Yu Xiaocao smiled happily when she saw the familiar face, “Manager Liu, I trust you’ve been well since we’ve last met ah! When were you transferred over to the branch at the harbor ah?”
Manager Liu was very touched by the fact that Yu Xiaocao, who was now an important imperial envoy and a princess consort to boot, had still remembered him. He replied emotionally, “In reply to Your Highness, something came up at the harbor and the master let this one come over to smooth things over. I would have never have expected to have the honor to see both Highnesses here…”
“No wonder ah! It was a bit odd to me that you’d leave the capital and come back to Tanggu instead. Apparently, the owner needed the great expert, Manager Liu, to get things into shape here ah!” Xiaocao’s attitude to this familiar person was just as sweet and accommodating as before.
Manager Liu, on the other hand, was incredibly honored by her familiarity with him and gratefully thought, ‘Miss Yu truly has a kind heart and treats people well. Even after she’s become a high and mighty princess consort, she’s still as sweet as ever.’ Thus Manager Liu waxed on excitedly, “Your Highness is much too kind. This one is incredibly honored, incredibly honored...Your Highnesses, please come to the third floor. We’ve already reserved two private rooms for you. Is that enough space?”
Since they had the Jinwei Navy escorting them back home, Imperial Prince Xu had already sent the hidden guards and bodyguards back on their own. Thus, with only a few people present and not that many servants, the two private rooms had more than enough space for them.
After Yu Xiaocao finished an incredibly sumptuous and satisfactory meal, her father and older brother had rushed over from Tanggu Town. When they got the news that she had arrived, the father and son pair set down everything they were doing and didn’t even bother to eat the noon meal before galloping over on horseback. They wanted to see their daughter and son-in-law as soon as possible.
“Cao’er——” Yu Hai carefully inspected his daughter from head to toe. When he saw that her complexion was bright and that she had gotten plumper, he finally relaxed a bit.
However, when he saw Zhu Junyang, it was hard for him to not frown at his son-in-law, “What did you tell me on the day that you two got married? That no matter what, you would make sure to protect Cao’er completely and wouldn’t even let a single hair on her head be harmed. But what happened now? You let her get so injured even when she was pregnant! Fortunately, Cao’er’s body was relatively healthy in her youth, otherwise...that’d be two lives lost at once ah!”
As he spoke, Yu Hai’s eyes turned red. His poor daughter ah! When she was young, she had endured so many illnesses and accidents and it was a miracle that she had survived early childhood. As she got older, she became healthier and their lives became better. She even ended up marrying an imperial prince. He had originally thought that her life would only get better from then. Who would have thought that she’d become so injured while out on an official duty in Jinling even with her husband by her side? She almost had a miscarriage too.
In order to make the emperor sympathize with them, Zhu Junyang had deliberately written about Xiaocao’s injuries in a frightening manner. However, he didn’t expect that this would come back to hit his own toes right now.
Despite the fact that he was an imperial prince, Zhu Junyang could only keep his head lowered meekly in front of his father-in-law, who deeply loved Xiaocao. He repeatedly murmured that it was his fault and that something like that would never occur again.
“Don’t blame me for being too coarse in my talk ah! She’s my daughter and I had transferred her care to you. However, then I got news that she ‘had a severe internal injury’, fractured a few ribs, and ‘almost had a miscarriage’. As her father, how could I possibly be okay with this ah?!” Yu Hai still remembered to leave some face for his son-in-law. Although he had a belly full of complaints, he restrained himself as much as he could.
Yu Hang spoke up, “Your Highness, you’re almost a father yourself so you should be able to understand a father’s love for his children. When we first got the bad news, my mother fainted from shock. If it weren’t for the fact I begged my father not to, he would have packed his bags and gone to Jinling to find my younger sister. You two are really too much ah! Why didn’t you bring more bodyguards along after leaving your safe residence? Not only did you encounter pirates on the road, but my younger sister also got kidnapped...argh…”
Zhu Junyang was being scolded roundly but what could he do? One was his father-in-law and the other was his older brother-in-law. That being said, it truly was his fault. He had been too confident and allowed the lass to get hurt. It was only right and proper that he was getting scolded for this.
When Xiaocao found out that her mother had fainted, she felt guilty and anxious. She hurriedly asked, “Older Brother, how’s mother? Is she a bit better?”
“Princess Consort Jing sent an imperial physician over to treat her. He said that she had become sick with worry and prescribed a few calming pills, so she’s alright now.” Fortunately, Madam Liu’s body had been well nourished these past few years. If this had happened right around the time Xiaocao had first transmigrated over, she might have become severely ill.
“It’s all my fault to let everyone in the family worry about me.” Yu Xiaocao relaxed as she stated remorsefully.
Yu Hai looked at his daughter's belly, which was already protruding, and sighed, “Cao’er, ah, I know you have high ambitions and don’t like to lose. However, you’re someone’s wife and about to become a mother. If you’re able to, don’t take on more official duties ah.”
Yu Hai loved and worried about this daughter of his. He didn’t know who she took after. Ever since she was young, she acted more like a boy. She was hardworking and incredibly trustworthy. In the short span of ten years, she had managed to build a bustling family empire for the family. As a girl, she was also the first female official in the Great Ming Dynasty, and was a fourth-ranked official to boot. However, in his eyes, no matter how capable she was, she needed to settle down after marriage. The most important thing for her now was to take care of her husband and children.
“Father, don’t worry ah! I know what’s important.” Yu Xiaocao had already come to a decision. Once the yields of the high-yielding wheat and the Jiangnan hybrid-rice experiments were a success, she was going to retire...and focus solely on her own businesses.
Xiaocao couldn’t help but smile when she remembered the talk she had with the little divine stone the other day.
After being rescued, Xiaocao lay in bed, resting with nothing to do. She took advantage of a time when no one else was near her and asked the little divine stone, “Why did you come back? Didn't you say that once your cultivation returns, you’d be able to break through the barrier between dimensions and go back to your own world ah? Did you end up reaching a bottleneck or something?”
[Stop saying such inauspicious things! Can't you tell that this immortal is perfectly fine ah?] The little divine stone rolled its eyes in a very human-like fashion and continued, [This immortal went back to my dimension. I had a simple bath, changed my clothes and only had a short conversation with Goddess Nuwa before you almost ended up losing your life. You’re such a
“I also didn’t expect this to happen. Who would have thought that those traitors would be so tricky and cruel ah?!” Yu Xiaocao quietly replied in a somewhat sheepish manner.
[You’re also a complete ditz. You believe whatever other people say. Your husband even told you that you shouldn’t leave the courtyard residence, so why didn’t you listen to him? Your husband has spoiled you too much. From my perspective, you deserve a big spanking before you’ll finally grow some brains!] The little divine inwardly shuddered. If it had been just a few seconds slower, this lass would have already entered the King of Hell’s domain with no return ticket home. They had been ‘linked in all ways’ for many years, so it’d be impossible to say that there wasn’t some attachment between the two of them.
It thought back to when it first arrived back home. Goddess Nuwa had told it, “If you truly want to reach the peak of cultivation, you cannot rely only on training alone. What’s more important is you strengthening your heart and understanding emotions. The so-called ‘heart’ is becoming connected with human emotions. If you never understand the word ‘affection’, then you won’t be able to become a true immortal.”
At Xiaocao’s side, the little divine stone realized that it had finally understood what it meant to care for someone else, love someone else, and be friends with someone else…in its heart, the master that it used to disdain had gradually become someone who it really cared for. In the upper dimension, even when it was bickering playfully with the Goddess of Spirits, in the back of its mind, it was still worried about that stupid and kindhearted lass. Without it by her side, would she be bullied by other people? Would she sob pitifully when she had difficulties?
Humans only lived up to around a hundred years. To the immortals like him, that was the blink of an eye. After twiddling its thumbs for a few days in its world, the little divine stone finally couldn’t take the thoughts tormenting it anymore and left the Goddess Nuwa to return to the mundane world. It was fortunate that it decided to go back when it did, otherwise...it had followed the smell of its owner’s breath to find her. By the time it arrived by her side, she was already breathing her last.
It was also fortunate that it had stolen the ‘rise from the dead’ elixir from the Goddess of Spirits to infuriate her. Otherwise...in that moment, it had truly experienced what it felt like to feel fury, grief, pain, and the desire to destroy everything. Apparently, the so-called ‘seven emotional states and six desires’ were that close to its psyche.
After grasping these feelings, would it finally become a true immortal ah? However, it wasn’t happy because of this. Instead, joy bloomed in its heart because its master had been saved. Perhaps, this was also an important experience for it as well?
It lowered its head to look at Xiaocao, who had hung her head down, and sighed, [When that little one leaves your belly, you better become much more mature than you are now.]
“Then——you’re not going back?” Yu Xiaocao suddenly raised her head and her bright large eyes stared at the youth. She was full of hope.
[You’re sooooo stupid! If this immortal doesn’t stay by your side, I’m sure you’d end up losing your life for some stupid reason or another. I don't have a second divine elixir to save you!] Although the little divine stone’s words were quite harsh, the tone of voice it used betrayed the fact that it was quite worried about her.
Yu Xiaocao, who had just been told off as ‘stupid’, was in bright spirits. A large smile curved on her mouth and her bright eyes crinkled up into crescents as she joyfully said, “That’s wonderful! To tell you the truth, I felt quite sad when you left before!”
[Be a bit more careful! Do you still want your ribs or not? That child in your belly is relying on you, his stupid mother. Poor thing!!] Happiness bubbled through the little divine stone’s heart. It was in a great mood but its tongue was as poisonous as usual.
The little divine stone, who had decided to stay in the mundane world, had been using its status as the savior of Princess Consort Xu. It was now her adopted younger brother and was staying by her side.
At this time, Yu Hai was currently holding on its hand as he gushed gratefully, “Many thanks, Young Master, for arriving at the nick of time to save my Cao’er. You’re our savior ah!”
The corner of the little divine stone’s mouth twitched. It wasn’t used to other people touching it. It did its best to resist the urge to pull his hand out of the other man’s grasp and glared surreptitiously at Xiaocao, who was snickering quietly, before it patiently said, “Uncle Yu, we are all one family. There’s no need to be so polite.”
“Oh right! Father, Yuanzi has been an orphan ever since he was young. You and Mother should pour more love on him.” Yu Xiaocao noticed that the little divine stone looked uncomfortable so she deliberately made things worse.
“Don’t worry ah, Ah’zi, in the future, I will definitely treat you like my own son!” Yu Hai took this to be the truth and his eyes held a bit of pity in them as he looked at the little divine stone.
‘Gee thanks ah! I don’t need your pity though, alright?’ The little divine stone kept an aloof look on his face. However, the other man’s warmth had seemed to ignite a flame inside its heart and made it feel quite cozy. Perhaps this was the taste of familial affection ah?
 This 'Yuanzi' (圆子) is a homonym from the Yuan Zi (袁梓) that the little divine stone took as a name. It actually means ' glutinous dumpling'.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
Sanguine’s thoughts: So basically the stone is a tsundere.