Gu Sui’er slowly awakened from the sound of the wind and rain.
When she opened her eyes, she could hear the subtle sound of wind through the screen as it hit the window, and the sound of water drops falling to the ground from the eaves.
She thought, ‘It turns out that not only was it windy last night, but it had rained also.’
In the autumn season, whenever it rained, the weather turned much cooler. It seemed that it was really going to become cold.
Before, when she still lived in the village, her mother would take out the stored winter clothes from the trunks and boxes, dry them in the sun and patch up the holes on them. Her mother would also add some cotton wadding to the old cotton sheets that had become too thin in some places to prepare for the winter season.
It took her a while to remember that she was in Marquis RuiDing’s Mansion, a place where the people lived a plentiful life, and never had to worry about winter clothes. They only enjoyed poems and admired the beauty of the fallen leaves in autumn.
She turned her body to the side, intending to get up, only to find that a person was lying beside her.
She froze for a moment before she slowly recalled what happened last night. Soon, her face turned crimson, making it appear as if someone had reflected the light of the setting sun on a piece of white jade.
She was accustomed to sleeping alone on this bed. That’s why it felt a bit strange to see a man sleeping on it.
She lay there quietly, dumbly looking at the man’s side profile.
Using phrases like fine jade and so on for a man was certainly not a very acceptable idea, but for him, it was just right.
She had never seen him while he was asleep. However, now that she took a closer look at him, she realized that he looked better with his eyes closed.
In the daytime, she always felt that this person is far above her. Even though he was handsome at that time too, he was like the ice and snow on the high mountain, making him difficult to get close to.
Now that he was fast asleep on the bed, she couldn’t help but look more at him.
Without the profound gaze of those serene eyes that seemed to see through the people’s hearts, the pointed aura around this person suddenly disappeared.
The inky black willow-like eyebrows were just right, they weren’t too wide or too narrow. Coupling that with a very tall nose that resembled a high mountain peak and the lips below…
Looking at his lips, she inevitably thought back to that day and her face flushed with shame. She tried her utmost to think of other matters, not daring to think about it anymore. At the same time, she wondered what happened in the Palace, whether the Emperor punished him, or if he did and that’s why he stood in front of her bed without saying a word after returning.
Just as she was thinking about all these things, the man opened his eyes.
Caught off-guard, Gu Sui’er was startled for a moment.
Perhaps feeling her constant stare from a very close distance, the man woke up. And as soon as he opened his eyes, his unguarded persona disappeared. It was replaced by his dignified and cold image, which she had often seen during the daytime.
Being so close to him, Gu Sui’er trembled in fear.
After a long silence, she withdrew slowly.
However, he reached out and grabbed her by the shoulder, not allowing her to escape.
As a result, her figure was fixed in place; eye to eye and nose to nose, only separated by a fist’s width apart.
Looking directly at those bottomless and serene eyes from such a close range, Gu Sui’er felt like she was about to be sucked in by those eyes.
She bit her lip in embarrassment, not knowing where to look at.
Xiao Heng had actually awoken long ago. It was just that he didn’t feel like opening his eyes.
The soft and warm jade-like figure beside him made him want to lie there forever.
He also knew that after she woke up, she laid on her side and furtively looked at him.
The reason why he suddenly opened his eyes was not to scare her, but rather to look at her.
Seeing her limpid jet-black eyes whirling around, her white teeth biting her red lips, coupled with the innocent and delicate look on her face, he almost lost his control.
However, she was pregnant, so he did not dare to do anything.
He stared at the beautiful blush on her ear for a moment, and finally got up: “It’s not too early anymore, we should eat.”
Gu Sui’er had noticed the fire in his eyes before. But hearing his unexpected words, her pounding heart stopped and the blush on her face and ears receded. She hurriedly nodded: “Oh… Okay.”
After that, she saw Xiao Heng getting up to get dressed.
When Gu Sui’er saw this, she suddenly remembered that she was supposed to serve Xiao Heng. Should she help him dress up ah?
But she didn’t know how to put it on. If Nanny An was there, she could’ve given her some pointers.
Thinking like this, she looked outside the room for help.
But it was a pity that Nanny An was not there.
At this time, Xiao Heng had already gotten down from the bed and picked up a wide robe.
Gu Sui’er summoned her courage and moved forward: “Third Master, I will help you to put on your clothes.”
Xiao Heng glanced at her, feeling somewhat surprised. With moist and clear eyes, the delicate white figure with a bulging belly supporting her belly appeared as beautiful as a graceful little flower blooming in the morning. A little flower which was unable to support its big belly.
Nevertheless, she wished to help him wear his clothes.
He looked at her silently but did not refuse.
So Gu Sui’er stepped forward, took the robe from his hand, unfolded it, and tried to put it on him.
But he was very tall ah. On the other hand, she was a petite girl. Therefore, she had to stand on tiptoes before putting his left hand through the left sleeve, and then do the right side.
After putting it on, she moved on to tie his belt.
But how? She had never dressed a man before. How and where should she tie this robe?
She was worried.
Xiao Heng bowed his head and inhaled the faint fragrance that entered his nose while watching the delicate woman busying around him for a long time before she stopped moving. She lowered her head while knitting her fine brows and looking at her chest as if she was embarrassed because she didn’t know where to start.
He too just stared at her without saying anything.
Finally, her eyes lit up. As if she had an idea, she stepped forward to go behind him again.
Unexpectedly, just as she lifted her foot, she tripped over the belt and uttered a low scream.
She would’ve fallen down if Xiao Heng had failed to react quickly and reach out to support her.
But when he did this, she discovered the difference between a man and a woman.
The man’s arms were as tough as pig iron, firmly holding her delicate body in place, and then holding her shoulders with both hands.
Gu Sui’er lowered her head and bit her lips, not daring to look up at Xiao Heng.
“Third Master… I’m fine… I will proceed with serving you to get dressed, alright?”
Xiao Heng stared at her; he really didn’t dare to let her serve anymore.
At this moment, he directly helped her sit down first, neatly put on his robe, and then grabbed her clothes.
That’s right, he really pulled it over easily.
“Ah?” She was surprised to see her thin clothes being held in his hands. Although she was somewhat shy too, she was more confused.
What is he doing?
Xiao Heng began his task of helping her get dressed.
Gu Sui’er’s figure stiffened almost suddenly.
She did what he asked her to do. When he asked her to raise her hand, she quickly raised her hand.
He also helped her tie the belt over the bulge of her belly loosely, so that it wouldn’t strangle the little tadpole.
After putting on her dress, he touched her belly over the cloth.
“Why didn’t it move this morning?” He remembered that her belly would tremble from time to time.
“He loves to move after I have eaten.” Gu Sui’er mumbled.
“Then let’s eat first.”
The breakfast was steamed buns with a thin outer skin, milk suncake, butterfly mantou, some kind of a creamy soup and millet porridge. Moreover, since Gu Sui’er was pregnant now, the Madam had specially instructed the kitchen to add another dish every morning. Today, two freshly fried fish were added.
Gu Sui’er usually ate her meals by herself, so only a small table was usually set up for her. Now that Xiao Heng had unexpectedly joined her for breakfast, it felt cramped at the small table. However, they could only make do with it since there wasn’t a bigger one available at that moment.
When the meal was served, Gu Sui’er accompanied Xiao Heng to eat.
During the meal, Gu Sui’er recalled what happened yesterday and wanted to ask him, but she didn’t know how to do so.
After seeing her open and close her mouth many times, Xiao Heng finally asked: “What’s wrong?”
When Gu Sui’er saw him asking, she hurriedly said, “It’s nothing. I was just thinking that the Third Master seemed to have entered the Palace last night. Are you okay?”
Seeing the worry in her eyes, Xiao Heng said: “Nothing much. After I entered the Palace, the Emperor just said a few words.”
Gu Sui’er: “And then?”
Xiao Heng raised his eyebrows: “What else then?”
For a while, Gu Sui’er was at a loss for words.
Xiao Heng: “You don’t have to worry about this kind of a thing. Just set your mind at ease and focus on nurturing the fetus.”
Gu Sui’er looked at Xiao Heng quietly: “Did Third Master get into trouble due to that incident?”
Xiao Heng calmly denied: “No.”
After hearing his denial, Gu Sui’er was finally relieved.
Although she couldn’t understand why Xiao Heng could remain unscathed even after offending the Princess, she didn’t probe too much into this matter as she was well aware that she had yet to understand all the matters here.
It was enough as long as she knew that he would not get into any trouble.
She pursed her lips and smiled softly: ” Thank you for protecting Sui’er, Third Master.”
Xiao Heng felt a bit uncomfortable seeing her shy smile and flushed cheeks. So he abruptly changed the subject: “Why don’t you eat that fish?”
The two fishes were fried on both sides till they were golden brown. They looked quite delicious and crispy, but Gu Sui’er’s chopsticks didn’t even touch them.
Gu Sui’er glanced at the fish and explained in a low voice, “I’m afraid that it has cooled down. I don’t dare to eat it.”
Her digestive system was not very good. The last time she ate some cold fish, her stomach felt uncomfortable the whole day. Therefore, after that time, if any cold fish or meat dishes were served in the morning, she would let the servants eat them.
Xiao Heng stretched out his chopsticks, grabbed some meat from the fish and tasted it. Sure enough, it was cold.
Actually, since it was already the eighth lunar month now, the weather wasn’t too hot or too cold. However, because of last night’s rain, the temperature had dropped sharply.
The kitchen in the residence was large, and there were a lot of other factors to be considered regarding this plate of freshly fried fish prepared specially for her in advance. From the moment it was fried and placed there to when the maids carried it over and placed it on the table in front of Gu Sui’er, enough time had passed for it to have cooled down.
The other dishes such as steamed buns and milk soup were still warm because those were all cooked together on the large kitchen stove and immediately carried over to the other courtyards as well.
Gu Sui’er noticed Xiao Heng’s unhappy expression and hurriedly said, “Others can’t be blamed for this. It’s really cold now, and they had to cook these two fishes only for me, so they must have done it beforehand. Moreover, my digestive power is not very good. This light meal is much more suitable for me rather than those luxurious dishes.”
Xiao Heng was silent for a moment before he said, “There are a lot of people in the residence and the Madam alone is in charge of deciding the dishes which are to be cooked for everyone. As for the kitchen, they have to take care of everyone’s meals, so there will be some inevitable oversights. Tomorrow, I will ask the Madam to set up a small kitchen in the TingZhu Courtyard so that the servants can heat up or prepare some simple meals for you such that even if you get hungry in the morning or the evening, you can eat without worrying.”
When Gu Sui’er heard this, she hurriedly said, “There’s no need for that!”
She had lived in this residence for long enough to know some of the rules here. This Marquis’ residence was not like her small family where she could do anything she wished.
In this residence, there were several things that needed to be strictly observed. One was that the doors and gates are closed every time someone entered or left, and the other was a private kitchen.
The first rule was done in order to prevent theft and the latter is to thwart the possibility of fire.
If someone wanted to build a private kitchen in their courtyard, it could only be done with the Madam’s permission and a maidservant would be specially assigned to keep an eye on it. These were the rules.
At present, apart from the Old Madam and the Madam, there were only two Young Madams in the residence. However, since the First Young Madam’s son and the Second Young Madam’s daughter were both very young, their courtyards had a private kitchen. This was something even Xiao Jin did not have.
So when Gu Sui’er heard it, she quickly declined. She didn’t want it. It’s not worth so much trouble!
However, as soon as she said no, Xiao Heng glimpsed at her lightly.
When she saw that, her rejection was weakened.
She immediately felt that she was gravely mistaken, committed a blunder and was in the wrong.
She lowered her head and said in a very low voice, “It’s really unnecessary. Nanny An had asked Qing Yue to go to the kitchen and bring over two large pots of hot water every morning and evening. So if I want to eat or drink something, I just add it with the water and consume it. I have a good appetite.”
Xiao Heng raised his eyebrows and asked quietly, “Don’t you have bad digestion?”
Gu Sui’er remembered what she had said just now. She felt so embarrassed that she couldn’t wait to hide under the table.
After thinking about it hard, she finally came up with an idea and shakily stated: “Only eating meat is a bit difficult for me…”
However, Xiao Heng was clearly unconvinced.
“I’ll talk to the Madam. You don’t need to think too much about it.”
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