Story One | Ye Xinxi Yue, Wang Qiang Du
Although the little children were noisy, they weren’t too loud. Aunty Fei told them not to disturb their new sister...even so, the walls of the small house weren’t soundproof hence an echo of their voices could be heard every now and then.
The sounds of yelling, speaking, giggling and berating made for a sweet melody that put her heart at ease leading to a peaceful slumber that lasted until the next day.
Before morning arrived her eyelids lifted slowly. Breathing in and opening her mouth to exhale the foul breath from keeping her mouth closed too long.
Pulling in a deep amount of air through her nose, she sat up on the bamboo mat. Tying her restless lock of hair into a small bun due to its shortness in length, she flipped the blanket covering her to the side.
Standing up she stretched her arms above her head. Placing her right hand on her left elbow, pulling her elbow to the right, firmly stretching her body.
Bending down to touch her toes. Standing upright she lifts he left leg against her abdomen with the help of her arms; moving to her next leg she does the same.
After thoroughly stretching out her body she picked up the blanket used for covering her. Folding it neatly and placing it to the side; lifting the sheet that separates her body from the bamboo mat - folding it neatly and placing it on the folded blanket.
(A little unnecessary but ╮(︶▽︶)╭ I wrote it down so we have to read it)
Proceeding to roll up the bamboo mat and fix the pillow, placing the four items where she got them.
Sitting crossed legged on the floor with her eyes closed. Meditating while listening to the morning birds sing.
It was around yin; mao during early spring. The sun was still yet to be seen when suddenly Yue Mian heard a whisper, “I’m sorry I have to leave you but he no longer loves me…”
(a/n: yin - 03:00 - 04:00, mao - 05:00 - 06:00)
Her eyes flung open. A gentle knock came from the front door…
She quietly stood up and opened the room’s door that closed her off from the others. The inside of the small house was pitch black with only the moon peeking through the holes and cracks of the house.
Hearing no sound of movement from the other room, she walked down the dark passage, softly with light steps she stopped in front of the door.
Placing her head against the door she listened for a sound but could hear nothing.
Removing the blank that barred the door closed, she opened the door making the hinges creek like the sound of a nail against a copper mirror.
She stepped outside to see who it was that spoke but her foot bumped against something. Looking down to her foot she saw that a basket was placed on the stone step.
Bending down to see what was inside, she heard sniffling coming from inside the basket and paused.
“Mmmm,” sounded from the inside of the basket. She put her hand inside and pulled away the cloth that was covering the moving thing inside.
Pulling it away. It uncovered a small baby that barely had clothes on. Feeling the cold air touch its skin, the baby started crying.
Its cry grew louder the more it was exposed to the cold air. Yue Mian picked the baby up in her arms and closed it with the silk cloth.
Wrapping the baby in it she looked into the distance. The full moon shone down on the forest lighting it up.
Although it was still dark, that did not stop Yue Mian from seeing the figure in the distance that was hiding behind a tree.
Frowning in her direction, the woman behind the tree was frightened by the look the woman holding her baby gave her.
A harsh wind blew towards Yue Mian. Taking the basket with her she stepped into the house with the baby in her arm.
Chucking the basket to the side, the contents fell out making a loud “bang.”
Aunty Fei walked through the door with a candle lit in her hand down the passage.
Walking towards Yue Mian she asked, “Is it another one?”
Yue Mian, “Excuse me?”
Aunty Fei, “The baby in your arms, is another one dropped off by its parent.”
Yue Mian, “She’s still standing in the forest, do you want me to go fetch her?”
Aunty Fei looked at Yue Mian. Shaking her head she said, “No” setting the candle down on the only table in the house.
Sitting down on the chair by the table she held her hands out to Yue Mian, “Give me the child.” Looking down at the baby n her arms she handed it over to Aunty Fei.
Taking the baby in her arms, she rocked it a couple of times while saying “Shuu,” to shush the baby from crying too loudly.
Singing a song to the baby while rocking it to sleep. Aunty Fei looked up at Yue Mian and said, “There’s a goat in the backyard, go milk it and bring me a bowl of milk so that I can feed the baby when it wakes up.”
Moving her feet towards the front door she pauses, turning around she asked, “Where do I get the bowls?”
Aunty Fei looked at her with a slight bit of delight, instructing her further, she told her the bowls could be found on the top shelf of the cupboard.
Outside she bent down beside the goat and placed the bowl underneath the standing goat. Pulling on the goats’ teats, the goat grunted and turned to her, headbutting her chest.
Falling backwards from the attack she coughed heavily while patting her chest.
This headbutt messed her up by hitting all the air out of her lungs. She struggled to get up actually falling to her sides a couple of times before finally stabilizing herself.
Glaring at the goat, she stepped forward summoning all the power left in her body that was not much, lifting up her dominant leg she kicked the goats behind.
The goat let out a bleat almost sounding like a humans cry for help. After satisfying her anger she grabbed the goat by its neck and bit onto its left ear.
Whimpering under her the goat dropped to the ground almost hiding away from her.
She kicked the goats left hind leg to the side exposing its udders. Grabbing onto the teats she started massaging it and the milk came out without a hic.
The bowl was almost half full when she stopped. Glaring one last time at the goat she picked the bowl up, stood still and walked back to the house.
The sun couldn’t be seen but the sky was a beautiful morning blue in colour with a yellow tint to it.
Stepping into the house she was met with a stunned gaze from aunty Fei. Aunty Fei was stunned because Yue Mian was covered in the goats feed with rice in her hair and dust patches here and there on her clothes.
Shaking her head she took the bowl from Yue Mian and threw it into the pot in the corner of the room and set it on top of the fire under the chimney that was keeping the house warm.
While she was out, aunty Fei changed the baby and dressed it. She also emptied out the basket; covering the inside of the basket with a knitted small blanket and placed the now dressed baby on it.
She covered the baby with another knitted blanket. Looking closely at the sleeping baby she saw that under its neck was a folded knitted thing that also looked like a blanket but just big enough to be a pillow.
Finding herself mesmerized by the sleeping baby, Yue Mian sat down on the chair beside the table that had the basket on it. She rested her head in her right palm supported by her elbow. She looked at the baby wondering if she looked this peaceful as a baby.
Thinking of this she thought of how sad and difficult it was to raise her and leave the man she loved, but realising how strong of a woman her mother is.
Thinking this far she frowned. [What a disappointment I must be too lady Ye…]
Aunty Fei walked over with a bowl of milk and brought it to the table, placing the bowl down on the table and sat down beside it on the opposite chair.
She saw the expression on Yue Mian’s face… While stirring the bowl of milk with a spoon she asked, “What seems to be bothering you?”
Snapping out of her daze, she saw aunty Fei looking down at the bowl and stirring it.
Balling her left hand into a fist, she said, “I am a disappointment.”
The hand that stirred the spoon in the bowl of milk stopped. Looking up at her, aunty Fei asked, “Why do you say so?”
Sighing she answered, “I left without saying goodbye to my mother and grandparents even though they did so much for me.”
Nodding her head and listening tentatively, aunty Fei began stirring once again, “Then why did you leave if you would start having regrets now?”
The hand that was balled traced the wooden marks of the table stopped. Raising her head to look at aunty Fei she said, “I have no regrets.”
Continuing to mix, she looked over at the baby then asked, “Then do you find yourself feeling sorry for this little one because he was abandoned?”
Looking over at the baby she slowly nodded her head, “I heard his mother say, “I’m sorry I have to leave you but he no longer loves me,” then she ran off.”
Aunty Fei smiled gently while she caressed the exposed right cheek of the baby with her thumb and said, “This little boy is very fortunate to have come at a time when you are around.”
Yue Mian was surprised, “Its a boy?”
Aunty Fei nodded her head, “Yes and he was born no less than three months ago.”
Raising her brows Yue Mian asked, “How do you know?”
Aunty Fei, “In the basket, his mother left his birth certificate and letter with some silver coins.”
Yue Mian, “What did the letter say?”
Aunty Fei, “She asked us to look after her little one.”
Yue Mian, “That’s it?”
Aunty Fei looked at Yue Mian, seeing a very displeased Yue Mian she smiled and asked, “What else was she supposed to say?”
Yue Mian bit the inside of her cheeks, “It’s obvious that she had him trying to keep his father in check, now that he has left she’s dumping her son… Isn’t a mother supposed to have unconditional love for her child, why would she give him up so easily?” she asked while trying to swallow down her anger.
Aunty Fei thought for a moment before saying, “This may seem to be the case but what if she is having troubles of her own?”
Yue Mian could not counter aunty Fei’s words. She knew that everyone had their own troubles and reasons but she never agreed with the fact that a parent could allow for their child to not be by their side.
Thinking this far she couldn’t help but think of her father… He father Wang Rong Emperor of Jilei is living life to the fullest while knowing that she is not under his care, how can he sleep at night?
While she was thinking all this her facial expression softened into a somewhat sad expression, aunty Fei looked at her wondering what could be her troubles.
There was no way Yue Mian would open up to her easily so she would have to make the first move but before she could Yue Mian said, “I never told you who I am. My name is Ye Yue Mian, I am from Xieye.”
Smiling lightly aunty Fei asked, “How old are you YuMi?”
Yue Mian faces her with surprise, “I am sixteen this year.”
Aunty Fei, “Mn, you are the perfect age.”
Raising her eyebrows she asked, “Perfect for what?”
Aunty Fei places the bowl of milk to the side and held Yue Mian’s hands in hers and said while smiling from ear to ear, “To be this little one’s mother.”
Hearing this, Yue Mian’s mind went blank. The blankness was evident on her face making aunty Fei laugh heartily. Saying with a cheeky smile on her face, “You picked him up so you have to take responsibility even if you don’t want to.”
Yue Mian trailed with a “but…” but was instead cut off by aunty Fei who folded her hands in front of her big breasted chest saying, “No but’s maiden, this little one needs a mother who can raise him properly and be there for him throughout the day and in his whole life and you fit the profile. I can’t do it because I have five other children that need my attention and I am already old.”
Yue Mian was about to say something but was interrupted yet again, aunty Fei continued, “It’s okay, I will help you until you can do it without having to consult me and remember not only are you this baby’s mother, you are also the other children’s elder sister, so you need to take care of them too.”
Yue Mian had no words left for aunty Fei, she realised that this old woman was an old fox and would use and abuse her all she could.
For the time being, she did not mind this because she had nothing else to do.
Seeing that Yue Mian had given up aunty Fei looked at her eagerly and asked, “What will you name your son?”
Moving her eyes from the grinning old fox to the baby… after a long pause, she said, “His name is Ye Xinxi Yue, Wang Qiang Du.”
Aunty Fei looked at Yue Mian with her eyes widened to the point where they almost popped out.
Not only did Yue Mian give her son a name, but she also gave him his title that everyone besides her would call him, including the nobles, royals and even the emperor.
Thinking this far aunty Fei’s heart trembled, “Yue Mian, a title is only allowed for those who are of noble or royal birth.”
Yue Mian, “I know and since he is my son, he gets one.”
Aunty Fei’s eyes shifted from Yue Mian to the baby, back to her, “Don’t tell me…” she trailed, thinking back to Ye Xinxi Yue’s title.
Mouthing the word “Wang”... with a stutter, she said, “You couldn’t possibly be from Jilei, you said you are from Xieye, did you not?”
The corner of her mouth lifted into a smile while saying, “According to my mother, my father is Emperor Wang Rong, Wang Tejo Rong.”
Aunty Fei, “Wang Tejo Rong?” she asked alarmed.
Nodding her head she said, “My grandparents and Emperor An have confirmed it, along with the fact that Emperor Rong’s first cousin has been protecting me all these years.”
“No way...You couldn’t be” hearing all this, aunty Fei’s words were stuck in her throat while her mind was in disarray, when suddenly gossip-filled her mind.
She looked at Yue Mian and asked, “You couldn’t possibly be the child between the emperor and his maidservant that went missing?”
Staring at aunty Fei with a listless gaze she nodded without saying a word.
Aunty Fei felt that something was off, looking at Yue Mian she asked, “Why did you leave home?”
Yue Mian, “To experience life.”
She was stumped for words..she asked, “You said that even Emperor An said Wang Tejo Rong is your father. What is your relationship with the emperor of Xieye?”
“General Yu is the first general and my grandfather is the third, my mother is the ex-crown princess and I am also and ex-crown princess now goddaughter of Emperor An,” She answered nonchalantly.
Aunty Fei looked at Yue Mian for a moment before saying, “You must not fall pregnant with the crown prince’s child otherwise you and your mother will have the exact same destiny.”
Scrunching her nose at these words Yue Mian smiled, she asked, “Will you turn me in?”
Waving her hand in front of her, aunty Fei countered in defeat, “If I do, who will help me and look after Ye Xinxi Yue?”
“You‘d dare make a princess work knowing her background?” she said with no respect in her tone and a chilly smile on the corner of her mouth.
Aunty Fei, “Princess… Where?” she looked around the room playing innocent.