With not a soul in sight, Shen Zhen’s courtyard remained still and silent as if it did not belong to a fourth-grade official’s home.
Chu Jiao slowly walked into the study with a food tray at hand. With an echoing creaking sound, the man quietly shut the study’s door.
Shen Zhen’s study was simple yet elegant. The bookshelves on both sides were filled with Confucian classics whose pages were curled and aged yellow, making it evident with a single glance that they were used all year round.
Chu Jiao gently placed the tray on the table.
“I heard from Fu Lai that Father has only recently returned to the manor,” Chu Jiao timidly lowered her eyes, turned around towards Shen Zhen, and said softly, “Unsure of whether Father has had dinner, daughter-in-law brought in some snacks without permission.”
The snacks she had brought in were a plate of sticky rice cake. They were small white glutinous rice balls decorated with fine coconut shavings to give an extra depth of flavor, overall looking delectably sweet.
Shen Zhen briefly glanced at the plate of food before shifting his heavy gaze back on to Chu Jiao’s face.
Because he was busy with a troubling case as of the moment, he hadn’t had the chance to see the person in front of him for almost a month.
She still remained as pretty as a divine work of art and loveable as an innocent spring blossom.
For the first time in his life, the thought of building a golden house to hold a mistress suddenly popped into his head. Unfortunately, this tender beauty did not belong to him.
“You…are very considerate.”
He praised dryly, picking up a glutinous rice dumpling and stuffing it entirely into his mouth.
In truth, he had eaten supper and his stomach was already filled with rich wine, but he didn’t want to betray her kindness. Taking a bite of the snack, the soft sweetness slowly spread in his mouth. Shen Zhen kneaded the delicate snowball in his hand and suddenly felt parched.
Just like that night, the two balls he held in his hand were perfectly round, soft, white, fragrant, and delicious.
He was more than eight feet tall1 Please note that 8 ft tall here refers to chinese foot, however, in chinese dynasties, one chinese foot would differ, so taking an estimation, he would be around 180cm to 195cm tall. , and the person in front of him wasn’t as petite as the women of the Central Plains. She was only half a head shorter than him with a slim waist and long legs. As soon as he lowered his head, he saw her round and crisp chest bound by her robes. Her soft white skin shyly peeked out, glowing amazingly under the dim light.
Shen Zhen uncomfortably coughed twice, trying to curb his thoughts from straying too far…
He fully knew that it was a mistake, yet he still wanted to violate the same mistake over and over again, which was not his normal style of handling affairs.
Not to mention… her heart… already belonged to another.
Shen Zhen reluctantly suppressed his dissatisfaction and swallowed the glutinous rice ball.
Chu Jiao didn’t know the man’s complicated thoughts. She merely saw him chewing and swallowing the rice cake slowly and automatically assumed that it was too sticky, so she twisted sideways to pour some tea and turned to offer it. Not realizing that the man was about to reach out for more food to eat and was leaning forward, there was barely any distance between the two of them. In turn, the cup was badly shaken, and the tea inside was splattered on the two’s clothes.
“Ah!” Chu Jiao cried out in alarm, loosening her hold.
The tea was freshly made and piping hot. Shen Zhen was wearing a thickly lined robe, so all the hot water was sucked up by the fabric and he did not suffer any consequences. On the other hand, Chu Jiao was not as lucky. The place where the tea had splashed was on her chest. Scalding pain immediately alerted her senses as her chest quickly became red from the heat.
“How could you be so careless!”
Although Shen Zhen harshly reprimanded her, his hand seized the girl’s waist in a blink of an eye and his thumb wiped down the water stains on her chest.
“F-..Father, I am unharmed.” The distance between the two was too close for comfort. Chu Jiao quickly pushed the man’s chest away, “L-let me go first.”
She did not intentionally seduce him this time, it was merely a careless mistake.
However, Shen Zhen didn’t let go, instead, he used more force. He easily picked up the girl and gallantly swept the contents of the table away, making Chu Jiao sit in front of him.
“A woman’s skin is delicate and easily scarred if one doesn’t pay attention. How could you be unharmed?”
It was as though he was educating a naive child who didn’t understand anything, his demeanor strict and serious.
After taking out a sapphire box from the curio shelf at the side, Shen Zhen carefully opened it and inside laid a white paste.
“This is a skin whitening ointment bestowed by the Holy Emperor, and it also has a wonderful effect on the treatment of burns.”
“Wouldn’t it be better for daughter-in-law to apply it herself?”
Chu Jiao lowered his eyes and slowly scooped a bit on her fingertips, intending to apply it on the wound.
But the area she was splashed on was her neck and chest, so she couldn’t see it when she lowered her head. She only randomly smeared the paste around the area and made a mess.
“Sigh.” Shen Zhen saw that she had completely avoided the reddened area like the plague, making the stuffiness in his chest finally burst out. “Why don’t I help you apply it.”
He firmly grabbed ahold of Chu Jiao’s wrist and used his other hand to dip into the white paste. Though his movements were gentle and properly applied to Chu Jiao’s red and swollen wounds, his mouth, however, spat out insincere words.
“What are you hiding for?”
“Which part of your body hasn’t this master seen before?”