Chapter 04: Remorse (catching worms)
Zhou Qing nodded apathetically. She didn’t believe a word that came out of Luo Xinyue’s mouth.
With her palm pressing the threshold, she smiled back and asked, “Why is Xinyue still standing outside? It’s late. You must not let yourself catch a cold.”
“I’m coming.” Luo Xinyue answered and quickly caught up. She looked at the slender waist of the woman in front of her. It looked like the willows on the river bank, gently swaying when the wind blew.
The late Emperor was fond of slender-waisted beauties, and as the upper line followed the lower line, all girls, married or not, would deliberately eat less food or use cloth to tighten their waists and bellies in order to appear slender.
But Zhou Qing was different. Her mother was from the south, their skeletal structure was already small. Her body was incredibly slender that even without a waist girdle, the curves were evidently conspicuous.
Luo Xinyue’s eyes were filled with jealousy as she followed her into the house.
The mother heard the commotion and came out of the kitchen. She reached out and rubbed her hands on her apron; her eyes were staring straight at Zhou Qing, wanting to get the five taels of silver back.
Zhou Qing helped Mother Luo carry the dishes and made a trip to the kitchen. The latter opened her mouth, but there was no time to speak.
After less than a quarter of an hour of work, Luo Yu arrived.
He stood fixedly outside the kitchen, looking at the woman running back and forth. His whole heart was filled with regret. He shouldn’t have been so confused. Even if he didn’t have a child, he could still pass it on to his nephews and sons from his clan. He was crazy to force Qing’er to borrow a seed.
Luo Yu closed his eyes, and a trace of pain appeared on his handsome face. Mother Luo swept her gaze and saw her son standing outside the door. She hurried out, muttering in a low voice, “This daughter-in-law was awfully unbelievable. She took five taels of silver from me. You have to teach her a lesson.”
What exactly was the situation at home? Luo Yu exactly knew what. His salary was all used up. Therefore, the family’s food, clothing, and other expenses, all were purchased from the Zhou family’s silver.
He felt humiliated, making his fair face turn red, “Mother, the money was originally from my mother-in-law to financially aid Qing’er, so your son can’t ask for it.”
Mother Luo was displeased, “Since Zhou Qing married into the Luo family, she is already a member of the Luo family. For whatever reason does the younger generation have to keep a stash of money?”
He walked to the kitchen and sat beside Zhou Qing. A light scent of orchids permeated his nose. It was fragrant and it didn’t feel repugnant.
She gave Luo Yu a bowl of chicken soup and said with a smile, “A’ Yu has been busy all day sorting out the dossier at the Da Lisi; it must have been hard on your eyes, have some soup to nourish yourself, this is specially made for you by mother-in-law.”
At these words, Mother Luo’s ugly face eased a little.
She was not an excellent cook. She only added water and salt to the chicken soup, and the chicken meat tasted old and woody, and smelled fishy.
In her last life, Zhou Qing felt that Mother Luo was trashing things. She would mention several times from the side that she wanted to hire a granny to do the work. This thought made Mother Luo furious and she decided that Zhou Qing didn’t like her. From then on, mother-in-law and daughter-in-law were at loggerheads[mfn]Always fighting[/mfn].
In this life, she learned to be smart, and not to speak out of turn. Zhou Qing ate small portions of rice, appearing very elegant.
It was Luo Xinyue who couldn’t help but complain, “Mother, the chicken soup you made is too fishy.”
Mother Luo dropped her chopsticks and snapped, “Don’t eat it if it’s too fishy; it’s for your brother anyway.”
Luo Xinyue’s temper wasn’t good as she loudly argued. Luo Yu frowned, his eyebrows revealing a trace of fatigue.
He was only a retainer. His daytime work at the Da Lisi was already strenuous, he still had no peace when he returned home.
After quickly finishing his meal, Luo Yu stood up and left the kitchen.
Zhou Qing raised her eyes and looked at his back; an infinite irony rose up in her heart.
The reason why he married her was that the Zhou family’s solid family background was useful to him.
Having died once, Zhou Qing’s thinking was very clear, she knew she should add more fuel to the fire. After all, if one wanted to take revenge, one must be a good daughter-in-law, right?
“Mother-in-law, Xinyue didn’t mean to contradict you. The weather has been hot lately and this causes everyone to feel easily incensed; I’ll boil some green bean water later, it’ll be more comfortable to drink.”
Luo Xinyue wasn’t feeling appreciative. She gritted her teeth and ran straight back to the west room.
Anyway, Wu Yongye had promised her that he would marry her in a palanquin, and after she married into the Marquis of Changxia’s Household, she would never have to live like this again!
When Mother Luo had finished eating, Zhou Qing cleaned the dishes and boiled green bean soup and gave each of them a bowl before finally returning to the east room with her food box.
Luo Yu was reading a dossier and the room was lit with oil lamps, but the light was still a bit dim.
The man was twenty-two years old, with handsome features and a somewhat thin-looking body. However, before she got married, Zhou Qing had never expected that her husband would be a heavenly eunuch.
Hearing her voice, Luo Yu raised his head, his eyes fixed on Zhou Qing. His hands clenched into fists, the veins bulged at the back of his hands.
He knew that Zhou Qing had a good nature as she loved and respected him, but after doing that evil thing, he was afraid that she would resent him.
Apricot eyes flashed, Zhou Qing lowered her head and pondered how she should take revenge.
In his previous life, Luo Yu sent Luo Xiaobao to the commanding officer, and with this share of wind, he slowly climbed up the ladder and finally made it to the cabinet.
Zhou Qing had to admit, that Luo Yu was very talented. If not for his lowly family history, he wouldn’t be in the position of a retainer for so many years.
A great man should not be without power for a day. Luo Yu had been blinded by power, stepping on the bones of Zheng’s children. He was utterly ruthless.
It was thanks to the commander that he had uncovered Luo Yu’s lies and killed the entire Luo family. Otherwise, Zhou Qing would have hated to stab Mother Luo to death as soon as she returned from her rebirth.
Placing the white porcelain bowl on the table, Luo Yu took a sip as his fingertips entwined on a strand of the woman’s black hair; his eyes were burning brightly.
“Qing’er, I will treat you well.
These were the same words he had said in her previous life.
Zhou Qing lowered her head and whispered, “Hurry up and finish the soup, so that you don’t accumulate food at night and have an uncomfortable stomach.”
Luo Yu nodded and took a big gulp of the thick, green bean soup. His phoenix eyes kept looking at her without blinking as if Zhou Qing would disappear if he moved away for a moment.
After she had finished packing, Zhou Qing drew hot water and took a bath behind the screen.
The warm yellow light was dense which caused the woman’s slender figure to be seen. Likened to a mountain spirit, seducing anyone within reach.
Luo Yu put down his pen, breathing sharply. Contradictory to his lower body which was calm and flaccid.
Ever since he was a teenager, Luo Yu knew that he was different from others. He had neither dreamed of being with a woman nor was he able to do so.
Even so, he was moved by the sight of the Zhou family’s vibrant and delicate Young Miss and persuaded his mother to ask for her hand in marriage.
After marrying her, Luo Yu couldn’t consummate his marriage with Zhou Qing. Even though his wife was soft and gentle and did not speak out against him, his anxiety and pride drove him to the brink of extinction.
He had made the Luo family become extinct; he was worse than a eunuch.
Cynicism and anger gnawed at Luo Yu’s sanity, but he vehemently restrained himself as he remained calm and collected, even though his heart was in a tumultuous state.
When the sound of the water finally stopped, Zhou Qing changed into her profane clothes and came out from behind the screen.
Luo Yu stood in front of her. His long arms stretched out, holding his wife in his arms.
Zhou Qing stiffened as she bit down hard on the tip of her tongue, curbing her urge to push the man away.
“It’s getting late, let’s rest.”
Zhou Qing tugged at Luo Yu’s cuffs and said, “There’s still hot water in the kitchen, wash up before going to bed, it’ll be more comfortable too.”
Luo Yu agreed and went behind the screen to wash up. Zhou Qing stood in front of the plucked bed, looking at the curtain that had been scratched and torn; the corners of her mouth curled up in a sarcastic smile.
It was in this bed that the commander had forced himself on her last night, shattering her innocence.
The bedding had been changed and the fishy smell was gone. Sadly, Zhou Qing’s chest was still so clogged that she could barely breathe.
Luo Yu came closer, wrapped his arms around her waist from behind, and spoke hoarsely, “Qing’er, it’s all my fault. I know I was in the wrong. Eventually, I’ll make it clear to mother and go to the clan to pass on a child ……”
The hot breath sprayed on her ear caused Zhou Qing’s body to suddenly feel goosebumps. She didn’t say anything, Luo Yu then thought she agreed.
Just one more month and she would undoubtedly be pregnant, Zheng’er would be back by her side.
“Ah Yu, what if I’m pregnant?” Zhou Qing said.
Hearing this, Luo Yu’s body shook. Only after a moment did he slowly speak, “It’ll be good if you’re pregnant. If you will have a child, I will take good care of both mother and child.”
The two of them laid on the bed, and Luo Yu dropped a kiss on Zhou Qing’s forehead, “Sleep.”
As soon as she closed her eyes, the scene she had seen on the lookout rushed into her mind: Zheng’er being starved to death, while Luo Yu was on his way to the top, calling the shots.
It was only in the latter part of the night that Zhou Qing fell asleep in a daze.
The next morning, when Luo Yu got up, he was standing at the head of the bed; his dark eyes were deep and unfathomable that one could not distinguish his emotions.
After a long time, the man reached out and tucked in the corner of his quilt.
It was only after Luo Yu had gone to Da Lisi that Zhou Qing woke up. Because she hadn’t rested well, she had a greenish-black look under her eyes and her whole body looked a little haggard.
Luo Xinyue saw Zhou Qing coming out of the room. But before she could move her eyes, she saw the woman was holding a wooden box, about the size of a palm, in her arms.
“Sister-in-law, what’s that you’re carrying?” As she spoke, Luo Xinyue’s face was thick with greed, her nature following that of Mother Luo. She was practically a brave man, but only from the inside.
“These are the Bi Luo herbs my mother sent over a few days ago.”
Luo Xinyue got even more jealous. The Luo family was poor, if Zhou Qing hadn’t married to their family, she was afraid that she wouldn’t even be able to eat meat. Although she was better off now, she could only buy some head oil. This kind of precious spice was something she didn’t even dare to think about.
“Sister-in-law, will you give me this Bi Luo herb?”
Zhou Qing’s face showed a hint of difficulty, “No, this spice is not good for the body.”
Luo Xinyue did not believe her. Her eyes were filled with desire to covet as she waited until the woman was gone and crept to steal the spices that were kept in the hut.