Sandy's Read Receipts
Translations, Reviews and Other Written Worlds
My injured foot was a real nuisance. Unable to move around in the carriage, my legs numbed, and I lost all sense of them. To exacerbate my discomfort, the road was rough and the seat cushion was so thin that my butt almost split.
The team halted at noon, and servants informed me that Wei Tan had ordered a rest stop.
Sick and depressed from the bumpy ride, I didn't have an appetite. I shook my head in disinterest when Ah Yuan tried to help me off the carriage for lunch. Seeing me unwilling, she had no choice but to descend by herself.
Unexpectedly, Wei Tan walked over after a while.
"Not feeling well?"
I shook my head.
"Then why aren't you eating?"
"I ate too much breakfast," I said perfunctorily.
He glanced at me before spinning around and walking away. But he returned soon, holding two wheat cakes and a water bladder.
"I'm not hungry."
"Eat." He handed me the wheat cakes with an unyielding expression, "It's a long journey."
Although somewhat annoying, I knew he meant well, so I accepted the cakes without fuss.
The freshly made cakes from this morning were soft. I tore off a piece and popped it in my mouth, but it had no flavor as I chewed. After a few bites, my throat dried, and I had difficulty swallowing.
When Wei Tan handed me the water bladder, I glugged it down in two gulps.
"Does it hurt to sit in the carriage with your foot injured?"
Wei Tan's expression remained unruffled.
"Wang Hui!" He called to a nearby servant, "Fetch three wool blankets and my cotton mattress!"
The servant responded and soon ran to us with various fabrics piled in his arms.
Wei Tan folded the wool with his own hands, stacked it atop the mattress, and arranged them on the carriage seat.
"Bear with it a little longer," he said, handing me a water bladder. "When we reach Si county tonight, we can have a proper rest."
I stared at him before replying, "Many thanks."
He returned my stare, but walked away without speaking.
The cushiony soft wool and mattress pad was more cozy to sit on and recline, easing my discomfort significantly.
The team moved swiftly, and by nightfall, a low city wall appeared beyond an overgrown field. Soldiers lighted torches and led the horses and carriages into the city.
Si county with its common houses, wasn't large. The coachman said that the city didn't even have walls originally. After the war, the city had built the current walls to guard against plundering bandits.
Last year, Wei Jue had conquered Dong Kuang and pocketed Si county. The county Chief was a dark, thin and middle-aged man who received Wei Tan with utmost deference. He arranged for food and lodging to welcome us travelers.
When it was time to descend the carriage, I wanted Ah Yuan's help. But, with no explanation, Wei Tan walked over and picked me up into his arms.
Embarrassed by the stares of the county Chief and servants around us, I resisted, "I can walk by myself......"
"Oh?" Wei Tan swept me a glance, "You want me to let you down and help you hop?"
After stunning me speechless, he carried me into the house.
As servants brought food into the main hall, the aroma of millet rice and steaming fish wafted in the air. After surviving on dry rations the entire journey, the fragrant food made me salivate.
"Si county is poor and unable to receive Young Master and Furen," the Chief apologized.
"A full stomach is enough. Thank you for your trouble, Chief," Wei Tan replied calmly.
The Chief responded in kind.
While eating, they discussed Si county people's livelihood and military affairs.
I assumed they would continue their conversation after dinner, but unexpectedly, Wei Tan asked me if I had eaten my fill. When I replied that I had, he informed the Chief that we had to rest because of our early start tomorrow. Thus excusing himself, he picked me up and walked to the courtyard.
I flushed as the Chief's half-stunned, half-ambiguous reaction lingered in my head. When we entered the room and I saw only one narrow bed, I couldn't endure longer.
"I...... I am sleeping with Ah Yuan."
Wei Tan lowered me onto the bed, his expression inscrutable.
"Is the water ready?" He asked, spinning his head towards the outside of the room.
"Yes, Young Master," someone replied. Before long, a servant carried in a bucket of water.
"Hold out your right foot," his tone was neither chilly nor warm, "let's see the hoof."
After four days, my foot had almost healed, and when he checked by pressing, I didn't feel pain.
I had to admit, although Wei Tan wasn't a competent husband, he was a good doctor; I enjoyed having someone serve me with such care. So, regardless of my misgivings of him, I didn't shy from treating the disease.
"Tomorrow, I'll walk on my own."
"Wow," lifting my foot out of the warm water, he removed the bucket.
"We'll see," he replied, soaking my foot into another bucket of freezing water. "In this condition, you might not walk tomorrow."
I wanted to insist that my feet didn't hurt anymore, but his expression was unyielding.
Inwardly, I wondered, that's it - his house, his rules.
I started another topic: "After reaching Luoyang, will we leave for Yong Province right away?"
"We might stay a few days; my father is still fighting with Tan Xi in Hebei."
His words reminded me of another matter I'd been wanting to ask for days: "How is the expedition against Tan Xi going?"
"Hmm?" His expression was teasing, "Furen is very concerned about the war?"
What nonsense! With Luoyang closer to the battlefield than Yong Province, I needed to learn which city was better for staying or leaving.
"Of course, I'm worried about family and national affairs," I replied, curving my lips in a flattering smile.
Wei Tan glanced at me, fished my foot out of the water and fetched a towel. "Tan Xi's army has attacked Shangcai county and confronted my Father for one month already."
His flat tone when speaking seemed as if Wei Jue had visited Shangcai to drink and play chess with Tan Xi. Both amazed and puzzled, I didn't relax my misgivings: As Wei Jue's first son, and General of the army, how could Wei Tan run to Huainan?
While I indulged in flights of fancy, he had dried my foot and covered it with stockings.
Just as a servant carried out the water, Wei An entered, followed by Ah Yuan.
"Brother, Eldest Sister-in-law," Wei An walked up and greeted us.
"Fourth Brother-in-law," I returned the greetings from my bed.
"What brings you here?" Wei Tan asked, somewhat surprised.
"The Fourth Young Master heard that Furen suffered on the road today. He's visiting to convey his regards," Ah Yuan interjected, full of smiles.
"Oh?" Wei Tan stared at Wei An.
Embarrassed, Wei An glanced at me, "Eldest Sister-in-law, have you recovered from your injuries?"
I smiled, "Almost." Although this youngest brother-in-law often acted strange, he was candid and simple; I liked him the most among Wei Clan's many members.
Wei An nodded: "After we reach Luoyang, I will make a cart for you, It'll allow you to move without Brother's help."
When I heard his words, my face brightened.
"What cart?" Wei Tan asked with a side-glance.
Wei An explained: "A cart is a cart. I'll add a backrest and 2 wheels to a Huchuang folding chair, so that Eldest Sister-in-law can sit while Ah Yuan pushes."
I finally understood his idea.
Yet, Ah Yuan laughed: "It's good that Fourth Young Master is thinking well. But with Furen's foot almost healed, when we reach Luoyang, forget walking, even running and jumping won't be a problem."
Wei An froze: "Oh......"
This kid seemed genuinely disappointed.
"Rest, we have a long journey tomorrow," Wei Tan said to me.
"Then does Eldest Sister-in-law want a walking stick?" Wei An, still pondering, added, "I'll craft a three-legged one tomorrow. You can lean on it without servants' support......"
"We set out at dawn tomorrow," without letting Wei An finish his sentence, Wei Tan dragged him by the arm and exited the room.
I slept with Ah Yuan at night.
Occasionally, indistinct sounds of the night-watch soldiers chatting drifted through the windows.
Despite being bumped around in the carriage all day, I couldn't fall asleep and kept tossing and turning on the narrow bed.
"Unable to sleep, Furen?" Beside me, Ah Yuan asked, "Is your foot hurting?"
"No. You can't sleep either?"
"Yes," she replied. After a while, she whispered, "Furen, I've been wanting to tell you something. Don't get angry, Furen."
I turned to her, "What is it?"
"Furen." In the darkness, she hesitated before continuing, "Eldest Young Master takes good care of you."
"Then what's the relationship between Furen and Eldest Young Master now? When we return to Yong Province, will you be his proper wife?"
I wasn't aware of our current status either. Wei Tan had promised that if I wished to stay, I would continue to be a wife of Wei Clan; I was sure that he would keep his word.
If I had abandoned Yong Province for any city other than Huaiyang, returning to Wei Clan might have been easier. I could have powdered my face and continued as Wei Tan's wife brazenly. But after learning his reasons for marrying me, and him witnessing my trouble with Pei Qian, I feared that there was no way to act as earlier.
Ah Yuan was right; Wei Tan had treated me well along the road. It would be best for my future if I stayed in Wei Residence. But Wei Tan was an unpredictable man; he was even willing to marry me under false pretenses to help Pei Qian. Who could guess what he wanted in his heart?
Maybe, when we reach Luoyang, he'd tell me about the other woman?
T/N: Happy new year! Subscribe if you want email notifications of new chapter releases :)
SANDY'S READ RECEIPTS
Beginning as an avid reader, I am translating novels with the help of machine translation and online dictionaries.
SUPPORT ME ON KO-FI
If you are enjoying my work and translations, consider donating to help run the website! Thank you for your support!
SUBSCRIBE FOR NEW CHAPTERS