Yaoniang’s face turned beet red. Without even looking at him, she asked him to return the paper.
But Jin Wang didn’t give it to her. Holding it in his hand, he said, “This writing is really ugly. Benwang didn’t know that you could write poetry to express the sadness in your heart. Look at this phrase, ‘knowing the yearning between lovers is useless, forbidding melancholy is madness’.”
The more he spoke, the colder his tone and his eyes became. With his eyes narrowed, he looked up and down Yaoniang’s face. “Even if lovesickness is useless, you might as well hold onto this infatuation and melancholy for life? For benwang to make you this melancholy, the person in your mind shouldn’t be that carriage driver¹ right?”
Yaoniang yelled, “Where did your mind wander to? I wasn’t thinking about anyone!”
Jin Wang snorted, his face still icy cold.
This love poem was definitely not written for him. He stayed by her side every day, yet she still felt the urge to express her melancholy. There must be some wild man she couldn’t get off her mind.
Was he the carriage driver? Or the young constable²? Or was there still another wild man that he wasn’t aware of?
She started following him before she even turned fifteen. After that incident, she wouldn’t have had the time to think about other wild men. This meant that the culprit must be someone she knew long ago?
Was he her childhood sweetheart?
No wonder she wanted to leave him so desperately at that time. Besides Xiaobao, there must have been someone else she missed as well.
Jin Wang thought of how Yaoniang knew this man ever since she was young and then grew up together as childhood sweethearts. Maybe when they were older, as he began to realize his desires, he’d even secretly kiss her little mouth. Maybe that wild man even touched her jade rabbits.
It was rare to see girls at her age back then with such a luscious figure. A hand must’ve touched her little bud and turned the little bud into the jade rabbit that he loved today. At the mere thought of this, Jin Wang felt a burst of anger swell up in him, and he couldn’t wait to find that wild man and tear him apart.
All these thoughts of Jin Wang happened in an instant. Yaoniang was embarrassed at what she wrote and didn’t dare to meet the other’s eyes. How could she know that the other party would have so many thoughts in such a brief moment?
Soon, she also realized that Jin Wang’s mood was a bit off, so she explained in a soft voice, “You’re overthinking it. I’m not missing anyone. I only wrote it for fun because I had nothing else to do.”
“I’ve yet to see you write this kind of stuff for fun!”
Well, that was because she never thought of doing it before.
It was probably because her father’s influence on her was too profound. She subconsciously felt that all men shared the belief that women were virtuous if they were incompetent. Plus, she hadn’t touched this stuff for so long that she could remember how to use them at all. It was only yesterday, after visiting Duke Zhengguo Manor and seeing the things in Qiao-shi’s room, that she realized that she could also practice this and even relearn it if necessary.
“I didn’t write this poem myself. Madam Shizi gave me a collection of poems. I thought that the style of this poem was quite nice, so I copied it. There’s no need to overthink it. The reason why I didn’t show it to you, in the beginning, is because I felt that my handwriting is too ugly. I wanted to practice my calligraphy until it’s better before writing something for you.”
Jin Wang glanced at her suspiciously. His suspicious nature was engraved too deeply in his bones.
But her expression was extremely sincere. It was because he knew her so well that he could clearly see the meaning behind every expression and every look in her eyes.
She wasn’t lying. He breathed a sigh of relief immediately. At the same time, he suddenly thought of what she had just said, that she’d write something for him after practicing her calligraphy some more.
Did she want to write a love poem for him?
“I know you copied this poem.” Jin Wang cleared his throat and said, his face finally no longer so cold.
Yaoniang was immediately surprised, how did he know?
“I’ve seen this poem before.” After speaking, Jin Wang snorted disdainfully, “You women all like this kind of nonsense.”
Since when did women like nonsense?!
Yaoniang was furious and knew that Jin Wang’s old problem was itself showing again.
Even though he was clearly wrong, he refuses to acknowledge it and would only belittle the other party to confuse those present. She glanced at Huahua who was looking at her with the same arrogant gaze, turned her head with a snort and walked away.
Was she mad?
Jin Wang glanced at Yaoniang’s back and then turned to look at Huahua.
Different from the gaze it used to look at Yaoniang, Huahua’s eyes were now soft with a hint of fawning. He narrowed his eyes and leaned over to rub against Jin Wang’s legs, but was pushed away instead.
Yaoniang was angry the entire morning and didn’t even speak to Jin Wang at lunch.
Everyone knew that Side Consort Su was angry, and it was His Highness who provoked her.
After lunch, instead of taking a nap, Yaoniang went to the study, leaving Jin Wang by himself on the big Kang in the east room. Jin Wang and Xiaobao looked at each other.
Xiaobao was only too happy to see this happen. Only by suffering a loss would his father learn that even a rabbit would bite when cornered.
Feeling very pleased, Xiaobao grabbed Huahua and started playing with him on the Kang. Huahua’s favourite person, besides Jin Wang, was Xiaobao, so he was more than happy to play with him.
Jin Wang glanced at his son, who was rolling around with the cat, in disgust. He put on his shoes and then walked into the bedroom.
Recently, he developed a habit of taking naps.
Even at the Ministry of Work, when the time came, he would sleep in his office for a while.
Today, after laying down for a while, he still couldn’t fall asleep. Jin Wang came out of the bedroom and saw Xiaobao and Huahua fast asleep on the Kang with a blanket on them. Huahua wasn’t in a deep sleep, so it opened its eyes and glanced at Jin Wang when it heard the sounds of his movement. It hesitated, wondering if it should follow him, but it couldn’t bear to leave the cozy bed, so it closed its eyes again.
The door to the study was closed. Jin Wang lightly pushed the door open.
Indeed, it was as he thought. At the desk, sat Yaoniang writing something.
He quietly walked over to take a look and saw that her posture was awkward. The hand holding the pen shifted position from time to time, and he could see that it was because she had yet to get used to holding one.
Jin Wang took a step forward and covered her writing hand with his from behind. “When writing, keep your hand relaxed and loose instead of stiff and rigid. There’s no perfect way to write. The only thing that matters is how comfortable you feel. As long as there is room for movement in the palm of your hand then you’re fine.”