What to do?
She had made thorough investigations and confirmed that the midwives weren’t due until two days later. Why were they here with the inspectors now? Those soldiers weren’t allowed in the birthing room, so she wasn’t concerned about them finding the truth. But the midwives would definitely demand to go in! How were supposed to hide anything at this point? Even if Ning Jing gave birth in time, she needed a couple of days to recover and take medicine. The midwives would be able to tell at a glance that it was her who birthed the baby right now!
Ever since learning of Long Feiye and Han Yunxi’s delayed expedition north, Bai Yuqiao and Mu Linger had brainstormed all sorts of safeguards. No matter how well they hid Ning Jing’s growing belly, the postpartum period would change her physique and even skin. They could hide the differences from men, but not experienced women, especially the likes of midwives. Thus, Mu Linger had created a miraculous prescription for Ning Jing to take after her pregnancy to remove all outward symptoms from her body.
Bai Yuqiao had rejoiced that they had a talented pharmacist like Mu Linger among their ranks. Everything had been going smoothly too, but who knew disaster would strike now? She lost her cool…
“Miss Bai, hurry and think of something or we’ll lose our lives first!” the guard cried.
Bai Yuqiao was completely pale as she remained silent. Mu Linger opened the door next, attracted by the commotion outside the birthing room. Before she could ask any questions, Bai Yuqiao pushed her inside and said icily, “Jun Yixie’s midwives are here. Don’t tell Ning Jing! And you better not come out! Remember, no matter what happens, stay put!”
Mu Linger was completely muddled as she stood inside the doorway, not even reacting when Bai Yuqiao slammed it shut. By the time she got to her senses, there was no more movement outside. She darted a look back at the bed, only to see Ning Jing’s face filled with agony as she bit down on a towel and pushed according to the midwife’s instructions.
What to do what to do what to do?
Quivering, Mu Linger couldn’t do anything except stand frozen in place. It was then that someone knocked on the door. Scared to death, Mu Linger almost flung it open before she stopped herself without a peep. What if it was one of Jun Yixie’s men? She couldn’t make a sound! She was supposed to be giving birth right now!
Fortunately, it was only a servant girl’s voice. “Hurry and open the door, Miss Bai told me to bring the hot water inside, as well as some clothes.”
Only then did Mu Linger crack open the door. The servant had a huge tub of hot water and a knapsack on her back filled with clothes. Mu Linger quickly got to work changing into the clothes behind a folding screen. After Ning Jing finished her deliver, she would lie down in her place as the exhausted “mother.”
When all was done, Mu Linger suddenly recalled another detail. “Medicine! My medicines!” she ran to find the servant girl. “Quickly! The two prescriptions I prepared beforehand, start boiling them! There’s not a moment to waste!” She had prepared them for Ning Jing and herself. One eliminated all symptoms of childbirth, while the other would make her swell up and weak. The effects were only temporary and would last a month at most, but the medicine’s effects were also very harmful to the body. She could handle it, but it would affect Ning Jing quite a bit since she was already weak from childbirth. Not only would she miss out on care, but torment herself instead.
Ning Jing’s sacrifice this time was far too great.
But there was no point in weighing that now! If the midwives saw the truth, everyone’s sacrifice would’ve been meaningless! Mu Linger prepared everything before waiting next to the bed. The midwives and Ning Jing had no idea what was going on beyond the room, working together to give their best.
Miss Jing, quickly! Just a little more, the child’s head is almost out! Almost!”
“Miss Jing, more strength, hurry!”
Everything would be done once the baby’s head peeked through! But this was proving to be a challenge for Ning Jing. She did her best to push, but she was using strength in the wrong places. Childbirth wasn’t just about brute strength.
Burning with impatience, Mu Linger felt like her heart was going to leap out of her chest. She kept worrying about the situation outside while wondering when the servant girl would finish brewing the medicine and how long it’d take Ning Jing to give birth.
At the same time, the inspecting troops had already finished checking through Uncle Cheng and Manager Jin’s courtyard and were on their way to the rear compounds with the two midwives in tow. Bai Yuqiao was waiting for them in the courtyard. A servant girl had been giving her periodic updates about the childbirth in the meantime. She desperately wished that the girl would bring good news before the entourage arrived.
Unfortunately, the guards and midwives showed up first. Hearing their footsteps, Bai Yuqiao hid her anxiety and began pacing leisurely around the courtyard. Seeing her, the leader of the guards broke into a smile. “Miss Bai, so you were hiding here!”
But it wasn’t long before they caught the sounds of commotion from indoors.
“What’s going on?” the guard demanded.
Bai Yuqiao’s heart almost stopped, but she forced herself to stay strong and snapped, “Can’t you tell? Mu Linger’s giving birth right now!”
“Why is it right now?” the guard was taken aback.
“Who am I supposed to ask if you ask me? If the baby wants to come, can anyone guess when it’d be?” As she spoke, Bai Yuqiao examined the two midwives with the guards. Both of them were quick-witted, clever matrons over 40 years old.
One of them hastily exclaimed, “Who can predict things like childbirth, ah? It’s not unusual to be giving birth now.”
At her words, Bai Yuqiao knew that the two midwives had long calculated “Mu Linger’s” expected dates of delivery.
“Fortunately, I prepared a midwife for her ages ago. Otherwise, how would I explain to senior brother if anything went amiss?” Bai Yuqiao crossed her arms arrogantly, completely hiding her agitation. In fact, she even began to complain. “This Mu Linger was annoyingly hard to please! Either she wants this or demands that all day. If not for the fact that she’s Han Yunxi’s little sister and pregnant with Gu Qishao’s seed, hehe, even I wouldn’t let her run so rampant, much less my senior brother!”
Both midwives were smart women. They understood the challenges of childbirth inherently and how it forced the mother near death while trying to birth a baby. Hearing Bai Yuqiao’s rambles, they knew the consequences would be severe if anything happened to Mu Linger. Their hesitant expressions made Bai Yuqiao secretly relieved. I should be able to drag things on until Ning Jing finishes giving birth.
But the head guard only commanded coldly, “Why are you two still standing around? Hurry in there! Don’t you remember the Duke of Kang’s instructions?”
Bai Yuqiao grew alarmed and darted a meaningful look to a servant girl by her side, who hastened to nod despite her anxiety. The two midwives had originally planned to wait it out until the baby was born, but the guard’s reminder meant they didn’t dare delay and rushed towards the birthing room. Bai Yuqiao followed them inside the house at her own pace. At the entrance to the birthing room, the servant girl suddenly flung out her arms to block the wait. “Wait a minute!”
Her voice was loud, undoubtedly to alert the occupants inside.
But neither Ning Jing nor the midwife could afford to pay attention to their voices. The baby’s head was stuck in the birth canal and Ning Jing was almost out of strength. Seeing this, the midwife began to falter. This was an omen of dystocia! If the baby couldn’t make it, it would take in the dirty amniotic fluid into its lungs, affecting its breathing and potentially its life!
“Give me the scissors!” the midwife cried.
Mu Linger was already scared to death. As soon as she heard the voices outside, fearful tears poured down her face.
What do we do? The midwives are going to come inside!
At the entrance, the guard turned from the servant girl to Bai Yuqiao and asked, “What’s going on here?”
Bai Yuqiao immediately scolded the servant. “What are you doing? Seeking death?”
The servant girl was all ignorance as she cried, “Miss Bai, sir guard, Mu Linger had orders. She said no one except Ning Jing and the midwife were allowed inside.”
The guard burst into laughter. “What does she count for? She doesn’t call the shots!”
“Sir guard, Mu Linger’s temper was too ferocious. She’s giving birth right now, so it’ll be bad if we give her a shock and cause something fatal. None of us would be able to explain ourselves to the Duke of Kang then!” the servant girl pled. “Sir guard, since the baby’s almost out, you guys can just wait here until it’s born. Are you afraid it’ll grow wings and fly away?”
The guard looked towards Bai Yuqiao again, but she remained silently indifferent. Unexpectedly, he suddenly dragged the servant girl aside and kicked open the door!
Bai Yuqiao and the servant girl both froze, gaping at the sight. Inside the room, Ning Jing was desperately biting down on a towel, her face constricted in agony. The midwife had just set down the scissors and was pressing against Ning Jing’s belly with a bloody hand. “Use more strength, quickly!” she shouted.
Mu Linger saw beyond the folding screen that blocked the room from the door and felt her legs turn into jelly. She sank to her knees in a blank.
Everything’s done for!
“Get inside!” the guard barked at the midwives. Because it was taboo to enter himself, he stepped aside to get out of the way.
The two midwives hastily hurried over while Bai Yuqiao stared at them in a trance. She saw them get in line one after the other, preparing to step over the threshold.
Suddenly, the roars of tigers surrounded them on all sides, deafening their eardrums. Surprised, the two midwives halted in their steps. Alarmed, the guard cried, “What’s going on? Take a look outside!”
The tigers at Tiger’s Prison only roared in the mornings and evenings, so these growls were too abnormal. Something must have happened.
“You two guard the people in side, the rest follow me out!” the head guard ordered as he prepared to leave.
But it was then that a tiger suddenly pounced in from the side and knocked one of the midwives over before ripping out her throat.
“Ahh...ahhhhhhh!” the other midwife screamed and tried to flee, but her legs were like lead. She couldn’t move before the tiger turned and bit through her neck too. Everyone was stunned by the course of events, especially Bai Yuqiao, who had a bad scare. She slipped into the birthing room and slammed the door behind her.
The servant girl and guards were sent scurrying for their lives, leaving nothing but one tiger and two corpses in the courtyard…
1. Fun fact but a friend of mine had the same issue when delivering her baby. If you don’t push in the right ways/direction, you’re gonna have a harder time! Keep that in mind before you go off birthing babies, gals! Ahem~
2. HE POUNCE! Ehehe.
It's here guys, it's HERE! A BADA** HERO COME TO KICK DOWN THE DOOR AGAINST OUR ENEMIES WOOOOOT!
New playlist is also up, I feel like something more somber for these recent chapters. The singer for "Winter Bird" is AURORA, a Norwegian artist who was also the voice of the north wind in Frozen II. So pretty! >u<