Her skin was fair and translucent. Her eyebrows were curved, and her eyes were as clear as a clear pond. With a tall nose and rosy lips, two shallow dimples appeared on the sides of her face when she smiled shyly, making people intoxicated and unwilling to wake up.
Most people were used to seeing bridal makeup with thick powdered faces and bright red lips, so they were amazed by her refreshingly light but brilliant peach blossom makeup. The rough army men didn’t hesitate to praise her:
“Leader’s wife is so pretty ah! She’s simply a little peach blossom that just bloomed, looking fair and tender…”
“Leader, how did you manage to get such a tender little peach blossom? This is the prime example of ‘an old cattle eating tender grass’ ah!”
“I didn’t expect that the leader’s wife, who’s an expert in farming and business, to be different from what I had imagined. She’s a delicate and beautiful young woman! You have good eyes, Leader!”
“Leader’s Wife, do you have any sisters in your family? You should consider me. I come from a well-known family. I’m also tall, strong, and good-looking. Most importantly, I have a good character and good temper. I’m definitely the best candidate for a perfect husband…”
Had it been another noble maiden, she would either be too shy to raise her head, or very angry. Xiaocao, on the other hand, looked openly at each person who spoke with a smile. She knew that these people were fellow soldiers of her husband, and they all had a rather close relationship.
The face of the young military official who spoke last flushed red upon her staring. He touched the back of his head and chuckled. In actuality, he was actually quite serious about the question. The leader’s wife had such excellent cooking skills, so her sisters also definitely wouldn’t be too bad. Last time, when he went on a mission with Leader, he had risked his life to snatch the last piece of dried meat that Leader’s Wife packed. That taste was truly unforgettable ah! If he could also marry a wife with such skills, would he still have to steal from the leader and risk the chance of being beaten and going through intense training?
“I have an older sister!” Yu Xiaocao looked at the young military official’s eager face and deliberately paused for a moment. Under the dazzling gaze of the other party, she slowly added, “We’re twins!“
All of the military officials in the room let out enthusiastic howls, which made Zhu Junyang so angry that he threw eye daggers at each of them. What did they mean? Why were these guys so excited about the lass’s older twin sister? What were they thinking about? It seemed like he had been so busy with the wedding preparations recently that these brats were too idle and relaxed!
All of the military officials, ‘Why did the temperature in the room suddenly drop a few degrees? What is this chilly feeling?’
“But…” Yu Xiaocao took the tea, which was just the right temperature, that Zhu Junyang handed her and drank a small sip of it. Then, under everyone’s anticipating gazes, she finally said, “But she got married last year!”
“Ah…” A series of pitiful cries sounded!
The wedding attendant, who had been pushed to the side, took advantage of this opportunity to squeeze to the front. She cut a lock of Xiaocao’s and Zhu Junyang’s hair with scissors, tied them together, and said with a smile, “Forever united.”
Then, they had to drink the nuptial wine. Amidst the cheers of the crowd, Yu Xiaocao and Zhu Junyang held the celadon cups, intertwined their arms, and drank the wine in the cups.
The wedding attendant took the plate of dumplings from the maidservant beside her and handed a pair of silver chopsticks to Xiaocao. The dumplings were small and exquisite. Xiaocao hadn’t eaten since the morning, so she had been hungry for a long time. She picked up a dumpling and put it into her mouth. She chewed on it, and then frowned, “It’s raw?!
The wedding attendant chuckled merrily on the side, “May you soon be blessed with a child!”
Seeing a trace of disappointment on the lass’s face, Zhu Junyang whispered in her ears, “Hungry? This prince will tell Ying’er and Yan’er to prepare some snacks so that you can eat something first. I have already ordered the kitchen to make your favorite dishes, and they will be sent over shortly!”
After that, the wedding attendant told them to sit side by side on the wedding bed. She sprinkled some longan, peanuts, and dates on them. After another bout of laughter in the newlywed’s room, the young guests finally withdrew from the room.
Zhu Junyang still needed to return to the front courtyard to entertain the guests. He clasped Xiaocao’s hands and said, “Let Wutong and the others help you change into comfortable clothes, eat something, and then rest on the bed for a while. This prince will return quickly.”
After that, he looked reluctantly at his wife’s lovely face. He took a deep look at her again, and then immediately turned around to leave. At this time, he seriously wanted to drive out all the guests in the front courtyard so that he could stay with his bride.
When Yu Xiaocao, who was originally sitting obediently on the bed, heard the sound of the doors closing, she let out a heavy sigh of relief. Then, she started to look around the room curiously. The room was very spacious, and the decoration was gorgeous and elegant. Most of the furnishing were similar to her room at the Yu Estate, but the standards at the Yu Estate were definitely incomparable to the furnishing here.
Wutong smiled and brewed a cup of tea for her mistress with the tea leaves that she brought over. Then she picked up the snacks on the table and carried them to her young miss. She teasingly said, “His Highness is just worried that Young Miss would be unaccustomed to the new environment, so he arranged the room according to your preferences! His Highness cherishes you dearly and wants to give you all the best!”
Yu Xiaocao withdrew her gaze from the pair of large, red candles on the candlestick. It was apparent that this candlestick was made by Zhu Junyang. With exquisite patterns, it was made with pure gold and inlaid with a thumb-sized ruby. One may not even be able to buy this ruby with over a thousand taels in Treasure Pavilion. So extravagant!
She lowered her head to drink two sips of tea. She had gotten up early in the morning, and it was now evening. However, she hadn’t eaten anything at all. Brides in the ancient times were really pitiful. They were afraid of making mistakes during the wedding, so they simply didn’t eat since the morning. In the morning, her mother felt bad for her and cooked two poached eggs for her to eat, but she didn’t dare to let her drink too much water. She was dying of thirst ah! She finished the flower tea in one go, and then ordered Wutong to pour her another cup.
She finally noticed that there were two unfamiliar maidservants standing by the door. She reckoned that they were Ying’er and Yan’er, who Zhu Junyang had mentioned earlier. They appeared submissive as they stood there motionless, like two statues. In other people’s eyes, there was nothing to nitpick about such good discipline, but Xiaocao just raised her eyebrows and didn’t make any comments.
After wearing the phoenix coronet for most of the day, Yu Xiaocao felt as if her neck wasn’t hers anymore. Since there wasn’t anyone else in the room now, she told Pipa to help her take off the golden coronet that was inlaid with gems.
Pipa carefully took off the phoenix coronet on her master’s head, and then massaged her stiff neck and shoulders. She pressed the acupuncture points on her head to help her relax, and then she combed her hair into a simple bun style. It was a simple and refreshing style without too many hair accessories.
Even though Pipa was usually very quiet and didn’t have much sense of presence, she was actually the most attentive one. She also had skillful hands. Over the years, she had been responsible for the young miss’s dress and makeup. She had learned a lot of different hairstyles, but it was a pity that she seldom had the chance to use them on her young miss. The young miss mainly wore clothing that were comfortable and neat, and she preferred simple hairstyles. At most, her hair ornaments were embedded with simple pearls. Pipa could change the simplest hairstyle into a different style every time. It was apparent how attentive she was.
Xiaocao had put down the plate after just eating one piece of snack. She leaned lazily on the quilt to rest. When people stayed hungry for too long, they would lose their appetite. At this time, a light knocking sound came from the door. Xiaocao said ‘come in’, and then the door was immediately pushed open. Meixiang, whose hair was combed into the style used by married women, walked in with a smile on her face. Several young maids followed behind her with food boxes in their hands.
“Meixiang greets Your Highness!” Meixiang bowed a greeting, and then told the young maids to put the food in the boxes on the table.
It might be due to the difficulties of supporting her younger siblings in her previous life and the hardships that her family endured in her childhood in this lifetime, but everyone around Xiaocao knew that she wasn’t a picky eater and she also thought the same. However, the foods on the table were indeed food that she normally favored. She hadn’t expected that Zhu Junyang, who usually appeared cold and daunting, had such a considerate side. Perhaps, in his heart, every detail concerning Xiaocao was worthy of his careful attention.
Xiaocao liked to eat shrimp and crab, but she didn’t like to peel the shells. She liked to eat fish, yet she disliked picking out the bones. Thus, she rarely touched these dishes when they appeared on the table. Her close friends, as well as her family, all thought that she didn’t like these dishes. As a result, dishes with shrimp, crab, and fish rarely appeared on her family’s dining table.
On the table, there were ‘crystal shrimp’, ‘crab roe soup dumplings’, ‘steamed eggs with crab meat’, and the completely boneless ‘fish fillet porridge’…which were all her favorites. They were also light and easy to digest. Anyone who had missed two meals wouldn’t feel well after eating a lavish meal.
Yu Xiaocao sighed again that she had found a treasure. She was ‘causing trouble’ for such a warm and considerate man. Most importantly, a man in ancient times who was willing to spend time on his wife was indeed rare and hard to find!
Seeing the smile in her future mistress’s eyes, Meixiang said with a smile, “His Highness specially ordered the small kitchen to prepare these. Although the cooking skills of the kitchen maids in the estate aren’t as good as that of Your Highness and your maidservants, His Highness spent great efforts to find them. I heard they are descendants of the imperial chefs of the previous dynasty, and they had mastered the cooking techniques of their ancestors!”
Yu Xiaocao picked up the bowl of fish fillet porridge and drank a mouthful. It was indeed very good. The fish meat was tender and smooth and tasted delicious. It was apparent that the people who made this had excellent control of the heat. After she drank a few more mouthfuls, she picked up a crab roe soup dumpling. Spring wasn’t the best time to eat crabs, so she didn’t know where Zhu Junyang managed to get crab roe!
With thin skin, it was tasty and fragrant. When the soup entered the mouth, it didn’t taste too salty or too mild. The taste was just right. The soup went directly to the stomach, and there was still a trace of residual fragrance in one’s mouth, leaving a rich aftertaste. Yu Xiaocao couldn’t help but praise it. The remaining dishes also had their own characteristics, which showed the skills of the kitchen maids.
The tasty dishes had aroused Xiaocao’s appetite, and thus she overeate unknowingly. After the dishes on the table were removed, Yu Xiaocao lay on the bed contentedly while holding her bloated tummy.
“It seems like my younger brother’s worries are unnecessary. Younger Sister-in-law doesn’t need my company ah!” Zhu Junya came in from outside, and she was followed by two kids——Lu Jiayu and Lu Jiapei. Zhu Junyang was worried that his little wife would be bored if she had no one to speak to in this new environment, so he asked his older sister to accompany her.
 The word for 'raw' (生) is the same one used for 'giving birth'.