had covered up the surface with a peaceful appearance by saying that she felt bad about accidentally letting Wei Luo eat raw gingko nuts. But, after a careful investigation, they found out that this wasn’t true. Zhu Geng and Yan Hao also brought back other news.
“Fourth miss’s mother, Jiang-shi, wasn’t dead. She had feigned death in order to leave Duke Ying’s residence. Her tomb was empty…”
At that time, someone had secretly helped Jiang Miao Lan leave without any notice. Even though Wei Kun immediately started to search for her, he didn’t find her. The people from Duke Ying’s residence told outsiders that she had died from illness. Only a small number of people knew that she didn’t die. No one knew where she went.
As for Jiang Miao Lan, Wei Kun, and Wei Chang, their past wasn’t a secret. It was easy to inquire. And so, it was clear why Du-shi and Liu-shi wanted to harm Wei Luo. It was nothing more than female jealousy. Because of jealousy and hate, they couldn’t even tolerate a six-year-old child.
Zhao Jie turned the jade ring around his thumb and slowly said, “Isn’t third madam’s paternal uncle, Liu Zhang Qing, one of the officials in Huai province’s salt transportation department?”
Zhu Geng nodded, “He is.”
Zhao Jie closed his eyes slightly and his eyebrows straightened, but it wasn’t clear if his anger had been suppressed. His voice was calm as if he wasn’t only a fifteen-year-old.
“Salt transportation official is a lucrative and cushy job. Liu Zhang Qing must have many ill-gotten gains and bribes over the years. Order people to investigate his books and records. Then, pick one or two incidences of bribery to report to the emperor to let Liu Zhang Qing taste some suffering.
Zhu Geng acknowledged Zhao Jie’s order. It seemed that the prince had truly set his heart on that young girl.
Zhao Jie had a stance of a guard dog protecting a baby animal. Now that he was eyeing Liu family for retribution, that family’s future days wouldn’t be happy.
As Zhu Geng and Yang Hao were about to leave, Zhao Jie said, “Yang Hao, you don’t need wait on me in the future. Go to Duke Ying’s to closely follow and watch over the fourth miss.”
Zhao Jie paused, and then continued to say, “Protect her safety. If she has any problems, report to this prince immediately.”
Yang Hao froze in place. He and Zhu Geng had personally protected Zhao Jie for the last five to six years. Now, he was suddenly being sent off to someone else.
Yang Hao was somewhat startled and he said, “Prince…”
Zhao Jie rested his chin on his hand, lifted his eyes to look at him, and said, “You don’t want to go?”
It wasn’t that Yang Hao didn’t want to guard her. He just wasn’t used to his job suddenly changing. Yang Hao took a moment to absorb this change and accepted the order.
“Should fourth miss be informed that this subordinate would be protecting her?”
When Zhao Jie coldly looked at him, Yang Hao knew his question was stupid. How could it be okay for other people to know that Prince Jing had ordered someone to protect Duke Ying’s fourth miss? What would other people think? This wouldn’t be good for either of their reputation and would attract unnecessary trouble.
Yang Hao quickly corrected himself, “Subordinate understands and will not disappoint the prince.”
Zhao Jie waved his hand, “You can leave.”
And so, Yang Hao spent every day secretly following Wei Luo. He carefully observed what she ate every morning, what type of sweet soups she liked to drink, and all of her conversations. At night, he would go back to Prince Jing’s residence. He would pick out a few important things to tell Zhao Jie. If there was nothing important, he would simply report everything that Wei Luo did that day.
This didn’t bore Zhao Jie. As Yang Hao spoke, Zhao Jie would listen as he worked on his own things.
This night, Zhao Jie was reviewing the information for Huai province’s salt transportation.
By his side, Yang Hao said, “Fourth miss’s adult tooth have grown in…”
Zhao Jie paused. He thought of how that little girl looked with her missing baby tooth. Her tooth finally grew out after a few months. He quietly laughed. He raised a writing brush to call to attention a few words in the ledger book.
Zhao Jie asked, “What was her reaction?”
Yang Hao paused in his report, then continued, “Fourth miss seems very happy. She smiles more often… her pronunciation is clearer.”
Zhao Jie couldn’t help laughing. He had previously laughed at her for missing a tooth and her lisp when she talked. This little girl probably held a grudge against him for a long time.
Now that her tooth had grown in, he felt a little bit of regret. He would no longer be able to hear her lisp.
Wei Luo didn’t know that her actions were constantly being monitored. Her incisor tooth had grown in. She was in an excellent mood now that no one would laugh at her for her missing tooth.
At the same time, in Duke Ying’s residence, two major events had happened. Something bad had happened to third madam’s second paternal uncle. Previously, he had a cushy job that everyone had envied, and he financially supported the Liu family. But, now Liu Zhang Qing was accused of misconduct by the emperor. The emperor was preparing to investigate Huai province’s salt department. Everyone in Liu family was potentially endangered. No one knew who else would become entangled with this impeachment or how many charges of misconduct there would be if the emperor really investigated. Even if they had nine lives, it wouldn’t be enough!
In the past few days, third madam was alarmed and restless. Originally, she had been punished by Wei Chang to copy Buddhist scriptures. Now, of her own initiative, she was also burning incense and praying to Buddha. Everyday, she would want to sincerely copy at least five pages to ease her heart.
Her actions were understandable. Liu Zhang Qing was the backbone of Liu family. If he fell, then the Liu family would also fall. Although Liu-shi had married into Duke Ying’s family, the Liu family was still her original family. Also, if she didn’t have a parental family to support her, her future days in Duke Ying’s residence probably wouldn’t be good…
The other matter was about Ginko courtyard’s Du-shi. As winter approached, each day was colder than the previous day. Du-shi and her growing fetus lived in Ginko courtyard with only two maidservants to care for them. One day, she slipped while walking down a flight of stairs. With a head covered in sweat from the fall, she went into early labor!
The author has something to say:
Thank you precious readers for your donations * (*╯3╰)
In addition to the scheduled chapter, an additional chapter was released. Praise me ~\(≧▽≦)/~
During these days, this author will sell Meng (behave cutely). Where would you find such a diligent author?
(* T/N: On JJWXC’s website and other Chinese online novel websites, readers can donate money to authors through voting points they purchase.
I think the author’s notes are cute, especially the keyboard faces. But, would anyone want me to skip translating the author’s notes if the author notes aren’t related to Wei Luo and Zhao Jie?)