Fragments of porcelain scattered on the ground with a loud breaking sound. The fragrant aroma of steaming tea wafted up to people’s noses.
The row of people standing there wanted to but did not dare move.
"Master," said one of the braver men. "You know the De Sheng Chang’s strength. If they really wanted to hide someone, they would not be so easily found."
Head Shopkeeper Song paced rapidly, his eyebrows knitted together tightly.
Indeed, it was so.
If it had been any other time, it would have been fine. That mother- and daughter-in-law pair might have kept it from others, but not from him. As long as he asked, the truth would come out. But this time, because they had heard it from a Buddhist master, for the only hope to change the Fang Family’s misfortune, those women would give their lives.
Just asking the question, not to mention getting an answer, would be enough to garner their suspicion.
So he wouldn’t ask.
Head Shopkeeper Song paused, his expression gloomy.
"The Buddha said that if father and son were not to meet, they could obtain peace? I will let them see what Yama, the King of Hell, has to say," he remarked scathingly. He gave the servant boy in front of him a look. "Take the thing out."
The young servant boy responded affirmatively and went inside the inner chamber and came back with a small box.
Head Shopkeeper Song took out a triangular paper pouch. A smile appeared at the corners of his mouth.
"Last time I let you have five years of this happiness. This time, I will make your fetus die in the womb. Let’s see if you believe in fate," he said, passing over the triangular paper bag. "Deliver this to her."
One man accepted the bag, then hurriedly left the room.
"If you love to hide, then hide you shall. For now, I don’t feel like finding you," Head Shopkeeper Song said coldly. "Whether you birth ten or eight, I won’t let any one of you live."
At the end of April, the days were already hot.
Lingzhi was sitting on the veranda, vigorously flapping a fan. But she still felt agitated and unbuttoned a few buttons.
Two maidservants came rushing in.
"Aiyo, my miss," they said. "You can’t be too cool."
Lingzhi waved her fan, not understanding.
She thought that cool was good right now.
She had already been pregnant for near a month now. She no longer reacted as she had in the beginning.
This definitely was not normal.
Medicine Woman said that she would need at least three months before her reaction went away.
And her waist.
Lingzhi poked herself. Not only was there no fat, she had even gotten skinnier.
Of course she couldn't have gotten fat. She really wasn't carrying a child.
She didn't know if it was really the kind of fake pregnancy reaction that they had spoken of, but her period hadn't come. Otherwise, she really did not know how she could get through this month.
But she might not be so lucky next month.
Lingzhi fanned herself more violently.
"Miss Lingzhi, some sweet and sour soup," said a servant girl with a smile.
When she saw the soup, she almost wanted to puke. It was sour enough to knock out a tooth; only a devil would like to eat it.
But Medicine Woman Wan had said that all pregnant women loved to drink this.
If she didn't drink it, wouldn't everyone be able to tell she wasn't pregnant?
Lingzhi smiled at her and served herself a bowl. She gritted her teeth and swallowed a mouthful.
"It's so soothing." She squeezed out a smile.
"Don't randomly drink things," Old Lady Fang's voice came from outside the door.
Everyone in the courtyard rapidly stood up to bow once they saw Old Lady Fang stride in.
"It's not random. Lady just personally cooked this," the young servant girl said trembling in fear.
When she heard that Lady had prepared it personally, Old Lady Fang did not ask
"Why are you sitting here?" she asked with a frown.
In the Fang Family, the most important treasure was this not yet born child. Everyday, Lady Fang would personally tend to Lingzhi; this was Old Lady Fang's order.
"Lady and the concubines said that they had domestic affairs. It's hot, so clothes, and ice, and other things must be prepared," answered Lingzhi. "I did not go far; just to the veranda. Don't worry, Old Lady."
Old Lady Fang rubbed her shoulder, her face affectionate.
"Then I will sit with you," she said.
This was a special honor that not even the young master and misses received. All of the servants in the courtyard looked at Lingzhi with barely disguised envy.
Lingzhi bloomed with happiness, but at the same time felt deeply worried and sick.
"Please do, Old Lady." She personally helped Old Lady Fang into a seat, then sat down next to her.
And soon she would have to deal with the child.
Didn't they say that you could see that there was flesh and blood when the fetus was three month old?
When it came time to fake a miscarriage, she could fake the blood, but how would she fake the flesh?
Right now, there were people watching her with their lives; she was not alone night or day.
"How is Young Master?" she asked quietly, with tears.
"You are well, so he must be also," said Old Lady Fang.
Why hasn't he died yet. If he died, then she could take advantage of her confusion and have a more reasonable miscarriage.
Lingzhi gripped the fan.
Hearing that Old Lady Fang had come, Lady Fang and Concubine Yuan and Concubine Su came quickly.
"I'm fine, just see for yourselves," Old lady Fang said with a smile. She looked at Lingzhi nervously but also happily. "It’ll be two months soon. Don’t they say that this is the most crucial period? You can never be too worried."
"Old Lady, you should not worry. Not only does Lady prepare her cakes and soups personally, three meals a day, she doesn’t even dare blink while keeping watch over her," joked Concubine Yuan.
"Of course I will wait on her. This way Buddha can see my sincerity," said Lady Fang.
Not only did she want to protect this unborn grandson, she also wanted to atone for the crime of Chengyu’s injury.
Old Lady Fang nodded and looked around.
"There are still too many people here," she said.
Still too many?
Concubine Yuan looked at the people around them.
Lady Fang had only left four or five servant girls. Any less, and the only one here would be Lady Fang.
"Buddha said that everything must be left to the closest of kin," said Old Lady Fang. "You stay here, and let two servant girls stay here. That's enough."
What had this become? This was confinement.
Concubine Su’s face was wooden. Anyways, she would do as Lady and Old Lady instructed.
Concubine Yuan frowned.
"Don’t you think they’re making a big fuss over a minor issue?" asked Concubine Yuan of Concubine Su when they were leaving Lady’s courtyard.
"How is this a minor issue?" she asked in return.
Concubine Yuan waved a hand and smiled.
"That’s not what I meant; I know this is a big thing." She spoke even more quietly. "But don’t you think that there’s something strange abut this?"
Concubine Su gave her a look.
"She is carrying a child, and of everyone, who wouldn’t treat her as a treasure? So then, why does it seem like Old Lady and Lady are reacting like someone wants to harm her?" she wondered.
"Harm her? Who will harm her?"
"Could it be that Liu’er?" mused Concubine Yuan. She covered up her giggle. "That really gets me."
Concubine Su shot her a look again.
"You are not being proper. Talking rubbish," she said.
Concubine Yuan was still chortling.
"But it really is strangely funny," she commented.
"Strange? What’s strange?"
"I just think that there’s something’s not right with the present actions."
In a certain room in the Fang Family residence was a hushed dialogue between an old man’s voice and a girl’s voice.
"Don’t think too much of it; there isn’t any problems."
The room was silent for a moment.
"Yes" was the final thing spoken by the woman’s voice.
No one else spoke, and the night was once again quiet.
Because of Old Lady Fang’s order, Lady Fang’s residence was almost completely empty.
There was almost no one around Lingzhi, but she did not feel any more relaxed. Rather, she felt more anxious.
There was no chance for human contact. Lady was constantly watching, like she was imprisoned.
She had even less chance of having a miscarriage.
Lingzhi started to feel hot. She waved her fan and stood up to go to the outside tea table.
"Lingzhi, do you want some water?" came a girl’s voice from outside.
Lingzhi looked over and saw Concubine Yuan smiling by the entrance.
"Don’t move, I’m coming," she said with a smile, rapidly entering the room.