Mo Ruo’s body swayed as he walked, with both eyes narrowed into a thin line. He sat down on the smooth big rock and leaned his whole body backwards to lie on it.
"Ah! It's so comfortable." He dragged the last syllabus of his sentence and looked relaxed.
Ji Yunshu sometimes thought that, since Mo Ruo was drinking almost constantly, never to be seen without wine in his hand, one could never tell if he was sleeping or in a drunk stupor.
Drinking was said to be harmful to the body, but instead of getting sick, Mo Ruo was tough and healthy. It as if his body had a constitution of iron!
Suddenly, Mo Ruo turned over and asked Ji Yunshu, "What are you girls thinking about?"
"Why are you asking this?" She didn’t understand. Why did he ask this question out of nowhere?
Mo Ruo opened his squinting eyes and deliberately glanced at Tang Si in the distance.
Oh! She understood. Ji Yunshu's little smile overflowed from the corners of her lips. She then picked up a dead branch, poked the broken stones on the ground. A trail of dust was raised. "I should be the one to ask that of Young Master Mo. You have traveled far and wide over the years. The number of women you have met and known must number in the dozens, if not hundreds. How could you not understand a woman's heart and come to ask me about it instead?"
"Yes, I understand the heart of a woman, but ..." He glanced in the direction of Tang Si again, then his whole body shuddered. He sneered, "Is she a woman?"
"No wonder Miss Tang is against you." You deserved it!
"Did I say something wrong?" Mo Ruo sat up directly, with his feet bent, his elbows resting on his knees. He looked like he was gearing up for a long lecture or a vigorous debate. "Teacher Ji, isn’t it strange? Don’t you think I have a good temper? I never fight with anyone, and I am always exceedingly kind to the ladies. But tell me, am I supposed to owe her my life just because she saved me once? Even if I did owe her, I’ve been suffering in complete silence the whole journey here. Even now, the bruises on my knees have not healed.
“Besides, she had caused so much trouble at Mingshan Academy. If I didn't help her, she would still be cleaning up after herself there. Even if I owe her my life, it should long had been paid off by now. But look at her - she keeps pretending not to see me and constantly pulls a long face for everyone to see. Don’t you think I’m suffering? " A long litany of complaints!
Instead, Ji Yunshu was amused by what he said. She smiled. Is this man stupid? How was Miss Tang pulling a long face? It’s clearly... hehe.
Mo Ruo said, "Come on, Teacher Ji, even if you don’t sympathise with me, don’t laugh at me. I painstakingly suffered by asking her to share the same carriage as me just so that you could have more chances to spend time with Jing Rong. I was sacrificing myself to help you guys, so you should at least say a few words of comfort to me!"
Wow, you are so selfless! But Ji Yunshu didn't appreciate that. Instead of being seduced by Jing Rong, she would rather ride with Tang Si. Chatting with her along the way would be more fun.
She smiled lightly, "Young Master Mo, haven’t you figured out that Miss Tang did not mean to ignore you, but rather, she had other thoughts?"
"She had other thoughts?"
"Your head is made of elmwood!" She said, looking at him straight in the eye, "Let me ask you - have you done something to her that made her blush?"
"Well ..." Mo Ruo thought for a while, racking his head for the answer. "There was something, but it was a trivial matter." He was relaxed.
Didn’t he just touch two mounds of flesh on her? Every woman had them!
Ji Yunshu didn't want to say it too clearly, nor did she want to ask too much. She just said, "Young Master Mo, you should think about it yourself."
He didn’t want to think about it! He waved his hand, "Whatever, anyway, we will be sending her away when we arrive at Yufu."
Then, he leaned back again, lying on the big rock. It really was comfortable.
Ji Yunshu was still poking the branch in the ground until Jing Rong came over and sat near her.
"Is it fun?"
"Well then, keep playing by yourself." Okay!
Jing Rong then also leaned back and lay on the big rock with Mo Ruo, as though he wasn’t a prince. They looked like two salted fishes that could turn themselves over.
The group didn’t set off until sunset. After a long journey, it was deep into the night when they finally arrived at Yufu County.
Yufu County was not a wealthy county since it was located in the northernmost part of the country. In fact, it often suffered natural disasters and was one of the poorest counties in Great Lin. This was why the royal court would frequently send funds over for disaster relief.
On both sides of that not-so-wide street, they would occasionally see lanterns hanging outside the door of some houses. The light from the lanterns was neither bright nor steady, with the lanterns swaying in the breeze. There were even a few broken lanterns fallen on the ground. Their flame had gone out and they tumbled along the street in the wind. Since it was in the middle of the night, this scene looked extremely eerie.
At first glance, it seemed that the city had fallen into ruin. The streets were deserted, and only one or two old night watchmen could be seen occasionally.
When he saw there were carriages and horses entering the city at night, the old night watchmen stopped and looked at them curiously.
This group of people were very well-dressed. The carriage in the front looked very luxurious. In the eyes of the old man, it seemed as grand as one of the Emperor’s inspection tour. Of course, he hadn't seen a scene of the Emperor's inspection tour and had only heard of them from storytellers. However, why would anyone enter the city in the middle of the night?
The usually deserted Yufu Country was neither big nor small. Nevertheless, there were seldom any outsiders coming here. Who are these people?
The old man scratched his head but couldn't figure it out. So he just hit the gong in his hand and continued his patrol.
Lang Po was riding in the front. He looked around and then raised his hands to stop the group. He rode to Jing Rong's carriage and said, "Your Highness, do you want to stay at an inn or go to the yamen now?"
After a while, Jing Rong's cold voice came from the carriage, "Go to the yamen, otherwise, Magistrate Zuo may not be able to sleep all night."
Lang Po led the group all the way to yamen. Unlike the desolate and eerie atmosphere on the streets, the yamen gate was brightly lit. At the gate, a yamen runner snored as he crouched on the floor, while the other leaned against the door frame with his eyes closed, also resting.
The sound of the horses woke the two yamen runners.
"What is it?"
The two were very vigilant, and the first thing they did after opening their eyes was to ready themselves to pull out their weapons. When they saw the group outside the gate, they suddenly got it.
"His...His Highness is here?"
One of them poked the other one, and whispered, "Hurry up and inform the magistrate."
"Oh, yes, yes..." That guy stumbled away.
Jing Rong and others got off their horses. It was indeed cold in the middle of the night!
He looked around. The Yufu County’s yamen was quite impressive.
The servant hurriedly greeted him and bowed down, "Greetings to Prince Rong."
He raised his hand, "There is no need to be polite, where is Magistrate Zuo?"
"The Magistrate is..."
Before they could finish their sentence, a voice came from the other side of the gate, "This humble official welcomes Prince Rong."
They heard the voice before seeing the person.