The people in the reception pavilion were all startled. No one had expected that at this important juncture, Madam Du would actually turn out pregnant.
She had fainted at the entrance, making people believe it was caused by her anxious mind, but nobody had supposed it was pregnancy. Presently, the doctor diagnosed her, and she was indeed pregnant, just a month and a half in.
The old madam was the first to react, asking the doctor: "How is it, is the fetus healthy?"
The doctor nodded, "Only a little nausea. I just gave the fifth madam a prescription. Let her take it for several days, everything will go smoothly."
The old madam nodded, looked at her youngest son Wei Kun, and suddenly didn't know what to say to him.
Not only was Madam Du pregnant, the fetus was also doing well. While everyone was deliberating whether to keep her in the family or not, she was unexpectedly with child. If they sent her back to Count Zhongyi's residence at this point, the Count's family would bear a grudge against them, and Duke Ying's reputation would also suffer a huge blow.
This divorce, regrettably, couldn't be carried out immediately. They had to take it as slow as possible.
The old madam was ready to convince Wei Kun to take the whole situation into account, but he suddenly stood up from the armchair and shot out of the reception pavilion like a gust of wind, heading for the rear court.
Thinking he was going to look for trouble with Madam Du, the old madam hurriedly urged the eldest and the third sons to block him. However, the third master remained unmoved and didn't have any intention to block him, saying with contempt: "He's unable to manage his own woman, yet also needs me and eldest brother to take charge for him?"
The eldest master reprimanded him loudly: "Third brother!"
Even at such a time, those two brothers couldn't make peace for one moment? The animosity between them wasn't formed overnight, could it be they intended to carry this old issue to their coffins?
The old madam choked with anger at her third son, pointing at Wei Chang a few times, "Your fifth brother aggravates me, now you also want to aggravate me…"
Wei Chang felt sorry to his mother, since he was annoyed at Wei Kun, not at the old madam. Thinking it through, he ended up saying a few caring words as an apology, then went out of the reception pavilion.
Outside the pavilion stood a thin and small girl, dressed in a delicate green dress that made her appear all the more adorable. She raised her little face, her bright and intelligent eyes revealing curiosity: "Third uncle, I've just heard, is madam really pregnant? Is she going to give birth to a younger brother?"
The little girl was Wei Luo. She couldn't enter the reception pavilion, yet wanted to know what was happening, so she was hiding outside the door eavesdropping. When she learned that Madam Du was pregnant, other than getting angry, she came to a realisation.
No wonder Madam Du hadn't gotten punished. Despite losing her, she had managed to hold onto the position of the fifth madam. The biggest reason was right there, after Madam Du had come back from Huguo Temple, her pregnancy had been discovered. Even if Wei Kun was enraged, even if he was suspicious about Wei Luo's disappearance, for the sake of the child, he wouldn't be able to take an action against her for the time being. Additionally, Wei Luo hadn't come back and couldn't reveal the scheme. Wei Kun might have suspected Madam Du, but without any evidence, nothing could be confirmed. After a while, Madam Du had given birth to a child for Wei Kun, and the event had passed unexposed.
They had gradually forgotten about her, forgotten that the Duke's house had once had a fourth miss.
Only remembered Madam Du's children, Wei Zheng and Wei Changmi.
Changhong and her were the two obstacles of Madam Du's life. Once she kicked them out of the way, the road ahead was clear.
If she couldn't kick them out of the way, she would stumble terribly.
She recalled Madam Du had given birth to a son. Calculating the day of conception, it appeared to be the right time. Madam Du had wanted to grasp Wei Kun's heart using this son, but what a pity, her son had failed to live up to her expectations. Without learning or skills, with no ambitions, spending his days indulging in a life of debauchery*, he had been the typical hedonistic young master. Previously, Wei Luo had witnessed him beat a person to death on the street. The other person had turned out to be the close servant of Prince Rui's successor. After the incident had been reported to the authorities, he had later been put in prison, where he hadn't fared well.
Madam Du had worried greatly for this son. She had spoiled him rotten since childhood. Even if she wanted to bring him back onto the correct path, she wouldn't know where to start.
Wei Luo considered spitefully, if she had a younger brother like that, dying a hundred times over would be better.
The third master Wei Chang looked at her for a long time without speaking.
Ah Luo called out again: "Third uncle?"
Wei Chang snapped out of his daze suddenly, and stretched out a palm to rub her head. The hostile expression fromwhen he'd faced Wei Kun earlier, was completely replaced by a very kind one, "Little Ah Luo, how do you know it'll be a younger brother?"
Ah Luo resembled her mother more and more, especially those bright eyes. He couldn't help remembering Jiang Miaolan as he looked at her.
Wei Luo's tone was soft and immature: "I don't want a younger sister, Wei Zheng is not cute at all."
Wei Chang smiled, his face somewhat bitter and harsh, "Is that so?" He had nothing else to say and walked away from the pavilion. As he went, he whispered almost inaudibly: "If she was here, there would be no Wei Zheng…"
Though it was really soft, Wei Luo still heard that sentence.
She was very curious about her birth mother. What kind of woman was she, that she abandoned her children right after they were born? Did she love her and Changhong? Was it equal to the love Madam Du had for Wei Zheng?
Wei Luo didn't know.
The reception pavilion gradually emptied out, she was still standing at the entrance motionless. The longer she thought about it, the angrier she got.
Other mothers knew to protect their children, but where was her and Changhong's mother? Did she really die? Or did she just leave like fourth aunt said?
Rather than Jiang Miaolan having left, Ah Luo was hoping she had died instead.
Because that way, she could deceive herself that their mother loved them, leaving them alone against her will. If she hadn't died, but had actually abandoned them, then this whole life Wei Luo was never going to forgive her. Ah Luo was staring straight at a big vase with winding lotus pattern in front of her. As if she was looking at Jiang Miaolan, she suddenly reached out and shoved it ruthlessly.
When she came back to her senses, the sound of the breaking vase echoed in her ears, crashing loudly, pieces of broken porcelain everywhere.
Ah Luo was standing next to the broken vase, her head hanging, no one could see through her thoughts.
Changhong found her because of the noise and stopped behind her. Softly, he asked with some surprise: "Ah Luo, what are you doing?"
Her shoulders shrank back, she didn't want to let Changhong see her gloomy side. Quickly adjusting her mood, she raised her hands to pat her cheeks, and turned around to rush to his side. She held his hand to run together, and with a big smile on her face, she didn't look the slightest bit guilty: "I knocked the vase down accidentally. Let's run, when grandmother finds out she will certainly get angry!"
Changhong was pulled along to run, a helpless expression on his face.
Ah Luo kept running ahead of him while thinking, she didn't have a mother, but she had Changhong, and also had herself. Madam Du believed she could escape unharmed? It wasn't over yet, they weren't done. She had plenty of methods to pay her back.
Like the vase, she wanted to see her fall, break apart, and meet a gruesome death.
Wei Kun arrived at the entrance of the Pine courtyard with long, hurried strides. He stood there, observing for a long time, before he stepped heavily into the courtyard.
Before today, he had never thought that so many things could happen within a day.
The servants in the courtyard had just been punished by him, and now worked despite their injuries. They kept silent, afraid that they would agitate him and eat the wooden rod again.
Wei Kun walked into the main house directly. Seeing his mood, the two maidservants outside the room didn't dare breathe deeply, let alone announce him. He walked past the screens with pine drawings, and entered the bedroom expressionlessly.
In the room, Madam Du was leaning on the yellow rosewood frame in bed, having just drank a bowl of medicine. Her face wore a relaxed expression compared to before, even smiling a little, thinking that this baby arrived in the nick of time to save her life. Two young maidservants waited on her by the bed, since Ning Xue and Han Shuang were now locked in the woodshed after getting beaten. Madam Du wasn't worried. Seeing Wei Kun enter, she even smiled as she asked him: "Sheng Ming, did you hear what the doctor said? We're having a child, a son or a daughter…"
Sheng Ming was Wei Kun's courtesy name.
Wei Kun kept standing behind the screen. The eyes looking at her held no emotion, and he didn't speak a word.
Madam Du met his gaze, feeling vaguely uneasy, but still maintaining her smile: "Do you want a son or a daughter? If it's up to me, since we already have Zheng, a son would be better…"
Before she finished, Wei Kun calmly interrupted her words: "Behind Pine courtyard is Ginkgo courtyard. Let your servants tidy the place up, and move there tonight."
Ginkgo courtyard was named after the several scattered ginkgo trees growing outside. That courtyard had been neglected to wither for a long time, empty, the servants didn't clean there either. In so many years, the land outside the courtyard had overgrown with weeds. Even for half a minute, people absolutely wouldn't consider living there. Wei Kun forcing her to move at this time, made her lose hope entirely.
The smile on Madam Du's face froze, she asked in disbelief: "What did you say?"
Wei Kun was unwilling to even glance at her, shifting his line of sight to look out of the window, "If you don't want to live there, I'll write a letter of divorce, and let you return to Count Zhongyi's residence."
Madam Du was unable to tolerate this, she called his name with red-rimmed eyes: "Wei Sheng Ming, the child I'm carrying is yours, too!"
So what? He didn't love her, so he also found her children unnecessary.
Before, he didn't know her true nature, he had some feelings of guilt towards her. Because he could be a husband to her in all regards, except for loving her. Now he clearly realized her character, but he was relieved instead, a sort of pleasure from liberation. He couldn't stand being around her, and also didn't want to see her. Since he couldn't divorce her, he found a way to separate for now. In any case, they couldn't live together like before.
Wei Kun remained impassive, standing with his hands crossed behind his back, "Take these two maidservants and all your belongings from this room. I can't let you live together with Ah Luo, she's still young and needs better care. I'll raise her personally." He paused, then said, "As for the child you're carrying… After it's born, let fourth sister-in-law take over. You're unsuitable to bring up children. I'll talk to fourth sister-in-law to ask her for this favor."
Madam Du was stunned to no end, as if looking at a stranger in his place.
Granted that he didn't want her, but he even wanted to snatch away her child? What did he regard her as, after her pregnancy was over, he wouldn't even place her in his thoughts?
Madam Du lifted the covers to get out of bed, didn't bother putting on her shoes, and walked to him. She burst into tears, asking: "Do you really have to be so cruel? Don't you have at least some feelings for me? These many years, did I count for nothing in your heart?"
Wei Kun turned around to walk out of the main house, "It's not that I didn't have any feelings for you, but you went too far this time. I'll go, you pack your things now."
"Wei Sheng Ming!" Madam Du called after him furiously, anger and despair intertwined, her voice distorted beyond recognition, "You're still in love with Jiang Miaolan, right? You haven't forgotten her, right?"
Wei Kun paused in his steps and nodded, saying: "Yes."
Madam Du stood there absent-minded, staring at Wei Kun's back vacantly. After he left the room, she came back to her senses suddenly, and shouted at him: "The child I give birth to is mine, no one can take it away! You want to give it to fourth sister-in-law, no way!"
Unfortunately, Wei Kun was gone, and didn't respond to her.
She was full of rage and hatred. She hated Wei Kun's heartlessness, hated her own incompetence, hated Jiang Miaolan's existence!
She had lived for six years under her shadow. Though she had obtained Wei Kun, she had lost in the end. Lost to someone who had died six years ago.
She couldn't accept it.
Du Yueying gritted her teeth, staring at the entrance bitterly, her nails were digging deeply into her palms, and even if they broke, she wouldn't feel the pain. Her tears streamed down unnoticed. She couldn't admit defeat. Wei Kun wanted her to move to Ginkgo courtyard, she'd move. As long as she had this baby, as long as she gave birth to a son, she didn't believe Wei Kun would not change his mind.
A murmur reached her from the entrance.
Madam Du looked up, finding Wei Zheng standing at the door. Perhaps she had gotten frightened by her appearance, she was looking at her with red eyes, her face distressed.
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