Zhu shi knew that Shen Zhen did this deliberately, but she didn’t dare to rebuke him for what he had said, because she had been aiming for Chu Jiao’s dowry in the first place. Since Chu Jiao had used it on her husband, and Shen Zhen had used it on his son, it was only more than reasonable. What’s more, Shen Zhen’s policy of “Donating to Become an Official” was praised by the emperor for being valuable advice. If word of Shen Zhen being reprimanded were to be leaked out, they would be instantly charged with the crime of great disrespect.
Having lifted a heavy stone just to smash her own feet in the end, Zhu shi had really suffered a major setback this time.
Of course, in truth, Shen Zhen did not really use up all of the silver in Chu Jiao’s significant dowry.
That was his little girl’s property, and he could not bear to feed it to the jackals of the Shen family.
He merely borrowed a small portion of it and completed the plan he hatched in the imperial court. Not only was he successful in making a pit for Gongsun Mu to feebly fall in, he was also able to relieve the considerable troubles that had plagued Emperor Xie Yu since the start of his reign.
As Chu Dahai was the first to donate to become an official, Emperor Xie Yu specially awarded him to set an example. He raised his official post by a grade for everyone to see.
Before Chu Dahai took office, he was immediately reported to Gongsun by his direct superiors and was unfortunately placed under strict supervision, ultimately suffering a lot.
After being rescued by Shen Zhen, not only had he managed to keep his position, he was even promoted a grade. Although he was told by Shen Zhen to use a million silver to ‘buy’ the position, he was wholeheartedly willing to do so and immediately sent word to the Northwest to allow the housekeeper to send the money over.
To Zhu shi, the so-called donating to become an official for Shen Zhongxing was Shen Zhen’s plan of letting the cicada shed its carapace1The cicada shed its carapace refers to a crafty escape plan.
He received the secret message to go to Jiangnan to investigate a fraudulent case and go under the guise of Shen Zhongxing. He could also arrange for Chu Jiao to leave the Shen family.
After coming out of the family hall, Shen Zhen hurriedly left again.
Before leaving, when he passed by the garden, he secretly pulled Chu Jiao behind the rockery and gave her the key that the girl had given to him before.
“Your dowry.” Shen Zhen leaned his face towards the girl’s in the dark secluded area and captured her lips, kissing her deeply and passionately, “I’ve hidden it in my private courtyard first. If you want to use it, just ask Fu Lai to bring you over to retrieve some.”
“You.” Chu Jiao pushed the man away, but he didn’t even budge, so she could only gently lean into his strong arms and lift her head up coquettishly, gingerly asking, “Don’t you need it?”
“Heh,” Shen Zhen’s tone was full of confidence, “This Lord isn’t lacking in money.”
Just lacking a mistress.
As frivolous as always.
Chu Jiao spat these words on the inside and softly touched the showing stubble growing on the man’s face, “How much longer?”
How much longer is it going to take until you finish dealing with these matters?
“Soon.” Shen Zhen playfully kissed her soft cheek, “Pack your things up first, we will be leaving in a few days.”
“Father, if daughter-in-law selfishly leaves with you, what would happen to your poor son?” Chu Jiao relentlessly teased him.
“I will compensate him with another daughter-in-law.” Although they were father and son in name, Shen Zhen knew that his son had another who had already captivated his heart.
“Then, where are we going?”
“We’re going to go to a place where nobody knows us.”
Just as Shen Zhen had said, they soon quickly fled the Shen Family. However, the way they left was somewhat unexpected.
The next night, the third household of the Shen Family’s courtyard had suddenly caught fire, which quickly spread to the other parts of the garden, dangerously drawing into it the entire third household’s properties.
Apart from the third household owner, Shen Zhen, diligently working outside the office and had successfully escaped the disaster, the third household’s young master and young mistress were sadly buried in the sea of fire, their servants also caught in the calamity.
In the early morning of the third day, Chu Jiao abruptly woke up when she felt an unfamiliar shaking motion.
She felt that her head was strangely not lying on her sleeping pillow anymore, but on someone else’s thigh.
She sleepily rubbed her eyes as a few wisps of light flicked around her lustrous white face.
“Awake?” A low male voice rang in her ears.
Chu Jiao gripped the big palm carressing her hair out of the blue. She slowly stretched her body, wanting to turn over but her long legs came across a wooden wall. “Umm..” she asked, “Where are we?”
“We should be within the borders of Gannan by now,” Shen Zhen smoothly lifted the window screen and glanced outside, “It’s still early, do you want to sleep a little while longer?”
“No…” Chu Jiao shook her head in response, but she didn’t get up right away. She had the habit of staying in bed for a while after waking up. Although she was in a carriage right now, she still couldn’t change this part of herself.
Although the carriage wasn’t as large as an imperial one, one could easily see that the owner had put in a lot of effort in crafting it. Sturdy wooden boards were used on all four sides and were carefully wrapped in fine quilted silk. Chu Jiao felt that what she was laying on was much softer than her bed and was curious to know just how many layers of quilt this man had thrown on. The carriage additionally had little drawers on the side, which stored snacks and refreshments inside. Although it was small, it was complete and perfect in every aspect.
“What time did we set out for the journey last night?” Chu Jiao slowly turned around while still laying on the man’s thick thighs and asked, looking up.
Truth be told, she was secretly taken out of the Shen Manor by Shen Zhen yesterday evening and had been living in another courtyard he had bought.
Shen Zhen roughly told her of his plan, and Chu Jiao couldn’t offer any help to him, only telling him to be careful.
Shen Zhen never returned as she fell asleep after waiting for a long time. By the time she had woken up, she was already out of the capital.
“At the hour of the ox.2Hour of the ox is from 1- 3AM” Shen Zhen said, “I saw that you were sleeping, and I didn’t want to wake you up.”
“What about Shen Zhongxing?”
Although he was her husband only in name, Chu Jiao didn’t want to throw a sick young man into the ice-cold Shen Residence defenceless and alone.
“You’re in this Lord’s arms yet you still think of other men?” Although Shen Zhen knew that there was nothing between the two, it did not prevent him from eating flying vinegar.3To eat flying vinegar means to get jealous for no reason.
Chu Jiao rolled her eyes and tightly clutched the man’s thigh. “I’m being serious with you!”
Shen Zhen held the girl’s hand firmly. “I safely placed him in a house on the outskirts of the capital.”
“His body cannot withstand going to far places, and there’s also a famous doctor who lives there. He could skillfully take care of the sick.”
“What about Ah Wan?” Chu Jiao asked quickly.
“Who’s Ah Wan?”
“Aiya, she’s the maid that he’s fond of!”
Chu Jiao didn’t believe that this scheming and cunning man wouldn’t know about her.
“I didn’t expect that Jiao’er would be this concerned about somebody else’s love life…”
Shen Zhen’s voice grew low as his large palm swept across the girl’s thin arm and slowly travelled down further, “Why don’t you care more about this Lord’s favorites instead?’
I was originally going to write some meat in this chapter but after writing a thousand words, I decided to stall it again…
However, a carriage play is about to come hehehe
TOC for advanced chapter – ICD
Translation status of advanced chapters: 4th and 5th world Completed