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C52: Returning Home
After breakfast, Xie Zhen went to the inner room to take a bath. The bath barrel was placed behind a curled screen that was embedded flower and bird pattern.
The screen wasn't big, barely block her figure.
She took off her clothes and sat in the water , scrubing herself from hair to toe.
She didn't dare to bath too slowly, because they would return her home later. After was.h.i.+ng herself quickly, she stood up and looked to the side. She found that she had forgotten to bring her clothes with her.
She had to sit back down and called Tan Mei. "Take my clothes."
Tan Mei was standing outside, hearing this she hurriedly responded and then turned around to get her clothes.
Yan Yu had already packed everything up. He was sitting on the rose chair of the fragrant rosewood outside, lowered his head, expressionless as he waited for the others.
Tan Mei was in a hurry with a little of rashness. After finding Xie Zhen's clothes, she quickly ran over, wantting to give them to her.
She stumbled over her left foot on her right foot and staggered a few steps, dropping Xie Zhen's orange bellyband to the ground.
A gust of wind blew, and the bellyband just happened to float to Yan Yu's feet.
At first he didn't know what it was. He bent down and picked it up.
His mind was in turmoil. When he thought about Xie Zhen was taking a bath, he felt a surge of Qi and blood rus.h.i.+ng up his chest, straight into the top of his skull.
He covered his mouth and coughed lightly, then handed bellyband to Tan Mei, "Quick, send it in."
Tan Mei suddenly came to a realization and said: "This servant is lacking in manners."
She quickly walked into the inner room.
Finally, Xie Zhen thought that the bellyband was dirty, she had Tan Mei take another one from the cabinet.
Of course, she didn't know that Yan Yu had touched it. She didn't have the time to reprimand Tan Mei, changed clothes and combed her hair into a bun, and hurriedly got on the carriage back to Duke Dingguo's Mansion.
It was probably the result of the bath, but there was a mist of moisture about Xie Zhen that made him feel cool sitting next to her.
As she hurried off, she sat in the carriage and put on her body perfume. It was the fragrance of the lotus she used the most. She lightly touched it to her neck and wrist, and it gave off a delicate fragrance.
Not long later, the entire carriage was filled with the fragrance.
She did not shy away from Yan Yu; she sat beside him as if she could not see him.
Other than them, there were also Shuang Yan and Shuang Yan in the carriage. The carriage was very quiet on the way, and no one said a word.
Yan Yu pretended to ask casually, "What fragrance?"
She covered it with a porcelain stopper and concisely said, "Lotus body perfume."
As she mentioned it, he remembered the handkerchief the Crown Prince had picked up.
It was precisely because of this fragrance that Yan Tao was unable to forget her. He frowned in displeasure, "Don't use this fragrance any more."
Xie Zhen looked up at him and it was obvious from the look in her eyes that she was saying, What's it got to do with you?
Yan Yu also knew that his request was unreasonable, but he could not explain himself. Thus, he turned his head to the side and said incoherently, "I don't like this fragrance."
But instead, Xie Zhen gave a gentle smile, like a water lily blooming on a summer's day, and without warning, bloomed with a beautiful color.
"It doesn't matter if you don't like it, it's fine as long as I do."
She leaned back against the Delicate embroidered satin pillow, closed her eyes, and paid no more attention to him.
There were servant maids in the carriage, so he couldn't say too much. Even though he was filled with anger, he still silently swallowed it back when he saw her sleeping figure.
She was really sleepy. Soon, she fell into a deep sleep, falling her head on the pillow. She didn't look like a lady from a big family at all.
Yan Yu couldn't bear to watch any longer, so he sat down and supported her head so that she could lean on him.
She was obedient. She laid her head on his shoulder without a word of complaint, and after a while her head slid down on his chest.
He opened his arms and drew her into them.
The carriage stopped at the entrance of the Duke Dingguo's Mansion. Someone knocked on Xie Zhen's head, and a nasty voice sounded out, "Wake up, we're here."
She slowly opened her eyes and saw Yan Yu's exquisite face.
She opened her eyes wide and looked around in confusion. She then did a quick double take that she had actually fallen into his arms. Immediately, she scrambled out of his embrace, puckered her temples, and unhurriedly explained, "I'm asleep."
Yan Yu did not expect her to have a guilty conscience. He could not help but take a few more glances at her.
This was a rare opportunity. He pointed at the watermark on his chest, "If someone sees it later, how should I explain it?"
She turned her head at a glance, her ears pink and delicate, her voice soft and small. "I don't know."
Yan Yu's thin lips curved up in a faint smile, almost as if she was deeply in love with him. "You took my life and didn't thank me?"
She lifted the curtain and was about to go down when Shuang Yu and Shuang Yan began to be worried about their miss. It was already at the door of her home, they didn't hope to see they had any argument anyway…
Fortunately, Xie Zhen just got off the carriage and waited for Yan Yu to come down before following him into the mansion without saying a word.
Yan Yu seemed to be in a good mood and did not keep a straight face.
Xie Zhen was small with narrow steps, while Yan Yu was tall with wide steps, so after a while, the gap between them became larger and larger.
He didn't realize it, but after walking for a while, when he looked back, he saw that Xie Zhen was a dozen steps behind.
He stood where he was, waiting for her to arrive. The first thing he said was, "Why are you walking so slowly?"
Xie Zhen said calmly. "I can't walk fast."
Yan Yu glanced at her legs, feeling that it was understandable. He then asked, "Then why didn't you stop me?"
She held her dress up the steps and stood on the third steps, still not as tall as he was.
She looked back at him. "I'm waiting for you to find out."
When she finish speaking, she turned and led the way.
Yan Yu had nothing to say, but he did learn to be wise, slowing down and walking beside her, taking her situation into account, deliberately taking smaller steps.
He asked her, "Have you not grown in these seven years?"
When mentioning it, Xie Zhen felt her acc.u.mulation of depression was difficult to smooth. She stared at him. "Of course I've grown taller, don't you see?"
Was that so?
There was obvious doubt in Yan Yu's eyes. She looked just as she had been when she was young.
"You are always taller than me."
She didn't want to talk about it, so she walked ahead without saying a word.
Yan Yu slowly followed behind her. On a whim, he raised his hand and pointed it at the top of her head, right at his chest.
Who would have thought that she would catch this scene. She suddenly turned around and angrily said, "Don't be proud, my brother is taller than you!"
He was stunned for a moment before he remembered that she also had an elder brother who was extremely protective of her.
The two of them finally arrived at the central room, surrounded by a large group of people. When the people from the Duke Dingguo's Mansion heard that the sixth prince was bringing his princess back, they stood up early in the morning to wait for them.
Now that he heard the servants say that the two of them had arrived, they hurriedly went to the entrance to welcome them.
Yan Yu and Xie Zhen walked over side by side, the Duke Dingguo bowed with his family, "This old official pays his respects to your majesty, and greets the Empress."
Xie Zhen saw that he and her parents were about to salute her, how could she bear it? Her eyes reddened as she rushed forward, "Grandfather, are you trying to kill me?"
"You're not allowed to pay your respects, and neither are you, Father and Mother!"
Madam Leng and Xie Liqing stood behind the Duke Dingguo. Their eyes were filled with a bitter smile before finally turning into a single sentence, "Little Lamb has returned."
Duke Dingguo and the Second Branch were pardoned by Xie Zhen to avoid saluting, but the others didn't have her pardon, and had to bow to her and Yan Yu.
The first branch all forced themselves to laugh. their own daughter hadn't been married yet, and Xie Zhen's rank in the family was much smaller than Xie Ying's. Who would expect that she would actually marry so well.
When Xie Zhen got home, she and her parents naturally had endless talks. She pestered Madam Leng and hugged Xie Xun. It was just two days since they had last seen each other, as if they had been separated for more than a decade.
Madam Leng said that she was married, so she should have the appearance of a married woman. However, she was still a child in the depths of her bones. After saying a few pleasing words in Madam Leng's arms, she easily fooled around with it.
While Yan Yu was talking with the duke and the men in the mansion, Xie Zhen and the wowen went to the west wing. When they separated, she looked more like a wild lamb, no longer needing to dress up and could laugh without restraint.
Madam Leng touched the tip of her nose. "You've been so restrained these past two days?"
She nodded. As for the reason, she couldn't say. She could only shrink back into Madam Leng's embrace. "Mother, please be good to me. I have to leave today."
Madam Leng scolded her for being heartless, "Do I treat you badly?"
"What did you say."
She chuckled and held onto her arm, unwilling to let go. "Mother treats me the best, better than anyone else."
On one side, the mother and daughter were tiresome with their words. On the other side, Madam Wu and Madam Xu listened for a while. Madam Wu could not help but interject: "Why did Ah Zhen say that?"
"Could it be that the sixth prince treats you badly?"
Xie Zhen raised her eyes, and gave Madam Wu a glance before saying with a smile. " Brother Xiao Yu's been very good to me. When we entered the palace together, His Majesty even gave me such a big luminous pearl."
As she said that, she gestured with her hand. Her tone was filled with excitement and joy, looking just like a naive and ignorant little girl.
Madam Wu noticed the size of her gestures and couldn't help but reveal a bit of envy.
Thinking of something, she deliberately looked left and right before whispering, "But how come I've heard of it …"
Xie Zhen tilted her head. "What did you heard?"
Madam Wu pretended to mutter and mumble, "I heard that you and the sixth prince …"
Madam Wu could not finish her words before Madam Leng stopped her with harsh words and looks, "Third Sister-in-Law!"
Xie Zhen had never seen Madam Leng so angry before, and she stiffened in her arms. She knew it was not a good thing.
She innocently grabbed Madam Leng's hand and gently comforted her, "Mother, don't be angry. I came back today, so why should you be angry?"
As the words came out of her mouth, the expression on the face of Madam Leng had eased up a bit. On the other side,Madam Xu responded: "Second Sister-in-Law can block our mouth, but you can't block the mouths of others."
The whole circle of ladies knew that Ah Zhen and sixth prince hadn't even drunk a cross-cupped wine on their wedding night, and the sixth prince had left her alone in their bridal chamber. He didn't come back until the latter half of the night.
"I wonder where he has gone to during this time."
Xie Zhen was shocked. She didn't expect that it was actually about this matter.
On the day that Yan Yu had left her in the bridal chamber, there weren't many people. She could count them with a finger.
Princess Yi and the Crown Princess didn't seem to be gossips who knew how to shut up. So, who was the one that spread the news?
Xie Zhen clenched her teeth and felt a little cold in her heart.
She didn't expect that it would be her first aunt and third aunt who would embarra.s.s her in the end.
After calming down from her rage, her heart calmed down. She held Madam Leng's hand tightly as if comforting her while biting her lip with a smile. "First Aunt and Third Aunt, where did you hear that from?"
Madam Wu couldn't hide the gloating look in her eyes. "Everyone is saying, who knows where it came from."
They had been jealous for a while of the way Xie Zhen was granted the marriage to the sixth prince without warning.
And now there was a scandal that seemed to give them something to laugh at, something to hold on to so hard that it made them live better than Xie Zhen, or, rather, it made them feel a little better in their own hearts.
Xie Zhen said slowly. "Did Third Aunt see it with your own eyes?"
Madam Wu stared blankly, and said indignantly: "I didn't see it, but I was not the source. Someone must have seen it with their own eyes, that's why they said that."
Xie Zhen's hand that gripped on Madam Leng's hands gradually turned cold, and her heart was in a mess.
This was a fact. No matter how angry she was, she could not refute this fact.
Madam Leng was so angry that her entire body trembled. "Third Sister-in-Law is the elder of Little Lamb. How can you say such things in front of her?"
"Could it be that you want the child to see with her own eyes what it means to be an elder without elder's respect?"
Madam Wu choked. "Why do I not have the respect?"
In end, Madam Wu was impulsive and easily angered by Madam Leng. She coldly snorted as she sat to the side, unwilling to accept this: "You still don't want me to speak the truth?"
Madam Xu gave her a look, telling her to be quiet. Then she said to Madam Leng and Xie Zhen, "It's fine as long as we know about this. Even if Little Lamb admits it, we aunts won't laugh at you."
"How could someone as n.o.ble as the sixth prince have his eyes on …? "
Halfway through her speech, she stopped.
Xie Zhen was angry to extreme. Instead, she smiled. "First aunt is wrong, no matter what his previous ident.i.ty was, but after the wedding, he is my husband."
Then she raised a pair of beautiful eyes and calmly glanced at them. "The mouth is others', and the ears are your own."
"If others believe what they hear, they are fools."
Those words silenced the two of them.
Madam Xu stood up furiously: "How did you talk to your elders?"
Xie Zhen still sat on the couch. "Do you think you act and speak like an elder?"
She was still the same, eloquent, able to choke people half to death with her easy words.
Madam Xu was so angry that her chest rose and fell. Normally, she would have punished her with the old lady. However, since the old lady was not here today and Xie Zhen had become the esteemed Prince's wife, she really couldn't be harmed for the time being.
In the end, she had no choice but to swallow her anger until her face turned purple.
It was the first time that Xie Zhen had displeased others like this.
But they couldn't blame her. They had said all this in front of her and her mother, but they hadn't considered their feelings from the start, so why should she think about theirs?
Xie Ying stood behind Madam Xu. Previously, she showed her good will towards Xie Zhen, so she didn't say much, but now she couldn't help but speak up for Madam Xu: "It's not my mother's fault. Ah Zhen, aren't you going to explain yourself?"
Xie Zhen looked at her. "It's nonsense. why should I explain?"
As soon as she finished speaking, a voice came from the door. "Your Highness, the Empress is inside."
When Xie Zhen looked behind the screen, the door was pushed open with a squeak.
It turned out that the conversation in the main hall had ended and was about to have lunch. Yan Yu came to find Xie Zhen. As soon as he entered the room, he felt that the atmosphere was not right.
He looked to Xie Zhen sitting next to Madam Leng, her head drooping in a pitiful way.
Yan Yu walked over and asked, "What's going on?"
She looked up, with her eyes red, the tears rolling in her eyes, as if she would burst into tears in the blink of an eye.
Yan Yu was startled and panicked. He squatted in front of her and wanted to touch her, but he didn't dare. He anxiously asked: "What's wrong?"
"What are you crying for? Can't you tell me? "
She sniffled and whined, "First Aunty said …"
Most likely, she was too wronged. She held onto his sleeve and didn't finish a complete sentence for a long time.
However, Yan Yu heard the first part clearly.
He suddenly stood up, turned around and fiercely glared at Madam Xu, then questioned: "What did you say to her?"
When Madam Xu met his eyes, she trembled all over.
Who would have thought that, Xie Zhen was still fine and majestic like a lion cub a minute ago, but then cried so pitifully just as the sixth prince arrived?