The next day, Jing Rong sent down the order for everyone to depart and leave Jinjiang. Ji Yunshu stood by the main door and occasionally peeked at the courtyard while the guards were busy moving all the items into the carriage. Everyone from Wei Residence, except Wei Yi, was there to bid farewell to them. Inevitably, Ji Yunshu felt a slight disappointment.
Tang Si got on the carriage before anyone else. Seeing that they had not commenced their journey after a long while, she extended her head out of the window of the carriage and yelled out in annoyance, "Why are we not moving yet? You told me to get ready first thing in the morning, but you are the one who is wasting the time now that I am finally done packing all my belongings. I should have known better and woken up later." Absolutely no one bothered to reply.
She saw that Ji Yunshu, who was still standing by the door, looked like she had no intention of entering the carriage, so she yelled again, “Ah Ji! It’s better to bring Wei Yi along! It’s so pitiful to make him stay here alone. The journey will be way more interesting with him around!”
Hearing that, Mo Ruo walked to the carriage and knocked hard on her head. “You should just keep quiet, no one will think that you’re dumb if you don’t speak.”
Tang Si massaged her head in pain and rebutted grudgingly, “You’re the dumb one, not me! Your whole family is dumb!” She quickly hid her head inside the carriage, afraid that Mo Ruo would take revenge. Mo Ruo could only shake his head in disapproval.
Later, he nudged Jing Rong with his elbow. He tilted his head as he asked, “Is Wei Yi really staying here?”
Jing Rong glared at him. “You should just keep quiet too. No one will think that you’re dumb.”
“You’re learning fast!”
“Of course, I have to learn all the good tricks!”
Mo Ruo pursed his lips as he chuckled. He then flashed a cunning look and asked, “I didn’t see you being so domineering when you lost two games to me yesterday.”
Jing Rong barely threw a glimpse at him. “You didn’t realize that I gave you a handicap on purpose?”
Mo Ruo scoffed, “Just acknowledge your defeat. Did you not say that a game of chess resembles a real battle? Anyway, you’re paying for all my wine from now onwards!” He put on the airs of a debtor.
Jing Rong could not be bothered with him. His gaze fixed on Ji Yunshu, who was standing beside the main door. He knew clearly that she was waiting for Wei Yi.
Meanwhile, in the backyard, Wei Yi was sitting on a stone step. He lifted his head and looked at the cloudy sky with his blank and emotionless gaze, while he poked the ground half-heartedly with a long bamboo stick in his hand. The sound of the stick hitting the ground echoed softly yet repeatedly. He continued his action for a very long time until Uncle Fu arrived.
"Young master, Teacher Ji and the Prince are leaving. You are not bidding them farewell?"
Wei Yi remained unmoved.
"Young master, aren't you the most reluctant person to see Teacher Ji go? She's leaving now. If you don't head over fast, you'll miss the chance to send her off! Then, you'll never know when is Teacher Ji's next visit to Jinjiang."
Wei Yi still remained unmoving.
Uncle Fu felt anxious yet helpless. He heaved a sigh, "Uncle Fu has reminded you. It's your choice to stay here." Uncle Fu left out of disappointment as he did not receive any reply from Wei Yi.
Eventually, Wei Yi paused his action. He tilted his head before he lifted his head to look at the white clouds that were floating in the sky. His gaze fixed at the clouds and moved along with them. His chin was lifted higher and higher. Consequently, he leaned backwards and rested on the stone step. He did not feel any pain despite his back was pressing against the hard stone steps. Instead, he lay there comfortably as though he was sunbathing on the lawn. The only difference was that his eyes gradually became more and more downcast.
He had lost track of time when he finally sat up, tossed the bamboo stick in his hand away and sprinted to the study room behind him.
Almost all of the items had been loaded onto the carriage when Uncle Fu returned to the main door of the Wei Residence.
He walked to Ji Yunshu’s side and muttered, “Teacher Ji, young master has been sitting on the stone steps at the backyard. He refused to come over regardless. Do you want to…” Do you want to go over?
The words died on his lips.
Ji Yunshu replied, “That’s not necessary. Leave him alone.” In spite of what she said, she looked hopefully at the walkway that was connected to the backyard. However, she understood that Wei Yi was afraid of upsetting her by bidding her goodbye. That must be why he refused to send her off, to avoid an emotional farewell.
She shifted her gaze away from the walkway and reminded Uncle Fu, “Uncle Fu, you’ll have to take care of him when I’m not around. He likes to snooze in the morning, hence, you’ll have to make sure to wake him up and not let him oversleep. Otherwise, he’ll suffer from headaches. Besides, he has only recovered and has to avoid a lot of foods. You have to control his diet and don’t ruin it just because he asks for the food he wants. Oh, yes. Most importantly, don’t feed him cold water at night.”
“Yes, Teacher Ji.”
“Also, remember to hire a more decent teacher to give him writing and reading lessons.”
“I’ve noted down everything Teacher mentioned. Don’t worry. I’ll do so even if Teacher did not remind me.”
She replied with a nod. Then, she took out the halved handkerchief and handed it to Uncle Fu. “Please keep this handkerchief properly. It’s better to lock it in a box and keep it away from everyone else.”
Ji Yunshu deliberated before she ordered, “Regarding Fu Bo, he’s old and injured, not to mention, he has no offspring. He can’t stay alone forever. I reckon that Wei Yi likes to stay with Fu Bo too. Maybe, you should let him stay in the residence. I’ll have to trouble Uncle Fu to send someone to take care of Fu Bo as well.”
Uncle Fu promptly nodded. Eventually, Ji Yunshu felt at ease after Uncle Fu agreed to follow what she said.
“Your Highness, everything is done. We can depart now,” the guard said.
Jing Rong acknowledged him before he turned to look at Ji Yunshu. She gave up on waiting for Wei Yi. She was ready to enter the carriage, with her two sandalwood boxes in her arms.
“Wait a moment!” Liu Qingping’s clear and loud voice echoed. He waddled over with a big basket in his arms. When he arrived before Ji Yunshu, he was covered in sweat and panting. After a long pause as he tried to catch his breath, he said, “Yunshu, knowing that you’re leaving today, I picked a lot of fresh fruits from my garden this morning. These are all your favourite fruits.”
As he spoke, he removed the cloth that were covering the basket. The basket was filled with a lot of apples and pears. Indeed, Ji Yunshu always liked these fruits.
She received the basket and handed it to the guard beside her to place it into the carriage. She then replied, “Lord Liu, it’s so kind of you to still remember my favourite fruits. I appreciate the gift.”
Liu Qingping smiled shyly, “I’m now a common person, not a lord. If anyone overhears our conversation and report it to the court, I’ll lose my life.”
“I did not address you as lord for no reason. I believe that the prince has promised your return to your official position.”
“Yes, prince has mentioned that before. Yet, I don’t feel reassured as long as I have not received my official stamp. In case anything happens and something goes right…”
Before he finished his sentence, Jing Rong said, “Why are you still worrying after this Prince gave you my words? Liu Qingping, the official stamp has been polished to a sheen by your hands for decades. Your rough hands are the only ones that can grip it tightly now. It’s your destiny to work for the people of Jinjiang until the day you die. Remember to send some high-quality tea leaves to this Prince as tribute.”
Tribute? You’re so shameless to say so.
However, the official stamp was the only thing that occupied Liu Qingping’s mind now. The word ‘tribute’ did not bother him at all! He merely nodded his head continuously like a pet dog.